Monday, December 12, 2011

A Christmas Poem

The hustle and the bustle,
Packed shops playing perennial tunes,
Thousands of tiny fireflies
hanging in chains from the ceiling
And fake trees covered in garish glitter ribbons.
Stressed shoppers searching for that specific present
To guarentee a smile on their child's face;
An Xbox, that new phone, the right toy.
But something seems to be missing 
From the commercial pressure of winter,
From the -mass of busy consumers.
The one that we should really be focused on.
Does society forget about the Christ
In Christmas?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Knowing what I don't know, but being sure of what I do.

Recently I have discovered the wonders of podcasts. This is mainly due to the fact that I have to get a bus to work, meaning I usually have to leave the house an hour and a half before my shift start, and get home an hour after and that is a good day (the bus times are just rubbish, its only a 20 minute journey). One of my favourites is The Infinite Monkey Cage, a science/comedy podcast hosted by physicist Prof Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince. It is a show that prides itself on advancing the ideas of science, logical and rationalism. It seems obvious then, that there is often some negative comments about religion. But there was one comment that really threw me.

‘The commonest phrase scientist use is ‘I don’t know’…  I would be quite surprised if we said ‘I do know’, because then we wouldn’t be doing science, but its opposite, which is perhaps religion. Religion people do know, because it’s all written down in the Good Book’ and it’s got to be true’’ – Prof. Steve Jones on The Infinite Monkey Cage, What We Don’t Know’, 30 May 2011, about 13m20s in.
As soon as I heard this, I sat up in the bus seat and just wanted to answer back to Dr Jones, because he is sooooooo wrong, and obviously hasn’t had much contact with Christians.

I don’t think I have ever met a Christian who hasn’t had questions about Life, God and Everything. Everyone has those little questions (and some not so little ones) about their faith that they struggle with. I know I do, I have lots! In the same way that I don’t know everything about my girlfriend, but am learning more every day, they same is true about my relationship with God. It is this journey of discovery (both in my relationship with my girlfriend and my Lord) that brings me closer to them, and makes me love them more and more. And I am never going to know everything, there are always going to be things that boogle my mind. And I’m ok with that.

To say that Christians have all the answers because the Bible says so is a massive misunderstanding of the Bible. Thought the Bible, characters are struggling with the questions of who God is, what his plan is, and why things happen like they do. And the Bible doesn’t give all the answers. In some cases it plainly says ‘you don’t know!’ When talking about his second coming, Jesus states:
‘No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows.’ – Matthew 24:36 (Good News).

At Church this morning we sang a song which summed up my thoughts on this. The first verse of the song says:

'I cannot tell why He, whom angels worship,
Should set His love upon the sons of men,
Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wand'rers,
To bring them back, they know not how or when.
But this I know, that He was born of Mary,
When Bethlehem's manger was His only home,
And that He lived at Nazareth and laboured,
And so the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is come
            (Will­iam Y. Full­er­ton, 1929 – to the tune Londonderry Air aka Danny Boy)

I don’t have all the answers, and I know I never will. But does that concern me? Nope. I know the fundamentals. I know that the Father God loves me, that Jesus Christ died for me, and that the Holy Spirit is guiding me in my life on earth. I know that through the Grace of God my sins are forgiven. And that is all I really need to know. I want to learn as much as I can, but of those few things I am sure.

So, Prof Jones, Christians don’t know everything, but we know what really matters.

PS, if you want to recommend any good podcasts let me know, comment/tweet/tell me in person