But then the words come: "But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them." (1 John 2:11)
Don't hate the folk of Westboro Baptist Church. Don't hate as they hate. Pray for them. Pray they'll find the living God and abandon their false God. Pray actively and act prayerfully.
JOHN PIPER TO RICK WARREN: "This is a very theocentric emphasis here, as oppose to Christocentric. So my question is would you, I ask this question because it was asked to me at The Gospel Coalition panel the other night, has your Godcentric message become more or less Christocentric, or Christ oriented? I told the story of how in the last 10 years or so, I have felt impulses in me, partly because of what I’ve seen in the Scripture as the cross being the center of everything and party because of the Islamic influences in the world. God talk doesn’t cut it anymore."
Wow. I'm very intrigued and encouraged by this comment, coming as it does from the heart of the Reformed stream. Does anyone know where to get the rest of this transcript?
First we had the Atheist billboard campaign, now we have the Islamic billboard campaign.
I hear advertisements will be appearing on billboards and buses around Sydney next month proclaiming: Jesus: a prophet of Islam, Holy Quran: the final testament and Muhammad: mercy to mankind.
The Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, has said ''They've got a perfect right to say it, and I would defend their right to say it [but] … you couldn't run a Christian billboard in Saudi Arabia.''
I've been playing around with my Blackberry this week and exploring its ever increasing potential for making life simpler. Simpler? Well, at least in terms of offloading physical assets (which frees up my space) and automating routine tasks (which frees up my time).
In particular I've discovered, somewhat belatedly, that the Google Maps app I downloaded some weeks ago can be integrated with my personal Google account giving me mobile access to my customised maps as well as geographically relevant Google Buzz. There's also potential for linking with others in my tribe so we can follow each other around Syndey, should I get over the creepiness factor.
Globally Positioned Lifestyles
I also downloaded one of those QR Code scanners, so I can interact with them when I come across them in real life, and downloaded a GPS based car finder to compensate for my notorious lack of direction, particularly in shopping mall car parks.
From my mobile feeds I've also been reading of new apps for mobile-based, home-orientated access control systems (so you can ditch your keys) and alternatives to PayPal that allow easier mobile payments in real life (so you can ditch your wallets). Soon it would seem we can run around naked, with nothing but a mobile, and access everything. And once they become small enough to wear around your neck, or skip that and go for subdermal implant, we'll be able to access everything without carrying anything.
So I find myself reflecting more and more on the New Scientist prediction that augmented cities will be upon us within a decade. Mobile computing, as it becomes more and more integrated into everyday activity, promises us a future when we'll be never offline unless we're on an electronic fast.
Fast Culture meets Slow Culture
In the same timeframe, however, I've also been coming across people whom, much to my shock, get confused by lifts in multistorey buildings and find automatic doors a novelty. While space is decreasing in relevance culturally, time is increasing in relevance culturally. I think its increasingly relevant to speak of fast culture and slow culture in the same way we talk about local culture and foreign culture. For if my experience is any guide, slow adopters and fast adopters increasingly exerience culture shock when they cross paths. We live in different worlds, even though they're side by side. Parallel universes running at different speeds.
In the article Who Gets Left Behind? the folks at Christianity Today suggest the Rapture Ready have got it all back the front, that its the unrepentant who get taken away on the Day of the Lord and that its the repentant who get left behind. Drawing attantion to Matthew 24-25 they highlight how Jesus himself indicated as such when speaking of Noah. I've long thought this goes a long way towards explaining the different evironmental leanings of different Christian traditions.
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.