Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Category Archives: UK News

Seven thoughts about what happened in Woolwich

0

The family of Lee Rigby thought he was safe.   He wasn’t on the front line, but home on leave in England’s capital.  It turns out that his killers were raised in Romford and Harold Hill, both places I know well.

But how should Christians respond to such a vicious attack, how should Londoners act today and tomorrow, and what is Christ’s response to this.

I don’t have all the answers, and even in a blog post I don’t have the space to even share all my thoughts, but I want to give a framework that might help people respond in a Christian way.

Firstly, it is not wrong to feel strong  emotions.  Clearly the true grief in this situation is with the family of the bereaved, but as people who recognise the streets and the scenery of the attack it is ok to feel anguish,  angry, fear and grief.  God is compassion and compassion expresses itself in emotions.  Someone might feel they hope the murderers are hacked to pieces, that’s a form of compassion for the bereaved.  Calling those who are angry and emotional unChristian is not helpful.   Let the emotions surface and deal with them as they arise.  That doesn’t mean getting  emotional in any situation  is acceptable or that any action can be justified by emotion, but that emotions are just part of any human response and they need to be acknowledged, admitted and allowed. 

Secondly, this should not be seen as a racial event.  London is a melting pot of ethnicity and has been for years.  The EDF and other groups will seek to use this issue to stereotype and blame “aliens” and immigrants.  The two young men were British born, with a Nigerian heritage.   They went to primary school and secondary school in Havering.  This transcends their culture.  This is not an ethnically charged incident.   It wasn’t done in the name of race.  We should at this time be doing everything in our power to strengthen community links and build a truly international church in the capital where every tribe and tongue meets together. 

Thirdly, the answer to the question was it terrorism.  After a lot of consideration, I have to conclude that it was terrorist behaviour.  Knife crime among people in that age bracket is horrendous and evil, but this something else.   Not just due to the viciousness and premeditated nature of the act, but that it was filmed and designed for people to see it.   It was planned to cause terror which is why I consider it was a terrorist act.   It seems likely that we will find out that these young  men were not linked to any terrorist groups, but acting independently.  That is truly chilling.   No one turned them, they just became offended at western culture and society to the point they decided to not just threaten it but desecrate it.   This was a terror attack and the best way to be the head and not the tail is to not give in to terror.   I have bought a Help for heroes tshirt because I want to honour the people who gave their life or health for this nation and to show I am not scared of anyone.  For a Christian, we need to remember God is with us always.

Fourthly, don’t respond in anger.  Feeling  anger is one thing, responding in anger is another thing.  Calm down.   Consider.   Pray.  The best response to a vicious foe is to refuse to be distracted.   Keep being a disciple.  Keep healing  the sick,  keeping living the faith, keep walking in love and freedom and miracles.

Fifthly, let’s not abandon our armed forces.  Some people may have other views on the legitimacy of war in the middle east, but it is a fact that soldiers are out there.  Pray for them.  Believe God for their best.  Speak Psalm 91 over them.   If soldiers are attacked in peacetime on our shores, we need to remember who we are and speak life and peace to them.   We need to be faith filled not feat filled. 

Sixthly, the young men who did this are not unique.   They grew up in our schools, they hung around with our children, they went to our parties, we watched them grow up.  There are other people, other young men – although they may be black,  Asian or white –  it is more than probable they will be men.  Keep your eyes peeled for people who are disaffected, disassociated and disillusioned.   Offer them company, encouragement, help.   Ask and consider what your church is doing for young people and see if you can’t get involved.   If you have noticed someone and they concern you, God allowed you to notice…  Reach out to them! Show them love, show them grace.

Finally, the solution to every problem I our nation, in our city is not prayer and fasting, is not politics, is not any of that.   Paul said I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1.16).   The power of God to save London is only found in the gospel.  We need not to change the structures so much as change people’s hearts one person at a time by telling them the good news.  Islam and Christian religion look very similar.  Serve God, do this to get into heaven.  We need to distance ourselves from religious Christianity and come back to the good news of a God who became sin with our sin so we could enjoy righteousness, peace and joy.  His righteousness. His peace.  HIS JOY.  Because of what He has done, not because what we have done.  That is the message that changes and melts hard hearts.   That is the message th at turned the Jewish terrorist Saul into the proclaimer of God’s grace, Paul.  That is the message that will change the hearts of the disaffected, the angry and the frustrated today.

Miracle Baby

0

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2023442/Miracle-baby-born-mothers-waters-break-half-way-pregnancy–refuses-abortion.html

Tatchell repeats call for lower age of consent

0

Tatchell repeats call for lower age of consent.

New study delivers blow to anti-smacking campaigners (from www.christian.org.uk)

0

Most adults agree that smacking naughty children doesn’t pose a “high risk” to their welfare, according to a new survey by an anti-smacking children’s charity.

The results are likely to be seen as a blow to anti-smacking campaigners who have long tried to convince parents that smacking is detrimental to their children’s welfare.

The survey, conducted by The Children’s Society, revealed that two-thirds of the adults surveyed don’t believe that smacking poses a “high risk” to children.

Rules

Dr Patricia Morgan, a prominent social science author, welcomed the results, saying: “There is a major gap between what parents think and what the campaigners tell them.

“All the existing research shows that children brought up by permissive parents do worse than those who set boundaries and enforce the rules, and those who are smacked as a punishment for breaking rules in such families do better. Parents are right.”

The research revealed that 32 per cent of respondents believed smacking to be of low risk, while 36 per cent believed it to be of medium risk.

Punishment

By contrast 33 per cent of those surveyed described physical punishment as high risk.

But Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, expressed concern over the results.

Mr Reitemeier said: “Physical violence is something children definitely need to be protected from. The survey revealed a worrying lack of concern by one third of people surveyed about parents slapping their children.

Disputed

“Children are the only group of people in this country who can be legally hit on a regular basis by others, with little protection in law.”

But this claim was dismissed by Dr Morgan, who said: “Children are the only people who can be legally sent to bed by others. Does that make it wrong?”

The results were from a wider survey, carried out by market researchers GfK NOP, which asked 2,047 adults to identify the biggest risks faced by youngsters aged six to 15 in six different scenarios.

Prosecuted

Earlier this year bureaucrats from the Council of Europe said that parents who smack their children should be prosecuted for assault.

Family value campaigners expressed alarm that “a vocal minority” of activists were in danger of undermining the authority of parents to discipline their children.

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said: “Prohibiting all corporal punishment is a legal imperative and I hope the United Kingdom will take that essential step urgently.”

Correcting

She also claimed that gentle smacks which do not leave a mark could cause children psychological harm, and attacked the UK’s approach to parenting which is “one of authority.”

But Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, said: “It is parents, and not national governments, who bear the responsibility of caring for children, nurturing them, and correcting them where necessary.”

Labour MP left red-faced over sex ed complaint (from www.christian.org.uk)

0

A Labour MP has been left embarrassed after her assistant accidentally issued an email making fun of parents’ concerns about a controversial sex education film.

Chris and Pauline Power began campaigning against the “cartoon porn” video, entitled Living and Growing, after seeing a preview of it at their son’s junior school.

The video, which is produced by Channel 4, shows a cartoon couple chasing each other around a bed before having sex in various positions.

Belittled

However, when Mr Power contacted his local MP Alison McGovern about the video he didn’t expect his concerns to be belittled.

After four weeks of silence Mr Power received an accidental email from one of Miss McGovern’s staff.

The email, sent by a Labour Party worker known as Jay, said: “Alison, think we need to get a response out to this gentleman. Know it’s an awfully uncomfortable discussion to have, but think we need to get a position (stop giggling at the back) sooner than later.”

Juvenile

Mr Power has expressed dismay over the juvenile response.

He said: “We have tried our best to protest against the important issue of sex education in schools and have contacted Ms McGovern on many occasions over the last four weeks.

“I hadn’t received anything back until today and even then it was an email I wasn’t supposed to see.

Serious

“There is a time and a place for joking around, but this is a serious issue and what message does it send out when those who are supposed to represent us have such a disregard for the opinions of electors.

“It is a sad comment on our society that this is how an MP treats her constituents.”

Miss McGovern, who described the email as “puerile”, indicated that the staff member may be disciplined.

Speaking

She said: “Although it was clearly sent by mistake, I will be looking at the situation and speaking with him personally.

“I have tried to get in touch with Mr Power to send my personal apologies.”

The staff member has also offered his apologies.

Earlier this year angry mums blasted a primary school’s plan to show pupils the Living and Growing video.

Outraged

Cliff Lane Primary School in Suffolk was planning to show the video to seven-year-old pupils, but outraged mums were left horrified after they saw the graphic DVD during a consultation.

Kara Munday, whose five-year-old daughter attends the school, said: “We are genuinely concerned that sexual activity would take place because they would be aware of what these parts do and how to make it feel nice”.

She added: “Their innocence will be taken away at an early age.”

Her concerns were echoed by Emma O’Brien, whose seven-year-old son attends the school, who said: “There are some body parts kids don’t need to know yet. They shouldn’t be taught that.”

Lawyer: clarify needed from clarity regulator (from http://www.christian.org.uk/news/20090908/lawyer-clarity-needed-from-charity-regulator/)

0

Lawyer: clarity needed
from charity regulator

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The body responsible for regulating charities is claiming more authority than the law allows, says a legal expert.

Recent guidance from the Charity Commission has prompted concerns about the way various groups, including Christian organisations, will have their charitable status assessed.

But the 2006 Charities Act did not change the definition of a charity or the need to demonstrate public benefit, says Nicola Evans, Senior Associate at Bircham Dyson Bell.

Instead of making this clear, she argues, the Commission’s new guidance has created confusion about what groups will have to do to be recognised as charities.

Writing in Third Sector Magazine she says the Commission is also claiming too much authority for assessing charities on their benefit to the public.

“The Commission states that its assessment decisions are final and not subject to appeal”, Nicola Evans points out.

“The assessment reports require action by trustees, but fail to identify the authority for this requirement.”

She says: “Trustees are left in confusion, unsure whether they should spend charity funds trying to pass the regulator’s test and unclear what would be sufficient to do so.”

When the Commission issued a draft version of its new guidance for religious charities, there were fears that groups engaged in evangelism and other Christian activities could face problems in claiming charitable status.

Many of the most worrying points were removed from the final version of the guidance, but some concerns remain.

Last month the Commission said the Church Mission Society had passed its charitable status test, confirming that evangelistic activity conveys public benefit.

Kids’ Author says Jesus is not God (http://www.christian.org.uk/news/20090908/kid%E2%80%99s-author-says-jesus-is-not-god/)

1

Kids’ author says
Jesus is not God

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

An atheist children’s author is to use his latest book to say that Jesus was not God, instead claiming the Apostle Paul imagined the idea.

In a new book entitled The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman says the idea of Jesus being God came from the “fervid imagination” of Paul.

Mr Pullman is a strident atheist who has said his books aim at “killing God”.

Critics have described his work as “proselytising”.

Commenting before the launch of the new book Mr Pullman said: “For every man or woman who has been led to goodness by a church, and I know there have been many, there has been another who has been inspired by the same church to a rancid and fanatical bigotry for which the only fitting word is evil.”

Mr Pullman described Paul as, “a literary and imaginative genius, who has had more influence on the world than anybody else, including Jesus. He had this great ability to persuade others and his rhetorical skills have been convincing people for 2,000 years”.

He adds: “By the time the Gospels were written down, Paul had already begun to transform the story of Jesus into something altogether different and extraordinary.”

The new book is due to be published around Easter next year.

In 2007, the first of three planned series of film adaptations of Mr Pullman’s novels was released.

The first film sparked considerable controversy and after low box office ratings, plans for a sequel were dropped.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said Philip Pullman’s books are among his favourites.

Dr Rowan Williams, said he liked Mr Pullman’s work because he took the church “seriously” at a time when it appeared to be “drifting out” of mainstream intellectual debate.

The Association of Christian Teachers’ Chief Executive, Rupert Kaye said of the trilogy: “My key concern is that many young people (and adults) who read Philip Pullman’s trilogy will be left with an extremely distorted understanding of what Christians actually believe and what the Bible really says about the person of God.”

Tony Watkins, an evangelical media commentator said: “The trouble is, he blurs the line between fantasy and reality by giving interviews and talking about the Republic of Heaven in the world.

“And because he’s got all of this anti-God rhetoric in the real world that is even stronger than what’s in the book, I think he can’t get away with saying, ‘It’s just a story and you can read into it whatever you like.’ Because he does understand what he’s saying.”

Columnist Melanie McDonagh warned about His Dark Materials, a trilogy written by Pullman, saying it was “actually setting up a parody of Christianity as a thing itself.

“Now, that’s fair enough as Mr Philip Pullman’s own belief but I think it is something that readers should be alerted to because it is a proselytising agenda,” she added.

%d bloggers like this: