8Apr '14

Voting on the Truth

A friend of mine said on Facebook today,

Feelings of people, are always superseded by Scripture. We don’t ask groups to vote on the truth, Jesus is the truth! It doesn’t matter how many people believe something is right, if Scripture says it’s wrong then Jesus doesn’t endorse it. Love speaks the truth. ‘Go, and sin no more’

Here’s how I replied:
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7Apr '14

House of Lords Report on Personal Service Companies

The House of Lords has today published its report on an investigation of the tax treatment of freelancers working through their own limited companies (like me). It’s not the disgusted-from-Tunbridge-Wells style condemnation of evil tax dodgers that some people would have wanted, but a considered argument for reform of the IR35 legislation that was (in my opinion) hastily-written and poorly thought out. They also acknowledged that while abuses can and do happen, freelancers who work in this way forego employment benefits like sick pay, holiday pay, and any semblance of job security, while making a very significant contribution to the economy.

I would summarise their report as “the situation is a mess and HMRC aren’t being clear about anything”. They said (and this is a direct quote from the Lords’ report), “We were surprised by the lack of co-operation from the Government.” Based on that, the Professional Contractors Group have called for the immediate suspension of IR35.Given how much time I have to spend ensuring not just that I’m compliant with it, but ensuring that I can *prove* that, I’d love to see that happen (although there is a ‘better the devil you know’ argument there).

Personally, I’m just relieved that the Lords’ report isn’t a wholesale condemnation of freelancers like me who work hard and pay every penny of tax they are required.

https://www.pcg.org.uk/news-events/news/2014/04/04/pcg-calls-suspension-ir35-after-damning-report-house-lords

6Apr '14

“ Just because you're lost, it doesn't mean your compass is broken ”

- The Edge (1997) -

That line has always resonated with me. I’ve always believed my compass was unbreakable and perfect.

But what if I’ve been reading it wrong?

5Apr '14

Noah

Just watched the new film, “Noah”. Personally I found it moving and challenging in many ways. If you’re thinking about seeing it yourself you should bear in mind that it is a radical retelling of an ancient story, rather than a filmed tract for fundamentalist evangelicalism. Go into it with that in mind, and hopefully you won’t come out angry, annoyed or disappointed. (Well, Russell Crowe sings again, which after Les Mis is probably worth being upset about :-) )

22Mar '14

The Makeup-Free Church

This week lots of women have been posting ‘no makeup selfies’ and encouraging each other to donate to charity, and that’s great. I’ve been wondering though what it would be like if our churches went makeup-free as well. I don’t mean eyeliner and foundation and lipstick and blusher. I mean, what if we stopped caring so much about the branding and the PR, the ‘image’, the putting-on-a-performance makeup that we spend so long over?

What if it wasn’t about every church having its own carbon-copy programme, branding everything as ‘connect’ this or ‘x-ite youth’ that, what if it wasn’t making sure we looked so good in the spotlight? What would Church look like tomorrow if we stopped growing ‘one church, X locations’ empires and lived for the Kingdom? What if leaders stopped being CEOs and started being shepherds again? What if we didn’t all try to make our churches up to be mini-versions of ‘celebrity’ megachurches? What if every sermon series didn’t need its own trailer? What if we stopped revelling in the uniquely identical ‘cultures’ that characterise the modern christianish *sub*culture and tried to find an authentic, makeup-free way to live corporately and individually as sincere followers of Jesus?

I’m not setting out to offend here, or to single out any particular church. I’m just saying… the Bride of Christ is beautiful…. and she doesn’t need any makeup.

—————————
About an hour after I wrote that, I added this as a comment. I’m adding it to the original post now so that it’s included if anyone else shares it:

Hey everyone, I’d just like to publicly repent of the negativity I can perceive in what I’ve written above, having re-read it. There is I think a kernel of truth in some of what I said (and I’m not trying to half-apologise here) but it definitely needed deeper consideration of the message and the method in which I said it. I am a poet, and my facility with words can sometimes mean that something I say “sounds good” without necessarily “being” good. On balance the potential for being misunderstood, as well as un-dealt-with carnality on my part, probably outweighs whatever benefit might have come from what I was trying to say. I’m not going to delete it, because I don’t believe that’s the best way to behave in social media, but I will let it and this apology stand. I hope (and am sure) that you will respond graciously.

18Mar '14

Equilibrium

Watching ‘Equilibrium‘. It might be enormously derivative, with obvious borrowings from Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Brave New World, Metropolis and countless other books and films… but I’m definitely a fan. The main character – a gun-wielding ‘cleric’ in a dystopian future where emotion is forbidden – gradually begins to lose his faith in the system he helped maintain. I feel certain parallels to my own journey – and even in this sentence, I fear I have betrayed myself, and the guardians of sound doctrine (one of whom yesterday called me a ‘libtard’) will surely be breaking down my social media door shortly. Let them come.

Writing now – on 26th February 2015 – I can see how my journey has been progressing…

1Mar '14

“ If your theology fits in tweet-sized chunks with a Bible verse at the end, you're probably doing it wrong (1 Cor 13:9). ”

On FB, I said:

“If your theology fits in tweet-sized chunks with a Bible verse at the end, you’re probably doing it wrong (1 Cor 13:9).”

John Andrews replied, insightfully,

However Jesus did summarise the whole of the OT in two short sentences – His theology was pretty good:-)

Later the conversation developed in a different direction and I said:

I’m enormously grateful for my Mattersey education. I especially remember Vernon’s insistence that we ‘eyeball’ even familiar verses in his lecture notes. That taught me not to see a Bible reference in brackets as unquestionable evidence that the sentence before it is ‘true’ but to consider Scripture in its context (with all that that entails) and to judge (and adjust) what we believe in its light – instead of self-justifying what we believe by selective quotation.

4Jan '14

Moviecode

Watching a film with me can be quite frustrating for non-geek family members! If some ‘computer code’ appears on the screen for a second I usually have to pause it and figure out whether the filmmakers were tech-savvy or not. Sometimes they are – like in one of the Matrix films, Trinity uses a real network security tool as part of a hack. Usually though… it’s something ridiculous. Here is a blog made by somebody who cares about this stuff even more than I do: 

http://moviecode.tumblr.com/

1Jan '14

A Day Like Any Other

Who cares about the calendar?
It’s a day like any other
Just because it’s New Year’s Day
We still just have to suffer
The days roll on until we die
More winter now than summer
Our troubles just intensify
First lightning, then the thunder
BUT
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