If you can judge a wise man….

“If you can judge a wise man but the colour of his skin,

Then mister you’re a better man than I.”

 

Are you a casual racist?

 

I am. I don’t mean to be but I am.

I came across these pictures the other day and they made me think…. (click on them and read them) (I found them here.)

I’ve said some of these things…I didn’t mean to be racist but I’ve said them: I’m sorry.

The words of the sign (a reference from the Aerosmith song ‘Livin’ on the edge) have always made me think and I heard them in my head a few weeks ago.

Writing the blog I posted this morning (church IS people) I was reminded of another, very similar experience. I must say here, before you read any more, that I don’t go out of my way to talk to people, believe it or not I’m actually quite shy. Sometimes it just happens that I fall into conversations. I will talk to anybody. I’m not as good at it as Jim or Bubba but I can do it. It does make me sad that these two (almost identical) conversations happened in a few short months, on opposite sides of the world. What does that say about us as the human race?

I had been sitting talking to a guy for a few minutes about this and that, passing time as we just both happened to be on the same bench at the same time – when he said, “You’re the first white fella in a long time to just sit and talk to me. you know, like I’m human.”

That shocked me; I really felt for Marcus (that is his name); he’s an Indigenous man from outside Alice Springs who has a fantastic sense of humour and real wisdom but many people don’t see past the colour of his skin. The wise man underneath is lost to them. His colour blinds them to his mind.

Lucky for us Western Christians that Jesus was a white man then.

Are you kidding?

Jesus was a Jew from the Middle East who would have looked a lot more like this…

Than this…

And it really shouldn’t matter what he looked like – because if you can judge a wise man but the colour of his skin, then mister you’re a better man than I.

Does it make any difference what colour Jesus was? Does being whiter mean being wiser? Of course not! With that logic if Jesus was white he have said even more wise things. (I’ve actually read that in a sermon from a church in the Southern United States.) What rubbish.

Why should it matter what colour our skin is or where we come from or what language we speak? We are all human beings – all children of God – all equally loved.

We may not understand other cultures and we may have trouble with other languages but I pray that we will see the person before the colour; see the child of God no matter where they come from or who they are.

So if I have ever hurt you by a casual racist comment please forgive me – just as the brown skinned saviour from Palestine does.


Bubbles!!

There is a lot of troubling things going on in our world at the moment. This is not a full list but some examples are –

 

The downing of MH17 and the situation in he Ukraine,

The troubles in Israel and Gaza,

The plight of the Asylum Seekers and what will happen to them,

The crash of a plane in Taiwan,

and the list could go on.

 

We are not trivialising any one of these or the countless, unreported, horrors and tragedies across the world and we are holding each of the situations in our prayers.

Many of us are not directly affected by these events but we still read our papers and watch the news getting more and more concerned and upset at the state of the world, so to you we offer this little bit of  joy….

 

There is no angry way to say Bubbles!!!

 

Try it and try not to smile.

It won’t make your problems go away, it won’t make the world a better place but it will bring a smile to your lips and if that happens (for just a moment) this sign has done it’s job!

Now go and bring a smile to someone else……


A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle

 

This is a quote by Father James Keller, a Roman Catholic Priest and one of the original T.V. evangelists. He was a founder of the Christophers, a group that broadcasted inspiration Christian messages on television.

 

I don’t know why or when he said this quote, but it is very relevant for today.

 

We live in dark times – just read your newspaper or watch the nightly news and you’ll see the darkness we live in very clearly. The majority of the people of our world live on or below the poverty line and the gap between rich and poor is getting wider everyday. There are many reports from the U.S., the U.K. and increasingly from Australia of people in full time work having to rely on food banks to feed themselves and their families. These aren’t the “unemployed wasters” we hear about who are “sponging benefits off society”, these are people in full time employment who cannot afford to eat and face the choice of paying rent or feeding their family (not occasionally when things get a bit tight, as they do for all of us, but) every week.

 

Homelessness is on the rise in every state of Australia and it’s effects are very evident on the streets of Melbourne (just ask Bubba). Poverty’s claws are gripping more and more people and that grip is getting tighter and tighter.

 

And we live in a buoyant economy, a place where people are eager to come and live, so eager that they will risk the seas in unsafe boats, will risk the camps like Manus Island, will risk everything to escape to a better land to get locked up. And what they get is better than what they left – what does that tell us about the world in which we live?

 

Now I’m not going to go on about politicians (a backbencher earns $195,130 p.a.) or the massive budget cuts to education, health, foreign aid etc. I won’t mention the $24billion being spent on war planes (that we don’t need), or how ‘spreading the cost fairly’ means an average worker pays more to the government while the super wealthy actually pay less in real terms. I won’t use terms like fairness and equality. I will not concentrate on things I can do very little about, I am but one small voice.

 

Instead I’ll light a little candle in the darkness. My little candle, a light that says I will do my little bit to help those around me. A light that says the darkness cannot win while I’m still here.

 

I will not be able to do much, a meal here, a few dollars there, a lift when needed, just a smile and a word of encouragement. Small things, easy things, worthwhile things. I will not discriminate as to whom I will share my little light with and if anyone wants to take it and pass on it on I will be delighted, for my candle will lose nothing lighting another one.

 

I will do this because I believe it’s what Jesus would do – he would love those around him, he would make a difference.

 

I really don’t care why you do it – do it because your faith requires it; do it because you are a humanitarian and want to help others; do it because you believe it’s what God would want you to do; do it as a form of rebellion to annoy those in authority; do it because no one else is; do it because everyone else is; do it because it’s trendy; do because you’re an anarchist; do it because you can; do it for whatever reason – just light up the darkness around you a little bit.

 

So, if you’ve read this far, light your own little candle of hope, stand defiantly in the darkness, spread the words, do the deeds and sing with a growing number of us….

 

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”


You don’t have to be perfect to be priceless

 

This painting is called “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne. It is the most expensive painting ever sold at over US$259 million. People call it a great painting but most critics notice that the man on the left’s hat doesn’t fit on his head. It’s great but not perfect.

 

This is the most expensive carpet ever sold. It is a Silk Isfahan Rug and in 2008 it sold for US$ 4,450,000. It has a mistake in it. It is a deliberate mistake (all ‘Persian’ rugs have a deliberate mistake as only Allah can be perfect) but that means it is flawed. It’s great but not perfect.

 

Finding absolute perfection is impossible – nothing is ever perfectly perfect. Just because something ins’t quite perfect does that mean it has no worth?

 

Of course not, the two examples above are some of millions I could have chosen from and, even though they are imperfect, these things are almost beyond price.

 

There is beauty, value and worth in everything and there is beauty, value and worth in everyone as well.  A few years ago (wow, over 15 years ago, now I think about it) I was asked to lead a funeral for a little old lady who had died in a nursing home. The funeral director told me that the only people attending the service would be me, him and a representative from the home and if I wanted to I didn’t have to do a full service and could cut it short, no one would know.

 

I’m a stubborn bugger at times and that dismissal of this lady’s life as not worthy of a full service irritated me immensely. Why should she not have the same send off as everyone else? As it turned out she got a little more than most. I got a the few details the nursing home had about her which included her email address her niece in Germany. I emailed her and told her about the service etc and asked if she knew of  anything I could use in an eulogy. She sent me a few facts and a couple of phone numbers. From there things kind of spiralled.

 

The funeral was set for 3pm on a Thursday and by the time it started there were nearly 200 people there, including representatives of both the German and French Ambassadors as well as representatives of the Queen and the British government. The lady’s name was Helga, she was from Stuttgart and she was twice decorated war hero. Before the Second World War she had been a test pilot for new Messerschmitts and one of the best pilots in German. During the war she had become a pilot ferrying high ranking German officials all over Europe. She crashed landed twice and was shot down once and was awarded an Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (you couldn’t get a higher award for bravery at the time) and we cannot doubt her bravery and self sacrifice. What very few people knew is that she also worked with the resistance in France and helped ferry countless people to safety by flying them mainly into Switzerland but once across the Channel at night in to England.

 

For nearly an hour and a half we had tributes in German and English and French, formal thanks from the French government were read, family members had sent letters as had family members of some of the people she had rescued. Music was played, prayers were offered and we all remembered that a little old lady called Helga had not always been a little old lady but a genuine war hero, an Aunt, a sister and a woman of beauty, value and worth. She was escorted out of the chapel by an honour guard of British soldiers and a lone bugler played The Last Post by her graveside.

 

Oh and by the way she only had three fingers on her left hand, her ring finger and little finger were fused together – she wasn’t perfect but she was priceless. I was honoured to be able to conduct her service.

 

Helga was just one woman, one person among the 7 billion people in our world. One priceless woman among 7 billion priceless people. Each one of those 7 billion has a story, each one has place and each one has value and worth.

 

We may not agree with some of them, we may not like others of them, we will never meet most of them and none of them is perfect but in the eyes of God you, me and each and everyone of them is loved and is absolutely priceless.

 

Thank you Helga for teaching me this.

 


Intolerance will not be tolerated

 

Intolerance will not be tolerated

 

 

 

We have a sign that you cannot miss as you walk into the pulpit to preach, it’s by a chap called David Hayward (http://nakedpastor.com/) and it reads –

 

“All means all.”

 

If you cannot agree with that ideal then we don’t think you should preach in our church. If you wish to pick and choose to whom you preach or if you wish to limit the scope and the Grace of the Gospel to those who YOU think should hear it then we don’t want to hear what you have to say, we probably wouldn’t agree with you anyway. We try not to be intolerant, we honestly try but we are intolerant of the intolerant.

 

You see, intolerance is not very present in the New Testament (expect for intolerance for the religious bigots of the day, and there were quite a few of them). All those who seem excluded at the outset of the story are the very ones who are welcomed in by the end. Jews and non-Jews join together to form the Church; Women and men become leaders and workers in the Church. Did I mention the orphans, widows, lepers, sinners, publicans, tax collectors and various other ‘undesirables’ who are welcomed? The ones who we (the Church of today in one form or another) usually exclude are the very ones who are sought out by Jesus and then by the Apostles and welcomed in, not in a ‘token gesture, look we welcome lepers” sort of way but right into the very heart of the church, into leadership positions and other important roles.

 

As an example of this look at the first gentile (non Jewish) convert to the early Church – a nameless man usually called by the flattering title of – the Ethiopian Eunuch (see Acts chapter 8). Everything seemed to be against his admittance to the Church and yet he is the one to whom the Holy Spirit sends one of the Apostles, a man called Phillip. Nadia Bolz-Weber (in her brilliant book “Pastrix”) puts it far better than I could: “The first gentile convert to Christianity is a foreigner, who is also a person of color and a sexual minority? If only the guy were also “differently abled” and gluten intolerant.”

 

In every way this man should be excluded and yet he is the first non-jewish person welcomed into the church. What does that tell us about how things should be within the church? – it screams out to me that intolerance should not be tolerated, that everyone is welcome and we shouldn’t try and choose who is and isn’t welcome, that’s God’s role. All we can do is open the doors and welcome in all who comes – whoever they maybe.

 


Happy Zombie Jesus Day

 

He is Risen but…

Is Jesus a zombie wizard who also knows kung fu???

The obvious answer to this question is, “NO, course not!”

The quote (Jesus is a zombie wizard who also knows kung fu) comes from a song called WWJD? by the band Axis of Awesome (if you are of a delicate mindset don’t listen to it, you won’t enjoy it, I love it but then again I have a very weird sense of humour). But it is a question that the church needs to address.

Is Jesus a undead sorcerer who can fly and do kung fu and shoot laser beams from his eyes and do ballet on Saturdays and just about anything else he wants to whenever he feels like it?

This is what a lot of society seem to think; it’s mainstream thought – Jesus is some kind of magic zombie, raised to life, not to eat our brains but, to show us how to do good things for other people and generally be nice.

But that is not what the resurrection is. We’ve lost the meaning; we’ve lost the mystery; we’ve lost the depth of what it truly is.

Now, as we all know strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government and a fairytale about a zombie with mystical powers is no basis for the founding of a religion. Nor should it be – if that is all we have then we may as well be the Church of Buffy or the Temple of Spike.

But that is not what we believe. At the very core of what we, as a church, believe is the fact that we serve a risen Lord; a resurrected Jesus, and the resurrection is far more than just a story; it’s bigger than a note on the page of history; it’s what makes Christianity so appealing to so many. It’s the living proof that a new start is possible.

That’s what resurrection is….but, you say;

“We’ve all seen Lord of the Rings – it’s that bit where Gandalf comes back as the White Wizard – that’s resurrection, isn’t it?”

“What about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Aslan and the broken stone table – that’s what it’s all about, I’m sure of it.”

Yes, in some way I suppose it is but it is also far more – Like Gandalf and Aslan, Jesus was seen by many people after that first Easter Sunday morning. Like the White Wizard and the friendly lion he also did some pretty cool things for a guy who had been dead for three days; they led armies and defeated Sauron and the wicked Queen, Jesus cooked breakfast and walked through walls (read the Gospels it’s all there, I’m not making this stuff up).

So yes, the resurrection is important; Jesus rose from the dead (we cannot stress the enormity of this enough) but many in the church aren’t sure exactly what that means.

For some it’s the simple (????) idea that Jesus rose from the dead – literally came back to life and was a walking, talking person again. No different from before except for a few nail holes.

For others it is more the idea of a spiritual resurrection, that he came back as some form of visible spirit, seen by many, able to speak and act as Jesus did. These are just two of loads of thoughts on what the resurrection is.

But what it is is nowhere near as important as what it means. Whatever you believe and however you perceive the resurrection, the stunning fact surrounding it is that Jesus is still knowable, we can still encounter Jesus and the power of the resurrection today. It’s all about a new start and the power to rebuild.

That’s the message of the resurrection. It’s the story of a new start. I love the resurrection because for me it sums up what the we, as the Church, are all about.

You see for me the Church is a place of resurrection, a place of new beginnings. The resurrection is a cosmic statement that no one is so far gone that they cannot be brought back. Even death cannot stop resurrection – that’s the Easter message. Not that Jesus is a Zombie wizard who may, or may not, know Kung Fu but that we are all offered the chance of a new start through the events of that first Easter Sunday morning.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this happen but I can tell you every time it is special, every time it is unique. And it never gets old.

I’ve seen the homeless person who finally realises that they have worth and that God loves them for who they are not what they think they should be – that’s resurrection!

I’ve seen the be-suited businessman too busy for God who finally sees that God isn’t too busy for him – that’s resurrection.

I’ve also seen the young person confused about who and what they are but, at last, understanding that God loves them anyway – that’s resurrection

I’ve been there and seen the old lady in hospital who, in recounting her life story to a newly ordained minister, sees the impact God has had on others through what she has done and weeps tears of joy – that’s resurrection.

I’ve witnessed the gay guy who hated God who, when he found his true love, realised that it wasn’t God who hated him at all, it was just some of his so called helpers – that’s resurrection – right there.

Or it may be one of millions of other people who find that God is not what they expected but exceeds all they ever thought – that’s resurrection.

If you are looking for a kung fu chopping, magic wielding zombie called Jesus – you won’t find him here but you will find an ever loving Christ who will not give up on you even when you give up on him.

Happy Easter and remember –

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GOD TO RESURRECT!

 


Mini blog

 

More people would play bowls if they called it mega marbles

They would.

That’s it.

Nothing else to say.

This customer service message was brought to you by the Melbourne Welsh Church.


Jesus cares more about relationships than rules

 

Jesus cares more about relationships than rules.

The title for this blog is from a sermon by Rev David Hansen – I saw it on twitter and I found it very thought provoking. I must admit I haven’t heard the sermon. So in the tradition of pinching other peoples’ writing, I would like to add that all similarities to any actual sermon, living or dead, are totally coincidental.

We only really have four books that tell us of Jesus’ life. Thousands (maybe millions) of others have been written about those four books but Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (the Gospels) are the only real reference points we have. Looking through those books I don’t find Jesus sticking to the rules very often – he lets his disciples pick and eat corn on the Sabbath – that’s a no no: he heals people on the Sabbath – a HUGE no no: he talks to a woman by a well, without her husband there – NO, JESUS NO: she’s a Samaritan woman: REALLY NO JESUS, REALLY, REALLY NO!: he stops a crowd from stoning a sinner – who is this guy? It’s the law (and good fun)!!.

Let’s not talk about the hanging around with tax collectors (seriously Jesus what were you thinking???) and lepers (they are so unclean, have a bit of decorum, please!). We’ll skirt around the issue of prostitutes (see what I did there, clever wordplay eh?) and we’ll try not to mention the delicious irony of arguing with the religious, law-making elite (which was an illegal thing to do, apparently.)

Quite a few rules broken there and it seems that each time a rule is broken it is done so that Jesus can spend time with people who needed just that – time, and more importantly time with Jesus.

So what has changed in 2000 or so years? People still need time with Jesus. Why has what’s important gone from being human beings to rules and regulations? Why is it that we forget the people? And the first ones we forget are usual the marginalised, the poor, the outcasts – the ones who really can’t afford to be forgotten.

Jesus cares more about relationships than rules – read the Gospels – it’s blinding obvious.

I used to go to a church where you didn’t wear jeans in a Sunday – it was frowned upon by the church elders, as a consequence of this and other rules we had a nice, middle class church where no one rocked the boat, and no-one who wasn’t like us was welcome. We were safe, secure Christians and we didn’t bother God very much, and he certainly didn’t bother us. I went back there to preach a few years ago and, as it was a communion service, I issued the invitation to “all to come to the table” – the service was stopped as I was reminded by a stern faced elder that only, and I quote, “paying members have the privileged of coming to the Lord’s Table”. The worst part is he was serious!!! Church has become the local golf club, as long as you pay your subs you’re in, what happens when you can’t? Does God’s grace suddenly get turned off because you’ve hit a bit of a rough patch?

When did who is allowed to take the bread and wine at communion become more important than “let the children come to me and do not hinder them”? Why, in some places, are the church accounts more important than “if you do this for the least of these you do it for me”? Since when did who can come to a service become a higher church law than “love your neighbour as yourself”?

Jesus cares more about relationships than rules – read the Gospels – it’s blinding obvious.

I’m not saying we should dispense with rules and order altogether and have the Melbourne Welsh Church of Anarchy and Chaos; Jesus didn’t dispense with rules altogether – but when rules become more important to us than people I think we’re in dangerous waters, steering toward trouble. People still need to be given time and, more importantly, time with Jesus. Relationships are more important than rules.

A few weeks ago we had a combined church meeting where some legitimate concerns were raised about this blog and our Facebook page. One of the issues raised was that on our Facebook page “the Federal Government was denigrated as to the treatment of asylum seeks/illegal immigrants.”

It was a well made point. The question behind the comment, I think, was should the Church, indeed any church, be speaking on Party Political matters.

On more than one occasion I have brought up the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers and the Federal Government has been denigrated as to the treatment of asylum seeks/illegal immigrants.

Yes, it most certainly has and it will continue to be as long as it continues to break the International Convention on Human Rights. So will the Labour Party and the Greens and anyone else who does. The post was not meant to be party political but it certainly was political. I will slam anyone who mis-treats other human beings the way the Federal government is; if anyone can read the Gospels and tell me that Jesus would condone the what is going on in places like Manus Island and the way human beings are seen as political bargaining chips I, for one, would question their reading of the Gospel. These people are the Samaritans of today, hated by government and pushed to one side and I don’t remember Jesus avoiding the Samaritans. In fact he broke long standing rules just to make time for them. People still need to be given time and, more importantly, time with Jesus.

Jesus cares more about relationships than rules – read the Gospels – it’s blinding obvious.

Relationships ARE more important than rules – being church is about building community through relationships with all sorts of different people. It’s what Jesus did and it’s what we should do. After all everybody has a story to tell and everyone has a place in the Kingdom of God, Jesus never forgot that – neither should we!!!


Deliver us from Bigotry and the WBC

From those who religion requires bigotry, deliver us O Lord.

When I put this sign up last week I had a totally different blog to this one in mind. I had another rant about those who exclude people from their community because of made up, spurious reasons. I had it all drawn up in my head, ready to go. Since then I’ve learnt that Fred Phelps is ‘near death’ and it’s changed what I think I should say.

For those of you who don’t know who Fred Phelps is, he is the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, possibly the most evil and pernicious cult that I’m aware of. They lower intolerance to a whole new level. Along with their very well documented hated of homosexuals (the church website is godhatesfags.com) they also admit to racism, mainly of Jews. WBC is most famous (infamous) for the way it pickets military funerals and those of celebrities and media people. As an example of their ideals – on January 15, 2006, Westboro members protested a memorial for 2006 Sago Mine disaster victims, a disaster in which 12 people died, claiming that the mining accident was God’s revenge against America for its tolerance of homosexuality. This is the ‘church’ that Fred Phelps founded.

So when I heard he was ‘on his deathbed’ I will admit, along with many others I’m sure, to being quite happy about the news. I read the ideas spreading over the internet about how groups of people from various communities (including various churches, gay right groups and even the American Military) are going to picket his funeral. And I agreed with them – and then I went to Bible study last night and was Godsmacked by one isolated comment, in fact one isolated word.

In our Bible study, we’ve just started reading through the Gospel of Mark (in fact last night was our first study and we looked at chapter 1). We began by reading the first verse, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” The question was asked, “So who was this Gospel written for?” I had my answers ready, as did my co-minister I’m sure, something like “A first century Jewish community, most probably”, when from the group a voice said, “Everyone.” It sounded to my ears like, “Durrrrr, everyone” said in that tone of voice that tells you that that’s something everyone knows, and I’m an idiot for not seeing it. And I am – a complete idiot for not seeing and understanding it.

I have thought about that one word all last night and all today; everyone – the Gospel was written for everyone; the Gospel is for everyone; God’s grace has no boundaries, no limits, no stop signs, it is for everyone. Just because I don’t love Fred Phelps, and all his ilk, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t. He does and that one word, said in passing at a Bible study, has forced me to confront the limits of my grace and the limitlessness of God’s.

Now it’s quite easy for us in the Church to learn who we should love – and so we love those poor people in Africa, South America and Asia, the downtrodden, the marginalised, even the homeless and the Asylum Seekers. But for bigoted, gay hating racists – now where is my love for them.

You see what I realised from that one word last night is that God loves Fred Phelps. As hard as it is for me to grasp this totally bizarre concept, God loves Fred Phelps and all the members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Despite of Fred’s hatred of practically everyone in the world, God loves him. It is not my place to judge Fred. I may hate what he does and what he stands for; I may (profoundly) disagree with pretty much every theological view he has ever expressed; I may stand completely opposed to his view of God and his actions in God’s name; I may (and I will) speak out against his views of homophobia, racism and hatred but I have zero right, absolutely none at all, nada, zilch, zip to deny that God loves him and God’s grace is broad enough to encompass him (though not his views, of course. I don’t believe that God agrees with them at all). The God I serve is big enough and broad enough to love everyone, everyone.

This is the story of the cross, the story of Easter, the core of our faith.

In my mind Fred Phelps is a bigot and his views are things from which we all need delivery. His ideas and ideals directly contravene what I read in my Bible and the faith that I hold so dear. But what one word, mentioned in passing, has done is confront me with God’s love and confound me with God’s grace. I must realise that what God offers is for EVERYONE, and it doesn’t matter one jot what I think – this is what God’s love is and this is what God’s grace does.

He gives it freely to all humanity, even to the Fred Phelps’, the Siôn Hughes’ and the (insert your name here’s) of this world. And I’ve been taking it for granted that I was, at the very least, on the right track. But….

My love, my tolerance, what little grace I have are all limited. Finite. As hard as I may try all my perceived goodness has limits (quite narrow ones if I’m honest). But here’s the big thing; the massive lesson I learnt this week; the Godsmacking truth that we must all grasp if we’re going to change this world – GOD HAS NO LIMITS. To impose limits on him is to become another Fred Phelps – confining God to love only those you love, and the Almighty is far bigger than that.

Think on these things as we journey through Lent. Think of the worst person you know of; someone who, if push came to shove, you would say you actually hated. Well, guess what? God loves them every bit as much as he loves you. It’s a very hard idea to wrestle with and an even harder one to live out. Let’s pray we can.


Stop Posting Made Up Quotes – Mark Twain

Stop posting made up quotes – Mark Twain.

or

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet – Abraham Lincoln

 

I love quotes, I have books of them. Long involved ones; short, pithy ones; funny ones; old ones; I love quotes.

 

I find it easy to lose an hour or so just going from one to the next. The problem with quotes is that they are not in context and can be easily misunderstood.

 

For example-

 

This is a quote the British Homeopathic Association used in its advertising.

 

“There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo”

 

But the House of Commons study on the practises of advertising notes the full quote:

 

“There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo however, the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials. Studies of high methodological quality were more likely to be negative than the lower quality studies.”

 

That paints a slightly different picture than the rosy one the British Homeopathic Association wants us to see. There are plenty of examples of this selective quoting –

 

A show in London used the tag line –

 

‘energy, razzmatazz and technical wizardry’

 

When the full quote in the Times was –

 

“I couldn’t help feeling that, for all the energy, razzmatazz and technical wizardry, the audience had been shortchanged”

 

Again very different from the ‘real’ quote.

 

Look at the quotes below –

 

“Twitter is a great tool for social change” – Mother Teresa

 

“Play it again, Sam” – from Casablanca

 

“Elementary, my dear Watson” – Sherlock Holmes

 

“Hate the sin: love the sinner” – Jesus Christ

 

“My philosophy? I’m always right and you are wrong.” – Oscar Wilde

 

Which is your favourite?

Which ones had you heard before?

Did you know that the people listed never said these things?

 

These are all misquotes or false quotes. Holmes, in all the books, never says  “Elementary, my dear Watson”; it’s “Play it, Sam”, not “Play it again, Sam”; Oscar Wilde, Mother Teresa or Jesus Christ ever said those things.

It’s so easy to make up quotes, easier than misquoting because you can get them to say whatever you like.

 

“Melbourne Welsh Church is the best church is the world” – Barak Obama.

 

See? I doubt the President of the U.S. has ever heard of the Welsh Church and even if he had I doubt he say we’re the best church in the world. (What am I saying? Of course he would, I’ve seen a quote saying he did!)

 

There are preachers and churches who take the words of Jesus and do all the things to them I’ve noted here. Misquote, false quote, selectively quote and they don’t represent what Christ really says

 

What I’m trying to say with all this is if it isn’t in the Bible then Jesus didn’t say it. With so many Bible websites (www.biblegateway.com) its easy to see check what Jesus really said and, just as importantly, in what context he said it. It may not stop the random misquoting of Jesus but at least you will know exactly what J.C. said. Check and question what you’re told. If they are preaching the truth they will have no problem with questions.

 

SO DO IT!

 

Ask questions. Don’t blindly take a minister’s word for something – check it, question it – question everything. PLEASE.

 

(and tell them to stop posting made up quotes.)

 

 


Upcoming Events

Oct
28
Wed
10:00 am Bible Fellowship
Bible Fellowship
Oct 28 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
The event occurs on Zoom until further notice.  Contact the office or one of the ministers for the Meeting ID and password for the information!
Nov
4
Wed
10:00 am Bible Fellowship
Bible Fellowship
Nov 4 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
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Nov
11
Wed
10:00 am Bible Fellowship
Bible Fellowship
Nov 11 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
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