iBlog: July 2006


Tomorrow's blog today

Saturday, July 29, 2006

My Journey in Search of Authentic Faith

I've mentioned before in my blog that since leaving Norwich Union (well, more accurately, being fired for gross incompetency from the Norwich Onion) I've been seeking and finding a `plan B` Churchtianity to bypass all the neo-liturgy that gets in the way of God and me. I've just returned from a long weekend in Derbyshire with Mark and Dave (pics of camping n that on first link). Derbyshire hills, if you're not quite enlightened, are perfect escapes and inspiration of taking stock of your life in the shaddow of England's green and pleasant land and the window of the beauty of the God who put them there. That is to say, the perfect setting for my search for authentic faith and the consolidation for all the revelations, ponderings, seeds and convictions that have been bouncing around in my excuse for a brain for the last five or six months.

I don't think authentic faith can be summised by a single maxim or t-shirt slogan, but the first step in my journey for authentic faith was regressing what it means to be saved, and what it means to live as a Christian into it's fundimental principles...

For all the apostolic demon casting, old testament law, self indulgent church messeges of evangelism and reality/foreign small-scale relief work ideas, none compare to the Matthew 5:44-47 approach to love. The simple sort of `Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbour as you love yourself`. This is a simple principle, but so infinately undermined and skimmed over by the modern evangelical and herritage churches that the very offshoot of it - the mind of Christ - is almost completely missed. I've learned that the first step towards authentic faith is un-predisposed, un-discerning, selfless, fearless, courageous love.... and nothing more. Love in it's simplest Christ inspired form is the most difficult thing I've ever had to do, yet according to the pasters of mummy's charismatic church, prima facie, I've been `baptised in the holy Spirit`, I've happily (and unregrettibly) passed through the waters of physical baptism, I've been born again and filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit - but what are any of these unless I have the love that becomes the Father who inspires every single one of these events? Love, is fundimental and, in my strongest opinion, is something that can never be attained in its fullest sense without divine revelation and the strength of God first.

The second step on my journey for authentic faith is a church thing, and i think Awesome stands as a quaint contranym to the sort of church culture that's been boring a hole further and further into my head. I've shared before my thoughts on the intricies of the Maoist nature of the church - and why the fact that it drives people's faiths to be passive and subject to the church, instead of inspiring inspiration from a divine personal revelation is it's own hamartia. It's leaders claim Awesome is ``Church without the boring bits``, but what makes `Awesome` an antilogy is that it misses the point of seeking God as a church just as much as it has the passion to do as much as it can in the confinds of Jesus' `Great Commission`. (Rest assured this is not an Awesome-bash!)

The sad fact is that this is highly indicative of the contemporary church - every sunday morning message is about how we should evangelise, every house group message is about conviction and everything in between is a fabricated attempt at smiley happy faces. (I noted today that in this sense, La has a Mary Bennett ` `I should infinately prefer a book` approach to church` - and I really don't blame her). Maybe that's an unfair generalisation, but it seems that what I learned about love in the first step of my journey is being left out of the fundimental solid rock of church itself. Love is not seeping through to the generation x that Awesome (and the like) so proudly claim to be *saving* - and again, I ask you - what use is saying we have salvation when we do not or cannot love?

There's a lot to say about church, it's built up and ripped apart cultures - it's saved people from suiside and led people to it - it's everything we should be, and if done wrongly, everything we shouldn't. I won't talk about Awesome anymore here, merely because I've said it all before and if I reitterate any of the many many points I've raised already, it would be a mere rant and unproductive - but I think, going against what Helen said in one comment on an Awesome blog, it does do to dwell on church because of the gravity of it. Imagine fifteenhundred people being organised, controlled and submissive in the most literal and circumspect sense possible - with no one to comment on or police the leaders - it would be starkly unChristian in at least some senses to just smile and turn a blind eye hoping that the best in every situation will become it.

Luckily, God has blessed this second step with St Augustines, a church which may be purposed as `church without church bits`; surprisingly, I tend to avoid swearing, but I tend to think of St Augustines as `Church without the bollocks` - and I have a great deal of respect for Rev Nicholas Vessey insofar as he doens't negate the Church of England's practises or dogma by default of his ability to see past the orthodoxy - merely he takes what has helped and blessed generations upon generations before us today and reflected on what's relevant, what can be added, and how to execute church without executing it (if you'll excuse the bad word play there). I confess this ability to comprimise generational worship practises with ancient liturgy is not a skill that I can boast.

I once heard ``if you find the perfect church, don't go there``, I'm still to find the logic in that, so La and I still go (when we can!) and lo, the way is paved for the next step of the journey for authentic faith!

In now knowing that authentic faith can be built on a foundation of love between people in the unprecidented way proposed above, and where the expression of church has to be able to point people to God without bussing them there by whatever means, the next step is applying the two to contemporary culture, and seeing if love and work mix without the sort of tension for which Condelezza Rice has to be flown over! Luckily in my new job I deal with a lot of customer type stuff. Now anyone who knows me knows I'm not the friendliest of people and I do rather enjoy tapping away at numbers or ASM programming computer arithmetic in solitude than meeting new friends or strangers - let alone greeing them with a smile for a company that underpays me! However, this has been an incredible learning curve of practising love, and this hands on approach to what is, in my opinion, Christianity itself in bare bones (the bare bones being `love the Lord your God and love your neighbour as you would love yourself`) has led me to this blog, as genuinne holy love is the hardest thing to attain or be (especially for a culture as proud as ours, and for the son of a Captain *intellectual* as myself). But still, it's the persuit thereof that bears my salvation, not the love that is its fruit (feel free to disagree by comment if you disagree on that part). But still, the completeness and struggle of trying to fathom out what holy love means by beleiving it and being this love, is an axiomatic truth and moreover, a wholly complete faith.

In all my honesty: I couldn't recite half the Bible many others less churched than me might be able to - and I don't care. I don't spend an hour every morning with a Bible on my knees `weeping in the throne room of God` (as mum's church might describe it) - and I don't think my day's effected any more than I care about because of that. I don't go to church every single Sunday and I'm not yet in a housegroup - and I don't think that matters.... But despite all the transgressions of these fundimental Christian values, I've never felt more complete than when I can love my neighbiour before I see his face or hear his voice or know where he comes from or know whether he requites my love or despises me because of it. Holy love is a wealth deeper than love-by-defalt.

I think Reality is a good idea, but that's all. A sporadic novelty of love isn't enough - it'd be like La and me marrying and me taking her out to a meal and us making love on our tenth anniversary only, and merely living side by side for the rest of our time together speaking only to sort out the mortgage - it doesn't make sense and aside from practicalities, it's not loving in either a perennial or an observable sense. I gather Oak Grove has a truly awe inspiring answer to this. Every now and again, instead of a Sunday morning service, they go into the community and merely love by doing community stuff. I don't know the ins and outs, but to marry authentic faith and `the world`, love can be acheived by ongoing, dependable love and compassion. Awesome et al claim to `reach youth culture relevantly`, but if that is against the first two principles of this revelation of authentic faith, then the reaching is in vain.

Seeing as the first stages of my path to authentic faith involved love, church and culture (more specificly merging love and church with the world), I think on the hills of my Derbyshire, what I've been contemplating lately is the integrity of the values I'm told I should have because `Christian` is synonymous with `holy`. This forth stage of my journey involves much questioning and self-appraisal, and I encourage you to ask youselves the questions ... but answer them authenticly. All of the eight questions below and mentioned presently [in the next paragraph] have standard parrot Christian answers, but the point in asking them is perhaps to guage the gulf between the standard answers and the ideal answers and where we stand in relation to them. Being a Christian, even a contemporary Christian doens't make us right, and no matter how much shouting in a microphone or `love offerings` or expensive PA systems you buy, can reduce the gulf between the authentic faith and the church abiding Christian.

Does being born again mean I just plod along waiting to be perfected like God has me on some sort conveyor belt? I'm thinking not, and this search of authentic faith is testament to this effort of finding the answers to those first two princiles:
1) What does it mean to be saved?
2) What does it mean to be a Christian?
The answer to both of those questions is love and I'm happy to argue anyone who disagrees with that: love for God and love for your neighbour. After applying that to culture, I think it's important to show integrity and question the motives behind those really obvious actions by havig the clarity of self conviction and determined courage of our principles to be and believe that love and live that loving culture and in doing so, we need to question ourselves and our motives by these questions...

1) When evangelising, that is to say encouraging people to abandon themselves to the God of your choice, what are your motives?
- Genuinne emphatic compassion for them and their hearts
- God, and the resounding joy in heaven at one sheep being found
- The church, and the furtherence thereof
- The security of your own salvation
The reflection and contemplation of prioritising those concepts is just as important as the answer you have for it.

2) Do your worship music tastes co-inside with what's popular? Is your most recent [Christian] CD as frequented as the Stoneleigh album sitting in a bottom drawer somewhere that really blessed you back in 1997?

3) Do you convince yourself that you were `lost` before you were born again? Do you tell people, including yourself, that before ``finding Jesus`` you were `blind`; `in a rut`; `hopeless`; but when looking over-the-top those rose-tinted spectacles of hindsight, life really wasn't that bad - even if life now is more fulfilling.

4) Are your prayers a pick 'n' mix of cliches and Christian idioms that mean a great deal in sermons, but very little when the sew out of yoru brain, eg `Oh, father god, lord of Jacob and abraham, come in fire and fill your jar of clay, bring revival and accept the sweet wine offering of the lamb...` Now that prayer on paper is *cool* but saying it when walking down the street and your mind is filled with `I should pray... I'm praying... what words am I saying again?` and see how many of the terms mean the depth that they could if it was said with more sincerity. One of the most *moving* prayers I've ever seen was Jennifer Aniston's prayer for Jim Carey at the end of Bruce Almighty - merely because it was a woman of God with her heart exposed to God - unadulterated by the corruption (for want of a better term) of cliches or the desensitivation of the church of prayer. I suppose the question there is: How much of you is in your prayer?

5) Do you find God un-approachable when you're far from Him? How does that effect the times when you're closer to Him? God is always approachable, and being scared to come towards Him just shows He has a lot more of Himself to reveal to you - and I encourage you to be excited at that!

6) If you suspect the paster is speaking something with which you disagree
- do you stay true to your convictions
- fear being called `proud` and believe it anyway
- speak with him and discuss?

7) Which of these scenarios inspires you more to pray? church or the world

8) Do you think God judges your actions ergo your salvation relies thereon? Or do you think His judgement lies on the state of heart and the motives behind those actions? Furthermore, Do you think by disciplining your actions by mere self denial and being convinced that a time at a table with the bible can be called `time with the Lord`, you wil gain favour with God and a sincerity of heart of follow suit as a result of this lifestyle pruning... or do you think it's better to abjectly and modestly let the small everyday trangressions of the lifestyle befitting `the mind of Christ` to continue , while you focus your attentions into finding and persuing this mind, safe in the knowledge that the trivial inconequential habits are dwarfed in significance compared to the imperative of the state of heart (that is to say Love itself) to which a Christian is obliged to be party? For example, a new Christian finds God and chooses to be under the discipleship of a paster... should a paster say ``don't let your eye lust... don't masterbate... don't swear... don't drink... don't listen to music that makes Jesus sad... don't miss church for a football match... and you will be damned if you should ever read the basic messages of love by the Dali Lama! Here's a CD to start you off.``, or should the paster encourage the man to seek the mind of Christ and love the Lord his God and his neighbour as he would himself as a priority.

You may re-word that question more simply: `Is a Christian (and favour with God, and subsequent salvation) definined by his actions or his motives?`

So what is Authentic faith?
Funny time to ask that question, but we've explored what it means to be it and do it, and show it, but actual authentic faith itself, we've assumed is what it says on the tin. (Conceptual philosophy coming up I'm afraid)

To me, Authentic Faith more than the inside out saturation that Christianity provides... Authentic Faith is more than becomming of it's follower, it not only encompasses the believer and the church, but it's also the moral behind it's reason for being. It's the reason itself, not the mere aspiration of seeking reason. Authentic Faith is love... and love is the foundation after Jesus, the foundation OF Jesus. Authentic Faith doesn't aspire to love, because it's only attainable by loving, and being love in the first place. Love is axiomatic to Christianity, but for Authentic Faith to occur, love is a top to bottom fibre of being. Even Jesus says `what is to be gained by loving those who love you?`.

Any Christian takes comfort in the pains taken to love his enemies, but to love the old woman in the Vauxhall Corsa who cuts you up before you swear at them... to love the suiside bomber before you sigh at the loss of the innocent ones (who are easier to love by convention)... to love the child rapists before exhonerating your own moral highground by denouncing them as sickos - are all symptematic of Authentic Faith, and it's the split second hesitation of the priority of reactions that change us from the mind of a Christian to the mind of Christ.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


... I'm nineteen, but I always imagined nineteen year olds being taller than me.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Yoga twta

tehe, that word varification has a funny anagram

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Conversation with Callum from work yesterday

Me: ``one good thing about taking a two o'Clock break is you can listen to the archers`` *pulls out snazzy new phone*

Callum: ``What's that? O, the thing that goes du dud ud du du er duer``

Me: ``Something like that``

Callum: ``Isn't that some kind of post-apocolyptic dystopic blood battle between the remaining human earthly survivours and the robot aliens who annhailated the planet?``

Me: ``Well, Ambridge. It was set up in the '40s to subliminaly teach the population about crop growth. It's a soap opera set in rural England``

Callum: ``So it's all midddle classed radio four people then?``

Me: ``that was the intention, but there are gays in it now``

Callum: ``Gays can't farm``


Wednesday, July 12, 2006



i think i need two more posts to get my template to display properly in IE...

here's pointless post #1,,2-2006320106,00.html

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

North Korea 'n' That...

Why the West is shooting itself in the throat

It seems we have laid before us rather an insightful illustration of basic human interaction.

The scanrio is simple... the literal allegory is this: One person thinks they're responsible with the posession of something with great destructive gravity and so find reasons to justify their posession of it (like a gun or a car or even a faith); and another less mature individual is threatened and jelous of that which they lack in the face of his neighbour. Maybe the latter plays around a little with the concept of its new found ego-building toy and maybe they feel happy and giddy on the power it invokes (perhaps like Brixton chavs stealing themselves a car or buying a gun on the blackmarket).

With the real situation on the great political comedy or errors that is the UNGA, the danger arises only because the the very enmity between the two states is a direct result of the US (or perhaps a less specific but more inclusive term should be `the West`) is deeming itself responsible and stable enough for posession of such decisivly horrific `deterrents` and justifies its ownership with the conceit they're mere `defensive measures`. This, of course, is an open invitation for a `less mature` state to follow in its stead and so, the the armis is a result of the enmity it has caused itself. That is to say, the West saying it's truested with Nukes is the reason there are other nukes out there.

That is however, not naive enough to forget that these less responsible states would inervertibly adopt the methods of nuclear agression by other means; with other conceits and by different means even if the West had not paved the way for them.

So what is to be done about North Korea?

As frequent readers of my blog will know, I'm bold and arrogant enough to argue black is white, but I'd say proposing a solution to a matter of which one has limited experience is arrogance of the most severity. (Well... that and judging others by lesser morals than your own, but that's a different blog altogether!). So that's a handy get out clause to excuse me from having to justify my cynacism with pragmatics.

However, today I propose a right good way to deal with the N.Korean missile crisis! That's right, Donald Rumsfelt, Margaret Beckett, UNGA, eat your heart out because the awesome might that is the obscure eighteen year old blogger does your talent great injustice...

My advice to all involved is this:

Read `1984`; choose a church that doens't look down on your for not jumping; remember Christianity is liberal not conservative; don't support for the lapdog of the elctorate that is David Cameroon; don't let the media sway your opinions about Bush and especially not about Blair; remember behind every humanitarian there's a capitolist; and above all -

I'm finding this quote quite insightful from Thomas' More's `Utopia` (more thoughts on Utopia perhaps to come soon:) ``... we made no enquiries after monsters than which nothing is more common; for everywhere one may hear of ravenous dogs and wolves, and cruel man-eaters; but it is not so easy to find states that are well and wisely goverened.``

love benvolio, x

Sunday, July 09, 2006


read what mark thinks.... he's turned into a server!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Gay in the truest sense of the insult

can't believe the police didn't chase a moped thief because he didn't have a helmet and they thought they might get sued.

I try and avoid use of the phrase `criminals have too much rights` but that event angers me

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A blog for Monty

Monday, July 03, 2006

The EU thinks it needs a new slogan

the EU wants a new slogan

what can surpass `United in Diversity`

I recon perhaps:

`Refining Diversity` is rather apt

or possibly:

`Liberalism: Overcompensation for unethical internal trade quotas and exclusive repressive trade laws`

not sure the second rolls off the tongue quite so easily as `United in Diversity`, but let me to stop before my rant on the common market gets me thrown off blogger.

If you have any other slogans, feel free to respond by comment

love benvolio, x

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Phil Temple once said `tony Blair is beige politics`

So here's an artist's impression of an Awesome [non-beige] politician.

(geddit - it's all layin' down that Communist groove)


I received a red letter this morning...

... Apparently I got into trouble with the loan sharks at Saint Martins, so they're coming at two thirty tomorrow for their three farthings.

love benvolio, x