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Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

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Sex, money, power

series on temptation of speakers

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

tory wolf

I have been thinking about blogging on the electoral process for years, but never managed to get my thoughts together on it!  It amazes me how little people know about politics and voting, someone i know, who is a teacher, was clueless about the whole process and suggested that they may write a message to the candidates on their ballot paper! Just so everyone is clear, the only thing candidates care about or see is that you have made a “mark”!  If you are gonna make a mistake by voting for too many candidates or scribble insults on the ballot paper, your paper will be only recorded as “spoilt”, the counters may laugh but the new MP doesnt know or care!

Since I was 16, I have been a keen voter for the Liberal Democrats, at the time I thought “they haven’t been in power recently, the Tories and Labour are making a hash of governing, so why not give them a chance!”  I was delighted (to a point) that they did so well in the 2010 election, and that Nick Clegg had a well deserved “taste of power”, I would still prefer to see his face as PM than Cameron or Miliband.  Unfortunately for him and the party, being part of the coalition meant that although they tempered the Tories desire to attack the poor, the Liberal Democrats got all the blame for the cuts and savings which were made, they didnt have enough impact, so this election they were massacred politically! Even locally the councillor ratio is now 10:1 Tory to Lib Dem!

My wife and I have become involved with one of the growing number of food banks in the UK, it is almost impossible to argue that welfare cuts have sent people in that direction, added to the “buy now pay later” society we have become, debt, poor wages (despite both parties saying that they would ban zero-hour contracts) and living costs on the increase, its not surprising we are in this mess!

I freely admit that I am not an expert in politics, but i have been involved with the electoral process for over a decade! As a couple, we have realised that we cannot sit back and not get involved any more. I am no longer going to be a “cheerleader from the benches”. We are going to get involved!

There is a poem which a lot of people would want to compare to the new government

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

That was written by Pastor Martin Niemöller, about the cowardice of Germans under Hitler maybe more contemporary way would be

They came for the poor, and i did not speak out because i was not poor

They came for the disabled, and I did not speak out because i was not disabled

They came for the single parent, and I did not speak out because i was not a single parent.

They came for the students, and I did not speak out because i was not a student.

They came for the unemployed, and I did not speak out because i was not unemployed.

They came for my pension, and I did not speak up because I am not a pensioner

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

I overheard this week someone saying “its fine for the richer to become rich because then i can pay the poor to do odd jobs for me“! Seriously?! The Conservatives are the party of the rich, without doubt, but unfortunately no other party was a credible threat! Bizarrely if you have been on facebook in the last week, the Tories seem to be considered “the big bad wolf” but almost the whole of the East of England voted them in!

Which is why instead of moaning about the state of the nation, signing petitions, criticising “selfish tory voters”, I am gonna get involved, try to help those who didnt vote, or didnt know who to vote for, discover why and what they should be voting for! The “Big Society” was a ideology that they tried to encourage in the coalition, but people are as selfish as ever!  I may not agree with your politics or ideology but surely the Godly Christ-like way to live, is loving your neighbour and looking out for those in need, remember Jesus spoke more about widows than sin! So stop criticising  others and get off your butt and look for those in need in your area!!

We should not think we are like the Israelites in Egypt but more like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo, become a Christian in politics and fight for what matters to you and your family!  Jesus respected those in authority but he was answerable only to God, so go and do likewise.

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#50ShadesofGrey and Biblical sex

This month there are four weddings that I have had/will have some involvement with! I am not a minister or a musician, and I am already married (and not into bigamy, “the worst thing about having two wives is having two sets of in-laws!” I love mine BTW ;)) I just have the role of removing chairs to create an aisle for the bride to walk down and moving the table for the “signing of the register“.  Weddings are a great occasion, especially when you get to worship God! But the other aspect is an odd one, there is always an undertone of sex, if the bride and groom are Christians and have waited, there is an expectation that they will “get it on!”  It is the only occasion when a whole room will be thinking “I know what they’ll be doing tonight“. That actually was really weird and I didn’t like that thought!

Even the passage that is read during a wedding ceremony talks about “when two are joined they become one“. A friend of mine thought they had chosen a sweet and lovely verse from Song of Solomon, but as this is one of the most erotic and sexually suggestive books of the bible, how she managed to find that I don’t know! It was however swiftly pointed out by the minister that the ideas expressed in the passage were suggestive themselves!

This world is sex mad! God knows (not being blasphemous but he does!), he created us with desires and attributes that someone out there would be attracted to! Like eBay “there is somebody out there who wants what we have“, and like eBay it is all about “when is the right time?

As humans we are an impatient bunch, which is why movies about teen angst are so popular! Films like American Pie, are all about how quickly someone could lose their virginity!  Although less teens are having sex than their friends actually think, it is a major issue!  But who can blame them, everywhere you look you will find half naked men or women, I went to the market to buy a couple of kids comics for my children to read and there was wordsearch puzzle books with women in bikinis on the front cover!   What on earth has bikini-clad women got to do with looking for words that are printed diagonally, horizontally or vertically?!

I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey and nor do I think I ever will, I didn’t realise it was a erotic novel until it was mentioned in a wedding sermon!  But as Martin Saunders said in a recent article for Christianity Magazine, it is becoming more mainstream! No longer is sado-masochism a joke or something we get shocked by when it is revealed a celebrity/politician has been taking part in it.  But apparently it is now something of popularity and often part of the content of the media, mainstream movies are featuring it more and more and instead of being disgusted by it, society is enjoying the idea and promoting it!

Some people have the opinion that God is a spoilsport, and often Christians are considered “prudish“, well the Pilgrims who went to America were, the Victorians were shocked at a table leg being on show!? But now we are in a new millenium, we are almost not shocked by anything, my generation will often joke, tease and comment about sex and all besides, and that includes people who call themselves “Christians“! (I know it is shocking!!) 😉

I once talked to a group of lads in a youth group about morality, I asked “is there anything that you do or watch on your own or with your mates that you wouldn’t want your parents to see?“, unsurprisingly I got the answer “Yes!”, then I said “Ok, well when you are in that situation, try to think “what would my parents say?“” I also got a response from my adult co-leader though who joked “there are things I wouldn’t want my parents to see for a very good reason!

When I was 18, I decided to start to read the bible from “cover to cover“, I didn’t get far, I reached  the book of Numbers and then stopped! I was shocked however to see how much went on in the first couple of books of the bible, If Genesis was really made into a movie, and not Year one (although that illustrates my point to an extent, it is too comedy orientated) it would probable have to be an 18! There is murder, incest, nudity, sex crazed villagers (Sodom).  Which is why the Ten commandments were written and Jesus felt the need to say “if you even look at a woman in lust you have committed adultery!

The issue is not “Oh my word they are reading about sex!“, the issue is what consuming media like that is doing to society,

  • Teens read/watch about sex (however inaccurate) and they get expectations of how it should be, and more than likely it won’t even be close.
  • If you continue to “lust after” celebrities or believe the perfect woman/man is whatever is apparently “hot” according to the media. You will never be happy with the imperfect person who God thinks is perfect for you.
  • If you spend too much time fantasising about how you will meet someone, or about a fantasy that probably will never come true, you more than likely will miss out on the reality of a person who wants a real relationship and wants to love you!
  • the intimacy of “making love” has been replaced by the world’s obsession with “having sex“, we end up being no more than animals and just following our basic “urges”.  We miss out on love and long lasting happiness, if all we are after is “one-night stands” or “something for the weekend“.

The easier the world makes it is to have sex without true intimacy, the worse our lives will become!  What example are we giving the next generation?  Is it one we should be giving or is it something that we really need to consciously think about?

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