They barred ME?!!!!

Verses Cartoon

Just had to blog on this one! This morning I found myself barred from a Facebook page called ‘The Christian Left’ for expressing an opinion. This is a page I follow due to its desire to challenge mainstream theology and ‘Christian’ political opinion. I found there contributors with whom I generally agreed and concurred, but the odd occasion I would find a post that went against certain biblical truths I hold dear. I often engaged in these debates, as ever being reserved and polite, and accepted that I would not be in complete agreement with everyone who appeared on the page.

This is the impetus behind this very blog. I always like to challenge fellow believers to think carefully about what they believe, search scripture, ask themselves if what they believe is from their own convictions or their own reading of scripture, or from a denominational bias or the singular rantings of one preacher (or blogger, let’s not forget!).

I never expect to agree with everyone on all the finer points of my faith. There are good friends in my own church who believe in British Israelism – I think it’s one of the most laughable ideas I’ve ever heard, and I tell them so. If they believe it, they’re entitled to. There are many other things upon which debate will always rage, like whether we remain in the grave (soul sleep) or go straight to heaven on death – I’m totally unbothered, to be honest, I’ll get there eventually, whichever way it is. Yet some churches split over this!!

I have little time for ‘statements of faith’ since they invariably end up very lengthy and stray into fairly minor points that seem to state: “unless you subscribe to all our points here, we shall not fellowship with you”. I outlined what I think is important in a previous blog here.

My incredulity comes from an idea within myself that I am probably the most agreeable of theologians, taking points I believe are good and worthy of attention from all sides of opinion, from the Pope to the Puritans, even though I despise many doctrines within those various groups. I’m so glad that I’ve come to a considered opinion that many who claim the tag ‘Christian’ may well be my fellow brothers and sisters – in the end, only God knows [the Calvinist principle of the invisible church] – I have debated with many and found a kindred love for Jesus in people who belong to denominations I consider to be very dodgy; their personal experience is what counts. For me, theological points sit on a scale from very important, through ‘interesting’ to ‘meh!’ and I know myself which I give more weight to, and on that I rest.

I know that pages like The Christian Left have to do some barring. We all know trolls out there, and I’ve seen the usual abusive comments made by some (who very seldom can string together a coherent sentence, yet know how to spell all the swear words one could imagine), but for just saying “excuse me, but that article is doing the very same thing you accuse others of, in being selective and not addressing the whole issue, so making wildly false claims” I get barred from further comments and see mine removed!?

Considering such pages are meant to encourage alternative thinking, surely it is off the scale of irony? So I have to sing from exactly the same hymn sheet? (That pun was unintended, but so apt. Thank you!). Just more denominalisation, causing more division!

“Stop parroting their mantras! Just parrot our mantras and you’ll be fine.”

Grace be with you.

It’s political correctness gone mad, I tell you!

In my humble opinion, Stewart Lee is one of the funniest men on television right now. Yeah, his humour is highbrow, satirical, deadpan, left-wing [oh, the horror!]… but he still manages to have me in painful fits at times, even to the point that my wife is woken from her bed late at night to come in and ask me what’s so funny.

He did a piece recently on political correctness, which is actually not one of his funniest routines, to be honest, but he made a great satirical point. Here it is if you’re curious (note that the F-word appears once, and another swear word appears at the end, which I shall not allude to as it would spoil a great punchline):

I highlight this to make a point that is, sadly, very poignant and relevant this week. We have learned of an appalling situation that arose in Rotherham. It would appear that ‘political correctness’ has now actually led to a truly mad situation. I am in favour of being PC, since it serves a great purpose, as Lee pointed out in his comedy; in that there was a time that all niggers were viewed in the same way, just as all Jews were viewed in the same way in Germany in the 1930s, just as (dare I say it) all Muslims are viewed in the same way now in the 21st century?

I should know, I’m Irish. Well, I’m a protestant from Northern Ireland, but what does that matter to many English people! When my father went to an army training camp in England, they all just called him Paddy. Fine, it was (for most of them at least) just friendly ‘banter’ but a misunderstanding of the complexities of Irish politics and culture was certainly present. Many of us faced such misapprehension and even hostility during those bad times. I had a police officer at a Welsh port look at the address on my driving licence and ask, without any smile or hint of jocularity, “do you know any terrorists?” yet that was mild in comparison to some stories I heard! Was it mild since the officer was Welsh (a fellow Celt) and not a dirty Sassenach? Would that attitude from me be called for, even though I can truly say that my experience of the Welsh and Scots to be better on the whole than of the English? Of course not! Does my experience make me hate or dislike all English people? Of course not!

The same propaganda that was waged against the Jews in Germany by the Nazis can be repeated anywhere by anyone against anyone else. And it is, believe me! I know whom I blame for the recent credit crunch – the bankers! We all know they’re to blame, so all bankers are greedy pigs who are not to be trusted, right? Right!? Right away, I realise that while their profession has been given too free a leash by our recent politicians and they have allowed greed to take them (and us!) down a slippery slope, they are not all evil, or selfish, or psychopathic (even though their profession contains more psychopaths than any other – fact). It’s the same principle for a simple thing like car insurance – for decades, we men were subjected to higher premiums due to our gender, since we were a ‘higher risk’ according to the stats. Women joined in the chorus of ‘that’s right!’ while I witnessed slow, careful men with no worrying driving issues being forced to pay higher insurance than women who scared the life out of me with their demonic driving! Now that has changed, for fairness’ sake. Were an insurer to say “stats show us that blacks are more likely to cause accidents than whites…” we would be boycotting them in a flash! Thank you, political correctness!

Tarring an entire race, or gender, or nationality, or even sexual orientation, with the same wide brush is the reason for ‘political correctness’ – it’s not just a trendy, liberal thingy that effeminates like to wave about when they’re criticised! It’s addressing the need in us to pigeonhole people just because it helps us decide who we like and don’t like without the worry of having to make the effort to get to know them and their background a bit better i.e. we need to get informed!

However, this case in Rotherham is mad, in the highest degree possible. The fact that most of the perpetrators (not all!) were of a Pakistani background, highlighting and addressing this crime was feared by some to be seen as racist. That in itself is politically incorrect, since it presupposes that the entire Pakistani community in Rotherham would be offended by such an investigation; as if they’d cry something similar to “it’s ’cause I’s black, innit?” when the truth is that the majority of that community would be as appalled at the crimes as much as any of us – they should be given the chance to condemn it and deal with it and not have it swept under the rug for their ‘benefit’. The fact that some of the white guys in authority treated some of the girls reporting the crimes as ‘sluts’ who sort of ‘asked for it’ tells me a lot about their attitude. The crimes and the politically incorrect attitudes that allowed the abuse to go on both need to be addressed and dealt with, and if there is a fear that you’ll be viewed as racist for addressing crime, then that is ‘political correctness gone mad’!

Members of the English Defence League cornered a LibDem councillor and asked him if he would not condemn ‘the Pakistani gangs abusing these girls’ – he answered “No! I will condemn all abuse perpetrated by anyone!” Correct answer, since the dismissal of these crimes also allowed non-Pakistani child abusers to get away with it!

Grace be with you.

P.S. If that was a bit too heavy for you after the good laugh Lee gave us, here he is making fun of Islam! (YAY!):

Richard Dawkins is an obnoxious git!

I have always maintained this. It’s just so refreshing to see non-believers suddenly come to the realisation that Dawkins is evangelical in his desire to convert humanity to atheism like the most rabid hellfire preacher you could think of. He has constantly belittled and derided anyone who has the audacity to state that they believe that even in some tiny way, that there might be something divine behind the universe. He criticises anyone of religious authority who tries to make a statement on morals and behaviour as if they have zero right to do so since they come from a false base in the first place. He ends up just becoming obnoxious in the way he argues, as if only atheists are worthy of his intellect, and everybody else is beneath him. He decries religious bigotry, which does exist, in spades, and religious people can be very in-your-face about their beliefs sometimes. I’ve maybe even been guilty at times myself, if I’m honest. Dawkins is no different; he’s just an atheist bigot! People who are not religious in any way maybe don’t see this. Then again, some have. Here was a very funny gaffe he made:

However, this week, we have had comedians on a live Channel 4 show calling him ‘a dick’ for what he said on Twitter. The same comedians who called the Westboro Baptist Church ‘dicks’ last week (and rightly so!). Dawkins had got into a live debate on his twitter feed with a woman asking about the moral choices facing her should she discover the baby she is carrying has Down’s Syndrome. In the end, he tweeted:

“Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

This provoked outrage, and rightly so. Here is someone who has made it his crusade to disarm the religious ‘moral police’, yet has the nerve to start dictating morals of his own! He has apologised for his comments, to be fair. Yes, he’s not perfect and it would be nice if he realises that himself, the condescending twit! Thankfully people can see now just how annoying and opinionated he really is. I can engage in debate with anyone, but I am sure this man would be the closest I would come to turning an argument into a punch in the face.

He is a tempter to my testimony. Now that he has exposed himself to also be a self-righteous dictator of morals, hopefully he shall fade away like a worn-out celebrity who has been ejected from the Big Brother house, since nobody wishes to hear his intellectual wise-cracking anymore!

Grace be with you.

Quick thought for this day:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’

Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’ (Matt.16:21-23)

Peter loved his Lord, Jesus, his teacher, master and friend. He acted in love in trying to protect him, to stand between him and a violent fate. We know of Jesus’ love for Peter too: despite the awful triple denial Peter shouted in fear, Jesus later displayed a beautiful, tearjerking act of restoration of their friendship and confirmed his loyalty to his disciple as he evoked Peter’s loyalty to him.

However, in this case, despite Peter’s motivation and good intentions, he uttered something that Jesus did not wish to hear. Our Lord’s response was one of utter condemnation, in no uncertain terms. He loved Peter, but would not condone what he said.

Grace be with you.

Nadarkhani re-arrested!

As I posted on my Facebook page (haven’t time to do any REAL blogging now with studies and house move – be posting again in February):

Much more serious issue, people: puts things in perspective, and makes me realise that no internet for a few days is not THAT big an issue. You may remember my calls some months ago to write to the Iranian embassy about Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was facing the death penalty for being a Christian in Iran. Well, with all the international pressure we all put on them, he was released, Praise God.

Now he has been rearrested. On Christmas Day. Get writing again, folks, as it looks like they’re thinking that now all the media attention has gone, he’s been forgotten. And his lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah is STILL in jail! No point emailing the UK embassy in London as their inbox is full.

Here’s their address:

Iranian Embassy
16 Prince’s Gate
London
SW7 1PT

Despite my problems and woes, and pressures on my time right now, I’ll take a few minutes to do another letter. This man needs our support, seriously.

Grace be with you.

I belong to the Kingdom of God!

I’ve been avoiding blogging recently, with university study and now an enforced house move taking up my time, but this issue has played on my mind. I exercised my democratic right to voice my opinion on Facebook recently, and got the expected abuse for it, being in this country. To steal a quote from a fellow blogger’s page: “To have something to say is a question of sleepless nights and worry and endless ratiocination of a subject – of endless trying to dig out of the essential truth, the essential justice.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I wouldn’t exactly say sleepless nights, but it has been on my mind. Hardly anything else on the news recently :(! Christians need to decide where their loyalties lie. For what it’s worth if you are unsure, it is NOT anywhere in this world (John 18:36; 1Cor.7:31; 2Cor.10:3)

I have been saved from a lengthy diatribe this time by the timely blogging of an old friend, who said enough. I repost HIS thoughts here (Thanks, Stocki):

http://stocki.typepad.com/soulsurmise/2012/12/lennon-belfast-protests-hypocrites-politicians-and-truth.html

Grace be with you.

God forgive me!

Sitting up late here reading up on the new Archbishop of Canterbury (who seems to be a good evangelical and a good man, so far), I rediscovered my post here from MORE THAN 5 WEEKS AGO, where I called for support for the defence lawyer who managed to get Pastor Nadarkhani released (Mohammad Ali Dadkhah). I said I would lobby Iran as I did over the Christian Pastor, but so far, I have allowed other things to distract me. May God forgive me for my hypocrisy and neglectfulness in NOT acting so swiftly on something I said I would, and for a man who deserves as much support as our persecuted brethren. He may not be a fellow Christian, but he is still a great man and a hero. I WILL write to the Iranian embassy tomorrow (it IS late). Please do the same, readers.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/iran-must-release-human-rights-defender-mohammad-ali-dadkhah-2012-10-01

Grace be with you.