Reflections on the ‘rapture’ that never was

It has taken me somewhat by surprise just how much media coverage 89-year-old Harold Camping has generated this week with his bold assertion that the ‘Rapture’ was due this Saturday at 6pm. On the one hand, it’s not that surprising as we all enjoy the occasional crackpot conspiracy theory and that’s especially true in the secular media when said crackpot is a religious nutjob to boot. When the prediction fails to materialise, cue the calls to steer clear of such ‘faith-headed’ thinking and stick to the safer waters of reason and science. Well, so tweeted Prof. Brian Cox earlier this evening anyway.

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Why I voted No to AV today

Having just penned an exhaustively long analysis of the arguments for and against the alternative vote, it is only fair that I show my hand and say which way I voted in the referendum today, along with my main reasons for doing so.

I voted No to AV and while there are many reasons and arguments that led to that decision, I detail the main 3 below: Continue reading

Some AV Referendum Reflections

After months of campaigning, it all comes down to today’s voting (plus the postal votes cast over the past few weeks) and by tomorrow evening we should hopefully know the result of the first UK-wide referendum in over 35 years.

The question of whether to change the electoral system used in general elections from First Past the Post (FPTP) to the Alternative Vote (AV) has been debated and argued fiercely by the two sides over the past few months, with plenty of mudslinging and personal attacks along the way.  The political reality of the referendum is that it was never going to be just a question of weighing up the merits of one system versus the other.  For a start, the decision to hold the referendum was a concession to the Liberal Democrats made during the negotiations that led to the formation of the Coalition government this time last year.  This, coupled with the plunge in popularity suffered by the Lib Dems generally, and Nick Clegg particularly, has meant that the question of electoral reform is closely tied in to the precarious relationship between the two coalition parties.  Add into this the somewhat shaky start to Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour party and the fact that a majority of Labour MPs disagree with his ‘Yes to AV’ stance, this whole issue is a minefield of party politics, bruised egos and personality clashes.

Undoubtedly, whichever way the vote goes, the next few weeks will be dominated by the political fallout of the vote and the recriminations will be bitter indeed.  However, as it stands now, with just over 2 hours to go until the polls shut, the question that is most relevant right now is the referendum question itself, which (in case you weren’t aware) is:

“Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the ‘alternative vote’ system instead of the current ‘first past the post’ system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?”

All I want to do is provide a brief (well, brief-ish) evaluation of what the ‘Yes to AV’ and ‘No to AV’ camps say are their five best arguments, as taken from this BBC’s article.
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The Opportunities and Dangers of Twitter

As many are no doubt aware, social networking site and procrastination centre par-excellence Twitter has recently celebrated it’s 5th birthday, which has unleashed a slew of reflections on the Twitter phenomenon and it’s growing influence in culture today. Comparisons with Facebook and the potential rivalry between the two are obvious and it will be interesting to observe how each adapts to get one over on the other in the months (I say months deliberately, such is is the pace of change here) to come.
However, my purpose here is to offer up a few musings of my own on my experience of Twitter so far, particularly looking at it through the lens of how I, as a Christian, am using it and what benefits and pitfalls it may have for God’s people as they get involved in it.

I was particularly prompted to write this post by the furore surrounding the release of the promo video for Rob Bell’s ‘Love Wins’ back in February, which saw ‘Rob Bell’ trending worldwide and prompted an avalanche of tweets, blogs and reviews that is still rolling along even now. I think what struck me was that it was the first time I’d fully realised, ‘Wow, there’s a whole load of Christians on Twitter.’ Indeed, as Martin Saunders notes in his article on Twitter for Christianity magazine, “For once, Christians have been at the forefront of engaging with Twitter.” So much for the usual line that the church lags about 15 years behind the rest of the culture (this is no doubt true of many churches as regards the internet, but then that’s true of many people outside the church too).  This fact undoubtedly brings with it many opportunities for Christians and Christian organisations, but there are a number of pitfalls as well that we must be wary of. Continue reading