So 2016...

Lots of people seem to have had a bad year. Friends have lost close family; I've lost friends, and I know people who're really suffering at the moment. And folk have said that we have lost more 'celebrities' than usual, so they're feeling all sad and aggrieved. And, on the world stage, things have been pretty tough - lots of war and unrest, refugees fleeing, looking for safety, and often finding no more than a watery grave - terribly sad, and a real indictment on all of us. So it looks as though, on some levels at least, 2016 has been pretty dire.

But how was it for me?

Well, it's pretty hard to sum it up - even just trying to précis my blog posts would take ages and use far too much space - it’s hard to think what was important and what wasn’t. But here goes anyway...

Emotionally, it started on the lowest of lows; it was awful, and I could see no way forward, except into more awfulness - and I just didn't want to go there. But then my lovely friends, and God, stepped in and turned it around - and how! It's very hard to describe - I don't really have the words - but it's good. I think the biggest thing is that I have actually learnt, and experienced deep down, what unconditional love is.

A Christmas thought...

When I was a child, grown-ups always wanted to know if I'd been good when it came near Christmas - it seemed that gift-giving was perhaps conditional upon one having been a good boy.

It strikes me that God isn’t like that. He doesn’t want to know if we’ve been good before giving us the ultimate gift - the gift of His son Jesus. That’s a gift without conditions, born out of a love which is unconditional. 

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
Isaiah 9:6-7

May God bless you this Christmas, and grant you his perfect peace.

Subtle Seduction

Recently I have been reading some books by Richard Rohr: 'Falling Upwards'; 'Immortal Diamond'; ’Things Hidden'; 'The Divine Dance'. There is, I have to say, a fair bit that is very good about them. I have learnt quite a lot - about myself; where I am now; where I’m headed. And they have made me think, hard, about my faith - about what I believe and why I believe it. But, despite all that, I would advise against reading his works.

The danger lies in the quite subtle seduction they attempt. To read them uncritically would be very dangerous. It is only with solid bible knowledge, and a willingness to research each of his quotations (particularly the biblical ones) that his errors (or deliberate distortions of the truth?) begin to be revealed.

Amongst many 'smaller' errors, Rohr is a self-avowed 'universalist'. He clearly believes that, ultimately, everyone is saved and goes to heaven. This is an attractive heresy...

Because who among us wants to live with the fact that those of our fellow men who do not believe that Jesus died to save them are destined, ultimately, for death, and not for heaven? It would be nice to be able to say that all religions (and none) lead to God and heaven. But that is to fly in the face of quite explicit biblical truths such as this:

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