Friday, December 16, 2005

Family Introduction and Social Injustice

In continuing my endeavour to give an appropriate context in which to assess me allow me to give you the basic statistics on my family. As you may have gathered elsewhere, I am a happily married man – she’s happy, I’m married. (Cue drum roll and cymbal crash and audience laughter.) But seriously, I am blessed to be married to the most beautiful woman in the world and as such it would be remiss of me to even consider posting a photo up on this here blog. You see, one of the things me and the wife share is a love of Columbo. One of the classic things about Columbo is that you never see his wife, and so in tribute to the great detective, you ain’t gonna see mine either … unless you’ve already seen her … in which case that’s your blessing, but I shall not divulge the nature of her physical beauty for such a wide audience to behold. Were it just the physical beauty that would be in itself of interest, but nay, my beloved should have a character and personality that far outshines her physical beauty. Ahhh she is such a wonderful woman that sometimes I shake my head and smile in gratitude at the goodness of the LORD.

Anyway, that be the wife, whose name is … the wife. We are also blessed to have a beautiful daughter who goes by the name Deborah. She will be a year old on 29th December, so please mark that in your calendars and remember we only need cash for her at this time as a birthday gift. Cheques should be made payable to Christopher Dryden and preferably have more than two digits to the left of the decimal point! Deborah is a delight and is my first child so I’ve had a really … interesting time getting to grips with the challenge of fatherhood. I’m in two minds as to whether to conduct a full analysis into the varying smells and sights of a baby’s faeces here on this blog, but as I’m aware of the delicate stomach that may be attached to the eyes of the reader I shall leave it for request only. Needless to mention, however, isn’t it fascinating? It is to me. Thankfully there’s so much more to Deborah than the solid output from her daily digestion and I’m sure you’ll find that out as time progresses.

The final part of the close family cast is Kevaughn who is the 12-year-old son of the wife. I am not his biological father, but while he remains with us I accept virtual parenting responsibility for him. He calls me Dad, I call him son, we get on alright. He’s a bright, enthusiastic, bubbly kind of boy – really intelligent and creative and a future chief executive of his own airline, so I’m playing my cards right now, so when I need a Business Class seat on a trip to New York, I know where to go! Who says being a parent doesn’t have its perks?

So that be the main cast, there are the rest of my family as well to introduce, but I’ll do that in another entry.

Now onto the main course of today’s entry. I love reading. More than almost anything else I can thing of, I enjoy reading. So I endeavour to have reading material with me wherever I go, even when I’m depositing waste in the biological method (go to the toilet for the less literate of us). Today whilst I made me usual 50-minute walk from the local town centre to the place of my abode I read something that struck me as good blog material. It’s from a book called Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas. At this point I hope the lawyers will allow me this direct quote without fear of litigation, indeed this could be seen as part of their marketing strategy to reach a huge audience … or not. Anyway the quote is as follows:

“What’s always bothered me about the fundamentalists is that they seem preoccupied with the most obvious sins. If those sins, sexual immorality and drug addiction, come out of unhappiness, then I’m sure God wants to set people free of that unhappiness. But I couldn’t figure out why the same people were never questioning the deeper, slyer problems of the human spirit like self-righteousness, judgementalism, institutional greed, corporate greed.”

This quote is part of the talk that Bono has on his first encounter with the televangelists of the U.S. It struck a chord with me on the real tragedy of Christianity today. By the way for those not in the know, Bono can be described broadly speaking as a Christian. I’ll leave it at that, as I don’t know that much more about the guy, but that I’m fairly convinced of. What really came across as so true in this quote was just how obsessed we as Christians can be over certain sins rather than others. Rather than spreading and preaching the liberty with which Christ can set us free, the view is easier seen of judgement being passed down on the ‘losers’ of this world. No compassion, rather condemnation. I know of which I talk as I am a member of church, I do consider myself to be a follower of Christ and I am more than aware of some of the areas in which the body to which I belong sometimes contradicts the heart of the Christ of whom we are meant to be followers.

It’s such a challenge. On the one hand there’s the legalist nature of Christians which is sometimes masked as observance of God’s commands. On the other hand there’s the licentious compromise of the values of God that is disguised as grace. The walk is so narrow … and yet that’s exactly Christ’s point. The way is meant to be narrow, it’s meant to be challenging. Following Christ is not there for us to be popular, but neither is it there for us to be irrelevant in the world we live in. As long as we don’t share the love and righteousness of God through Jesus Christ we fail to deliver the true gospel message.

What, however, particularly irks me concerning the contradiction is what Bono alludes to in terms of Christians being quick to condemn sexual sin and slow (if movement is made at all) to speak out against a world that legalises greed and covetousness through that great word CAPTIALISM. I mean look at that word – capitalism – capitalise, to take advantage of, to grow greater and better than others, the amassing of capital. It’s no coincidence that the poor in society are left behind because they’re not high up on the agenda when it comes to capitalism. Now before anyone accuses me of being a socialist or communist, or anarchist, or whatever I can state clearly now that this is not the case. I am in the process of writing something on political ideologies and a Christian alternative that I hope to complete at some point before I die, God willing. The point remains, however, that a just society must put as a priority looking out for the welfare of those who are the ‘least advantaged’ in society. Just as Christ came to save the lost and bring liberation to those captive, so a just society looks to bring liberty to those who are captive to economic situations. I’m not talking about encouraging people to scrounge off the state, but I am talking about encouraging people to know that they’re not on their own that they are part of a community and society that passionately cares about them fulfilling their own call for their own sense of worth and the improvement of the community.

That’s why I get so excited when I consider how our gifts can be used in society to radically bring change to the lives of people through the power and love of God. I get excited because it’s not just something that makes me feel good inside, but it’s something that gives me a passion to reach out to others. It’s something that makes me want to stand up for what’s right in God’s sight. It’s something that makes me more compassionate for those who are yet to realise who they really are.

I don’t apologise for going on like this. Hey, this is my blog, I am entitled to go on a bit within reason. Yet I understand only too well that this is where the problem is for so many believers. When we speak out for right in God’s sight, the first place that it must start with is ourselves or we bring disrepute on the very word we proclaim, and yet as believers we don’t have a choice. We have to live out all that we hear God say and see Christ do. For me it is such a struggle, especially as God reveals to me who I am, but it’s a worthwhile lifelong struggle to be able, through the grace and power of God, to stand up and make my life count for something bigger than me. That others can benefit from. That others can grow from. That others can be challenged and blessed by.

That’s me for the day. I was going to write about the Sabbath, but I’ll leave that for another entry, so you can look out for that. In the meantime, have a great weekend, if I don’t write to you before the end of that. Ah ha, that’s something I almost forgot. Beware the Jephthah Factor. I know that not everyone lives up to their word, but I’m endeavouring to be one of those people who do. The real gift is to know when to open your mouth to establish your word, when to keep your mouth shut, and what to say when you open your mouth, or else you may find yourself regretting having ever opened your mouth in the first place. If you don’t know what I mean, check Judges 11.

Right, that about does it for today. Until whenever, Shalom.

da man cd

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