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On Your Marks...
Wednesday 25th May 2011 11:58 AM
The 2012 Olympic Games offer UK churches a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage with their local community. Peter Meadows of More than Gold encourages us to get ready for next summer
Who will be people talking about during the London 2012 Olympic Games? Usain Bolt? Tom Daily? Paula Radcliffe? Chris Hoy? What about Jesus? That's the dream of many churches across the UK as they prepare for the coming Olympics and Paralympics. This will be nothing new; for almost two decades it's been happening at Summer and Winter Games around the world.
At the Atlanta Games in 1996 churches gave out over three million cups of cold water to visitors on the streets. During the Sydney Games in 2000 churches ran over 100 sports clinics for disadvantaged young people. In Beijing in 2008 more than 30 teams of creative artists performed in pubs, clubs, malls, coffee houses and orphanages. Now the baton has been passed to the UK, with churches invited to seize this opportunity through tried-and-tested programmes of outreach, hospitality and service.
Can I believe in science and the Bible?
Wednesday 25th May 2011 11:52 AM
Tough Questions: 'Can I believe in science and the Bible?'
How do we respond to claims that scientific discovery has discredited the Bible? Paul Chamberlain encourages us to use our intelligence to look at each differently.
The short answer to this question is 'yes', as many scientists who are Christians will tell you. However, the longer answer is more complicated! Whether you think you can believe in both science and the Bible depends upon what you're expecting to get from each of them. For example, where should we go for answers to questions as diverse as: Where does rain come from? What is lightening? Is there a God?
Let's start with the Bible. It is an ancient document produced over at least 1,000 years in many diverse settings, as well as being God's word. The question is: what should we expect from the Bible, and how should we correctly read it? The key thing is to consider the genre of the thing you are reading; in other words, what type of literature is this? We all know about genre, but rarely realise it! We read a letter from our bank manager differently to a letter from a lover, because they are different genres. In the same way we read the poetry in Psalm 18:2: 'The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer', differently to Acts 27:29: 'Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight'. The latter clearly refers to a physical rock which destroys a boat, the former means that God is like a rock to the Psalmist, i.e. he is dependable and strong, solid. So genre matters when we read the Bible, otherwise we might mistake what the author was trying to say.