Monthly Archives: December 2007

Learning from Facebook

It has been very interesting over the last few months to learn a great deal more about the lives of our extended family, particularly the older nieces, nephews & 2nd cousins through seeing their facebook status messages.

In fact at this moment I am quite intrigued by what my cousin is apparently doing in Bridgenorth that is embarrassing his daughter who is home from university and enjoying access to a car again.

Last time we met some other members of the family it seemed we knew as much about their offspring’s health as they did.

Hint: track your friends facebook statuses using an RSS feed, that way you don’t miss any of the juicy bits (that is particularly for parents who don’t realise how often the status changes).

Proper Cycling funding

While we have been celebrating the win for cycling infrastructure in the UK (42: CONNECT2 WINS £50 MILLION BIG LOTTERY CONTEST) we may have missed a proper way to fund cycling.

The City of Copenhagen has decided to double the current bicycle
budget. Normally there is 75 million Danish kroner a year [€10 million
/ $15 million] but now they are chucking in an extra 75 million.

From  What Do You Give Cyclists Who Have Everything?.

Read that again. Normal Cycling budget for one (not very large) city is $15 million per year. Now they are going to double that!

So in the UK we are having a big celebration for a one off investment of £50 million (actual project is hoping to be £140 million funding permitting) for the whole country. Meanwhile Copenhagen is spending £14 million per year! That is for a population of 1.7 million (Population Copenhagen – Official tourist-site about Copenhagen).

To match this the UK would need to spend approximately £486 million per year (population approx 59 million (uk Statistics Online – Census 2001). However:

Britain spends just £1 per capita each year on cycling infrastructure and training.  Revolution! Britain embraces the bicycle – Independent Online

Oh dear!

Even the good news from that article in the Independent only puts London’s spending at £24 million (2006/7) while aiming for £30 million in 2009/10. But the population of London is approx 7.5 million which puts the 2009/10 cycling budget at approximately half what Copenhagen’s is for 2008. Copenhagen has a 30 year head start in providing a cycling infrastructure and it is still spending at more than twice the rate London is.

What if Christians responded to shootings in Church?

I have been reading some of the reactions to the shootings in Colorado last weekend.

My heart goes out to all affected by these tragic events.

For two opposite views see:

However in 42: Pacifism got wrong I wrote:

imagine if millions of Christians were willing to take discipleship
seriously, to be willing to die for their Lord and so insert themselves
(unarmed and non-violent) between sides in places of conflict while at
the same time being serious about working for justice and
reconciliation. I don’t think Christian Pacifism has been demonstrated
to be ineffective, I just don’t think we have tried it properly.

I wonder what it would be like if millions of American Christians decided enough is enough and the killing of innocent unarmed victims must stop. What is more, what if they decided that they were going to achieve this in a non-violent and Christian way that brings in justice.

What would it look like?

I suspect that there may be some useful ideas in Just Peacemaking – Ten Practices for Abolishing War  (via 42: Just Peacemaking).

Tragically at the moment I see only two responses:

  • Churches need armed guards/volunteers to protect the innocent.
  • We don’t want guns in our Church and that is ok for us.

Where is the big picture? Where are the Rosa Parks‘ and Martin Luther King, Jr‘s of the 21st Century in America? Where are the people who see Christianity as more than individual/personal salvation? Where is the fight for justice and peace?

This is how to do it

Contrast N.T. Wright and the “New Perspective on Paul” | www.markdroberts.com with the way Adrian Warnock tackles the same subject with blog posts such as Is N. T. Wright Preaching Another Gospel? (you can see a full list of Adrian’s posts on the subject in BOOK – Piper on Wright, Conclusion: What is Justification?).

The difference is startling. One is thoughtful, knowledgeable and helpful. One is none of those.

I found these two points particularly powerful:

I’ve been surprised by some of the arguments used against Wright’s
exegesis of Paul. One of the common lines is that Wright has abandoned
the Reformation’s view of Paul and justification by faith. Even if this
were true, and I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration, I find it curious
that Wright’s effort to go back to the Bible rather than endorse
Reformation theology receives such scorn from the very people who base
everything on going back to the Bible (or at least they used to). Isn’t
sola scriptura at the base of the Reformation? Wouldn’t it be
contrary to the very spirit of the Reformation to demand that
theologians echo Reformation doctrine rather than going back to
Scripture itself? It’s certainly true that Wright may have
misinterpreted Paul. But we aren’t going to know this by quoting Luther
and Calvin, or even by using extra-biblical theological language (like
“imputed righteousness”). Rather, the Reformation itself sends us back
to the Scripture itself. If N.T. Wright is wrong about Paul, then this
needs to be demonstrated by the same kind of exegesis that he has
practiced so assiduously.

Another common argument against Wright’s view of Paul is that it
doesn’t support powerful evangelical preaching. Again, I think this
argument substantially misreads Wright, but even if it’s true, does it
miss the main point? Those who worry that Wright’s view of Paul might
undermine preaching is perilously close to an “end-justifies-the-means”
argument, rather than an argument that upholds the truth of Scripture
no matter what the implications. Once more, the question that matters
above all else is whether Wright’s reading of Scripture is true or not.
If, in the end, we must change our preaching, so be it. Yet I’m quite
confident that the truth will lead to powerful preaching, whether that
truth is ultimately consistent with traditional interpretations of Paul
or not.

Note that these are views by someone who has not adopted NT Wrights view:

If it sounds like I’m defending Wright’s view of Paul, let me say that
my personal jury is still out on the matter. Honestly, I haven’t been
able to take the time to work through all of the issues, and, most
importantly, all of the texts.

CONNECT2 WINS £50 MILLION BIG LOTTERY CONTEST

Fantastic news:  CONNECT2 WINS £50 MILLION BIG LOTTERY CONTEST – Cycling Weekly

We watched all four presentations and felt convinced that Connect2 has the potential for a wider impact on more people in more places and critically also a bigger impact on society, the quality of life for this country and on the environment that all the other projects.

This is good news. Now if only we could move from funding essential projects away from the National Lottery into more ethical funding then we could have a real celebration.