Monday, June 23, 2008


The Sunday evening service was billed as a “Special Football Service”. I’m not the least interested in football and I went expecting to be bored to death by it all, although I would certainly want to concede that churches need to connect with a wide range of personalities, temperaments and interests and so I was prepared to stick it out. However, the whole service not only proved to be very well put together, but even interesting to someone like myself. It included a wide range of fascinating material; from the history of the Norwich Churches league, through the origins that some premier league clubs have in church teams, to the testimonies of Christian footballers. I was reminded somewhat of the old boys brigade where young lives were introduced to discipline, team spirit, and service, against a military looking backdrop. The ethos of today is unlikely to bear something like that, and so football may usefully have supplanted it.

Excellent, well done, I thought. However, that the service was clearly constructed with imagination and lots of hard work puts the contemporary dualist spiritual paradigm on the spot. That paradigm contrasts God’s work – which it tends to only perceive in acts of special dispensation – against ‘natural’ or profane agencies like man. The kind of shipwreck analyses that the dualist paradigm is inclined toward can be seen when it insists that creation was an act of special dispensation about 6000 years ago. In its most extreme form the perspective of the dualist mindset is inclined to perceive something like the NCBC Football Service, which ostensively taps into general dispensational resources, as purely a product of human effort and therefore lacking in spiritual power. The extreme dualist has difficulty registering the presence of God’s work unless it is in the form of ‘supernatural interventions’ and these are so often identified with bizarre religious practices that dehumanize and eclipse personality in favour of ‘blessing fodder’ events.

In the dualist mind activities involving creativity, skill, and interest are likely to be perceived as profane, even Godless activities. Utterly lacking in self-awareness the extreme dualist exempts his own mindset from self analysis, and is therefore unable to identify his perspective as a very facetiously human feature. He cannot see his mindset, but instead sees through it. Therefore that mindset never comes up for review and criticism. Unaware of his all too human perspective he sees himself as through and through a sublime spiritual being, a cut above the skills based Christian.

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