Monday, 4 December 2017

THE DANGER OF EXPERIMENTING ON OURSELVES

'It it is Man's power to treat himself as a mere "natural object" and his own judgement of value as raw material for scientific manipulation to alter at will. The objection to his doing so does not lie in the fact that his point of view (like one's first day in a dissecting room) is painful and shocking till we grow used to it. The pain and the shock are at most a warning and a symptom. The real objection is that if man chooses to treat himself as a raw material, raw material he will be: not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite, that is, mere Nature, in the person of his de-humanized Conditioners.' 
CS Lewis, The Abolition of Man, p.72. 

THE POLITICALLY CORRECT

'A great many of those who "debunk" traditional or (they say) "sentimental" values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process.' 
CS Lewis, The Abolition of Man, p.29. 

PEOPLE

'I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not, except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbours, companions? And then there is the question, on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others. Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it; some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and then there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost. And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of.'
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending, p.44. 

YOUTH

'Yes, of course we were pretentious - what else is youth for?'
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending, p.10. 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

JESUS

'...approachable holiness...'
Andy Angel, Intimate Jesus, p.101. 

THE INTIMATE FRIENDSHIP OFFERED BY JESUS

'By promoting emotional and spiritual intimacy amongst men, John may find himself in conflict with modern stereotypes. The physical intimacy he depicts between himself and Jesus may also be something some contemporary men  might find awkward. This is probably the most counter-cultural aspect of John's exploration of Jesus and ancient sexuality. Within our highly sexualised cultures, enjoying and expressing that kind of soul kinship and intimate friendship comes across to many as repressed homosexuality. But for John, it seems, too many men experience repressed friendship. So he runs the risk of misunderstanding, and depicts his close friendship with Jesus unashamedly because he wants to encourage others to experience and share the intimate and life-giving love of God.' 
Andy Angel, Intimate Jesus, p.100. 

THE PASTORAL POWER OF JESUS' SEXUALITY

'Right at the start of his Gospel, John describes Jesus as the Word made "flesh". In its immediate context, that word suggests sexual desire. In the story at the well, Jesus' best friends clearly think him as capable of sexual desire as the next man. It is quite telling that in this same story John offers one of his strongest images of Jesus' human limitations, depicting him as simply too tired to continue into town to get food and instead sitting down by the well. John deliberately brings out Jesus' experience of sexual desire in the frailty that is common to all of us. Those of us for whom questions about faith, sex and sexuality arise from our experience can heave a sigh of relief: the God whose commands we struggle with, and to whom we pray in and about our difficulties, understands sexual desire from experience. He is not only "gentle and humble in heart" as he disciples us, but he has more than a rough idea of what we are going through.' 
Andy Angel, Intimate Jesus: The Sexuality of God Incarnate, p. 98. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

WHY THE CHURCH NEEDS HUMILITY

'Every human society or community is by nature both introspective and unstable. It is introspective, because it is always more comfortable to be a club to which only "people like us" belong. And it is unstable because I in my pride will always want to be narrowing the definition of people "people like us" so that it becomes "people like me." Human pride leads to human strife which divides a society from within; and human pride leads to dividing walls of hostility which cut us off from the world outside. The gospel therefore needs to counteract both internal instability and external defensiveness. And it does both in exactly the same way, by humbling human pride.' 
Christopher Ash, Teaching Romans (Volume 1), p.35. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

WE ARE RELATIONAL IMAGES

'God is in relationship, and so too is the man created by him. This is his divine likeness.' 
Karl Barth in Todd Wilson, Mere Sexuality, p.70. 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

SEXED BODIES MATTER

'If we want to be fully human, we have to embrace our sexed bodies. But we don't have to engage in sexual activity to be fully human. The life of the Son of God makes that perfectly clear.' 
Todd Wilson, Mere Sexuality, p.50.