Psalm 19:9-10
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.

This morning I listened to a bishop from up country who was giving a Thought for the Day on the radio. In it he was trying to explain that he had learned a lot more about Christianity from Sci-Fi movies than he had ever done from reading any book of the Bible. Why? Because, he said, Sci-Fi is actually all about ME! I did not shout at the radio but am happy to remain in my conviction that our faith is not about theology or practice and it is certainly not about ME. It is not even about Jesus Christ. Christianity, in its truest form, is Christ.

The church leadership in my own part of the world has announced the publication of a ‘Cultural Guide’. This guide, in essence, sets out how they want us to think about various things in future. Right at the centre point of five Guide headings lies the word ‘Inclusion’. If leadership can be naive, this is extreme.

First of all, history if riddled with wonderful people trying hard to change the local culture. Three prime examples may be slavery, misogyny and racism. Those subjects have attracted huge efforts over many years but still there are dregs remaining in society, even after all that time and energy spent on eradication.

And yet we can go for change just by printing a Culture Guide?

On so many subjects we are split down the middle — some of us desperately want change and some of us hate the very thought of it! But the times they are a-changing and the signs can be readily seen in the same old church reaction. As we have so utterly failed to make good the society around us we are switching to trying to make ourselves ‘good’. That way we think we will look a more attractive deal to outsiders.

Sometimes we split and sometimes we combine. We reorganise onto a sounder financial footing and we introduce new training schemes to widen our approach to ministry. We try to liven up our worship and we try to tell people who were never excluded that they are, from now on, included. Some of our churches appoint leadership who think one way and yet other churches appoint those who think directly the reverse!

The bad news for us is that society has seen through it all. They lift a shoulder in a dismissive shrug of indifference, lumping Christianity into the same bucketful of differing life views. Whatever turns you on, they all agree.

But the Scriptures are not to be shrugged at or shrugged off. God, of course, is far bigger than the Bible but the book itself is like a funnel collecting rainfall into a measuring container. God lives throughout the Cosmos but he has given us the Bible to collect what we can and funnel it into our brains and our hearts. It is the way, in the main, that he teaches us about life. To live life without it is nothing short of dangerous in the short term and in the long.

Stick with it, Bible-based Christian and never let go of it!

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Mike Endicott

early sunset