'Whatever our culture, whatever our context, we should model our lives on the values of Jesus'

Stroud News and Journal: 'Whatever our culture, whatever our context, we should model our lives on the values of Jesus' 'Whatever our culture, whatever our context, we should model our lives on the values of Jesus'

Christian Comment with Rev Alisdair Longwil,  West of England Baptist Association

PROMPTED by a recent drive to Scotland (the country of my birth), I downloaded an audiobook, The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by S G Maclean.

The novel is set in the fishing-town of Banff, Aberdeenshire in 17th century Presbyterian Scotland and tells a dramatic story of murder and intrigue.

As I listened to the book I was bowled-over by the vast difference between the culture of 17th century Scotland and our own 21st century culture. In 17th century Presbyterian Scotland, the Church and its influence was pivotal in all aspects of society – legal, moral, behavioural – and the Bible and its teaching (at least some aspects of it) features prominently and punctuated every aspect of 17th century Highland life.

Our own UK culture today is so very different – the Church has for the most part, been relegated to the perimeter of society and for many, the Bible with it.

This novel raised a big question for me – in spite of the high level of religion in the 17th century Highlands not much of the values and character of Jesus appeared to be lived out in that context.

Maybe this is where we and our forefathers do have something in common? For at times it can seem little of Jesus’ character and values finds expression in our own contemporary culture – sadly, sometimes in my own life and in that of others.

Jesus, as depicted in the Bible is the most amazing person you could ever imagine. He forgives – he stands up to a whole neighbourhood who want to stone a woman caught in adultery; he heals the sick in body and mind; he loves the weak and makes fools out of those who despise others.

The list goes on. Whatever our culture – whatever our context, these are values to model our lives upon. Let me encourage you to explore the values of Jesus and check out his character in 2014.

Why not get an easy-to-read version of the New Testament (the second half of the Bible) or check it out online? Begin with Mark’s gospel – a biography of Jesus’ life and let Jesus and all that he stands for shape your life this year.

Comments (7)

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2:55pm Sun 12 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

You had me right up until this:

" he heals the sick in body and mind"

I personally think, through exhaustive research, Jesus wanted to distance himself from religion, especially that of his day and just teach his interpretation of what's needed to just make people happy/content; which is amazingly similar to that of all the major religious iconic profit/deity and, let's not forget, Buddhism which is the first that was able to teach the truth without the burden of religion.
You had me right up until this: " he heals the sick in body and mind" I personally think, through exhaustive research, Jesus wanted to distance himself from religion, especially that of his day and just teach his interpretation of what's needed to just make people happy/content; which is amazingly similar to that of all the major religious iconic profit/deity and, let's not forget, Buddhism which is the first that was able to teach the truth without the burden of religion. dimreepr

9:17am Mon 13 Jan 14

Nimue Brown says...

As a non-Christian, I echo dimreepr in that you can find other, comparable examples of uplifting and inspiring behaviour in all kinds of places, religious and not religious. If we can share the examples and the inspiration, that would be great. Perhaps the problem with 17th century religion was too much top-down thinking, because when religion is put on people from above, it's not very meaningful. The only true ethics are those that grow within us. Anything we can do to support each other in that, is worth doing. Jesus is a fine example to look to. So is Buddha. But we can equally look to courageous figures of modern politics (Mandela, Ghandi), humanitarian workers, and visionaries of all traditions for ideas about how to do the best job we can of being human.
As a non-Christian, I echo dimreepr in that you can find other, comparable examples of uplifting and inspiring behaviour in all kinds of places, religious and not religious. If we can share the examples and the inspiration, that would be great. Perhaps the problem with 17th century religion was too much top-down thinking, because when religion is put on people from above, it's not very meaningful. The only true ethics are those that grow within us. Anything we can do to support each other in that, is worth doing. Jesus is a fine example to look to. So is Buddha. But we can equally look to courageous figures of modern politics (Mandela, Ghandi), humanitarian workers, and visionaries of all traditions for ideas about how to do the best job we can of being human. Nimue Brown

10:02pm Mon 13 Jan 14

kjag23 says...

Hmm,
I would rather not base my life on something that has caused so much hate and pain. It is because of the bible that homosexuals are being burned and stoned.
I base my life on Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama.
Do good for everybody.
Hmm, I would rather not base my life on something that has caused so much hate and pain. It is because of the bible that homosexuals are being burned and stoned. I base my life on Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama. Do good for everybody. kjag23

4:44pm Tue 14 Jan 14

TigerTigerBurningBright says...

I forgive the religious for being weak and having to shore up their belief insecurities by trying to convert others to their way.
I forgive the religious for being weak and having to shore up their belief insecurities by trying to convert others to their way. TigerTigerBurningBright

7:23pm Tue 14 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

TigerTigerBurningBri
ght
wrote:
I forgive the religious for being weak and having to shore up their belief insecurities by trying to convert others to their way.
Just like I'm sure they forgive you for being stupid.
[quote][p][bold]TigerTigerBurningBri ght[/bold] wrote: I forgive the religious for being weak and having to shore up their belief insecurities by trying to convert others to their way.[/p][/quote]Just like I'm sure they forgive you for being stupid. dimreepr

8:05pm Wed 15 Jan 14

TigerTigerBurningBright says...

You are probably forgiven for being a hypocrite.
You are probably forgiven for being a hypocrite. TigerTigerBurningBright

8:08pm Wed 15 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

Thank you, possibly.
Thank you, possibly. dimreepr

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