3 thoughts on the marriage stoush

It has been another wild week on social media on the topic of marriage. This time the battle lines have centred around the marriage vows. There has been the debate surrounding the changes made to the marriage vows (Read a high level summary of the media debate here). But the real passion has been directed towards a young couple, whom I know and respect deeply, who have stepped into the public realm and shared their opinion. They have been constantly beaten up for a week. Tonight they will be interviewed on the 730 report and my guess in the attacks will return with vengeance on social media and the opinion media tonight and tomorrow. I feel for this young couple whose courage, patience and self control must surely be being tested. Lots of prayers for them

3 thoughts on the debate

1. Let’s practice James 1:19-20

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Much of opinions on social media are junk – mindless, offensive, incoherent junk (eg. Jensen – you’re a dinosaur!!) . It is tempting to return fire with flaming arrows. I think the wise response is patience. Let’s speak slowly, clearly, without mocking or malice.

2. Let’s be informed

In many cases the Christian response has been as misinformed as the alternate opinion. Bible passages are being prooftexted. Sweeping statements about the meaning of equality, submission, obedience tweeted in 144 characters. Regularly Christians are failing to understand what the other side is saying and fighting for. Sometimes I cringe at both sides.

The thing we must remember is that this issue is not new. We have been working hard on the topic of gender for decades, in parallel with the world as it has has rethought gender. There is a clear and relevant biblical worldview on gender. It is good because it based on the design of our good God. To reject it as unpalatable, irrelevant etc reflects on the Christian not on God. To use it as a bashing rod on the world is equally as foolish.

We must be more informed, especially on what the Bible actually says. We must take leave from the SMH and Facebook and read the Bible and the writers who have been carefully looking at this for decades. If we don’t then the ridicule Christians have been getting for our worldview will be fair.

if you are a reader then there are lots of books. If you need a website to start on then try Peter Jensen’s opinion piece in the Herald today or this city from the Gospel Coalition here.

3. Realize this is not a social media issue

Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is one of the key issues of our time. The temptation to Christians to throw out the Bible on Gender and sexuality is another invitation to the hollow religion of Christian liberalism.  As followers of Jesus we must not try and solve this issue on social media. It is so important that our Churches must devote time and passion to delving into Scripture humbly, prayerfully so that our people hear and understand God’s good plan.  Our youth and adults need to again be reminded of who we are in God’s world.

Grace

Coffe in Port: The Block

Location: Weird. As you enter travel up the escalators to our new space age Coles, there right in front of you is the Block, Port’s own coffee and chocolate cafe. There is no access off the street. You must go into Coles to get to this Cafe. Weird

Cafe: Funky. Polished concrete, pendant lights, black and white decor – it feels like a trendy city cafe more than a country town jaunt. The cafe has a mix of seating – heavy metal chairs which are quite comfortable, mixed with bench seats which are incredibly uncomfortable. Sun fills the cafe making it warm and cosy

Coffee: Yum. They guys there make a tasty brew. My cup was pushing the limits of extraction. It was strong and bitey and left a nice aftertaste. The nice of touch of an old spoon was nice.

The Block is an interesting business idea. The chocolate shop looked great though pricey. The cafe was full of mums pre shopping. They could be on to something.

Coffee in Port: Lush Cafe

Lush Cafe is bright blue and white cafe situated downtown near the wharf. On arrival customers are struck by the warmth of the staff. There is genuine joy in greeting customers. We grabbed our table in the sun, with a beautiful view of the river. Nice start.

The coffee was reasonable. Nice and warm. No bitterness. Good flavour though lacking some depth.

We enjoyed our time in the sun this morning.

Growing Faith (#3)

We attended the Growing Faith conference on Saturday.  This is the third reflective post on the conference. The other two can be found here (#1) and here (#2).

Seminar: Leading our Children.

Being a parent is challenging. As Christians we not only want to raise our children up as mature citizens but also as passionate and confident followers of Jesus. This seminar gave parents a clear framework to help in this role.

God is the only perfect parent. This was the framework for the whole seminar. Rather than coming up with our own standard for parenting, we need to look to God our Father who is the perfect parent (Matt 6:26-32). As parents we are to seek first him and then try and act like him. All the practical challenges centred first on how God treats us.

Accept our children. God accepts us as we are. He does not wait for us to be perfect, good, obedient. While we were still sinners Christ died for us. As Parents we were challenged to accept our children. 2 Big practical bits. One – we need to remove whinging about them. Two – we need to not base our acceptance of them on their performance. Good reminders.

Demonstrate love to our children. A horrific statistic was shared. Many working dad’s spend 37 seconds per day talking to their children (compared with 2+ hours watching TV). Our children need our love – read, practical love. Affectionate love. Affirming love. Attention love.

Life is the classroom. Repeated again in this seminar. We were reminded how our children are sponges. Parents are called to set a righteous example for our kids, not pretending we are perfect but embracing all of life as an opportunity to shape the next generation.

All Christian parents should go to this seminar once in their life (if not more). It was not profound. It was not complex or even new. But it was meat and potatoes. It was the bread and butter of what Christian parenting is all about. I was encouraged in some things I do and rebukked in others. It would have been good to hear how Churches can help parents learn some of these things. Many converted parents are learning Christian living and hence parenting for the first time. But the basics were there to review and work hard on. Very helpful for all.

 

Growing Faith (#2)

We attended the Growing Faith conference on Saturday.  The Conference was divided into 4 components. The first was an all in family service. My first reflective post can be found here. The next 2 were seminars. I will post on each one we attended

Seminar: Thinking Church and Family

This is one of the big thinking points for Churches at the moment. How do we raise the next generation of confident and robust life long followers of Jesus? The 2 primary groups that will influence the next generation are the family and the church? What roles do each play? How close should they work together? Big questions that shape how we do kid’s and youth ministry and especially how we work with parents and grandparents.

This seminar explored these questions with a bigger emphasis on church than family.

Children are a blessing not a right. This was a great reminder. They are a gift from God. With this gift comes responsibility. To take young ones, who are sinful, and teach them the way of Jesus. The role of family and church with these little ones is truly special

Life is the classroom. Again another great reminder. Children are always watching, always learning. They take in not only what we teach them but how we make decisions. A big challenge was the priority we give to Church. “if church is flexible, then Jesus is flexible”. Very challenging

Psalm 78:1-4. What a great Psalm. “We will not keep the gospel secret. We learnt it from our ancestors and we will share it with the next generation.We won’t keep secret the glorious deeds and the mighty miracles of the Lord.” What a reminder of the role the church and family have. We get to share the Gospel, the story of God, with the next generation.

This seminar touched on the big issues rolling around my heart at the moment. There was some very helpful advice for me as a parent and as a church pastor. I personally enjoyed the openness and humility of the presenters. I was encouraged to continue my pursuit of a wise methodology to lead our Church in port mac in regarding the next generation. Lots of prayer needed.