on the place of the ten commandments

What place would you say the Ten Commandments still has for us today?

It has always struck me that for many non-Christians, and not a few self-professed Christians as well, the heart of Christianity is the Ten Commandments: whether or not you adhere to them, the similarity of your life in comparison to the standards and ideas laid out on those stone tablets. The measure of how good a Christian you are seems to hinge on your ability to mold yourself based on the Ten Commandments, your ability to transcend your own nature and force yourself to become godly and Ten Commandments-y. Continue reading “on the place of the ten commandments”

on idolising women

A dear friend of mine and I were recently talking about my singleness. I was telling him that I’m actually pretty scared that I’ll be single for the rest of my life.

Now God has been outrageously, scandalously generous to me all my life. And the takeaway from that, I tell myself, should be the knowledge that there is nothing good that God will withhold from me. The takeaway is not that God has given me all good things therefore he won’t withhold a wife, but the fact that no good thing has been withheld, and if singleness is my lot I won’t merely get by, I’ll thrive. Continue reading “on idolising women”

on space jesus

I recently watched Man of Steel, and holy moly what a silly film, but fun. It was basically The Adventures of Space Jesus. The thing is I went into the cinema knowing that it had overt Christian themes, and I was looking out for them. And actually in the end I kind of liked seeing them there. A lot of the Jesus references were a bit ham-fisted, but it was fun, and there are plenty of explosions and fistfights. Plus it’s refreshing to see a big budget Hollywood film play around with Christian imagery and ideas.

Now apparently there are quite a few churches that are not happy at all about the Jesus imagery. Some of them have even labelled the Superman character anti-Christian, because the real Jesus would never fight back against the bad guys, punching and heat-raying them. The most Christ-like figure in the whole film, one critic says, is Kevin Costner’s self-sacrificial character, not Superman. Continue reading “on space jesus”

on connections

One of my good friends is an entrepreneurial, go-getter kind of marketer guy. I love the man dearly but there are a few areas where our ideologies are very different. He’s a dynamic, risk-taking kinda guy, I like to play it safe; he likes organising, I like following, etc.

So once when he explained the importance of knowing the right people, of connections, you can guess what I thought. It was something along the lines of “Pah! A man shouldn’t have to rely on connections, he should work for things!” Continue reading “on connections”

on the binding of isaac

I remember talking with my sister not too long ago about the story of Abraham and Isaac. There have been a few notable reflections on it in the past few years in pop culture, including the videogame The Binding of Isaac and the recent song Abraham’s Daughter.

We both agreed that yes it is true, the story is bizarre, barbaric even. But it makes no sense only outside of its biblical context. Continue reading “on the binding of isaac”

on behaviour modification

I heard a recent prayer for people willing to accept Jesus into their hearts. One thing that irked me about it though was its handling of sin. The prayer talked of sin as doing bad things, and asked of Jesus’ help as more behaviour changing than the radical change and metanoia described in the Bible.

What does behaviour modification look like?

Thirty years ago it was commonly held that outside stimulus shaped a person’s character: hence the kerfluffle about rock music, violent tv shows, etc. These days it is increasingly held that though violent and disturbing media does corrupt those who are exposed to it, it’s more about those people wanting these things in the first place. Someone who loves horror and violent films is probably just a disturbed person whose attraction to these things is a manifestation of inner troubledness. Continue reading “on behaviour modification”

a bronze snake and a talking donkey

This bit of the OT blew my mind the first time a friend of mine, a god-fearing man, taught me about it a year ago. And here I am a year from then reading it for myself, and it’s still just as awesome. So, Numbers 21:4-9 –

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

Funny how secular interpretations of this passage point to a pagan god, the Greek god of healing Asklepios (whose symbol is a snake on a rod). But a biblical, Spirit-filled interpretation points to the real Healer, Jesus Christ. I had already heard how this passage is a direct prophecy of Christ’s healing and his sacrifice, as John 3:14-15 makes very clear – “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Also see John 6:39-40 – “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. Continue reading “a bronze snake and a talking donkey”

some thoughts about Jesus

Firstly just an interesting bit in the OT that I never noticed. This story is from Numbers 16:41-50, just after the LORD had destroyed Korah and his followers for their disobedience:

The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said.

But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the Tent of Meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and the LORD said to Moses, “Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” And they fell facedown.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started.” So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the mist of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, for the plague had stopped.

That has to be one of the most awesome pictures of Christ in the OT! A priest who rushes to save a sinful, grumbling people, making atonement for them in the face of the righteous judgement, literally standing between life and death for his people. Of course this is just an image, the actual sacrificing atonement of Christ demanded no less than the death of the priest as well. Continue reading “some thoughts about Jesus”

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