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Showing posts from July, 2015

OCEAN - Hope, Chaos, and the Sea In-between

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I grew up by the seaside town of Torquay; trips to the beach are some of my fondest memories. As a tourist destination, people would come from all over the country, just to be beside the ocean.

In the book of Revelation, the last book of the bible, John is describing how he sees the world when it is remade into a place of peace.  In his description he adds thatthe ocean will be no more.

To our western minds this is a negative thing, not a positive one; but to a 1st century Jewish mind-set, the understanding of the ocean is altogether different.

We in the west have a romantic view of the ocean. We forget about the countless lives it has claimed, or what it is like to be aboard a boat and be tossed around in a storm.

This idea of chaos is the metaphor that John is using, that the ocean stands for the hatred, death and pain that covers the land like a flood.

Tom Wright describes Christians as ‘people of hope’. This is what defines us, we look forward to a time when this chaos is no more. We i…

CRITIC – The Hebraic Philosophy of ‘Critique From Within’

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There has been much talk lately on social media about how we should behave on the internet.

What is the line between debate and hate speak. What divides critique from trolling.

The Hebrew scriptures are full of critique of the nations around, but the most cutting critiques are reserved for Israel itself. This is an idea called ‘critique from within’ and was a major part of hebraic spirituality, even the religious and political leaders were not beyond reproach.

Micah 3:1-3 states:

"Then I said,

“Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel.
Should you not embrace justice,
you who hate good and love evil;
who tear the skin from my people
and the flesh from their bones;
who eat my people’s flesh,
strip off their skin
and break their bones in pieces;
who chop them up like meat for the pan,
like flesh for the pot?”

As Christians we stand in this prophetic tradition, to critique the bride of Christ, in all its various contexts, this is a healthy and life giving discipline.

W…

PROFIT - The Mark of the Beast in Revelation as a Prototype for Divestment and Boycotting

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*updated for 2017*

We recently passed the 4th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, where over 1000 garment workers lost their lives in a tragic, yet entirely avoidable way.
The Mark of the BeastIn the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, John tells us about a mark, put on the head or hand of all people that trade in the marketplace (Revelation 13:16-17). 
He called this mark ‘the mark of the beast’ and urged believers to stop trading in the market. For those living in that time, this was a big deal.

One possible interpretation (mentioned in some documents) is that in some localities, before trading in the market, you had to burn incense to an effigy of Caesar as an act of worship

You then received a mark on either your hand or forehead to show that you had done this. John was writing to say that this practice was not acceptable. Essentially he was calling for one of the first recorded boycotts In history.
Profits Before PeopleThe reason that Rana Plaza happened, was because …

ROBOTS - Why I Believe the New Budget Will Speed Up the Automation of Jobs

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Many people have already spilled much ink over the new budget proposals; I hope to provide something a bit different than many of the brilliant critiques that have already been written.
As technology continues to progress at an ever alarming rate, we are entering the Second Machine Age.  Any job that can be automated will be automated. If a process can be pulled apart, analysed and standardised, it will become automated. It is not something of the future, it is here now. If we need any proof of this we only need to look at Instagram, with only 13 employees it is valued at $1,000,000. Or companies like ‘Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple.These giants combined do not employ as many people as General Motors did. But the money accrued by them is enormous and remains in a few hands.’
This affects both manual work e.g. Factory workers and drivers etc (yes driver-less cars are already here) as well as those in the information industry e.g. information processing, lawyers and analysts etc. …

MOTHER - Towards a More Egalitarian Understanding of God

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Some of the most powerful images of God in scripture are found in the book of Isaiah. Here God is described as a mother birthing, nursing, and caring for her children.
Despite this powerful image, the idea of God as father has dominated Christianity. The main reason for this is because God is almost exclusively referred to as male in scripture; but there are two things that we need to understand about this to frame it in its proper context. First, the bible was written from within a patriarchal society (one where the male is at the top of the chain). The bible was not written in a vacuum, we do not believe that God dictated the words to the writers, but that the writers were inspired by the holy spirit; this still means that scripture was written within a specific context, and this includes patriarchy. So it makes sense that God, the person at the top of the chain, would be referred to as male.
The second thing is that all references to God are really anthropomorphism's, in other wo…