Dissatisfied, disaffected, disenfranchised and frankly…completely dissed!

by Geoff Hall on 30 August 2011 with comments

With the publishing of ‘When is the right time to give up?’ I received lots of personal messages asking me not to! That was very comforting! At least people were reading what goes on in the ‘Neosphere’, as Marshall McLuhan called it (I think). (The Neosphere is a new virtual repository of human knowledge).

What we know as the World-Wide Web is nothing less than a storehouse of human knowing. We may not agree with much of it, but hopefully the more knee-jerked, bigoted and ill-educated comments on YouTube which can be filtered out and need not attract our attention the better!

In this Neosphere you have to be careful how you talk, tweet or update your status, because you could end up in jail. Talks of rioting are strictly forbidden and so if you wish to overthrow your Government you have to be careful how you phrase it! It would seem that any form of resistance is undesirable and when we don’t give in to rather basic urges of rioting, looting and burning down other people’s businesses, our silence or inactivity is presumed to give tacit assent to what our Governments get up to in the ‘name of the people’.
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Affirmation for the world, the flesh and the rebel

by Geoff Hall on 22 August 2011 with comments

“Christians should be troublemakers, creators of uncertainty, agents in a dimension incompatible with society.” Jacques Ellul

My! How far we have fallen short of this? Jacques Ellul, a critical, perceptive writer who was once a member of the French Resistance and author of such classics as ‘Propaganda’ and ‘The Technological Society’ kind of stirs things up for us with this little thought. We immediately reject it, don’t we for we are not called to be troublemakers, but peacemakers, creators of certainty and not uncertainty, aren’t we? Agents of incompatibility? What is he driving at? Surely this is hyperbole, right? He’s said it just to make us think and then we can run back into the safety of our churches? Isn’t the world unsafe enough already?

It seems to me that Ellul’s call is for the artist, for those with subversive gifts, artists of the subtext, in other words artists of uncertainty. The clue is in his former job title, ‘Member of the French Resistance’. Think about it.
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When is the right time to give up?

by Geoff Hall on 17 August 2011 with comments

Is there such a thing as a theology of ‘giving up’, or of ‘calling it a day’?

When those around you tell you it should’ve worked out by now if God was ‘in it’, are they correct?

When no matter what you do ends up with nothing coming into your bank account, is that how you measure God’s blessing on your life? Who is your first commitment to? God, Church, Family, Career, knowing how much your services are worth?

What do we mean by ‘calling and vocation’? Do we think in terms of sustainable income? How come in the same breath as we mention discipleship, we qualify it as something affordable, like a good career choice, or something we do for the church (institution)?
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So, this is what Atheism looks like, up-close and personal?

by Geoff Hall on 9 August 2011 with comments

If there was any doubt about the true face of Atheism, look no further than London, Bristol and Liverpool. Far from being a cultivating force for good, it simply strips away any sense of the value from human life and social well-being and replaces it with ‘naked force’. It is wilful in the Nietzschean sense of the word; it only seeks its own through brute force. ‘Superman’ is simply a lawless thug on the streets of Britain, the cape and tights substituted by the hoodies and jeans of youth culture! Take a look at the evidence.

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Modern Day Saints: 4 (St Dave Everitt of Cambodia)

by John Jensen on 7 August 2011 with comments

I was standing in the back of the church waiting to pray for people. As one of the elders (A rather silly designation for my 22 year old self) we would pray for anyone who had needs during the musical worship time. A man I had never seen before just happened to come to the front of the line as I had a vacancy. As you can see from the picture he has Rutger Hauer ice blue eyes and has a habit of looking directly into your eyes which can make you want to hide. As I was uncomfortably being looked at, or through, he shared about his need for prayer. He had been doing work in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Santa Ana California, among the Cambodian community. He was particularly successful in leading a group of Christian young people. But he had had a break through with some of the local Cambodian gang members, and they began to give their lives to Christ and come to the bible study he was leading. The problem was the Christian kids and their parents didn’t want the gangsters there. In my immaturity I tried to give him a little advice, but then prayed for him. 

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So, why does God have such bad taste in art?

by Geoff Hall on 5 August 2011 with comments

So, why does God have such bad taste in art, these days?

God used to have good taste in music and the investment portfolio included musicians like JS Bach and now includes things like the ‘Songs of Fellowship’. As for art, God used to have a great aesthetic appetite for the paintings of Rembrandt, but now seems more interested in religious kitsch.
Not everyone was convinced by Rembrandt though, and maybe this perceptive comment changed God’s taste in Art?

“Rembrandt is not to be compared in the painting of characters with our extraordinarily gifted English artist, Mr Rippingille.” John Hunt (1775 – 1848)

Quote from: ‘The Book of Heroic Failures: The Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain.” by Stephen Pile. Published by Futura Publications, London. 1982, p215.
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The weariness of an all-night wrestling match

by Geoff Hall on 3 August 2011 with comments

Wrestling for beginners:

Genesis 32: 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 

What do you think of this? How does this reflect on our relationship with God in the 21st Century?
This is how Bono perceived it, in the song ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’.

In the locust wind
Comes a rattle and hum.
Jacob wrestled the angel
And the angel was overcome.

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Struggling with a new context for faith, work and spirituality

by Geoff Hall on 3 August 2011 with comments

During recent mentoring sessions – café or bar discussions – I’ve participated in the most common theme of conversation, that of people stopping going to ‘church’. Why is that? It is because the world created for ‘worship’ and ‘liturgy’ is akin to entering a false reality, a stale environment of recycled ruach, with the heart set on serving the organisation and not God, in which there is a palpable denial of a credible alternative to a fallen and broken world. This is a world of shattered glass on the pavements, vomit in the car parks of pubs, blood on the sidewalk of life. Is the Secularised society working for you?

These people have not lost a desire, a passion to follow God. It is that they feel obstructed from doing so by the clutter of institutionalised spirituality. The space has shrunk, the God of all Creation is now the God locked up in an old people’s home for the spiritually retired. They wish to be a part of the cultural mainstream, but their ‘church’ has retreated into a sub-culture of a self-referential, maintenance programme. Change is marked by re-covering old chairs in the corner of the room, by dusting-off candelabras, from where light once was emitted. The service of remembrance centres on long lost church members, faithful people, ‘no longer with us’.
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