Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Holiday reflections...

Had a good break in Devon - one major question that would not leave me - "is this August?"

Thoroughly enjoyed Dawlish Warren, Teignmouth and Shalden, the stainglass at Buckfast Abbey, playing on the dunes at Exmouth, cream teas in Dartmoor - meeting up with someone who really helped shape my mind at University - Professor Paul Cloke.

It was good to read and spend time with the family even though it rained 80-85% of the time!!

Whatever happened to the Augusts with sun?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Devon 2008

This year it is South Devon's turn to bear the brunt of the weather that follows us around when our tent comes out.

Our apologies to any with the misfortune to have booked the same two weeks as us!

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Essence of the Church (2)

The Church is...

Van Gelder suggests that to understand the essence of the church, there is a need to start with what 'the church is'; he connects this with an understanding of the kingdom.

"The understanding of the church must start with an understanding of the kingdom of God. More specifically, it must start with the announcement of the inauguration of God's redemptive reign in the person and presence of Jesus. The redemptive reign of God must serve as the foundation for defining the nature, ministry and organisation of the church. The church must find its core identity in relation to God's redemptive reign as introduced by Jesus in his announcement that the "kingdom of God has come near". (2000:74)
Van Gelder argues that any consequent understanding of church has 'profound implications for our understanding of the nature of the church'. Not only does such a core identity lend itself to a 'proper understanding of a missiological ecclesiology', but it can also help bring insight to some of the many problems unraveling within church life today.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Cameron's big dream...

I had not see Cameron before. Sitting with him it was soon obvious that Cameron was a highly intelligent guy. "My thing is Japanese, it all started when I couldn't sleep and I got watching an Open University programme on spoken Japanese"

As we are chatting one of the new volunteers at Faith House - a student studying theology at Durham - is having a conversation with one of the homeless guys about New Testament Greek which quickly draws Cameron's interest. Rolling a cigarette, hardly looking up Cameron complete's the Greek alphabet. With incredulity in his voice our new volunteer says "that's right!!".

Cameron just 30 had big dreams for his life, a talented sportsman, particularly football and Judo; who knows some of the dreams may have been realised had his mid teens not been a cocktail of wrong decisions. A life of drugs and violent crime landed Cameron in trouble and until six months ago his twenty's have known only prison.

As Cameron offered his story there is a sense of someone desperately wanting to make up for lost time - with the agenda to make something of his life. Inside - his agenda became of of education. Now free his first priority to keep active and away from past 'friends'. His second priority to complete a degree in Japanese at SOAS.

Faith House offers many things beyond fish finger sandwiches! That of being able to help people to articulate hope from hopelessness is one of the greatest consistent gifts it offers. I hope Cameron comes again.