Friday, 17 January 2014

Natural Inclination

Our natural inclination is to be so particular—attempting always to predict precisely what will happen next—that we gaze at uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some set goal, but that is not the nature of the religious life. 

The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot assume to see ourselves in any situation in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life — gracious uncertainty is the mark of the holy life. To be sure of God means that we are doubtful in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is usually expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it must be a look of breathless expectation. 

We are unsure of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we discard ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with shocks. When we become just a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us expires. 

That does not believe God—it only believes our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The holy life is the life of a child. We are not unsure of God, just unsure of what He is going to do next. If our faith is only in our beliefs, we build up a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the sight that our beliefs are absolute and settled. 

But when we have the right bond with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be superbly and decently doubtful how He will come in—but you can be sure that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Gracious Uncertainty

Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. 

That does not believe God—it only believes our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Divine grace

Divine grace is a theological term which is present in many and varied spiritual traditions. However, there are significant differences between the way people of different traditions use the word. In particular, a more treatment of the Grace of God indicates that Divine Grace is one of the three categories of Grace. The other two are Material Grace and Spiritual Grace.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Leigh, Greater Manchester

Leigh (pop. 43,000) is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, in Greater Manchester, England. It is 4 miles (6 km) southeast of Wigan, and 12.6 miles (20.3 km) west of Manchester. Leigh is situated on low lying land to the north west of Chat Moss.

Historically a part of Lancashire, Leigh was originally the centre of a large ecclesiastical parish covering six vills or townships. When the three townships of Pennington, Westleigh and Bedford merged in 1875 forming the Leigh Local Board District, Leigh became the official name for the town although it had been applied to the area of Pennington and Westleigh around the parish church for many centuries. The town became an Urban District in 1894 when part of Atherton was added. In 1899 Leigh became a municipal borough. The first Town Hall was built in King Street and replaced by the present building in 1907.

Originally an agricultural area noted for dairy farming, domestic spinning and weaving led to a considerable silk and, in the 20th century, cotton industry. Leigh also exploited the underlying coal measures particularly after the town was connected to the canals and railways. Leigh had an important engineering base. The legacy of Leigh's industrial past can be seen in the remaining red brick mills – some of which are listed buildings – although it is now a mainly residential town, with Edwardian and Victorian terraced housing packed around the town centre. Leigh's present-day economy is based largely on the retail sector.