Thursday, October 22, 2009

Officers' Councils 2009...

I thoroughly enjoyed making connections in my mind while at Swanwick for Officers' Councils while exploring the them of Kingdom Ambition. The sessions were all really stimulating in one way or another and very helpful as we looked for anchor points in understanding the Kingdom.

  • I got thinking about the shift from selfishness to selflessness that scripture calls for and models.
  • How grace is the framework for the alternative way of living that Kingdom is all about.
  • How Kingdom Ambition is really to live as a conscious contradiction to the way of the world.
  • How the Rich Young Ruler who sought to be perfect found maturity and completeness in moving out and beyond self.
  • How Zaccheus moved from motives of self to that of hospitality and giving.

It was great to hear something of Booth's developing theology rather than hearing what for me has become an empty rallying call based on isolated quotes left outside of this theology. To hear something of the broadening of Booth's grasp of Salvation and its implication on Kingdom living shaping contemporary mission was heartening. I left wanting more.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Message from Malawi...

Dear Friends in the Army

Greetings from a very warm and sticky Malawi!

This year is a very special year in the history of The Salvation Army in Malawi. Next month the Command has its very first Commissioning (on 21/22nd). We have 14 cadets and one Envoy to be commissioned. The territorial leaders from the US Central Territory are coming as our special guests (at their expense). We are hiring the largest hall in Blantyre for the event; it seats over 3000. At the end of August we had a Command congress where over 2000 Salvationists travelled from all over the country to attend a 3-day festival of meetings. It was superb with a march of witness stretching down the dust road as far as the eye could see. I am attaching a picture.

The reason for writing is to seek a favour - quite a big one really. The Commissioning programme is going to cost MK125,000 to have printed. In round figures that's £500. I wondered if by writing to about 50 Salvationist friends we might elicit £10 each and cover our costs as we have no funds left for this item. We have prepared commissioning brochure (and would be happy to send you a copy if you can read MS Publisher files - or reduce it to a .pdf file). If you would be willing to support this request we can either suggest one person in the UK who would collect payments or suggest a UK account into which the money could be sent.


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Anyone interested in trying to help - goffpaynegmailcom

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lost Lyrics - O for a deeper greater perfect faith

These simple words by Cornelie Booth caught me between the eyes recently. Simple but explosive if we take perfect to mean complete, full, whole rather than blemishless.

O for a deeper
O for a greater
O for a perfect trust in the Lord

Nice one Cornelie!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Unikely conversations...

It isn't everyday you have the Calvinism vs. Arminianism conversation in the foyer of a 'brothel'.

"So would you then be a Calvinist in your theology..?"

He caught me a little unawares. "No ... essentially we fall more on the Arminian side of things when it comes to pre-destination".

His eyes lit up, "so how do you equate that thinking with scripture which clearly suggests that once we are saved we are always saved. What do you do with Romans 8 for instance?" Our conversation over the next 15 minutes rolled backwards and forwards as we discussed the consequences 0f free-will and choice. I've had these conversations elsewhere, but there was something a little more memorable about this debate. It isn't everyday you have the Calvinism vs. Arminianism conversation in the foyer of a 'brothel'.

Dave became a Christian when he was a mercenary in the Congo and is the bouncer of one of the sauna's that Faith House reaches out to. It was Dave that complained to Estelle and pointed out it was all very good her team meeting with the girls but who came to see him. So as I get to know Dave I find that he is keen to talk theology, spirituality and discipleship with someone.

We left him watching a video on Youtube that the last session of cadets made for their commissioning; the soundtrack, a band march blared through the public spaces of the entire 'brothel' brought a certain and pertinent irony - 'The Liberators'.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Intellectual slackers...

One reason why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself

Dallas Willard observes in Knowing Christ Today that "One effect of the displacement of faith from knowledge... is that many people now believe you do not need to think deeply and carefully to follow Christ"

Willard quotes C. S. Lewis:

"God has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. The proper motto is not 'Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,' but 'Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can.' God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all…. One reason why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself." (From Mere Christianity)