“I never thought I would hear myself say as much, but I’m with Mrs Whitehouse on this one. The liberal mood back in the 60s was that sex was pleasurable and wholesome and shouldn’t be seen as dirty and wicked. The Pill allowed women to make choices for themselves. Of course, that meant the risk of making the wrong choice. But we all hoped girls would grow to handle the new freedoms wisely. Then everything came to be about money: so now sex is about money, too. Why else sexualise the clothes of little girls, run TV channels of naked wives, have sex magazines edging out the serious stuff on newsagents’ shelves? It’s money that’s corrupted us and women are being used and are even collaborating
A fascinating interview on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning led to this exchange:
James Naughty in conversation with Joan Bakewell, recently appointed a Government Champion of the elderly.
Naughty: What did you conclude about how are we beginning to look at people who perhaps need at lot of help, a lot of care, who perhaps can be difficult and require a different kind of approach from people who maybe 50 years younger than they are?
Bakewell: …On the whole our society is quite cruel. We care about money, we care about fame, success.
Naughty: Has it got more cruel?
Bakewell: I think the decline of religious commitment to charity, and kindness has declined.
Nobody learns that. They don’t learn it in their home, they don’t learn it in their school, it’s seen as soft, it’s not what you’re about. You’re meant to stand up for your own individual personality, make your way in the world and good luck to you.
Kindness, empathy, generousity are all in short supply and people used to learn it from the churches. I learnt it in Sunday school.
Where do you learn it now? I don’t know.
Larry J. Michael’s book Spurgeon on Leadership takes us through the life, ministry and preaching of CH Spurgeon drawing out principles for leaders.
Here is Spurgeon on the need for innovation
Our faith makes us abundant in good works. May I say to you, if you are doing all you possibly can for Christ, endeavour to do yet more? I believe a Christian man is generally right when he is doing more than he can; and when he goes still further beyond that point, he will be even more nearly right. There are scarcely any bounds to the possibilities of our service.
Many a man, who now is doing little, might, with the same exertion, do twice as much by wise arrangement and courageous enterprise. . . We need, like the apostles, to launch out into the deep, or our nets will never enclose a great multitude of fishes. If we had but the pluck to come out of our hiding-places, and face the foe, we should soon achieve immense success. We need far more faith in the Holy Ghost. He will bless us if we cast ourselves entirely upon Him.
Preaching on the 100th anniversary of William Carey’s birth Spurgeon challenged his hearers in the following words;
When a man once had a good thought, he should not be afraid of it because nobody else had thought of it. He should do it and dare it, defying custom if it thwarted him, tearing it to pieces if it stood in the way of right. All God’s true servants were innovators. Those that turned the world upside down were the very descendants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What have the likes of Rowan Atkinson and Ricky Gervais got in common? Fraser Nelson thinks he knows
Fraser Nelson in last weeks Spectator magazine takes issue with the condescending tone of Rowan Atkinson;
Rowan Atkinson, the comedian and actor, this week denounced many of the clerics he has met as being ‘smug’, ‘arrogant’, ‘conceited’, and ‘presumptuous about their position in society’. He shows no mercy to the clergy, and shows no doubts whatsoever about his right to judge the church.
There are smug priests, of course, just as their are smug architects, smug engineers, smug police officers, smug politicians and, whisper it, smug comedians. No member of the priesthood, for instance, would sit behind the wheel of a sports car valued at £2 million, still less prang it, as Mr Atkinson did last month, No ‘clerk in holy orders’, as vicars used to call themselves, would attempt to raze a perfectly good house in Oxfordshire to the ground, and build in its stead a monstrous glass and steel edifice, as Mr Atkinson wants to do, in defiance of the wishes of local people. Some fuddy-duddies might consider this sort of behaviour to be arrogant. His unhappy neighbours might even suggest that Atkinson himself was a touch presumptuous about his own place in society. Perhaps Mr Atkinson is above hypocrisy.
Modern comedians have become a secular priesthood. They have their own customs and rituals, and their own language, which is not always friendly. There is a strict hierarchy among TV comics, and at the top of the profession, an untouchable, cabal, far grander and more self-important than any circle of bishops.
Many comedians like Atkinson are rich beyond their dreams. Most real priests, by contrast, live humbly, and dedicate their ministry to the lives of others without expectation of reward. If Rowan Atkinson is keen to continue his new vocation as a lay preacher, he would do well to learn from their example.
An article in today’s Telegraph
Brilliant piece by His Grace on Richard Dawkins’ refusal to defend his ideas in debate with William Lane Craig
Christian Solidarity Worldwide ask us to pray:
For Pastor Nadarkhani
For God to stay the hand and change the hearts of the Iranian judiciary, that they would reconsider the death sentence handed down.
That the international statements of support for Pastor Nadarkhani would have an impact on the verdict.
That God would uphold Pastor Nadarkhani.
For peace, strength and comfort for Pastor Nadarkhani’s family.
For wisdom and protection for Pastor Nadarkhani’s lawyer who is also facing legal difficulties.
That attempts to charge him with other charges to justify a death sentence will come to nothing.
For Christians in Iran
That God would comfort members of Pastor Nadarkhani’s church and denomination.
That Iranian Christians would not be bound by fear and would keep their eyes fixed firmly on God.
Ask God to grant peace to all families affected by arrests and interrogations by the Iranian authorities in the past year.
For religious freedom in Iran
Please pray that Iran will become a nation where no faith group faces discrimination or persecution. Please continue to pray especially that the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders would be released, and that government would cease its inflammatory rhetoric against minority religions.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Eph 6:18).
With thanks to Archbishop Cranmer for passing this on.
Intelligent Life from The Economist asks which city has the right to be called capital of the world.
The Telegraph reports on the growing number of voices within the church opposed to Cameron’s attempts to legalise gay marriage.
With the sad news of the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs quite a number of people are quoting from his commencement speech given at Stanford in 2005.
Here’s a sample (full text available here)
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.’
For any Christian reading what stands out is that what motivated Jobs, at least in part, is the shortness of life and the inevitability of his own death.
Apart from the events of Easter day Jobs is surely right to say ‘death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.’ But Christ’s resurrection changes everything. Because of him we can truly ‘think different’.
Jesus not only escaped death, but defeated death and transcended death. What a tragedy that it appears that Jobs never came to that understanding.
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