Monthly Archives: December 2016

Live and let live?

LIVE AND LET LIVE?

‘Live and let live’ – now that’s an old one.
No need to translate perhaps, but it can mean different things to different people

Let’s surmise. If someone wants to live with someone rather than get married – heh – ‘live and let live’?

If someone wants to follow a religion – let them get on with it as long as they don’t force it on anyone else – ‘cause live and let live’?

If someone has to break into your home to steal your cash – because they are broke – live and let live?

There seems to be the start of a moral code here doesn’t there?
The first commandment is: ‘live and let live’.

If we apply this to everyone – then everyone must take it on board as a rule of thumb, a maxim for behaviour, regardless of religion or humanist outlook.

‘Live and let live’ if your daughter decides to begin a relationship with a married man with three kids – who is 20 years older than she is. ‘Live and let live’?

Suddenly the shrug of the shoulders you gave when you heard this of a stranger’s daughter suddenly becomes a burden and a source of great parental care and concern.

You want the best for your daughter, and now that’s not as plane sailing as first envisaged.

“Live and let live”? – Don’t think so!

A moral dilemma has just arrived on your doorstep.

‘Live and let live’ – everybody do as they please?

It’s not so all inclusive as we thought. It is not some great principle that extends beyond all boundaries of religion, or moral codes that can be adopted by the peoples of the world.

It’s a lie. We can’t ‘Live and let live’. Not if it means everyone can live by their own rules regardless of the consequences.

Anarchy might just build the saying into its manifesto. It would fit there well.

“We musn’t judge”, another saying that gets heavily banded about, as a ‘live and let live’ companion.

Stop and think it over.
We can’t universalise ‘live and let live’ as some cure-all to produce a healthy society.

A serial killer who has brought heartache and misery to many families – “We mustn’t judge?”

If I have a glass of wine and give God thanks –
“Don’t judge me” – yes.

But “We musn’t judge” cannot be applied liberally to every conceivable scenario where people do wrong.

To judge can mean to ‘pass sentence on’ – God will hand out the sentences – that is not for you or I to do, in the context of a person’s behaviour, unless we are in a place appointed by the society in which we live. (e.g. Judge in the supreme court).

Some want to pass sentences on the behaviour of everyone else but themselves.

They sit as moral potentates in a superior ‘holier than thou’ mindset, that sees only the faults of others, and wants everyone to adhere to their narrow outlook on everything that comes under the heading of behaviour.

The other extreme is those who don’t live by any moral code whatsoever, and do as they please, regardless of the consequences to other people or (detrimentally to themselves, which is just as bad), after all they ‘live and let live’.

Judging is (or positively should be) understood as another word for discerning. Use discernment in all areas of life.

It means we weigh up a person’s words, attitude and behaviour, and decide if we can accept it as desirable.

The outcome that we should aim for is to still accept the person, and be willing to forgive, if they have violated the moral code against us personally. The moral code both generally accepted by society and more importantly as revealed in the Word of God.

But we all know this will only work properly if there is genuine remorse on the part of the perpetrator of the misdeed

But that we are all free to do whatever we like as a society of grown-up spoilt children, I’m afraid this idea needs a major makeover in our approach to living in community.

You know and I know it’s the implementation of the rules that is the area of most controversy.

It’s the implementation amidst the diverse and contrary opinions of all and sundry who consider that they have a better angle on the what, wherefore, and implementation of rules to live by.

That controversy and difficulty of implementation sums up the dilemma of the 21st century world.

Such a hodgepodge of ideologies, philosophies, religions, points of view, political hierarchies and so on.

The answer for me is the gospel concept of the kingdom of God. The unseen kingdom that exists in the human heart, that is established by a response to Christ’s invitation: ‘To seek first the kingdom of God…’

It’s a hidden kingdom, that is manifest in the behaviour of the followers of Christ.

Unfortunately the imperfections of we who are disciples (learners), is such at times that those who do not follow Christ, have recourse to point the finger, as we let the Saviour down, by failing to allow the kingdom principles to totally govern our behaviour.

It is however ironic that those who cry:
“Live and let live” or “We musn’t judge”, unfortunately feel justified in judging the Christian or the person who does not believe in “Live and let live”.

So they are letting “Live and let live” or “Judge not that you be not judged” have place in their thinking, except when they are judging Christians for not agreeing with “Live and let live”.

What hypocritical human beings we all are – we do not see our own contradictions. It seems impossible to escape our dilemma.

For as we would be justified in our sayings and outlooks and therefore dismissive of those who oppose our views, we find inevitably we cannot see that we break our own rules. The rules we impose on others.

So ‘live and let live’ will not work, it has no place as a principle for community living, or as a moral compass, we can all embrace.

Our western society has been built on the foundation of the ten commandments.

The gospel of the kingdom of God however has so, so much more to it than the ten commandments.

The purpose of this post is to remind us that we must seek the guidance of a higher moral code, and we are obliged to live by it to create a unified approach to a stable society.

When we are translated into the kingdom of God’s Son of love, here and now on earth, while we wait – we come into a spiritual experience ordained of God The Father, through Jesus the Son.

And only God Himself can give us the experience described as entering the kingdom of God, an experience without which the reader of this post will have a limited comprehension of what is being shared.

The biblical terminology (so abused and mis-applied to other things) – expresses it this way: ‘Except a man be born again – He cannot enter the kingdom of God’.

Live and Let live sounds good, and sounds tolerant of others.
But as a working principle it simply doesn’t work.

The subject is only touched on in this post but –

Live and let live is better replaced with –

Luke 6:31 (NIV)
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

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Earthly Utopia

EARTHLY UTOPIA

They strolled confident in their own
insular internal world.
Part of the scene.

The up and coming generation
in their new scene

Adults – those gone before – responsible for bringing them into the world
didn’t understand
or so
the understanding
of the teens ‘n twenties
did affirm

They strolled on by…

…On by the buildings on each corner, on by the buses and cars, stopping and starting, on by the geeks, and business people, the booted and suited and ordinary souls, on by the out-of-it, on by the traditionally bound, on by the non-heads, on by the suburban mice, entrenched in their nine to five lives, – no turning on, no tuning in, no dropping out,.
On by the traffic wardens dressed to bill, on by the shop windows of expensive clothes, on by the bowler hats, on by the policemen, on by the tramps, on by school kids, from whom they were only – once removed.

At last their destination reached – the pub, to partake of their ritualisational, recreational, idol worship, of pint of beer. To sit and pose and postulate and pontificate and predicate on all things under the sun, but chiefly music and progressive rock, and stuff, allowing the odd mundane surmise to interrupt, while conversational dole queue endurance was shared to mutually sympathise, – safe in the arms of being set apart and not being a part – of society as it was – by and large as the majority sees it. Back in the day, long gone away – when a better world was supposed, and all would eventually be well, more well than before, with mind expansion – such was pseudo – as later found out, – and making relationships that didn’t last but smelt of lasting – in earthly utopia’s forever, these would change from day to day or week to week, like ascending vapour all encompassed in physical attraction only – or mostly, – and where was this generation heading? – out the exit to an entering into – of a new set of thoughts that wasn’t knew at all – but became another version of all that was previously shunned.

And now as I reflect on this – gone past – back in the day – ‘what pray – do ye conclude?’

’Tis far detached from me…’
‘The liberty that endures and did replace

– that – found I’.

The Public Addressed…

THE PUBLIC ADDRESSED.
WHICH ONES HAVE YOU HEARD?
and where were you when you heard them?

“Can I have your attention for a moment…
would passengers who are travelling on….”

“Who’s next please?”

“All aboard…”

“Move along there please…”

“Sorry sir, I’ll have to ask you to leave…”

“The next stop is…”

“No Sir I think you have had enough…”

“Last orders please…”

“Time gentlemen please…”

“Programme of the match…”

“Silence in court…”

“Order…order…”

“Can I help you…?”

“Next contestant please…”

“…can I ask that all mobile phones be
switched off…thank you”

“Would passenger…?.. please report to the
information office…”

“Telephone please Mr….?”

“This meeting is adjourned.”

“Everything all right for you Madam…?”

“It looks really well on you…”

“All stand…”

“Will that be all sir…?”

“Salt and vinegar…?”

“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye…”

“Would you like a bag?”

“Delicious apples one pound a pound…”

“Now may the Grace of The Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God, and the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit be with you all…”

Amen

Melting Snow…

melting-snow
Melting Snow. (Watercolour)

MELTING SNOW AND
ANOTHER YEAR MELTS AWAY…

Another year has gone by.
Thank you to the 231+ followers who have visited this blog, in just over a year since I have been blogging.

I find – that rather than an increased interest in ‘having followers’ my interest in doing so has – decreased 😎. A lose of ambition you might say. (?)

Also I’m afraid ‘Stats’ ’n knowledge about increasing traffic etc. has left me cold. I don’t examine them very often.

And I’m still rather feeble on the technical side of things.

Has the novelty of blogging worn off?

Well no, I still need to communicate with my fellow humans – but I see so much in this world today that is negative.

So I guess I’m a little indifferent to the idea of innumerable followers, there being more important things in life to think about. 😎

More and more does my spiritual life become affirmed as the only way to travel.

‘Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise…’ – so goes the line from the old hymn: ‘Be Thou My Vision’.

The word empty seems to stand out.

The Ecclesiastes Preacher found this out. All is emptiness of emptiness (vanity).

But if this were the only conclusion to come to – then the exercise of affirming life would disappear.

The Bible is full of life-affirming exhortations – all in the context of loving God of course.

The negativity all around us – can make us negative.
As we struggle to make sense of a ‘World Gone Wrong’.

To enjoy the legitimate things in life is not sinful. However I can’t enjoy them without Christ.

The conscience within man is a powerful ‘apparatus’ – we do well to heed it.

                                                                                ***

Art it is said is a ‘universal language’ – apart from anything else that this statement would mean, it seems, simply put, to be a language everyone can relate to.

So thank you all, for all the Likes that have accompanied my visual painting posts, – and those under other category ‘hats’ also (see my About).

Not everyone comments – (including myself on other people’s blogs), and that’s fine.

I am like yourselves, in that I cannot agree with everything I read on blogs, but I try to give them a little more than a moments thought – in order to discern if they need more attention. I’m sure you do the same with my writings.

There are different reasons for feeling part of a community. And I suppose the blogging community that has emerged on the internet is still finding it’s way, but being part of something involves common denominators, and they, I hope, have produced some kind of mutual tolerance of each other, and at times even a certain kind of affection, as we listen to the diverse ‘stories’ we tell.

So let’s see what the New Year brings – a speedy recovery to anyone not feeling well, and to all – A Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

Your friend
Ken Riddles

A ‘what you need’ Christmas (?)

A ‘WHAT YOU NEED’ (CHRISTMAS) (?)

Something to think about that’s what you need
No, something to do – that’s what you need
No, some cause to serve that’s what you need
No, a holiday to take your mind off things
No, what you need is a long black leather coat
No, a period of quiet reflection on where you have been

That won’t do…

What you need is a lolly pop
A stroll in the park
A sleep after dark
A brand new five pound note
A brand new ten dollar bill
A chunky choker-neck pullover
A balanced diet
A haircut
A moustache trim

No, that won’t do – you need something else?
No, not something else…a change of scenery
No, a period of gymnastic exercises
No, a calm countenance when your boss shows
No, a new photograph album
No, a new painting to hang on the wall…

What do you need?
Need? What about greed?

Doing for others and maybe –
‘God’s speed’

Yes a drink of water
Yes a bit of butter
Yes cornflakes and milk
Yes friends
Yes a new camera lens
Yes a visit to Baltimore
Yes a touch of class
Yes the seven wonders of the world
Yes …ending poems
Yes bending for a stretch and a yawn
Yes
Yes what do you Need?

Yes – No?
Have a think – that’s what you need
Have a think what you need
Have another try at knowing
What you need

My! – we are all a strange breed!
Not knowing what we need.

Pastor?

Pastor?

As some will know (those who take the time to explore this blog) – I wear different hats. By saying this I refer to my functioning ‘roles’ in life.

The most important thing for me is to be firstly a faithful preacher and teacher of the things of Jesus Christ.

I have never been enamoured with ‘Titles’. But I realise for many people a title is the first port of call when checking the authenticity or legitimacy of people in the Christian Ministry. (Are you a Pastor? – is the usual question)

And they usually have a clear idea of what title you need before giving you credibility.

Indeed they will unconsciously and automatically give you greater credibility if you carry the title ‘Pastor’, regardless of your sermon, (be it at a deeper level or not).

When examining anyone who ministers the Word of God there are usually set questions that are asked: Are you an ordained Pastor? Have you been to Bible School? What denomination do you belong to etc?

That Peter for example was a fisherman and the disciples were not part of the religious establishment, doesn’t seem to cross their minds. And yet Peter is given of course, greater credibility than their own local bible school qualified ordained Pastor.

The Religious leaders of the day questioned the Son of God –
14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

We might paraphrase this in modern application by saying: ‘How come he can teach not having gone the accepted way of the ‘cloth…’?

On another occasion Jesus was asked: “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”

The answer to both these questions was that He had perpetual fellowship with His Father and all His knowledge was resident in both He and the Father. It was of a heavenly nature, not dependent either on man’s acknowledgement or censor.

There is sometimes present with ‘examiners’ a kind of dismissiveness, whereby they seem to consider your words or preaching/teaching somehow lacking in authority, because you do not spend your time reminding everyone that you are a ‘Pastor’ or a graduate from the religious seminary.

I say this not only for my benefit but for all those who wish to serve God in spreading the gospel message.

You are first Chosen by The Lord – regardless of man’s affirmation. From those spiritually discerning you should also get their approval, i.e. man’s affirmation.

But God makes it clear where a Christian’s individual calling comes from FIRST. It is firstly from above.

Acts 13:2
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Notice the Holy Spirit is speaking (the Holy Spirit said,) and the calling is from God Himself (I have called them).

Man simply confirms what is already evident, and firstly given by God Himself.

I do not mean by this that everyone should automatically and unquestioningly (for there are charlatans about), be accepted as a Minister of Christ, because they claim to be.

But I do insist that it must come from above first, before qualifications or credentials are bestowed by man.

There is a setting aside of those who are called to a particular expression or ministry in the Body of Christ (the church).

We call it by various names. ‘Ordained’ would probably be the most common. An ordained minister.

This affirmation of title, is not always difficult to obtain. And it ‘sounds’ good to those who want to hear it first before giving permission to minister.

However such titles can be bought, but a life of intimacy with The Lord Jesus Christ cannot.

Matthew 20/24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

This speaks first of the attitude of the heart.

The Pharisees loved greetings in the market place and the chief seats in the synagogues.

We do not read of Pastor Anyone in the Bible. We do read e.g. of the Apostle Paul, the prophet so and so, but not of Pastor Anyone.

I have been variously referred to as Pastor, Evangelist, or Elder.

My parents ‘ordained’ me as Douglas Kenneth when I came from her womb. And I never liked the ‘title’ – Rather – Ken will do.

The title/job description ‘Pastor’ is so much now a part of the Christian church’s means of showing respect that I don’t think it will ever change. And indeed I don’t hold with a religious inverted snobbery either, where I would not give respect to whom respect is due, just because they are constantly referred to or addressed as Pastor.

If this is a means of showing respect then so be it. But let’s not reserve the respect for those with the title.

Please, if you don’t mind, respect me as a person first, regardless of my job description.

If death closes in

IF DEATH CLOSES IN

If death closes in
It’s shades ready to be drawn
If mortality looms large
Incessantly reminding us we’ll be gone

If weakness seems to rule
When the physical dwindles away
Resignation is entered into
And there’s nothing to stop death’s sway

When the time – your time – has come
And hands are held up in surrender’s pose
We know there’s only passing over –
‘cause that’s how it goes

But pass – as we must
What can release the spirit of the mind?
What is next in the inevitable sway?
Answer: seek Jesus and you will find

But don’t leave it – to the death bed scene
Times part of eternity – wasted.
Find that Bible
Look for where you’ve placed it

And turning to John three and sixteen
Grasp it once again
You remember it – in the football crowd?
Big big letters – making it plane?

This is the way His love intended it
That all might know and receive

He gave The Beloved Son
who purchased eternity
for all who will believe

John 3/16
For God so loved the world that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but
have everlasting life.