Issue 12 October - December 2011
FAITH LIFE REALITY
EVOLUTION IS NOT
"I felt held together by my father's love"
Winn er of the VOX Writing r Com aylo petitio n 2011: Deirdre T
Facing the debt disaster
VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 1
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The ground shook beneath our feet. Cracks appeared in the walls. Everything that once seemed so stable and secure shifted, crumbled, collapsed… The earthquakes of job loss, repossession, divorce and bankruptcy have become the unwelcome motifs of 21st Century Ireland. It’s the “Day after Tomorrow” and people are waking up to a new reality. The things we depended on have been stripped away. Walking through the rubble, we ask, “What now?” Thankfully, the scriptures don’t gloss over the harsh realities of suffering and loss. Nor do they offer the sugar-coated pill of fantasy or distraction, the epidemic of escapism that numbs and paralyses.
“You must be emptied of that which you are full, so that you can be filled with that of which you are empty.” Saint Augustine The biblical narrative chronicles the wracking sobs and angry questions, the empty spaces of bewilderment and the groans that words cannot express. But it also uncovers the deep breath, the won’t-let-go embrace and the indescribable miracle of peace at the epicentre of our devastation. This is where the ore of faith is refined in the fire. It is the glorious, unshakeable kingdom described in the book of Hebrews.
“…all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.” Hebrews 12:27 (NLT) I was deeply moved as I read the winning entry in our VOX magazine Writing Competition (Real, page 12). Stories of transformation in the lives of people crippled by debt (Christians against Poverty, page 10) fill me with new hope. News of those whose experience of poverty and loss far exceeds our own (VOX World News, page 9 and Team Hope page 22) makes me wonder, “What now?” How will the God of all comfort transform our “light and momentary troubles” into priceless treasures? And what will happen in our nation and beyond as we allow Him to do that? Ruth Garvey-Williams Editor (email@example.com)
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VOX MAGAZINE FAITH LIFE REALITY
October - December 2011, Issue 12
ISSN: 2009-2253 Publisher Solas Publishing Editor Ruth Garvey-Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising Jonny Lindsay email@example.com Layout and Operations Jonny Lindsay firstname.lastname@example.org Project Director Tom Slattery (Evangelical Alliance Ireland) Subscriptions Ireland (32 counties): €10 for four issues / €16 for eight issues Overseas: €15 for four issues / €24 for eight issues
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COVER STORIES Christians against poverty – Debt is destroying lives in Ireland but one charity is fighting back. Real! “I felt held together by my Father’s love”. A moving story from Deirdre Taylor, winner of the VOX Writing Competition 2011 Why evolution is not our enemy - a thought provoking investigation of the debate surrounding science and scripture.
FEATURES AND INTERVIEWS Come back soon VOX Sport - Ireland’s sporting heroes Lindiwe’s story Investing in leaders for Ireland’s future - the Global Leadership Summit 2011
All cheques should be made payable to Solas Publishing. Solas Publishing Ulysses House 22 - 24 Foley Street Dublin 1 Tel: 01 443 4789 email@example.com www.vox.ie Disclaimer The views expressed in letters and articles are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Solas Publishing or Evangelical Alliance. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate endorsement. Print Beulah Print, Drogheda VOX magazine is a quarterly publication, brought to you by Solas Publishing, in partnership with Evangelical Alliance Ireland.
sola Jan - -Mar 4 | VOX | Oct Dec2010 2011
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VOX Views Marriage - to be or not to be. Is our halo slipping? Talking point: Friends with Benefits
REGULAR FEATURES VOX: Shorts Your VOX: Letters It’s all Greek to me VOX: World News Web Watch
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Family Focus VOX: Reviews Event Listing VOX: P.S.
Christian Motorcyclists Association Our vision is to change the world, one heart at a time. We seek to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ (Íosa Críost) to the biking community and others. Luke 14:23 says “to go out to the highways and along the hedges and bring them in that my house may be filled.” If this ministry sounds right for you, first pray about it and then call us on 086 8057982. We’d be delighted to answer any of your questions.
Coming soon in 2012 for all Biker's: C.M.A. National Rally, 29th June - 1st July. For more detail's email firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d also like to offer you a Biker’s Bible “Hope for the Highway”.
www.cmaireland.ie email@example.com www.country.cmainternational.org/ire Tel: 086 8057982 Please find us on Facebook: Christian Motorcyclists Association (Ireland) VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 5
Waste not, want not?
Irish families are throwing out over €1,000 worth of food every year, according to new research. While most people have less money in their pockets, the cutbacks have failed to change our habits when it comes to waste management. The shocking figures show that an estimated 30 per cent of food bought in our supermarkets will be thrown away because it has gone off or we decide we don’t want to eat it. In September, the European Commission also raised the issue, pointing out that 179kg of food per person is wasted every year in Europe while millions starve across the globe.
Losing a generation?
Emigration rises rapidly
Over 40,000 Irish people left the country last year - an increase of almost 50%. At the same time, the number of Irish people returning to Ireland has remained constant in recent years. As a result, net emigration among Irish people in Ireland reached 23,000 last year, up from 14,000 in the year to April 2010. In the previous year (ending April 2009), the number of Irish people returning to Ireland matched the number of those leaving.
FM license for United Christian Broadcasts The exciting growth of Christian radio in Ireland continues with UCB Ireland’s FM broadcasts to much of the country at weekends. The station offers a great lineup of encouraging, uplifting and Jesus-centred programmes and music.
Listen out for UCB on the following frequencies from midnight on Thursdays to midnight on Sundays every weekend until November 13. • 94.3 FM in Dublin city and county • 106.7 FM in Cork city and county • 105.5 FM in Limerick city and county • 103.8 FM in Wexford, Waterford and South Leinster • 89.5 FM in Galway city and county.
Negative attitudes towards domestic abuse victims
If my people…11/11/11
Pastors and church leaders from diverse backgrounds will unite to organise prayer events all over Ireland on 11 November, 2011. The movement, promoted by Evangelical Alliance Ireland, follows Pastor Nick Parks’ article Racism and the Church in Ireland (VOX magazine, Jul - Sept 2011). Mary Dwyer, EAI NeXus Coordinator, says, “We are convinced that unity is a key to God’s Kingdom being expressed fully in Ireland. We believe the way forward is together. Equally, we’re convinced that prayer is the foundation for the movement of God. Thus we are seeking to move together in a prayer initiative, culminating on a day of prayer on 11/11/11.” Pastor Emmanuel Might of Solid Rock Church Dublin says, “Great to see that the different Christian organisations can discern that it is time to come together in prayer. Awesome that we can go beyond the lines that make us distinct to become one unified and humble church in prayer. This is a kingdom initiative; we're glad to be part of it.” Pastor Abimbola Okegbile added, “This ...is indeed timely and it addresses an issue that is not only sensitive but painful to most of us. It is my prayer that as we all look up to God in prayers this November, He will heal every wound, bind every hurt and restore us all and our land back to health.” If you have a planned event on 11/11/11, please inform Mary Dwyer at networking@ evangelical.ie. For further information about If My People, contact Mary Dwyer at the above email or telephone 087-6126070.
A housing group has highlighted sexist attitudes in Ireland towards women and children who have suffered from violence in the home. Sonas provides housing and support to women and children affected by domestic abuse. At the publication of its 2010 annual report, the charity highlighted how attitudes within Ireland’s justice system and society result in the women and children paying the highest price for crimes committed within the home. All too often, the perpetrators of domestic violence are left living within the family home while women and children have to flee. It was almost taken for granted that women would leave. The number of women supported by Sonas has increased by 163 per cent from 70 in 2009 to 184 last year. But the charity was only able to cater for 40% of the demand with a further 249 women unable to be accommodated. Sonas Chief Executive Sharon Cosgrove said, “You hear people saying, ‘She must have provoked it’, or ‘She’s made her bed, she’ll have to lie in it’ or ‘He’s just under pressure and needs to cool down’. Domestic violence isn’t taken as seriously as an actual crime here. We need to see tougher, swifter sanctions against the perpetrators of domestic violence and more supports for the women and children affected by it.”
6 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
God in the dock - is
there a place for Christian faith in public life? C.S. Lewis Lecture 2011
James Joyce described Ireland as the place “where Christ and Caesar go hand in glove.” But as Bob Dylan wrote and Enda Kenny has recently demonstrated, “the times they are a changin’”. What role does the Christian faith now have in Irish public life? Is faith merely a personal and private matter with no place in the public arena? What should be the relationship between church and state? Speaking at the 2011 CS Lewis Lecture, guest lecturer Professor NT Wright (described by Time Magazine as “one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought”) will explore these key issues. Irishman, C. S. Lewis became one of the Twentieth Century's bestknown writers on faith and social issues. Lewis believed Christianity should be a constant challenge to any society's easy answers and unquestioned assumptions. This annual lecture seeks to honour his memory by continuing the process of asking hard questions on major issues. Professor Wright is an author and theologian who has served as a Lecturer at Oxford University as an Anglican Bishop of Durham and is now a Research Professor at St Andrews University in Scotland. Amazon currently lists 86 of his titles in paperback and 30 in hardback. The lecture will take place at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8 on Friday 21 October (6.30pm for refreshments and 7.15pm for the lecture). Organiser Mervyn Nutley explained, “The CS Lewis lecture is designed for people of influence within our society– people from the worlds of business, politics, media, arts, academia or other sections of society. Our hope is that Christians will invite and host their friends at the lecture opening dialogue on the relevance of Christianity within our society and the opportunity for honest discussion of misunderstandings or reservations about faith in public life.” The cost is €25 per person with the aim that hosts will invite and pay for their guests. For further information and to book tickets please see www. cslewislecture.ie The C.S. Lewis Lecture is sponsored by Evangelical Alliance Ireland.
Record numbers of children in care
According to new HSE figures, there are now record numbers of children in care in Ireland. The figure increased by 385 during the first half of 2011, three times the number admitted to care last year. The majority (5,548) are in foster care, while 465 are in residential care, with the remaining 162 in other care placements. Jennifer Gargan, director of Epic, a group advocating for young people in care, commented, “We know that a stable care placement produces the best outcomes, so young people in foster care tend to have better experiences.” For young people in residential care or multiple care placements the outcome is worse. “The damage that disruption and multiple placements can have on the lives of young people, coupled with inappropriate support from social workers, is heartbreaking.”
Columnist admits media bias
One of Ireland's most influential journalists has admitted the Irish media has a hostile attitude and is “snobbish and dismissive” towards religion. In an interview with the Irish Catholic, Fintan O'Toole, assistant editor for the Irish Times, accepted that people were “quite right to be upset and critical of the attitude”. He said there was a “dumbing down” of issues concerning values and morality and he called for “a healthy public arena in which the discussion of ideas in general is respectable”. vox ad w-bleed.indd 1
Living Faith 2012 – 7 January, Dublin and 14 January, Cork
"Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." (Proverbs 30:8) Is money the root of all evil? Ireland has been through an economic rollercoaster over the past 30 years, from poverty to wealth and back again, and we have been left disillusioned and divided. As Irish Christians, we need to ask whether we were complicit. Were our attitudes and behaviour any different from those of our neighbours? And what should be our response to the recession? Dr. Craig Blomberg and Irish speakers look at what the Bible says and discuss how we can practically address these issues in our lives. More details and booking at www.tearfund.ie/events or call 01 878 3200. VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 7
YOUR VOX letters to the editor
VOX FAITH LIFE REALITY
Issue 11 July - September 2011
Meet the “punching pastor”
ARE wE gETTIng
Communication in a digital culture
RAcIsm and the church in Ireland
Inspired! Reading the inspiring story of Dr. Barry Funnel and his wife in the summer edition of VOX brought home to me the immense contribution made by believers with disabilities in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in enriching the church. There is great benefit to be gained by caring and sharing the stories, aspirations and challenges of disabled believers. The European Disability Network (EDN) is interested in networking with us in Ireland. So if you are a believer with a disability, please contact me; let us enrich the church in Ireland and Europe, by networking with EDN. Contact - Joan. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01 4549237 (leave a message). Joan Bradley Dublin Ed: Thanks Joan! We’d love to share more of these stories in VOX - write to me at email@example.com! VOX | July - Sep 2011 | 1
Aliens and Strangers Your articles Racism and the church by Nick Park and Remembering to forget by Sean Mullan (VOX magazine: Jul - Sept 2011) are subjects with new challenges to each generation. I grew up in Northern Ireland and after living there for 22 years, I moved to the Republic of Ireland where I lived for 23 years. I realise that for Christians meeting me at that time, I was probably painfully “northern” in my culture but I also feel that sometimes there was resistance to what I said or suggested often because my accent made the hair on certain necks stand on end!! This was ultimately to my benefit as I had to learn to examine myelf to be sure that what I was suggesting was biblical and not just “cultural”. There are many levels of frustration in society today as Ireland faces the influx of other cultures. That frustration has the potential to spill over into the church but in our churches there should be grace and acceptance. In our relationships there should not be even a hint of “they are
African” or “they are Polish” but rather they are “in Christ” ...(or hopefully will be soon!). In our worship and how we practically organise our churches, we can learn from other cultures and incorporate some of these differences. Sometimes what we think is scriptural, on closer examination is actually personal preference or tradition or even fear of being outside of our comfort zone. The challenge is whether we are willing to honestly let God reveal those subtle prejudices which may be lurking in our hearts and bring them to the cross so that love will be the mark of the church. 1 Peter 2:11, Peter calls us all aliens and strangers (NIV ) (strangers and pilgrims KJV) and in this we are all the same. Whether Irish or East European, we are all aliens and strangers no matter what country we live in. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Gal.3:28 Rita Holmes The Netherlands
Star Letter! In each issue of VOX we award a prize of a €25 One4all voucher for our favourite letter. It could be you!
Whatever you do… In Issue 9 of VOX a letter was published entitled 'Not as good as before'. In it, James Hardy said, "The stranger in a strange land has to make the first moves in understanding". He also mentioned that he lived outside Ireland for years. I was wondering where he lived outside Ireland. Was he an obvious ethnic minority or could he walk along any given street and be mistaken for one of that country's indigenous people? Was he treated with suspicion, mistrust or stereotyped? Did people cross the road so as not to pass him on the same side of the street? Did they make racist comments then claim it was meant as a compliment (and I'm not just talking about politicians!)? Do I sound bitter? Not any more. I have learned and am still learning that "Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me." Jelvon Doran Send your letters for Your VOX to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s all ελληνικά to me :: Lessons from a Greek Teacher Some of our key theological words in English were formed under the influence of Latin during the years when it was dominant in Bible translation. And so we have ended up with justification, sanctification, glorification, and of course salvation, all ending with the Latin suffix –ation. While these words are useful as a sort of theological shorthand they do, sometimes, distort the original Greek of the New Testament. The Latin usually conveys a more static fixed idea than the more fluid sense of the Greek. Texts with the word ‘sanctification,’ for example, come across as implying a settled state, and this can give rise to a complacency in our conduct, even tending to perfectionism . . . “I’m sanctified; I’ve arrived at my destination". But ‘to sanctify’ is more accurately an initial move than a completion; it means ‘to set apart for a purpose’. 8 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
So when I keep apart a paint brush to have it clean for varnishing, you could, at a stretch, say I have sanctified it. This is why at John 10 : 36 we can read that Jesus was sanctified . . . not that He needed moral improvement . . . but that God had a special purpose for Him. In the light of this you may like to look at 2 Thessalonians 2 : 23 - “God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit . . ." (NIV) and think about the purpose for which you are set apart. Warren Nelson, originally from Drogheda, Co. Louth, taught at the Irish Bible School in Co. Tipperary. He now enjoys active retirement and DIY near Tullamore.
VOX:WORLD NEWS Around 2.2 billion people (one-third of the world’s population) are living with increased government restrictions or social hostilities towards religion, according to research by the Pew Forum on religion and public life. The survey found that Europe had the largest proportion of countries in which social hostilities related to religion were on the rise. And while the vast majority of countries – 117 – had low levels of government restriction, more than half of the world’s population (59 per cent) was living with high or very high government restrictions. This is because many of the more restrictive countries (including China and India) are very populous. Overall, the report found that 14 countries had a substantial increase in government restrictions on religion, while eight had a substantial decline. The number of countries in which governments used some measure of force against religious groups or individuals rose from 91 (46%) between 2007 and 2008 to 101 (51%) by mid 2009. This violence was wide-ranging, including individuals being killed, physically abused, imprisoned, detained or displaced from their homes, as well as damage to or destruction of personal or religious properties. In nearly threequarters of all countries, private citizens or groups committed crimes, malicious acts or violence motivated by religious hatred or bias.
Odds and ends… A church in Texas has launched the ultimate in consumer church - a Sunday drive through. People can attend the service without even getting out of their cars! A 50-foot-high statue of Jesus is being rebuilt outside a megachurch in southwest Ohio, USA to replace the iconic sculpture that burned down after being struck by lightning last year. The Australian government has decided to remove the Christian calendar from school textbooks replacing BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) with BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era).
Religious freedom in decline
Tightening grip of African famine
The headlines have disappeared. Anyone would imagine the problem was solved. But Africa’s worst drought in 60 years continues to take a grim toll. And, as usual, it is the poorest of the poor who are paying the ultimate price. The harsh realities of famine in East Africa comes at a time when the average Irish family is throwing away €1,000 worth of food every year (see page 6). A cruel combination of a poor harvest, worsened by crop pests and disease, with skyrocketing global food prices, means that food is now a luxury for ordinary people in East Africa. Estimates say up to 13 million people are affected! “Famine has been declared in five regions of Somalia. This means that over 30% of children are acutely
malnourished,” reports World Vision Ireland. People are dying every day because of food shortages. “Ethiopia has at least 4.6 million people in need of food aid, with high levels of acute malnutrition in southern regions,” adds Tearfund Ireland. “In Kenya, 3.2 million people in the country’s north are suffering severe food shortages.” As just two of many aid agencies responding to the crisis, World Vision and Tearfund are providing clean water, food, shelter and hygiene kits for thousands of families. Donate now at www.tearfund.ie or www.worldvision.ie
UK to introduce tighter Internet controls
Internet providers in the UK will be forced to automatically offer new customers the option of blocking pornographic and violent material, according to a prominent politician. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is lining up a clampdown to protect children by obliging internet service providers to ensure that all customers have an ‘active choice’ about using parental controls. A recent survey found the number of parents using filtering software had dropped from about 50% to 40%. It is believed that controls need to be better signposted, as some parents are not aware of them. Research suggests as many as one in three under-tens has seen pornography on the web, while four in every five children aged 14 to 16 admit to regularly accessing explicit photographs and footage on their home computers. VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 9
of the people we help are in debt through no fault of their own.
I would love to see CAP opening in the Republic of Ireland.
10 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
In the economic climate of Ireland and Northern Ireland in 2011, unmanageable levels of debt are literally destroying people’s lives. Depression, mental illness, anxiety and suicidal tendencies are caused by loss of employment, long-term illness, bereavement and other factors that mean debt repayments cannot be maintained. Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK debt counselling charity working through a network of centres based in local churches. Its ‘hands on’ approach empowers people to help themselves out of poverty and be released from the fear, oppression and worry generated by overwhelming debts. The service teaches clients vital budgeting skills that last a lifetime. The first centre in Northern Ireland was in East Belfast, which opened in January 2009. The centre is based at Glenmachan Church of God and all involved are unpaid volunteers. “Literally we have seen God transform lives and make a massive impact in seemingly helpless situations,” said centre manager Jim Flemming. “From our experience, 90% of the people we help are people who are in debt through no fault of their own because of their circumstances whether through unemployment, bereavement or serious illness. As Christians we need to have compassion on them. Credit has been so freely available for decades - it is a massive tool that the devil uses to destroy lives.” Since opening, the team has helped 140 families and individuals to get on the road to recovery. Several clients are now debt free and some have come to know God in a personal relationship. There are now seven other centres in Northern Ireland operating in Belfast, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Bangor, Dungannon and Lurgan, with another three in Derry, Newtownards and South Belfast to open in autumn 2011.
Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy.”
“I would love to see CAP opening in the Republic of Ireland,” Jim told VOX.“I firmly believe it could happen if enough like-minded individuals and churches expressed their interest in helping people in their communities.” She couldn't take any more Plagued with depression and mental illness, Orla* spent money in a vain effort to feel better. She began spending more than she was earning and soon her debts mounted to £10,000. Threatening letters arrived and the credit card companies telephoned demanding re-payment. The stress was pushing Orla over the edge - she could not take any more and felt like life was no longer worth living. Ordering a takeaway meal, Orla stumbled on a Christians Against Poverty leaflet in her local Chinese restaurant. Out of desperation she telephoned the helpline. A debt counsellor from CAP Northern Ireland visited. She helped Orla to look at her finances and to prepare a realistic budget. It meant following strict rules
Image: Luis Faustino (www.luis-faustino.com)
It took two years but by summer 2011, she was debt free.
but with help and support from CAP, Orla's situation started to change. It took two years, but by summer 2011, she was debt free. Orla began attending a local church and eventually chose to follow Jesus. From being someone who had no control over her finances and was terrified of managing money, Orla now has complete control. She is even giving back - helping other CAP clients by sharing her own experiences. A downward spiral of misery Five years ago, Amy* was diagnosed with MS. Her husband, John*, was a company director and a workaholic. He worked long hours and travelled away from home for days on end, unable to face the reality of his wife’s illness. With a good income coming in, the family never worried about money. They had debts of £25,000 but never gave their repayments a second thought… until John was made redundant. Suddenly he was at home, caught in a downward spiral of debt and a rapidly
deteriorating marriage relationship. The family’s home help had recommended CAP but John refused to even consider seeking advice from a Christian organisation. Eventually, when Amy discovered she could not even buy food for the family because her cards were refused, she decided enough was enough. CAP Northern Ireland worker Jim Flemming took John to the supermarket to buy food and arranged for a debt counsellor to visit the family. With a careful budget, they slowly began to get their finances under control. After a while, Jim invited them to a special service for the opening of a new CAP centre in Belfast. Within two weeks the whole family had become Christians. Today, Amy and John’s situation has been completely turned around. Six months ago, John found a new job. They are still working to pay off their debts but the end is in sight. Now the family had a whole new hope for the future. *names changed
HOW IT WORKS
1. CAPs debt counsellors investigate the income, expenses and debts.
2. CAP prepares a strict budget, with the aim to get the family debt free in less than five years.
3. CAP helps to administer repayments and arranges a small amount of savings for upcoming expenses such as car tax and insurance.
4. Counsellors provide on- going care and support to the families or individuals.
For anyone living in the North who is in need or who knows someone who is battling the problem of debt call CAPs free helpline number 0800 328 0006 (NI only. If you would be interested in being part of a similar project in the Republic of Ireland, contact Jim Flemming at email@example.com
VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 11
By Deirdre Taylor Winner of the VOX magazine “My Story” Writing Competition 2011
12 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
"I literally felt held together by my Father’s love as He daily carried me."
became more meaningful in my life after it all started to crash around me! September 12th is a significant date, not for the fact that it’s my birthday but rather because it was the day my husband and I separated after 15 years of marriage, a marriage I had thought was mostly wonderful. That was the evening I told my four girls who ranged in age from 8 to 14 years old. That was the night one of them begged me to tell her that it was only for a few days and then we would all live happily ever after again. Instead I pulled her tightly against me, she sobbed quietly as we stood on the corner of our estate in the pouring rain. When I heard the milkman deliver I knew I should try sleep. With the milk came the first light; it shone through my bedroom curtains and rested on our large wedding photo, the happy smiling faces seemed to mock me. I ached for the loss of a man I had loved so dearly. Then suddenly and voraciously they came, large uncontrollable sobs from deep within. I was shaking, I was sinking, sinking into the abyss, a place no one could come with me. I awoke surprisingly calm after such little and troubled sleep. I woke to my Father’s voice telling me, “Don’t fret for your girls. Leave their hearts in my hands. I will never leave them.” During the weeks that followed, I knew I was in a supernatural place. I literally felt held together by my Father’s love as He daily carried me. Sometimes catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror I noticed that there was almost a glow about me, a reflection that was totally contradictory to my circumstances. I was in deep pain, my heart had a constant ache, and I feared it was possible to die of a broken heart. But in the mist of my heartache I knew who my God was; this knowledge did not change my circumstances but it certainly gave me a different perspective on them. For the first time in my Christian walk I began to understand how Paul and Silas could sing praises in prison. Psalm 27 became my lifeline: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart.”
Neighbours are embarrassed and don’t know what to say, so they say nothing. Separation is much like death: one mourns the loss of a loved one, yet the general reaction is very different. No one brings casseroles, cakes or sympathy cards. Neighbours are embarrassed and don’t know what to say, so they say nothing. The church has no idea what to do with you, so it does nothing. No one remembers the first anniversary! But God knows and in the loneliness and isolation, He is there - Father, friend, lover. Five years after my world came tumbling down, I was starting my dream job, had grown in confidence in every aspect of my life and, of course, my relationship with God was more meaningful than ever. He had become my all and I knew He had great plans for me. Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to give you hope and a future.” When I walk to work each morning I thank God for how He has so richly blessed me over the years. I thank Him for my four beautiful daughters who love life and Him with a passion and always I pray that He will send them each a fantastic man who will love them all the days of their lives and never ever betray them. But mostly I thank Him for His LOVE, a love that during my darkest days gave me a reason to live. A love that overcomes all, that instead of bitterness, allows forgiveness and a better tomorrow to prevail. A love that knows no boundaries and so I dare to dream daily...
VOX magazine “My Story” Writing Competition 2011 We had a fantastic response to our 2011 writing competition with 21 entries from Roscommon, Cork, Wicklow, Cavan, Dublin, Limerick, Leitrim, Fermanagh and Offaly. The judges had a tough time selecting from the moving and inspirational stories in two categories - “Real” - God became more meaningful in my life… and “Turning Point” - how and why I became a Christian.
The winning entrants were:
First - Deirdre Taylor, Dublin winning €250 Scripture Union voucher Second - Ken Baker, Roscommon winning €175 Scripture Union voucher Third - Michael Kenning, Cork winning €75 Scripture Union voucher Watch out for the second-prize winning entry now online at www.vox.ie
Derval Cromie, Christina Molloy and Anne Marie Maguire
Writers’ Workshop - all welcome Saturday, 12 November 10 am - 4 pm At Trinity Church, The Exchange, 50 Gardiner Street Lower, Dublin 1 Learn new skills and receive helpful feedback on your writing from VOX editor Ruth Garvey-Williams and writer / poet Louis Hemmings. A chance to develop your skills as a writer and find out opportunities to have your work published in VOX magazine or on the VOX website. Cost €20 (€15 for unemployed or other concessions). Special discount price of €10 for all participants of this year’s Writing Competition. To book your place, email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 01 443 4789 or write to VOX Writers’ Workshop, Solas Publishing, Ulysses House, 22-24 Foley St., Dublin 1. Places are limited and will be offered on a “first come, first served” basis.
Deirdre Taylor lives in Dundrum with 4 grown up daughters. She became a Christian about 25 years ago and attends Trinity Church in Dublin city centre.
VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 13
Come Back Soon!
My top five... Web highlights from VOX readers www.keepvid.com A great facility for downloading videos from YouTube and similar websites. You do still have to be aware of copyright issues but it's a great alternative to showing a clip 'live' when you cannot rely on your internet connection. Keepvid allows for downloading in various formats to suit your needs.
I had to say goodbye to my husband for a month recently. We haven't spent much time apart so the prospect of four whole weeks wasn't fun! In the days leading up to the goodbye I managed to hold it together but when we got to the barrier in the airport that only I could pass, I was not able to hold back the tears. We said our goodbyes and as soon as he was out of sight I let go and sobbed like a child. By the time it was my turn to send my bag through the scanner and walk through the security doorway thingy, I was a total mess. When I walked through a female security guard stopped me and asked if I was okay. Through the various liquids associated with sobbing, I managed to say that I was. “Are you sure?” she said, “Will I get you a chair so you can sit down for a minute?” “No,” I said, “I'm ok really. It's just that... I've just left my husband and...” that was as far as I got. I burst into another bout of 'extreme crying' (a much underrated sport in my opinion)! She stared at me and said, “You've just left your husband?? Oh my goodness! Let me get you a glass of water or something!” By now there was a queue behind me, a crowd around me and a conveyor belt of hand luggage going nowhere. I tried hard to explain that I hadn't actually LEFT my husband, I had just left him behind and REALLY was okay. The other security guards had heard enough and resumed looking sternly at people. Suitably mortified, I gathered my belongings and scuttled away praying that none of the people who had witnessed the incident were on my flight. By the time you read this we'll have been reunited but as I write I'm still missing him. I know that soon he'll be back but at the moment I'm longing for the day when we'll be reunited. But I'm not the only one longing for a reunion, am I? Saying goodbye to people is a sad inevitability of all our lives. Whether it’s goodbye at an airport or goodbye at a graveside – parting is hard. But a day is coming when there will be no more goodbyes, no more partings, no more tears. That is a promise from God – our happy inevitability. And as I wait to be reunited with my beloved, I’m also waiting to be united forever with my Beloved. I can’t wait! For both reunions J Annmarie Miles comes from Tallaght in Dublin and is married to Richard, from Wales. She works for Focus on the Family and loves to cook, sing, read, talk and eat! Follow Annmarie's blog at www.auntyamo.wordpress.com. Illustration: Joanne Fordham (www.illustration-fordham.de)
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www.fervr.net This is a great resource for issues relevant to young people. There are lots of helpful articles and a great selection of helpful videos.
www.misco.ie Brilliant for low-cost technology bits and pieces. Do check the postage, though. Adding more items can attract ridiculous postage charges. It's often better to make multiple orders to avoid paying extra. www.kwiksurveys.com A free survey site that allows you to research people's opinions on any topic. Unlike some online survey sites, Kwik Surveys collates your responses and presents them in spreadsheet format for easy download. www.biblegateway.com Lots of different Bible translations all in one place. Essential for Bible study, preparing talks and personal study! Unless you've studied Hebrew or New Testament Greek, having a number of translations helps you get a fuller understanding of what the Bible says.
Jonathan Shaw is responsible for the Youth Ministry in Grosvenor Road Baptist Church in Dublin. He’s passionate about teaching the Bible to teens and training others to do this well. Together with Ashling he has three kids.
Your Christmas Shoebox Gift can be so special for a child living without much HOPE. Read ‘Lindiwe’s story in this issue of VOX: A young girl in Swaziland who received a Team Hope Christmas Shoebox for the very first time!
Irish Charity CHY 14524
Watch our new video on our website or download and see for yourself what a difference your gift can make to someone living in incredible need.
Tel: 01 2940222
EVOLUTION IS NOT
OUR ENEMY By Dr Keith McCrory
EVOLUTION DOES NOT THREATEN THE AUTHORITY AND INFALLIBILITY OF SCRIPTURE Some say evolution contradicts the literal reading of the creation accounts or even threatens the credibility of the whole Bible. But are these fears warranted? The answer given by many well-known church leaders is a resounding ‘no’! Benjamin B Warfield was a respected Professor of Theology at Princeton Seminary (1887 - 1921) and an ardent advocate for the authority of the Bible: “… there is no necessary antagonism of Christianity to evolution, provided we do not hold to too extreme a form of evolution... if we condition the theory by allowing the constant oversight of God in the whole process, and his occasional supernatural interference for the production of new beginnings… we may hold to the modified theory of evolution and be Christians in the ordinary orthodox sense.” Perhaps the most famous Christian evangelist of the 20th Century, Rev Dr Billy Graham, said: “I don’t think there’s any conflict between Science and the Scriptures. I think we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we’ve tried to make [them] say things they weren’t meant to say... We have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book... The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course… I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process… does not change the fact that God did create man… whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God.”
is hard to find a more hotly disputed or highly emotive subject within the family of faith than the theory of evolution. It has been 150 years since the first publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (full title, 1859). Darwin’s theory has led to radical shifts in scientific understanding. It has also led to the rise of New Atheism and, sadly, to deeply divisive debates within the Christian church. If we are to be authentic, effective witnesses to the Gospel in our land, we must do How could the church that God brought honest business with this former Cambridge into being ever be threatened by a greater University theology student and with his once-speculative theory that has become the understanding of the world God made? predominant worldview of Western science and culture. Dr Alistair McGrath is a Professor of Theology, Ministry I would like to look at some of the key issues that emerge and Education at King's College, London. He holds a firstin this debate and explain why, for me, evolution is not our class honours degree in chemistry, a doctorate in molecular enemy. biophysics and a first-class honours degree in theology from Oxford University. EVOLUTION AND ATHEISM “Evolution is not, by definition, atheistic. Some Christians ARE NOT THE SAME THING will be uncomfortable with the idea of believing in evolution, particularly because it raises the question of how to interpret the Christians proclaim that our world did not appear by early chapters of Genesis. All I can say is, with complete integrity, accident. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the there are many Christians who see evolution as illuminating the earth” - Genesis 1:1. The origins of our universe, as well as its way in which we understand Genesis and as giving us an enhanced species, lie undeniably in the will and action of its Creator. vision of how God brought the world and humankind into being. This is the vital starting place in any Christian discussion of People can make evolution atheistic but it doesn't have to be.” creation. And despite New Atheism, the theory of evolution In an article entitled ‘Augustine’s Origin of Species’ in no way threatens this. (Christianity Today, May 2009) Alistair McGrath outlined Whether God brought our world to its fully formed state the thinking of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430AD). Here is in a short period or whether he did so over millions of years a short extract: changes nothing about his position as Creator or the ongoing “For [Augustine], God brought everything into existence miraculous nature of his work. Richard Dawkins and his like in a single moment of creation. Yet the created order is not might wish to argue that evolution disproves God’s existence static. God endowed it with the capacity to develop… He has but their argument is utterly illogical. no time for any notion of random or arbitrary changes within The theory of evolution speaks only to the ‘how’ and ‘what’ creation. The development of God’s creation is always subject of our world and has nothing to say to the more significant to God’s sovereign providence. questions of ‘why?’ and ‘who?’ Atheism may say that there is “Thus God created the world in an instant but continues no ‘who’ to discover but the theory of evolution itself does to develop and mould it, even to the present day. This leads not. Augustine to suggest that the six days of creation are not 16 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
to be understood chronologically. These and other biblical passages, he insisted, can legitimately be understood in different ways. In Augustine’s own words: “In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines our position, we fall with it.” Augustine’s reading of scripture remains remarkably insightful. For him, a ‘literal’ reading of Genesis does not require creation to have occurred in six 24-hour days. Neither does it require a rejection of discoveries that appear in contradiction to this view. And if that was so in the fifth century, why should it be any different today? Some of us may need to adjust our theological thinking in the light of what we now know. But changing our thinking about these chapters or believing the whole of Scripture loses credibility and authority are two very different things. The Bible’s infallibility is in no way tied to our fallibility!
FAITH AND SCIENCE I'm concerned that in ‘defending’ the Gospel from evolution’s perceived attack the Christian church is being positioned at odds with the learning of science. In the Middle Ages, theology was known as ‘the queen of the sciences’. These days increasingly Christians are thought of as anti-science. Surely this is the ultimate incongruity! How could the church that God brought into being ever be threatened by a greater understanding of the world God made? Wouldn’t every new discovery simply affirm and explore the wonder of our heavenly Father’s work? Instead, many who declare creation to be God’s handiwork see science as our enemy. We must not yield to such persuasion. Abraham Kyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: mine!” As followers of Christ we must affirm this and include the field of science within that domain. Of course, we will draw different conclusions from the insights of science to those who are atheists but that is a far cry from rejecting those insights altogether. Scientific discovery may challenge our man-made interpretations of scripture but it never challenges the Gospel. The sad mistake of Darwin, and of the church, is to confuse our interpretations of the scriptures with the scriptures themselves. They are not the same. Darwin was no more the ‘Devil’s chaplain’ than any other scientist who has discovered a new insight into the workings of God’s creation. When we uncover new aspects of what God has done, we are discovering the incredible patterns and sheer brilliance of His thoughts. This unfurling of our world’s nature - whether the Sun’s centrality in our universe, the expanses of space, the nature of DNA or even God’s method of creating new species - is a welcome gift.
THE DANGERS OF EITHER/OR APOLOGETICS My real concern about the debate over evolution lies in what is being argued within the Christian church from
those who hold the positions of Young Earth creationism. These people are my brothers and sisters in Christ. But with respect, I must express my twofold concern. I am troubled by the increasinglystated position of some that any who disagree with their views cannot be regarded as Bible-believing Christians or even as true followers of Jesus. They appear to stake the whole credibility of the Bible and of our faith on the ‘rightness’ of their particular interpretation of creation. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, argues, “You cannot coherently affirm the Christian-truth claim and the dominant model of evolutionary theory at the same time.” Wayne Grudem, Research Professor in Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary says: “Christians cannot accept modern evolutionary theory without also compromising essential teachings of the Bible.”
Darwin’s theory changes nothing about the Gospel’s good news for our species. More popularly, I have heard some say: ‘If I have to choose between believing the Bible about creation or believing the scientists, I am going to believe the Bible!’ For me, such arguments are bewildering. They change the whole foundation of our faith from the cross and resurrection of Jesus to these things PLUS a literal six-day creationism. I can see the day coming when someone will say, “I had to choose between believing the Bible or believing the scientists, so I had to believe the scientists!” How could such a choice ever be necessary? I am concerned that these non-evolutionary positions hold far more danger for our future mission than Darwin’s theory ever will.
NO THREAT As evolution becomes widely accepted, there are implications for our peripheral thinking and teachings as Christians. But it alters absolutely nothing of the core message we proclaim as followers of Christ. Whichever astonishing miracle God used to bring our race into being, our rebellion cut us off from Him, and only through a Saviour who paid the price for our sins on the cross can we be reconciled to Him. The Bible’s sole purpose is to reveal this truth. It is on this alone that the credibility of the Christian faith is based. Darwin’s theory changes nothing about the Gospel’s good news for our species. This is why, for me, the theory of evolution holds no threat to the future mission of the church and is not our enemy as followers of Jesus Christ. Rev. Dr. Keith McCrory is pastor of Maynooth Community Church. He studied Computing & Electronics at Durham University before entering the Presbyterian ministry. He completed his doctorate in church planting at Fuller Theological Seminary in California.
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Marriage - To be or not to be?
The complex dynamics involved in the fusion and divorce of two individuals joined in marriage was painfully displayed in a movie I saw recently. The 2011 Golden Bear Winner at the Berlin Film Festival, ‘A Separation,’ directed by Asghar Farhadi’s, compellingly portrays the tragic pressures faced by a Muslim couple in Iran, which culminated in the dissolving of their relationship. The movie spurred me to write about marriage in Ireland. “A Separation” painfully exposes the personal pressures of a husband and wife trying to navigate through marriage with their own issues and priorities. While in Ireland we do not live under an Islamic theocracy, our relationships here bear the weight of more subtle challenges. As a nation we carry many scars. The tip of the iceberg is on view daily in our newspapers: clerical sexual abuse, the increase in the number of families dealing with suicide, unemployment and monetary pressures in a country now bankrupt. Collectively and individually, this ‘Land of Saints and Scholars’ is bruised. Each of these issues deserves our full attention but it’s their affect on marriage that prompts me. Behind the headlines are individuals, members of our community, who are now survivors, scar bearers, loss carriers; each impacted by the effects of personal sin or that of others. All now bear a weight of sorrow. These issues have played havoc on our relationships. As a counsellor I have worked with individuals impacted by some of these areas. Nor do I remain unscathed. Despite voting ‘no’ in the 1995 referendum, I find myself divorced 10 years. Like many, I know the pain involved in the separating of ‘what God has joined together.’ The most accurate illustration was once compared to the tearing apart of corrugated paper. Lives molded together, interwoven history over many years, cannot easily be separated. We invariable leave behind pieces of ourselves on each other. As my fellow sojourners will concur, I now fully appreciate why God hates divorce. He wanted Eden, but we thought it lay somewhere else. The problem is that we still do. The grass always looks greener, seductively easier somewhere else. It still feels difficult at times being a divorcee in Ireland. As portrayed in ‘A Separation’, the decisions that bring about the
ending of a marriage are tremendously complex. But what I can tell you without any hesitation is that it leaves a scar. Couples divorce for many reasons, but a common denominator is that most seek out professional or spiritual help only when a crisis hits. Often at this stage, too much pain and damage has been felt and recovery is difficult. In Ireland, while we NCT our cars yearly, relationships, intended to last a lifetime, are only attended to when our pain becomes unbearable. We are distracted by many things. Child rearing, work, money, (fill in the blank,) all vie for priority and take precedence over maintaining intimacy with the person intended to weather life’s storm, until death us do part. This Christian path is a not an easy one. I’m not sure we knew it was going to be this arduous. We are pressed on every side. Our relationships in these times are under severe pressure from both internal and external demands. But we are not without hope! God is able to make all things new, even our feeble efforts at loving badly. When even this fails, He can still give us beauty for ashes. In the darkness sometimes all we can do is to persist in walking in the ‘right’ direction until you know which path to take. God may not show up in the way we expect. Marriage, the ‘one making’ of two individuals, was God’s idea in the first place, and because of this we should not give up!
Most seek out professional or spiritual help only when a crisis hits.
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Raised in Dublin, Christine Mulligan has attended Trinity Church for the past 18 years. She is a qualified counsellor and is currently employed with Tearfund Ireland.
Where to find help: www.accord.ie - Accord Marriage Counselling www.iacc.ie - The Irish Association of Christian Counsellors www.nationalmarriageweek.ie - a range of links to organisations and helpful websites www.family.ie - weekly marriage tips, articles and resources Images: Elizabeth Ryman (www.elizabethryman.co.uk)
WILLOW CREEK ASSOCIATION PRESENTS...
STIRRING UP, CHALLENGING AND UNITING GOD’S PEOPLE “Each year that I attend the Summit, I go thinking that surely there is nothing more that I can learn, surely there is nothing new that will really challenge my leadership thinking and practice. And every year I am wrong! If you are serious about leadership, I just can’t imagine why you would allow yourself to miss attending the GLS. For me, it is absolutely compulsory!” Edward Vaughan, Crinken Church of Ireland, Dublin - GLS 2010 “I attended the Global Leadership Summit first time this year and I was truly amazed. I came out enriched on both spiritual and professional level. I will definitely attend the next year conference. I think that every single leader from either church or business world would truly benefit from it.” Dorota Medycka, Every Nation, Dublin - GLS 2010
THE GLOBAL LEADERSHIP SUMMIT VIDEOCAST EVENT with Bill Hybels & Guests
NOVEMBER 9-10 THE HELIX, DUBLIN Book early for special rates. More info: www.willowcreekglobalsummit.com | t: 01 287 6154 m: 086 256 5831 VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 19
VOX:SPORTSSupporting Ireland’s Heroes World Special Olympics Games, Athens, 2011
It’s nearly nine years now since I started out as a coach in football then made my way up to the World Games held here in 2003 in lreland. The week before Christmas, I received a letter from Special Olympics Ireland to confirm that I had been selected as one of the volunteers to travel to Athens in June 2011 for World Special Olympics. There were over 190 volunteers from Ireland working with the Greek Games Organising Committee. Each volunteer travelling had to raise €3,250 for the trip and these funds helped to offset the costs associated with sending Team Ireland to Greece. A total of 126 Special Olympics Athletes competed for Ireland at the Games. “Let me win, but The big month came in June. Flying out from Dublin’s Terminal 2, there were green tops everywhere. I was so if I cannot win, let excited and nervous going to Athens. On the way we were me be brave in the singing “Ole, Ole!”on the Aer Lingus plane. On June 25, the Athens Special Olympics opening attempt." Special ceremony was an impressive and heart-warming event that Olympics Athlete ended with a spectacular array of fireworks. The highlight of the Opening was a moving performance by pop legend Stevie Wonder. Oath Special Olympics offers over 30 individual and team sports that provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. In a string of venues across Athens, 7,500 Special Olympics athletes from over 183 countries took part in the event. My role was helping out in aquatics. That was all new to me. My work was exciting and fun, learning from the athletes. They told me everywhere they went all the lrish fans were singing and cheering them on. Words can’t tell how much I learned in Athens - meeting new people from all over the world and making new friends. Team Ireland gave an outstanding performance, recording a number of personal best records and winning a total of 107 medals and dozens of place ribbons in: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Football, Gymnastics, Kayaking and Table Tennis. I want to encourage anyone reading my story to get involed in their Special Olympics clubs in towns, local communities and clubs all over Ireland. Find out more at www.specialolympics.ie
Family Focus More than a feeling? Chemistry Doesn't Always Mean Destiny! Is it love or just infatuation? How can romantic feelings be wrong when they feel so right?
Speaking the right language
Emotions: Can You Trust Them? explains the differences between love that lasts and mere feelings. Published in 2003, there are over 700,000 copies of this book by Dr. James Dobson in print. It is the best-selling guide to understanding and managing your feelings of anger, guilt, self-awareness and love. Emotions are variable and are only part of the story of our lives. They can be unstable and unreliable. However, if we have a welldeveloped understanding of our emotions and how they affect our lives, it will help us make better decisions. It will help us to live a more stable, meaningful and purposeful life. 20 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
Having a proper balance in our mental health is essential. If we do, we are going to have a healthier emotional life and journey. The sound teaching of this book will help dispel the myths surrounding the way we think about our emotions and will separate distorted thinking from the real thing - for instance, distinguishing between infatuation and true love. Learn how to interpret and understand a broad range of emotions and separate fantasy from reality. The body, mind and soul are all interconnected and very close neighbours, and therefore affect each other. If we are going to live a life which is sensible, if we want to be able to enjoy the highs and cope well with the lows, then we need to be aware of the impact that emotions can have. Dr. Dobson helps us to carefully weigh up our emotions and the effects they have on our lives. Don't be at the mercy of your emotions. This book can help you learn to make wise choices based on the Word of God. So… how are you feeling?
Images: Sportsfile / Danny O Donnel
Volunteer coach Danny O Donnell travelled to Athens for the World Special Olympics 2011. He told VOX about his experience.
Image: Luis Faustino (www.luis-faustino.com)
? G N I P P I SL
We do not need to go back to an unattractive Victorian morality, but we do need to return to those Scriptures that call for holiness.
Join The Conversation: Tell us what you think? Are we neglecting the call for holiness? And how is holiness measured? Have we become “conformed” to the image of this world? Share you views in The Conversation at www.vox.ie or write to email@example.com
couple of generations ago, believers were recognised by certain marks of conduct, mostly negative. We didn’t drink (not even sherry in a trifle), smoke, gamble, wear make-up or go to the theatre, and we only went to the cinema when there was a Billy Graham film on. We had our dress code (dowdy!) for church and didn’t read Sunday newspapers. Some of these things were cultural, some just from habit and some were already showing signs of fossilisation. But they did point to an important biblical truth: God is holy and we are to be holy also ( Leviticus 19 : 2, repeated in 1 Peter 1 : 16). Then, from the 1970s on, there were significant changes, inside and outside the believing community. There was the Charismatic Movement and even noncharismatics loosened up a bit. There was an influx of new believers who didn’t have some of our cultural baggage (for which God be praised). Then there was the Permissive Society, and some of that rubbed off on believers. The media espoused a liberal agenda and we were lectured about daring to say that anybody was wrong. The Electronic Age brought programmes and images into our homes that used to only exist in less frequented parts of cities. Sadly, believers became tarnished victims of all this,
relationships broke down, standards dropped, the old legalism with its problems, changed to license, and at times there is little to differentiate believers from the world around them. Another factor has come into play; we have seen an emphasis on a more outgoing pragmatic Christianity, and believers have taken up causes which they had previously neglected: poverty, racism, exploitation and other societal issues. This is a good move, to be fully endorsed by all. But a danger lurks in its undergrowth: it can make us forget the ‘and’ in James 1 : 27 - ‘Religion that is pure and undefiled before God... to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world’ We do need to be in the world, but not of the world. As the old illustration goes, ‘a ship should be in the water, but the water should not be in the ship’. So what are we to do? We do not need to go back to an unattractive Victorian morality, but we do need to return to those Scriptures that call for holiness. We need to apply them to our world today. Maybe some people won’t like it; maybe we’ll come in for criticism but that’s what it means to be the salt of the earth. Warren Nelson, originally from Drogheda, Co. Louth, taught at the Irish Bible School in Co. Tipperary. He now enjoys active retirement and DIY near Tullamore.
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Last Christmas, the Shiels family from Rathfarnham in Dubin filled their shoebox for Team Hope. Like the 180,000 other people who took part, they had no idea where their box would end up. The box travelled to Swaziland, one of southern Africa’s poorest countries with one of the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS. Life is hard, and as most people depend on subsistence farming for a living, the near-drought conditions combined with poor soil quality leave most people living in abject poverty. In the village of Lavumisa, Pastor Sabelo and his church received 300 Team Hope shoeboxes. He gave the Shiels family's box to 14-year-old Lindiwe. Her mum and dad died seven years ago from AIDS. Now, she lives with her gran in a hut made of sticks and reeds. They sleep on mats on the floor and there is no electricity or running water. Lindiwe’s day starts at 5am, when she gets up to help with the housework. When finished, she walks 2 km down the track to collect water from the river before walking 3 km to school. She learns more if her teacher has chalk or books, but she rarely has copy books herself and sometimes not even a pen or pencil. After walking home from school, she helps to prepare a meal – usually rice and beans. After dinner, Lindiwe washes the clothes, in a basin outside their front door. She has just one school uniform, and if it needs to be washed, she will do that after dinner, ready to wear the next day. When she has a copybook and a pen or pencil, she can do homework. She goes to bed as soon as it gets dark (because there is no electricity). Lindiwe was thrilled with her Team Hope shoebox. It was the only gift she had received all year. She tried on the hat and gloves. The felt tip pens and copybook mean she can do her homework. Lindiwe shared the lollipops with Gran.
It was the only gift she had received all year.
What the Shiels family did made a huge impact in Lindiwe’s life. This Christmas, join the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal and let God’s love make an impact on someone like Lindiwe! Call 01 294 0222 for more details or visit www.teamhope.ie to view or download their video.
Footprints Bookshop Bookshop & & Café CityGates Café Bachelor’s Quay, Cork phone: 021 4278369
All Your Christmas Needs in One Place Books DVD Fair Trade Music Gifts Gift Vouchers
Host your Christmas Party in our Function Room or We can Bring a Book/Craft Stall to your Christmas Event Contact us for more details. 22 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
Investing in leaders for Ireland’s future “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams (6th US president).
rish Christian and business leaders have hailed the annual Global Leadership Summit event in Dublin as “unmissable”. Leaders from all walks of life will gather at The Helix in Dublin in November (9 - 10) for the GLS. The inspirational Christian leadership conference hosted by Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago has made such an impact on Irish leaders that they were eager to share their experiences with VOX. “I have recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Irish Defence Forces,” explained Brendan Healy from Mullingar Christian Community Church. “I found the presentations [at the GLS] to be challenging, encouraging, inspiring and enlightening. [They] assisted me in my Christian and military leadership. “I highly recommend GLS to Christian and secular leaders who want to make a difference in 21st Century Ireland. An investment in your leadership development on November 9th and 10th will be one of the best leadership decisions you make this year.” During the two-day November summit in The Helix in DCU, delegates and leaders from all four corners of Ireland will hear videocast messages from leaders of churches, industry and the academic world, on topics ranging from motivating others, self-management, team building and managing volunteers to problem solving, decision making, casting vision and much more.
Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Church, international bestselling author and Squidoo founder Seth Godin, Harvard professor Len Schlesinger and innovator / filmmaker Erwin McManus are among the speakers taking part. The Global Leadership Summit began in 1995 and is linked by satellite to more than 185 locations across the USA. From September to December the conference is presented by videocast at a further 191 venues, including Dublin, and translated into 31 languages across the globe. Keith Marshall is in his final year of training for ministry in the Church of Ireland. He attended his first GLS in 2008 on the recommendation of a friend. He shared, “Each year I have been challenged, provoked, nourished and encouraged by the videocasts, the worship, the opportunity to interact with others and by the superb resourses available to purchase. “The intellectual integrity and quality of the videocast presentations is superb. Iron sharpens iron, and to be able to "rub off" the ideas and concepts presented is an oasis of intellectual and spiritual stimulation. “Anyone involved in leadership who recognises the need to be challenged and provoked in how they think, who realises the need to look at things in fresh ways and to be open to new ideas should not contemplate NOT attending.” Dorota Medycka came away from GLS feeling enriched both spiritually and professionally as a leader in secular business. “I would highly recommend the conference to anyone who works with groups of people or leading others,” she said. “In order to know how to manage other people and how to lead them, first we need to get to know ourselves and be able to manage our own life and develop our own character.” For more information, please contact Peter Mercier, Dublin coordinator on 086 256 5831. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
BREAKING NEWS…. Irish Film Premier at GLS Dublin
GLS Dublin will feature the Irish premier of 58, a powerful new film exploring the role of the church in eradicating global poverty. 58: THE FILM is the inspiring true story of the global church in action. In a journey from the slums of Kenya to the streets of New York, the film confronts the brutality of extreme poverty and meets those who live out the True Fast of Isaiah 58 creating stunning new possibilities for the future. 58: invites audiences to discover the incredible work of God through His people in our hurting world. Meet ordinary people, hear their stories, and see their struggles and their victories. 58 shows the relentlessly loving God at work through His church, bringing hope to the darkest challenges of our day. Woven with biblical truth, this film draws audiences into life-changing examples of Isaiah 58 in action. Find out more at www.live58.org
VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 23
Emotions Can you trust them?
Dr Dobson addresses 4 Key Emotions that affect our lives and the decisions we make – with his usual, down-to-earth practical advice. So whether it is romantic love, guilt, anger or ‘feelings’ – purchase Dr Dobson's best-selling book for practical help, or go to www.family.ie/radio for more great family radio options. Focus on the Family Ireland, Unit 11 The Plaza, Main Street, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 T: 01 806 6288 | E: email@example.com |W: www.family.ie
Mission Aviation Fellowship Find out more about how you can become part of our team Volunteer with us Work with us Pray with us MAF Ireland Dept AA1818 Po Box 4214 Freepost Dublin 2 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.maf-uk.org 24 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
VOX Talking Point: While many Christians will choose to steer clear of a film with an immoral relationship as the central theme, Friends with Benefits (like its predecessor No Strings Attached) raises serious questions for our society. In its first weekend in Ireland, the film grossed almost €200,000 and was quickly entrenched in the number one slot at the box office (by a significant margin). It would be easy to condemn or boycott the film without asking the tough questions. Friends with Benefits reveals something of the brokenness of human relationships that is epidemic both inside and outside the church. Already disillusioned with relationships, teenagers and 20-somethings in Ireland have an increasingly casual and self-centred approach to sex, mirrored in the film’s central theme. They are yearning for the ideal of connection, of a love-that-lasts-alifetime but with little expectation that it could ever be more than wishful thinking, especially for them. Christians appear to be fighting a losing battle in communicating a biblical view on sex, marriage and relationships. We’ve tended to focus only on the message of “don’t do it” at the expense of communicating the compelling hope and transcendent vision of God’s intention for us. How do we demonstrate not a reluctant, rigid morality but the vibrant, breath-taking potential of God-centred relationships? And in the mess and brokenness so evident in relationships, even within the church, how can we see God’s healing power at work? Tell us what you think: Join The Conversation at www.vox.ie or write to email@example.com with your views.
Friends with Benefits Starring Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Woody Harrelson Warning: Contains scenes of nudity and bad language Reviewed by Scott Evans, Kilkenny For those not familiar with the term, “Friends with Benefits” refers to an agreement between friends that they can have a sexual relationship without commitment or emotional attachment. As you can imagine, if one is easily offended or not interested in the debate over whether or not such a relationship can exist, trust me, this is not the film for you! For those who are interested, however, FWB is compelling, complex and heartwarming. Justin Timberlake has managed his transition into the world of film from music well. After cutting his teeth in Alpha Dog and showing serious chops in The Social Network, a starring role was only a matter of time, and this is a perfect fit for him. He plays an art director lured from LA to New York by a headhunter played by Mila Kunis. In the aftermath of failed relationships, Timberlake and Kunis are
exhausted with the toll they take but still want the physical benefits. So they strike a deal. No commitment. No emotions. Just sex. Or is it? The simple answer is "no". To consciously separate sex from intimacy means subconsciously denying the way we were wired and what our hearts tell us about our sexuality. FWB is refreshingly and surprisingly self-aware, poking fun at 'rom-coms' while not claiming to be something that it’s not. Timberlake and Kunis refuse to fall into the gender roles that the genre is known for: he admits to being ashamed of his ill father and she declines the role of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ waiting for her prince. With genuine belly-laughs, quick wit and compelling chemistry, Friends with Benefits delivers a rom-com as honest as its grainy montages of the lesser-seen parts of LA and New York without being shmaltzy or saccharine sweet.
9/23/2011 4:17:46 PM
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B HIGHER PHATFISH The latest collection from 6-piece UK Christian band Phatfish features songwriting from Nathan Fellingham (responsible for the global hit Holy, Holy, Lift Up His Name) and input from Mike Sandeman, Lou and Luke Fellingham and newcomers Jos Wintermeyer and Ben Hall. This is rock and pop territory but it pushes the boundaries of contemporary UK worship. There are tracks that could spin off tomorrow’s DJs through to a reworked hymn from the 18th century, a beautiful reflective track about marriage and a provocative comment on Creation vs Evolution. Higher is definitely NOT your standard worship album. Expect an uplifting, thought-provoking, impassioned collection of memorable songs where spiritual integrity and musical edge come across in equal measure.
PRECIOUS GRACE DAVE BILBOROUGH Most budding songwriters dream of their first composition becoming a global success. Usually it remains a dream:
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For Dave Bilbrough, Abba Father became a giant step into international music-writing recognition. With over three decades in full-time Christian ministry and numerous albums later, he is recognised as one of Britain's foremost worship leaders and songwriters. Dave's latest album release, Precious Grace, celebrates a vision of a benevolent God whose heart is continually turned toward humankind and explores the meaning and relevance of Christ's death and resurrection to our daily lives. Many of the songs have been intentionally written for congregational use in Christian gatherings both large and small across the world.
VOX:REVIEWS THE STORY VARIOUS ARTISTS Leading artists Nichole Nordeman, Amy Grant, Bart Millard, Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mark Hall and Megan Garrett have united to launch a new CD and DVD entitled (Music inspired by) The Story (released September 2011). Built on the foundation of Zondervan's best-selling Bible, The Story, Randy Frazee's book The Heart Of The Story, and Max Lucado's book God's Story Your Story, the new 2-CD set and DVD contains 18 new songs. Based on biblical characters and accounts it charts God's story from creation to the second coming. Songwriter Nichole Nordeman shared, "There's such a tendency to turn [Bible characters] into superheroes and have these big, takeaway, moral-of-thestory moments. For me, it was all about the humanity. These were broken people who were desperate and needed God. They were just like us." Musically, the album is diverse in style and song structure, covering pop, epic and cinematic moments complete with London Strings, stunning ballads, hip-hop, and even bluesy-rock.
Switchfoot to tour UK
Multi-platinum selling, Grammy-award winning band Switchfoot is to follow the release of their new album Vice Verses with a five-date UK tour in November. Vice Verses is a more eclectic collection than its predecessor with quiet gems like, Souvenirs and the title track butting up against the infectious The Original, reminiscent of Foo Fighters, and the biting, largely spoken-word Selling the News. The latter is a poetry-slam-style examination of a media-mad nation: “America listens the story is told/the hard sell, all caps, all bold…begging the question mongering fears/stroking the eye and tickling ears/the truth ain’t just what it appears/we’re selling the news.”
Tour dates: 07 Nov. 08 Nov. 09 Nov. 10 Nov. 11 Nov.
Manchester, Academy 2 (Uni) London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire Birmingham, HMV Institute Edinburgh, The Liquid Room Cambridge, The Junction
Contact www.gigantic.com/switchfoot for ticket information.
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s. Pre E F I stive hit L o p their f R o n O ctio F r renew le o e s in N g d e n O PASSI mporary Christian mlpussicpeaople takes steps atomb.. Go to spiritradio.ie
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Dublin 89.9 Galway 91.7 Limerick 89.8 Cork 90.9 Waterford 90.1 28 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
VOX : ADS&EVENTS Events Calendar What’s happening, where and when?
Inside Out Men's Conference Saturday, 15 October, 10 am Carlow www.insideoutconference.org CS Lewis Lecture Friday, 21 October, 6:30 pm The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin www.cslewislecture.ie
Your Move Saturday, 5 November, 7:30 pm Galway Christian Fellowship www.imap.ie Global Leadership Summit 9 - 10 November The Helix, Dublin www.willowcreekglobalsummit.com Building Blocks Children's Worker Conference Saturday, 12 November, Belfast Saturday, 19 November, Dublin www.buildingblocks.ie The Mandate Men's Conference Saturday, 12 November The Waterfront, Belfast www.themandate.net
Your Move Saturday, 3 December, 7:30 pm Limerick Baptist Church www.imap.ie
Living faith Saturday, 7 January, Dublin Saturday, 14 January, Cork www.tearfund.ie/events
Resourcing World Mission Together
IRISH MISSION AGENCIES PARTNERSHIP
'Your Move' Galway - Theme 'Arab Spring' Irish Mission Agencies Partnership are having the 'YOUR MOVE' annual missions event at Galway Christian Fellowship (East) New Life Centre, Monivea Road, Ballybrit, Galway. on the 5th November 2011 at 7.30pm. 'Your Move' Limerick - Theme 'Persecuted Church' Irish Mission Agencies Partnership are having the 'YOUR MOVE' annual missions event at Limerick Baptist Church, Caherdavin, Limerick. on the 3rd of December 2011 at 7.30pm.
More details of iMAP events are available on www.imap.ie
Building Blocks Training Conference for those who work with children in church contexts Keynote speaker: Nick Harding Belfast: 12th November £25 Dublin: 19th November €35 Seminar and booking details on www.buildingblocks.ie VOX | Oct - Dec 2011 | 29
Be very unafraid
When I was a kid, there was a programme on TV called “The Invaders”. The Invaders were beings from another planet who looked human and could neutralise people with a squeeze of the neck. The series ran for two years. For those two years, every time I went to get coal from our shed after dark I would wait for a hand to start squeezing my neck. Fear shaped those night-time journeys. These days, fear shapes a lot of what we do. We live in a fear-filled age. News bulletins announce fear. Markets deal in fear. Pharmaceutical companies peddle fear remedies. Politicians promote fear so they can save us from it. Fear has become our currency. Unlike the West’s other currencies, fear is getting stronger. In a different time during a different recession, a leader rallied his people with the words: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
greatest problem. He went on to lead the country through the depression and the Second World War, the longest-serving US President ever. Fear cowers us and shrinks us. It exaggerates problems and prevents us from seeing solutions. It divides people from one another, turning friends into adversaries. It produces poor decisions and bad actions. Those who live in fear have no energy, no inclination and no time to care about the big picture. Centuries before Roosevelt, another leader called his followers to live without fear. “Do not be afraid. Why were you afraid?” The phrases run like twin refrains through the Gospels. The old man Zechariah says Jesus’ mission will enable people to serve God “without fear.”
An invitation to fearless living
Fear was the greatest problem
It’s not that there was nothing to fear back then. Poverty, disease, crime and corruption were rife in the world Jesus and his followers inhabited. Death was an everyday reality. Yet in such unpredictable times, Jesus invited people to consider the possibility of fearless living. So here’s a suggestion – do a “fear analysis” of one day of your life. Take note of every time you act or speak out of fear. Take note of every ad, every headline, every conversation, every e-mail, every comment that encourages you to be afraid. Then imaginatively rewrite the script for that day with fear removed. And if it looks attractively different, then consider the offer of leadership into a life without fear. The offer from Jesus, I mean - not Roosevelt!
The leader was Franklin Roosevelt. The year was 1933 and the USA was in the middle of the worst recession of the 20th Century that became known as the Great Depression. As the newly-elected president, the first thing Roosevelt said in his inaugural address was, “We need to stop being afraid”. With unemployment at an all-time high, factories closing and poverty spreading, Roosevelt was convinced that fear was the
Fear cowers us and shrinks us. It exaggerates problem and prevents us from seeing solutions.
Sean Mullan has been working in church leadership for many years. He is developing a new project in Dublin City Centre called "Third Space".
BOOK TODAY www.insideoutco
InsideOut Men's Bible Conference Saturday, 15th October 2011 CBC Buildings, Carlow
Theme: Jesus a Man among Men Speaker: Desi Maxwell Tickets €25
Contact 059 9135819 / 086 1656504 | Email: email@example.com 30 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2011
Engage with a range of scholarship and
practioners on current issues of theology, ministry and culture your skills in a range of areas of study and ministry Personal based on your study and research
MA in in Applied Applied Theology MA Theology This MA MA programme programme has has been been designed designed for for students students who who want want to to reflect reflect This on on how how theology theology relates relates to to the the practice practice of of mission mission and and ministry ministry in the the context context of of 21st 21st century century Ireland. Ireland. in
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