Thursday 31 December 2009

For the New Year

Nada turbe,

Nada te espante,

todo se pasa,
Dios no se muda;
la paciencia
todo lo alcanza;

quien a Dios tiene
nada le falta:

Sólo Dios basta.

Eleva tu pensamiento,

al cielo sube,

por nada te acongojes,

nada te turbe.
A Jesu Cristo
con pecho grande,y,
venga lo que venga,

nada te espante.

¿Ves la gloria del mundo?

Es gloria vana;

nada tiene de estable,

todo se pasa.
Aspira a lo celeste,

que siempre dura;
fiel y rico en promesas,
Dios no se muda.

Ámala cual merece
bondad inmensa;

pero no hay amor fino
sin la paciencia.
Confianza y fe viva
mantenga el alma,

que quien cree y espera
todo lo alcanza.
Del infierno acosado
aunque se viere,

burlará sus furores
quien a Dios tiene.

Vénganle desamparos,

cruces, desgracias;

siendo Dios tu tesoro

nada te falta.
Id, pues, bienes del mundo;

id dichas vanas;

aunque todo lo pierda,

sólo Dios basta.

Wednesday 30 December 2009

In the beginning

I have had an year of mis-starts and false beginnings. I have been up to my eyes in work and a social whirlwind, but have found it difficult to to concentrate on those things that direct my life: faith, reason, family, friends.

This January I will, like many, begin again. To continue my studies I am about to undertake a teaching job at a public school in Dorset. I will be away from my University term in Oxford, but will try to continue with my studies independently. During that time I hope to make much progress with my work.

But, all this is not the point. In January there is a need to return to the beginning.

It is with this in mind, and with a hint from my childhood friend, Luke, that I will start again, this year, to read the Bible. It is the book that forms the foundation of much of Christian ethics, and, if I dare say so, much of the law of this country and of Europe. There is a lot to learn there: about God, and about life.

The Bible has boring bits. Believe me, I have read them. But, there are lots of interesting bits too, and each part, the boring and the interesting, has something to say that is relevant to the way people live today: religious or non - religious. There was no such thing as a temporal 'Christian state' in the New Testament, nor a 'Jewish state' in the Old. Religious diversity and differences of opinion are part of the story of God in the Judeo Christian Scripture. I imagine that differences of opinion would form part of the discussion of scripture today. Difference is certainly is part of reading it: there are violent parts, injustice, sexism, patriarchalism, wars, debates, differences and dialogues. In it all, God plays a part.

So, I begin to read again. At the beginning. And from the Beginning I hope to see the reasons, the wherefores and the whys of conflicts, disagreements and debates. I do not hope to find answers, but only clearer questions.

Here is the plan: Bible Reading

It begins with the first chapters of Genesis, Ezra, Matthew and Acts.