Words, power & responsibility

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Recently I have been using super heroes as a way in to discussions with our young people at church about biblical issues.

Captain America : But the Lord looks at the heart….

X-Men : Gifts and how they are to be used for good in the world.

Spider-man: With great power comes great responsibility.

Its that last one I want to focus on.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Recently in Northern Ireland leaders of churches have said some fairly controversial things. Whether it was Pastor James McConnell and his comments regarding Islam. Or Rev Mervyn Gibson and his comments regarding his wish to see a memorial mural for Gerry Adams.

These men are men of influence and men who have great power over their respective (and it must be noted) differing flocks.

Personally speaking both sets of comments  are to me inexcusable. No one should be able to condemn an entire religion or people group for the actions of a few. Likewise at no point should we be wishing to see those who are the polar opposite to our own personal political position dead.

There is something worrying about the words I have heard recently. That worry is the knowledge that both of thee statements will undoubtably influence some of those who hear them. That respected men utter words like these publicly and in their roles as ministers is terrifying to me.

There is none of what I believe in these words. The Jesus I follow does not live in these words.

Similarly if we fail to speak out against these things they become acceptable. They become the norm.

For those who do not have any faith it gives perfect credence to the ‘you are all a bunch of nutters’ argument ‘why would I want to be part of that’.

There has been a response to Mervyn Gibson made by two friend of mine. It is gracious and compelling and most importantly backed up biblically. I’m proud of my friends for doing this. Northern Ireland is not an easy place to put your head up over the parapet in

There has been a response from PCI here in Northern Ireland to the comments from Pastor James McConnell.

For me it is weak, short and has an air of ‘why can’t we all just get along?’.  this statement is not compelling, does not inspire and while factually accurate has minimal impact.

Words are important. Gibson and McConnell have power and used it irresponsibly.

We have a right to reply. If with great power comes great responsibility though we should try to ensure that when we do weigh in to a debate that the words used actually say something.

 

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Matrix Revolutions & the cycle of change

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“You played a very dangerous game.”

“Change always is.”

Let’s be clear about something. Matrix revolutions is a messy film. Its dialogue heavy and often that dialogue doesn’t, if I’m being honest, make a lot of sense. For many it was a disappointing and indeed unsatisfactory end to the trilogy.

It does however have a point.

At its core is the message of change.

Throughout the film Neo is asked ‘Don’t I know you?’ or characters exclaim ‘This seems familiar’. Like any good computer program the Matrix has cycles. Patterns that must repeat.  A story that stays the same.

Neo however moves the goalposts, his last act of sacrifice is a game changer. Everything resets. There is a new start or at least the hope of a new start as laid out in a conversation between the Architect and the Oracle at the films climax.

Elections loom in Northern Ireland for EU and local government. When I sit round tables with friends and hear how they don’t want the same old thing I get excited. I can’t help but feel change is coming.

As another cycle for Northern Ireland approaches there is a chance the old cycle may repeat, the story may stay the same.

There is however the possibility that something new may happen or at least, if the tables I sit round transfer into votes, the hope of something new.