Kevin Rudd & slavery

The Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition. (Kevin Rudd, on Monday’s Q&A)

Let’s just put this as simply as possible: Wrong! While the Bible does contain laws to ensure slaves would not be mistreated, and encourages emancipation if possible, nowhere does it suggest that anyone is naturally a slave. It says the opposite! It says that that all people are made in the image of God. The image of God covers a lot of meaning; we share many of God’s attributes, such as creativity, having emotions, being morally responsible. But the biggest thing it means is that we are rulers. God made humanity to bring his rule to the world, representing him to the world and to each other.

Kevin Rudd was actually quoting Aristotle, who as John Green reminds us, “while he is very famous and everything is almost always wrong!”


But as happens sometimes, Kevin Rudd was actually more right than he thought. No one is naturally the slave of another person, but we are all naturally slaves of sin, unable to do what is right, sometimes even when we want to. Greed, adultery, aggression, pride, substance addiction, laziness, jealousy, and yes even homosexuality are all natural human behaviours. And they all earn God’s wrath. So thanks for the reminder Kevin!

So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
(Romans 7:14-25, NLT)


A youth camp song list

For the past few years I’ve been a leader at Übertweak, a Christian youth camp. In addition to being creative with technology, playing complex outdoor wide games, and becoming progressively more sleep deprived as the week goes on, each morning we set aside some time to focus on learning about who God is and what he’s done, and part of that is music. Next camp I’m the music team coordinator, so the task of choosing which songs we’ll sing has fallen to me. Song lists could seem quite incidental, but I think they’re important. There are many competing factors which make it tricky, so I thought I’d share how I chose the songs I did.

A Futurama Fry meme: Not sure if song about God / or boyfriend

The factors

Great words and music: This one should go without saying, but sadly it can’t. Colossians 3:16 says that we are actually to use songs to teach each other, so I wanted ones that had substance to them, with at least some specific Biblical content. Before choosing the final list I asked for suggestions from the other camp leaders for songs which focus on who God is and what he has done, so that if Fry came to camp he’d have no need for his trademark expression! Each Übertweak camp has a theme, so I also tried to find some which fit this one’s theme: God’s Awesome Plan.

Appropriate for campers: We have to be mindful of who we’re choosing songs for. In this context that means 12-17 year olds, some from Christian families and some not, some with a strong mature faith, some with a new faith and some with none. While we want to avoid Christian jargon if possible, it doesn’t means we should pitch down to the youngest campers; instead we should pitch up, it is a time for teaching after all. We also have to be careful with what I call “responsive” songs. Hillsong’s This is our God might be an appropriate song to sing in church, but at a camp with comparatively few strong Christians it would either disengage those who aren’t, or they may get swept along with and feel they must sing what their heart does not really believe.

A range of tempos and moods: This was the easiest factor. In addition to making a list of songs I also planned out a schedule for each day. We’ll start with some fast songs to wake everyone up, before moving towards slower contemplative ones.

Old favourites vs new hits: It’s hard to learn a large bunch of new songs at once, and though that may be unavoidable for some campers, I wanted to minimise it if possible. Out of the eleven songs on the list at least seven have been sung at previous camps. And as Übertweak is non-denominational I wanted to choose songs from a range of different Christian circles. (The list below has who I associate some of the songs with. Unfortunately no songs from Emu/AFES made the final list, though No Other Name by Trevor Hodge came close.) The camp schedule means we’ll be singing 22 songs in total. I wanted to give the campers a chance to learn the songs, so the new songs are introduced one per day, and almost all including the old ones are repeated twice, with our theme song being sung four times. This is a shorter list than some of the previous camps, but repetition is good, and it’s easier on the music team!

The songs

All because of Jesus by Steve Fee (2007): This is one of our openers.

All I have is Christ by Jordan Kauflin (2008, Sovereign Grace): This is a new song for camp. We sing it at church and I think it’s a good song to finish with.

Amazing Grace (My chains are gone) by John Newton/Chris Tomlin (2006, Passion): I really dislike Chris Tomlin’s version, but the team thought this one would be good to include; it’s also the only song from before this century! I’ll be mixing up which verses we sing because I cannot stand the “You are forevvvver minnne” part at the end.

By Faith by Keith & Kristyn Getty (2009): This is our theme song! It’s a great to encourage us to trust God’s plan, and a good song in general.

Christ is Risen by Matt Maher (2009).

Creator by The Lads (2002): An Übertweak tradition, it’s not possible to go through a week without Creator! We’ll start Friday morning with it.

Happy Day by Tim Hughes (2006): Another opener.

Indescribable by Laura Story (2004, Passion).

Our God by Chris Tomlin (2010, Passion): Chris Tomlin makes it into the list twice with this, one of our closers. (I always say I don’t like Chris Tomlin’s songs, but I think that’s more his adaptations of old hymns, such as Amazing Grace and the Wonderful Cross. Some of his original songs are quite decent.)

Promises by Sanctus Real (2012, the radio!): When I heard this song on 96.5 I thought it would be a great addition to the Übertweak music list, and it fits the topic so well too!

Tell the World by Joul Houston (2004, Hillsong): Another Übertweak favourite, and the first song we’ll be singing on camp.