Author: Michael Drake

Transforming glory

What will transform us? What will make Christians become the sort of people we should be?

The glorious list of rules God gave us won’t do it. The Law of God so shines with God’s glory, that Moses, having received the law had to hide his face behind a veil. Yet the law that came with glory fails to change us into its pattern.

In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul contrasts this with the glory of Jesus. The glory of the law, he argues, fades just as the glory in Moses’ face faded, and brought only death. But the glory of Christ is unfading and transforming, bringing life. Continue reading

The Hunger Games

Watching The Hunger Games left me deeply disturbed.

The film engages with three communities: the controlling community that satiates its lust in the “amusing” spectacle of teenagers slaughtering each other; the voyeuristic community of virtual slaves that enjoys the horror of participation in self-serving sacrificial offering-up of its youth; and the cinema audience that is not only entertained by this portrayal of unredeemed evil, but champions the heroine’s murderous pursuit of survival.

The film mocks its audience. The heroine and her first boyfriend discuss the inability of their community to stop watching the killings. This is a scornful commentary on the cinema audience that also enjoys watching children killing children. Continue reading

Back to school

Another school year has just started. How can parents help children gain the most from this year’s schooling?

Schools build into children’s minds a matrix of facts, experience, interpretation and ideology that shapes belief and behaviour. Children with a biblical worldview filter, arrange, and apply what is learnt to begin to think God’s thoughts after him (quoting scientist and Christian, Johann Kepler).

Parents can help children develop such a worldview. That means children not only gain knowledge and skills, but come with a right attitude to learning, laying a foundation for life.

Parents equip children for learning and life when they give God his place in learning and life, helping children to think about and talk about the truth that this is God’s universe. Parents are called by God to help children see that everything they learn about, everything they study, is part of what God has created, sustains and rules. Continue reading

Aliens and eating meat

Should aliens eat meat offered to idols? That is, how should Christians as aliens and strangers on earth interact with surrounding cultures in which they live?

Faithfulness to Christ means separation from those cultures (2 Corinthians 6:17).  Yet following Christ’s example we are to live among them, engage with them, eat with them, help them, witness to them and put their welfare ahead of our own (Mark 2:16-17).

Christian faith is not about appearance but the heart (Mathew: 15:11).  Touching, doing, sharing in the things of Kiwi culture that are not in themselves sinful will not make us unclean.  Nor will who we do these things with make us unclean.  But how we do those things will shape and expose our hearts.

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Alien ambassadors

God’s aliens are separated from the people of the world, not by location but by life-style.Christians are aliens and strangers on earth, immersed in the culture of the cross and the hope of heaven (Hebrews 11:14-16), living for God in the midst of people living without God.

Monasticism is a perversion of God’s call to live good lives among the pagans (1 Peter 2:12).  There is a pattern of Christian life in New Zealand that is monasticism without stone walls.  It comes about when Christians are so intoxicated with our ‘holiness’ that we have neither contact with nor ministry to our neighbours (Luke 10:29-37).The culture of the cross has no intersection with the cultures of darkness in which our lights of difference are meant to shine (Matthew 5:16).  Yet the culture of the cross does reach out to the lost in every other culture.  We do that, not by adopting their culture nor by merging with it, but by putting on the culture of Christ (Ephesians 4:24).  So we will do what we can to be the friends of sinners without becoming like them.

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