Not long ago I posted about some less than pleasant goings on among some members of the church (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/dark-clouds-looming/).
Well the mentioned church meeting has happened and it turns out it went very well. There were a couple of individuals who clearly still had issues and they are personal. That said, the efforts that the pastor had gone to to encourage conciliation and to stem gossip and anonymous disparaging had clearly paid off. It’s a shame that none of this was known before the meeting started.
One of the main turnaround points of the meeting was when a key protagonist admitted that he had been convicted of his wrong attitude and expressed a desire to move forward in a positive way.
Suffice to say, my wife came back from that meeting with none of the dread she had when she went to it.
If was refreshing to hear that a spiralling negative situation can be corrected. Its not perfect and it is a lot better, which is a great thing.
Something else that happened was a conversation my wife had with another church member. This particular member hasn’t got on with my wife since we started attending over a year ago. This member came up to my wife to address that and apologise. It was made clear that the problem wasn’t my wife but that this particular individual has an issue with what happens at the front of the church. She likes the preacher to be the person who leads the whole service, namely announces the hymns and says the prayers.
The new casual style that has become the norm since my wife got involved is difficult for this person. I think its good for this sort of thing to be admitted, it helps people like my wife to understand those she is leading in worship. These people need gently leading into new forms of worship. It’s a shame that what people are used to can become such a norm and so comfortable that it represents an importance that matches the key aspects of the religion they follow.
So, the church appears to have survived what could have been a devastating split. Its not plain sailing yet, but it does represent a major positive step and has shown to many people that difficulties can be overcome and change, while difficult, can be achieved.
Its that time of year where there are a plethora of predictable items on blogs, science sites and in the news about what precisely it was that the wise men saw on in the story of Christ’s birth.
Most stories focus on the speculation of what it could possibly be. A conjunction? A supernova? A meteor? More religious commentaries might mention something more supernatural in nature that’s not explained scientifically.
There is however one little aspect of the star story that has bothered me for some time and I have yet to see its mentioned specifically in any speculation. That is this; how on earth do you identify which building a celestial body is over? Its frankly not possible. If I look at the night sky from my back garden and look at the stars, pick the brightest one and follow it down, I might identify a house a few roads away. However, if I go to that house and look up at the star again, it in no way identifies that house anymore. So this game would continue with any star that I picked in the sky. It is just not possible to identify any particular building as being directly below any star up there.
The reason for this is simple, the distance the stars are from earth is so great that the triangulation required to identify any specific point on earth by eye is not possible. Add into that the fact the earth’s rotation would mean that any identified property would change every few minutes.
So judging the accuracy and validity of the star in the Christmas story by todays knowledge of astronomy basically makes it an impossible situation. There is simply no chance at all that people from miles away would have travelled to Bethlehem and identified the place where a baby was born simply through the position of a celestial object. We’ll ignore the small fact that this would also be future telling though astrology, something that Christendom overwhelmingly condemns these days.
For the Christmas Star, or Star of Bethlehem, or whatever you wish to call it, to be a true event, something supernatural would have had to have happened. I would also expect this to have therefore been a much more shocking event and one that would have generated far more interest than just the three wise men mentioned. Also I would expect it to have been mentioned in other places and not just Matthew.
Scientific speculation aside, I simply can’t see how this account of the birth of Jesus being marked in the stars as being credible or possible.
Over on the ICR website is an article of such crazy logic it just beggars belief (http://www.icr.org/article/7098/). I’m not the first to comment on this item; so far two of the blogs I follow have commented already, but the path that the item takes is just so mind bogglingly insane I wanted to have my own say too.
In fact when I read this article I couldn’t help but be reminded of an item by AiG on light which I also commented on (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/magical-light/).
In summary the item on maths says that because numbers are not physical entities (the numbers we write down are but a temporary representation of the actual number) yet they are real, and since those numbers have always represented the same value, God exists. There is a bit more jumping around before getting to the final point, but that’s the basic gist once the fluff is taken away.
The author makes several statements and leaps of logic that are tangential of best and downright idiotic at worst. For example there is the assertion that numbers have not evolved; 7 has always been 7. Well duh! That’s true, but what’s the point being made here? The author knows this of course, but he elegantly steps from that to the assertion that complex mathematical laws discovered by man always existed, mankind did not invent them and nor did they evolve. True and obvious, but is there a point? Well apparently it’s a problem for secularists, but I’m not sure what that problem is and nor does the author because its not clarified. He jumps neatly from the human concept of numerical representation to the fact that numerical values are constant to the fact that the maths of planetary motion existed before man to therefore God.
Apparently anything that predates man must be of God. Great hypothesis, now let’s see a testable theory.
There is plenty more juice in the item and many more sentences of juicy sarcasm that can be squeezed out in comment. Go have a field day, if you dare …
Since this post (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/theres-a-problem-in-front-of-the-pulpit/) there have been some troubling developments at our local church.
Being slightly out of the loop with my non-attendance, I don’t have a really clear picture of what’s going on. What appears to be happening though is that the older generation folks mentioned in the linked post above are gathering troops to possibly stage a rebellion. Sad.
The Pastor concerned, has made efforts at reconciliation, but there are some who simply will not take the proffered Olive Branch. He has even felt the need to preach about having an attitude of love and reconciliation from the pulpit.
On a personal level I find this whole situation strange because it wasn’t all that long ago I would have joined a similar group of dissatisfied church members in revolting against the pastor (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/there%E2%80%99s-a-problem-behind-the-pulpit/).
The difference of course is that the current problem features a pastor who has the needs of the church at his heart and is being as gracious as he can in a difficult situation. The previous situation featured a pastor who was driving his agenda in a way many saw as arrogant and didn’t really seem to care if people left the church as a result.
Differences aside, there is a bigger issue here which bothers me.
This all feels terribly unchristian. The more I think about what’s happening, the more I think “Where is the love and where do those who are unhappy think god is in this situation?”.
I can’t see how any of this can result in anything good and as a person who now no longer accepts god I find it all rather distasteful and really has put me off this church. Sad.
Whatever happens with this group of renegades, one thing is certain life for the church members will different. I only hope that those who remain afterwards have something left to build with.