Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I couldn't stand that pink stripe either. Begone!

Effecting change through reformation

Today is Reformation Day, when in 1517 Martin Luther pinned his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. Countering the Roman Catholic hegemony of justification by works, Luther had rediscovered the glorious truth of grace and faith, as found in Romans 1:
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last"
For the emerging protestants, this was great news! Salvation is not in our hands, and even if it was we would be totally unable to grasp it because of our sinfulness. God took all the necessary steps to reconcile us to him through Jesus Christ.

The good news doesn't spread itself, yet its message is universal (Acts 4:12, John 1:4). The new technology of the printing press found a use in disseminating the Scriptures, as well as Luther's theses. Faithful Christians like Wycliffe translated the Bible into their own languages and suffered persecution and even death because of their work.

Some 250 years later, the western missionary movement kicked off with William Carey producing a convincing geography of the world's population, showing that the vast majority of people had never heard the name of Jesus. He himself dedicated his life to mission in India, and thousands more have followed his path since then.

This summer I came across a huge organisation that I'd never heard of before: Gospel for Asia. They argue that the most effective missionaries are intra-cultural not cross-cultural - although of course foreign missionaries must be sent if there is no indigenous church in a culture. They support thousands of native missionaries who between them plant 10 churches every day. Furthermore, because of the economics of the globalised society, it is hugely cheaper to support a native missionary than a western counterpart. A monthly donation of £20/$30 - which is what most of us spend on coffee or our mobile phone - covers around 30% of the total cost of a missionary family in India, Laos, Bangladesh, China, Thailand or other Asian nations with millions of unreached souls. The truth of the gospel, rediscovered nearly 500 years ago in Europe, has yet to reach nearly half the world's population. Let's get serious and get it sorted!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Moved in


I'm now posting, as promised, from my flat in west London. This being London, I am the only English person in our flat of 5 - there are two Australian girls and two French guys sharing the flat as well. Better not talk too much about the Rugby World Cup..! The internationality of the city makes me as an Englishman feel out of place - hence the new name of this blog.

I love London so far. It sucks you in and makes everywhere outside the M25 seem incredibly provincial and the buzz and the constant noise and activity just runs on and on - like this sentence, in fact. In honour of this move (and because the old one was broken) I've refreshed the blog template. I have to say I didn't know that pink stripe doesn't scroll out of the way as you read down, and it does look rather a lot like First Great Western's logo, but I'm jolly well not changing it all again.

On a separate note I am now the king of Ikea, having spent about 4 hours putting together a huge desk and chair with nothing but a small screwdriver, a hammer and a cup of coffee.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sucked in


As of Wednesday I will be blogging (ha! the Royal Mail is more reliable than my blogging) from Shepherd's Bush in west London. Last Friday I went to look at a flat, which involves a 90 minute cycle/train/tube/walk journey from Reading. I arrived at the flat at the appointed time, only to be told that the room had just been let. The landlady suggested I come back into town the next day to look at a different room. "Great," I thought. "I could have found that out on gumtree without wasting a whole afternoon." Nevertheless, and because I have a lot of free time, I went back in on Saturday and saw the room. It's really nice. Several other people were there at the same time, with about 20 more coming later on to see the one room, and Lori, the landlady, said that the first person to give her £250 as a 'security deposit' would get the room. Where's the nearest cash machine!?

I'll be glad to move into London, not least because commuting sucks. How do people do it all year round? Mine isn't even too bad, at between 65 and 85 minutes each way, and usually a nice walk through the park. Cutting that down from £92 a week to £0 and 80 minutes to 25 minutes will be a result. I have three days a week of lectures from 9-6 or so, studying five transporty topics: engineering, economics, statistics, modelling and policy. I know nothing about any of them so it'll be a busy term.

My church-crawl ended before it began as I agreed to join the student team at All Souls after one midweek meeting and one Sunday. Pretending to be an Anglican might be a little tricky but it's very low-Anglican and a lot sounder than some nonconformist churches I could think of...

Brown mauled in parliament

Had to post this video. Bye bye Brown...