Category Archives: correctness

Mis-Non-communication

Mis-Non-communication

I have been reflecting again on the communication dilemma that besets mankind.

Mankind is greatly handicapped when it comes to understanding his fellow man/woman.

I believe – that man is born with sin ingrained in his nature. And although it’s somewhat of a mystery, it is clearly seen by it’s fruits of death. It greatly effects his ability to discern and judge properly.

I realise that not everyone takes that view.

Let me start by being overly-simplistic in my illustrations of what I would like to share in this post.

The number 4 – is what I mean. But you think I mean four. And someone else thinks I mean IV.

The same thing only different?

I saw a beautiful blue sky the other day – I meant cerulean but you thought I meant ultramarine.

Two friends sitting conversing, while the radio weather forecast is being shared. One friend heard: ‘Mist or fog will descend…’

The other friend was aghast at the weatherman treating us as children in sharing the forecast:

“Imagine…” she said – “referring to Fog as ‘Mister’…”

I speak of the resurrection of the dead, a fundamental belief in the Christian Faith – but you read into my statement – the idea of coming back from the dead as in re-incarnation, something I do not believe in. You have misunderstood my words.

I talk of freedom of spirit – you think I mean a so called: ‘free spirit’ – someone who dabbles indiscriminately in every experience under the sun, eventually experiencing the negative consequences. No I meant Christ setting us free.

‘Jimmy’ tells ‘Carol’ he loves her. Poor Carol goes away on a high, looking forward to the future romantic interlude with Jimmy. Failing to realise he should have added ‘As a friend…’

A lot of verbal argument is not so much to do with disagreeing as it is in misunderstanding the other person in the argument.

He thought you meant this – when you meant that.

Mis-communication is common to man.

‘Put the bin out…’ meant – for refuse collection. You ran for the fire extinguisher.

When it comes to sharing the Christian faith, many think what is shared is A-ok and even hit like buttons – when they have in actual fact misunderstood.

I was largely guilty of ignoring the signs, when God was trying to get through to me. Every prompt He sent my way I dismissed with my own reasoning.

This was not always a conscious act on my part.

I misunderstood.

Paul the apostle tells us of his pre-conversion days that the wrong he committed was done ignorantly and in unbelief – actually going way off-track – in that he thought he was actually pleasing God.

When any kind of message is sent our way – it can either create fear, indifference, annoyance, or we misunderstand it, and wrongly conclude what it actually means.

Think about this. Why do we so easily misunderstand? And misunderstand each other?

Man’s condition.

Just part of the result of a fallen world under the limitations of human flesh, the natural mind forms all kinds of wrong conclusions.

I love Candy.

No not the girl – the sweets – the confectionery. What did you think I meant?

Ephesians 3/4

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Who am I addressing?

WHO AM I ADDRESSING?

The subject of ‘How to live the Christian Life’, occupies the ministers of God’s word in their capacity as Pastor, Minister, Padre, Teacher or whatever job description they choose for themselves.

The ‘How to’ covers the outworking of thoughts, words and deeds, rather than just the ‘academic’ aspect of bible study, which is not what it is all about.

God gives His word to change us.

To live the Christian life, is – in the eyes of most fair-minded people – to do with being good.

You profess to be a Christian – you therefore, it is assumed – profess to be good.

However “I’m a  good person”, can be an oft repeated phrase from the mouths of Christians or non-Christians, alike. It would take another post to expound and examine the scripture that tells us: They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Christian Blog posts offer encouragement in this ‘How to live the Victorious Christian Life’ endeavour, i.e. how to live as a Christian should.

How to overcome life’s problems, how to have confidence, how to think positively, how to handle adversity, overcome fear, share the faith – one could continue the list of topics. All relevant to Victorious Christian Living.

Prophesying as described in the New Testament must include edification, exhortation and comfort. (I Corinthians 14/3)

And who doesn’t need those?

Christian writing attempts to edify the believer, exhort them to better things, and provide the comfort that the Christian needs in an alien environment, where Christianity is mis-understood and maligned out-of-hand.

However, there is a saying about ‘putting the cart before the horse’. And I sometimes question that when it comes to Christian posting this can happen.

I have asked myself the question when posting: ‘Who am I addressing?’ And of course it is, in one sense, a limited audience, and we cannot answer the question exactly.

But it does need to be stated that Christian teaching apart from the preaching of the message of ‘Salvation through Christ’, is not always for everyone.

By that I mean that children in Primary school are not taught adult themes, unless the teachers are mis-guided and unwise.

There is ‘growth level’ to be considered, before many subjects can be approached. If a child asks an adult-themed question, then of course paring-it-down to their level, without too much incomprehensible detail, should be done. 

Rather than dismissing the subject and rejecting the child’s genuine enquiry. This calls for wisdom of the first order.

So when handing-out different exhortations to Christians, it might be fair to ask: ‘who is listening in?’

The Christian life can be lived on a natural plain, by good-living people. Humanists perhaps claim to be just as good as any Christian, and they don’t see the need for all the ‘super-spiritual’ stuff.

So what do they do with the teaching on ‘how to live’ from the Bible?

Leave out the supernatural aspect of Christianity and there is nothing left.

I can teach you ‘person of the planet’, alive and well on planet earth guy or gal, how to live a morally correct life, without you being a Christian!

But what a contradiction! I’m simply informing your humanist quest for good or moral living. Appealing to your sense of moral fair-play, but in all of this you remain an unbeliever, relying on your own self-effort and attempts to – be good, overcome, be positive, fulfil your dreams, be confident – all of this can be equally un-Christian as Christian, for one reason only:

You have not yet received, encountered, met or had a revelation of Jesus Christ.

So who is my audience? To whom do I address my posts? To whom are Christian posts directed?

To stand a chance of getting what is said, there must be what the scripture talks of as a starting point, a place of first principle(s):

Referring to Christians who should have matured more than they had – the writer says:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food…

First is first – we can’t benefit as we should from all the other principles ie. the second, third, fourth, fifth, and so on principle, until we have embraced the first principles of repentance from dead works and faith in Christ as Saviour.

The good news is however, that the work of conversion to Christ is not the work of man’s hand, but God’s. That means He has His own way of feeding your mind with truth, and there is no set formula, or learnt mantra that you must possess in order to grasp the things of God.

There is a progression, as there is in most things, but if you get chapter six read-to- you in a book, without the first five chapters, you may in fact still get the gist of what is being written, ie. get an idea of the story.

God can use any Christian teaching to penetrate the human heart, and there will be something, even though addressed to Christians, something in there, that He can use, to bring you to Himself. So I encourage you to read Christian posts.

But coming to first things first we read in the bible:

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Dogmatic as this may seem to the unbeliever – it is true-truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Get this and your understanding begins to flower in the things of God and Christianity.

Those Christian blogs then begin to address you as a believer who has a relationship with the one who has the words of eternal life.

I pray for blessings in your quest to find Him.

Uncool language

UNCOOL LANGUAGE

The next generation considers the last generation uncool.

Nothing new under the sun.

That’s just how it is. Mindsets change in art, fashion, culture, taste, etc etc. and if we do not conform to the majority’s take on things – we are relegated to the ‘uncool’ waste bin by others.

Then the pendulum swings and certain things return – back in vogue again.

The traditional ‘whatever’- has a certain appeal and many are interested in everything historical, but they don’t think of using a gas light to light their bedroom, or wash their clothes by hand to save electricity. I speak generally of course – western world – and all that.

So we visit museums, and read books to re-enforce our interest, if it happens to be in the things of the past.

What about religion?

Because two thousand years has passed since Christ walked the earth – there is the inevitable historic-context-aspect of all things Christian.

Don’t let the historical context deceive you into thinking it is not relevant for today. We are talking eternal truth here!

In a previous blog I drew our attention to religion as a label for things not necessarily desirable. To sum this up – Isaiah 29/13:

Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honour Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

That for me sums up the bad aspect of religion. We look for bad religion personified in the Pharisees, and Pharaisical hypocrisy. It’s a paying of lip-service only, to spiritual matters.

An outward conforming to rituals and a system, but one void of compassion, tenderness, heart or spirit, and relationship with God.

But sometimes when we encounter in a piece of writing – an old fashioned means of expression, it can rob us of the relevant content of the utterances, simply because we straightaway relegate the wording to a bygone era, and dismiss the content as uncool, and irrelevant in today’s world, simply because of it’s tone, or it’s King James English.

We too-quickly overlook the message because the wording smacks of a dead and buried past.

There are many different expressions of Christianity – and if we are wise we will bypass the awkwardness of the language, or the off-putting phrases and ambiguous language and seek the heart of the message.

Receiving or rejecting it on it’s content only, not on it’s choice of words.

If the heart of the message is good then listen more attentively. If the message is true-truth, then embrace it.

Pilate with The Lord Jesus Christ standing before him, asked the question: ‘What is truth?’.

Well – he missed it completely! But of course, there is nothing wrong with the question.

Pilgrim’s Progress is full of truth (circa 1678). For those who don’t know, it is a book written by John Bunyan. 

There have been re-written, more modern, versions of the book, as far as I know.

But grab a copy of the original – sift your way through it – to find sound, revelatory truth – good for all peoples.

It’s about a journey, the journey we are all on. And it is based fully on Biblical truth.

Read of Pilgrim’s progress through the many obstacles that stand in the way of those who sincerely, one hundred percent, want to know true-truth.

You are fighting against the odds increasingly in these days, but find the ancient message in ancient language or otherwise. Sift your way to the true-truth of Eternal Life!

Said like it is.

SAID LIKE IT IS.

Most of us like to hear and live in good news. We all thrive on encouragement. To feel we and our efforts are worthwhile.

Accomplishing goals, perhaps in our work situation, and being congratulated as we advance the business in whatever way, is very rewarding.

We know that children thrive on encouragement, during both their formative and teenage years.

And a lot of us can look back and perhaps surmise that we should have received more of said encouragement, as we grew up. Looking back also on the fact that perhaps we should have encouraged our own children more than we did?

There’s an old doo-wop song (maybe I’ve miss-genre’d it) that goes something along the lines of: “I love how you love me”.

That’s an interesting line. Does it mean I love the fact that you are in love with me, or is it a case of  ‘I’m so glad you love me, as I love you’, ie. I love your reciprocation, or is it the particular way that the love is shown?

Everyone thrives when they are treated well.

There are many Christian ministries that make the edification of the believer their priority.

In some Christian cultures more than others – everything must be and remain positive. There is no room for the negative note. It is assumed that any negative sentence in some way negates faith.

Sometimes this lacks reality. It can drift into a sugar-coated smarmy-type message if it becomes insincere.

Conversely – other Christian messages only express what they are against. So much so that we never find out what they are for.

What I appreciate about the Bible is that it only ever ‘says it like it is’.

Both positively and negatively.

The fact that the human race has fallen, and is in need of salvation – is a negative fact. It’s broken and needs fixed.

The fact that God is Love – incorporating His Divine-love (Agape) attributes of love, such as justice, mercy, righteousness, judgement, longsuffering, joy, peace, correction, compassion, empathy, healing, acceptance, eternal life, deliverance, and so on and so on…

Should cause us to wonder why we are running away from Him? The one who is real and only speaks and says it ‘like it is’?

God is sincere.

I was recently preaching, and shared the point that most ideologies have a smattering of truth. It’s only (to use my illustration) when you lick the chocolate from the bar, you find out what the rest of it consists of.

And if it’s marzipan it’s going in the bin, as far as I am concerned.

Now there are professing Christians, who are not the real McCoy. Just as there are charlatans in every other walk of life that we can think of. From con-men salespersons, to rogue builders, from corrupt governmental officials to sport-cheats. Usually what is underneath – eventually comes to the surface, and we find out that the smattering of positives are a gloss for what is below.

Truth(s) on the surface are not enough, regardless of how ‘positive’ and ‘seductive’ they may seem. It’s what is underneath that is important, what is the foundation on which the ideology is built?

As far as the Christian message is concerned – Paul, God’s wise-masterbuilder tells us: 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

The same God who says: He so loved the world that He gave His son a ransom for many, is the same God who says He will turn the wicked into hell. (Psalm 9/17)

If He was only interested in sales-talking you into His kingdom and onto His ‘team’ as it were, He would leave the negative realities of life to the side. But He doesn’t, because He is the God of all truth.

So when you are told, for example, to follow your dreams. Stick with it and prosper in whatever you set yourself to do.

All of this kind of talk may well be necessary, and fruitful. But it can pre-suppose that there is nothing wrong in the world that needs addressed and changed.

The broken need positive love. But the negative is: life has taken it’s toll and that’s a fact. For all kinds of reasons people suffer, and not to state that fact out of some kind of perceived performance necessary in positive thinking is to live in fantasy land.

True faith confesses the positive message of Christ’s deliverance and His willing impartation of all that is spiritually positive to see us through this dark world.

So let’s hear the facts of life as they are, but let us fully and completely embrace the positive message of a Loving Saviour, who lays down His life to take it up again in resurrection power. Life-giving life-changing power to transform us internally to embrace the wonderful positives of a walk with Him.

Romans 8/31:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Deluge

deluge

Deluge – acrylic by Ken Riddles

DELUGE

In times of extreme flooding there seems little that anyone can do. The floods being so bad that all preparations or precautions taken, are swept aside, so overwhelming is the problem.

That the moral decline of mankind is sweeping the world like a flood is obvious to most reasonable thinking people.

Established norms of behaviour are challenged continuously, whilst all manner of excuses for all kinds of self-indulgence are made.

It seems the defences set in place by God’s Word are eroded, and no one quite knows how to respond to the degradation of morality as it disappears beneath the flood tide.

To go with the flow of the tide, to be swept away by the deluge, is an option given to us all. You must decide. I must decide. Do I hold fast to that which is good – or do I let my life slip beneath the flood?

I Thessalonians 5/20

Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

Hebrews 2/1

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

‘Lest at any time’ – this is such a time.

Let’s find and gather with those who don’t wish to drown!

Lost friendship

A Scenario…

A true friend indeed. One you have known from childhood. Then came the day when your friendship was tested. It was too painful for him to remain loyal to you.

In his own eyes – he would have suffered much loss while attempting to be true to you and your friendship.

Nevertheless you expect him to be true. And now you are devastated that you separated, and your friendship was split apart.

You couldn’t agree. You couldn’t forgive his actions. You can’t continue to argue to no avail. He did what he did. He did what he reckoned he just had to do.

Such is the human drama – the storyline differing from scenario to scenario, but the emotional conflict the same.

Write your own story to the tune of these words.

The script consists of – friendship – longstanding, conflict, disagreement, damage, hurt, separation, unforgiveness, and loss.

Human weakness that couldn’t handle the challenge of remaining true, couldn’t take the resultant disadvantage to the self, couldn’t embrace the ‘friends at all costs’ ethos.

The ability to disagree and lose the unity of friendship is common to man.

The sombre notes of dissension set in. On and on go the wrangling words trying to solve the situation.

The bickering eventually only stopping by separation and a long distance put between the persons involved.

It all comes from a nature man is born with. But many – don’t even accept this concept.

James 4/

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war…

The wars come from our desires, the old word is lust, – an uptight defensive, verbal hitting out at others – that catches alight – further, to sometimes awful consequences resulting in physical violence.

How is man capable of such friendship-destroying episodes?

He is  capable because it comes naturally.

These words I found in a Christian song, by DC Talk:—

Tell me what’s going on inside of me – I despise my own behaviour –This only serves to confirm my suspicions –That I’m still a man in need of a Saviour

I could end the post here.

But before I do (having highlighted the problem) – the closing statements are –

God is not the author of confusion. It is Christ’s desire that all believers in Him as the Son of God – be one in Spirit – one in The Lord.

If there must be a parting of the ways – then forgiveness must be that choice of the will, and from thenceforth no abiding return is to be made to the former hurt and disagreement.

And when the person or persons find themselves re-visiting the hurts – they/we must consign these thoughts to the cross by faith.

Ideally all should reconcile as Christian brothers and sisters. But unfortunately the floor of the church is littered with broken relationships, and we can’t pretend differently.

We can only exhort each other to reconcile in humility, laying aside the right to be right.

Finding, and returning to what we all hold dearly, holding The Head from which all the body is supplied and knit in love.

If the other party(ies) won’t come with you to the foot of the cross again. Then you/we must keep our own hearts in the choice of forgiveness.

(see Colossian 2/19)

Political Correctness

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

This is a subject of course, that lends itself to a lot of discussion. But here are just a few considerations:

Why do we need Political Correctness? What is Political Correctness? What is Political Correctness trying to achieve?

One dictionary defines Political Correctness this way:- 

…the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalise, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against:

I’m pretty sure there would be a lot more definitions out there.

Indeed there is no – one narrow definition for PC.

Let’s take one phrase or implication from the above dictionary definition, that relates to all three of our questions.

‘…the avoidance of…(words) or action(s)…that…are…insulting…’

So – first question – why do we need Political Correctness?

Answer: To highlight the need for us all to avoid actions that insult other people.

Second question – What is Political Correctness?

Answer:  Some kind of spoken or written premise or rule that we must adhere to in order that others are not insulted.

Third question – What is Political Correctness trying to achieve?

Answer: It is written, spoken, or laid down –  to try to ensure correct behaviour or to change or alter the wrong behaviour of others.

We learn straight away therefore, that the need to change bad behaviour or to stop it occurring is the goal of the rules of Political Correctness.

Who has the ultimate say in furnishing us with the rules of political correctness? Do you set the rules? Do I? Does your government have the ultimate say? Does one group of people against whom certain words or actions are deemed unacceptable set the rules for everyone else to follow?

What happens if, by following the cultural rules set by one group that we are meant to conform to – we end up violating what is not acceptable in our own or another’s culture?

Well, what about everyone just laying aside all their cultural rules and regulations of what is and what is not acceptable – and let’s all find a new set of rules that everybody can conform to? 

Some might offer this as a solution. And of course as a Christian my ‘rule’ (and so much more than just rules)-book is the Bible.

Political correctness is confusing to say the least. And it somehow, goes on failing to produce the result that is intended.

Is it not a substitute for the real thing?

As a follower of Jesus Christ the Lord, my behaviour outside of a Christian culture is sure to displease, – is it not? Sure to be seen as politically incorrect? Especially, If the acknowledgment of their god is absent from me.

THREE MEN’S POLITICAL  INCORRECTNESS?

Daniel 3/

Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

So the three Hebrew ‘children’ as they are commonly referred to – were definitely ‘politically incorrect’ in the eyes of this king and his entourage.

When no acknowledgement can be given on my part of any other god, where does this leave myself and any other true Christian in the PC stakes?

Here is what my God says to me:

(Deuteronomy 5/7: You shall have no other gods before Me or besides me…)

But what of other kinds of Political Correctness that isn’t only to do with the god we serve?

If I am harsh and cold and acting in an obnoxious manner toward my fellow man or woman – acting in anger and bitterness toward anyone, does this not expose my inner being as needing transformation and highlighting my need for a better nature?

Jesus exposed religious Pharisaism, and highlighted the selfishness of the human heart by demonstrating His contrasting lifestyle – perfectly.

Showing how a man should be and live. He lived and demonstrated perfectly His own teaching.

The Pharisees amongst others, with their own brand of political correctness – fell miserably short of how human beings should be, and behave. Their Political Correctness failed to produce acceptable behaviour. 

Jesus taught and showed how we should live perfectly.

Met anyone else who does that? I certainly haven’t, nor am I going to meet such a person.

Genuine believers in Christ encounter His nature spiritually, and spend the rest of their lives allowing that nature to consume them.

We fail many times – but we see no other gods, demonstrating in a human body a nature that surpasses that of Jesus Christ… – thus we conclude the need to make him – …The Lord.

And rather than trying to work round-pegs into square-holes – we realise the rules of Political Correctness will never produce the result(s) that PC espouses.

Only a new nature that operates from the inside-out, will do the job. PC operates from the outside – trying unsuccessfully to change the inside of man. It doesn’t make the lasting difference it tries to achieve.

The only way we can even begin to achieve what Political Correctness cannot – is when we become transformed inside. When the Person of Jesus Christ is allowed into our lives to live His life through us.

He says we are to ‘come unto Him..’ and he will give us rest.

If we all experience this spiritual rest from Him – the need for PC will not be the priority, but rather maintenance of good wholesome relationships, will be the new goal. This will emerge if fellowship with Him is maintained, by all in the community.

When we have the Presence of the Perfect One with us, we quickly discover the need to change bad behaviour, lest we offend Him, the one we love.

But without a living-real-actual-spiritual-relationship with Him – then we are back to rules alone attempting to get the desired behaviour with the PC code.

So it is not Political Correctness that we need but

a Perfect Companion who says: ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the world’.