Because Blog

It’s goodbye for now

If you’ve ever asked ‘why?’ then join the club. Searching for answers to life’s bigger questions comes naturally to us insatiably curious humans.

Why are we here? Why is the world the way it is? Why do I feel the way I do? Is there more to life than this? Why, in this modern age, is spirituality still so important to so many people?

It seems many people feel there is more to the life we experience than just this natural world we inhabit. There is a supernatural side to things. There is something else out there that is not so easy to put your finger on.

Often it is easier to ask questions than find answers. So we created Because as a space for those questions, and a way to explore together the first tentative steps to answers. A place for anyone who’s ever asked, ‘why?’ A thought break on our mutual journey.

This is what we have been doing for the last decade or so. But all journeys eventually come to an end and the Because team feels that the time is now right to focus its energies in other directions. And so, this post you are reading is the last one we will publish on the Because blog.

The organisation behind Because is called Grace Communion International. As a Christian church, we believe the reason so many of us sense a bigger, spiritual dimension to life is that there is one! That everything is guided and directed by a supremely intelligent being we call God. A God who is intimately interested in and deeply concerned about the worlds he has created. More than that, who is head over heels in love with humanity and sent Jesus Christ to save us from ourselves.1

So, in a very real sense, the answer to all your questions, and ours, is Jesus.

Thank you for sharing this space and journey with us. It has been fun, and we’ve learnt a lot on the way. We wish you every blessing for your future spiritual exploration.

P.S. We will continue to publish a Because-style post every Friday as our Thought for the Week. You can read them here.

Peter Mill info@because.uk.com

Peter is Editor-in-Chief at Because.

1The Bible – John 3:6 (NIV)

The light at the end of the tunnel?

The outer rim of Japan’s National Stadium exploded in a spectacular display of pyrotechnics as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games finally got underway at noon today GMT.

More than 11,300 athletes from 207 countries are scheduled to compete over the next two and a bit weeks, all I am sure hopeful of winning a medal.

When the Games were postponed in March 2020, organisers said the Olympic flame “could become the light at the end of the tunnel” a message of hope that the Pandemic which forced its adjournment was coming to an end.

But with infections continuing to rise in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, does the light symbolise hope or is it instead the sign of an impending train wreck?

Hope is a marvellous thing but human hope is little more than an optimistic state of mind. In the Christian Bible, hope means something else. The confident expectation of a promise made by God. The promise was Jesus. The fulfilment is a new life for all peoples, even those who have already died.

Jesus is the light at the end of the tunnel. More, he is the light of the world.

Peter Mill info@because.uk.com

Peter is Editor-in-Chief at Because.

1 The Bible – John 8:12 (NIV)
Picture: ID 176256655 © Vasilis Ververidis | Dreamstime.com

Easily offended?

It’s been said we live in a snowflake generation. It’s a 2010s word, referring to people who are hypersensitive and easily offended in any perceived or even slightest of ways, especially if their worldview is challenged. Whatever we call it, I think it’s undeniable that our current cultural trend indicates we are more easily offended than ever before.

So it’s not surprising then to discover that broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has reported the highest number of complaints last year than in any other year since it started in 2002. A rise of 410% in the previous 12 months. The top three complaints were Piers Morgan’s comments about Megan Merkel, Diversity’s BLM dance performance on Britain’s Got Talent, and the treatment of animals on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here. We certainly seem to be moving towards a society that readily takes offence.

But is there a better way to live life and react to views that rub up on ours?

I think so. That’s not to say there isn’t a time to be genuinely offended and take the necessary channels of complaint, but if this becomes our default reaction to opposing views it will inevitably lead to greater unhappiness.

The reality is that in a world with such decentralised ways of looking and interpreting the world we live in – the fact we all now have a personal truth, a subjective worldview – then the frequency of meeting a different viewpoint than the one we hold is increasingly likely. Sometimes we will disagree, other times we will detest the ideas espoused by that comedian, politician or religious figure. But we all get to choose our reactions.

We could throw our toys out the pram, stomp on the ground and run to get our comfort blanket, and reassure our own worldview by convincing ourselves that that other person is bigoted or extreme (i.e. the minority holds the distasteful view). And then soothe ourselves as we take to social media, reinforcing our view on the subject with subsequent oxytocin doses as we get affirmation from our own tribe when they hit the like button. But I think there is a pearl of age-old wisdom, simple in theory, maybe harder in practise, that if applied would lead to a happier, more mature place.

The proverb goes something like this, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offence.”[1]

In simple terms, it’s ‘put your big boy pants on’ time. In this wisdom is a maturity that is often lacking in public discourse. At the heart of the statement, it says that I am not the only person in this world, where I get to bend reality, including other people’s reality, to my subjective notions of the world. Instead, we live in community made up of other sovereign individuals who have views, values and beliefs that are important to them. And although there is space between my view and theirs, what will make me happier is to fill that space with grace and understanding when I’m triggered by foreign ideas to mine. That way we get to release the negative emotions that otherwise come with being offended.

Suddenly life becomes lighter and freer. Let’s overlook offences more often.

Richard Fowler info@because.uk.com

Richard is Editorial Assistant at Because.

[1] The Bible, Proverbs 19:11

It’s coming home.

Is football finally coming home for England after 55 years of hurt? With England through to Sunday’s Euro 2020 final their supporters won’t have long to find out. Perhaps the most endearing story of England’s successful run in the tournament is that of their manager Gareth Southgate. 25 years ago, he missed the penalty against Germany that knocked England out of the 1996 Euros, now he has led the team to the final, beating Germany on the way. A photoshopped picture summed up the poignancy of the moment depicting the 2021 Southgate putting his arm around the 1996 Southgate.

Southgate seems to have found redemption for his past mistake, but what about us, can the mistakes of our past be healed? Jesus Christ once told a story[1] about a young man who squandered his father’s inheritance on wild living in a distant country, and when he was penniless, he decided to go home hoping his father would help by giving him a job as a servant. Instead, his father welcomed him with open arms and threw a party: healing had taken place.

Whatever mistakes you may have made in the past your heavenly Father is waiting with open arms to embrace you. Maybe it’s time to come home.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

[1] The Bible, Luke 15:11-32.

 

 

A modern Superman?

I don’t know Bill Gates personally, so I freely admit my impression of him comes from reading about his remarkable achievements in business and media reports. Although a billionaire, he made his fortune by his own efforts, building Microsoft into a global business. One of his skills was to recognise that software was more important than hardware well before computers became a household and business essential.

It’s hard to begrudge success, even for someone whose business has made him wealthier than many countries, because Gates, like most entrepreneurs, started with nothing but a dream. And even though he must be a ruthless, focused and determined individual, he still comes across as a caring human being.

As other super wealthy individuals before him, Gates decided it was pointless keeping his immense wealth to himself. So, with the same drive and determination that made him super successful, he created the Bill and Melinda Gates Charitable Foundation, in order to use his surplus to help others in the most effective way.

The foundation’s funding of a drive to eliminate malaria in Africa, as well as projects to help fight HIV/Aids and tuberculosis are examples of the passion he and his wife have to make a real difference to the lives of people who can never repay them.

But there is one area of his charity work that has recently raised eyebrows. Bill Gates is one of the funders of a £15m project called SCoPEx – the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment. You may not be aware of it, but it was a plan to send a balloon 12 miles into the atmosphere, from a site in Sweden, to release a small quantity of calcium carbonate, otherwise known as chalk dust. The idea was to test whether this would help global cooling.

Although the proposed test was a modest one, it attracted the attention of environmental organisations, including the Greenpeace Sweden, Friends of the Earth Sweden and the Indigenous Saami Council who wrote a letter saying that the project could be the first step towards the adoption of a potentially “dangerous, unpredictable, and unmanageable” technology and demanding the project be cancelled.

The project has now been postponed, pending further investigation and I for one, am relieved.

Proponents of solar geoengineering, as the technology is called, say that its widespread use could be be beneficial and safer than some fear. But critics argue the consequences of its use are not well understood and stratospheric aerosol injections (SAI) on a large scale could damage the ozone layer, cause heating in the stratosphere and disrupt ecosystems.

Well-meaning as Mr Gates undoubtedly is, as a Christian it seems to me that his experiment was potentially ill-advised. In my title I call him a modern Superman, but a super wealthy individual like him, at the centre of his own universe, could just as easily become an anti-hero like the megalomaniac D.C. Comics characters Lex Luther and General Zod, destroying all in their path.

And so without taking anything away from their business and philanthropical success or the respect they undoubtedly deserve, I wonder if it is wrong to ask the question of the super wealthy, super powerful and super privileged, is this wise?

Keith Hartrick info@because.uk.com

Keith is an Editor at Because.

Image: Creative Commons
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