When I preach, I try to believe that God is going to speak to people through what I'm going to say. But I'm always surprised when it actually happens. Sermons are like sausages: (and laws) if you like them, you don't want to see them being produced. At least, they always seem a lot less uplifting for the producer than they're supposed to be for the consumer. In short, I find it hard to get excited about my own sermons. I'm forever picking holes in them. So it was good to hear this story today.

...and relax

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I've been pretty much on the go since arriving here, apart from one or two less busy days. This past week was no exception. On Monday we had a seikai (regional church meeting) which was a full day of services involving the churches in our area: Hikone, the church I'm staying at right now; Nagahama, where I'll be moving in two weeks time and working for the next six months; Kinomoto, and Yokaicihi. The speaker was Rev Mikio Yokoyama; he was very good and very entertaining, at least in the morning session. I think in the afternoon I was… shall we say, flagging a little. Still, it was good for me to show my face at Nagahama church.

It's not fair

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It's not fair that I can't sleep right now, but that's not what I want to write about. There's been a lot of coverage in the press here recently about the case of Lucie Blackman, who was murdered back in 2000. The murderer, a guy called Joji Obara, was actually acquitted of her murder, but convicted for life for manslaughter and rape of some other girls. Lucie's parents are appealing the not-guilty verdict.

Theology and computer science

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An old friend called me up yesterday to ask me how I saw my Christianity and my programming working together. (I have some strange friends.) I didn't have any good answers at the time, but it got me thinking. I still don't have any good answers about the relationship between Christianity and computing, and I don't know if there are any, to be honest. It all seems a bit up in the air, you know, having to come up with a theology of everything you do - it smacks of overspiritualising life. But that's precisely what folk like Mark Greene of the LICC encourage people to do, and he's one of the most down-to-earth blokes I know. Besides, why should your spiritual life and your “work” life be separate? I've even preached that they shouldn't, so maybe I should put that into practice and have a theology of computer science.

The Jesus Myth

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My tutor used to tell me that to be a good evangelist, you need to be a good atheist. You need to have looked into all the arguments and rebuttals and come up with your own re-rebuttals. You need to be able to play Devil's advocate, and for obvious reasons, many within my church tradition aren't very good at that. I rather enjoy it. Not because I am trying to persuade people with my words - I'm not very good at that - but because I see the benefit in having my faith stretched. I think it can take it. The way I see it, if this Christianity thing is demonstrably a load of rubbish, then my life becomes a heck of a lot easier. If not, then dealing honestly with objections to it gives me more personal and intellectual integrity.