Monday, June 5, 2017

The Pentecost Conspiracy

Two lovely sermons yesterday, heard by me.

One introduced an idea I had not heard previously. That Pentecost is God's conspiracy with us. To conspire is to breath with, and in the Holy Spirit, God is breathing with us, our breathe one with God's breathe. This is good conspiracy. Of course most uses of the word "conspiracy" today have a negative connotation: people plotting to overthrow the established order of things.

Speaking of which, overnight we have another act of terrorism in the UK. Thoughtful words on this come from John Schindler who argues that what Britain is facing is not terrorism but "a protracted insurgency."

And we need thoughtfulness as Christians. When Pentecost marked the end of the "Thy Kingdom Come" period of intensive praying from Ascension to Pentecost, where is God when the advance of another kingdom is made visible in the rivers of blood flowing on the streets of London?

What is God saying to us in such times about the advance of the kingdom? Such advance is both a matter of praying as though everything depends on God and acting (love, justice, peace-making) as though everything depends on us. Are we being challenged to act differently than we have been?

What is the breathe of God breathing into us in our crazy world today?


Bryden Black said...

A "protracted insurgency" - or a "civil war"? Because of the sheer numbers among 'native Europeans' nowadays, I'm inclined to say the latter.

BrianR said...

It is evolving into a civil war. New Zealand should learn the lesson. Don't import the problem through soft-headed thinking and emotional appeals to help refugees. Refugees are best helped in their own region.

Anonymous said...

Although it's true that the IRA had clear cut political aim, the general population experienced living with a comparable level of threat as exists today (look up the details on google). Large numbers of civilian casualties occurred. Yet people went about their business - sometimes being herded out of railway stations because of bomb threats but continuing their journeys afterward and putting up with being late. I hope they can show the same resilience now. It's pretty obvious that vast numbers of British Muslims don't want to live under Isis, and don't want to be accidentally mowed down or blown up by terrorists. I think the best hope is that the different communities can unite in a common rejection of violence and a common willingness to endure for the course of this insurgency, however long it lasts. Rhys

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Rhys
I think insurgency is a helpful term (the more I think about it).
It focuses our attention on whom the insurgents might be and whether we can overcome them.
Taking into account the recent event in Melbourne, we are seeing a pattern whereby ISIS either plans or claims the event, but the participant is not necessarily a sane, clean living adherent of the faith. Rather a person with a criminal record, perhaps a bit or quite a bit mixed up about what Islam actually means, maybe even on drugs.
Not exactly a representative sample of committed Muslims, intent on a peaceable way of life which, I continue to note, is the vast majority of Muslims throughout the world.
We need to voercome the insurgents, not the whole of Islam.

Anonymous said...

"We need to overcome the insurgents, not the whole of Islam."

I think you know enough about the dreadful experience of Christians in Egypt to speak so simplistically. Modern radical Islam goes back to Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood - that gang that Obama was so keen on which paralysed the country and had to be rooted out by the Egyptian Army. ISIS is only the latest manifestation of an ideology that pops up under different names - Al Qaeda, Al Mujaharoun, Khomeini's revolution etc. The progressive removal of non-Muslims or their subjugation into dhimmitude is always the political goal of Muslims.
Islam *does need to be overcome - by the name and gospel of Jesus Christ. How many Anglican bishops believe this?

Bryden Black said...

While "insurgencies" can certainly go on for a long time, for example The Western Sahara, the term "civil war" implies a deeper more protracted nature to the conflict. And I strongly suspect radical Islam will be with us for a good few years into this century ...

Jean said...

As Steve Bell noted in his blog and as Nabeel notes in his books after the own examination into the faith of his birth, there is a call to jihad within the core doctrine of Islam. However, with the multiple interpretations of the Quran and the fact that it is the interpretations rather than the core text itself that many Muslims know, understand and practice, much of what the average Muslim follows I imagine would fall into the category of decent living. And of course like many labelled Christian, for many the adherence to their faith will be nominal, celebrating the big festivals etc but otherwise living a secular life.

There is little debate the radical 'arm' of Islam is a threat. And I guess it could be compared to the IRA, because like nationalism, it gets people to buy into an ideology they are willing to kill for. As opposed to the Gospel, a way of life where people of strong faith are prepared to lay down their own lives for others. The encouraging aspect is the number of Muslim people who are being drawn now to Isa (Christ) and becoming apostles in their own communities. Read, A wind in the House of Islam. And of course for many a law abiding Muslim what they see being done in the name of their faith is going to cause them to be grieved and question it.

As for refugees are the problem. I would ask the question, are the second generation immigrants who are arrested for the crimes we see happening now refugees or the children of economic immigrants? Because there is a danger in inadvertently labelling those most in need as criminals without a trial so to speak, to turn away those in need out of fear rather than fact, simply because it is easier if one 'group' can be the problem. I tend to agree with the turn the blind eye approach to Saudi Arabia, I was surprised a year or so ago that the NZ gov't allowed Saudi representatives to come and 'take home' a student who had become a Christian in NZ and was in hiding, had been granted refugee status, and feared for his life should he return back to Saudi Arabia. Was it because of the money we get from the Saudi government to allow their citizens to study here?