Friday, 24 September 2010


Catherine says -  I have just read Davids latest blog draft and said to him YOU REALLY CAN'T PUBLISH THAT!!

so here, instead is a tongue-in-cheek excerpt from Luke 25

The funny bit
There was a long queue of people waiting for Jesus and his disciples, the sick, the paralysed, those overcome by paint fumes (like the authors as they write- will the decorating ever be finished!).  But because church has now been established there are one or two procedures to adhere to along the way...

Jesus: 'let the little children come to me'
Leader: 'er, can we just see your full disclosure CRB first'
Jesus: 'My what? I only want to have them come and sit on my knee and talk to them'
Leader: 'Ooh, we can't have any of that even if you have got your CRB - no affection to be shown whatever!'
Jesus: 'Alright - anyone here with long-term issues from the past?'
Mary: 'Well, I've always had problems with...'
Leader: 'Sorry to interupt, but as a single man, we really don't advise you to deal with this young woman..'
Jesus: 'But all I need to do is pray for her and she will be free..'
Mary: 'Just pray? Oh I don't think so, I've already been in counselling for two years, there's no way you're going to fob me off with a quick prayer'
Leader: 'Well, if you're going to get into counselling people I will have to see your accreditation'
Jesus: 'Accreditation, thought doing the fathers will was all that was needed'
Leader:  'You are a joker, trying to do something without the correct qualifications, do you realise the trouble you could be in! You can't do a job like that, we need the certificate before you can do anything - just because your father did it isn't enough!!'
Jesus to the disciples: 'look guys you're going to have to do stuff too, the queue is getting longer because of these rules and regulations'
Peter:  'right I will go and set up a Bible school, so that we can all be properly trained away from all these difficulties - do you reckon 3 or 4 years should do it?'
John:  'great I could run the church planting conference with you'
Nicodemus:  'well I am a professional, reckon I could do a bit of business planning for you'
Joanna:  'For goodness sake there are all these people here now, we have God with us, why can't we just get on with things'
Crowd:  'Don't be so unwise', 'I don't know how to talk to people', 'it could be dangerous', 'we can't just go round praying for people, might do more harm than good', 'we are not professionals', 'my diary is full till easter'

Jesus: Exit stage right, head in hands, weeping...

David says - Catherine's getting Josh to sleep whilst Becky watches 'Little Mermaid', so here's a slightly edited version of the forbidden blog - don't tell her...

The forbidden bit...
Ok, so let’s be clear from the outset, when you’re taking big risks, you need to be careful. The risk itself is, well, risky. You don’t want to add unnecessarily to the risk by being stupid. So I’m all for being wise, all for thinking ahead, all for avoiding pitfalls and the enemy’s traps.

But, and I say this with all due respect, TAKE SOME ******* RISKS. Let's stop sitting on our backsides shouting words of caution from the sidelines! There are people dying out there – some literally of course, but many more who are dying inside. Lots of them look ok - just like you on the outside - but if you look into their eyes, if you spend a few minutes really asking, you’ll find out that they are dying inside.

Janet & I used to work in Relief  & Development. Classic dilemma; young child dying of dehydration, all you have to hand is unclean, contaminated water. What do you do? YOU GIVE THE CHILD THE WATER!!!! If you don’t it will die. If you do it might die from water-borne diseases, but if you don’t IT WILL DIE.

The person in front of you is dying inside. If you invite them into your life it might be messy - who knows where it will end? You’ve never handled this kind of thing before, there are probably others more competent. You’re frightened of screwing up, of making it worse. You don’t really have the time, the resources.

Jesus reinforced the command – ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. So to avoid it they asked ‘Who is my neighbour?’ I mean, if it’s the nice, same culture, same class, same point-of-view person from my church / club / work / neighbourhood then great! If it’s a person I believe I can help – that would actually make me feel good and valued – it would hardly feel like helping at all.... But Jesus doesn't let them get away with that! Instead he tells a story of the religious bigot from the feared part of town. He makes the point that your neighbour is whoever God brings across your path with a need. But they deflect it again by arguing they don't have what it takes to fill the need. So the gospel tells of the time the disciples are surrounded by an impossible need – around 10,000 men, women and children without food. He makes it clear – 'Right now, these are your neighbours, get on and sort it'. They moan ‘We don’t have the resources’. But if God has defined someone as your neighbour. He has the resources, you need to trust Him for them. The little boy did.

The person in front of you is dying inside. You feel grossly uncomfortable, getting involved might wreck your plans. Worse, it seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom. Shouldn’t you wait to get other people involved, until you’ve had the training, until the kids have grown up, until we have the resources? What if it goes wrong and you end up hurting them, what if you don’t have what it takes? WAKE UP, THEY’RE DYING, THEY ARE YOUR NEIGHBOUR.

Please, don’t have a prayer meeting about it, don’t email everyone saying how worried you are about those who are actually getting their hands dirty, don’t write a policy on it. DO SOMETHING, THEY ARE DYING.

Of course, as you are rescuing, seek advice, be accountable, follow or write the policy, pray like crazy. BUT ACT, DO IT, DO IT NOW. THEY ARE DYING. Tomorrow may be too late.

Jesus showed them time and again.  Ultimately He showed us all.

Sorry for the shouting, for the graphic  language. Truth is, the cross was ******* inconvenient. But God thought that we as neighbours were worth it.

Let’s prove Him right.


  1. Best TA post yet!

    Very relevant and necessary in our current Christian society that so often lacks the balls to get on with the task in hand - saving those who are right in front of us...

  2. Hi, not sure about this blog. It would be worrying if a young or impressionable Christian read this and took the advice literally. Not the most responsible post and I have in fact found the last two posts very difficult and upsetting to read.

  3. We post thinking allowed to stimulate debate. As a little further thought, how old/experienced were the disciples when they were sent out to heal the sick and raise the dead?

  4. I agree with Matt A. Its easy to be a "cosy Christian", part of a club that makes you feel good. The tricky bit is facing up to the challenges in the world; getting our hands dirty; starting to see how the other half live. The real test is whether we can maintain our faith and actually help in the very real and messy lives people lead. Don't get me wrong, there is great value in shared worship, prayer and fellowship, but somehow I think God wants a bit more from us - indeed to "go in peace to love and serve the world".

  5. Excellent Blog from start to finish!!! Well done to you both!!!!!!!!!!!! Stunning yet again!!!!!!!!!!! Thank - you

  6. Toootally agree, thanks.
    But need to take your (and my own) advice!

  7. Part one - Is it funny or does it show what a ridiculous society we are living in and accepting more and more of it? - pretty much all foreseen in literature.
    Part two - Too hurtful for some to read. Too uncomfortable for the rest because it's easier to ignore.

  8. I love it! Although i do take on board what anonymous said earlier regard young and impressionable people running risks, however, that is the problem, we raise children now to analise and stand back to mistrust and to hold at arms length, so when they grow they mistrust each other and never move forward and eventually become stinted in spiritual growth, and in love if we are not careful. I appreciate that not all young people have a mentor, whether it be a mother/father, but hopefully there would be somebody who would support them in their ideals, and of course particularly the church if that is their leaning!
    David, finally someone whose house is as silly as mine!! lol

    Marsha xx

  9. Thanks for the fab blog, it has come and bashed me between the eyes and, for the first time in ages, has stirred something up in me.

    Years of evangelical claptrap /pain / boredom have sucked the will to do 'church' out of me. I have struggled to keep a razor-sharp perspective of God when the church has tried to blunt that perspective. I find myself asking God again and again to be filled with light,integrity and depth - something that goes so deep, it hurts. I'm nowhere near that yet - God still seems to be sitting on the other side of the clouds - but I know that will change and the new thing will be all those things I'm asking for. But, in the meantime, I have to operate in a world of evangelical claptrap (ECL), which seems about as relevant as a marriage course for the Pope! The world at least has reality - grittiness, messiness, pain and laughter - church, from where I see it, is merely a superficial gathering of people with no life who exchange ECL. Presumably the whole point of church is to help individuals maintain a razor-sharp perspective of God as they do life in a dying and often demonic world - back-up for frontline activities. The reality is often 2 entirely separate camps each with walls around them. I, personally, am 100 times more at home in the world camp, but have struggled with not being contaminated by it and keeping the razor-sharp perspective. I sometimes (usually in a boring sermon) count up the number of hours of my life I spend in church and then work out the proportion of my life it fills and inwardly scream at the shocking waste of time - it makes me really angry.

  10. Brilliant post! These should not simply "tickle our ears" - they should be challenging and prophetic - in my opinion this is!

    Keep it up!

  11. Wouldn't it be exciting if a young or impressionable Christian read this and took the advice literally! Now, wouldn't that advance the Kingdom!

  12. All I can say is WOW! You really got down to business in this one and I want to shout YES, YES, YES to 'the church', myself included. I've had some great opportunities lately, but want more. What's the point of staying inside our 'cosy' church meetings if we don't share what we know to be what people need? I'm fed up of living by the perceived rules and regulations. I'm me, and my faith is a big part of me, so don't expect me to be anything else. And I may not be the most highly trained counsellor/teacher/preacher etc but Jesus didn't say 'Go to bible college and THEN go into all the world to preach the good news to all nations', did he? As long as I don't set myself up as what I'm not, what's the problem? It's about being a friend. Which means sharing of yourself. Which is what most people are scared of. It means sacrifice. It means letting them know you. It means making yourself vulnerable. Now that's the challenge.

  13. Interesting - this blog entry certainly stimulated some heated discussion in our house today! Got to say though, while I think it makes some great points I didn't appreciate the manner that they were made. I'm afraid being I found it a bit patronising and a little bit smug. As someone who tries really hard to do the will of God, to be a risk-taker and take seriously the challenge of doing this in 21st century England, I don't like the implied assumption that I'm a lazy, cosy, armchair Christian. In case that makes me sound smug(!) I realise that I get it wrong a lot and can always do with being spurred on - I just didn't like this particular spur.

  14. "Shouldn’t you wait to get other people involved, until you’ve had the training, until the kids have grown up, until we have the resources? What if it goes wrong and you end up hurting them"

    In a word yes you should wait if you could hurt someone by not having the correct training. And yes you should think of your children and situation before diving in head first; your responsibility is to your children. God gave you a wonderful gift by enabling you to have them, and as a responsible parent their welfare should come first. If by helping someone you end up in some way hurting someone else then that would not be God's wish, family and friends should come first.

    My faith is private, I do not wish to shout about what I believe, I seek to help everyone I can in any way possible but my family and friends ALWAYS come first, are you saying that God would see me as a 'cosy armchair Christian'?

    I think you wish to encourage more people to find their faith, however the view expressed in this blog could be seen as very self righteous, and is the kind of things that would put off many young people joining the church.

  15. Surely the key here is a conscious indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a daily commitment for more of him in our ordinary lives, for a hunger and a pursuit of more of HIM and thus to increase the capacity in which he is able to dwell in us ... I am desperate for more of HIM! And I am pursuing that some of HIM will spill out of ME, despite my weaknesses and failures, and that in that way I can really re-present Jesus - speak into people's lives, heal the sick, cast out demons ... but if I just go and do those things under my own steam / with my own agenda ...
    I really just want to learn to dovetail with God!

  16. Agree we need to get stuck in, but not convinced that the opposite of complacency is risk-taking - I think it's obedience. In my life risk-taking has often had an element of ego, glamour even (I've worked in Asia for NGOs, been at the raw end of mission), and sometimes God's will for us can be quite mudane. Lovingly helping my kids with their science homework can take more selflessness and determination than risking my personal security helping traffiked migrant workers in Hong Kong for example. One is largely invisible often thankless, the other invites admiration, seems exciting,gets recognition. Risk taking in itself is not always glorious or Godly it can infact be egoistic. It is a human, subjective measure, guts and holiness are more difficult to measure.