Today at healingsprings fellowship

Broadly speaking, in Judaism Yahweh is perceived as Constant while all else is Variable. This philosophical tradition is responsible for the various theological explanations of their socioeconomic conditions through Jewish history.

Cleaving on to stories of supernatural interventions their ancestors passed on through their rich oral tradition, they waited in hope for Divine intervention whenever they encountered challenges.

Interestingly, apart from a small numbers of miracles recorded in their Cannon, and the fact that most times Yahweh never showed – up as they were told he did in the era of Moses and Joshua, their prophets and priests still urged them to remain faithful to their tradition and religious systems.

Even though in the recorded text we see Yahweh showing up amidst the sin, rebellion, and irreverence of the people as they journeyed from Egypt to The Promised Land; whenever they encountered disaster they will blame it on sin (missing the mark or standard).

This includes actions and omissions, or a lack of adherence to the written or revealed word, or even Yahweh choosing to defer justice to the Afterlife. So much so that the leaders even added more layers and safeguards to prevent the people from ‘sinning’; all in the hope that Yahweh will show up and deliver them from their enemies. Overtime these rules became a burden on the people. Hence Jesus’ call to them:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – (Matthew 11:28-30)

Yahweh did not show up after Josiah’s reform, Uzziah’s reform, The Exile, Ezra’s reform, and the reforms which led to the Great Revolt against the Romans, and subsequent destruction of Judea, and the dispersion by the Romans. But yet they were still urged towards faithfulness, and to ‘wait’ on Yahweh.

I think there is a lesson for Christians, especially in the 21st Century. We cannot judge God based on his ‘performance’, rather, we are called into faithfulness. We are called to be lights and salt. A city set upon a hill, which cannot be hidden. We are called to infect this world with love and kindness.

To this end, we are not hooked on doctrines like the virgin birth, miracles, or even resurrection. Rather, we are focussed on his teaching and moral examples as we remain faithful to the Call to co-create a better World.

Join us for Resurrection and Ascension as part of our series, God Was in Christ.

3:00-4:30pm, coffee and light refreshments afterwards.

St John’s Hall

Church Rd,

Sidcup DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Today at healingsprings fellowship

Immortality has always been something humankind yearned for.

It is captured in poetry, story telling and folk traditions of most known civilisations. In an era when people died from natural disasters, accidents, child birth, wars, famine, and diseases; superstition was rife. The idea of an ‘angry God’ punishing humankind with plagues and natural disasters made sense.

Socioeconomically, in the absence of justice for the poor and marginalised in the present world, the idea of an afterworld, resurrection, judgement, heaven and hell; gained traction in the central doctrine of most known faiths.

In the Jewish context, the Sadducees were opposed to these ideas, while the Pharisees, and later Christians held on to these view.

Consequently, what happened on the third day after the death and burial of Christ became the first recorded evidence of this once mythical idea. For Christians, the risen lord was also coming back in judgement against those who do not believe in his lordship.

In an era of great pain and injustice, the resurrection, afterlife, judgement and punishment was a very strong deterrent from evil, and a compelling message for the followers of Christ.

To this end Paul argued that:

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” – (1 Cor. 15:13–14)

Join us on this snowy winter day for Resurrection and Ascension as part of our series, God Was in Christ.

3:00-4:30pm, coffee and light refreshments afterwards.

St John’s Hall

Church Rd,

Sidcup DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Today at healingsprings fellowship

When faced with challenges we have a tendency to look to the past for answers. We also find this pattern as a reoccurring theme in stories within the bible.

Like most things in the bible, sometimes it is encouraged, other times it is discouraged. For the Israelites being led out of Egypt, they had to look forward. For the Israelites in Babylon, they had to look back to move forward.

Consequently, looking back for answers is fine to an extent, as long as we also consider the present, and prepare for the future.

If we only look to the past for answers, then we become stuck in the past. Making it difficult to make progress.

I use this example to emphasise the power of worldview or mindsets. It is the lenses from which we view and react to the World and it’s complexities.

Everyone has a worldview. It may be more or less conscious or systemic. It may or may not make reference to institutional religious or non-religious perspectives. It is one of the core tasks of faith leaders to enable people to reflect on their own and others’ world-views.

For society to flourish, people need to understand where their own and others’ worldview come from, to understand their impact on people’s actions in a whole range of areas of human life, and to be able to critique them in a climate of respect.

Paul notes in his letter to friends in Ephesus:

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:4-6)

Join us today for ONE

3:00-4:30pm

St John’s Hall

Church Rd,

Sidcup DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

Everyone has a worldview…

It may be more or less conscious or systemic. It may or may not make reference to institutional religious or non-religious perspectives. It is one of the core tasks of faith leaders to enable people to reflect on their own and others’ world-views.

For society to flourish, people need to understand where their own and others’ worldview come from, to understand their impact on people’s actions in a whole range of areas of human life, and to be able to critique them in a climate of respect.

Reachout | Revive | Recover

Www.healingsprings.org.uk

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

The correct way to approach the Old Testament is to engage it as a collection of historical writings, commentaries, and views of Jewish thinkers of the Divine.

Treating it as ‘the word of God’ gives the notion of finality, thereby, hindering us from continuing the painstaking work of theology as these scholars themselves did in their time. It also presents the view that God has stopped working with, and through us today.

The New Testament consists of the accounts and correspondence of followers of Jesus. People who themselves were busy trying to make sense of all they had seen, heard, or were experiencing.

In fact, among Jewish thinkers in Roman occupied Palestine there was a real sense that the perpetuation of evil and injustice that they were experiencing will eventually lead to an end to human existence. For Jesus however, heaven had met earth, hence the call for ‘Repentance’, as he envisioned and articulated the possibility of God’s kingdom here on earth.

Like any revolutionary idea, this kingdom stood firmly against the existing structures and institutions. Its values will eventually overcome the existing structures through their kindness and love for all regardless of race, class, or gender.

It was a none-violent struggle, a battle of ideas, costing the lives of many. It would later be made mainstream. Curtailed and modified, so it fits with the old power structures of Rome. This is largely the version of Christianity practised today.

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. – (2 Timothy 2:15)

The popular way of reading the Bible is through one dimension. I don’t know why we do this, because we don’t read any other book that way. This, I believe is the biggest challenge facing the Church.

When we assume this position we take the text literally, and we read or study from our Worldview.

For example, the Fishermen from Galilee are seen as mere fishermen today. We fail to understand that like Jesus (whom many assume was self-taught), these men would have benefited from the reform by Ezra et al. As such they would have been in education from the age of 5 to at least 17, and at this point they would have studied a vocation in preparation for marriage.

A small amount would continue with further studies, thereby deferring marriage. In fact this was the only reason why a man could defer marriage. They would have studied Jewish history, commentaries, prophetic texts, wisdom texts, and poetry.

We also loose the sociopolitical forces at play at the time of the writing (the context), the opposing arguments, the prevailing worldview, and the author’s intent (the spirit of the writing).

In essence, these life transforming Texts becomes powerless when these dimensions are ignored. They become shallow and irrelevant in thoughts and deeds.

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

Unlearning to Learn Anew – putting on the Veil of Ignorance.

Building on the work of Emmanuel Kant and other leading minds in discussions on Social Contract, John Rawls applies the concept in his seminal book: A Theory of Justice.

For Rawls, our personal biases and prejudices often affect our political position. Therefore, for true freedom and justice to prevail, we need to actively minimise them by assuming a position of ignorance (the Veil of Ignorance).

This discipline is important in Christianity, especially in leadership. Every aspect of the faith should be revisited with the “Veil of Ignorance” in order for the faith to breathe and revitalise.

To Veil of Ignorance is similar to the term being “Born Again” which sadly has been largely misunderstood. Jesus was in fact asking Nicodemus to unlearn all he had learnt, to put on the “Veil of Ignorance” in order to be a part of the new movement. The knowledge he had accrued through years of active participation in the religious system was suddenly an hindrance to his spiritual growth. What Jesus was advancing needed an open mind, if you may, a blank canvas.

Jesus highlights this position on many occasions, perhaps most notably when he challenged the actions of the leaders stating,

“… thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.” – (Mark 7:13)

The Judeo-Christian faith was never, and has never been concrete, hence we see the plea for Reformation at various points in history through the prophets and much later Jesus Christ.

The Born Again experience is therefore a state of mind and a way of life, not an event. It is an attitude of re-evaluation, critical thinking, rethinking, unlearning, learning; and dare I say, being humble enough to learn from other disciplines and faith. Thus Galloway notes:

“The question of God – the basic question of theology – is not the special concern of the ‘religious’ or those who happen to like that sort of thing. It arises out of the structure of human existence and is thus the most fundamental and universal concern of all mankind. Theology, therefore, is as public a discipline as philosophy or natural science. It belongs, in the first instance, in the university rather than the seminary” – (1973, p. 16)

This is what we see in the life of Jesus as he questioned the very foundations of the Jewish faith: Temple rituals, Sabbath, moral and legal codes, culture, and traditions.

Dear friends, if there has ever been a time when the World is willing to listen again to what we have to offer – it is now! When these Jephthah[s] arrive and after the goosebumps they feel when they encounter the Holy Spirit, they will still need to be taught.

My question to you – what are we teaching them? We have inherited lots of stuff that are now having detrimental effects on our psyche and faith.

We have to unlearn, to learn anew.

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk