Monday, May 31, 2010

when church disappoints - part 1

There are a lot of reasons why church might disappoint us. In this post I'm discussing the reason I struggle with the most: sin among church members. I'd like church to be a loving, forgiving, generous hearted, unworldly community that seeks to be obedient to God in all matters. Since marrying the Revd penguin, I've been exposed to more of the downside of church than ever before, because the minister of the church usually hears about or is involved in some way in all the muck that goes on. I know that we aren't reaching the standards that God sets for us and in my lowest moments I start to wonder if God is actually powerful enough to transform anyone.

One curious encouragement comes from the way that the Bible honestly describes what early Christian communities were like. Leaders sometimes seriously fell out with one another (Acts 15:36-41; Phil 4:2), there sexual immorality that unbelievers wouldn't even engage in (1 Cor 5:1), snobbery, favouritism and greed abounded (James 2:1-7), and people criticised and even abandoned the apostle Paul - the human leader God used to found the worldwide church as we know it today (2 Cor 10:10; 2 Tim 1:15).

It seems that early Christians were no better than us, and God has allowed information about their failings to be recorded for us in Scripture. So I shouldn't become too discouraged when I find sin in Christian congregations - we're all sinners who recognise that Jesus came to die so we can be forgiven. God is powerful to transform us, but he doesn't do it all at once: we are continually being refined and sanctified as we await our final transformation (1 Peter 1:1-9). At the same time I shouldn't become complacent about my sin or the sins of others either - the words of Scripture are there to teach, rebuke, correct and train us, there's no need to wallow in the muck that Christ came to redeem us from (Rom 6:11-14).

Those who have read my last post will have realised that I've softened the title - it didn't seem right to say that the body of Christ "sucks", so I've changed it to "disappoints", which captures my meaning better anyway.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

the penguin returns...

... new, improved, with fewer rabbit behinds.

Since last posting we've had some big changes in the penguin household. We have joyfully added a small penguin (my daughter, 16 months old) and sadly said goodbye to Honey Bunny who passed away shortly before Christmas from a suspected red back spider bite. Koko Black powers on, and enjoys playing with the neighbour's cat from the safety of her enclosure. The cat has decided that she would prefer to live at our place and seems unimpressed by verbal arguments concerning the allergies of my husband.

The ups and downs of life with a small penguin mean that my blog posts are unlikely to be a daily occurence, but hopefully I'll get them out regularly enough to keep a few people entertained and/or encouraged.

Stay tuned for a series called "when church sucks" - it won't be quite as bleak as the title suggests.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday bunny - a young Honey Bunny

I'm feeling paranoid about taking the camera out of my hospital bag now, as I don't want to forget it or the memory card when we go in. With baby now a week overdue, we will be needing it soon.

There are some impressive excavations in the backyard, however I won't be photographing them. Andrew has reached down the hole with a garden stake, and it is now nearly 2 metres long, and wide enough to turn around in. It is angled downwards, so the design aim seems to be an extension of bunny living quarters, rather than escape.

Anyway, this is Sunday bunny, and without further ado, here is a picture of Honey Bunny from her youth.

Posts will almost certainly become more irregular from here on in, at least for a while.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday bunny - angled Honey Bunny

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday bunny - the excavations continue

The hole is deeper...

one can only just make out a tail when they're all the way down...
(right hand side of pic in the middle)

This is Koko Black exiting bottom first, obviously there isn't enough space at the end of the burrow to turn around yet...

Monday, December 22, 2008

my God is so big

I've been slowly making my way through chronological readings of the Old Testament and have now reached the book of Daniel. While it contains some spooky and weird stuff, for which I've been getting a bit of interpretation help from a basic commentary, there is one theme that stands out clearly and prominently...

God is powerful.

He shuts the mouths of lions (Dan 6), he can bring the mightiest ruler low (Dan 4), he can even sustain strapping young men on a diet of vegetables (Dan 1)! He rules everyone and everything (Dan 7:11-14).

Sometimes I feel uncomfortable focussing my thoughts on God's power, because I don't want to presume that he will exercise it on my behalf in the ways that I want to prescribe for him. He isn't a magic genie god after all (Dan 3:16-18).

However, it's enormously encouraging to know that God is more powerful than anyone or anything else in the universe. He's more powerful than the people whose approval I crave, he's more powerful than the people who are able to harm me or disrupt my life, he is able to exercise his strength in the situations that I feel hopeless about. Above all, he has exercised his power to save me in Christ (Eph 1:17-21).

What a great gift and privilege it is to know and be able to pray to our powerful God.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday bunny - tunnelling

There's nothing like rain softened earth and mild temperatures to bring out the tunnellers...