What are the really important core beliefs that you need to believe to be a Christian? Continue reading
Monthly Archives: January 2014
The Reduced Shakespeare debate: Why everyone is wrong (and right)
I followed a conversation on twitter yesterday that made me want to write a post in response. It was about an issue that is kind of a big deal these days for Christians but I’m not going to say what it was because it’s beside the point.
If I name the issue I will probably start a debate rather than discussing how we deal with disagreements. Which is what I want to get at. Continue reading
Why I live Tweeted the Grammys
Two nights ago, I did something that I have never done but always intended to and live tweeted an awards ceremony. On Sunday night, as I am sure many of you know, the Grammys took place and so I decided to join in with some of my favorite tweeters/bloggers/writers and have a bit of fun.
What’s the point of this you ask? Here’s a few reasons why I live tweeted the Grammys. Continue reading
What I learned from my first hate mail.
I wrote a post on my blog a few days ago that got quite a bit of coverage. It was retweeted so many times that I lost count. I went from receiving a few hits a day if I was lucky to literally thousands. Now I’m not used to writing posts that get so much exposure and so two things went through my head when I saw how well it was doing. Continue reading
Why the DUP are the new Pharisees.
The recent banning of the Reduced Shakespeare Play of the Abridged version of the Bible is more than just about censorship. It is more than just about a political party exerting control over the arts and much more to do with fear.
The fear of some Fundamental Evangelical Christians that their rights as Christians are being torn apart. The fear of their version of Christianity being slowly eroded which would leave them in a position of vulnerability. The fear that Christianity will come tumbling down because of a play. Continue reading
There is a bit of Dougal in all of us.
Resistance doesn’t think, “how can I use the fear of failure or the fear of success to stall her from working.”
It thinks, “how can I use the fear of failure and the fear of success.”
If we were afraid of only failure then we would be able to justify working using success. So if I think “I might look stupid but at least I could help one person see something fresh”, then it’s worth it.
So resistance evolves to include the fear of success too.
“If this goes well I may be asked to take on more responsibility, which I’m not ready for” or
“If this post gets people talking and coming back I’ll need to write something just as good or even better”.
Notice how the fear of success quickly turns into the fear of failure.
We might need to come up with other great ideas, or we might need to surprise ourselves.
The good news is that this frees us up to be generous. When we focus on the potential failure or success we are focusing mainly on ourselves. We’re afraid of looking stupid or getting people’s hopes up and then feeling stupid when we let them down or make a mistake.
The antithesis to this is generosity where the only goal is to give without expectation of anything in return. You can’t feel stupid if you don’t care.
I can write a blog post that resonates with people and that’s fantastic so I work to make that happen again. But I do so by simply doing the work and putting it out there because it’s the right thing to do.
Whether it connects or not isn’t so important; it’s part of the active strategy to keep being generous.
Surprisingly though when we keep doing that, eventually something sticks. Something you write encourages someone or even better, the hope to do their own work. If you stop being generous eventually you’ll become so self obsessed and paralyzed with fear that you stop working altogether.
And your work is far too important to us to let that happen.
When God sees the funny side: An open Letter.
Dear Mr Ball,
I remember years ago being brought by my mum and some friends to see the Reduced Shakespeare company play of the Bible in Belfast. I must have been about 12 or 13.
I love comedy and I love God. Sometimes we think that the two are incompatible. That for some reason God calls us to complete reverence when it comes to Him and certainly when it comes to the Bible itself.
I would love to ask you what about the play when you saw it upset you so much? Continue reading
If you saw Les Miserables at the cinema or on the West End or Broadway you will know that a major scene occurs when the main protagonist Jean Valjean steals some bread to feed his starving family.
If you go into any Sunday School in the world and ask the kids to name a few sins I am pretty sure that stealing would be up there on the list.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the greatest theologians to have ever lived and his work is agreed by many as having a hugely positive and lasting effect on Christian thinking today. There is also evidence that he was involved with a plot to kill Adolf Hitler.
If you read that list of sins over again, I am sure that murder would be most kids’ top choice of sins.
So is stealing a sin or not? Continue reading
Is God really always there to help us?
God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.
Because there have been many times when I have failed. Many times when I was alone and prayed to God to protect me from temptation only to give in and look at porn a few minutes later. Many times when I had to give a talk that I was nervous for and definitely didn’t do the message or myself any justice.
So is it true that God won’t give us anything we can’t handle? Continue reading
Everyone knows why prayer is important right? Everyone knows why we should read our Bibles? These seem like pretty obvious ideas for Christians to implement. But what about worship?
I used to think worship as something that not everyone was supposed to do. I mean I have heard some people sing and I’m not quite sure how those noises can bring Glory to God. Regardless of my or your musical ability, worship is something that I think we can all benefit from partaking in.
So first off, perhaps the fact that some of us have been blessed with a good ear while others it seems were last in the line for musical ability. shows that worship is more than just music.
I think that much should be clear to most people; so how then can we move forward and offer a definition of worship that can welcome everyone.
Let me suggest one. Continue reading