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“Prototype” by Jonathan Martin : A Review

ImageI married into Renovatus.

This is something I’m rather glad about.

Renovatus Church in Charlotte NC began its journey in January 2006, and fortunately for me, my (then-future) Sister in Law led worship there. Thus I first encountered the inimitable Jonathan Martin, founder and pastor of Renovatus. From the first sermon I heard him preach, I knew that here was a guy who had insights and wisdom that the church, and indeed the unchurched, needed to hear. I devoured CDs (and later, podcasts) with an insatiable hunger, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, got to call my Brother my friend. Albeit from a distance, mind you. Living in Scotland, I couldn’t exactly attend services, but, as their first official eCommunicant, I followed them from Elizabeth Elementary School, to an abandoned movie theatre in Eastland Mall to their current expanded homes on Little Rock Road and in Fort Mill. Along the way I’ve laughed, cried, been challenged and grown. And Jonathan has been the constant factor.

So when I heard Jonathan was writing a book, I was hugely excited. This could only be good. And when my advance copy arrived in the mail last week, my expectations were met and exceeded.

Prototype sets out to examine what can happen when we truly find our identity in God, just as Christ did as our prototype; when we realise and accept that Jesus was the ‘firstborn from the dead’, and that we are following his lead. It succeeds beautifully. The book is a triumph. Jonathan’s style is unconventional but so deeply rooted in the best of tradition. It can be unsettling at times, heartwarming at others, and all the time, the love of the Father is central.

This is a book one reads in a hurry, itching to get to the next line. I felt as though every sermon I’d heard Jonathan preach for the last 7 years had been distilled into 200 or so pages. Jonathan flings out transformational sentences like a warrior poet with a sack of Holy Spirit Shurikens. For anyone who’s ever heard him, this comes as no surprise. Martin is (depending on how you look at it) either the Blackest White preacher you’ve ever heard, or the Whitest Black one. Imagine if John Wesley did hip-hop? You’re close.

Along the way, we step through the wilderness of obscurity, compare old scars in the playground and poke around among the shards of Jesus’ broken bride, and as we go, these grim encounters are wrapped up with a ribbon of redemption. We meet the Jesus who knew who He was via the love of His Father and we begin to see our own reflection in Him. Our encounter leaves us with the desire not just to get spiritual dirt under our fingernails, but to get out and experience the real thing, and in a messy, sweaty, awkward, blistered way, to get the word out about the Kingdom ‘that is coming and is now here’.

This is a book that shakes you down, tenderly slaps your face and reminds you of who God actually says that you are, then spins you around and nudges you forwards into your true humanity.

“Prototype” is published by Tyndale. It launches on May 1st 2013 and is available from Amazon and other bookstores.

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Iain’s Isle – From the Parallel Podcast

Well, here’s some of the stuff I mentioned in my Iain’s Isle segment on this week’s Flashforcast for those of you who would like a visual!

Here’s the writing on the bus, in English, French and an unknown (to me) Asian language –

I think THIS guy…

Is this guy: (From Wikipedia) – “Valerios Stais (b. Kythira 1857 – d. Athens 1923) was a Greek archaeologist. He was born in Kythera. He studied medicine and later archaeology. He became the director of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens in 1887 and held that post until his death…Valerios Stais also became the discoverer of the Antikythera mechanism.”

And here is a reconstruction of that very mechanism he found…

Remind anyone of this?

So what did the mechanism do? Well, Wikipedia has this to say about it:
“The Antikythera mechanism (pronounced AN-ti-ki-THEER-ə), is an ancient mechanical calculator (also described as the first known mechanical computer) designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–01 from the Antikythera wreck, but its complexity and significance were not understood until decades later. It is now thought to have been built about 150–100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.”

Basically, you could use this device to figure out where the planets, moon etc would be for a given time in the future.

Now, what I find interesting in relation to Flashforward is this; if you wound it forward to 1000 years in the future but between now and then one of the planets was mysteriously destroyed (Agent Al Gough?) the machine would be no less accurate in terms of where the planets WOULD have been if they’d carried on the way they were going. See what I mean?

OK, Now for the monsters…

Here’s the Not-Hydra!

It’s from the book “Histoires prodigieuses” by Pierre Boaistuau. The text below reads: “This Hideous Serpent has 2 feet and 7 crowned heads. It was embalmed and sent to Constantinople by an African merchant. it was bought by the Venetians for 2,000 ecus.”

Notice, it has 7 heads, just like this next chappie…

He’s from the very same book, and the text accompanying him talks about this being a “Monstrous creature born to honourable parents”

I reckon the 7 heads thing could be a reference to the 7 rings, although the fact that the serpent has 7 CROWNED heads makes me think it’s a tie-in to the mysterious Crown Cheese Steak menu thing we’ve been wondering about. If you look closely, above the “Us” in “Help Us” there is a tiny crowned head. Any ideas?

Guth a Bhiobaill / Voice of the Bible

 


guth a bhiobaill

Originally uploaded by Frogey

The overlay is part of an old Gaelic hymn where the Bible itself tells its own story.

The steeple is that of Martin’s Memorial Church of Scotland in Stornoway, which happens to be my place of worship!

Here’s a rough translation…

“And I will go to the ends of the Earth
telling of a victorious saviour
and I will spread the banner
so the people will gather around
I will speak in every language
I will declare the way of salvation
And they will honour and love the Lamb

Many a person without hope
Wayward, not knowing peace
Did I enlighten and direct
towards an inheritance and a glory without end
Many a sad heart
Did I make joyous with knowledge of Christ
And I made wise the fool
And turned many who were enemies into friends”

Look What I Have Done

My wife is a hidden poet. She writes, and some of it deserves a wider audience. I thought you might like to read this one. It spoke to me and I think it might speak to you too…

Silence is interrupted by the sound of the rain falling
Yet, O Lord I hear you calling.

You called me from the depths of darkness
Called me back to you.

“Hush now, my child. Hear the rain!
Now I’ve opened your ears
Like raindrops falling from the leaves
The sadness in your heart will catch the sun
Making colours of the rainbow.
Remember my promise.
In this, learn your tears are turned to glorious colours
For the world to see.
Now I have opened your eyes.

When the wind blows
The leaves are scattered.
Man gathers those leaves
Yet they are dead
But the seeds in the fruit will grow
And manifest themselves in your heart.

My fruitful child,
Now I have opened your heart.

Listen to the birds’ song
They sing always; pleasing to your ears.

Look what I have done for you.
I have given you a voice.
Sing my praises
As heaven rejoices with you.
Speak my Name on your lips.
I am the Truth.

My child, you are my daughter.
I see your heart.
(How beautiful you have become!)
When you walk with me
You shine, you love, you see
And your heart sings!

Look what I have done for you!
With my hand in yours
You are no longer in the wrong direction.
You’re coming closer to me.
Walk with me forever
And you shall live.
See my face,
Your Father xxx”

“The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them…” Romans 8 v14

Naomi MacKinnon

Things I Didn’t Know – Part 1

I was looking up my hometown on Wikipedia earlier and found this gem…

“Stornoway features heavily in the initial stages of the X-Men comics Dark Phoenix Saga due to its proximity to the ficitonal Muir Island and Proteus’ attempts to find a new host body.” 

 Well, now Mr Martin… Mr Hunt… how do you like them apples?