The spirituality of martial arts

694707_kungfu_1.jpgDean from My Jarrol Spot has raised an interesting issue today. he’s wondering about the relationship between christianity and martial arts.

Just wondering about initial views and opinions at the moment.

Something I’ve been reading about lately and pondering where it all fits in Biblically.

More to come…

It’s an interesting topic and I hope you’ll leave a few comments for Dean with your thoughts.

Is there a spirituality connected to martial arts that is incompatible with christian beliefs? Can christians be involved with martial arts? Is there a way of gaining the benefits that martial arts provide without adopting the spirituality?

My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and Vice President elect of the Baptist World Alliance. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.

A couple of weeks ago we tackled this issue and Ross had some interesting things to say about the matter. If you’d like to hear his point of view simply click the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.


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Balancing work and play

stress.jpgDo you head back to work on Monday morning to get a bit of rest? Our society seems to have turned our weekends into non-stop action.

The two days that are meant to help us get back into balance seem to have become all about activity. We rush around between sporting activities for children, heading out for a spot of shopping, meetings, catching up with friends, catching up on the work we didn’t finish last week, jobs around the house, maintaining the garden. By Sunday evening we collapse in front of the television and try to stay awake long enough to see the end of the programme that we’re watching. Sound familiar?

Once we’re back at work the activity remains frantic. is reporting on a recent survey suggesting Aussies’ stress is all work and no play.

NEARLY nine out of 10 Australians are feeling stressed and most blame work for the way they feel, a new poll shows.

Finances, health and personal relationships were also stress factors, a Newspoll commissioned by Lifeline Australia revealed.

I find it interesting that people are mostly blaming work for their stress. I tend to think that we can handle a lot of pressure in our work and private lives if we make sure that we have time out to look after ourselves physically, mentally, socially and spirituality. When we fill our downtime with frantic activity we lose the opportunity to recharge and the pressure becomes stress, which left unaddressed can lead to all kinds of health and relationship issues.

We certainly had a busy weekend but we did have times to relax as a family and with friends. I managed to wind down pretty well last night too. I sat in front of the heater with a glass of red, reading a good book until it was time to head off to bed.

How about you? Do you find time on the weekend to wind down or is it all about frantic activitiy for you?

Maybe it’s time we all took the time to change a few priorities.

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Talking to a Demon

sca.gifThis morning during my radio programme I spoke to a man who is both an Assemblies of God minister … and a demon.

Chaplain of the Melbourne ‘Demons’ Football Club and head of Sports Chaplaincy Australia, Cameron Butler, joined me on 98.5 Sonshine FM this morning to talk about his role with the club and the wider influnce of chaplains in sport around Australia.

Far from being religious zealots out to force their faith on others, chaplains prefer to simply be a trusted friend to those who are comfortable with developing a relationship. Their duties can cover a range of areas that go well beyond those of a traditional pastor or minister.

A lot of high performance sports in Australia have chaplains supporting their teams. There are over 180 chaplains now serving teams of men and women involved in sports such as test and shield cricket, motor racing, tennis, rugby league, AFL, basketball, baseball, soccer, golf, yachting, skiing, netball, rodeo and horse racing, the Australian Institute of Sport and state Institutes of Sport.

Sports chaplaincy is a Christian cross-denominational service providing support for sports organisations. This includes sports men and women, administrators, supporters and family networks.

Why Chaplaincy?

Sports organisations and welfare officers recognise that sports people are whole human beings. The condition of other areas of an athlete’s life including unplanned circumstances can and do affect their performance, both on the field and in the public arena. Sporting demands can also have an impact on vocational responsibilities and relationships.

If you’d like to hear what Cameron had to say when we spoke this morning you can click the play button on the audio player in this post.


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Mad Church Disease

mad_church_disease.jpgHow is it that a place that is supposed to be safe, a place that brings healing, can cause so much pain for so many?

Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic by Anne Jackson seeks to not only answer that question but to deliver the healing that can be lacking from many churches.

My short review is simply ‘buy this book’ but I suppose I should say a little more than that.

I was thrilled when I got my copy of Mad Church Disease in the mail a few weeks back. I’d read so much about the book at Anne’s blog and finally I could find out for myself whether it would live up to all the ‘hype’. After spending some time over my recent holiday reading the book my answer is an emphatic YES!

Mad Church Disease is aimed at those who work in churches, not just pastors, but all those involved in church work as a paid employee or volunteer worker, however, I would suggest that the target audience is too small. This isn’t just a book for those working in a church but for anyone who works or has worked in any kind of ministry position. It may help you understand what you’ve been through or what you’re currently experiencing. Even better, it’ll help you to move on and become healthier spiritually, physically and relationally.

I’d also suggest that it’s a book that shouldn’t only be read by those who feel that circumstances are getting on top of them but by all those who work in a church or ministry. If you’re battling burnout or you want to be aware of the early warning signs of burnout before they get the chance do some serious damage, read this book and make sure you sit down with a pen and paper for the evaluation sections at the end of each chapter.

Mad Church Disease isn’t a ‘heavy read’ and you should be able to read through it fairly quickly. However, if you want the full benefit of reading the book, you’ll need to take your time over each chapter to absorb what Anne has written and more importantly to answer the sometimes tough questions she asks. It’s also helpful to read the short interviews that Anne carried out with various pastors and church workers. The interviews help to provide clear examples of what the book is all about and to add extra, often well known, voices to the actions that Anne suggests will help in conquering Mad Church Disease.

One of the themes that Anne returns to a number of times is the act of owning up to the part we’ve played in bringing us to where we are today. We can’t allow ourselves to only lay blame at the feet of others who have hurt us. If we’re totally honest we know that we need to confess our part in the madness before we can move on.

I’ll admit that some of the behind the scenes savagery Anne reveals from some churches boggled my mind. How can people treat one another like that? Though from what she has to say in the book, the kind of issues she highlights won’t come as any surprise to many readers.

Why does it seem as though when another believer hurts us, the pain we experience is exponentially greater than if we are hurt by someone who doesn’t share the same faith?

I wish I had the answer to that question, but I don’t. All I know is that it’s true, and the pain can be paralyzing. – Anne Jackson – Mad Church Disease

You’ll find the clear message that comes through the book is it doesn’t have to be like this. You can work in Christian ministry and not only survive but thrive. You can fulfil the calling that God has put on your life and stay healthy.

I’m glad to say that I’m not exhibiting any of the symptoms of Mad Church Disease but I still found the book valuable in calling me back to a greater focus on the place of faith, spirituality and God in my life. Jesus is wanting to draw closer to me. I need reminders like the ones in Mad Church Disease that I need to draw closer to him and to rely on his strength if I’m to avoid the traps that have tripped up so many.

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Christian Carnival 274

christian_carnival_lion.jpgThe carnival is back in town and we’ve had another great response this week. It’s always wonderful to see some first timers joining the carnival as well as some of the regulars at their thought provoking best.

The weekly Christian Carnival is an opportunity for Christian blog writers to share their best posts from the previous week. The topic of the post doesn’t necessarily have to focus on Christianity but it must reflect a Christian worldview, and the writer must be Christian to qualify.

As always it’s a real honour to be able to present such a diverse range of great posts.

Please take the time to read through each post … it’s worth it. You might also like to link to this week’s carnival so that your blog readers can enjoy the variety of styles and thought.

andriel was first in this week posting A Coming One-World Religious System over at

Annette at Fish and Cans presents a post titled True Woman – a lasting kindness.

Have you wondered about how God does and doesn’t use money? Read what FMF has to say in the post How God Uses and Doesn’t Use Money posted at Free Money Finance.

Yvette Nietzen posted about Having a ready mind at her blog Fresh Wind Ministries.

What’s on at the movies? Shot presents Conservative Movie Reviews | at

Head over to at Fathom Deep: Sounding the Depths of God to read Tiffany Partin‘s post Ladybug and the Great Doodlebug Relocation Project.

According to the Parable of the Talents, we have a responsibility to wisely use the money with which we have been entrusted. With that in mind, ChristianPF asks a tough question. Are you a good steward of God’s money? That post is at Money in the Bible | Christian Personal Finance Blog.

april rose presents like a scarlet letter posted at little april rose.

Dave Quinn wants to article is to encourage Christians with the surety that we carry the same story and power that Peter and John displayed in Acts 4. We carry the story and the power is a powerful read at The PASSION Blog.

Gabe Lopez has written Potential Essentials and posted it at

“I think Solzhenitsyn’s editors have read him carelessly, and have convicted him of a superficial and satanic defense of war and government that he was mocking in the mouth of one of his characters, an Orthodox priest.” That’s what David Gross has to say in his post, Reading Solzhenitsyn at The Picket Line.

Martin Roth presents an exclusive interview with a prominent online Christian dating service that is completely free. – interview with Christian Counseling Services is posted at Christian Counseling Services.

Ken Brown has been, “Thinking about my “terrible two” year old daughter, Jesus’ parables, and justice.” Find out how it all fits together at A Gracious Father or an Unjust Judge? posted at C. Orthodoxy.

Diane R presents a very short post on what Jesus would really do if He walked the earth today asking, What Would Jesus Really Do? over at Crossroads: Where Faith and Inquiry Meet.
Barry Wallace’s pastor’s wife participated in a panel interview on the topic of infertility and adoption. Barry has written Adoption and Infertility: An interview with my pastor’s wife posted at who am i?.

Richard H. Anderson presents The Word of God in Song posted at dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos Theophilos. Richard is wondering if Luther was the first person to use music as a teaching device for religious instruction and/or the first person to use music as a teaching device for any purpose. Richard would appreciate your knowledge or thoughts on the matter.

A Sower presents Anticipation posted at A Sower’s Heart, asking, “Are we like children?”

Shannon Christman has written a post that is not specifically about Christianity, but which raises some questions that Christians should consider in A Child’s Best Friends: The Wonderpets? at The Minority Thinker.

How should we think about parenting responsibilities in terms of the principles that underlie the biblical Sabbath? Jeremy Pierce asks the question and provides some guidance in Parental Responsibilities and the Sabbath posted at Parableman.

At Light Along the Journey John has penned a parable about disappointment, acceptance, & walking with God in his post A Road Trip With Jesus.
michelle presents Joel 2:25-26 posted at Thoughts and Confessions of a Girl Who Loves Jesus….

And finally, Rey presents You Believe That ‘Cause… posted at The Bible Archive, saying the post goes over the genetic fallacy and offering some examples of how it’s been used.

If you’re a Christian and you missed out this week, how about choosing something to contribute for next week’s edition? It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just a post that outlines your point of view or is designed to get others thinking. Being part of the carnival could be a great way to gain a little extra traffic at your blog.

The easiest way to get involved is to submit your article through the Blog Carnival Submission Form. Otherwise, you can email the submission address.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to spread the word.

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