What's a boss to do? The state government says they have to make their staff vaccinate, or they will be heavily fined.
A difference between bosses is whether the vaccine mandates should be seen as a medically warranted general rule (like, staying home if you’re sick), or as an unwarranted status division (like, stay at home even if you're healthy because you won't obey us), thus a breach of conscience & civil liberties. Even if it isn't the latter yet, we should be ready for what to do when a future mandate is such a breach.
Forcing an injection upon people appears to be a breach of conscience & civil liberties, the question is, 'is it warranted?'
My view on vaccines? Consider them separately to the mandates issue: good info accumulates here: https://creation.com/cmi-vaccination. Make an informed decision, weigh the risks of not having, as well as having. And act accordingly.
My view on mandates? Is mandating injections warranted overall? Mandates now seem to be more than merely a medically beneficial general rule (like, staying home if you’re sick), but are not only creating economic hardships, but also creating a division based on status more than transmissibility.
1) If infectiousness is the main issue, then results of personal testing would seem a fairer reason to stay home, and would be equally applicable to all. From this angle, good vaccination can also continue without mandating.
2) If the science for Pf&AZ has been superseded by better vaccines like Covax-19 and Novovax (https://vaxine.net/registration-for-clinical-phase-4-trial-covax-19/), and perhaps by improved treatments, and even by the likely weaker nature of Omicron, if any of these are legitimate alternatives, then the exclusive mandating of Pf&AZ would seem indefensible, perhaps vested. If Omicron proves to be relatively harmless, it could be a free way to achieve herd immunity, and proof of C19 antibodies should be recognised along with vaccine records.
3) The downside of mandates is that they establish a mechanism for restricting a segment of the population against their conscience whether warranted or not. We should resist this as a breach of a biblical principle of freedom of our good conscience before God. Here are some key passages to consider.
Christians have God-given, Spirit-quickened, Word-informed consciences:
My view on what's a boss to do? Organisations have consciences, as well as the people in them. If your organisation under God protects people's conscience, stand by that, unless there is a really good and godly reason that outweighs it. If not, the consciences of your people still matter. Look to your God-given conscience, and prayerfully, sacrificially if need be, obey what Jesus says. And do clarify when and how to resist if & when a government mandate does breach the line, because civil liberty under God is also for the public good.
Our friend, Tas Walker, answers some fair questions about Easter here.
On the origin of the English word Easter, he says:
it came from the Germanic Ost, for east, and rising.
"it’s most doubtful that any Eostre was ever worshipped, because the only evidence is from Bede. And he never mentioned any animal associated with her. A non-existent association with a non-existent goddess is hardly good grounds for seeing paganism in the Easter bunny!"
On the question of three days and nights, he says:
the term "third day" was interchangeable with "3 days & nights" back in the culture of the day.
"So while X days and X nights can mean what it means in English, this was only a subset of its semantic range in Jewish idiom...
"Note that even His enemies understood that ‘after three days’ meant that they only had to secure the tomb ‘until the third day’. If three full 24-hour periods were meant, then they would want to secure the tomb until the fourth day to make sure. So for Jews, the phrases ‘on the third day’, ‘after the third day’, ‘until the third day’ and ‘three days and three nights’ were synonymous."
Enjoy the details.
Follow the events of Easter with in real time with notifications on your device.
From the raising of Lazarus the week before, through Palm Sunday, the Passover meal, the Biblical Stations of the Cross, Resurrection Sunday and the appearances of Jesus.
I made this GoogleCalendar* which you can add to your calendar if you use google calendars. You can add it with this link.
-Remember to allow that calendar to notify you.
-I use a different calendar app than my usual one, so I can see all the events coming up without clogging my daily system.
-It uses traditional timings of events for ease of use with the holidays here in WA.
-Unfortunately it may be locked on the WA timezone*
Try it - see what happens to Jesus, and see what happens to you.
* (In the past I had an App made which adjusted for your own timezone, but the developer ceased. So until a new developer is found, this calendar is the best I could do.)
PS. Just found out about easternow a sparse but good option, available on Appstore & Googleplay.
Question: Where can we see evidence of Jesus today?
Answer: Facts still apply today, whether they're from the past or present. You can meet Jesus all things.
Facts from the past
Facts from the past are still facts for today.
If facts are true, it doesn’t matter when they were discovered.
The facts on the Onepager are not arguments from gaps we don’t have, but from facts we do have.
They all point to Jesus’ presence in reality today. They support the reality of a Creator, the reality of sin, the Bible’s reliability and revelation, Jesus's life, death, resurrection, ascension & Spiritual presence down to the present day. These facts provide a reasonable foundation for the Christian worldview in today’s world.
Moreover these facts apply today to you: your existence is evidence of God. Your life, every breath you take, is evidence for God. Your Bible reliably explains your sin, the struggle & grace in your life. And it establishes facts about your saviour. Such facts from the past remain relevant to what’s true in the present in your world today.
Facts from today
Foundational facts continue to arise today.
-Archaeological finds increasingly confirm the places and events of the Bible.
-Mendel’s Accountant, shows the deleterious effects of mutations over time, disproving evolution as a source of complexity.
-Problems with uniformitarian long-age calculations, support the cataclysmic events in the Biblical worldview.
Consequential facts consistently arise.
-Consequences of Godly morals, vs self-centred ones.
-Consequences of civilisations operating "under God” according to the Bible, vs "under self"
-Consequences of a Biblical worldview are consistently better for individuals, families, politics, war, science, economics, psychology, ethics - and the consequences are often life & death. This suggests that this worldview is best aligned with reality. (ie. true.)
Modern experiences of the living Jesus continue to occur.
Just because they are subjective to each individual doesn’t mean they aren’t also objectively real.
Their ongoing occurrence invites deeper investigation. Upon investigation we find:
-Details, nuance, and life-directing impacts.
-Agreement with the descriptions & character of the Biblical Jesus.
-They occur across cultures and ethnicities - they don’t arise merely out of culture but also despite culture.
-Experiences consistently include answers to prayer, awareness of spiritual presence, spiritual inspiration & guidance, deliverance from bondages, and healings - physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and relational.
-They are widespread, with billions reporting similar encounters, and ongoing relationships, with the life-giving Spirit of Jesus.
-Such experiences are openly offered to all people as an objective reality to be subjectively experienced today. They can be qualitatively compared with others, and to the Bible. The claim is that Jesus is an objective reality you can meet for yourself.
Why don’t we see everyone taking up that offer?
-Traumas that have left people emotionally wounded, resulting in a mindset of basic distrust, fear, bitterness, rejection, or the like. Understandably this makes them reluctant to entrust themselves to God. Emotional healing is needed.
-Ignorance of the facts, and/or their conclusions. Education can help.
-Self-centredness: devotion to their own self-driven lifestyle & the control to which they have become addicted/accustomed. Facing one’s own wilfulness is very hard.
-Self-delusion is surprisingly easy. Even truths are often misused for false conclusions - for example, “God has never shown himself to me.” True in the sense that God hasn’t made a display to force a concession out of that person, this truth can be misused for the false conclusion that the creator therefore does not exist. Yet it remains very possible that the creator exists unseen, and even for good reasons. There are many such misuses of truth statements which we must learn to recognise as self-delusion.
-Peer pressure, pride coupled with fear of rejection, can make a person deny truths they would rationally accept in less emotionally threatening circumstances. (See Peter’s denials.) A healthy sense of identity will help.
-Fear of exploring the facts lest discovering Jesus is alive means a significant change to their worldview and lifestyle. Courage to learn is needed, to find and face the truth.
-Fear of the risk that they might miss out on an experience of Jesus, so it’s safer not to take the risk. Courage to trust is needed, enough to really pray.
Why doesn’t God just "poke his head out of heaven" and definitively prove himself to us all?
Is He toying with us, playing some kind of cosmic game of treasure hunt? Offering himself, then hiding from us? That’s one (perhaps bitter-&-twisted) way to look at it.
Here are some other ways to look at it:
1. How much more evidence do we really need?
Truthfully we already have more than enough evidence: the existence of all physical things, design, life, complexity, universal altruism, conscience, free-agency, reason, relationship, religion, archaeology, history of the highest order, reliable records of his personal presence and action, spiritual experiences to today, all matching the Bible. Plus the offer of your own personal relationship with his Spirit. Outside of those things… what else is there!
2. Would some plain, spiritual, revelation really make us believe?
-If it happened to someone else, couldn’t I still merely discount it as “just another subjective experience”?
-If it happened to me, couldn’t I just rationalise it away as, “just some psychotic episode"?
-If it happened to a lot of us at the same time… as happened with Jesus’s miracles before his death, with his resurrection appearances, and with his Spirit's manifestations from Pentecost onwards... all those eyewitnesses were still ignored by many.
As Jesus said in one of his stories, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’
3. The free agency of each person’s heart plays a key role, their disposition, whether they want to face up to Jesus.
- If they DO want to meet and serve Jesus, there are more than enough facts to go on, they aren’t hidden, they can find them, and they can pray.
- If they DON'T want to meet Jesus, then humans are very capable of ignoring or rationalising away from God. If that is what they want, then the creator allows them room to do that. For the Supreme Being of the Universe to allow this seems remarkably gentle and humble.
Turning away has consequences to consider
God’s ultimate plan is to gather the people who will come to him, to be with him forever. But those who pull away will not be in that gathering.
That’s why Romans 1 says, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
We have observed all of this happening in our time too. And this constitutes further evidence for the truth of God’s word.
Meet Jesus in all things
What do I do if I want to meet Jesus?
I can research the facts, but once I find them to be truthful, how do I start this relationship with Jesus?
Simply tell the ever-present spirit of Jesus that you want to do things his way from now on, and ask him to show you what that is.
Look & Listen for his answer.
Some places to look are obvious: read the Bible, and ask other Christians about what is already very clear, that he is likely to do with you.
Some listening takes practice. Our modern world is crammed with voices & signals throwing so much information at us, that we now actually have to learn to unplug, declutter, be still and quiet, in order to sense God’s gentle presence and promptings. Then we can begin to learn to put off and put on: put off bad identities, habits of thinking, behaviour, addictions, and put on Christ-filled identities, habits of thinking & conduct.
Do what he says.
Follow his higher purposes for our lives. Try it and see how you deepen and grow. Core practices include time with him, time with other believers, and time with other people as salt and light in the world. The aim is not legalistic obedience, but closer togetherness. You can learn to meet with Jesus everywhere you go, in everything you do. When it's his will, you will encounter his pleasure and joy in it. When it’s not his will, you will find he challenges you there, to put off that thing and put on something better.
Colossians 1 says, "For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” When we learn to meet with Jesus at all times, in all places, literally in all things, then the evidence for Jesus becomes clear in the air we breathe, our life. The factual truths outside of us merely confirm the living Truth within us. It turns out that evidence for Jesus is actually... in all things.
The first step towards him is your heart, your basic motivation. As Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Why are we afraid to witness? Fear of rejection.
Why are we afraid of rejection? Pride, fallen human nature, pecking order.
But we have been ultimately accepted by The One Who really matters!
Let that change us inside-out. See more here from Ray Comfort.
It's now 12 months into the pandemic, and we've been fairly protected here in Western Australia. With the first lockdown, Cheers transitioned fairly well into Cell Church mode, using digital tech to relieve the isolated, and our usual small group discussion format to keep Biblically centred.
- the young adults settled into 4 groups
- our teens re-gathered quickly
- Church 247 met on alternate weeks in Home Groups, and gathered in the Community Hall as able.
Adults were less confident to lead Home Groups than I'd hoped. It's not so difficult to run a small group, especially when compared with meetings and other responsibilities they conduct at work, and they have all they need in terms of knowledge, skills and tools, yet most still seem bluffed by leading a small group around the Bible. Not sure what to do about that, but press on. However it does show the importance of training young people who seem to be more likely to learn and do the stuff.
During the year some of our young adults married and moved to the country, taking their training with them and we're cheering for them, confident that they will find ways to bless and benefit their new part of the world with the Gospel. Others have done this in the past, and more are set to do so in the next year or so. We pray this outflow will result in multiplied mission.
At a wedding recently I used these symbols to illustrate the Great Mystery (Ephesians 5) of marriage.
First the triquetra, an old Celtic symbol for the Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also illustrates how Christian marriages invite God into our marriages, he strengthens the relationship like a threefold cord (Ecclesiastes 4)
But the Mystery of Marriage goes yet deeper:
True North - Christian
From hiking to ethics, politics, spirituality, psychology, relationships, in all areas of life in which decisions about reality are important, we really need a true reference point. We need the compass needle to point north so we can align ourselves with reality as it is, and not get lost. A reliable reference point.
For societies to function well together, a primary reference point needs to be agreed so we can all avoid conflict as much as possible. When I visit Indonesia, I know the local reference point is largely Islam, so I know how to get along. Even if I don't agree with Islam personally, I can accomodate wherever possible in good conscience. At Australian Federation we chose a generally agreed reference point in Judaeo-Christianity, the Bible, "under Almighty God." The consensus was that we all go along with this same reference point as a society. Besides, part of that Christianity was that "secular" meant non-sectarian, open to all, regardless of creed. So Christianity provided a good reference point for public ethical decisions and the moral conduct of society.
Spinning Compass - Agnostic
But from mid twentieth century, Australia's general population became less certain of Christianity, and even the idea of objective truth. With growing multiculturalism, the magnets of other ideologies made the public discourse agnostic: "we don't know what our public reference point should be." But instead of really thinking this through, broadcast technology rushed through the shallow, political-correct (ie. wrong in the real world) idea of "each to his own, you do you, I'll do me." Public media and politics mostly ignored the matter of truth, ultimate reality, and an agreed reference point.
This sounded democratic: "let's leave it as a private matter and not have a public reference point as such." And no doubt most Aussies still think that's what we have today... but not so!
Self-Aligned Compass - Naturalism
Most of us didn't even see it happen and assume we're back at Agnostic. But to the degree that religious / spiritual worldviews are excluded from the public square, one worldview remains as the default reference point. Naturalism asserts there is only the natural, physical world, no super-natural, no other dimensions, no God to answer to, no higher power, so do anything you want - just keep religion private. "Secular" has come to mean, "no religious views." In practice this Naturalism is Australia's public reference point, now unofficially determining all our national, ethical, political decisions. Marriage, gender, religious education, terminating babies, the old and infirm, public narratives about science, climate, races, power/victim status, are all decided squarely on the reduced basis of Naturalism.
We were not asked if we wanted to shift our public reference point, let alone shift it to Naturalism. It just happened by excluding the other options. If we had been asked, "Do you want Naturalism as our new public reference point?" we would have certainly voted against it. Why?
1) Partly because more of us do experience spiritual realities than do not. "Under God" is a real consideration for most of us.
2) Also because with a little thought it soon becomes obvious that Naturalism is a really bad reference point because it inevitably leads to the Law of the Jungle, with everyone pulling for their own interests, with the most ruthless grabbing power to eliminate the competition. That's been the result in all socialist / communist governments, which are always based on, yep, Naturalism. We know where that road leads, and we don't want to go there.
The question now is, will we become publicly wise enough to thoughtfully choose our reference point before we descend into naturalist chaos?
Can we choose a better reference point? Which reference point would you choose and why?
- Which worldview actually produces freedom of conscience? (Not merely allows it for the time being.)
- Which has a proven record of producing moral societies, with humility and civic service?
- Which encourages separation of powers, and the idea that all of us are accountable under the Creator? (Check Magna Carter.)
Even honest atheists admit that Christianity has yielded the best moral code for societies, and the safest freedoms for others to disagree. A Christian public reference point best serves everyone, including agnostics and naturalists. Agnostic Jordan Peterson knows this: as a psychologist helping people to align their lives with reality, he says, “I live as though God exists, and I’m terrified that he might.” That’ll work for Australia too.
(PS. After returning to the climate of freedom that Christianity brings, maybe we can also remedy that agnosticism about evidences for the Creator. That’s another story.)
Biblical Feasts summary
Feasts are more than just great times. They bind communities together around shared concepts and experiences in common. Like a wedding feast celebrates around our common support of the union of these people. Likewise the feasts that God instructs his people to observe, bind them together too, around concepts core to their identity. And because these core concepts are fulfilled in Jesus, they are also about our identity too.
Due to our communion services, many of us already know how Passover relates to our life in Christ (the prophesied Messiah). Likewise, so do the other Feasts of the LORD, instituted in Lev23:1-44. Num29:12-34. Deut14-16.
1) Christ is the spotless Passover lamb, whose blood saved us from death, and from slavery to sin.
2) Christ is the Unleavened Bread, broken, wrapped, and buried to return later.
3) Christ is the First Fruits of the resurrection.
4) Christ is given at Pentecost /Feast of Weeks /Second Harvest, to gather Gentile believers as a second harvest.
5) Trumpets will announce Christ's second coming, the start of the new age to come.
6) On Atonement Day, Christ will cover us when he Judges this mixed up world.
7) Then Christ Shelters with us, as he has in the wilderness of this life, as he did as God in the flesh, does now by his Spirit, so he will dwell with us in the Heavenly feasting to come.
Although not all Christians observe these feasts, we can celebrate that Israel's core Scriptural feasts are fulfilled by the Messiah who grafts us in to His Story. Thus these feasts can bind us together very deeply.
New Life Church in Fremantle made these cards about Christ in the Calendar of feasts. I added the 8th.
Christians benefit from a closer look at the Biblical Fall Feasts, because, among other things, they foreshadow Christ's work in days to come. We have hindsight to help us see how Christ fulfilled Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost. We need foresight to see how he will fulfil Trumpets, Atonement, and Shelters.
This helps us understand why there are two New Years in the Jewish calendar: the religious-year cycle of teaching starts with Trumpets, but the calendar-year starts just before Passover. Some people start their spiritual lives at the beginning with Creation and the Old Testament (Jewish), but some start with Jesus the Passover lamb (Christians).
The religious annual cycle begins with Creation, the First era:
Whether you start with Creation, or start with Christ, the Feasts commemorate the whole of history, from the very beginning to the very end of the age.
2) Noel had a way of dignifying normal life. We college boarders saw each others’ bad hair days, and once Noel asked my friend for a razor to shave because he’d left his at home. He was not embarrassed because he was genuinely humble. He knew that his little moments were just as significant as his global work. His gracious attitude was the same in all circumstances, everything was a gift from Christ. From the podium to the kitchen he was Christ's grateful servant. This inspired the community with integrity from top to bottom. Lk16:10 faithful in little things
3) Noel kept Christ at the centre of the community. Without this, communities inevitably drift. But Noel’s communities stayed true. He would often remind us that the college was to teach us to “think theologically,” because through Scripture we get to know Christ. Noel knew both intimately, which is why often you could tell he was led by the Spirit to say just the right thing, to have that gracious humility, to love that enlivening way. If everyone bathed in the Word and the Spirit like that, counselling services would become redundant. Eph5:26 washed with the word
Each house at this school has a theme, Courage, Character, Compassion, and that of Vose house is Community. This might surprise if you only knew Dr GN Vose from his Wiki page, looking at all his academic achievements and the Theological College he started. But that College was a Vose-like - no, Christ-like - community. It pulled people together. And I’ll warrant that same enthusiastic community was a hallmark of Noel's presidency of the Australian Baptist Union, and then of the Baptist World Alliance: he pulled people together. Noel regenerated discussions between Baptists and Mennonites in a way that hadn't happened since 1630! He planted a new church at 70! Community was his legacy. Back then we used to tease him about being "The Pope of the Baptists.” But he kind of was - in the best sense of “papa,” building up all of us who came to orbit around his truly Christian community.
Don't Squander Your Chance
For many this forced layoff is a chance to reset our priorities and activities. The decks have been cleared for us. So what shall we do with this time? First thought: have a rest! Yessss!!! Watch some movies, read some books, sleep longer…. Maybe get some jobs done, clean up, sort out… But after you’ve caught up, then what?
Well, what do you consider most important after all?
Now is a great chance to start doing what you really deep down want to do.
How about these top five practices for life:
5) Be generous with toilet rolls. If we don't share when we have, who can we ask when we need?
4) Spend quality time with the people in your household. Don't be isolated in your screens, make time to reconnect. Have dinner around the table; ask "what do you thank God for today?"; play a board game; do some craft; a jigsaw… google family fun ideas.
3) Reconnect with extended family and friends via calls or videolink.
2) Re-introduce yourself to God. Actually pray. Get to know him better. Day by day. (We can help with Core Stuff, and the Bookmark of HPOWER).
1) Meet for prayer, care and sharing around the Bible, in groups of 3-6, via videolinks if necessary, to actively grow in the Spirit, and share the love with others. (Cheers can help with this, and get you BOPping!)
This virus, now, is an opportunity for humanity to turn back to God. Let’s take it.
As Ferris Beuler famously said, Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.
Apocalypse. It actually means uncovering, revealing, as in the Biblical book of Revelation. But ironically we have smothered the word with such fearful connotations that we covered over the very thing that was meant to be uncovered! We fear the dangers so much we miss the main point.
Since we apparently live in such apocalyptic times... it’s well worth asking: what was meant to be uncovered? Answer: the Ending to The Big Story.
What Big Story?
The overall narrative from the beginning of time to end. The Biblical Story. The Story within which all our life stories are contained! Which begs the further question, what part will you play in it? Using the Olympic Rings, here’s a graphic summary of that Story:
Just like all great stories, there's an Author, Evil, Salvation, Freedom & Community.
Author - Blue reminds us of Creation and thus its Creator. God creates, creation is good, humans are made in God’s image, very good. But then...
Evil - Black, darkness, selfishness, the sin that damages creation. We try to take over from God, to run our own lives but only ruin our own lives. This sinful fallenness is shown from Adam and Eve to every story in the Bible...
Saviour - Red, blood, the Saviour’s mortal battle to make things right.
The Law and the Prophets (>>) foreshadow and predict the Salvation to come. The Old Testament repeats stories of sin and salvation: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israelites, Judges, Kings, Writings and Prophets: we ruin life, God saves it, repeat. There are always warnings, and then judgement for the stubborn and salvation for the faithful. The cycles repeat through history even to the present day. But then comes The Saviour...
(X) Christmas reveals the Christ, the Messiah. 'Jesus' means Saviour. He is none other than the Creator become human, Immanuel, God-with-us.
Love summarises his message and his actions, love God first, and people as yourself.
On the cross, Jesus has DONE what we can’t DO for ourselves: he himself bore all our collective sin, guilt, shame, griefs, sorrows etc. for us, on our behalf. Separated from God, he then dies for all of it - in our stead. This means that sin is no longer held against us, we are made right with God! Amazing gift of mercy!
His resurrection overcomes death with life. This proves he has overcome our sin with his purity.
For 40 days he appears, explaining all Scripture to eyewitnesses, offering His salvation to all. Then…
Freedom - Gold, the Spirit of resurrection, in us to set us free from the law of sin & death. Jesus ascends, then 10 days later sends His own Spirit into His people, whoever trusts him, helping us to live like Him. Amazing gift of grace! And this gift is still being given and received today…
Community - Green, Grow in these relationships now and forever. Go share this Big Story. Loving God and people goes on now and forever (>>), in fact The Big Story ends with a divine marriage, Christ receiving his Bride - us! The Big Story turns out to be a Divine Romance.
So for now we are supposed to Grow in those relationships: turn from our sin, trust the Creator-Saviour-Spirit, and live life his way. This trust is what determines our part in the revealed ending: will we receive His amazing gifts and be in the marriage for the faithful? Or will we refuse, ru(i)n our own lives, and face the judgement for the stubborn? Go share this Big Story to anyone who will listen.
So I’m now sharing this Big Story with you. May God give you ears to hear it and pass it on.
I'm convinced this Big Story is actually a True Story, for good reason: it is uniquely coherent, uniquely comprehensive from the beginning of time to the end, and it uniquely accords with all the data we have available to us - including scientific, historical, experiential, relational and spiritual. Therefore it is reasonable to expect that the revealed ending will also come true.
Yes, the Apocalypse (the Revelation) contains frightening warnings and judgements, alarming events to come - wars, calamities, plagues, martyrdoms at the hands of evil economic and political ideologies. The warnings and judgements will cycle some more - exactly what we see in our day - little re-tellings of the Big Story of evil, salvation, freedom and community to come. But then The Big Story will end as revealed, with a final judgement for the stubborn, and a wedding for the Bride and Bridegroom who is the Creator-Saviour-Spirit.
But if we only focus on the calamities, we cover over the main revelation to be uncovered:
the Ending to The Big Story. Don’t miss the main point... What part will you play in The Divine Romance?
What is Cheers doing during the CV19 lockdown? Meeting in cells of 3-6 in homes, (digital attendance is also ok as long as it is person to person interaction, not anonymous viewing.) In some ways we’ve been doing groups of 3-6 for years whenever we gather around the word. Now we just have to do it at home. You’re welcome to look through our crash course summary on how we provide a balanced diet in the groups with a simple bookmark. We call it the Bookmark Of Power (BOP).
We see the CV19 lock-in as being in solidarity with Christians in China who can’t meet in groups bigger than 5, so when they hit 6 it is time to split, and by then both triplets need to have someone who can lead. Thus it empowers and multiplies - it disciples. I can see why God might want to equip us all in such a way. So let's make the most of this time. Perhaps our BOPs will work for you in your own circles. Here's youtube's Cheers Playlist for the CV19 lock-in.
I'm not panicking because my worldview is not limited to Naturalism. COVID-19, bushfires, climate change, etc. merely remind me of our mortality, and the bigger view of life. But Naturalism, which dominates Western public discourse - news and entertainment media, social media, politics, law - across Australia, NZ, USA, UK and Western Europe, has no bigger perspective. As such it's a worldview that generates the very fear, depression, and hostility we see with every reminder of how fragile we are.
Naturalism in a nutshell:
Naturalism is both shallow and brittle.
It's shallow because it rules out other dimensions, and disregards all non-physical phenomena observed.
In contrast the Biblical meta-narrative is deep and robust.
Don’t be put off by the shallow dismissals on public broadcast. Examine the Bible properly without prejudice against spirituality, and you’ll see why it stands the test of time as uniquely reliable revelation from The Creator to us. Unique because no other volume or corpus of texts has anything close to the following qualities:
- Reliable because the archeological and manuscript historical evidence is peerless concerning the Bible's preserved transmission from eye-witnesses to us.
- Revelation from God, because miraculously the over-arching Saviour-centred story is uniquely coherent and comprehensive, despite the diversity of 40 contributing authors across at least a 1600 year period.
.Plus it contains hundreds, even thousands of specific prophecies, many of which were fulfilled in later parts of the Bible, some of which are yet to be fulfilled in the yet-to-be-completed parts of the Story. Plus it claims to contain, and be, God’s word around 3000 times.
.Plus the meta-narrative combines with the readers’ realities to change lives for the better, right up to the present day. (I mean people can relate with the God of the Bible in the present!)
The Biblical meta-narrative is deep in that it accepts other-dimensional realities and interacts meaningfully and substantially with them.
Naturalism is a shallow and brittle worldview that discords with reality, and fragments society.
The Bible gives a deep and robust worldview that accords with reality, and unifies humanity under God.
Our public discourse needs to break out of its shallow, brittle naturalistic worldview. Otherwise it will keep covering up the BIG Story that these apocalyptic events are meant to uncover for us:
- that we are mortal, sin/self/satanic forces are bad, we need a Saviour. Leaving God was not progress.
- turn back, trust & tune in to the Creator, accept his salvation now and forever. In this true, deep and robust worldview, fear subsides, and we can live in courage & faith.
That’s why with all these fires, viruses, climate change... I'm neither panicking nor in denial. I know what to think when reminded of my mortality. Not only the creation, but we who have the first fruits of the Spirit also groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For we were saved with this hope in mind - Romans 8. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom - Proverbs 9.