Jesus the Feminist

March 8, 2019

Today is International Women’s Day and it is rather depressing to be reminded, once again, that we still do not have gender equality in the world today. Not even in Britain.

As a man living in the 21st Century it is easier to be a supporter of women’s rights than 150 years ago, when women in this country weren’t even allowed to vote. So I was encouraged to read my ancestor, John Stuart Mill, being called out in the Guardian newspaper this morning as a strong supporter of women’s rights in his time.

As a Christian, I am sometimes criticised for being a part of a movement that has been responsible for the oppression of women, yet a close examination of the facts fails to support any such claims. When I look at the life of our founder, Jesus Christ, I see a proud feminist. A man who always treated women equally and boldy broke the customs of his day to involve them in his ministry.

I am thankful that “in Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female”1. Let’s celebrate everything that International Women’s Day has achieved over the last 110 years and is still achieving all over the world today.

All the very best

peter.mill@gracecom.church

 

1 Galatians 3:28 (NCV)

Death at the Oscars

March 1, 2019

Many millions of people all around the world watched the Oscars this week. It’s an evening filled with laughter, music, dance, creativity, surprises, tears, and a few dodgy speeches. People just seem to like the joy of living in a make-believe world for a few hours. But just about the time everyone is getting into the show we become aware of a disturbing reality. A touching tribute was paid to those show-business stars who had died during the last year.

It is things like this that can make most of us contemplate the frailty of life and realise how much we hate death. However, simply hating death cannot eliminate its power over us.

The Christian message is one that provides hope for the future. It claims that death is not the end because there is someone who defeated it by being resurrected from the grave.

If you are concerned about death and the future why not explore the claims of Christianity? You might just find them more captivating and more rewarding than the Oscars.

Have a good week,

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

 

An unconditional offer

February 15, 2019

Should universities give students unconditional offers of acceptance?

Recently this practice has come under increased scrutiny after it was revealed that the number of unconditional offers issued by universities was increasing and that the students who received the offers often miss their predicted grades. Would students be better off, more resilient, if they had to earn their place?

As a Christian I believe that we have all been given an unconditional offer in Jesus Christ. We haven’t earned this place, yet if we accept it, it will change our life forever and open up opportunities beyond our wildest imaginations.

The offer reflects God’s confidence in who we will become with his help, rather than what we have achieved.

Maybe it is time to consider his unconditional offer of grace?

Warm regards,

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

Take a look

January 4, 2019

winter landscape panorama with sunset and the forestIt is conventionally thought that the month of January is named after Janus, the Roman god of gates, beginnings and transitions. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. In the UK as we look back to 2018 we probably recall the entanglements of the Brexit negotiations and as we look ahead to 2019 we may wonder how it’s all going to be resolved.

As a Christian when I look back in time my focus is on the cross of Jesus Christ where my salvation was secured and when I look into the future I live in the light of his anticipated return to earth. But my looking doesn’t stop there: I look up to see that God provides the power and strength for me to live in a dangerous world; I look in to see that God lives in me and has promised never to leave me; And I look around at my fellow Christians reminding me that we travel together on this journey as part of a Christian community. In 2019 I hope to deepen my vision in all of these aspects of my Christian walk.

If you are a Christian and are concerned about what the next year holds for you why not try and do the same. If you are not a Christian and you are apprehensive and anxious about the future, 2019 might just be a good time to take a look at this thing called Christianity. It is well worth a look.

Barry Robinson (Barry.robinson@gracecom.church)

If they matter to you, let them know

November 29, 2018

As I’m sitting at my computer a news report has come in telling of the murder of John Allen Chau by an endangered tribe in India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands. Fishermen who took him to North Sentinel Island say tribespeople shot him with arrows and left his body on the beach. Chau, a self-proclaimed adventurer, was engaged on missionary work and in a statement his family said, “He was a beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend to us. To others he was a Christian missionary…He loved God, life and helping those in need, and he had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people.” Then incredibly they added, “We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death.”

This experience made me think about the fragility of life and that I shouldn’t wait until after someone has died to say how much I loved in a eulogy. There is family around me that I need to tell how much I love them, and friends I need to tell how much I value their friendship before it’s too late.

As a Christian it has impressed me that God told his Son how much he loved him and how pleased he was with him (Matthew 3:17). I need to take a leaf out of God’s book, how about you?

Have a good week,

Barry Robinson

Mass Integrity

November 16, 2018

There’s been a lot of talk lately about integrity, but this week I learned an unexpected lesson from an unusual source: the Kilogram.

Unlike most of us as we grow older, the Kilogram is losing weight. Since 1889, the International Prototype Kilogram, made out of platinum and iridium and kept in an underground vault in Paris, has been the standard by which all Kilograms are judged. Yet now, for reasons nobody quite understands, the so called Perfect Kilogram has been weighed, measured and found wanting. In fact, scientists are meeting this week to discuss its replacement.

The old Kilogram has changed. It can no longer be trusted. In a very real sense — it has lost its integrity.

Integrity is the principle that resonates most highly amongst our young people today, probably because there is so little of it about. Real integrity, as Oprah Winfrey puts it, is doing the right thing1. It’s the car that doesn’t break down. A politician who keeps her word. A partner who remains faithful.

One of the most famous statements about the founder of the Christian faith, Jesus Christ, is that he is the same yesterday, today and for ever. Whoever wrote that did not mean Jesus never changes his hairstyle, but that he is always true to himself.

Given that he called himself the Son of God, his integrity carries much weight.

All the very best

Peter Mill

1 https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/oprah_winfrey_386951

Photo: National Institute of Standards and Technology Digital Collections, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.

Saved by Grace

August 25, 2017

It seems as if I grew up with Sir Bruce Forsyth on Saturday night TV. He was the king of the catch phrase; who can forget ‘Didn’t they do well’, ‘Good game, good game’, ‘You’re my favourites’ and ‘Keep dancing’? The tributes following his death indicate that he was regarded as a national treasure and the consummate professional.

As I thought about Brucie’s legacy of performing in show business for over seven decades, I began to reflect on my life as a Christian. How have I performed? Could I be regarded as the king of anything? Am I the consummate Christian?

Sadly, I would have to conclude that if my future with God depended on me then it would be uncertain and I could feel nothing but insecure.

However, the Christian gospel is the good news that my future is not determined by the goodness of my heart but by the goodness of God’s; and his heart is full of love and grace.

In God’s eyes the whole of humanity are his treasures, and no matter what our past performance has been, he welcomes us home through the free grace and forgiveness extended to us in his Son, The Lord Jesus Christ.

All we have to do is accept the gift God so wants to give us and come on home.

When we do, in my mind’s eye, our Father will be waiting there for us, and will say ‘Nice to see you, to see you, nice!’

Barry Robinson