Showing posts from December, 2012

Christine Ha: what an inspiration!

Last week the final of Masterchef USA 2012 aired in NZ. It came down to a cook off between Christine Ha and Josh Marks. Personally I thing Becks should have been in the final with Christine, but I don't get to taste the food. Anyway, the final was close and Christine came out on top. 
Now what made the whole thing so stunning was that Christine is blind. She cooked with a helper but did her own work through and through. Her story is utterly amazing. She is Vietnamese. Her mum died when she was young. She has a bachelor of business administration. She has a masters of fine arts for creative fiction/non fiction. She has been a finalist in various writing competitions. She has a food blog. She is married with a lovely family. She has neuromyelitis optica where her own immune system attacks the optic nerves and spine. She has been blind since 2007. She can see as if "looking through a very foggy mirror." She won the show because of her amazing palate and creativity, not to …

Is the Devil real?

I was reading the temptation account today and it got me thinking about the reality or otherwise of the Devil. It is common among theologians to argue that the Devil is not a being but an ancient explanation or personification for evil. As I read the Temptation,  I read of something that can approach Jesus, talk to him and interact with him. He can memorise Scripture, and use it in argument. He can carry Jesus across time and distance. He can think. He can hear. As I read the remainder of the NT his reslity is assumed. However difficult that may seem, it all sounds real to me.

Now, interestingly the argument for the personhood of the Holy Spirit and his status as a member of the Trinity is not dissimilar. Christians vehemently defend the Spirit is a person of the Trinity. We gain this from reflection on the action of the Spirit across Scripture--He speaks, hears, acts, guides, etc. How can we argue for the reality of the Spirit on the one hand and against the reality of the Devil? I …

Matthew’s Wonderful Christmas Story

Recently I got to write some study notes for the Bible Society and spent a bit of time in Matthew’s advent story. What a joy it was to focus more attention on his version of Christmas. I discovered a whole lot of things I had never noticed before. I thought I would share some of them briefly. I encourage you to read Matthew’s story in light of these and see what else you can find in them. Matthew of course wrote to Jews to demonstrate that Jesus is truly Messiah and the culmination of Israel’s story. There is such depth in it that it is mind-blowing.

First, there is the genealogy. It is patterned on sevens, four times coming to 42 generations. It speaks of Jesus’ true descent from Israel’s father Abraham and the Patriarchs, and from the paradigmatic king, David—he is the new Davidic King, the long awaited Messiah. It is full of people of sinful pasts like Judah who betrayed Joseph and was seduced by Tamar faking that she is a prostitute. There is Solomon born of David’s murder of Uri…