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Weekend Thought Malc' Halliday: God speaks to us every day - but are we listening?

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 25, 2014

MalcHalliday

Malc Halliday

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There is a story of a man, seeking guidance from God, who opened his Bible at random and stabbed his finger down on a verse. He read: “Judas went and hanged himself.”

This was not what he wanted to hear, so he tried again. This time he saw the words “Go and do likewise”.

Feeling slightly nervous, he had a third and final attempt to discern the will of God. The verse he found was: “What you have to do, do quickly.”

Well, hopefully we grasp the point that it is not helpful to use the Bible as a sort of spiritual lottery. However, before becoming too dismissive, we should consider Saint Augustine.

Augustine, who became one of the great figures of early church history, had a rather less saintly adolescence. His “confessions” reveal someone who would not be on most people’s list of “Top Ten Candidates for Beatification”.

Nonetheless, one day he heard a child’s voice saying over and over “Take up and read”.

He found a Bible and copied the actions of the man mentioned earlier. Opening it up, he read the words “Put on Christ”. And so, in this unlikely way, began a spiritual transformation that was to shape Christian belief to the present day.

I am convinced the Bible should never be treated as a pick-and-mix rag-bag of verses to be accepted or rejected as the mood takes us. But the story of Augustine reminds me that God is restricted neither by the ways in which he can speak to us nor in what he might want to say. Today God, I believe, will be speaking. It may be through the Bible, should we read it. He may also speak through our experiences, circumstances and meetings. Words on an advertising hoarding might speak to our souls as much as a shaft of sunlight breaking through clouds on a grey day. An overheard snippet of someone else’s conversation could be as significant as a letter arriving in the post.

The reality is that God is speaking. The question is, as ever, are we listening?

Malc’ Halliday is the centre manager of the Christian Resources Project Plymouth.

weekendthought@aol.com

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2 comments

  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  January 25 2014, 12:56PM

    "The reality is that God is speaking." Really?? I pity people so deluded that they seek answers from random events, interpreting them as signs from the fairies of their choice. I think society should be able to offer these poor people some kind of counselling to allow them to lead rational life. Belief in any kind of deity comes from the natural search of intelligent minds for unknown causes of natural events. This constant search for 'meaning' or 'cause' is a function of our brain, which originally developed to help us overcome dangers, learn about sources of food and poisons, shelter and relations between humans. Some natural events have no apparent cause, either because they are circular in nature (i.e. they are largely their own cause, such as the weather) or because they are random or because they have no purpose as such, such as planetary object or particular living species, including humans. Turning to deity of any kind may make you feel comfortable, given whatever promises that particular deity is said to offer, but its a fools comfort. It is a God Delusion.

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  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  January 25 2014, 12:51PM

    "The reality is that God is speaking." Really?? I really pity people so deluded that they seek answers from random events, interpreting them a a sign from the fairies of their choice. I think society should be able to offer these poor people some kind of counselling to allow them to lead rational life. Believe in any kind of deity comes from the natural search of intelligent minds for unknown causes of natural events. This constant search for 'meaning' or 'cause' is a function of our brain, which originally developed to help us overcome dangers, learn about sources of food and poisons, shelter and relations between humans. Some natural events have no apparent cause, either because they are circular in nature (i.e. everything is causing it, such as the weather) or because they are random or because they have no purpose as such, such as planetary subject or particular living species, including humans. Turning to deity of any kind may make you feel comfortable, given whatever promises that particular deity is said to offer, but its a fools comfort. It is a God Delusion.

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