The D Word
What an amazing magazine you produce! The way you look at most issues and controversies from a variety of perspectives is unique. In the ‘The D Word’ (August), Tamala Ceasar very helpfully and skilfully explained why the Church needs to address the issue of divorce. However, there are one or two sides not covered. In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul writes, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you [the Church in Corinth], and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate”. It reminds me of an article I read a few years back, which said in the USA there are now more Christian divorces than non-Christian divorces and mostly among evangelicals. My concern is in the Church today, we bend over backwards to re-accommodate the guilty party and their spouse into the church, while the unfortunate former spouse and children are suffering a kind of bereavement and are usually ignored. They might lose their home and sometimes their faith. Many of us talk of wanting to be like the early Church. But sometimes it seems like we do not want its discipline. Edwin Self
My divorce was one of the best things to happen to me – nearly two decades of financial and emotional abuse had virtually destroyed me and, when my husband left me for someone else, I felt an enormous weight lift off my shoulders. Of course, no one (least of all a Christian) goes into marriage expecting it to end this way, but sometimes divorce is merely the death certificate for a relationship that has been dead for a very long time. Having been given a second chance at marriage I now know what it means to be loved, cherished and taken care of in a way I never knew before. My husband (whose wife had left him and their two teenagers for someone else) and I met on Christian Connection and were married in the CofE church where we were worshipping. Neither of us has experienced any negativity from other Christians in the process. Instead our community has rejoiced with us that our God is a God of second chances.
Feast on scripture
Glenn Paauw’s article ‘Turning our Fast Food Bible into a Feast’ (July) accurately addressed some of the issues around Bible engagement which the Church faces. But I agree with Naomi Hill’s letter (August) that it failed to point readers to actual resources which help people read scripture in the way he suggests. The good news is there are strategies which give practical help for any church leader passionate about seeing the theory of Paauw’s article worked out in practice.
Biblica have produced the ‘Community Bible Experience’ which helps churches read through large sections of scripture and talk about it together. The formatting of the NIV text used in this resource addresses all the issues Paauw refers to. Church leaders who have used it are consistently telling us how much it has impacted their congregation.
The Bible in One Year app from Alpha has revolutionised many people’s Bible-reading habits and helped moved them away from the fast-food method Paauw refers to. The Methodist Church in the UK recently launched Bible Month, encouraging churches to take one month each year to read and study one book of the Bible together.
Finally, the Anglican Church printed 100,000 copies of an edition of Luke’s Gospel called The Light especially for the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ call to prayer which took place during Pentecost this year. With an introduction from the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Light was used to encourage personal Bible reading among church members.
Bible reading is not dead or out of fashion, we are just finding ways to make it more accessible for today’s Church.
Trevor Wilson, UK programmes coordinator, Biblica
Who can disagree with Glenn Paauw that we should be feasting on the Bible and learning much more about it? But let’s also be grateful we have numerous healthy nuggets to feed on. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, forever” (Hebrews 13:8). What a great sound bite for our busy lives. There are plenty of other verses like these, well within Twitter’s 140 character limit and full of lasting nourishment. My favourite is probably Jesus’ words in John 14:6 – and anyone can go online and find that or look it up! What is more suited to the 21st century than the words of the Bible, in format as well as in content?
Leaving home for The Gospel
Jo Swinney’s excellent article ‘God’s Own Country?’ (June) made me think about our wonderful Indian vicar. He responded to God’s call to come to the UK as a missionary 15 years ago, in response to his grandfather, a high Indian Brahmin, becoming a Christian through a British soldier some years ago. He wanted to give something back to Britain. Now he has British citizenship, but as there is no dual citizenship allowed, he had to give up his Indian citizenship. This summer he had to apply for an Indian visa to visit his parents, which took two tries at great expense! His father was refused a visa to attend our vicar’s ordination in the UK. The cost of discipleship can sometimes be very great. Thank you, God, for these dedicated people. They really do know what it means to leave family for the sake of the gospel.
Is revival on the way?
I’ve been thinking about Justin Brierley’s First Word from the July issue. I thoroughly agreed with his comment about the need to return to prayer, action and scripture. J.John hired the Emirates Stadium for his JustOne evangelistic event, because he believes in his 30 years of evangelising that the time is never more right for hiring such a large stadium for a Christian gathering than now. I know of others, such as David L’Herroux, CEO of UCB who agree with him that a revival is coming to this nation, and it is likely to be a big one.
@AnneLeTiss Reading @Christianitymag at 2am is not an antidote for insomnia: 4am I’d caught up with issues but excellent articles keeping me wide awake!
@larbertred I love this month’s @Christianitymag cover. “The Father loves his Son and has put everything in his PowerPoint” John 3:35, sort of.
@JosephHartropp Props to @Christianitymag cover, this is amusing. Christ with a growth chart is very #contemporaryChurch @MalkyCurrie
@MikeTylerSport Astounding depth of faith from Ella in @christianitymag to endure this and then say “I don’t want my heart to be filled with bitterness or hatred.”
FB christianitymag @Christianitymag
Grateful as I was to receive the article in your recent edition regarding communicating like Christ, you might wish to know that I consider myself something of an expert in this particular field. I am sure if you enquired of those who attended my word-by-word exposition of the book of Numbers which I conducted through most of the 1970s, they would attest to that. Both of them.
Fortunately for the congregation I am currently a part of, a rare opportunity to reprise this skill recently presented itself when, owing to sudden ill health, volunteers were sought to deliver the church notices. It is vital for the flock to have this information understood and so I naturally stepped forward. I had them eating out of the palm of my hand.
They seemed particularly taken with my announcement that the Weight Watchers group needed to use the larger double doors at the side of the church this week, applications are now being accepted for three year old pre-school volunteers and that we had a good attendance for a recent concert, where Mr and Mrs Belfrey had sung a duet, ‘The Lord knows why’.
I don’t normally approve of laughing in church, but I suppose when you are in the rare position of receiving a Christ-like clarity of communication, I should expect that joy to express itself. Yours clearly,
Rev Roger D Votional