Sunday, 16 October 2011

Celebrate Your Local Food

Yesterday was a good day in the centre of Ely, since it was 'Ely Apple Day'. With people coming together on the cathedral lawn, all kinds of apple produce available, and fun & games as well, it was a good time.

With so much food transported across the country and across the world, we have forgotten our dependence on God's provision that once upon a time used to be virtually all locally based. Our assumption in the West is that food supply is ubiquitous and continuous.

Of course live in other countries, like the Sudan right now, and you will have a completely different view. We do our global neighbours a complete dis-service if we go on behaving as if there was no problem with food distribution.

Today is
I am proud to take part in Blog Action Day Oct 16, 2011 
Blog Action Day, with the topic of food. As we talk about food, we would do well to remember where it comes from, celebrate the food we can produce locally, and remember that distribution is not always uniform across our diverse planet.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Live Well with Less

Sainsbury's new marketing slogan is 'Live well for less', hoping to help us shop wisely and make economies and yet still be able to enjoy some of the finer things in life.

Its a good sentiment - we should be able to make savings and live on a tighter budget, and yet still have some good things at least from time to time. Yet ultimately they would still want us to go on consuming at an ever increasing rate.

Isaiah 58 talks about true fasting, with the heart of the issue being how we treat other people. If we temporarily deny ourselves and yet don't do anything about injustices that rage across the world, we are not really fasting at all and thus should not be surprised if God does not hear us.

Maybe a better slogan for us to adopt is 'Live well with less'. For a start we cannot expect everyone to come up to the current Western standard of living - the world simply does not have the resources. So for there to be global justice we must learn to live with less. Indeed in some areas we need to go without, in other words a kind of fast, especially when our patterns of consumption may hold others in poverty.

In fact the slogan may then even be better reversed. By us choosing a lifestyle 'with less' may in fact enable others to 'live well' perhaps for the first time.

Friday, 7 October 2011

God doesn't need to play catch up

Typically we decide on an initiative for witness, something we as a church will do for God, and then mobilise in two directions: one is the resources/organisation to make it happen, and the second is in prayer. If we are not careful we are implicitly saying to God "Here's our plan, will you please bless it ...". Through our prayers we spell out to God our plans, and look to Him to resource it, make it work, even magnify it beyond our original estimates.

All this operates in a mode where we kind of expect God to 'catch up' with our idea. Yet the reality is that God is probably miles ahead of us. It's us who need to play 'catch up'.

In Acts 10 Peter finds himself going to evangelise in the home of a Gentile - something that 24hrs earlier he wouldn't have considered an option. He didn't suddenly think "lets increase our witness, and start finding some Gentiles who will hear us". No! The Spirit had to shake him out of his siesta! It was the Spirit's action that opened the whole ministry to the Gentiles.

Lets get real. God doesn't need to play catch up with our plans; we need to catch up with where the Spirit is leading us, often out into areas which previously were simply not on our map.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Faithful Science

At a recent seminar looking at the question of faith & science, three questions were posed:
  1. Does evolution pose an unassailable problem against scripture?
  2. Is evolution all clear-cut?
  3. Does evolution negate God?

The answers to these is surely 'No! No! No!'.Christians need not fear evolution as a theory - partly because it is just a theory rather than any proven (or provable) explanation.

Scripture tells us that God created, evolution suggests a mechanism within that creation. If you are prepared to allow for God to work through physical/natural mechanisms (as indeed He surely does every day), then theoretically He can work through evolution.It is always good to take stock from time to time.

Evolution still leaves questions unanswered, still has big holes in its portfolio of supporting evidence, and has not been demonstrated in a laboratory (for the species 'jumps' the theory proposes). So although many biologists accept the theory as 'the best explanation', it currently only stands as 'the best explanation' and nothing more.

Finally it only really speaks into just one subset of the overall cosmic riddle, leaving the big question of how 'biotic life' got started in the first place. Some would say that the kick-start to such life was a huge 'grant of luck' - hardly an argument that negates God. So evolution can remain as a theory, and maybe even improved upon or amass better supporting evidence, but rest assured the eternal God won't be going away any time soon (or ever for that matter)!