Rachel is a young Christian woman and she is thinking about becoming a diplomat in the Foreign Office. She is challenged by a Christian friend who tells her that she will be wasting her life by going into such a ‘worldly’ and political profession. Again, and again, we can come up against this attitude, can’t we? The attitude that wants to create a hierarchy of callings. How do you love God in your job when it involves dealing with shady characters, compromised situations and ethical dilemmas? The OT book of Daniel can help us think through this issue.
Frank is a real life opera singer who was due to play the role of Scarpia in Puccini's famous opera Tosca. He was a gifted bass singer and had never heard a sermon that connected the Christian faith to his work challenges. On a hospital visit he asked his ear nose & throat surgeon whether as a Christian he should be taking on such a role.
Language expert David Smith has argued compellingly that the dominant way of teaching modern foreign languages (MFL) is shaped by consumerist and materialist narratives. The hidden message here is "I shop therefore I am". Or for those of you who are fluent Latin speakers – "Tesco ergo sum".
The focus in many French lessons is upon autonomous (self-governing) individuals buying ice creams, making complaints about hotels and busy in the many acts of (self-centred) tourism and consumption.
I've been talking to my mate Simon who is an accountant who works for a small business. This is the fruit of our conversation. Accountants can serve God full-time if they have a baptised imagination.
Accountancy has had a bad image ever since the Monty Python sketch with John Cleese and Michael Palin who have a 'pop' at accountants… "Dull, dull, dull, dreary, tedious and stuffy". Is this fair?
Bob Goudzwaard, a Dutch Christian economist, wrote a brilliant, short book Idols of our Time back in the 1980s. It really is a superb resource for any thinking Christian.
He begins the book with these words:
We live in a world possessed and we know it.
Let's focus for a moment upon a key idea – ideology. Ideology is the way in which idolatry affects people today and this includes the soldiers and supporters of IS.
A key text for understanding idolatry in the New Testament is a passage in the book of Romans.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator.
Romans 1:25, NIV
Here we should notice that idolatry does not merely refer to the worship of idols and images in the sense of the giant bull statue in 'Molech' worship.
In the light of the recent gruesome activities of the Islamic State (IS) it is timely to re-examine biblical teaching about idolatry and connect this to ideologies, secularism and IS. In this first post we will look at idolatry in the Old Testament.
Idol worship is something which no follower of Jesus wants. Christians know deep down that serving idols violates God's covenant (Exodus 20:1-3).
So how did ancient people worship their idols?
The teaching of modern foreign languages (MFL) is widely assumed to be unaffected by the teacher's faith or worldview.
A simple and effective way to talk about the Christian faith is to craft speech acts about heroes and villains. For example, I was talking recently to a financial adviser about investing money in a variety of portfolios and my wife, Anne and I became bothered about the dodgy nature of some of the schemes. We're talking about our money being invested in weapons, tobacco and pornography companies. This is how the conversation went with 'Brian'.