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Happy Friday everyone.

On the atonement

I’m halfway through these lectures from Fuller and loving them. What DID Jesus Do? The Atonement Symposium Videos

On the weather and climate

Tim Flannery As Australia burns, attitudes are changing. But is it too late?

On lust

When it comes to dressing modestly, I generally think that if my conscience is clear and I’ve dressed to attract no one else but my husband, then if a guy lusts it’s his own problem. Morgan Guyton Lust patriarchy and capitalism made me re-think this.

On church growth

Nathan Campbell Spurgeon v Augustine; Egyptian gold, “faithful preaching”, equilateral triangles and church growth

On good books

I confess to having read none of these books. But I will. Scott Stephens Why the best books of 2012 were so good

On the trolls

Jon Acuff Proverbs 9

On violence

This one’s a challenge. I mostly posting it because I read Nahum last week and am still in shock – I had much the same concerns. Wil Gafney God, the Bible and rape

Also, on the recent shootings and masculinity: David Leonard The unbearable invisibility of white masculinity

On compulsory voting

Mungo MacCallum Visionary voting reform if it works in your favour

On women in ministry

Michael Bird has written a response to Peter Bolt’s review of his book – The Achilles heel of two complimentarian objections

I’ve been pretty disappointed by the responses to Dickson’s book (Lionel Windsor excluded). Dickson’s been dismissed out of hand with little engagement with his argument – a little embarrassing from people who should know better.

On alcohol

This is from Prohibition, what did they do with all the booze? Literal rivers of booze.

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Lo and behold, it’s the end of the first week of work and the blog remains unattended to. So how’s your week back been? Here are some highlights.

On climate change and mental health

Corey Watts Hot Australia takes a toll on mental health

On women giving sermons

If you haven’t seen it yet, Lionel Windsor has written a response to pot-stirrer-in-chief, John Dickson.

As has Peter Bolt (without actually engaging with John’s argument so I’m assuming this is just a warm up).

Also we have Luke Collings (who shows a curious fondness for Capital Letters).

I haven’t found a response from a woman as yet (Claire Smith where are you?). Perhaps it’s too personal for us.

Dickson has promised a response to Windsor sometime this week.

On capitalism and church

Tim Gombis Values of capitalism and the Church

On the history of marriage

Radio National Marriage Australian style

On equal pay for equal work

Wendy Harmer This is totally unacceptable

Tracey Spicer Hey blokes! See you and raise you

and on ‘boys vs girl’ marketing, Corinne Grant Boys vs Girls marketing? Not buying it!

On the Arab Spring

Rupert Shortt In the Middle East, the Arab Spring has given way to a Christian Winter

On putting things into practice

Tim’s Blog We need a lot less Bible study and a lot more Bible action

On les Miserables

Chris Berg A revolution for our times

and on disability and being able to actually watch the movie

Gary Kerridge CaptiView: A raw deal for cinema goers

On the beach

From Dave Macca

The sea was sparkling,
the water was cool,
the surf was a good size.

I took off on a wave,
felt it pushing me forward,
and rode it to the beach.

My lungs were working hard,
sucking in every breath,
it was exhilarating!

Ride after ride,
heaving hard,
gasping for every breath.

Two years since I’d caught a wave,
last year I barely got wet,
and now I’m body surfing!

Simple things,
swimming and surfing,
smiling with joy.

I felt like I’d been given my life back.

Thank you God!

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Friday again!

On Australia cutting itself out of its own migration zone

Scott Stephens Thuggery in Humanitarian Drag

Waleed Aly Shattering the Facade of Kindness

Clarke and Dawe had something to say about it too.

On the race that stops Melbourne

Benjamin Myers Trampling Creation

On babies and abortion

Tamara Mann My Involuntary Miscarriage

Bianca London Think you are ready to have children? Hilarious new parent test. Actually hilarious.

On Jesus

Brian Le Port Jesus of False Dichotomies. Is Jesus either the Lamb of God who saves us from sin, or the champion of the oppressed? He’s both.

On ‘Biblical Womanhood’

I’ve had a pretty hectic week, so my progress reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood has been slow. I’m still not finished.

But the Gospel Coalition finally got around to reviewing (and slamming) it, they were a bit slow off the mark. I feel like Kathy Keller kind of missed the point in her review. She criticises Held Evans for just doing crazy things because they’re ‘in the Bible’ – that’s not a Christian way to read the Bible – but it seems to me that’s exactly Held Evans’ point.

Held Evans is trying to show that ‘Biblical’ is a pretty slippery hermeneutic and to start a discussion about how we interpret the Bible. She argues that anything in the Bible can be called ‘Biblical’, so we need to do better than just tack ‘Biblical’ (or ‘what the Bible really says’) onto whatever we’re advocating and think that this settles things. We need to think about how to interpret the Bible in light of being followers of Jesus. More to come on this.

Don’t let that turn you off Keller though, other things she’s written are great, especially ‘The Meaning of Marriage’ which she co-authored with her husband.

Morgan Guyton responded to Keller’s review here.

And Held Evans herself responded here.

And finally here’s a complimentarian review of the book from Matthew Lee Anderson. He doesn’t dismiss her as a ‘dangerous influence’, but gets into the hermeneutical discussion that she opened. How refreshing.

On Words

Jasper Copping Why Hitler Hated Being Called a ‘Nazi’.

On the Trinity

Fred Sanders The Trinity in the Gender Debate. We look to the trinity and tend to find whatever we wanted to find, so be careful, he says.

On Disability

Garry Kerridge Bottom of the League argues that the fact that Australia ranks last in terms of people with disabilities living in poverty indicates that the Disability Discrimination Act isn’t doing its job and must be strengthened.

On Beauty

The Hoopla Body Perfection; a New Religion. We’re obsessed.

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surprised by hope

Surprised by hopeYou really must read this book. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve read in a while. It’s the kind of book that you just want to tell people about, that you give away to your friends saying ‘keep it’, that you feel like reading aloud to random people on public transport; ‘did you know this?! you must know this!’

It’s so exciting, even non-christians are talking about it. It made the front page of Time Magazine. I can’t say I know of any other evangelical book which non-christians might get excited about.

Time Magazine - rethinking heavenAnd It’s about our hope!

Wright argues that what we believe about our future hope is directly relevant to how we act now. So I was saddened when I heard it dismissed as ‘mere social gospel’ at a women’s conference recently. It was quite the opposite – we work for justice and beauty and evangelise because our hope in Jesus is so real.

He starts by showing how we’ve sold ourselves short. Somehow resurrection and ‘the new heavens and the new earth’ has become a vague ‘going to heaven when we die.’ Muddled theology often comes in through songs, and he points out how, somewhere in the nineteenth century, we started singing about resting on clouds with angels and esca

ping creation, rather than resurrection.

and fit us for heaven to live with thee there

But when life’s day is over, shall death’s fair night discover, the fields of everlasting life.

When Christ shall come, with shouts of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.

No no no, dying is not our hope! Leaving the world is not what we’re waiting for. Although there is ‘life after death’ he says, we wait for ‘life after life after death’, that is RESURRECTION and GOD’S NEW CREATION: the coming together of heaven and earth.

Admittedly, he repeats himself and goes around in circles a fair bit in the earlier chapters. I readily forgave him. I got the sense that he was just so excited about our hope, and just so frustrated at our kind of gnostic ideas of a fluffy floaty heaven that he had no time for mundane things, like editing.

He then goes through and does the hard work, using the bible to talk about the resurrection, what it is to be a ‘citizen of heaven’ on earth, heaven, hell and purgatory. I wished he spent a bit more time explaining that trippy rapture-esque passage in 1 Thessalonians 4, but that was the only point at which he lost me.

Then it gets really interesting.

You see, he says, if you believe Christian hope is about ‘getting into heaven’, what we do now doesn’t really have much connection to what happens in eternity. What we do now isn’t particularly important. All that matters is getting other people’s souls through the gates. Everything is only relevant in terms of evangelistic output. That’s all that will last.

But if we believe that God is going to renew and restore the earth, then everything matters. God’s new creation has already begun through Jesus’ resurrection (if anyone is in Christ there is new creation!). Our good deeds now – works of beauty, justice, righteousness – are like the seeds which will grow into fruition in the new creation (just like our bodies are seeds which will be changed and flourish). Our labour in the Lord is not in vain because we are sure of new creation.

He does not at all diminish the importance of evangelism, but argues that if we think of new creation, rather than simply ‘getting into heaven’, evangelism will be more holistic and ultimately helpful for the new Christian.

There have been in the past some kinds of evangelism which have implied that the main thing is to sign on, to prayer a particular prayer which results in the assurance that one is safely on the way to heaven – and which have failed to mention, to the frustration of pastors and teachers of such ‘converts’, that the fact that following Jesus means just that, following Jesus, not ticking a box which says ‘Jesus’ and then just sitting back as though it’s all done. To speak, rather of Jesus’ lordship, and of the new creation which results from his victory on Calvary and at Easter, implies at once that to confess him as Lord and to believe that God raised him from the dead is to allow on’s entire life to be reshaped by him…knowing that it will be the way…to genuine human life in the present, and complete glorious resurrected human life in the future.

What more can I say? I could go on to talk about the implications he draws for social justice, for the environment, for the arts, for mission. God is doing good things.

But I’m beginning to ramble. Read the book. Get excited.

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