I am talking here about love for our neighbour, love for our community and love for our fellow human beings throughout the world. It is not sentimental love or romantic love but simply treating other people as we would treat ourselves. It is the sort of love that Jesus talked about when he said:
As we live in an imperfect society we need some rules and laws to combat the worst forms of evil. Religion has its own sets of rules, but Jesus showed us that if we follow his way, love transcends rules. He was born into a Jewish society which had built up a complex set of rules to moderate and control how people lived their everyday lives. We will see in this article how Jesus broke many of the rules and traditions that religion imposed. Continue reading “Jesus breaks religious rules”
Last week some of my family attended the funeral of a friend who had died at the age of 51 years old from a heart attack. Was it in God’s plan? I don’t believe that God planned for his life to be cut short. I don’t believe that God wanted that. I don’t believe that his premature death was a punishment in any way.
Does God plan that every 3/4 seconds, a child dies of preventable diseases?
Did God plan for half a million people die in an earthquake in Haiti?
Did God condemn 400,000 Vietnamese boat people to drown at sea whilst seeking a new life in a better country?
Did God plan for me to have a stroke 10 years ago?
We normally think about poverty as being caused by a lack of money. Yet it is quite possible to be rich in terms of money and yet incredibly poor in other areas. My passion is to see a world free from the effects of absolute poverty, a world which doesn’t have a billion people surviving on less than $1 a day. Yet I am very aware that defining poverty is not about numbers and statistics, but about a lack of resources in multiple areas such as capital, earning capacity, freedom, health, faith, education, love, family, companionship and community.
I remember, 20 or so years back visiting Nigeria and speaking to people we would certainly class as extremely poor. I must have appeared to be very rich to them. But there was one particular area where I was poor compared to many of them. I cannot go into details, but no sum of money could rectify one particular situation Christine and I were faced with.
Jesus affirmed the Old Testament law: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Italics mine). The implication here is clear: how we love and treat other people, is linked very closely to how we love and treat ourselves. I must admit that I have often emphasised the first part – loving our neighbour – and ignored the second part – loving ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves we do not have much basis for loving other people. We may feel uncomfortable about the idea of loving ourself. Connotations include selfishness, and “looking after number one”. But there is a place for loving, and caring for, ourself so that we are free to love other people. In this article I want to explore this in more detail.
Christmas is a time for giving but also a time for receiving. For every gift that is given, somebody has to receive the gift. The Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive but that doesn’t mean receiving is unimportant. A part of the joy of giving a gift is seeing the response of the receiver. An ungracious receiver doesn’t bring joy to the giver.
Newtons third law of motion states that for every force there is an equal and opposite reaction. So every gift need somebody to receive it. In human terms, a gift can be offered which is not accepted, but for the transaction to be complete, the gift has to be received. Continue reading “How to receive gifts”
Some time ago when I wrote a blog article on compassion, a friend of mine said that he certainly knew what compassion meant towards his friends and family, but found it hard to feel compassion towards people he had never met. I can understand what he meant and pushing the boundaries to eventually include the whole world is a challenge to us all.
I am using the words ‘love’, ‘care’ and ‘compassion’ interchangeably. Love has many different meanings and connotations. Compassion is putting love in action. It means doing something about what we see: without which it is at best, sympathy, or at worst is just pity. Continue reading “Pushing the Boundaries of Compassion”
Karl Marx obviously thought capitalism was a curse and considered that wealth should be controlled by the state for the benefit of all. But in an imperfect world communism failed to deliver and has virtually ceased to exist. Communism and capitalism are based on envy and greed respectively. In this article we will look at the plus side, and the negative side, of capitalism and ask the question, “is there a better way”?