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August 2015

Re: A statement on the situation in Calais
Having read the joint churches statement on the crisis in Calais the question I would ask those, 'compelled to speak out,' and who take the moral high ground in this debate is, are you willing to take illegal immigrants into your own home? If the answer is yes then do so and then the world will listen to you.
It's easy to pontificate on this subject and talk is cheap but sacrificing your own home another thing. I wonder which of these leaders, ‘compelled to speak out’, will dare do this? Personally I’d rather not be lectured by sanctimonious do gooders who give a little of their abundance and feel that this gives them the right to express their opinions on this matter. Let the church leaders lead by example.
The current president of the Baptist union is Jenni Entrican and her theme for the years is, ‘’Daring Greatly: the courage to be real; the courage to step outside the box; the courage to follow Jesus’. Well I hope she along with all the other leaders step outside their boxes and allow some illegal immigrants from Calais to step into their homes and live with their families. It would certain impress. Have any done so yet? I don’t know but I doubt it.
Solutions to problems like these are not easy and compassion is always important but actions, and I mean real sacrificial actions, will always speak louder than the utterances of those, 'compelled to speak out.'
Nigel Coggan

Well-written, balanced and - above all - reflects accurately Christ's infinite compassion.
Keith Judkins (via Facebook)

A sound, compassionate intelligent statement. I hope and pray that C of E will make a similar one! I also hope that everyone will read it.
Christine Jackson (via Facebook)

Superb
Juliet Kilpin (via Facebook)

An excellent statement James, one that all Churches should sign up to.
Kenrick Garraway (via Facebook)

I agree with everything in the statement - well done to the churches for making it, and for the work being done to support the migrants.
Keith Campbell (via Facebook)

Well said @baptistuniongb @MethodistGB
Jocky Fox (via Twitter)

Fantastic response from @MethodistGB @baptistuniongb on #Calais
LGBT Lincs (via Twitter)

An excellent joint statement by @baptistuniongb with other denominations in response to the situation in Calais.
Dave Tubby (via Twitter)

Thanks to Lynn Green of @baptistuniongb, other leaders for speaking out: need to rethink language used about migrants
Zach Dawes (via Twitter)



Re: Responding to a day in Calais
Well done Matt for going down there and getting personally involved. Its interesting when real needs come at us at such a scale that people here are afraid to respond - I suppose because they think there wont be "enough left". I signed your petition and I hope others will.
Chris Goswami

Re: Hammond's stigmatisation
It is astonishing that Mr Hammond said that African migrants are a threat to the British way of life. I am deeply disappointed by such irresponsible, stereotyping comments made by a minister who should be spending time finding solution to the migrants’ crisis rather than making stereotyping comments which will not help in finding a permanent solution to the crisis that shows politicians are just vanquished group of people. There are many Africans living in British and they have enriched the British society from artist, nurses, sportspeople and people working in the care industry. Besides that not all migrants are from Africa and probably there is a third of migrants from African and the rest might be from Asian countries. Mr Hammond should apologise unreservedly for undermining the contributions of Africans in British society.
Handsen Chikowore

Re: Sort out your affairs, Ashley Madison
Here's a different perspective on the Ashley Madison affair: https://lifeintheriver.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/whats-a-good-name-worth-noval/
David J

Thanks David! I read the blog, its well written and I take your point. However it says "Ashley Madison didn't create the problem". I actually think AM at the very least did create a large portion of it. I take the view that many of the unfortunate individuals who had their details leaked may never have had an affair had they not been encouraged and the way made easy by AM.
Chris Goswami

Hi Chris, I agree with you and I think the blogger would also. The blog doesn't quite say the above, it says the hackers (whatever we think of their morals and motives) didn't create the problem. I've just been studying the account of Samson's life and certainly one's sin was a lot more visible then (none of the invisibility supposedly offered by the internet as well as luring by the likes of AM). Samson could hardly have visited the Philistine prostitute in Gaza without it being widely observed given he was public enemy number one as far as the Philistines were concerned. I note God did 'bring down his hammer' as it were on Samson's life by withdrawing his spirit which led to Samson's capture, loss of sight, imprisonment, etc.
However, this discipline seems to have been with purpose (a 'severe mercy'), as commentators indicate Samson did turn back to God and indeed he is listed in the 'hall of faith' in Hebrews. I think this is what the blogger is getting at and to see what could be public humiliation as an opportunity to change. The challenge for all Christians is living up to what we have already attained in Christ. Embedding God's truths into our lives can help us be clear what it is we have already attained and with the Spirit's help live accordingly. For example, the truth that "I have been delivered from the dominion of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God's son" (1 Colossians 1 verse 13) is one I regularly need to remind myself of.
David J

Re: Were the Pharisees really so awful?
There is a paradox in Jesus' relationship with the Pharisees. For an example - I'm a Catholic and meet weekly with others to look at the gospel reading for the following Sunday. This coming Sunday ( 30th. August ) is a reading from Mark , chapter 7. In it Jesus chastises the Pharisees who criticise His disciples who do not wash before eating. Two things come to mind - 1. the Pharisees are concerned the Jesus does not require His disciples to follow the law in this. 2. they are trying to set a trap to discredit Him because they want to argue and score points. 3. they really are dismayed that He breaks this rule. At the end of thinking about this passage I think that on this occasion Our Lord is not saying that this rule on washing before eating is not unimportant but keeping it does not make an individual necessarily better in the eyes of God than a person who skips the custom. I enjoyed reading your article - its important to be able discern and explain religious customs.
Lazylyn

I've just realised that there are 3. possibilities!
Lazylyn

Re: Twenty reasons to go to church 
My take on those 20 is they would apply more to be reasons not to go to church as they rarely happen in healthy ways in that structure.
Gareth

How about: 1. To meet Jesus.
Fulgentian

To receive God's grace.
Lazylyn

Because the Bible says meeting together to worship God and pray is a good idea. Because it's harder to live as a Christian without being grounded by a church. Because you can learn more about God. Because it is a good opportunity for God to help you grow.
Kathryn Hills

Re: Re-baptism
‘At Treeton Baptist Church near Rotherham South Yorkshire, Muriel Armson aged 85 was baptised by Lay Pastor Chris Nuttall. It was a very spiritual service, with Muriel giving a wonderful testimony about her Christian upbringing, and how at 14 years old she was confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.’ Baptist Times News Round-up 26 August

I read this little account with mixed feelings. As a bit of an ‘ecumaniac’ I followed a call to be minister of an ecumenical partnership church in Corby, Northamptonshire. This was just before the time of Noah, in 1981, and I ended up staying there as minister and latterly a team member until 2004. The church was sponsored by the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland (honestly!), the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church. During my time there I had to grapple with the issue of baptism….its significance and its practice. With half of my congregation being Anglican and many of the rest from denominations that practised infant baptism the issue was a thorny one. I was the only ordained minister of this multi-denominational church and was called on very frequently to undertake baptisms of children and adults. My response would not have suited the majority of Baptist ministers I suspect. I was minister on behalf of the four congregations and I simply ‘got on with it’. I was even for a time Recognised and Regarded as a Methodist Minister in order for me to properly function in the second of my two churches, which was a Methodist building. At that time, Normal Giller, minister at Skelmersdale LEP, was the only other Baptist who had followed this route, which is now closed to Baptists.
Only once was I asked to baptise an adult who had been baptised as a child and confirmed as an adult. I consulted widely and decided that, in all conscience I couldn’t do it. For me it was plainly unnecessary and pretty much an insult to my friends and colleagues in those denominations that practised baptism in a different form.
Sometimes I read stories of married couples who re-affirm their marriage vows after many years of marriage. That seems a strong and moving thing to do, though I doubt if it would suit every married couple. It seems to me that as Baptists who believe firmly in the need for a real commitment by those who encounter Christ, we ought to be able to help those who have come to faith by a different ecclesiological route to make that commitment without implicitly denying the validity of what has gone before in their lives.
Just a personal view and I hope it will be read charitably.
Chris Shelley

Re: Religious broadcasting
May I draw your attention to two public consultations running at present which afford the opportunity to appeal for more and better religious broadcasting ? In recent years ITV and Channel 4 have virtually withdrawn from the genre. BBC Television produces significantly less than even in the recent past and precious little these days is broadcast in peak-time. BBC Radio, curiously, offers much better coverage than BBC Television.
In these days when a grasp of religion is ever more important in understanding the state of our world, the case for religious broadcasting seems particularly strong. The BBC Royal Charter ends next year. 
Please take the trouble to use these two consultations to support religious broadcasting.   
That of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport is at - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/bbc-charter-review-public-consultation
That of the BBC Trust is at - http://www.bbc.co.uk/tomorrowsbbc 
Nigel Holmes

Re: In defence of Rev
Since when does being in an inner city church allow you to dismiss orthodox Christian beliefs? That's a complete non-sequitur. What utter nonsense. That's why Evangelical churches are growing and liberal or 'broad' churches atrophying numbers.
Fulgentian

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