Category Archives: Fun

Best Modern Christmas Carols

Every year I try and get more people interested in good, quality Christmas music (yes, it does exist in amongst the schlock that gets released every year).

This year, I think the best new Christian Christmas Carol, that’s just perfect for 2020, has been released by Sovereign Grace. It’s called “O Come, All You Unfaithful”.

For more of my suggestions for best modern Christmas carols, see my ever-updating blog entry on best Christmas music here.

What are your favourite modern carols?

Read the Bible, but don’t be political…

Later this year, I will be spending a few days with a group of Conservative Christians. It’s meant to be a social event, and the organisers have asked me not to be provocative. This is a group of people who largely think that “social justice Christian” is an insult, so it is going to be tough. I think there is a plan to do daily devotions, and I am starting to prepare something in case I am asked to lead one. But I am struggling to find something to share from the Bible which doesn’t get me in trouble for talking about politics and the state of the world.

Here’s a summary of the Bible you might not hear in your church, but you should:

Genesis: God gets mad over and over at humanity for being cruel to foreigners, for being uncaring to the poor, for war and for being nationalistic.

Exodus: God frees captives and guides refugees to new lands.

Leviticus: Jubilee is explained: redistribute all wealth every 49 years.

Numbers/Deuteronomy: Take care of widows and orphans, and don’t oppress foreigners.

Judges: Don’t get trapped in cycles of abuse and neglect.

Ruth: We discover that Jesus is descended from a poor immigrant who worked in the fields (and did sexual favours with Boaz to get his attention).

Continue reading Read the Bible, but don’t be political…

The Theology of Star Wars

It’s been a hectic year in my business so far in 2018, so apologies for the lack of contributions to this blog in the past few months. Hopefully I’ll be more regular here in the rest of the year.

But for now, here’s a fantastic resource from Think Christian. It’s a compilation of insights from some top theologians and commentators on pop culture, “A Theology of Star Wars”. A great resource for youth groups, home groups and anyone who understands the difference between Tatooine and Jakku.

Download a copy here. The Force is strong with this one, I promise.

Sermon: The story of Esther

The story of Esther, the poor orphan girl who rises to be Queen of the greatest Empire on earth, is one of my favourites. Many years ago I told it to a youth group at a camp, and since then the dramatisation of the story has been one of my favourite sermons to share. I got the chance to do so last year at our church, and I’ve finally had some time to edit the various video feeds into a single video.

So, here is the story of Esther, preached at my home church. Enjoy.

A Fan’s Best of Christmas Music Lists

I collect Christmas music. I have been doing so since I was a teenager, and it’s become something of an obsession. Before Apple Music and Spotify took everything online, I had collected over 500 physical Christmas albums. Now, of course, we can access all music all the time, so that little boast falls away.

Choosing the best of the albums and songs is not an easy task – and obviously highly subjective. In fact, it’s impossible. But I guess I am as qualified as anyone to do so. Here then are my “best of” lists of Christmas music (this is a work in progress – latest update 10 Dec 2020):

To get into these lists the songs and albums need something distinctive, they are musically excellent (even if I don’t particularly like the style), they must not be cheesy (so, no Boney M then), and they must capture the Christmas spirit (festive or reflective). I also favoured variety (so that my list of top albums didn’t dominate the individual songs list too much). The final criteria is that I included not just popular musicians, but Christian artists and worship albums as well – it is Christ-mas, after all.

These lists are going to be updated regularly, and change as I get suggestions and come across new songs and albums (and get slapped down for my initial choices). I’d love to hear your suggestions for these lists, and any songs or albums you think are better than the ones in my lists below.

Please remember that it’s actually impossible to create a “best of” list of Christmas songs. It’s actually better to be clear on what musical styles you prefer, and then get the best Christmas album in those styles. It’s also a good idea to select the best version of each Christmas song you like. That’s what I’ve done below, knowing full well there is not one chance that any list of “best Christmas songs” will ever be satisfactory. There are just too many musical genres competing for attention.

So, add your voice below.

Xmas Baubles
Continue reading A Fan’s Best of Christmas Music Lists

Just for fun (but also serious): 10 Things That Drive Us Crazy at Church… That Probably Shouldn’t

Here’s something your church should STOP talking about (because many churches and their leaders are exceedingly petty).

I found this on the website. It’s really very good. Read the original here, with all the attached multimedia and clips that add to the humour.

10. Loud Music
9. People Using iPads Instead of “Real” Bibles
8. Coffee in the Sanctuary
7. Youth Group Attire
6. Long Sermons
5. Church Parking Lots
4. Pastors Asking for Money
3. Women in Leadership
2. Overly Happy Greeters
1. The Much-Feared Meet-n-Greet


By their fruit you shall know them: Ken Ham, young earth creationism, aliens and compassion

Here’s something you won’t hear at your church this Sunday: God won’t save aliens. (Really? Why would you hear that? Well, according to Ken Ham and young earth creationists this is – ahem – Gospel truth.)

In Matthew 7, Jesus told his disciples that they were to beware of false prophets – people who would teach untruths and lead people astray. Jesus then gave a very simple test: no bad tree can produce good fruit, so just look for the “fruits” of their teaching. Elsewhere in Scripture, we are told what spiritual fruits are: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Where we see a breakdown or lack of love, joy, kindness, etc, we need to be alert to potential false teaching.

I was interested, in this context, to see Ken Ham’s latest pronouncements. Ken Ham is one of the world’s foremost young earth creationists, basing his pseudo-scientific views on a literal interpretation of the Bible’s accounts of creation. Young earth creationism is scientifically indefensible, and in my opinion fits into the “false teaching” category. All truth is God’s truth, and when someone denies plain truths evident in nature, they’re being just as false in their teachings as those who teach false theology.

Last week NASA announced that they expect to find alien life within a few years. Ken Ham and his organisation, Answers in Genesis, released a statement calling on NASA to stop wasting money. There is no alien life, Ham claims, because all life descends from Adam, and Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. (Stick with me on this ‘logic’:) Since Jesus died on this earth, no aliens would be able to be saved. God wouldn’t do this. Therefore, ipso facto, there can’t be aliens, so NASA is wasting money.

Huffington Post reported on this issue by stating the obvious implication that if aliens exist they will go to hell. Ham denies he said this. But here is what he actually said:

Continue reading By their fruit you shall know them: Ken Ham, young earth creationism, aliens and compassion

How Feminism Hurts Men

Micah J. Murray writes a blog called Redemption Pictures. A recent post was a parody on the way in which some conservative Christians think about the role of women leaders in the church. I thought it was a clever, and funny, take on a very important and serious issue – in the church, and in the world. You can read the original here, or below.

Yesterday somebody on Facebook told me that feminism elevates women at the expense of men, that its agenda to validate women emasculates us guys.

He was right.

For men, the rise of feminism has relegated us to second-class status. Inequality and discrimination have become part of our everyday lives.

Because of feminism, men can no longer walk down the street without fear of being catcalled, harassed, or even sexually assaulted by women. When he is assaulted, the man is blamed – the way he dressed he was “asking for it”.

Because of feminism, there are no major Christian conferences about how to act like men, where thousands of men can celebrate their manliness and Jesus (and perhaps poke fun at female stereotypes).

Because of feminism, church stages and spotlights are often dominated by women. Men are encouraged to just serve in the nursery or kitchen. Sometimes men are even told to stay silent in church.

Continue reading How Feminism Hurts Men

“Just Following the Bible”

BibleI wrote a few days ago about the “Best of Stuff Fundies Like” for 2013. My personal favourite was a very short piece that satirised the way that many conservative Christians approach the Bible. When an issue gets too complicated or too controversial, they will quickly retreat to a position of “well, I just try and read the plain meaning of the Bible without all that fancy interpretation stuff”. If they are a little more trained in Bible interpretation, they may revert to “well, the plain meaning is always the best – your attempts to show alternative interpretations are just playing with words”.

While I hardly ever encounter the staunch KJV-only type Christians this post also satirises, I do encounter people who still cling to young earth creationism on the basis of their “plain reading” of Genesis 1-11, and to people who still restrict women from leadership roles based on their “plain reading” of Paul’s instructions, and, of course, the homosexuality issue is pretty much all about this kind of interaction about what Scripture really means. Whatever you might believe about homosexuality, surely you do have to start the conversation with some humility based on the long history of the church realising that maybe Scripture didn’t mean precisely what Scripture appeared to be saying (I think of everything from flat earths to the Sun at the centre of our galaxy, from slavery to women’s rights to vote, and more recently the causes of HIV/AIDS and apartheid).

Anyway, you can read the original here (and I’d highly recommend taking the time to follow the conversations in the comments), or below. These are things your church should be talking about, but I am sure they’re not:

I just follow the Bible. I just follow the obvious meanings of a 400 year old translation of a document written originally in languages I don’t speak, influenced heavily by cultures I don’t begin to understand, and by people who I assume looked, acted, thought and dressed just like I do.

I just follow the Bible. It’s not only a road map for life and God’s love letter to everybody who isn’t an Amalekite but it also apparently contains an uncanny number of direct statements about how much beat is acceptable in music and how one should pledge to the country’s flag — even though countries didn’t have flags when it was written.

I just follow the Bible. And the Holy Spirit. And my pastor who God sent to tell me what the Holy Spirit says the Bible means. Just last Sunday I learned that Job 31:10 is a seven-thousand year old sermon against twerking.

I just follow the Bible. And my cultural predispositions. And my inherent biases. And my economic expedients. And my filters of time, place, biology, psychology, technology, and personal experience.

I just follow the Bible. You’d better follow me too.

Source: Stuff Fundies Like

The best of 2013: Stuff Fundies Like

This past year a good friend introduced me to the website, Stuff Fundies Like (Fundies, as in American Christian Fundamentalists). The site gives an almost daily insight into the lives, habits and foibles of this group of Christians. It’s a great resource for people like me who were brought up inside of that bubble – I recognise many of the things that are highlighted.

It borders on something dangerous for me, as it could easily lead me to feelings of superiority as I laugh at how fundamentalist Christians go about trying to prop up their faith. But mainly it invokes a combination of sadness, relief (that I am no longer blinded by worldview of ‘certainty seeking faith’) and resolve (to find ways to help these people see how liberating and freeing true Christianity actually is).

Anyway, their final post of the year was a round up of their best posts from the past twelve months. Make yourself a coffee, clear an hour or so in your diary, and check this out.