Thursday, November 25, 2004
Somehow, David Blunkett, our esteemed and oh-so-liberal Home Secretary, is managing to out-Howard the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition (although he denies it vigorously), which has caused some enterprising wag to produce the Blunkett-o-matic, a quick solution to all your Home Office policy needs.
Of the few I (pseudo-randomly) generated, my favourite is the proposal to "fit children with electronic tags, and then put their children into care."
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Lectures continue apace. Special Relativity in Maths; and Quantum Mechanics II and Electromagnetism III in Physics, since the start of the week. Including the excitement of a lecture which everyone (apart, it seems from the lecturer) believed was in the Library -- don't ask -- turning out to be in the Biology block. Hmmmm.
We also had the honour of a house invasion -- the CU organised a seminar presenting the gospel and the Christian view of the source of injustice and suffering -- as we were prevailed upon to pemit (in-premises) the production of sandwiches for the lunches of those attending. It took an hour to an hour-and-a-half for seven of us to produce about 100 sandwiches, so what's that... 12 sandwiches per man-hour? Makes the labour worth about 38p per sandwich. Makes me wonder where all the money for prepackaged sandwiches goes...
And I've just received an email informing me that I do indeed have a place on the jolly York Uni CU outing to Word Alive next Easter. It would appear, from a cursory counting of the places, that there are 9 Goodrickeites (fellow-collegiates, but including me) going, which in a group of 30, I find to be quite impressive!
Until next time, that's all folks!
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
A master holds a feast, and sends out invitations to some guests. When the time for the feast comes (as was the custom in the Near East at the time) he sends round a servant to tell his invitees that the banquet is ready. His guests, however, all start to make excuses -- so the servant returns without anyone to eat the prepared feast. The master then sends out his servant to the city, to fetch anyone who looks like they could use a good feed; and, finding that his house still isn't full, sends out the servant again to the countryside, to fetch any from there who will come. It ends with the master declaring that none of his original guests will eat in his house.
Okay, so some quick match-ups.
The master is God, the feast is the kingdom of God/heaven/salvation.
The servant is Jesus, but this broadens out to us through the Great Commission.
The first guests are the Pharisees, who should have understood the invitation (the Law and the Prophets) better than anyone else.
The next guests are from among the other Jews, and the final group of guests is from among the Gentiles.
All fine and dandy so far. But here's the really interesting thought which one of our group had -- I've polished it up a little to make it fit into the general framework.
Normally, people look at the third excuse and wonder quite what's going on. Most of the explanations are fairly poor, really, if they class as explanations at all. But, now, here's the killer thought. Look at Leviticus 15:18. He's just married his wife, all right? So what's going to happen -- think: wedding night and all that?
He's ceremonially unclean. He refuses to go to the banquet because he's letting the outward demands of religious observance dictate what he's doing.
Okay, so that was the brainwave. As you might already have guessed, I found this very insightful. Let's explore a few of the reasons why.
- Jesus is constantly attacking the Pharisees for their "holier than thou" attitude. This is one more occasion on which he does it.
- Jesus is dining with Pharisees, at the home of a prominent Pharisee. A perfect opportunity for him to explain to them why their religious observance won't count for anything before God Almighty.
- Jesus builds up to the punch, as he so often does. The field and the oxen are pretty pathetic excuses, aren't they? Who buys a field without first seeing it, or five yoke of oxen, without testing them? But to a Pharisee, this last excuse would seem perfectly reasonable -- you can hardly go to a friend's house in a state of ceremonial uncleanness, can you?
- Jesus is responding to a Pharisee (we assume) who has just made a pious comment about the kingdom of God. We deduce, from the fact that Jesus responds as he did, that this guy was rather complacent in his assumption that he, for one, would certainly be eating bread in the Kingdom of God. Or, more likely, scoffing a whole plate of Ferrero Rochers.
- Jesus goes on to talk (to different people) about the cost of following him (and the cost of not following him). So, first we are told to consider what price our souls are worth, and then we're told to consider what price following the Saviour of our own souls is worth.
So what's the point?
Well, the most obvious point is that, when the small group member said this, my eyes lit up and I was suddenly working through all of this sort of stuff in my head. I love discovering new things in the Bible, and I'm fully convinced that this was one of those occasions. It all ties together so neatly, and I've given a few of those reasons above.
But, more to the point, Jesus is telling us that outward religious observance isn't simply something which cannot earn salvation, it can actively prevent us from seeking and obtaining it. The lesson is that, just because we go to church, read the Bible -- heck, some of us even pray now and then! -- we are not saved unless we have accepted the invitation of the Master to dine at his table.* From the UCCF website, "a CU is a student led group, made up of Christian students from different denominations, united around the gospel in the work of discipleship and evangelism."
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Name: Philip James Walker. I trade under Phil.
Nationality: Subject of the British Crown. Or UK citizen -- I get confused.
Present location: University of York.
Subject: Mathematics with Physics.
Plans for weblog: Postings on various subjects. I guess you'd better just watch this space to see precisely what.
Secondary plans: Avoiding the word random except when used technically. Updates at least once every few days, provided I can think of something suitable about which to write.