Stephen Pinker in his latest book Enlightenment tries to tell us that everything is getting better (thanks to the 18th-century Enlightenment which apparently had no dark spots at all) and that, as long as we get rid of religion, we will continue to progress to Nirvana. But unless you live in the privileged world of the privileged you have to face up to the question of how … Continue reading Ecclesiastes 8 – How to Live in a Corrupt Society
This weeks Ecclesiastes column on Christian Today Solomon, who had 300 wives and 600 concubines – contrary to the command of God and despite his wisdom and good start as king – might have been expected to know something about women. In this week’s Ecclesiastes passage (7:23-29) he gives us the benefit of his knowledge. At first it appears to be the kind of misogynistic … Continue reading Are Men Wiser Than Women? Ecclesiastes 7:23-29
This weeks Ecclesiastes article first published on Christian Today Having reflected on the way that we regard our times and look at life, in Ecclesiastes 7: 15-22 Solomon turns to some other conundrums of both ancient and contemporary life. He warns us of four dangers that really hit home today. Pixels 1. The danger of an unrealistic view of life It seems meaningless that the good die … Continue reading Ecclesiastes 7 – Four dangers for today’s Christians
Happy Easter! This weeks column on Christian Today The Good Old Days. Remember them? Its Good Friday – remember when the whole country was religious and everything stopped on Good Friday? No? Me neither. I’m currently in Australia and a lot of the shops are closed on Good Friday. In the UK in most areas commercial activity carries on as before – indeed in many … Continue reading Ecclesiastes and Easter
This weeks column from Christian Today on Ecclesiastes 7 One of the problems with modern life is the misuse of the English language. The way that words change or are used in different ways fits well with Solomon’s assertion that everything is meaningless. One such word is ‘extremist’. We think we know what it means, but it has become a term of insult and of … Continue reading Which is Better? A Party or a Funeral? Ecclesiastes 7
It’s hard to accept we live in the Shadowlands – as we saw last week – when we have such seemingly concrete realities in our everyday lives. In this week’s Ecclesiastes passage Solomon reflects further on what we can see, taste and feel all around us every day. Pexels Taste: We work to eat. ‘The labourer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on’ (Proverbs 16:26). We … Continue reading Ecclesiastes 6 – Out of the Shadows into the Light.
After the first and highly successful Live Aid, Bob Geldof turned to his fellow organiser Midge Ure, and asked, ‘Is that it?’ It was his reflection on the success and joy of Live Aid – a reflection which became the title of his autobiography. Many of us can identify with this. We have this sense of something missing. We are aware of living in the … Continue reading Ecclesiastes 6 – Life in the Shadowlands
The Ecclesiastes series continues in Christian Today Sometimes we do not appreciate the freedoms and benefits that Christianity has given us in the West. It is like a child who has never known hunger and is therefore not so appreciative of food. In the West we have a Christian legacy that, although much of the heart has gone, still provides a ripple effect. One of … Continue reading Ecclesiastes 5:8-20- The secret to a contented life
This weeks Ecclesiastes column in Christian Today – perhaps appropriate for your worship tomorrow? Solomon has identified many of the problems that we face in life today – the meaninglessness of it all – and he has shown that all of our solutions don’t bring real meaning. He had visited the courtroom, the marketplace, the travellers’ way and the palace. Now, in Ecclesiastes 5: 1-7, he … Continue reading Ecclesiastes 5: What is the nature of true worship?
This article was published first on Christian Today – ‘Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.’ President Roosevelt’s wise saying still resonates today and would certainly have appealed to Solomon. After considering the question of loneliness, Solomon now turns to politics. The two are not unrelated. Sometimes our politicians look as though they are very alone. Occasionally I feel sorrow for … Continue reading Ecclesiastes 4: Politics and the wisdom of Solomon