“I am the one
that raises the whip to your already racing heart … I’m the voice, you know the
one, who's always questioning, questioning, questioning everything you do,
everything you think.”
This is the voice of Anxiety, from the Beyond
Blue clip that is hitting social media by storm. This is the voice that one out
of every four of us experience some time in our life. And it is not a new
experience either. The ancients themselves asked, “What
do people get for all the toil and anxious striving
with which they labour under the sun?” (Ecclesiates 2:22) and cried “Search me,
God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23) If you’ve ever woken in a panic in the dead of night you
are not alone.
At the end of the clip, Anxiety asks, "So, now that we have become acquainted, what are you
going to do about it?" Having suffered from
anxiety myself, this is a question that interests me deeply. Now of course
there are secular answers to this, and of course we should explore these
options. But above and beyond this I
am after spiritual help, so I have also sought guidance from scripture.
For instance, the apostle Paul
counselled his communities with these words, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians
4:6). In this he followed Jesus, who said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you
will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more
than food and the body more than clothes? (Matthew 6:25) and “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
However, taken in isolation, I find these words less than
satisfying. For who of us can stop worrying simply by self-effort? Would you
accept these words from your doctor? And who of us has not experienced
unanswered prayer? What happens when you’re left in an anxious state despite
prayer, even in your prayers?
This is where we need some gospel perspective. We need to remember that Jesus
himself suffered from anxiety, not least in the
garden of Gethsemane, on the night before his crucifixion. Mark tells us, “He took
Peter, James and John along with
him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.” (Mark 14:33) God among us ... he experienced anxiety!
Think about it. Meditate on the
implications. If God experienced anxiety, then experiencing anxiety is not
necessarily an imperfection in us. It cannot, at least not automatically, be attributed
to sin, or idolatry, or a lack of faith. Moreover, remember that Jesus acted
faithfully even in his anxiety and saved us through this act and subsequent
resurrection. His experience of anxiety was transformative. So, I seek for his
experience to be transformative for me also.
I was thinking of organising another get together for maverick Christians in and around Sydney ... or even just mavericks plain and simple ... who'd like to meet face to face for spirited conversations on life, the universe and everything. You know, deep and meaningful with plenty of laughs over some food and wine. If that sounds like you, register your interest in the comments of via email.
The artists comments, "The third and final “chapter” of my gospel, “Jazz Age Jesus” is my ideal post-modern conception of a “Christ-figure”. Images associated death, knowledge, and the spirit are collaged, re-combined, and constructed to create another disembodied, yet complete figure. In the tradition of early Christian art, certain clues are given to indicate “divinity” and “spiritual love”. Within the same archaic tradition, I also refer to this image as “Christ as an Intellectual” (as opposed to “Christ as The Good Shepard, Christ in Majesty”, etc.) This is a triumphant and colorful ending to my gospel."
Not sure if I like it or not, but it certainly invites a closer look.
A question for you all: which understanding of ‘evil’ do you think is more in line with the New Testament: (a) evil as equal and opposite to ‘good’ or (b) evil as neither equal nor opposite to good, but rather, as an absence or distortion of ‘good’.
I was reading on the Syndey Anglican Network that Archbishop Peter Jensen is due to retire on July 11, just a few short months away. While responses to his legacy will no doubt vary, there's no doubt that Peter Jensen has had a profound impact on the Sydney Christian scene and well beyond. I wonder what comes next?
What is an idol? The word tends to carry the connotation of something bad. But often an idol is something good, just worshipped inappropriately.
Consider money. Is it not good to give money to the poor? Yes, it can become an idol. But so can anything. It is not bad in an of itself.
It's instructive to consider some of the online definitions of an idol. It is said to be, "a false god" and "a person or thing that is adored, often blindly or excessively."
Now consider the value of freedom. It is of value, but when we turn it into an ultimate value, have we not crafted an idol for ourselves? How many values, how many children, in our land and the lands of our enemies, are we willing to sacrifice in the name of freedom?
Homosexuality is not a topic I blog on often as (1) I see little value in using my voice to inflame debates which are already overheated and (2) homosexuality is not a topic which I consider myself particularly qualified to comment on in any case.