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

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

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

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

All behaviours are created by beliefs. Beliefs are underpinned by stories.

Stories are powerful. They cannot be destroyed, but they can be replaced. Therefore, in order to change behaviour, we need better stories.

To this end, Jesus changed the story about God and humanity. He moved away from the idea of an angry God seeking retribution, to a loving Father seeking a loving relationship with creation. Hence his overarching call for repentance [rethink, re-evaluate, re-appraise].

Our task is to revitalise this story in our time with contemporary anecdotes, keeping it alive and relevant.

Our task is that of thought leadership. We are incubators of Godly ideas, translators of metaphysical realities, the ‘ladder’ that connects heaven to earth. Co creators with the Father.

Let’s go to work!

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

To transcend simply means to go beyond a subject matter. This is exemplified in Jesus’ statement:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” – (Matthew 5:17)

Through Jesus’ life, ministry, and death he reveals and models God’s economy. Thereby transcending all Jewish oral and written record hitherto about God.

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

This Sunday @ Healingsprings fellowship

Renown Poet and Aphorist, Stanislaw Lec once posed the question:

Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?

This question sets the scene for my teaching on Atonement which I presented last week with the central question:

Did Jesus die to appease an Angry God, or did he die to demonstrate self-emptying (kenosis)?

I noted that sacrificial lamb idea was used by the early or primitive church as a metaphor for Jewish audiences who were already familiar with Temple worship and practices, to highlight Jesus’ death and resurrection. It was also used in shaping the minds of gentile converts who were already familiar with similar Temple rituals within their cultural contexts.

Unlike other deities, God neither seeks human or animal sacrifice for communion with humanity. Neither is God Angry and Unforgiving.

In the early days of Nation forming, the Jews replicated the idea of known institutions from other civilisations, but they incorporated their spiritual philosophy within such context – hence the first and subsequent Temples. We also see this pattern in their government – from rule by the prophets, to rule through a royal dynasty, and an organised army like the nations around them.

I argued further that Prophets like Amos challenged Temple worship much later in their trajectory, drawing them back to a time when all they had was the Tabernacle, while addressing issues around social justice and morality as means of ‘atonement’.

Furthermore, for the Atonement through death formula to stand, there has to be the doctrine of ‘Original Sin’ and an ‘Angry God’, however, Jesus never presented either of these positions to us. Instead, he continually showed us a loving Father who seeks relationship with his children – even before his death on the cross.

Jesus came to show us the Father. He demonstrated and modelled this in many instances, particularly in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Therefore, I concluded that a God that seeks human sacrifice (let alone the innocent death of his son) is not different from the pagan gods, even if we take the view that God died for us through Jesus.

This teaching is erroneous, and leads to grave consequences in our understanding of Jesus’ ministry, and our view or perception of God.

If ever there was an Atonement, Jesus’ selfless living, ministry, non-violence stance against opposition, and death in innocence; enlightens our understanding of God. By this he bridges the gap, bringing us at One with God (Atonement). He came to show the Father!

Join us for the series: God was in Christ, as I delve further into the Doctrine of Atonement.

3pm – 4:30pm

The Parish Hall

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road,

Sidcup,

Kent DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

A continuum is defined as something that changes in character gradually or in very slight stages without any clear dividing points.

This word best describes the trajectory of the church. Hence the feeling of unease whenever I hear people making reference to a ‘golden era of Christianity’. As such Christians pray earnestly for a ‘revival’, romanticising over how the church use to be.

However, this view only highlights minor aspects of Christian history. In fact once the faith became institutionalised through pressure from the Roman authorities it took a completely different trajectory. By and large church history in Europe and the New World was plagued by wars, oppression, racism, patriarchy, greed, exploitation, dictatorship, control, corruption, nepotism, imperialism, elitism and manipulation. All the stuff Jesus stood firmly against.

Although church attendance was very high, Christians were deeply involved in slavery and much later colonialism and its derivatives.

To this end I will be treating the doctrine of Atonement. During the course of my talk I will examine the mainstream idea, ‘the Wrath of God’, which leads to the need for a sacrifice to appease God, against the Moral Theory which highlights that Jesus’ life, ministry and self-emptying even unto death reveals God to us, thereby, Atoning for the gulf of understanding between God and humanity.

In other words, did Jesus die to appease an angry God, or did he die as a moral example of selfless love, and through that revealing the Father?

Join us for the series: God was in Christ.

3pm – 4:30pm

The Parish Hall

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road,

Sidcup,

Kent DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk