The Gender Gap

October 4, 2019

Boris Johnson was asked on the Today Programme this week, ‘Do you have a problem with women?’, to which he replied that as Mayor of London and as Prime Minister he has had around 50% of his key posts filled by women, and that he has been a champion of girls around the world having 12 years of education.

The gender gap has also been highlighted this week with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex promoting the importance of female education in Malawi, and Dianne Abbott, the first black woman to be involved in Prime Minister’s Questions, drawing attention to the negative issues women face in modern Britain.

Is there a gender gap with God? Interestingly Jesus included women in his entourage, which was unheard of for itinerant rabbis of his day, and Peter, an early Christian leader, said that men and women are joint heirs together of the gift of life.[1]

Both genders are of equal worth, value and significance. In an age where the call for equal opportunities for women is prominent, the Christian voice has an important message to add to the conversation: Everyone is included in God’s plan for humankind, both male and female – there is no discrimination with God. Now that’s some good news to celebrate.

 

About the Author:
Barry Robinson
is an Elder and the Ombudsman of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Southern England (including the Greater London area).

[1] 1 Peter 3:7

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/g29286263/prince-harry-malawi-2019-royal-tour-photos/

 

Because Magazine September /October 2019

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Disgrace to Grace?

September 27, 2019

It’s a disgrace! How often I’ve heard people say that this week. It’s also been in the papers and on the TV news.

It was used by frustrated protestors at the UN summit on climate control, by both sides in the US’s unfolding impeachment drama, and, of course, by concerned citizens to vent public anger and outrage at what appears to be the failure of the UK parliament in processing Brexit.

But what is disgrace? It’s the opposite of grace, a religious term that Christians use often. Grace refers to the unmerited favour of God. It involves abandoning the politics of power and the giving up of personal ambition. Jesus did this. He put the prerogatives of divine power to one side in order to die for us so that we might understand what it means to live in peace.

If only politicians, world leaders and even ordinary people like you and me would follow his example. If only we’d put aside our own agendas and make a meaningful difference.

That’s grace.

 

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

Out of this world

September 13, 2019

Stop the world, I want to get off!

What with all the political shenanigans here in the UK and Europe, and with the general parlous state of the world, I’ve felt often like that in the past few weeks.

And now there appears to be somewhere I could go to. It’s called K2-18b, and, according to scientists, it may be able to support life. And it’s only 110 light years away, meaning it’d take a million or so years to get to.

It’s been argued that, if life is found outside our blue jewel of a planet, then Christianity becomes irrelevant because it’s only about God and human beings. Wrong, actually! The Bible explains that Jesus came and will come again to restore and reconcile all things, not just humanity. Even those dead places where life is unlikely or where life might exist but not as we know it.

A renewed universe, wouldn’t that be great? Then maybe we could stop the world to go explore somewhere new and exciting.

Fancy a trip to K2-18b?

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

No ships ahead

August 30, 2019

“I see no ships”, said Horatio Nelson as he held his spy-glass to his blind eye while facing the enemy fleet, and within hours he had won a decisive victory at sea.

Turning a blind eye to undesirable news and carrying on regardless is seen often as a sign of strength in leadership, although it is not always a strategy that pays off. Leaders often have more faith in themselves than anything else.

Christians view faith in God as more important than our faith in ourselves. Faith in God involves a giving up or a sacrifice of self-trust. It’s a letting go of relying solely on oneself. When everything seems out of control and I don’t know who to believe or where to turn to, I turn to God.

I’d love it if more of the world’s leaders had faith in something other than in themselves or in their political persuasion, wouldn’t you?

A place to start, not just for them but for all of us, would be to have faith in God.

Put your trust in God.

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

All year round

August 2, 2019

Did you see in the news this week that Christmas has come early, 149 days early, as Selfridges in London opened its Christmas shop claiming to be the first in the world to have a Christmas section? I thought it was bad enough having all the Christmas paraphernalia in the shops at the end October never mind the end of July! Soon, it seems, Christmas will be in our stores all year round, and the pop group Wizard, who belt out their song every year, will get their wish for Christmas to be every day.

This got me thinking about the reason Christians celebrate Christmas. It’s not for the parties, the presents, or engaging in some kind of pagan winter solstice ritual. It’s to celebrate and rejoice in the coming of Jesus into this world in order to show us the love of God and demonstrate that love to us. That’s a message that is relevant all year round and not just at Christmas.

Sadly many people, if they go to church at all, only go at Christmas time to hear some carols and enjoy a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine. But why not be revolutionary and take a leaf out Selfridges’ book and go to church months before Christmas to hear the message of Jesus? In fact if you went to church all year round you might just see that Jesus isn’t just for Christmas.

Barry Robinson

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/christmas/selfridges-christmas-shop-2019-open-day-world-record-department-store-london-a9025151.html

 

Authentic bravery

June 28, 2019

Should Boris Johnson appear in TV debates to discuss his leadership credentials? Should he answer questions about his private life? Does the public care? Do Conservative Party members, who will select the next party leader and Prime Minister, care? Maybe Boris feels to do so would make him vulnerable to attack with no mercy shown by press and public alike? As a result his rival in the leadership campaign, Jeremy Hunt, has called Boris a coward for not addressing these issues.

Certainly it calls into question whether our leaders can be one thing in public and another in their private lives. A Christian is not afforded that luxury. To be one thing at home where no-one or only our family sees, and then put on the mask of respectability in public is rightly viewed as hypocritical, and hypocrisy is often quoted as a reason why people have a negative view of Christians and are reluctant to come to church.  

As a Christian I try to live out my Christianity in both the public arena and in my private space, but I recognise that I do so imperfectly, just ask my wife. But there is bravery and authenticity about a Christian acknowledging their failings and that they have no grounds to look down on anybody. Yes, it makes us vulnerable to admit our mistakes, but the Christian message is that with God there is no attack or condemnation, only grace. Now that’s something to care enough about to investigate.

Kind regards,

Barry Robinson  

barry.robinson@gracecom.church

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-48744493

 

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What’s wrong with us?

March 15, 2019

What’s wrong with us?

This was my thought as the news came in about the terrorist attack in New Zealand. What could possibly justify the murder of these people? The slaughter of unarmed men, women and children? Our prayer is that God would comfort all those caught up in this terrible tragedy.

When the world stops making sense where do we go for answers? For me, I turn to my faith. Christianity does not explain fully why people choose to hurt one another, but it does tell us that there will be a time when this world will no longer be shaped by hate. Instead it will be shaped by God’s love for us.

 

While this time is still to come, we don’t have to wait. We can turn to Jesus and choose a life of love now.

Kind regards,

gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

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