Saturday, July 28, 2007

Devangelism...!

Jonny Baker snapped this picture in Eastbourne and introduces us to the concept of devangelism.

Don't be too hard on the Granny - think how good you are at devangelism!!?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lectio Divina - Luke 10:38-42 (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 11, 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.
Jesus visits Mary and Martha

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bono on Youtube...

Martin has discovered the Bono and Bill Hybels conversation that I mentioned a while back here

The search results in Youtube are here

Thanks Martin!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Commissioning Highlights...

There were many highlights for me this weekend. I was surprised how emotional I felt seeing The Heralds of Good News session being commissioned - I guess this year we have spent quite a bit of time together and it is the first time of saying goodbye to people I have enjoyed journeying with this year.

But for me Eryn - our youngest - stole the show. We explained that we had to go to the 'flag ceremony' (the 'final' goodbye!) and that it was not for children just for adults. Eryn looked at Kate and said "does that mean that there is going to be lots of swearing then!!!"

When the flag fell off the wall and hit someone on the head who knows - she might have been right!!!*

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* Please forgive me - the fact that the flag fell off the wall and hit someone on the head is true - however the suggestion that anyone might have sworn is simply story adornment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I am an Independent clapper....!

There have been some very long meetings this week, with lots of singing and a fair bit of clapping too.

Is this just a UK thing or is this worldwide? When a classic hymn is sung that has high clapability, the general rule of thumb is that the congregation will do a united on the beat clap. Conversely when - dare I say - a more contemporary song or chorus is sung that equally is clapable a congregation will slip into an off beat mode of clapping.

Well I stand before you as an independent clapper, I refuse to be institutionalised and bullied by the crowd. I proudly defied institution by employing a off beat clap for the traditional songs and a determined on beat clap for the contemporary songs.

Will you join me? Stand up for your rights and be an independent clapper!

Let Google find us by posting "I am an independent Clapper....!" in the subject, let people know - let the revolution being!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

9 years on...!

It was, I admit a little tight last year, this year the trousers looked like I had leggings on - seems like there are areas of my anatomy that have 'relaxed!'.

We've been at William Booth College nearly a year and we have seen our first session of cadets through to commissioning and beyond. I was relieved that none of them took me up on my offer of not bothering if they thought it was wrong!!

Several significant moments this week have come and gone. A major one being that I have haboured a secret desire to keep wearing my own commissioning uniform to each covenant day and commissioning. It was, I admit a little tight last year, this year the trousers looked like I had leggings on - seems like there are areas of my anatomy that have 'relaxed!'. So my secret desire seems to have been dashed - I don't seem to be the same person that was commissioned 9 years ago.

As I listened to Ian Barr speaking at Covenant Day I realised I idenified with him. He spoke about how parts of the covenant grown in significance after he had signed his Officers Covenant. I certainly am not the same person that was commissioned. My theology and understanding of God has grown and the biggest lesson I am learning is that I don't need to squeeze that understanding and theology into something that makes me feel uncomfortable for appearences sake!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Job or Ministry...?

If our concern is success, it's a JOB. If our concern is faithfulness, it's a MINISTRY.

Someone sent me this right at the beginining of our Salvation Army officership - it has been useful to return to from time to time. Doing some prep for something I am doing tomorrow I thought I may as well cut and paste it into URBANarmy.

THOUGHT - Are you in a MINISTRY for God or are you just doing a JOB ?

Some people have a JOB in the church; others involve themselves in a MINISTRY. What's the difference?

If you are doing it just because no one else will, it's a JOB. If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it's a MINISTRY.

If you quit because somebody criticised you, it was a JOB. If you keep on serving, it's a MINISTRY.

If you'll do it only as long as it does not interfere with your other activities, it's a JOB. If you are committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it's a MINISTRY.

If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it was a JOB. If you stay with it even though nobody recognises your efforts, it is a MINISTRY.
It's hard to get excited about a JOB. It's almost impossible not to be excited about a MINISTRY.

If our concern is success, it's a JOB. If our concern is faithfulness, it's a MINISTRY.
An average church is filled with people doing JOBs. A great and growing church is filled with people involved in MINISTRY.

What about us?

If God calls you to a MINISTRY, don't treat it like a JOB.

If you have a JOB, give it up and find a MINISTRY. God does not want us feeling stuck with a JOB, but excited and faithful to Him in a MINISTRY.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mission isn't...

Almost forgot - as a follow up to Mission is


Mission Isn’t:

  • A programme
  • A euphemism for evangelism
  • Merely evangelism
  • Merely social action
  • Ours
  • Church Growth
  • Quantifiable
  • A trend or a fad
  • A 1990’s buzz word
  • A means to earn God’s favour
  • A vehicle to an escapist Soteriology

Thursday, July 12, 2007

'As the Father has sent me, I am sending you': J.E. Lesslie Newbigin's missionary ecclesiology'

A random Aussie Salvo officer makes a connection with me because he'd stumbled across URBANarmy. We have a email conversation out of which he recommends this:

Goheen, M.W. (2001) 'As the Father has sent me, I am sending you': J.E. Lesslie Newbigin's missionary ecclesiology'

OK I admit that blogging scores high on geek factor but you can't knock those kind of connections - thanks Wayne.

You can get it here

You can listen to Michael Goheen here and here.

Here is the abstract to whet your appetite.

In the 19th century missionary advocates argued that cross-cultural mission would bring a reflex action that would benefit the Western church. The mission impulse would rebound back on the sending church and it would reap benefits of this missionary activity. Today in the post-colonial period this dynamic is becoming increasingly evident. Western theology, liturgy, and ecclesial structures and practice, were formed in a time when the church did not understand her missionary nature. Today we are beginning to understand that mission is not simply one activity of the church but belongs to the very core of its existence. This insight is beginning to revolutionize theology and ecclesial life. Lesslie Newbigin embodies reflex action.= From forty years of missionary experience in India he brings the Biblical perspective of mission to bear on the Western church. This book examines Newbigin's missionary ecclesiology elaborating the relation of the church to the mission of God, to its own nature and calling, and to its religio-cultural context. It is a call to rethink our ecclesiology and church practice in Western culture.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lectio Divina - Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 (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.











A couple of people have been asking about Lectio Divina -there is a good chapter in Jones, T. (2005)The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life, together with interesting ways how to use the exercise both as an individual exercise and also a group exercise. Dylan's lectionary blog is also a good resource to pop into.

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.
The Mission of the Seventy

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.”

‘Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.’

The Return of the Seventy

The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’



My 'YouTuba' debut...!

Nephew Mark isn't that keen on the Brass Band so it was obvious that one would appear at somepoint at his wedding!

Not having played a tuba for a good 18 months - I can still savage a bass line with distinction! You may not see me but certainly I hope you can hear me!!! So my Youtube debut is complete.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mission is...

A little while ago someone asked me to jot down what mission 'is and isn't'. So starting with the is's! Obviously not an exclusive list - feel free to add. The isn't's are on their way!

Mission is:-
  • God’s (missio Dei)
  • The demonstration and proclamation of salvation
  • Our calling
  • Our response to God’s plan to put the world to rights
  • An attribute of God’s sending nature
  • A reflection and out-flowing of God’s agape love
  • The culmination and the working out of kingdom values
  • The outworking of shalom
  • The outworking of jubilee
  • The vehicle of hope and restoration
  • Grounded in Spiritual Formation
  • Grace centred
  • Signposts of new creation
  • Worship
  • Sacramental
  • More about being than doing

Saturday, July 07, 2007

NT Wright's The Resurrection 4/4

"Heaven is important but it is not the end of the world....!"

Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright

To summarise this book in four posts is tantamount to being sacrilegious , unless that in itself is sacrilegious ! This is one fat book and if I understood 10% of it (including the bibliography, even that was challenging!). However, following the general theme and working on it has been helpful.

Put crudely NT Wright looks at two major thoughts on eschatology.
  • "The creator will therefore make a new world, and new bodies, proper to the new age to the new age. From one point of view the new world, and the new bodies, are the redeemed, remade versions of the old ones;"
  • "From another point of view the new world, and the new bodies, are 'stored up in heaven'." (pp 373)
It would be easy to play these off against one another - but NT Wright warns against this. Instead he suggests that our sense of eschatology needs to be shaped by the narrative of New Creation which points to the fulfillment in which the 'creator finally brings at last the gift of life in all its fullness, a new bodily life in a new world where the rule of heaven is brought at last to earth. (pp. 373)

Wright suggests that:
"For many centuries it has been assumed in western Christendom that the ultimate point of being a Christian was to 'go to heaven when you die'..."
He suggests that not only has Plato and dualistic Gnosticism fed this false eschatology but this has been 'hugely reinforced in the medieval and renaissance periods by such masterpieces as the writings of Dante on the one hand and the paintings of Michelangelo on the other' (pp 417)

The book culminates by challenging any eschatology that suggests that salvation consists of 'simply of going off to the heavenly dimension and staying there while earth went on its way to destruction'. He argues that this makes no sense within the context of a creator God who saw His creation and saw that it was good. It is 'life after life after death' that is important in the final resurrection where our future hope is found in 'an integrated vision of new creation in which 'heaven' and 'earth', the twin halves of created reality are at last united'. (pp470)

Revelation 21 and 22 is where NT finishes up with the narrative of heaven coming down to earth and as he suggests 'the twin halves of created reality are at last united' (pp470).

In this case heaven is not a place where our souls are stored when we die, but it is God's dimension, God's sphere, God's reality. To accept a 'God's trophy cabinet of the righteous' is to accept a form of ancient Platoism and gnosticism. Our creation is incomplete, completed only when we become fully human at the final resurrection, in this sense, heaven is that dimension where the 'creator's future purposes are stored up, 'kept safe' until they can be unveiled in the promised new world' (pp465).

Does this help when processing anew New Testament lines of 'in my Fathers house there are many rooms; this day you will be with me in paradise; your salvation is in heaven?' To a certain extent it does if the phrase 'in heaven' communicates being 'safe in the mind, plan and intention of the creator God.'

The central argument of the book points to a future hope on resurrection where our bodies will be renewed and take their place in New Creation, the fulfillment of creation, 'the place where living God will dwell among his people for ever' (pp 470). That is what NT Wright argues is our eschatological hope, our inheritance.

This all started a year ago when I heard NT Wright lecturing and that he suggested that that we are missing the point when it comes to our theology of heaven - I'm still processing the implications of what he says, but find that whether you agree or disagree - what he says is significant.

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NT Wright's The Resurrection 1/4
NT Wright's The Resurrection 2/4
NT Wright's The Resurrection 3/4

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NT Wright speaks extensively on the concept of New Creation. A wide collection of MP3's are found here

Friday, July 06, 2007

Return to Paradise...

I don't know how many hours I spent in one way or another in The Paradise Youth Centre at our last corps/ Church - quite a few I suspect. I miss Thursday evenings and the buzz of being involved in the youth club there.

It was good yesterday to drop by and spend some time hanging out with people that mean a lot to me. Chatting on the door step with Roz, playing Risk with Thomas, Jim and Josh, hearing the excitement that is theirs about going to Nairobi, Kenya to work in a Children's Home - wanting to make a difference. Chatting afterwards with the team. It was also pretty cool to see an old senior club member Jonathon now a worker.

I'll be back!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

More from Sweden...

This probably doesn't hold much interest for many apart from family members who couldn't make the trip to Sweden.


However, I'm not sure how many could beat a Vintage Bentley or views like these to dominate a wedding reception!




Or stunning sunsets to finish the days off.







Or in fact Churches cunningly disguised as Thunderbird 3? What more could you ask for in a wedding?

A New Generation of Mrs. Cotterills...

On Saturday Emma became the latest Mrs. Cotterill as she married nephew Mark. Don't be fooled Mark isn't looking whimsically towards to someone up on his right, he is most definitely posing!

It was a great day and well worth a trip to Sweden. Apart from the stunning scenery, driving around in a fantastic Volvo S80 and buying the supposed viking game of Kubb for £9 in a petrol station just outside Gothenburg! it was good to spend some quality time with my big brother Philip and my Mum and Dad.

I'm very proud of my family - welcome Emma!