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Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Top 13 in 2013

top13Dear Subscribers/Readers… I’ve switched blogs to christthetruth.net. If you haven’t yet switched, please do.

My blogging output hasn’t quite been what it was in previous years. But there are still some posts that got my blood pumping in 2013. If you missed them first time around, here they are again.

13. Emma’s epic 4Thought went out and, inexplicably, received a record number of thumbs downs (as well as a record number of thumbs up). We responded…

… Read the whole post ON THE NEW BLOG

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Change of Address

CTT2I’ve been here for nearly 7 years – 12 000 comments, 2148 posts.

Time for a change! I’m now self-hosted at christthetruth.net

Come on over to my new place, we’ll continue the discussion. (Please update your feeds/subscriptions if need be,)

 

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Ron Burgundy

…but today I had my 1 millionth hit.

So whether you come for the irenic spirit, the meek, self-effacing tone, the savvy political commentary, the cultured literary references or whether you simply googled “fat cats”, “weird al yankovic” or “woman marries dolphin”…

THANK YOU!

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Blogging Help Please

Blogging-Help_The-Blog-MavenSo I have this blog. And I’m aware it’s a bit ugly.

I also have The King’s English.

And now 321.

I now have a self-hosted Christ the Truth blog here and I’ve just tried to import everything from here to there.  But here are some problems:

All the internal links are no longer ‘internal’ in that they point to this blog and not that one.

None of the categories and tags from 2012 seem to have transferred.

None of the youtube videos are embedding properly (the embed code here is and there it’s [media url= ]

Even if I fix all these things, is it worth self-hosting? It’s an expense every year.  Is it possible/desirable to better integrate my blogs – maybe into one site??  What are the benefits/costs to switching?

And how have I gotten through 5 years of blogging without knowing the first thing about it??

 

 

 

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top-10This is my 369th post for 2012 and here are the top ten in terms of views.

But wait, before the big reveal… Here’s the blog’s new Facebook page. LIKE ME!

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10. Jonathan and Charlotte – a Parable of the Kingdom

Here are some other responses to cultural phenomena:

What Jimmy Savile, Jeremy Forrest and Lance Armstrong teach us…

Living beyond the end of the world (a reflection on the Mayan apocalypse)

Bert le Clos’s “Behold My Son!”

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9. What is sin? Falling short? Rebellion? Something else?

This was probably my favourite post of the year.  I had a pop at some other evangelical shibboleth’s in these:

It’s not about rules it’s about Working Hard at My Relationship With God…

Accountability

 “God’s work and our work”?

Grace is not a cheese sandwich

Idolising idolatry

Genesis 12: Key to the OT?

Memorialist Communion (in church and in marriage)

Memorialist Preaching

Memorialist Prayer

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8. Five minutes on the bible and slavery

Here were the others in that series:

Five minutes on the bible’s sexual ethic

Five minutes on the conquest of Canaan

Five minutes on the bible and gender equality

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7. 321 – The Story of God, the World and You

Exciting things happening with 321, I’m looking forward to developing them in 2013.  Here’s some of the philosophy behind it:

The importance of explaining Trinity and original sin and “union with Christ” in evangelism

321 and the Gospel EventsCreation, FallRedemption and Repentance (part onepart two)

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6. The Road to Emmaus – Sermon on Luke 24:13-35

On the subject of preaching, here are posts on my three favourite preachers

Paul Blackham

Mike Reeves

Steve Levy

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5. Legal recognition of marriage and the way of Jesus – by Paul Blackham

Paul wrote some other excellent guest posts for me this year:

Translating “Son of God” – Paul Blackham

The Insider Movement (a series of 4 posts) – Paul Blackham

Paul Blackham: A Sermon on Fear

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4. Bible Read-Through in 120 Days – wanna join?

This read-through was very popular and Matthias also organised a Greek audio bible too. Download it for free:

Free Greek Audio Bible

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3. A Trinity Sunday / Jubilee Sermon

Other more thematic sermons of mine:

Five Talks on Isaiah

Does God exist? How does He fit with Science?

What happens when we die?

Why is there so much suffering?

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2. Stephen Fry offers good advice on depression – by ditching his atheism

This was a provocative post looking at the interaction between pastoral care and evangelism. If your “gospel” can’t help you deal with life it’s no gospel. And if you have to borrow Christian convictions in order to care for people, that might point you to the good sense of Christianity.

On the theme of pastoral theology, here are some posts that were close to my heart.

“This woman you put here”

Jesus is Utterly, Horrendously, Maddeningly Infuriating

Death because resurrection

Helping the Helpers

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1. Fear and Faith: Derren Brown undone in 60 seconds by his own subject

I’m a big fan of Derren Brown but his claim to have shown God as the ultimate placebo was just silly.  Here are some more posts about atheism:

Not the God story, the Hero story

“Just show me the evidence”

An introduction to humanism – transcript and comment

“A universe with a god would look very different to a universe without one.”

Beginnings and Before Beginnings

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There you have it.  Thanks for making blogging so enjoyable.  And don’t forget to LIKE ME, LIKE ME, LIKE ME!

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Happy Blogday to Me

Nearly 2000 posts.

Over 10 000 comments.

Close to a million words.

Almost a million hits.

And if you’re googling “Trinity sermons”, “Adjectives for God” or “Santa is Anti-Christ”, I’m your blog!

5 years ago life was pretty tough. Emma wasn’t quite at her worst but she was far from her best. Blogging was a way of ministering (and being ministered to) when life was hugely constrained.

It’s continued to be a blessing in my life, and now in Emma’s.  And, praise God, I don’t think either of us would or could be doing what we’re doing without the platform it’s provided.  I’m usually very blasé about blogging, but looking back it’s been very significant.

Thank you to you guys for making it so enjoyable.  I always say the commenters are the best thing about blogging and I mean it.  Bless you!

For old times’ sake, here’s my first ever post: The Cruciform God.

And if you’re interested, here’s an interview I did at the start of the year about my hows and whys of blogging…

1. How did you get into blogging?
I got into blogging the way Aaron got into idolatry.   I just clicked some buttons at WordPress and “out came this blog.”   I wasn’t thinking about a long-term ministry at all.   At the time I’d been pestering Bobby Grow with lengthy comments and he suggested that I rant on my own site rather than everyone else’s.   Of course he didn’t say it like that, but I got the message.

This was four years ago when my wife was quite ill.   I think the Lord was kind in giving me an outlet and a ministry beyond the home when I wasn’t always able to get out.   The examples of Charles Wesley and BB Warfield have inspired me in this.   Both their wives struggled with illness and yet actually, as they cared for their wives, the Lord opened up incredible ministries for them where they were.   On a vastly smaller scale I’ve seen the Lord do something similar through blogging.

My first and main blog has been Christ the Truth.   But last year I also blogged at The King’s English which was my attempt at a daily devotional based on King James phrases.

2. Why do you blog? What is, if you like your ‘Mission Statement’ as a blogger?
Some people have an irenic tone and serpentine wisdom.   I have a nasal tone and bark like a dog.   Blogging suits me like that.  I’ve had the same strap-line since the beginning and it really has been the conviction that’s driven me: “Jesus is the Word of God.”  My mission is to keep that thought uppermost in all our minds – my own included.   It’s so easy to drift into a deistic view of God, a mechanical view of salvation, a moralistic view of the Christian life – even within evangelical circles.   I’m always trying to think about what it would mean if Jesus Himself defined God and salvation and daily living.   It should be unthinkable to even imagine Christ-less conceptions of these truths… and yet I encounter them all the time.   In myself and in others.   My blogging is a faltering and feeble attempt to shout “JESUS” on a website.

3. What do you see as the strategic benefits of Christian blogging?
Maybe it’s just me, but some of my deepest theological convictions have been shaped by a single conversation – even a single phrase.   Perhaps that exposes me as shallow!   But I think it’s easy to poo-poo blogs as a poor substitute for books and journals.   And in many ways they are.   But we’re not always shaped by digesting lengthy treatises.   We can be changed profoundly by deep truths, simply put. I hope that my blogging is a drip-drip of gospel thinking that – cumulatively, or even as a one-off – can open eyes to the glory of Christ.

4. What are some of the problems and weaknesses you see as you survey the Christian blogging scene?
I wish there was more theological wrestling on Christian blogs.   Too many sites strike me as theology-lite pastoral epistles – full of ministry philosophy and best practice.   But where’s the meaty discussions of doctrine of God and christology, etc?   I guess it’s a reflection of a broader evangelical anaemia.  But I often find more substantial Jesus-shaped theology on non-evangelical blogs.   Maybe I’m missing all the great evangelical sites though, I don’t really keep up with ‘the scene’.

5. Is there a gap in the scene; an area of Christian life or ministry that is not being adequately addressed?
I’m going to sound petty or ranty or both but… I think the way that question is framed is part of the problem!   If you ask me, “Christian life and ministry” is not where the “gap in the scene” lies.   There’s all too much about Christian life and ministry.   All the while, radical Christ-centred reflections on God and the gospel are thin on the ground.   More of those please.

6. What advice would you give to someone considering starting blogging?

There’s loads of good advice out there but one thing I’d highlight is to love and serve your commenters.   It’s fantastic to interact with people from all over the world and to get to know them in a bloggy kind of way. So   answer questions, take their points seriously and try to write in a way that opens up discussion rather than shuts it down.   I’m not very good at any of that.   And with time pressures I’m becoming even worse.   But interact with your commenters – that’s my big tip.   It’s the most fun aspect of blogging and if you’re not going to do it – don’t open comments!

7. What are your favourite 5 Christian blogs?

My wife’s blog is gob-smackingly good.   Not just saying that: A New Name

Theology Network is the very best antidote to the evangelical anaemia mentioned above.

The 48 Files by Dave Kirkman is a proper blog – doctrinal, pastoral, deeply gospel-ly

Peter Leithart will always provoke thought and take you deeper into Scripture and trinitarian reflection.

Dan Hames is blogging rich, trinitarian, Christ-centred fare at High Over All.

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Surveying the Scene

Go on and fill out  this survey to improve Christian websites.  It only takes a minute.

And, just so you know, the answer to question 9 is: “Rants against Christ-less theism, legalism and burdensome theologies of glory.”

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10000 Comments Later

Over the past 5 years there have been a few milestones along my blogging journey.  But perhaps my favourite was passed today.  10 000 comments!

Far and away the best thing about blogging is the feedback from you guys.  So a big thank you to all of you who comment.

And to those lurkers who haven’t yet braved the blog’s under-belly, why not leave a message below?

 

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John Brand at Cutting it Straight asked me the following questions:

1. How did you get into blogging?

2. Why do you blog? What is, if you like your ‘Mission Statement’ as a blogger?

3. What do you see as the strategic benefits of Christian blogging?

4. What are some of the problems and weaknesses you see as you survey the Christian blogging scene?

5. Is there a gap in the scene; an area of Christian life or ministry that is not being adequately addressed?

6. What advice would you give to someone considering starting blogging?

7. What are your favourite 5 Christian blogs?

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Here are my responses

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Two wonderful posts at Christocentrism:

The Fatal Wound

…What is the great problem within evangelicalism today?  A lack of convincing action in the world that would back-up our faith?  Increasing laxity on doctrines such as hell and the atonement?  The decline in church attendance, giving, and sending?  Perhaps these are serious problems.  But they’re just irritating shards of shrapnel compared to the seriousness of the mortal wound: evangelicalism is Christless.  Not everywhere, and not everyone– but evangelicalism is walking wounded with a limping Christless gospel, biblical hermeneutic, and discipleship….

…Even Christians need Christ.  And so long as Christ is not the context, content, and control on all we think, say, and do, then we are a dying–if not already dead–evangelicalism.

Christ in the Temple

When Christ was taken to the Temple to be circumcised eight days after he was born of Mary, it was by no means his first visit.  Christ had dwelt in the Holy of Holies enthroned on the ark of the covenant in glory from the time the Tabernacle was built by Moses.  The pre-incarnate Christ was the LORD, the God of Israel, and the Tabernacle/Temple was a living sermon on the subject of his Person and work….

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Go and visit Christocentrism which promises more of the same.

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!” – Hebrews 12:2

For every look at self—take ten looks at Christ!

–Robert Murray McCheyne

Hin-Tai and Chris have a brilliant new blog that you should all add to your readers.  It promises to be Christ-centred, trinitarian, affective  and pastoral.  Four thumbs up.

In his latest post, Hin-Tai wrestles with the desire to have a Christ-exalting blog while resisting the self-absorbing pull of blogging.

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Thank you to David Ould who publicized my new blog on Stand Firm in Faith.

This sentence from my first post caused a minor stir:

The meaning of our lives is not to cower before our creator but to be wooed by our heavenly Lover.

The very first commenter responded:

Eck.  I was tracking with him until right there.  Our purpose is not to be ‘wooed by our heavenly lover’ … I say again, eck … but to glorify God.  Can’t we find some way to delete this word ‘woo’ from our collective memories?

Someone responded, he responded back:

It still doesn’t justify sexualizing the Golden Chain of Redemption – as in ‘wooed by our heavenly lover.’  Thrice again ‘Eck!’

Funny huh!?

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Well it’s up.

Now I’ve just got to write 365 posts.

Here’s my page about the blog.

And here’s my page about Jesus.

Please link to it if you can.  And if anyone has ideas about design (header, etc), let me know.

:)

 

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King James Phrases

In the new year I’m planning on starting another blog – The King’s English.  I want to blog on a phrase a day that has passed from the King James translation into common parlance (2011 is the 400th anniversary of the translation).

I’d like it to be as jargon-free as possible and aimed at non-Christians – though I hope Christians might find it nice and devotional.

Once I secure the right domain I’ll let you have the link and if you can publicize it on your own blog / facebook / twitter I’d be really grateful.

I’ve whittled down the phrases to 365 below.  I’m sure I’m missing loads from the prophets and kings/chronicles.  But it’s interesting that Jesus’ words in the Gospels are at least half of all the Bible’s quotable quotes!  Are there any glaring omissions you can spot?

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My wife has now transitioned from Blog Widow to Blog Wonder.  Emma’s website is called A New Name and I’m letting you all in on the ground floor!

There’ll be lots of discussion about the gospel and food, the body, gender, identity, that kind of thing.  When you read her story you’ll know why.

Through her own testimony and wisdom she has helped so many other women through struggles and I’m praying that this will be a way she can bless more.

She’s speaking at a big conference tomorrow on some of these issues (hence getting the website up in a hurry).   I’m sure she’d value your prayers about that too.

Go over and encourage her with a comment.

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Blogging emergency, help needed

Have I ever mentioned how ramshackle the whole christthetruth enterprise is?  I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s basicallly held together with bluetac and prayer.  I edit my website in miscrosoft word, I produce my videos in powerpoint and tape my songs on a little dictation recorder.  And, yes, I know that it shows.

So anyway, my technical know-how is zero!  This is where you come in.

For a new little (ramshackle) adventure I have purchased a domain name and I’d like to get a website up and running in the next three days.

It needs to:

  • Be a website with a blog section.  i.e. Not exactly a blog, but a website with a prominent blog section.
  • Be attractive – especially to teenage girls (all will be explained!)
  • Have a fixed homepage
  • Be easy to navigate in order to find informative papers.

So, something like a homepage with a tab at the top for the blog and a sidebar down the side for papers – something like that.

I’ve looked at a lot of wordpress templates but, while they’d be fine as blogs it seems difficult to have more than a few pages displayed on them.

I’m willing to spend a little bit of money.

Any suggestions?

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Blogging has its problems, but besides trying to have a laugh, this is what I’ve been trying to say:

I’m essentially a grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone guy.  And I believe that this is true just as much for revelation as it is for salvation.

Therefore Christ the Truth means Jesus is not just the one Way or one Life, but the one Truth of God.  All truth – is in Jesus. This means all our thinking about God must begin with HimNot some Christ-principle but Jesus of NazarethNot some divinized ideal but the actual Jesus of the Gospels.

When we do this we realize that Jesus is God-sized and God is Jesus-shaped.  Thus we see the cruciformity of the Christian GodThe Lamb is at the centre of the throneGod’s perfection is in His mercyHis glory is His self-giving.  This is unlike popular teaching on God acting with ultimate self-regard.  His glory is NOT His self-centredness but His other-centredness.  (Don’t worry, I’m still a Trinitarian hedonist.)

Our God, most fundamentally, is trinity.  He is One and ThreeGod’s One-ness and Three-ness are not un-coordinated perspectives.  Rather the Oneness of God simply is the communion of these concrete and particular Persons.  To approach God’s oneness in this way guards against many errors and brings many benefits.  It also sheds light on how our own communities should be, whether that’s marriage, family or church.

Of course this christocentric, trinitarian approach is not a New Testament novelty.  Christ has always been the object of faith and hope for Old Testament believers. He is the Hope of the Ages – just study Exodus to see an example of it.  Revelation has always been on a trinitarian dynamic.  The Hebrew Scriptures give us a trinitarian witness on their own terms and in their own context.

From this it becomes obvious that there are no true understandings of God that are not Christ-centred, trinitarian revelations.  Neither reason, nor creation, nor religion (be it biblical or unbiblical) can offer us stepping stones towards true knowledge.  We either begin with the Christ, the Son of God or we don’t begin at all.

This has important implications for apologetics and evangelism.  For one thing, Christ alone and Grace alone means we must believe in Revelation alone.  The direction of travel is always down from on high.  The Gospel is not a good idea instead it is proclamation of things that have already taken place.

Yet this does not make us reductionistic.  No, from Christ we can reason truly and understand the wealth of God’s revelation in all the universe (even if we adopt views on creation at odds with the scientific majority). But actually all worldviews are religious – even the materialist ones.   And all modes of enquiry follow a theological method: faith seeking understanding.

All of which is to say that ‘Christ the Truth’ is the true lens through which to see all of reality, be it science, marriage, gender, porn, sickness, tragedy, comedy, whatever.

In all things we must realise that the God with Whom we deal is never an abstract deity but always the very concrete Jesus with His Father and Spirit – He is always and at all times irreducibly the God of the Gospel.  And His being is unfolded and expressed precisely in the gospel economy.

Because He is love – a spreading goodness – His being is always towards our salvation. This is the way of the LORDHe determines to rescue us because He delights in us.

Thus the Father sends His Son to lay hold of our humanity in incarnation, to live our life through trial and temptation and to work out our righteousness in our place and on our behalf.   Then He died our death in crucifixion.   He was born again when He rose again as Head over creation and ascended to the Father’s right hand in glory.

Humanity is not free to choose participation in this lifeWe contribute nothing to this salvation.  Rather we are freed by the Son to enjoy His statusI am in Christ and Christ is in me.  Thus we find ourselves as those already embraced by this triune God.  We find ourselves participating in this divine nature – loved with the eternal love of the trinity.  This is not a mush of groovy feelings but is enjoyed concretely as a cruciform life of cheek-turning.

Faith is not a thing we contribute to this salvation. It is a looking unto Jesusthe very opposite of self-regard.

In this we find our identity – not in personality types but in Jesus.  We find our assurance – not in personal piety but in our perfect Priest.  We find our encouragement – far above and beyond ourselves, in Christ who is our righteousness. Since this is so, sinning really isn’t the worst thing – refusing His forgiveness is.   We respond to sin by looking away from self to our Champion.  This is not cheap grace, but true discipleship and in this we resist the devil.  In such discipleship boasting is out and humility is in.

Such a gospel overflows in our hearts with singing and poetry and other creative things.   But most of all with proclamationwe believe therefore we speak.  Preaching is basically the heralding of our Champion’s victory.  You can listen to my own approach with these evangelistic talks or with sermon series such as Church in the Wilderness or Gospel alone.

There are ten things you should definitely avoid with preaching and there are ways of getting better at it – but we need to think carefully about themOur proclamation is itself the Word of God.  And there is incredible power in it.  What we need is truly Christ-centred preaching and evangelism.  And this is our task as we await the return of Jesus – not the moral/social/political reformation of society (or even ourselves), but the proclamation of King Jesus.  And its point (its application if you will) is not moralism but always to look to Him.

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