Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Best Christian Blog...

Somewhere there is an oxymoron kicking off in my head. For the last few years around about this time I get a random message asking me to enter for a Christian Blog Award. Comparative URBANarmy stats in themselves would suggest that this in itself is an oxymoron!

However, out of interest and of course only in the spirit of curiosity I looked at the entry form. Seems to me slightly out of kilter to self submit yourself for the Best Christian Blog award. So Christian blog awards, even if these reflections were even worthy, it kind of doesn't make sense to me ...

... £1000 prize money ... well on the other hand!

Actually no .... thanks .... but no!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tolkien's idea of church?

I like emails from out of the blue from strangers with who you suspect there is a kindred spirit. Even better when they out of the blue introduce you unsuspectingly to a quote that makes you think. Better still when they are from Austraila involved in mission and ministry that you wished were down the road! Anyway....

I wonder if Tolkien's quote is his idea of church?
His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking, best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.

Tolkien The Hobbit

Seems to me that Tolkien pretty much sums up Faith House and everything I love about the place!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Paraphrasing the Lord's Prayer...

It was good to have some time to try and paraphrase the Lord's Prayer at a recent retreat day we put together for the cadets. Quite an interesting exercise that helps keep a wonderful curriculum for life from become perfunctory and a bland memory exercise.

You who is beyond my dimension, existing in a time and space not my own, may I know what it is to revere your name.

Your way of living and being come, your design for life be completed here with us as you intend.

Give to us all that we need to live and help us to dismiss from our minds the hurts inflicted upon us in the way you dismiss from your mind our brokenness.

Help us not to substitute you as God with ourselves and prevent us from desiring to dominate others with our own will and desires.

For your way to live is supreme and the source of life everlasting, the fullness of life.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lost Lyrics - In the Secret of Thy Presence

The staff sang this for the cadets on Covenant Day. I hope that they will remember the last sentence long after they forget that I sing loud. Seems to me that Albert Orsborn knew something about writting from the heart but also something about Faith Development 'First to know thee, then to serve thee, Then to see thee as thou art.'

In the secret of thy presence,
Where the pure in heart may dwell,
Are the springs of sacred service
And a power that none can tell.
There my love must bring its offering,
There my heart must yield its praise,
And the Lord will come, revealing
All the secrets of his ways.

More than all my lips may utter,
More than all I do or bring,
Is the depth of my devotion
To my Saviour, Lord and King.
Nothing less will keep me tender;
Nothing less will keep me true;
Nothing less will keep the fragrance
And the bloom on all I do!

Blessed Lord, to see thee truly,
Then to tell as I have seen,
This shall rule my life supremely,
This shall be the sacred gleam.
Sealed again is all the sealing,
Pledged again my willing heart,
First to know thee, then to serve thee,
Then to see thee as thou art.

Albert Orsborn (1886-1967)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Yesterday and Tomorrow...

Sat in my office I look at the thumbnail shots of people that have been part of my life. I first met them nearly two years ago. All different, unlike each other, dissimilar, variegated but with one purpose, to serve God through being Officers of The Salvation Army. From different parts of the UK and the Netherlands these individuals were convinced of one thing, God's directing hand calling them to complete service as spiritual leaders. Yesterday (as I wrote this), these cadets together but as individuals signed the Officers Covenant:

"Called by God to proclaim the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as an officer of The Salvation Army I bind myself to him in this solemn covenant:
to love and serve him supremely all my days, to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life,
to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends,
to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God’s grace,
to prove myself a worthy officer.’"

Catherine Booth is often quoted as talking about the need for heart, head and hands in our officers; the signing of the covenant makes little sense where a framework for ministry doesn't encompass this integration of 'being', 'knowing' and 'doing'. Signing a card should be easy! Trying to live the officers covenant outside this framework makes what is taken into the world in mission woeful.

Tomorrow (as I finish this), 29 members of the Prayer Warriors session add a full stop to this part of their training. Tomorrow these people, all different, unlike each other, dissimilar, variegated will be commissioned publicly they will be sent out with one purpose, to serve God as the latest covenanted Officers of The Salvation Army. Frederich Buechner talks about the place God calls you being 'the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet'. They start a new sentence with a new capital letter, a new page as they continue to make sense of God's direction for them in the place where ministry is defined by their personal passion only making sense in an understanding of the compelling need around them. They go commissioned to model what it is to live out the Officers Covenant as they go may they inspire and lead!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

World Cup 2010

Every team I have decided to support in this world cup have lost - sorry Holland as our nearest neighbours it is now your turn!

This poster made me smile.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Thoughts on Prayer ....1

What's prayer? It's shooting shafts into the dark. What mark they strike, if any, who's to say? It's reaching for a hand you cannot touch. The silence is so fathomless that prayers like plummets vanish in the sea. You beg. You whimper. You load god down with empty praise. You tell him sins that he already knows full well. You seek to change his changeless will. Yet Godric prays the way he breathes, for else his heart would wither in his breast. Prayer is the wind that fills his sail. Else waves would dash him on the rocks, or he would drift with witless tides. And sometimes, by God's grace, a prayer is heard.

Buechner, F. (1983:142). Godric: A Novel. New York: Harperone.