James’s Blog: The World Waits with Baited Breath.

James’s Blog:  The World Waits with Baited Breath.

It’s easy to hold the Church up as a good argument for atheism. Our shame is not that we have been exceptionally bad, but rather that we haven’t been exceptionally good. But you can’t shake off the Holy Spirit that easily. Even after two thousand years, the World still expects us to keep Jesus’ promises. After all, you can’t be disappointed with something unless you’d hoped that it would be better, right? The problem is not that Christianity is bad, but rather that we have made a bad job of Christianity. I believe that even the most die-hard atheist still expects the followers of Jesus to be different to the rest of society; to be good where others are not.

Dennis Prager, a Jewish-American conservative commentator, believes that, regardless of what people think of religion, there remains in our culture an expectation that faith should make a difference to behaviour. He tries to prove this by asking people to picture something particular.

Imagine that late one night you are walking down an alley in a major city. The dim street lights illuminate your car at the other end of the alleyway. Suddenly, a group of boisterous young men turn the corner and start walking down the alley towards you.

Once the listener has this scene in his mind, Prager asks this question: Would you feel safer if you knew that those young men had just come from a Bible study?

Prager says that he has never had anyone answer “No.”

So, that’s the good news. People are just waiting for you to prove them right. Even now they still assume that you will be different. The best thing to do is to live in such a way that our children, our children’s children and our children’s children’s children will benefit from the same expectation.

James’s Blog: What’s Important to God?

James’s Blog:  What’s Important to God?

There was this one time when I was asked to visit a friend of mine who was in hospital. Let me clarify what I mean by ‘in hospital’. He was actually in the hospital’s locked ward. He’d had a psychotic episode and been sectioned. So I went to visit him, and I sat with him in the secure unit. I was out of my depth, which is where I spend a lot of my time.  He asked me to read to him, from the Psalms. So that’s what I did. That’s all I did. For half an hour I just sat and read from the Psalms while he wept beside me. Then I went home to my family. Read more

James’s Blog: Getting their Attention.

James’s Blog:  Getting their Attention.

An actor and a preacher were discussing their work.

What I don’t understand,” said the preacher, “is why my congregation will come to one of your performances and sit for hours, engaged and alert the whole time, while I can hardly get them to stay awake during one of my twenty minute sermons.”

Maybe,” said the actor, “it’s because I present fiction as though it were the truth, and you present the truth as though it were fiction.” Read more