Thursday, April 30, 2009

Boots 09...

Looking forward to being acquainted with our tent which is coming out for the first time tomorrow!

Hopefully we'll have some warmth!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Church at it's best...

You can read more of Richard here.

Richard was still a little wobbly; we waited on the corner of the street and watched him stagger up to us. A small group from Nunhead SA were going for a curry and Richard was coming too. I hadn't seen Richard since he was very much the worse for wear in a meeting I had led, so it was a bit of a surprise that he was joining up with us.

Simon one of our Corps leaders quietly assured us ... "he's been in detox for six weeks and now he's back". I wasn't sure as he got closer but sure enough no sign of the blue plastic bag, no hint of a lager can or a cider bottle, not even a whiff!

Later as we sat and chatted while we ate, Richard quietly became part of us and we became part of Richard. "See you Sunday Gord..." he merrily called out as we went our different ways.

Church at it's best!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bull market...!


I saw this on the news last night and loved watching the farmer changing his mind about chasing the bull. Glad to see it on Youtube.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Going Beyond Our Wants

Here's another example of why I appreciate the emails from the Henri Nouwen site.
Sometimes we behave like children in a toy shop. We want this, and that, and then something else. The many options confuse us and create an enormous restlessness in us. When someone says, "Well, what do you want? You can have one thing. Make up your mind," we do not know what to choose.

As long as our hearts keep vacillating among these many wants, we cannot move forward in life with inner peace and joy. That is why we need inner and outer disciplines, to go beyond these wants and discover our mission in life.
Subscribe to the email service here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Atheists call for 'debaptism'

I must have missed this when it was in the news -
Atheists call for 'debaptism' is the BBC's report on the National Secular's debaptism campaign - here.

Maybe William Booth had this in mind - it's a bit hard to debaptise most Salvationists!!

Seemingly Premier Radio are trying to mobilise a counter. We are called to publicly declare our faith in their I am a Christian campaign.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sunbury 2009...

Sunbury is a Salvation Army conference centre laced with history and is a fabulous setting. I've enjoyed the last couple of days catching up with the session that were commissioned last year.

While it hasn't been smooth sailing for everyone it was still good to hear stories of almost a year into ministry. It was good to see where pennies continue to drop; it was good to see real growth in confidence and self belief; it was good to kick a ball around in the evening sun!

I always enjoy going to Sunbury with so many memories from days gone by, some significant to my spiritual development but most centring on juvenile japes and pranks. I was in the very same room where with a bit of team work and a change of clocks and watches we managed to persuade a sleepy room mate that he was late to an early morning band rehearsal and laughed till it hurt when he ran out the room at 3.30am.

Oh yes - it is also where the General of TSA is elected!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rapture Ruptured by NT...

I have a love hate thing going on when it comes to using a sat nav. When travelling by myself to new and unknown destinations I find a definite value in their company - but only enough to borrow one. The danger lies in relying on what you presume to be the destination, only to find that you are woefully short or wide of the mark.

One trip ending in a field with a cheery voice declaring I had reached my destination now makes me double/ triple check the postcode I tap in. Even then, as I get closer I really sweat on where I will end up. I really like to know where I am going and as the miles disappear I often regret not making even a cursory check of the map.
The danger lies in relying on what you presume to be the destination only to find that you are woefully short or wide of the mark

I am neither a biblical scholar nor anything more than a gutter theologian! - but when it comes to eschatology I get nervous with what people rely on. At this time of year when we recognise Jesus as the prototype for the resurrection of the body, we take hope in the potential for new creation when Heaven and Earth will be one. I wonder if tapping in the wrong code can leave us woefully short in any kind of understanding. Travelling blind, without even a cursory glance at the deeper meanings of Paul’s metaphorical points can leave us wide of the mark in our understanding.

To engage with novels as theology has implications – it takes a good read of Walter Wink to detox from the influence of Frank Perretti’s spiritual warfare. It takes a good read of NT Wright to detox from the Left Behind Series and to understand that there is more to Christian hope than being snatched out our homes and communities to be with Jesus!

Dealing with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, NT Wright (Wright 2002) is keen to point out that Paul’s purpose is to comfort, and that he draws together OT imagery to inspire hope. Wright illustrates that to read ‘rapture’ into this text is to make the mistake of not understanding Paul’s words in the way they were intended.

Wright points out and wants us to understand that:

  • Paul never intended, nor did his readers understand or ‘suppose that heaven is physically above us’;
  • That rather than a place, heaven is God’s dimension;
  • While a risky metaphor, ‘descending’ is an echo of and understood within the hope of Moses.
  • Paul was not thinking of a literal vertical ascent, the language is taken from Daniel 7 as the Son of Man is vindicated after his suffering.
  • Meeting with the Lord is reminiscent of Roman citizens going out to meet an emperor when paying a state visit and then accompanying him back.

NT Wright ruptures the rapture by showing that rather more strength can be seen in a framework of New Creation:

The key is to realize that resurrection is not a disembodied life in some mid -air heaven but in the re-embodiment of God's people to love with and for God in the new redeemed world that God will make. (Wright 2002:125)

Wright, T. (2004). Paul for Everyone: Galatians and Thessalonians (For Everyone). SPCK

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lost Lyrics - Self-renouncing love

You know when you are getting old when you start listening to Radio 4, losing your hair, waking up early and looking through The Salvation Army Song Book for lost lyrics....!

"A life of self-renouncing love is one of liberty..."

485

In service which thy love appoints
There are no bonds for me;
My secret heart is taught the truth
That makes thy children free:
A life of self-renouncing love
Is one of liberty.

Anna Laetitia Waring (1823-1910)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Never a doubt....!

I think I am getting too old for this...!

Chelsea 4 Liverpool 4

Unbelievable....!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen...

Easter Competition -

Whose forehead is at the foot of this tapestry hanging in the Vatican?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy easter... not yet!

If you are able,
tell God what it is like
to live in the wreckage of dreams that have no life left -
when peace is dead and buried
when hope has gone to hell.

I've been looking for words for this day that the church calls Low or Holy Saturday and eventually found my way to Hold this Space.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Spotify...

I am trying to work out why no one has told me about spotify before now!!

It is too good to be true and I suspect it will not be long before it disappears down the same route as Pandora, or before some points out that it is illegal, or that it is a clever heist to get to passwords etc... but for now it is there for you to enjoy wall to wall music of your choice.

"Spotify is a new way to enjoy music. Simply download and install, before you know it you’ll be singing along to the genre, artist or song of your choice. With Spotify you are never far away from the song you want...."

Currently listening to Pat Metheny - "oo get down aa jazz!"

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Desert Dependence...

Merton believes that 'the desert is ... the logical dwelling place for the man who seeks to be ... dependent upon no one but God'.

Ringma talks of the attitude of the heart that can be seen as a desert experience. It is interesting to hear of people's anxiety when they experience the realities of a spiritual barrenness. Quite often seen as a negative and rarely self owned, mostly the fault of others rarely seen as a source of growth.

Ringma points out that "a desert is a place of loneliness, lack, emptiness. It is the place where our normal skills and resources are inadequate. And therefore the desert strips us bare... it is ironic that this place, seemingly so difficult and bare, can become the place where we trust God more fully, experience his renewing grace and are empowered to do exploits which we would never have thought possible while we were so full of our own ideas and programmes"

Ringma, C. R. (2003:72- 73). Seek the Silences with Thomas Merton: Reflections on Identity, Community and Transformative Action. London: Spck Publishing.