Posted by: randomards | February 14, 2011

Posted by: randomards | March 11, 2009

Greater things are still to be done…..

I would not call myself an avid fan of local worship band BlueTree. I have issues there! But they are for a different time perhaps.
But I sat at my desk this lunchtime, unable to attend the silent peace demonstration in Belfast against the recent violence by dissident republicans, and I was drawn to this song on my itunes.

I’ve got to hand it to Aaron Boyd, author of this song – it is immense. It is such a powerful song and particularly apt for such a time as this.

Here are the lyrics – there’s a youtube video here.

“God of This City” Lyrics  
by Bluetree | from the album Greater Things

You’re God of this city, you’re the King of these people, you’re the Lord of this nation, you are…

You’re the Light in this darkness, you’re the Hope to the hopeless, you’re the Peace to the restless, you are…

For there is no one like our God, there is no one like You, God!

Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city!

Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done here.

You’re the Lord of creation, The creator of all things you’re the King above all kings, you are…

You’re the Strength in the weakness, You are Love to the broken, You’re the Joy in the sadness, you are…

For there is no one like our God, there is no one like you, God!

Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city!

Where glory shines from hearts alive with praise for You and love for You in this city.

There is a great story behind the writing of this song – which can be found here.

Posted by: randomards | March 2, 2009

Christian Protests??

Trawling through my emails this morning I came across one from a good friend of mine. The subject title read – “SHOCKING INFO ABOUT JESUS – PLEASE FWRD DONT IGNORE”!

I think I have a pet hate of circular emails. You know the ones – send this to ten people inside 10 minutes and your world will become so much better ones. Or – the – forward this email to everyone you love – including the sender. Do people really take it personally if they do not get that email back from you??

Anyway – I’m getting sidetracked.

This email this morning was about a film that’s due to come out later this year – CORPUS CHRISTI – a film that will protray Jesus and his disciples as Homosexuals.

The email called this a disgusting mockery of our Lord. Well – I agree with that. But the rest of the content of the email left me with lots of questions.
Here’s what I mean. The email was a call to action – to get this film banned from the big screens across the UK. “Lets stand up for our Lord is the battle cry”. “If the Muslims stand up against what they see as an attack on their religion – why should we not” was the justification! These statements make me a little uneasy.
But then again, I think that “Christian Protests” in general make me feel a little uneasy.

What is the role of a Christian in this setting? Should i be sticking my name unto the bottom of this email and sending it on to everyone i know encouraging them to do likewise? Do we really think we can get the film banned? Is anything less than trying to do so a weak display of defeatism?

I guess the question would be – what would Jesus himself do? Was Jesus an agitator? Was he a revolutionary? Was he a protestor?  Did he form a group bent on bringing about political or social change by pressurising others? Did he seek to enforce his standards (the best standards) on those who did not want to follow him? I think that these are basic questions and the Bible provides clear answers.

Jesus lived in a country which was occupied by a pagan power. There were heathen, Roman, feet in the streets of Jerusalem, the holy city. Some Jews had formed themselves into a terrorist band known as the Zealots and planned to use violence against the Romans when the occasion was ripe. Most Jews despised the Romans and regarded them as “dogs”, even though they were powerless to remove them. From time to time, even within the precincts of the temple, there were scenes of violence which the Romans suppressed or quenched by appropriate measures.

What did Jesus do about these things? As the Son of God in God’s land, what steps did he urge against the overlordship of the Romans? Absolutely none! There are no words of resentment, no threats, no instruction to his disciples that they must resist the Roman rule or seek to get rid of it. The silence is remarkable. One of the disciples had at one time been a Zealot, but he had to learn that such behaviour was not compatible with the way of Christ.

Far from using inflammatory language, or protesting,  Jesus seemed to ignore the whole situation. There is not one instance in the whole of the four Gospel records where Jesus came into conflict with the Roman authorities, except at the time of his final trial when nothing but false charges were laid against him. The Roman governor accordingly pronounced him innocent.

Further – the Apostle Paul, living under the ‘godship’ of Artmeis – could have been in the prime position to be a protester, yet it is recorded that “not one word was said against the goddess Artemis by Paul”.

We cannot escape the conclusion that the same teaching of Jesus and his apostles which commands abstinence from violence also teaches that we can have no part in protest against authority. It is part of the same logic of our faith. Protest — in any cause — is an act of assertiveness: it is incompatible with discipleship. However peaceable one’s protest might be, however passive the demonstration, however humble the approach to those in authority, one’s stance as a protester is that of a plaintiff who seeks to petition his lords and masters.

Those who petition are claiming the right to make a demand of worldly authority; the disciple, on the other hand, discounts his earthly citizenship (Philippians 3:20) and makes no claim upon those who govern him; even less does he demand something that those in authority have decided not to allow. Although the disciple of Christ, in common with others, receives the benefits which the state confers and is grateful for these, he neither expects nor demands them.

I’ve so many questions!!
But I guess I can not escape my biggest question in relation to Christian protesting – and that is – how attractive do we make Christianity when more and more, the world is only aware of what we are against? Is the knowledge of what we are against – sometimes violently against –  going to make Christianity in any well compelling.
For me – Jesus called us into life – life in its fullest. It is the greatest invitation ever to be offered – and yet we have managed to boil that down into a list of ‘this is what we are against’.

I think I got a similar email about the Passion of the Christ before it came out – and again about the Jerry Springer opera production.

I didn’t protest then – and I don’t think I will now.
The film will come out. And the release of it will get people up and down the country – talking about JESUS. How often can we get involved in direct conversations about Jesus? This film will provide just that – provide us with the opportunity to intorduce people to the real JESUS. The film will only highten the want for that information.

I know that this kind of thinking will offend people. I understand that. I know that it may even cause people to question my salvation. Praise God my salvation is secured. My name is recorded!
You may agree – you may disagree – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!!

Posted by: randomards | November 25, 2008

This is England (tho could be anywhere!)

I kinda grew up with the mistaken impression that skinheads are, by definition, neo-Nazis, or at the very least racist. Well, I learned something last night. Sitting late at night, flicking throught the channels, i came across a film on Channel Four – THIS IS ENGLAND.
 Only half of skinheads (a completely arbitrary estimate that will not hold up to any statistical evidence, so don’t bother) are racist. The other half are some pretty relaxed guys who just want to listen to Toots and the Maytals and wear Doc Martens.

This Is England, based on some of director and writer Shane Meadows’s experiences, follows a turbulent school holiday of 12-year-old Shaun. Set in 1983, Shaun’s father has recently died in the Falklands War. In addition, the young lad is picked on by his peers (and, in my opinion, understandably so) for wearing bell-bottoms and generally looking like a hippie. After a chance meeting with a group of amiable skinheads, he starts dressing like them, shaving his head, and getting into the variety of light-hearted mischief that makes little gits such lovable scallywags.

Unfortunately, the mixed group of friends is put to the test when former convict and raging maniac Combo (Stephen Graham) shows up and tries to coerce the errant lads into hate and “Paki”-bashing. His arguments stem from chestnuts—still fresh with the increase in popularity of parties like the BNP—on the importance of national identity and accusations of job-theft by immigrants. Paper tigers like the Falklands War and unemployment are presented and torn up, naturally, without clear logical pretext for the vandalism and intimidation that follows. From then on the threat of violence raises the tension on the otherwise capricious goings. If a horrible act of mindless violence offends, one probably shouldn’t seek out this film.

Thematically, the film touches on all sorts of theoretical touchstones. The idea of nationhood, spiritual fatherhood, coming of age tropes, politics, prejudice and class status are all packed so densely into the context of the pleasantly divergent narrative that this film could easily function as a subject for any number of undergrad theses.
If you are interested in social commentary, or want to understand what life is often like for young people in working-class area, and the influences on them – get this film ASAP. It a real eye-opener and comes highly recommended from this RandomArdsLad.

Posted by: randomards | November 17, 2008

Half a century in Football.

 

Ok, so i know this entry will produce some conflicting opinions…….

However – no matter what you think of the man – surely you have to acknowledge that Sir Alex Fergusons 50 years in British football is a magnificiant achievement.
Sir Alex Ferguson guided Man United to 10th Premier League title last season.

He is arguably the greatest manager the game has ever known. The fact that he has managed one of the worlds bigges clubs for an astonishing 22 years, when clubs around them are going through managers like he goes through Wrigleys speaks volumes.

Love or hate him – half a century at the top is no small matter!

Never one to shy from the media (except the BBC) – here are a few one-liners from the awesom Sir Alex…

“Football, eh? Bloody hell!” after United scored twice in the dying minutes to win the 1999 Champions League final.

“My greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f***ing perch. And you can print that.”

“Those hours spent in Eric Cantona’s company added up to one of the more worthwhile acts I have performed in this stupid job of mine.”

“If Chelsea drop points, the cat’s out in the open. And you know what cats are like – sometimes they don’t come home”

“Just f**kng patch him up” (Sir Alex Ferguson to a club physio after kicking a boot at David Beckham’s head which left him needing stitches above his eye.)

“They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages! I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!” (Sir Alex Ferguson on Arsene Wenger)

“If he was an inch taller he’d be the best centre half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in – I’d check the milkman.” (Sir Alex Ferguson on Gary Neville)

……………That’ll do for now – I’ll drop more in here every now and then.

Posted by: randomards | November 17, 2008

Baby P

I guess it would be hard to overlook the tragic, tragic death of Baby P in Haringey!
I have literally had to turn away from news broadcasts, and overlook some newspaper pages, due to the unbelievably harrowing details surrounding the death of the 17-month old toddler.
And I can not help but become more and more frustrated because, when all is said and done, this was a totally avoidable death!
Ed Balls, the governments Childrens’ Secretary has said that there was “poor quality practice” in Haringey! Yet another government minister stating the obvious! Poor quality practice?

The little boy was seen SIXTY times by health or social workers during the eight months in which he was brutally abused.

The tot had more than FIFTY injuries or bruises.

When he was seen by a doctor two days before he died, he had a broken back, eight fractured ribs and was paralysed from the waist down.

 

Horror ... cop image of injuries

Horror … cop image of injuries

Yet NO ONE realised the danger he was in. And NO ONE saved him. Does this constitute ‘poor quality practice’? Lets hope we never get to a situation where the quality of service could be described as ‘bad’!

David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives has perhaps hit on something when he said that “Society cannot work unless individuals carry the consequence of their actions. We’ve had a raft of excuses and not one apology. The buck has got to stop somewhere.”

This opens up a whole new debate – a debate about consequences and how society works – but that will be for another time. The very fact that, to date, not one official apology has been made for the failings that led to a brutal death, means it is a debate that must be had!

Posted by: randomards | November 17, 2008

ENTERING THE BOLGGING WORLD

For the past 12-18 months, I have been told so often, that i need to enter the world of bloggers and blog-related ‘stuff’.
Whilst accepting that some of the invitations of blogger friends have had their good points, there have been a few things that have habitually held me back from actually being a blogger myself.

1)   When in the name of goodness would I ever find the time. I mean, there is always something! Whether it be work, stuff in Church, praise band practices – the list can literally go on and on! And thats without even mentioning my wonderful girlfriend Julie – and NOTHING will eat into my ‘novia time’!

2)   A cursory audit of any talents that I have would show that writing would not be considered a strong point of mine. I can talk – and most of the time – make sense. Yet, the written word aint too hot.

3)   Do i really want to encourage the possibility of having an online ‘argument / debate’ on an issue / issues with some other anomyous blogger out there somewhere waiting for me to say something he / she does not agree with.

and finally….

4)   I have historically made fun of bloggers. There was a time when all things blog-related were enjoyed by a small minority of spotty kids with NHS glasses and a brylcreem-aided sideshade, or nerds as I used to know them as. Im not sure that i have ever accepted that blogging is now a past-time of many a normal, balanced adult! So i know, that if i finish this post and hit the ‘publish’ button – then i have joined ‘them’, and would be nothing short of a hypocrite if a continued to lovingly mock ‘them’.

…….So – putting all my apprehensions to one side – I am writing my first blog!

Here I am – Im Blogging!!

God help me – God help us all!!

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