Time to start work…

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Another year, another blog post. I’m sat in front of my PC, piles of paper all around me. Each demanding attention, each shouting to be considered a priority. And I know I’m not alone – millions of people across the world start every working day in just the same way. Work for so many of us has become dominated by the managing of information.

It hasn’t always been this way. And it’s not this way for everybody. For billions of people across the world and through history work has been primarily a physical activity – concerned with growing food, collecting water, raising children or building and maintaining shelter. But for many of us, times have changed. The ‘sweat of our brow’ (Gen 3:19) has become a metaphor.

Is that a good thing or not? I suspect that the disconnect that it creates between ourselves and the basic realities of life is unhelpful. But whether it is good or not, it is a thing, and it isn’t changing any day soon. What matters now is how we understand God to be a part of it.

And that isn’t made any easier by the way that worship and work inter-relate. It isn’t often the case (at least, not in my experience) that we fail to address work-related issues. But rather that, all too often, we fail to see work as anything other than an evangelistic opportunity. It has little value of itself, but only by virtue of what we can do whilst it is happening.

That’s shown in the vanishingly small selection of good songs & hymns about work.

I’m just starting a short series about work – so please, prove me wrong. Or even write stuff, and we’ll use it!

Diving into Daniel

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I’m preaching my way through the book of Daniel, and I’m just loving it. It’s so refreshing, so wonderfully post-Christendom in its approach. I’m relishing the hard work that is involved – those visions need some serious digging to understand. And it grieves me that so many preachers and teachers seem to be content to parrot ‘this is that’ drivel – ‘the little horn is the UN Security Council’ and all that sort of stuff. When they could be doing something really worthwhile! Some rather awesome graphics abound, though – like this guy, in his wonderful lycra girdle!

But there is some truly brilliant material to be worked through as well. Let’s start with the obvious. Ronald Wallace (Bible Speaks Today series) is good; so too is Joyce Baldwin.

Many thanks to Andy, who lent me the study notes from Spring Harvest from 2005: ‘Sing the Lord’s song in a strange land’ – because the notes led on to the book by Gerard Kelly: ‘Stretch: lessons in faith from the life of Daniel’. It’s honestly brilliant, and a must-read book. I love the way that Gerard’s prose is close to poetry so much of the time. And one line in particular stands out:

The truly anointed evangelist, I believe, is not the person who loves the gospel so passionately that they cannot help sharing it with people; it is the person who loves people so passionately that they cannot but want the best for them.

(He goes on: ‘I admit to having met evangelists who don’t even seem to like people very much, let alone love them.’

I’ve also found a great deal of helpful material – in a very different way – in the rather academic commentary by Ernest Lucas in the Apollos series from IVP. Hard work, but rewarding. E. J. Young (Banner) and Leupold (Evangelical Press) have been worth reading, but not quite as helpful.

Daniel 2 tomorrow. I may refer to Kelly’s idea of ‘acoustic faith’ – being people who are prepared to do the hard work of double listening – listening both to our culture and to God. I don’t think it’s really the main point of Daniel 2, but it is helpful. But I’m really grateful to God for the insights that have come from so many people travelling with Daniel. I hope and pray that I can add my small contribution too, and convey even a little of the excitement I’ve found on the journey.

And you know…

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Just posted this on the KMFC website. Ian composed and performed this song as a response to the theme I’m currently preaching on – exploring a vision for the church as a ‘God-shaped people’ – the heart of the Father; the hands of the Son, and the breath of the Spirit.

I think Ian’s song is brilliant, and the feel of the work is so refreshingly different from much of the relentlessly ‘middle of the road’ contemporary Christian music. Great job, Ian!

And you know… © Ian Davison 2011

Have a good rummage!

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Called in to visit a good friend in hospital today. And on the way home, Ang and I dropped in to the local Scouts, who were having a rummage sale. And came away with a few bargains!

In a bundle of books – 7 books for £1 – was a copy of Neil Postman’s book ‘Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology’

Neil’s book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ was a great resource when I was looking at the impact of Postmodernity on preaching – and I’m confident that this book will be a worthwhile read too. He has a very accessible style, and communicates important topics with great ease. Seems ironic to be blogging about a book that has hard things to say about technology!

 

Second bargain was spotted on the table of broken and abandoned technology. A pair of Sennheiser HD 340 headphones:

Stereo Kopfhörer HD340; Sennheiser (ID = 663531) Speaker-P

Nice headphones - £120 or so if you could still buy them new, and often going for £50 s/hand. So happy to pick a pair up for £1, even if they could use a new pair of foam earpads. Nice sound, and quite sturdy.

So – more than happy with the afternoon, and I hope the Scouts are pleased with the event!

If you follow my blog regularly – do watch out for a new post next week which could break a new star onto the Christian Music scene!