Monday, December 24, 2007

Immanuel Iwuamadi....

It doesn't seem right that Immanuel is no longer with us, the irony of his name sticks in my throat this evening; at this time of year as we come to terms with his death.

Immanuel moved to Poplar Corps when were there with his wife and became a valuable member and pillar of our congregation. He was a solid member of the church, a true support to our ministry, someone who to spend time with made a difference to you, a member of a small congregation that developed in his front room first in Bethnal Green then Bow - above all he was a valued friend. Someone to laugh with, to feel totally relaxed in the presence of his generosity.

He taught me far more than he will ever realise, his wisdom impacting me deeper than he ever intended. His favoured prayer phrases are indelibly embedded on my memory - and as a 'mother hen gathers her chicks under her wing' may God in his love and mercy gather Immanuel's young family to him as they come to terms of life without their father and husband.

There have been many Africans in my life that have called me brother - Immanuel was truly that to me and I to him - I'll miss him. His life has been like that of a 'mustard seed - that so small grows into the largest of trees' there will be many that will miss him.

He will rise again...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ricky Gervais and The Archbishop of Canterbury - BBC 5 live



There was an interesting conversation on Radio 5 between Ricky Gervais and The Archbishop of Canterbury on matters of faith.

Here's a taster...

Ricky Gervais: "The biggest mistake he [God] made was giving me free will..."

The Archbishop of Canterbury: "A lot of theologians would agree with you there...!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wright, N.T. (1996). Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Volume 2).

I'm getting to grips with how to read NT Wright; concentrate on the first two sentences and the concluding sentences of a paragraph, be prepared for your brain to be mugged and turned over in between while NT substantiates his thoughts and arguments!

Jesus and the Victory of God looks at and makes sense of key themes within Jesus. The strongest themes being that of the Temple cleansing and the Last Supper, through which come a strong essence of Messiahship and Kingdom of God. His approach based on what he calls the 'third quest' raises questions of how Jesus' words and action would have been interpreted, and through doing so peels back centuries of theological silt that has been build up through different cultural and ecclesiastical agenda's. NT Wright reveals a profundity to concepts that have been watered down and makes connections with what is obvious - Jesus' Jewishness.

Here is my highlight's package, it consists of insights, questions and areas for me to think through.

NT - on dichotomy...

The distinction of ‘word’ and ‘deed’ has clear warrant in Lk 24:19… we should not suppose that it represents a sharp disjunction between two unrelated entities. Jesus’ contemporaries would have found that very odd indeed. Pp171
NT - on miracles...

Jesus’ healing miracles must be seen clearly as bestowing the gift of shalom,
wholeness, to those who lacked it, bringing not only physical health but renewed
membership in the people of YHWH pp 192

NT on the Kingdom of God...

Kingdom of God was not a vague phrase, or a cipher with a general religious aura. It had nothing much, at least in the first instance, to do with what happened to human beings after they died. The reverent periphrasis ‘kingdom of heaven’, so long misunderstood by some Christians to mean ‘a place, namely heaven, where saved souls go to live after death’, meant nothing of the sort in Jesus’ world: it was simply a Jewish way of talking about Israel’s god becoming king. And when this god became king, the whole world, the world of space and time, would at last be put to rights. Pp 202-203

NT on repentance...
The most plausible historical reconstruction of Jesus’ call to repent brings together, the two emphasis – returning to YHWH so that the exile may come to an end and renunciation of nationalist violence. Pp 251
NT on forgiveness of sins...

From the point of view of a first century Jew, ‘forgiveness of sins’ could never simply be a private blessing, though to be sure it was that as well…. Overarching the situation of the individual was the state of the nation as a whole; and as long as Israel remained under the rule of pagans, as long as the Torah was not observed perfectly, as long as the temple was not restored , so Israel longed for ‘forgiveness of sins’ as the great, unrepeatable, eschatological and national blessing promised by her god. Pp 271

What Jesus was offering, in other words, was not an different religious system. It was a new world order, the end of Israel’s long desolation, the true and final ‘forgiveness of sins’, the inauguration of the kingdom of god. Pp 272

NT on how Jesus saw himself...

Jesus saw himself as a prophet announcing and inaugurating the kingdom of YHWH; he believed himself to be Israel’s true Messiah; he believed that the kingdom would be brought about by means of his own death at the hands of the pagans. He believed, that is, that the message of the Isaianic herald was coming true at last: Israel’s god was becoming king; ‘Babylon’ was being defeated, and the exile was over at last pp 612
NT on Jesus' task...

Focus on a young Jewish prophet telling a story about YHWH returning to Zion as judge and redeemer, and then embodying it by riding into the city in tears, symbolizing the Temple’s destruction and celebrating the final exodus…. He would be the pillar of cloud and fire for the new exodus. He would embody in himself the returning and redeeming action of the covenant God. Pp 653

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What Are We Waiting For?

"This deeply dynamic day conference is being hosted by Spring Harvest and King's College London on January 26th 2008. Featuring top theologians, thinkers and communicators, the day will get to grips with the subject of Christian Eschatology and Contemporary Culture."

What Are We Waiting For? is a one-off, one day conference from Spring Harvest and King’s College London for church leaders and members who are passionate about the place of theology in the church. Featuring leading thinkers and theologians, the programme will unpack the major themes of Christian eschatology, including the Second Coming of Christ, the end of the world as we know it, eschatology in the Old and New Testament, the doctrines of heaven and hell and contemporary issues such as art, culture and the environment.

26 January 2008 King’s College London
The Strand, London 9.30am to 5.30pm

£12
Booking line 01825 769000

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mission as Action in Hope...

Brueggemann challenges the capacity of the people of God in mission to practice a hope that is rooted solely in God's own hope.

Brueggemann mixes it up with NT Wright's overarching theme of 'New Creation' and task of the Church as a focus for mission while reflecting on Mission as Action in Hope. The symposium's premise was simple but effective:


"The Mission is Missio Dei;
The action is God's action in mending creation;
The hope is God's hope for a new creation"

By making sense of the church's purpose to witness to God's intention and making sense of God's purpose of bringing the 'whole creation to well-being (shalom)', Brueggemann challenges the capacity of the people of God in mission to practice a hope that is rooted solely in God's own hope. This invites thinking on the part of the church to take up its responsibility as a 'counteractor of hope in every dimension of life' concerning:

  • economic disparities midst God's abundance,

  • political oppression midst God's justice,

  • environmental exploitation midst God's fruitfulness,

  • destruction of the social fabric of health, education and welfare midst God's homemaking,

  • the claims of natural sciences midst the mystery of God,

  • destruction of community via class, race, gender in the midst of God's vision of unity,

  • deep and lethal despair among those who have received 'everything' and whose lives yet are absent of joy.

Brueggemann. (2007: 161ff). Hope for the World. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mission...? Bah Humbug...

I used to think that much of mission talk was pretty much subjective; that you could maintain a partisan approach to mission and that was okay; that mission was much a point of opinion. However, I am struggling to stomach that anymore...

Grumpy old man here, 42 this month and I feel some intolerance coming on, not difficult after a day Christmas shopping, people walking too slowly, stopping to look at things in the shops (for goodness sake!!), offering me loyalty cards...! "NO BETHAN I AM NOT STRESSED... I AM SHOPPING.....THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS!"

For another thing .... I used to think that much of mission talk was pretty much subjective; that you could maintain a partisan approach to mission and that was okay; that mission was much a point of opinion, a point of view. However, I am struggling to stomach that anymore – as I see our mission narrative as a point of deep theology and can understand why Martin Kähler, (1908) would describe mission as the mother of all theology.

So I am troubled by a mission narrative that is outside that of:-

  • the Reign of God;

  • the gospel that Jesus 'was and is';

  • our call to be signposts of hope;

  • salvation as shown through Jesus’ life and ministry;

  • the counter cultural message that Jesus is Lord;

  • our unequivocal call as church to signpost that which culminates 'New Creation';

  • Romans 8 and our task to discover how righteousness should be met in us;

  • the demands and opportunities of our post-christian culture;

  • TSA's highly contextual heritage;

When I hear a mission narrative that is born largely of the enlightenment; when I hear a mission narrative that could resemble a subtle form of Gnosticism; when I hear a mission narrative that compels an approach to mission content with throwing answers at people who are not asking the questions - the distraction and lack of theology makes me feel sad.

There you go ..... sorry .... but I am feeling grumpy......!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Liverpool Nativity....

Sorry it didn't seem to happen for me! Maybe I need to check the lyrics closer but I thought the links were a little too tenuous and lost the sense of plausibility that the Manchester Passion had. Help me if I missed something? Maybe I need to watch it again. Having said that there was some good lines in the narration that I wish I had jotted down at the time.

Good to see Liverpool Walton band playing 'Get Back...' (I think?) shame the flugel player rushed his semi-quavers!! ( :o) sorry Pete!!)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thomas à Kempis ... Highlights

"Without the Way, there is no going, Without the Truth, there is no knowing, Without the Life, there is no living."

"If thou wilt receive profit, read with humility, simplicity and faith, and seek not at any time the fame of being learned."

"At the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done."

"If, however, you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Him."

“If you do absolutely nothing about your small faults, you will, little by little, fall into greater ones.”

“Many of us are kept back from spiritual progress and amendment of life because we fear the difficulties we are sure to meet and the effort it will cost us to overcome them. Nevertheless, the one who makes progress in the spiritual life is the very one who vigorously and strenuously strives to overcome these seemingly impossible obstacles. Both profit and merit are greater when we overcome ourselves and subject our will to our spirit.”

Thomas à Kempis

---------

A useful online and accessible 'Imitation of Christ' translation can be found here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thomas à Kempis ... Reflection

My soul, always find your rest in the Lord more than in anything else, for He is the everlasting rest of the saints.

Dear loving Jesus, allow me to find my rest in You above any created thing (Rom.8:19-22) and above any health and beauty, glory and honor, power and dignity, knowledge and cleverness, riches and arts, joy and gladness, fame and praise, pleasure and comfort, hope and promise, and any deserving and desire.

Let it be above any gifts or favors that You might give to me, above any humour and celebration that the mind can conceive and feel. Let my rest in You be more than all this, and even higher than all the host of Heaven, including angels and archangels and anything visible or invisible. Let it be more than anything that is not You, my God.

Thomas à Kempis (Imitation of Christ)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thomas à Kempis and keys to peace...

Four Keys to Peace…

  • Strive to do another’s will rather than your own;
  • Choose to have less than more;
  • Seek the lower places in life – dying to the need to be recognised and important.
  • Desire that the will of God may be completely fulfilled in you.

Imitation of Christ (Thomas à Kempis)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thomas à Kempis on temptation...

We did a bit of work on Thomas à Kempis and the Imitation of Christ this week and had an interesting conversation about temptation. Would a monk from 500+ years really know what temptation is? I think he had a good idea even if his concept of a Wii would be somewhat different!

Here are his four steps by which temptation becomes sin…

  • The thought is allowed to enter into our minds;
  • The imagination is sparked by the thought;
  • We feel pleasure at the fantasy and we entertain it;
  • We engage in the evil action, assenting to its urges.

Imitation of Christ (Thomas à Kempis)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The guilt trip...

When I read some books they make me feel so guilty; I’ve got through the stage where I beat myself up because my prayer life isn’t as spectacular as Paul Yongi Cho; that my sense of holiness falls so short of Brengle; that my community justice isn’t as intense as Jim Wallis.

However there seems to be a new brand of Christian book that needs a warning on the cover. If you are not taking the environment as seriously as the re-cycled pages of the book you are reading - be ready to be feel pretty miserable by the end. That is unless of course you have already converted your car to run on cooking oil? That you have re-plumbed your water so that you re-cycle your shower water to flush your toilet to then water your organic tomatoes?!

Shane Claiborne – seems to lead the way and his message is definitely one well worth listening to and being challenged by. So when I met him the other week when I was taking Eryn to school – was I pleased we were on our bikes!? I was introduced to him while he was waiting for a bus to take him to the Faithworks conference - that would be a fossil fuel powered bus - I felt pretty smug with my non-fossil fuel form of transport, that not only was second hand, but also borrowed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Liverpool Nativity....

Those who remember the Manchester Passion on BBC might be interested in The Liverpool Nativity - press release here.

"Liverpool Nativity tells the story of the first Christmas through the music of Liverpool. The familiar songs will be performed by characters in the drama and a live orchestra with fresh musical arrangements."

I'm not sure if Harry Enfield has been part of the casting but I hope the three wise men are truly scouse!!

Sunday 16 December, 8pm, BBC Three.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Thomas Merton on tradition...

"...human traditions all tend towards stagnation and decay. They try to perpetuate things that cannot be perpetuated. They cling to objects and values which time destroys without mercy." (New Seeds of Contemplation . 1972:111)

Ringma develops these thoughts further:


"When traditions are no longer life-giving; no longer empower people; no longer reflect the strange values of God's upside-down kingdom; and when they are no longer relevant as an embodiment of contemporary understandings of faith and life in the light of the gospel, then traditions need to be renewed from within..."

Ringma, C. (2003). Seek the Silences with Thomas Merton.


So tradition is good ... as long as it is life-giving; empowering; reflects the Kingdom; is relevant in the light of gospel ... not a bad check list to work from.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Romans 8 ... righteousness and the task of the church

Apparently if you are being interviewed by NT Wright for the ministry, he is keen to ask what four portions of scripture you would take to a desert island. Romans 8 would have to be up there for me and it is a welcome distraction for me to disappear into when it looks good to be looking in a bible!!! Every time I read it I see something different. Here is what it is doing to me at the moment.

The depth of meaning of the word righteousness fascinates me in that because of Jesus, that righteousness is met in us. As co-heirs we have an obligation to this outworking of righteousness, why? Because the future glory of God’s creation is to be met in us as we take the obligation to be signposts of New Creation seriously. It is amazing that as co-heirs God equips us for this task through making us more than conquerors and that through us God’s will for his creation will be fulfilled.

I suppose it leaves us to ask - is the fullness and depth of the concept of righteousness found in us as individuals and in our understanding of the church’s task?

I suppose it leaves us to ask - are we working in partnership with God by allowing Him to equip us for His task, or have we an understanding of the task of the church shaped by a subtle Gnosticism?

I suppose it leaves us to ask - how seriously do we understand and engage with God’s will for his creation.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Incarnate...

"...A three day forum to consider what it is to engage with God and creation for people living in communities of deprivation... a space to think, reflect and discuss...."

Read more and print the application form here

The first day of the forum (29 January 2008) is the latest one day conference hosted by William Booth College. So if you want to come along and hear Geoff Ryan and Stuart Murray-Williams email me on gordon [dot] cotterill [@] salvationarmy [dot] org [dot] uk and I will forward your application. Did I mention that the first day is sponsored by SISTAD (not the Israeli secret service - but the in-service training section of TSA) so it is free!

Come and hear how Mission and Spiritual Formation can only be one in action!!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rob Bell interviewed...

God created us to be co-creators and to further shalom, to carry shalom forward, so, I would argue that at the core of most spiritual longing is to find your proper place in the kingdom of shalom

Interesting interview with Rob Bell in the newlook Tearfund magazine you can read the whole interview here. Here is a snippet that would fit within the false dichotomy of mission theme. (The False Dichotomy of Mission)

"In Tear Times last year Jim Wallis said that the connection between spiritual hunger and social justice was what the world was waiting for – what do you think that looks like?

RB - Well I think the fundamental hungers that people have are for meaning and for community and for task, which goes back to genesis one and two in which God created us to be co-creators and to further shalom, to carry shalom forward, so, I would argue that at the core of most spiritual longing is to find your proper place in the kingdom of shalom, and you can’t when people don’t have enough food.

Someone said something along the lines of ‘your greatest passion and the world’s greatest need – when those two meet, that’s your calling, and ultimate purposes for humanity are not… and then 'When you are you, then we can be we’, a great African phrase, so yeah, I think that we have lots of people who come to our church and they get plugged into some form of mission and then begin
to find God in very real ways.

But to present people with a gospel that’s all about Jesus just wants to save you – I mean the original call in exodus 19 is for a kingdom of priests – and the priest mediates the divine, so the call is never just to leave Egypt – we talked about this at Tearfund – the call is to leave Egypt and to be a certain kind of presence the world. So when you say hey, we’re out of Egypt, isn’t that great, you’re saved – as Paul says in Ephesians 2, mizboh – you’re saved to do good deeds, to repair and restore the world. So yeah, he’s right on.

Couldn’t agree more!"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lost Voices of Mission...Catherine Hine

Okay here's a new trend for all you pomo; em.ch; salvo types - forget your goatees; forget your piercings; 'aggresive' battle gear - this is the tattoo you want, I'm almost tempted myself being due a mid-life crisis in June next year!

I photocopied it from the original Chinese corps flag that was planted in Limehouse, East London in the early part of 20c. A fantastic story of Catherine Hine fed up with her HQ appointment, who decided to walk down to and eventually live in the Chinese community of Limehouse. If you want to find a story of incarnation try and find Catherine Hine's story. While working at THQ she spent every spare minute she had in the laundry's run by the Chinese community, getting to know the women who worked there, being part of their community; their lives.

She lived out the gospel without speaking a word of Mandarin; communicating through pictures she made the message and life of Jesus known. A corps was established and quickly grew through the authentic and unrelenting presence of Catherine Hine. A flag was presented and the Mandarin to the left was embroidered on it - Blood and Fire...!

I'm beginning to collect Lost Voices of Mission - Catherine Hine is my number 1.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just a bit of graffiti...

I saw my first major Banksy without really looking last week; a major bit of clever graffiti art, no-one but my Nephew Shae seemed that bothered and so we wandered back for the shot. But I have started looking for some other chalkings that are around the city.



I learned about them at the Drop In that I help out at in King's Cross; basically it is a street code to guide people who are on the street as to what kind of place is safe or not; what kind of place serves food or not; what kind of place is friendly or not; where is good to sleep or not.

It is a fascinating code and now I am on the look out. It is called the 'Homeless City Guide'

I'm not entirely sure how clear this guide will come out - but you'll get the picture.*

As I walked home from Faith House I looked out for the marks - have to say I didn't get to see any; but got thinking what mark would I want to see outside my church?

What mark does your church deserve?

(*Click on the graphic for a bigger image...)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Out of the mouths of a gas man...

A new cooker arrived today. Mick, the guy who delivered it and installed it was interested in that I worked in the Training College. "So what d'you do in there mate..."

Talking to his back while he huffed and puffed to get the cooker connected; talking through grunts and shouts to his mate in the cellar; talking to him while he got me to sign in triplicate - I wasn't sure whether he was really that bothered.

As he walked out, the deed done he turned to me "So what you're telling me is that you tell them how to go in to a place and how not to go into a place..."

Two years teaching neatly summarised - thanks Mick...!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A word of thanks...

"Peter Crouch has urged fans not to make Scott Carson the scapegoat for England's Euro 2008 exit..."

Unbelievable who would think about doing that - the guy is a hero; the saviour of English football, in fact I feel I need to express my thanks to Scott Carson.

Thanks to him spilling a slippery speculative shot and being routed to the spot appealing for an offside we were 2-0 down even before our new small group started last night. Despite almost being let down by a Lampard penalty and a Crouch volley - thankfully Scott managed to push the ball into the net instead of around the post. We crash out of Euro 08 - What a relief! The prospect of embarrassing Steve McClaren directed football has been averted now forever!

Scott - you may not be your clubs no. 1 goalkeeper - but I want to thank you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

messing my trousers...!

I got so excited yesterday I ended up messing my trousers! ... Perhaps I should explain?

I drove Eryn to school yesterday because it was pouring, as I drove home the sun came out and while I parked the car in the college the inevitable rainbow appeared. It couldn't have been better, the sky behind was pitch black as the rain moved away; the rainbow looked almost comically false as it arched over the college tower in the perfect picture. Then it got better. The rainbow doubled; was spectacular and needed catching.

Committed to getting the shot, I run, taking a shortcut across the grass at the back of our house. I'm running full pelt in my Salvation Army uniform when I realise that this wasn't a great idea. The ground is sodden and treacherous and I slip over in a heap and slide along in the thick mud. I bounce back to my feet and disappear into our back garden and run for the camera.

It all happened in a matter of seconds but it is enough for the moment to have disappeared all but in my mind - dripping in mud it has been all for nothing! At least it has given people something to smile about because of course the whole mud slide was well and truly observed! WBC is a small community!

I looked today and the skid marks were pretty significant!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shiny Headed Prophet...

Always good to meet up with Rob AKA theshinyheadedprophet who has yet to prove himself as a mad axeman! I am always grateful that I started blogging when I meet people that I wouldn't have met otherwise.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thank you...

Israel 2 v 1 Russia!

Please England don't mess up on Wednesday!

(A polite note to Hezbollah - this is about England almost off the hook thanks to Israel's recent victory over Russia. I'd be grateful if you didn't kidnap me or blow this blog up for my support of Israel this weekend - thank you!).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Holland...

I always have an inward smile when people feel the need to say on their blog that they are speaking at a conference somewhere abroad!

Anyway ... !

Back on Monday!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Long way up...

If you are going to spend 16 hours in a car you couldn't do much better than travelling with a good friend who has a deep and enquiring theological mind.

We were driving to a Salvation Army conference in Glasgow with the gear for an Alt. Worship experience called 'A Deeper Chill....' that the college put together as an after hours event.

I knew that I would have to drive the gear up, so I twisted Matt Spencer's arm to come with me on a road trip north. 800 miles later we had covered a lot of ground in more ways than one and I was better for our time together.

Father and Daughter...

Nephew Ollie took this without us knowing while we were watching the Lord Mayor's show.

I liked it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Out and about...

It has been some time since I was a tourist in London; Kate's family was up for the weekend so we had a good excuse to see some of the sights, I even took the camera and enjoyed being a 'sight-seer' for the day.

I enjoyed getting along to see Doris Salcedo's Shibboleth or the 'Crack' in The Tate Modern. I started something off by getting this picture of Eryn from inside the crack!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Miller, D (2003) Blue like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality ... 4/4

Nothing too spectacular with this last Blue like Jazz highlight; but a profound reminder how spiritual formation makes sense of mission and mission makes sense of spiritual formation.

"Love your neighbour as yourself" pp231

Here's the point. 'So how do you do that if your self esteem is as low as it gets?'

Miller, D (2003) Blue like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Monday, November 05, 2007

The loss of a friend...

There was a sadness at Faith House tonight.

I didn't know James' story but he had friends at the homeless men's drop in that I help out at on Monday evenings. James was someone who had moved on from where a lot of the men find themselves. He had been there and 'come through'; he even helped out in the kitchen cooking the food for the guys as they gathered as family.

Apparently James had been clean of drugs for some time, but James died last week, of a perhaps a drugs overdose, or a pretty potent batch that he was unused to. I could tell those who thought much of him, they were quiet and left early.

There was a sadness at Faith House tonight.

Friday, November 02, 2007

the agenda of surprise...


Recently I came to a surprising conclusion.

While 'Evangelical' is a loaded word with uncomfortable connections with narrow fundamentalism, there is a central construct of evangelicalism that is essential for me. That is the importance and centrality of the 'inspired word of God' as a guide for faith and Christian living.

I could be open to major misunders-tanding here -neither wanting to appear critical, judgemental or an evangelical of the nutter variety - but I think the problem I have is that 'We're not evangelical enough!!

I am increasingly conscious of how disposable and 'off pat' phrases like salvation, heaven, gospel, righteousness, holiness, kingdom, evangelism and of course mission have become. Used like glaced cherries on iced cakes, because what is an iced cake without a glaced cherry! The trouble is I've never liked glaced cherries, I generally spit them out, now I don't even consider them!

I wonder if we have become lazy with our exegesis *, our understanding of scripture; in it's place a diluted form of understanding shaped not by scripture but a 'pass the parcel' form of theology akin to Chinese whispers that results not in deep nuggets of truth but glaced cherries waiting to be spat politely out!

I could be open to major misunderstanding here -neither wanting to appear critical, judgemental or an evangelical of the nutter variety - but I think the problem I have is that 'We're not evangelical enough!!' Let's do the exegesis properly and cut out the 'Chinese whispers' and re-discover the task of the church in God's creation.

----


* extensive and critical interpretation of an authoritative text

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

William Booth on Mission's False Dichotomy...

I stumbled across an interesting article from 1889 written by William Booth; called 'Salvation for Both Worlds', William Booth charts an interesting journey.
Booth's desire was simple from the outset, 'to advance [God's] honour and carry out [God's] wishes on the earth'. The year before 'Darkest England and the Way Out' was published Booth's theology of mission takes an interesting turn.


Booth acknowledges an initial, seemingly straight forward and unsurprising theology that reflects a familiar understanding of salvation, from which there should be no distraction. 'Temporal modification' was in his mind 'trivial, almost contemptible.'

"What were the sorrows of earth when compared with everlasting damnation? Their temporary comfort or discomfort was as to nothing compared with the business of their rescue."

Booth goes on to outline how he became increasing impacted by the brokenness of society and the 'earthly miseries' he saw around him - but seeing no remedy, Booths' concept of mission remained concise and to the point "if we cannot save them for time, we will save them for eternity".

Booth's desire was simple from the outset, 'to advance [God's] honour and carry out [God's] wishes on the earth'. The year before 'Darkest England and the Way Out' was published Booth's theology of mission takes an interesting turn. The article reads almost like a testimony of how Booth recognised the shaping and morphing of his theology. It is interesting to hear Booth as he says:
"... as I came to look more closely into things and gathered more experience of the ways of God to man, I discovered that the miseries from which I ought to save man in the next world were substantially the same as those from which I everywhere found him suffering in this..."
Booth's conclusion reflects an interesting breadth in his understanding of mission:

"I saw that when the bible said “He that believeth shall be saved”, it meant not only saved from the miseries of the future world, but from the miseries of this also. That it came with the promise of salvation here and now; from hell and sin and vice and idleness and extravagance and consequently very largely from poverty and disease, and the majority of kindred woes."
I wonder what Booth would say to us still struggling with this one 118 years later?


I want to discover how and when this blind spot, false dichotomy, dualistic sense of mission - that William Booth had moved on from - crept back in. I might then be able to understand why such dualism is currently so well maintained and even nourished, and why the breadth of mission that Booth discovered is so vehemently derided.

So here's Booth on Mission's False Dichotomy:

"Christ is the deliverer for time as truly as for eternity..."

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Swanwick Highlight...

And I've heard religion say you're to be feared

But I don't buy into everything I hear

And it seems to me you're hostage to those rules

That were made by religion and not by you
Driving to and from Swanwick was a highlight for being able to have some quality time not only with Kate, but also Sinead O'Connor's latest album Theology.

Track 3 'Out Of The Depths' got repeated quite a few times with the melody and lyrics haunting within their insight.

Out of the depths I cry to you oh lord
don't let my cries for mercy be ignored
If you keep account of sins oh who would stand?
But you have forgiveness in your hands

And I've heard religion say you're to be feared
But I don't buy into everything I hear
And it seems to me you're hostage to those rules
That were made by religion and not by you

And I'm wondering will u ever get yourself free
Is it bad to think you might like help from me?
Is there anything my little heart can do
To help religion share us with you?

For oh you're like a ghost in your own home
Nobody hears you crying all alone
Oh you are the one true really voiceless one
They have their backs turned to you for worship of gold and stone

And to see you prisoner oh makes me weep
Nobody hears you screaming in the streets
And it's sad but true how the old saying goes
If God lived on earth people would break his windows

I long for you as watchmen long for the end of night

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Swanwick 2007

Off here for a couple of days to be inspired and refreshed at what is affectionally known as Officers Councils! What's great this year is that our old division will be there and it'll be great to meet up with a few old friends.

I'm going with realistic expectations and the agenda of wanting to be surprised.

See you there!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Being a Blessing...

"Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier." Mother Teresa

Charles Ringma points out that "A central impulse to living the Christian life is that we seek to do good to others. We want to help not hinder, bless not curse, build up not tear down, encourage not alienate."

He goes on to warn that this desire must come from a 'good place'. Guilt or 'self-aggrandizement' is not a good place. The need to be needed or from the desire to please others is not a good place. Helping and serving people with these motivations and intentions is inuthentic and ceases to be the blessing that it wass intended to be. Ringma challenges us "being a blessing must come from a very different place."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lessons in Worship...

I make a mental note to explore the possibility with God whether, next time he wants to get creative and teach the congregation a lesson, if he could humiliate someone else!

There is not an easy way of saying this: I broke my G string in public worship this week. As the guitar started to lose its tuning I looked at the running order of worship with relief - next up, the singing group, enough time to restring my G string. My heart sank as our officer leading worship mentioned that the group would not be singing and that we would continue in singing Holy Holy (incidentally how many songs are there in your part of the world with holy, holy ad infinitum in the title? In the UK we have one with at least five holy’s!!). Before I played the necessary D chord I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, and it wasn’t.

Not wanting to let the side down I start to bellow out the Holy, Holy song acapella, the congregation join gamefully in. Two lines in and the mix of my holy with their holy wasn’t happening. You see I was singing Holy, Holy, but they were singing Holy, Holy, Holy - I’m not sure but there might even have been a strain of Holy, Holy, Holy (Holy, Holy). Whatever, the creativity of the moment was lost on everyone and it all collapsed and I slink off in a way that makes sure everyone knows I have a broken string!

The sermon - basically a challenge to our congregation to move beyond a consumerism of worship and to discover the heart of worship. I smile as our officer speaks about worship as more than a song, and wonder if anyone else has caught the creativity of the out-of-tune worship.

I make a mental note to explore the possibility with God whether, next time he wants to get creative and teach the congregation a lesson, if he could humiliate someone else!

----

I used this on theRubicon this week with a different ending (here)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Miller, D (2003) Blue like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality ... 3/4

Miller on Institution...
the starting point perhaps is the discovery of God's agenda for his creation as expressed through Jesus' life, death and resurrection, rather than the church's agenda as formed within Christendom.

IT SHOULD BE SAID I AM AN INDEPENDENT PERSON. I don't like institutionalized anything. I don't like corporations. I am not saying institutions and corporations are wrong, or bad I am only saying I don't like them. Some people don't like classical music, some people don't like pizza, I don't like institutions. My dislike might stem from a number of things, from the nonpersonal feel I get when I walk into a corporate office or the voicemail system I encounter when I call my bank. It might be the nonengaged look on every fast-food worker's face or the phone calls I receive in the 'middle of dinner asking me what longdistance carrier I use. Those people never want to just talk; they always have an agenda. pp129

Miller, D (2003) Blue like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

Not much else to add to an insight of contemporary society on the phenomenon of institution. However well meaning and noble the church's agenda - it still is very much that ... an agenda. To communicate the rule of God, His kingdom beyond that of an agenda is a challenge - the starting point perhaps is the discovery of God's agenda for his creation as expressed through Jesus' life, death and resurrection, rather than the church's agenda as formed within Christendom.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Brother Gordon on faith...

I came over all Desert Fatherish yesterday during what the Training College call 'spiritual days' (we have a riot on the 358 non-spiritual days!). The theme of the day had been on faith and we had all been given the choice to discuss a variety of texts. My choice - God outlining his purposes for Abram:
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

"I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."

Genesis 12:1-3

What hit me was the 'I Will' motif and the striking resemblance with God as 'I am'. Thinking of definitions of faith, that is when I went all Desert Fatherish and came up with

"Faith is comfort in the knowledge that the great 'I am' will" (Gordon Cotterill!)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Lost Themes of Mission - Gospel...

"It is important to stress, as Paul would do himself were he not so muzzled by his interpreters, that when he referred to "the gospel" he was not talking about a scheme of soteriology."

OK this is intriguing. We've heard the 'gospel' rhetoric, we've preached the 'gospel' in the understanding that 'gospel' = good news and that good news is that Jesus lived, died and rose again accommodating whatever theory of atonement is in vogue or catches our whim. Paul's use of the word gospel however, could be and might represent ever so much more.

NT Wright explores the concept to some depth and asks that to get to grips with the concept of 'gospel' there is a need to not only understand where the word came from, but also to get an insight as to what such a term would mean to Paul and to his readers. NT would argue that the term infers an announcement of kingship, of a new reign. The euaggelion, gospel, was announced when a new emperor was declared - 'Augustus is dead...Tiberius is Lord... on your knees and pay your taxes' - this was gospel, the announcement of a new reign. Gospel would have been used by Paul and understood by his readers in this context.

NT reiterates this by underlining this double resonance of the word "gospel" for Paul.

"On the one hand, the gospel Paul preached was the fulfilment of the message of Isaiah 40 and 52, the message of comfort for Israel and of hope for the whole world, because YHWH, the god of Israel, was returning to Zion to judge and redeem. On the other hand, in the context into which Paul was speaking, "gospel" would mean the celebration of the accession, or birth, of a king or emperor. Though no doubt petty kingdoms might use the word for themselves, in Paul's world the main "gospel" was the news of, or the celebration of, Caesar." (NT Wright)
In other words the Gospel, announced in this context, identifies Jesus Christ as the true kyrios (Lord) of the world, and subverts the prevalent cult and supposed divinity of Caesar. Jesus is announced as the risen Lord of the world within the context of a new reign, a new way of living and of being through subjection and submission not to a new Caesar, but to Jesus as Lord. Therefore nothing to do with how to be saved:
"It is important to stress, as Paul would do himself were he not so muzzled by his interpreters, that when he referred to "the gospel" he was not talking about a scheme of soteriology." (NT Wright)

My understanding of 'gospel' has lacked this context and I am left wondering whether I have been guilty of muzzling Paul, guilty of missing something obvious that is central to mission, the announcement of an alternative way of living, the announcement of the 'reign of God' shaped by the values of the Kingdom as seen in the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. As long as gospel is is 'muzzled' and kept partial 'gospel' remains, ironically a lost theme of mission.

------------

Lost Themes of Mission - Judgement...
Lost Themes of Mission - Worship...
Lost Themes of Mission - Holiness...
Lost Themes of Mission - Righteousness...
Lost Themes of Mission - Agape...
Lost Themes of Mission - Jubilee...
Lost Themes of Mission - Salvation...
Lost Themes of Mission - Shalom...
Lost Themes of Mission - Compassion...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Aussies Wilko'ed again!

Looking likely that England will play NZ in the semi's - nevermind! It was good spoiling Australia's World Cup party!


---

Did I say NZ?

C'est la vie! France it is!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Warning...

Animal lovers and anyone remotely squeamish - beware - do not look at the picture to the left!!

If your 11 year old is doing a homework project and needs a picture of a guinea pig - BEWARE GOOGLE IMAGE!!!

Bethan is still in shock and never wants to visit Peru!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Conversations I have missed...

Conversations of extreme recycling of bodily functions - ever wondered why the flower beds of the London parks look so good?

I look forward to Mondays. I remember using a quote by John le Carre who said "The desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world", I have been living dangerous life. I look forward to Monday's because that is the evening I get to go along to Faith House.

This is only my second week and I realise that I have missed this kind of ministry more that I had realised. I'm just feeling my way with the group who come along for something to eat and a chat but already I am enjoying conversations that are reminiscent to life before college. Conversations of extreme recycling of bodily functions - ever wondered why the flower beds of the London parks look so good? Conversations of time travel and the shock of slipping back seven months and actually discovering it was April. Conversations of being sectioned, violence and arrest all over a fishfinger sandwich and a cup of tea. I've missed these conversations.

As these conversations and others buzz around the room - I am struck by the beauty of something that is going. Here are a group of people whose opinions usually count for nothing, in an environment where their opinion can count for everything. Inclusion is a powerful image and value of the Kingdom.

For tomorrow it is back to my life of danger!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Trapped...



It was a little disconcerting to see Bethan do so well in the role as a saboteur on CBBC's new Friday evening programme - Trapped.

We cheered her on as she lied and cheated her way to the final, dumping her friends as she went!!

Is this what our parenting has produced!?

Oh well - it was good fun!

Tragic...


Leader of The Salvation Army in Pakistan murdered.
More news here
and

Friday, September 28, 2007

Any Cross - but Kings Cross...

There is something new in my life. Faith House. A Salvation Army presence trying to bring something of the cohesion of the Kingdom to the chaos of Kings Cross.
Kings Cross is pretty much as inner city as it gets. The kind of place that people tend to travel through, pretty quickly. Spend time there and you'll soon see all the tale tell signs of fragmentation, obvious, in your face, hardly hidden as commuters rush to their semi detaches in the home counties.

It is said that the name would strike fear into prospective Salvation Officers who would declare "Any Cross but Kings Cross!!!". Within a five minute walk from Kings Cross all the issues of a broken community easily ignored and forgotten were there to be seen. The hopeful girl looking for business, furtive glances of possibly a dealer, angry exchanges, aimless loneliness, homelessness.

There is something new in my life. Faith House. A Salvation Army presence trying to bring something of the cohesion of the Kingdom to the chaos of Kings Cross. A place of safety for the working girls, a place of community for the homeless, simply a place for those that need it. Monday nights will be my time to be involved, hopefully to support, to encourage and be part of a family that will give me more than I am sure I can give to it. Estelle and Christine with a team and network of people try to make a difference. I'm glad that I finally acted on a strong urge to get involved.

There seemed to be an irony, in that having shared sausage sandwiches with 12 or so homeless guys, as I walked home I was run over by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver on a bicycle!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lectio Divina - Luke 16:1-13 [NRSV]


Lectio -Read the passage slowly several times.

Meditatio - Reflect on the text of the passage, thinking about how to apply to one's own life.

Oratio - Respond to the passage by opening the heart to God.

Contemplatio - Opening our mind, heart and soul to the influence of God














Take time to read through the account slowly- possibly 2 or 3 times, then...

  • Identify what 'shimmers' for you?
  • Where is your focus drawn in the account ?
  • What for you is the main point?
  • What is your point of contemplation?
  • Which word or phrase has touched your heart?
  • What have you "heard" or "seen"?
Only one rule - remember that this isn't a bible study more a place of contemplation of scripture, so read comments with respect and be released from needing to respond to someone else's comment.

Proper 20, Year C

Luke 16:1-13

The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

16Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” 3Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” 5So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” 6He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” 7Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” 8And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

10 ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth,who will entrust to you the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’

Social Evils...

What are the three social evils facing society today? This survey might be interesting.

Monday, September 24, 2007

a deeper shade of grey...

I have grown tired of being provoked by narrowness of thought that lacks context beyond that of favoured, well tested quotes and proof texts

The Rubicon team have asked me to blog weekly for a new feature. Here are my opening lines...
I’ve just opened my email box to a ‘blanket’ barrage of Booth and Railton proof quotes, underpinning a message of ‘encouragement’ to do more. Links to sites to encourage me to ‘really’ understand the Great Commission, to truly know what it is to evangelise, telling me how inept I have been, how misguided, how I have compromised the gospel and my calling. Although bereft of context, to try and gain what the author intended, I’ve given the opinion respect and read the email. I feel great having started the day dosed up with some good ol’ ‘black and white’ uncompromising judgement and opinion.

The Rubicon team has asked me to contribute to– the Rubi-blog, ‘we want something pithy, provocative, and controversial’; ironically I’ve said yes. Ironic because I have grown tired of opinion, proof texts, proof quotes the life blood of many blogs. Ironic because I have grown tired of being provoked by narrowness of thought that lacks context beyond that of favoured, well tested quotes and proof texts. I’m tired of people coming into my office, lounge, garden or where-ever my wi-fi enables me and shouting opinion at me. My RSS feeder is clogged with words and opinion waiting to provoke me, while I watch a world largely unprovoked by a church busy making something of the Kingdom that is predictable and bland, wrapping the gospel up in small print and hidden agendas. I’m tired of people provoking the wrong people.

The biggest irony? I’m as guilty as anyone!

Saturday, November 29, 2003 I wrote my first post over at URBANarmy – I wrote “My mulling, musing and pondering probably - no certainly - will be of no consequence to anyone but it will be of every consequence to me!” I hold to that in my first rubi-blog post, welcome to my journey as I mull, ponder and muse! Join me, should you wish, on my journey to an uncompromising ‘deeper shade of grey’, where there are more questions than answers, as I try and make sense of challenge of the Kingdom and faith development within the context of the woven beauty of holiness and of mission.

If you are more comfortable with ‘black and white’ rhetoric, you might want to give me a miss!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Miller, D (2003) Blue like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality ... 2/4

I don't think any church has ever been relevant to culture, to the human struggle, unless it believed in Jesus and the power of His gospel.

Another Blue like Jazz highlight...
A friend of mine, a young pastor who recently started a church, talks to me from time to time about the new face of church in America-about the postmodern church. He says the new church will be different from the old one, that we will be relevant to culture and the human struggle. I don't think any church has ever been relevant to culture, to the human struggle, unless it believed in Jesus and the power of His gospel. If the supposed new church believes in trendy music and cool Web pages, then it is not relevant to culture either. It is just another tool of Satan to get people to be passionate about nothing. pp 111
Miller, D (2003) Blue like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

I have this idea buzzing around my head that the shame of the church is that it is less and less able to share and communicate the gospel, because essentially it doesn't understand the gospel for itself.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I met Rick today...

It was good to sit with Rick as he drank two cups of tea - he finished his and started on mine.

It was a bit of a busy start to the day. I had two guest speakers coming to talk about the 'Mission Development Plan' that TSA in the UK encourages its churches to work through. Before anyone gets excited and writes asking for a copy it is essentially not as exciting as its title.

The phone went and it was reception, I ran down the stairs to meet the guests but Keith nodded in the direction of Rick. "It's not who you thought it was .. but can you help....!". Rick is quite obviously a man of the road. His long matted hair and beard smother his face, but his eyes look hopeful and kind.

We chat and I find out a little of Rick's life. Rick is going back to Australia in 5 weeks, but in the meantime he is living in the park. He hasn't had a hot meal for 5 weeks and is pretty hungry. I'm loath to give tins to guys likely to cook the tins up on a fire. My memory of Marcus at Poplar coming to see me after he had almost blown his head off with a can of beans is still pretty fresh. But that is the best we can do.

It was good to sit with Rick as he drank two cups of tea - he finished his and started on mine. I'm not totally certain that Rick's story measured up, but nevertheless I met Rick today and I was the better for it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Roadside Pulpits...

I've a growing fascination with the message churches portray with their posters or 'roadside pulpits'. You know the phrases we throw like incendiary devices into our communities in order to cajole, entice people.
We are ordinary people trying to change the world.
Join us.

There is one church on the way to Thornton Heath in London that has a black 15 foot board outside their church declaring about the 'wages of sin etc...'. I should try and get a shot of it the next time I pass. I sometimes try and imagine the inevitable church council meeting that came up with the decision of what to put on the board .... "this'll get 'em". I'm probably being really unfair and have really misjudged the church, the sad thing so have- I would suggest - the 100's even 1000's of people that pass that church probably every hour.

Perhaps the eden project are on to something.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lectio Divina - Luke 14: 1-14 (NRSV)


Lectio -Read the passage slowly several times.

Meditatio - Reflect on the text of the passage, thinking about how to apply to one's own life.

Oratio - Respond to the passage by opening the heart to God.

Contemplatio - Opening our mind, heart and soul to the influence of God











Proper 17, Year C


Take time to read through the account slowly- possibly 2 or 3 times, then...

  • Identify what 'shimmers' for you?
  • Where is your focus drawn in the account ?
  • What for you is the main point?
  • What is your point of contemplation?
  • Which word or phrase has touched your heart?
  • What have you "heard" or "seen"?
Only one rule - remember that this isn't a bible study more a place of contemplation of scripture, so read comments with respect and be released from needing to respond to someone else's comment.

Luke 14:1- 14

Jesus Heals the Man with Dropsy

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. Just then, in front of him, there was a man who had dropsy. And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, ‘Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?’ But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. Then he said to them, ‘If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?’ And they could not reply to this.

Humility and Hospitality

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, “Give this person your place”, and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher”; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

He said also to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

Eryn's first day at Junior School...

I don't know who has been more nervous!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Miller, D (2003) Blue like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality..1/4

This was a quick read, a welcome break from some heavier stuff I am trying to get my head around. Nevertheless there were some highlights...
They felt like they had to sell God, as if He were soap or a vacuum cleaner, and it's like they really weren't listening to me; they didn't care, they just wanted me to buy their product.


The thing I loved about Nadine was that I never felt like she was selling anything. She would talk about God as if she knew Him, as if she had talked to Him on the phone that day. She- was never ashamed, which is the thing with some Christians I had encountered. They felt like they had to sell God, as if He were soap or a vacuum cleaner, and it's like they really weren't listening to me; they didn't care, they just wanted me to buy their product. I came to realize that I had judged all Christians on the personalities of a few. That was frightening for me, too, because it had been so easy just to dismiss Christians as nuts, but here was Nadine. I didn't have a category for her. pp46
Miller, D (2003) Blue like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

The power of being an uncategorisable Christian ... not too sure how good at that we are?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Cotterill Drought breakers...

For those that really think that I exaggerate about the change in weather whenever we get our tent out!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Some links...

Predictable weather meant lots of reading and scrabble - happy to pass my holiday scrabble crown onto the victorious Kate (for this year). Of course the inaugural summer Kubb championship was won by yours truly!

Anyway, I've just added these links to my Spiritual Formation collection to explore at some point.

centering prayer

The Merton Institute

The Lay Community of St. Benedict

finding sanctuary

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Holiday 2007

It's that time again.

Weather forecast seems predictable for a Cotterill camping expedition!

Lot's of books and Kubb queued up.

Back in a fortnight

Friday, August 10, 2007

Three reasons why...?

Conversely - again stay anon if you want - but how about three reasons why...?

Three reasons why not...?

I've been working on a chapter of a book with another member of staff. The book is looking at the concept of Call and Commission and the chapter we were asked to write is on the Institutional Churches response to the falling away of those entering training for ministry.

Stay anon should you wish but if anyone has time to comment by leaving 3 reasons why Colleges is not the route for them to fulfill the sense of God's direction in their life.

Thanks

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang...

Yesterday we had a family trip to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang thanks to Grandma in Southampton.

Ok - a flying car on stage was pretty good! Watching the eyes pop out of Eryn's head was even better!

Lectio Divina - Luke 12:32-40 (NRSV)

Lectio -Read the passage slowly several times.

Meditatio
- Reflect on the text of the passage, thinking about how to apply to one's own life.

Oratio
- Respond to the passage by opening the heart to God.

Contemplatio
- Opening our mind, heart and soul to the influence of God.











Proper 14, Year C

Take time to read through the account slowly- possibly 2 or 3 times, then...
  • Identify what 'shimmers' for you?
  • Where is your focus drawn in the account ?
  • What for you is the main point?
  • What is your point of contemplation?
  • Which word or phrase has touched your heart?
  • What have you "heard" or "seen"?
Only one rule - remember that this isn't a bible study more a place of contemplation of scripture, so read comments with respect and be released from needing to respond to someone else's comment.

Luke 12:32-40

‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Watchful Slaves

‘Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

‘But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’