Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Whats new with meeeeeeee

Hey ya! Well the main news since my last post is that i scored myself a summer job thru none other than SJS :) i'd honestly nearly given up on SJS but yeah one morning my mum was like 'just go and check again' so i did (under office/clerical) and there was a new one listed there that looked really good and was out near the airport. So i rang up SJS straight away, they passed my name onto the company & also gave me the numba of the company to ring, i rang them, the lady was lovely and said to come on in for an interview, so i did, it went really well...and then, voila, they offered me the job and i took it So yeah im now doing reception work for this company called Serada that specialises in selling marine and motorhome gear amongst many other things (as i've since fridges, tvs, dvd players etc etc). I had my first week there last week and it all went pretty smoothly, the other receptionist lady was really nice and showed me the ropes ie the phone system, how to invoice, do the filing etc etc. But sadly, it was Karen's (the other receptionist) last day on Fri :( So yeah another girl from out the back, Sharon, who used to be on reception has come to fill in until she goes on maternity leave in Feb/March. Took me awhile to get used to answering the phone all the time...altho i noticed some times of the day are definitely busier and the phone calls usually come in spurts. But im gettin used to it :) All the staff are really friendly and ask me regularly how im going.

So now that im working full-time for the summer i value my w/ends so much more!! haha. now i know what it must be like for people that work full-time thru the year...

In other news, i got all my exam results back recently and was pretty happy with them overall...esp with my stage 3 geography one that i got an A for! My other results werent too bad either. So now im just sorting out what papers/classes im gonna take for next year and ive nearly got it sorted..and so far so good - no timetable clashes!! will still need to fit in tutorials into my t/table tho but yeah she'll be right.

Man can anyone else believe how fast this year has gone?? Hopefully we'll actually put up our Christmas decorations a bit earlier this year (usually we dont put the tree etc up until like a week or so before Christmas)...we bought some of that holly type stuff to drape across the doorway btwn our dining room and lounge and a few other bits n pieces to add to our christmas decorations :) im looking forward to putting it all up!

Anyways betta sign off for now, have a good one

Monday, November 20, 2006


(that is, For Your Encouragement..hehe..)

Loving God

"There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, there is nothing we can do to make God love us less." - Philip Yancey

"Forget what you've heard about Jesus if it doesn't begin and end with love." - David Phelps "You know you've created God in your image when He hates all the same people you do." - Anne Lamotte

"God is too good to be unkind, too wise to be mistaken and, when you cannot trace His hand, you can always trust His heart." - Charles Spurgeon

"True thanksgiving means that we need to thank God for what He has done for us and not to tell Him what we have done for Him." - George R. Hendrick

"Paul was like a musician who gave no thought to audience approval, if only he could catch a glimpse of approval from his Conductor." - Oswald Chambers

"There is no fear in submitting to a love that would die for you."

"I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light." - Mary Gardiner Brainard

"The Lord won't take you where His grace can't keep you."

"Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God."

"Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is the glue." - Eugene O'Neill

"Don't ask God to give you more faith until you've learned how to use the faith you've got." - Rev. Jim Craig

"God spreads grace the way a five-year-old spreads peanut butter... He gets it all over everything." - Rev. Donna Schaper

"Preach the Gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

"True prayer is asking God what He wants." - William Barclay

"Pray and, while you pray, move your feet." - Quaker saying

"God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere." - Timaeus of Locris

"A coincidence is when God performs a miracle and decides to remain anonymous."

"God loves us just the way we are but He loves us too much to leave us that way." - Max Lucado

"Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God."

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it but because, by it, I see everything else." - C. S. Lewis

"Most people are bothered by those Scripture passages which they cannot understand. But, for me, the passages in Scripture which trouble me the most are those which I do understand." - Mark Twain

"The wind of God is always blowing but we must hoist the sail!" - Francois Fenelon

"God does not play with dice." - Albert Einstein

"Just think of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven, of touching a hand and finding it God's, of breathing new air and finding it celestial, of waking up in glory and finding it home!" - Don Wyrtzen

"If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it." - Max Lucado

"If you please man and never please God, you have nothing; If you please God and man forsakes you, you have everything." - Dorothy Patterson

"You can no more diminish the glory of God by refusing to worship Him, than a lunatic can diminish the sun by writing 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." - C. S. Lewis

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The MTD virus

**Back in July i went to the TSCF conference, which was a special one because it celebrated 70 years of TSCF..and it was quite cool because there was even 3 generations of one family there on the day i went, when TSCF grads could go along. Anyway they had several different speakers, and the one day that i went to the conference this guy Paul Windsor, who's the principal of Carey Baptist College did a talk on this thing called the MTD virus...and i found it quite interesting what he had to say. I'm typing out this article btw so hope you find it interesting too :P**

Having completed the largest and most detailed survey of teenagers and religion ever undertaken, Christian Smith and Melinda Denton conclude that American teenagers are unknowingly infected by the virus of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

What does this phrase mean?
In being moralistic these young people affirm that the prupose of religion is to provide guidance on how to be a good person. This, they say, is all that God wants of us: to be good people others will like by giving our energy to self-improvement and fulfilling our potential. There are just Two Commandments: 'Thou Shalt not Hurt Others' and 'Thou Shalt not Be Hurt by Others'. Any focus on God is eliminated. Any external standard is unnecessary. What is good is "something everybody know" - like an instinct. And good people go to heaven.

This MTD virus is described as a five point creed with the therapeutic characteristic entering at number three: "the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about yourself." Religion helps people get what they want. Faith is about making a person happy and helping them get through life - much like a therapist does. Indeed God is the Cosmic Therapist who can transform us into what we feel like being, rather than what we are supposed to be. Things like repentance, humility, the cost of discipleship, glorifying God by enduring suffering, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness are deleted.

This leads on to a deistic caricature of God in which he creates the world and then stands back from it. However this distant God "is selectively available for taking care of our needs." He becomes the Divine Butler controllable by our remote. He is the helper "who responds in times of trouble but who does not ask for devotion or obedience." Acutally he is not that interested in us, particularly at those times when we'd rather he not be interested in us. He is like the Producer of the Play: the one who "makes all the play possible but stands back and watches" while the actors (you and I) take centre stage.

Summed up in a single sentence, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD) asserts that:
'God is out there somewhere and if you just do what makes you happy and avoid
being realy bad, you'll go to heaven when you die.'

How do we respond to this virus?
We can respond culturally by asking if this virus is really experienced in New Zealand. It may be "the de facto dominant religion among contemporary US teenagers" - but is it Kiwi? Who knows? We don't prioritise comparable indigenous research enough to know. However in asking this contextual question let's not miss the glboal tide that sweeps into our shallow Kiwi bays. For example, The Simpsons rides that tide and exerts influence in NZ. In the rush to avoid being caricatured like Ned Flanders, haven't Christians even in New Zealand fallen into the arms of MTD - by default? Such examples easily proliferate.

Then there is the generational response. There is a sub-text throughout Smith and Denton's book [Soul Searching: the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers]: 'don't give teenagers a hard time as they've picked this stuff up from their parents.' The virus may now be endemic but those early, unnoticed, and critical outbreaks occurred in the preceding generation.

It is not the Christian teenager, but the parents and the church leader and the TSCF graduate who need to ask the hard questions. The authors note that most teenagers they interviewed reported that the interview was the first time an adult had ever asked them 'what they believed and how it mattered in their life.' How sad is that? What is the impact of this inarticulacy in our spiritual conversations with young people? How often have our life choices had Moralistic Therapeutic Deism stamped all over them? Young people are listening and watching...and following.

An ecclesial response also comes to mind. The authors conlude that "Christianity in the US is only tenuously Christian ... it is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, it is actively being colonised and displaced by a quite different faith." The primary challenge we face is not secularism but syncretism. The enemy is in here, not out there. The worship of the living God mixes with the worship of other things until the living God is lost in the clutter and we slowly cease to be Christian in any sense at all. Following Jesus accomodates itself within a Microsoft Windows template. We open hmi up, maximising him on the screen of our lives - but then just as easily minimise him as our friends, our families, our careers, our OEs, and our consumption takes centre stage. Within the church we too are "incredibly inarticulate" about our faith as the MTD virus works to keep "religion operating in the background of (our) lives."

A final response is the biblical one. There is today an inability to start with God as the first principle of life and mission, allowing his self-revelation in Christ and in the Bible to be our starting point. Again and again we hear it exclaimed: 'I don't like a God like that.' What is goin on here? Me, myself, I are being that first principle! God is being placed within the framework of our understanding, rather than me being placed in the framework of his understanding. It is a sad and simple error. And so the question to ask is this one: when we make God's self-revelation to be the lens through which we look at MTD, what do we see?

At its very core MTD makes a mockery of the cross of Christ. It is not Christian. It is not even close to being Christian. Let's demonstrate this by comparing each word of the virus with two witnesses: a passage of scripture and a hymn of the church.

What is this about a God who is uninvolved (deism)? Have you not heard about reconciliation? It is a relational word. God did not drop out of sight after creating the world. The entire story of the Bible is about this 'hound of heaven' involving himself in this world and pursuing us across sin and conflict and rebellion until he finds us, offering forgiveness through the substitutionary death of Jesus which brings reconciliation. After all of this, an uninvolved God seems ridiculous. Consider again the depths of 2 Cor 5:15-21 and the heights of that hymn 'It is a Thing Most Wonderful'.

What is this about a life lived solely for the purpose of feeling happy (therapeutic)? Have you not heard about redemption? It is a marketplace word. It is about buying slaves so as to liberate them. We are slaves to sin and unable to grapple with our situation because of that sin. We are hopeless and helpless. God purchases our redemption with a substitute. His own Son dies our death so that we can live his life - a new life with Jesus as Lord. After all of this, living just to feel happy looks pathetic. Consider again the depths of 1 Peter 1:18-21 and the heights of that hymn 'Make me a Captive Lord'.

What is this about just being a good person (moralistic)? Have you not heard about justification? It is a legal word. We stand in the dock. We face a righteous and holy judge. He has a standard we cannot attain. There is no goodness in who we are or what we do that can make a difference. We are guilty and so the outcome is clear. And then God brings in Jesus. He takes our place in the dock as a substitute and receives the sentence of death. It is called grace, opening the way for God's acceptance of us. After all of this, placing confidence in our own goodness looks silly. Consider again the depths of Romans 3:21-26 and the heights of that hymn 'Not What These Hands Have Done'.

A recent article in Christianity Today asks whether we can become too atonement-centred. In making a response to the MTD virus, the answer is 'no'.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Celebrate good times...

...c'mon, da dum dum dum da dum! why? coz i am now on summer break, yea-uh! =) had my last exam yesterday and it went pretty well, was stage 1 psych and was just multi-choice and short answer. My other exams went alright as well. And just before I started my exams i found out i got my first A+ for an essay, was for my stg 3 geography one! :)

And i've also been trying to sort out a job for the summer, and i've got an interview for this job at my dad's work, where they already have one other girl from uni doing like filing etc...boring stuff but apparently it pays alright. so yeah hopefully something will come of the interview, otherwise i'll have to go into SJS :/ (coz my music job finishes up each year in Dec when the kids finish school).

Not alot else to say at the moment, but will be more regular with my posts, now that i have more time on my hands..

have a good w/end everyone :)