Ouch. Semester break is over. I’m not ready.

I enrolled for my next, and for what is my final subject for college, which will enable me to graduate the degree I am doing. I think I hold the longest time its taken for anyone to complete a degree, which has taken me 10 years to do.

Sometimes its been as if I have been on the wings of the eagle. Other times I have been running with much energy. And then there are the times I have drudged along, barely walking without fainting. But, my trust has been in the Lord and he hasn’t failed me.

What’s next you ask. I think I will take a break from studies. I once thought about studying a masters, and follow it with a phd. But, honestly, I am tired. At the same time, my wife and I have decided to sell our home, and head bush. (Note to my American friends, I am Australian, and live in Australia, and bush is not a person; rather its a location, which means country.)

For this country bumpkin, whose very inner loves the solace of the land, and the difficulties as well as the joys it brings – sitting on a few acres somewhere, is just the ticket for us. We look forward to sharing more. We are not sure if we will buy a bush block and build our home, or buy a place with a house already installed. But, we suspect it will happen quickly.

Though, for the next 12 months or so, my wife intends to continue work, which means she will stay in Sydney, and we will cross paths in our mutual commuting. I for college and she for her time off from work. We both have a real sense of peace and excitement for this, and I can see myself working in the capacity as a country town chaplain.

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Aplogetics : Examine the two way relationship between science and faith.

For some reason, I seem to have lost my writing mojo and haven’t been writing much. I took on a little more than I could comfortably chew, through taking on two intensive subjects last semester – and though I am extremely tired, have managed to pass both subjects.

In fact, I have been so tired, I didn’t have the energy to complete my third assignment for my last subject on Apologetic’s; but, I received my marks today and have passed the subject with a credit.  (Wipes brow with relief.)

Anyways, below is a link to a short paper I wrote on examining the relationship between science and faith. I hope you enjoy it.

http://1drv.ms/1MmHlHw

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Challenges and possibilities of theological dialogue with the sciences.

Challenges and possibilities of theological dialogue with the sciences.

The sciences have a long time tradition where scientists are able to integrate faith as a natural part of their systematic pursuit of knowledge and truth. The sciences owe much debt to the work of many who were, are and continue to be people of faith.  For instance, in the books, “Real Science, Real Faith” a book first published by R.J Berry in 1991[1], and another which he published in 2009 called “Real Scientists – Real Faith”[2] they contain testimonials from high ranking and well credentialed scientists from across the vast arena of science, who hold to a strong Christian faith.

More recently however, a popular militant arrogance has risen, resulting in a term coined in 2006, calling it “New atheism.” This includes the likes of popular scientists such as: Hawkins, who proclaims philosophy dead.  Dawkins, who through a form of educated snobbery, promotes that any kind of belief in the supernatural is delusional, and that faith will only be held onto by the uneducated.  Coyne’s insistence that science is reliable and because faith is unreliable, untestable, and leads to conflicting views of science, is incompatible with science, and who furthermore states that because of the differing views of ‘faith’ between science and religion – faith is incompatible with science!

Then there are the third group of Young Earth Creationist Christians who are as militant as the New Atheists, spear headed by the likes of Ken Ham and Ray Comfort.

It would be easy to think that the social, ethical, moral, and reasoning consequences of the propaganda and polemic stance of the new atheist movement through western media – combined with the militant evangelistic zeal for literal Biblical understanding, means that science and faith; and more specifically in our context, ‘Christian faith’ are at odds with one another.

But, I would like to suggest, as it appears to me, that it’s the New Atheists and the Young Earth Creationists who really seem to be at logger heads with one another; though the New Atheists tend to lump every Christian group into the one. The main sticking points are that one group believes in an evolutionary creation story, and mocks the Bible as being anti-scientific (and therefore wrong); and the other is vocal against evolution and adheres to a literal understanding of the Bible – particularly the creation stories and flood told in Genesis.
It’s at this point we need to stop, breathe deeply, reflect, and then acknowledge that Evolution and Creation is only a small part of the vast scope of the arena of the sciences. And therefore, we need to acknowledge that Young Earth Creationists are not an anti-scientific movement – rather they noisily disagree with a small; but arguably important scope that comes out of the vast arena of the sciences.

Regarding the nonsense that the New Atheists promulgate in that faith is relegated to the uneducated; the sheer existence of a large number of highly educated and leading global scientists, who are not only Christian; but can articulate well the reasons for their faith, puts paid to the notion that Christian faith belongs in the so called sub-realm of the uneducated.

Interestingly I once worked for an employer who said that he has a family life, business life, and a religious life – and rarely do they connect. Following his example, it would be easy to assume that the easy way forward to harmonise science and faith is to continue the traditional rationalism from the enlightenment, and hold them as “non-overlapping magisteria,” as taught by Stephen Jay Gould. However, McGrath dismisses this as laziness, which results in “intellectual isolation and conceptual complacency.”[3]

The challenges that science and faith face, is that science cannot prove (and nor disprove) the existence of God. Yet, in acknowledging this, Alister McGrath continues to note that faith is extremely easy to harmonise with science. For example the Bible shows the world to be made in a certain organised framework that we can observe, explain and uncover through the lens of science. [4]

[1] R.J. Berry. Real Science, Real Faith (Monarch Books, U.K,1991)

[2] R.J. Berry, Real Scientists Real Faith (Monarch Books, U.K 1999)

[3] Alister McGrath, Conflict or Mutual Enrichment? Why Science and Theology Need to Talk to Each Other, on ABC RELIGION AND ETHICS (ABC RELIGION AND ETHICS, 21 OCT 2014) http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/10/21/4111675.htm [accessed 15/05/15]

[4] Alister McGrath. Faith in a Scientific Age, (You Tube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfE8dpp6Lkg  15 mins:24[accessed 20/06/015]

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Sermon – The God Who Listens.

I had the privilege to share the message at church yesterday, where I preached from Psalm 116, on the “God Who Listens.” It’s been a few years since I have preached, and I was chuffed when the only negative feedback that came back, was that it was ten minutes too short.

Here is a link to it, if you would like to listen. The God Who Listens.

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May 2015 Biblical Studies Carnival

Dr. Claude Mariottini has posted this months blogging carnival. As usual, there are some good reads he has linked to. There is even a link to my recent book review.

May 2015 Biblical Studies Carnival.

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Excuse my soapbox rant. A question to my Christian family.

SMM seems to be the big thing at the moment around the western world. The question I want to ask my family is – how much energy are you spending railing for or against it – and compare that to how much energy you are involved in telling others your testimony of what the Lord has done for you?

Could it be, your priorities need some readjusting? And just perhaps, you may need to increase your energies in telling the world the good news about Jesus Christ – and allow the Holy Spirit room to convict the world of their need for him, and the forgiveness of all sin.

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The Shack Has a Roof.

I have been busy. Busier than normal. I plunged into the deep end and took two intensive subjects this semester – which has knocked me about a little. In hindsight, I should have only taken the one subject. The two subjects I took was “Islam” and “Apologetics.” Tomorrow I will upload my last assignment for Islam, and I can have a little breather. Then onto the next assignment for Apologetics.

I have also been busy scrounging. I am a firm believer in recycling. Why buy new, if you don’t have to. I picked up some sheets of roofing material that someone was throwing out. They are in near new condition, and have a few screw holes in one end, which I can easily patch up. I also scrounged some timber which another person was throwing out, which were perfectly good for the rafters. I did have to splurge on 3 lengths of 90mm*45mm bearers; but praise the Lord, the local hardware store had them on special. So, whilst battling the flu and feeling like the walking dead, I managed over a period of 5 days to roof our shack.

The shack is the name we are giving our outdoor entertainment area. With the Lord’s blessing, we are hoping to build a pizza oven, open fire place / chimney and smoke house down one end. And place the gas burning bbq on the other. When enough pennies are saved, we will eventually concrete the floor – sadly that appears to be the one thing that I cannot scrounge, nor recycle. I’ll throw some photos up in a day or two. I need to clean the yard up a bit before I dare take the pics as it looks like a bomb hit it.

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