Thursday, 30 June 2016

Calling time on Captain Corbyn's chaotic cruiseliner

Jeremy is a highly principled politician, a man of conscience and sound ethics, and such men seem to be quite rare in the minds of many voters. Politicians have been scathingly mocked and ridiculed for their mercenary ways and manipulative practices. But not Jeremy. He has lived frugally. He has walked the walk and talked the talk when it comes to living like a true man of the people, a socialist par excellence.

Jeremy really cares about the poor, the oppressed, the needy, the exploited and the common man and woman. He is a genuine socialist, sincere and decent. He fights racism and stands against injustice.
But, and here's the problem, Jeremy is no leader.

Jeremy cannot inspire and take his fellow Parliamentarians forward to victory. As things now stand, a Labour victory at the next election is about as likely as Everton winning the Premiership and the FA Cup in the same season. Now Everton aspire to be great, as their Latin motto says, and they so wish to be better than Liverpool, but they often fail.

A great team needs a great manager. Management is not an exact science, because they are so many variables when humans are part of the equation, but great management means getting the best out of your staff, your team, your most precious resources. Jeremy does not have the management expertise and leadership skills to get the best out of his MPs and his Shadow Cabinet.

The British Labour Party aspires to be great and to be better than the Tories at the ballot box, but abject failure and disasters look certain. To change metaphors, if they sail on with Jeremy at the bridge of a ship, tossed about and going into very dangerous waters, the damage to the ship may take years to repair and rebuild.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Rooney is on the wane as England fail to beat Iceland in Nice

What a humiliation! What an ignominious defeat! Iceland beat England  1-0 in the Euro 16 football tournament. Abject failure as the England players showed a lack of quality, bad control, poor performances and woeful match play. Congratulations to Iceland who showed commitment and courage. They took their chances and made England look miserable and mediocre.  There were so many unforced errors and embarrassing mistakes.

Roy Hodgson's team were a shambles and looked like part timers and park players at times. They were that bad! Roy does not seem to get the best from his players at major tournaments. He has come up short. Roy's track record of failure, in Brazil and now in France, 
makes his future look as bleak as Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

Time for Jeremy, time for him to go?

Jeremy Corbyn has to face some uncomfortable truths. You are not a leader if people will not follow you, or if they believe that you lack leadership and the ability to take people forward.

We have been told by his loyal supporters that Jeremy is going nowhere. Well the British public worked that out some time ago, according to Frank Field who knows something about uninspiring political leaders.

It seems obvious that poor Jeremy cannot lead his original chosen shadow cabinet forward, and certainly not forward to electoral victory. With Jeremy at the helm of the Labour Party the road to nowhere beckons. It looks like he cannot find followers of calibre to fill shadow cabinet positions.
Labour Party politicians are calling time on his present leadership. It is time for him to go.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Well done Wales, top of Group B

Yes, Wales, the Welsh football team, they are top of Group B in the Euro 2016 championship. They played wonderfully attractive football in beating the mighty Russians by three goals to nil in Toulouse yesterday evening. It was a magnificent achievement. I never seen them perform so spectacularly. They deserved to beat an aging and awful team, which looked desperately out of form.
The dynamic Welsh side went from strength to strength, producing football of true quality. This Welsh team will no doubt continue to show its talent, which is a joy to see.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Baptist and Independent, Independent and Baptist

I have admired the Independent churches in Wales for their convictions, their principled positions on Christian doctrine and truth, for high moral courage and ethical practices.

Now I have been comfortable with the label "independent Baptist" or even "Independent Baptist". And it all depends on how the term "independent " is defined. What do I mean by independent?
It is a very important question for me.

I believe in being a Baptist who is independent of a state or the state controlled church, the Church of England, the Anglican communion, the rule of bishops and prelates, priests and pontiffs. I believe in being independent of a centrally controlled ecclesiastical bureaucracy. I believe in the autonomy of the local church, assembly and community of believers, who should not allow outside worldly and carnal influences to interfere with their church life and practice. I wish, therefore, to be independent of social influences from wealthy patrons who think that their status and money should dictate church policy and practice.

Leadership should arise out of spiritual authority and gifts of grace, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The church fellowship's power and hegemony should come from divine blessing and never from wealth, privilege, position and status. The fellowship of believers should attempt to manifest the rule and reign of Christ.

There are churches that belong to an Oxbridge college or their minister's living may be in the gift of landed gentry, a corporation or an aristocrat, and he or she may have no Christian or faith community beliefs. I would wish to oppose these restrictive and unhelpful arrangements in order to encourage biblical principles of sound doctrine, sacrificial living, generous independent giving,  and loving relationships with Gospel values which promote care for the needy, the poor, the weak, the sick and the suffering, sinners without the Saviour. He was no respecter of persons, and we should follow Him as faithful disciples, not self serving hirelings.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Asylum and getting to the UK the Calais Jungle

There have been many column inches, discussions, arguments, heated opinion and pious pronouncements about the so called Calais Jungle. Some see it as an open sore, a deep wound and a disgrace to humanity, while others see it as a most unfortunate consequence of global evils, wicked wars and harsh economic conditions in third world countries. There is clearly great poverty, sad squalor and social deprivation in the camp outside Calais in northern France.

However, some, and certainly not all, journalists, bloggers, social and religious affairs commentators, and political pundits give the impression that the situation in the Calais migrant camp, known as the Jungle, is the fault of the UK government and the Immigration Service.  I have heard critics moan about the Jungle squalor as if it were exacerbated by UK agencies and British foreign policy.

Let's be clear on a number of issues and facts. France is in the EU and subject to the European Council of Civil Rights. It is a democratic country, and not a war zone, where its members, citizens and visitors are protected by laws and the rule of law. The people who have reached the so called Calais Jungle (CJ) are not necessarily in any more danger there than they would be in areas of England. In fact, they may be far safer in the CJ than in brothels, drug dens, sex offender and trafficking groups, criminal gangs and dodgy criminal businesses in the UK.They exist in the UK, although many would love to look away, pass on by and pretend that they don't really exist.

The British public are generous and compassionate when it comes to refugees, sick and suffering children, the underdog and the oppressed.

Monday, 6 June 2016

There's scholarship, and there's scholarship!

Just because a recognized scholar has impressive academic qualifications that does not mean that they have wisdom, and they may not have any spiritual discernment.  Some theologians can be all at sea and really lost. When they boldly claim that there is " nothing wrong with my scholarship " then they invite scrutiny.  Yes, such a claim was made by a theologian, academic Bible scholar and recent television presenter on a Sunday morning programme about religion. She has the audacity of youth and a very engaging television screen presence and personality.

There are scholars and academics who glory in their elevated status but have no humility when they are making pronouncements outside their field of learning. Some scholars have been discredited and shown to be inaccurate and  certainly erroneous in the cold light of truth and subsequent empirical evidence.

History has been re-written, and science textbooks have been radically revised, redacted and robustly
reformed over the years of university development and higher learning. Some would argue that all truth, especially theological truth, is provisional. This can lead to a very interesting scholarly debate, but I wish to keep to the matter of truth, discernment and wisdom.

I would maintain that a person could be academically well qualified and exhibit outstanding work of literary merit, yet be completely lacking in wisdom, emotional intelligence and basic common sense.
To put it bluntly, some academics are ivory tower wallies; one could use cruder and more disdainful names for them. And, of course, there are many of them outside academia. I have met them in churches, pubs, National Trust properties and historic buildings.

I have been intrigued by premillennial theologians and so called prophetic preachers, who once predicted a twentieth century rapture of believers. We should have no time for church leaders who claim to have received special gifts and revelations, which turn out to be bogus. And it is important to root out those who are harming children and the vulnerable in churches and congregations. They abuse the trust of others and fleece the flock. There are hireling shepherds operating with the spirit of Gehazi. Yet some of them are well qualified academically speaking. And so were Dr Goebbels, Dr Mengele and a whole host of despicable individuals who abused their power and influence. Oh dear, I am riding a hobby horse, so let us get back to the main issue.

Some scholarship may meet the academic criteria for a standard of excellence, but I wish to pose the question, will the scholarship stand the test of time, truth and eternity? Will it benefit society, civilization and the common people? What is its true value? Will it be cast aside as irrelevant and useless? I remember a deacon, who told me many years ago, that reading some theology, particularly modern theology, was like eating husks, not healthy food. He found it lacked spiritual nutrition and protein; it was not at all edifying or helpful. He had not, sadly, read widely enough to find wholesome spiritual material.

Martin Luther maintained that true theology must be practical, otherwise it is not true theology. If it is about God and reveals divine truths then it should have a practical, spiritual dimension. When it is divorced from spiritual realities it is, to some extent, practically theology but not true theology that brings divine and spiritually valuable insight, truth and revelation. True theology, truly Christian theology, will edify and enlighten.

Not all theologians are Christians, but all Christians are theologians; they talk about God and they talk to God and then God talks to them by the Holy Spirit on an intimate level.  Of course God has already His word and supremely through the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I will return to this subject. I wish to consider some scholarship written by theologians linked with these issues.


River Stour