AJ Jacobs is an Esquire journalist who loves to immerse himself into his projects, in this talk he shares on his year of trying to follow all 700 rules in the Bible. Along the way he learns a few things and makes a few dead end turns. It illustrates quite well that following the letter of the law but not getting the Spirit of the law is an exercise in missing the point, but that how even so God shapes lives. It’s worth 17 minutes of your time. For a good review of his book head over to Tim Challies here
Watching the news is always instructive, this story from ITV shows how poverty reduces your lifespan (in two parts of Glasgow not more than 8 miles apart the life expectancy in men differs by a massive 28 years) but also between nations – if you live in Lesotho your life will be 43 years shorter than if you were born in Japan. This reveals injustice, the poor once again on the sharp end. But of course the fact is, the rich die too it just takes them longer to get round to it. Only in Christ is death overcome, not replaced but defeated.
While I was watching ITV, Hugh Bourne was watching the BBC news and saw how it’s not just the length of life but the quality too – not surprisingly the happiest places to live are places with low crime, good air quality and a nice environment.
Over the weekend I was with our group of churches for a weekend away. One of the speakers was a lady from South Africa called Angela Kemm. Her seminars were called ‘The Priority of Social Justice’ and it was very provocative.
Questions such as ‘If a non-christian took on your job would anyone notice the difference?’ (As a pastor, I desperately hope the answer is yes!).
But what struck me most, was her insistence that as we care for the poor, the needy, the vulnerable that we tell them about Jesus and she challenged the fact that in Britain we have seperated the two. It made me wonder whether I have become afraid myself and why that might be? And then this question struck me with real force: Who am I protecting with my silence? God certainly doesn’t need my protection, and I believe the Gospel could do all those who hear it good, so it must be me that I’m trying to protect. This begs the question, don’t I believe that God is able to do that, is He not able to protect me that I must do that part of the job for Him? Or perhaps I don’t think that sharing in suffering for the name of Jesus (of even the mildest form) is something that should fall to me. Paul clearly thought otherwise.
Hmm, is it a lack of faith in God that I choose to protect myself by keeping quiet when I need to speak up?