Sunday, 29 August 2010

Thinking it through

It's truly been a week....
From facing possible redundancy again (2nd time in 18 months), to having to cancel a holiday due to a major holiday company going bust, to seeing around a third of my fine art photography vanish from the internet due to the 'Ning' fiasco...
It truly makes you realize (especially when nursing your health through the whole thing) just how frail and fragile the things we think 'just continue' really are. They can literally vanish overnight, and leave you wondering what happened and where to go.

Thankfully, I found many of these trials allowed me to talk quite naturally about my faith and my passion for beauty in my work, and all of the troubles, bar the head cold, are now easing, though it will take time to find new ways to display my art.

I was reminded again today of the superb series, 'Kings', based around the lives of David and Saul - stories which truly say much about how we can respond to life and to God in times of pressure. I featured a video here a while back of scenes from the show - here's the song from that video with the lyrics... they certainly make you think.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Beyond Ourselves

"What a work of art is man"

It would leave you astonished.
Imagine meeting someone who had returned home to find their wealth taken, their home vandalized, even their loved ones hurt, and yet they carried on as if everything was normal - the only way to view such behavior would be to conclude that this person had serious problems.

To live in denial of our true condition would be folly, and yet, we do it so very often.

Philosophy and Religion often place us in just such a place. Our home, and more to the point, our very nature's, have been broken and ruined by a diabolical thief, but these means of deceit are employed to assure us that everything is fine - just accept that the state of play is entirely natural, says one voice, or if you work hard enough for long enough, things will be much better in a higher state/future incarnation, says another. Both in essence actually despise the true value and worth of the real world, which was made for a purpose and culture so much richer than these approaches can ever provide.

Christ tells us that the thief of this world has not only blinded us to that purpose, but through the lies so common in so many versions of the same belief, he continues to blind us to the real 'message' of creation and it's true Creator - the one who by His goodness and mercy not only made this world, but through His Son, is at work to bring about it's full renewal and redemption.

The day will come when all men will see and understand the actual value and purpose of this world, not a temporal universe in decay, or a mere quick stop on the way to some ethereal paradise, but the home where creation will live in deep fellowship with God forever.
That truly needs thinking about - if we're not just dust, given to eternal decay, or jailed souls, going away, but truly creatures of an earth meant to continue forever, then how much of the world's philosophy and religion is woefully wide of the mark concerning who we are and what is to come.

God loves this world and the people upon it.
He sent His Son here, to rescue us and it from death and decay.
Christ will return to bring the day of renewal, when all things shall know the reality of what was intended from the beginning.

Will we be ready?
Will the lie be broken, and the light of truth be our delight?
Where are your beliefs holding you?

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The Reflection that Bleeds

“A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to suppose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time?"

Charles Darwin.

No matter where, no matter who, when it comes to the children of Adam, we are all trying to hide from a reflection of our true selves - our real purpose.

Reflecting upon his countless observations, Darwin himself could not escape what Paul defined as the 'knowledge of God' written into creation. He wrote in the Origin of the Species of: "the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist".

The issue which truly troubled him in the light of that reality, as it should do us, was the amount of pain, misery and chillingly cold suffering within the universe, which simply did not appear to marry with the Christian concept of a caring God, leaving him questioning, arguing, protesting against such seemingly blind ugliness and pointless destruction - the tyranny of death.
Will not the judge of all the earth do right? asks the scripture, and as we look upon life which is so tethered to the ruin of physical extinction, often after a long process of decay, it is a matter which must weigh upon us. That very concern, that very response to such a calamity informs us of something - that we require, we expect, something better than such futility, and such a response raises an equally telling issue about ourselves - why, if death and decay are merely natural, would we desire, even demand such a thing in our cold universe?

It is because, even amidst the coldness, as Darwin himself noted, we see something more - a power and a 'glory' which makes our cry for right and an end to the injustice of death even more vital and acute. Though we only glimpse it, that vision 'speaks' of a nature and character above and beyond the futile and the miserable - something which resonates at the deepest point within us, reflected in our need and our desire to be creatures which care, which know that we have a Creator and Father beyond the present pain.

Christianity provides us with two key answers regarding the nature of this present evil.
Evil itself is not eternal - it derives from fallen created creatures - particularly ourselves - and its working is therefore limited to the present age. It will be removed, and creation will be freed from bondage to this futility.
Evil was stripped by the work of God in Christ, especially at the cross. A new age has begun, and the resurrection of Jesus points to the day to come, when such pain and darkness will be gone.

These truths bring the entire issue back to our own doorsteps - to what we see in ourselves when we seek to deny our true nature, reveling in the mire of unbelief, or equally, when we stand, aghast at our ability to love and to see and receive love from others.

Life teaches us, amidst the bruises, to look harder and deeper - the truth may hurt, but it is indeed the fist steps to a deeper healing.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

It's just unfair... Life.

"I've led such a little life. And even that will be over pretty soon.
I have allowed myself to lead this little life, when inside me there was so much more. And it's all gone unused. And now it never will be.
Why do we get all this life if we don't ever use it? Why do we get all these feelings and dreams and hopes if we don't ever use them? That's where I disappeared to. I got lost in all this unused life."

Shirley Valentine.

It's one of the ways that C S Lewis used to speak of evidence for God -
when we have a genuine need or desire for something (food, drink and the like), it is because
that need is there to be fulfilled, and our inner 'hunger' for a communion with God is that deep and that real. Perhaps that is part of the reason why this life is never as 'big' as at should be, and most certainly why it's scarred with pain and anguish instead of intensely lasting, satisfying joy. To paraphrase Lewis again, its similar to when we are seeking to enjoy nature - we sense its great beauty, but we still find ourselves detached from it, dislocated because we are, indeed, disconnected from the level of inter-action which should be ours.

Lewis was spot on, and that's why there's such a real dissatisfaction with countless 'religious' or 'philosophical' solutions to the problem - they want us to look elsewhere for comfort, for our time here is brief, merely to be transcended in some form.
Is what we are, what we long for really that meaningless?
There are plenty, when you weigh what they have to say, that are actually replying 'yes',
but the Gospel of Jesus Christ sees things very differently...

Christianity directly addresses the 'Shirley Valentine' issue head on. Life is meant to be totally satisfying, totally significant, totally meaningful, but it can't be until it's rejuvenated by truly deriving from its source - a world made whole by God in Christ.

Our bodies fail us. Our minds become weak. Life is quick and fleeting, so reflect upon what that deep inner hunger for more life is really trying to say.
Where is the solution? It's certainly not within ourselves or those who would merely seek to talk it away!

It's at moments like that I'm so grateful to know that my redeemer lives, and that one day, I will stand again clothed in my flesh upon the earth because of Him, and because of Him, I will be able to revel in creation and in life as it was intended to be.
There is something beyond the sorrow, and it can aid us in our time of trouble.

Shirley Valentine's question matters, so think long and hard about where the answer lies...

Sunday, 8 August 2010

H o m e C o m i n g

"Haven't we all thrown our coinage, down the wishing well?"
From 'Double Cure' by Vigilantes of Love.

I came across this today - it pretty much says everything about why Christianity matters.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


"Those that dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined"
The Prophet Isaiah.

It never ceases to amaze me just how wretched and blind we can be.

An artist friend of mine decided to show support on one of his pages for the theory of evolution.
Not something that I see any need for an artist to do, but that's up to him.
He then decided to crown that with support for Richard Dawkins miserably wide of the mark publication (even criticized by his home team), the God Delusion, so I thought it was time to raise a question...

Do we really want to admire someone who profoundly believes we are merely "robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve selfish molecules...we merely exist for this and are nothing more than throwaway a world of savage, selfish competition, ruthless exploitation and deceit" (The River out of Eden by Richard Dawkins).

To which a total stranger replied that everything is futile, so just live for the moment:
Everything is futile, but it's worth doing. If everything is pointless then put emphasis on enjoyment and spend as little time as possible in the mire, that's a great game

I responded with a comment to the effect is that really all there is,
but it made me stop and consider....
can we really look at life, at the world, at ourselves, and see so little?

Clearly we can - that's why we need G R A C E,
why we need a Savior, and why we so need rescue,

so with that in mind, here's a few images by me which I hope will cause us to recognize the one who has made everything beautiful in its time and placed eternity in our hearts, that we might know Him and truly have life...

Find more videos like this on Miss Online

Sola Deo Gloria!