Thursday, November 17, 2011

Open Evangelicalism....

Interesting conversation sent me looking for this article - thanks Malcolm!

Towards a definition of "Open Evangelical"

"Open evangelical" is a term that has emerged in the context of evangelical Anglicanism in the UK. Broadly speaking it is those who see themselves as heirs of the Keele Congress of 1967, when evangelical Anglicans committed themselves to work in the mainstream of the Church of England, who would want to wear that label. "Open evangelical" is usually defined over against "conservative evangelical", although open evangelicals would claim to be conservative on scripture and radical on everything else.

What are open evangelicals in the Church of England open to ?

1. Biblical scholarship
(Believing scripture to be inspired, but not wishing to wear the inerrantist label, and content to accept that theology is a positive gift to the church, and that hermeneutics are essential to the task of understanding an inspired scripture).

2. Cultural change
An unchanging gospel must be proclaimed in a variety of cultural contexts, and to be open is to be culturally aware and adaptable.

3. Other theological traditions
Open evangelicals would accept that others not owning the evangelical label are also Christians, and would want to learn from them.

4. Holistic mission
Most open evangelicals are convinced that evangelism and social action go hand in hand, and that the motivation for social and political engagement is God's activity and calling to people and churches, and not merely a means of pre-evangelism.

5. The Church of England
A majority of evangelical Anglicans would want to wear the label that way round, with "evangelical" as the adjective that defines "Anglican". This entails a commitment to the structures and ecclesiology of the Church of England.

6. The full ministry of women in the church
Open evangelicals supported the ordination of women to the priesthood (the conservatives didn't), and would argue from scripture that women can be both priests and bishops, and take their full part in the Church of England's ministry.

7. Evangelism
To be an open evangelical is to believe that every structure in the church must pass the acid test "does this further the mission of God?" There is no point in the church being there for its own sake. It is only there as sign of the Kingdom.

8. The World
Open evangelicals are basically world affirming. They believe that the role of the Church of England is to be the church for the whole country, and that to be committed to that view entails working with the grain of society rather than against it.

9. New patterns of worship, prayer, and liturgy
Experiment in the area of worship is a hallmark of open evangelical Anglicanism. They have been in the forefront of devising new liturgy, writing new songs, and encouraging new patterns of worship.

10. God
It is probably the case that open evangelicals have a view of God that sees him more as an agent of change than as a defender of the status quo...

more here

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back from Swanwick....

Good couple of days meeting up with friends and colleagues.

Felt thoroughly affirmed by John Reads session on mission and came home with a great Catherine Booth quote definin mission which I now need to source:

"Mission is Jesus Christ come in the flesh again in his people. Living out before the the world his principles acting upon his precepts living for the same objects for which he lived." (Catherine Booth)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Two ways to pray...

  • There is an immature petition that renders God my personal assistant or fixer or genii, the omnipotent enforcer of my will on earth pp 128
  • The best way to pray is: stop. Let prayer pray within you, whether you know it or not. This means a deep awareness of our true inner identity. It implies a life of faith, but also doubt. You can't have faith without doubt. Give up the business of suppressing doubt. Doubt and faith are two sides of the same thing. Faith will grow out of doubt, the real doubt. We don't pray right because we evade doubt. (Thomas merton) pp 200

MacLaren, B. (2011) Naked spirituality : a life with God in 12 simple words

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Salvation Army's International Vision....

General Linda Bond launched her mission vision for TSA, love the emphasis on integrated mission and marginalised!

ONE ARMY: We see a God-raised, Spirit-filled Army for the 21st century - convinced of our calling, moving forward together

We will...
  • deepen our spiritual life
  • unite in prayer
  • identify and develop leaders
  • increase self-support and self-denial

ONE MISSION: Into the world of the hurting, broken, lonely, dispossessed and lost, reaching them in love by all means

We will...
  • emphasise our integrated ministry
  • reach and involve youth and children
  • stand for and serve the marginalised
  • encourage innovation in mission

ONE MESSAGE: With the transforming message of Jesus, bringing freedom, hope and life

We will...
  • communicate Christ unashamedly
  • reaffi rm our belief in transformation
  • evangelise and disciple eff ectively
  • provide quality teaching resources

Monday, September 26, 2011

'we're in this together'! and the dangers of pointing the finger...

Just found this rant on my ipod!

"We know what's gone wrong: the question is, do we have the determination to put it right? Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations." David Cameron Summer 2011

This all said while pointing at communities that have systematically been striped of hope with choices peeled back to reveal very little.

All this said with a self righteous air of superiority that forgets that while the finger points there are fingers that point back. It is easy to pour contempt on our poor broken and diseased society from the height and dry land of supposed moral superiority. Citing statistics of one parent families and benefit fraud ignoring the fact that the very same symptoms of disease can be seen in those who sit back and allow the looting of our economy, allow for exploitation of power, allow for the excesses of privilege.

While they were undeniably and completely wrong in their actions, it is too easy, too simple to point at the wrong of hooded criminals ransacking our high streets without seeking the parallels with their pinstriped counterparts. Perhaps there is more to the Coalitions' 'we're in this together'! The bricks of bailed out bankers bonuses, the news international smoke of hacking and cover ups, smashed confidence in those jailed for expense fraud.

But while politicians go seeking their moral compass perhaps the biggest complicit agent idly watching on, is that of the church. While we have sang our songs, adhered to litany and liturgy, even been radical with our orthodoxy using clever clips and Mumford and Sons, have we missed the point?

Ellul would seem to think so -:

"How has it come about that the development of Christianity and the church has given birth to a society, a civilisation, a culture that are completely opposite to what we read in the bible"
Jesus' message and motive spoke into and against the power, patronage and privilege of a Roman and Herodionian era. He showed what it was to live a life of contradiction in a self obsessed world. Modelling living for others as the key to completeness through a hospitality that embodies shalom, championing right relationship with all, loving as you yourself would want to be loved.

Ellul alludes to a church pointing and sitting in judgement not living out the moral example of Christ but having found comfort in moralism, caught up within micro ethical issues the church has increasingly been ignored. An alternative agenda of living beyond self for others perverted, or as Ellul suggests, subverted with the result that, the moral obligation to be greedy remains unchallenged.

If the church has something to say to post riot UK it probably is sorry. For not once has anyone even asked the church what to do, and so we're left to posting up 'post it's' on burnt out and boarded up shop fronts.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the importance of “disorienting dilemma”

A friend sent me this today:-

Read: John 5:35-47
But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. —John 5:40

Dr. Jack Mezirow, professor emeritus at Columbia Teachers College, believes that an essential element in adult learning is to challenge our own ingrained perceptions and examine our insights critically. Dr. Mezirow says that adults learn best when faced with what he calls a “disorienting dilemma”—something that “helps you critically reflect on the assumptions you’ve acquired” (Barbara Strauch, The New York Times). This is the opposite of saying, “My mind is made up—don’t confuse me with the facts.”
When Jesus healed on the Sabbath, He challenged the deeply held beliefs of many religious leaders, and they sought to silence Him (John 5:16-18). Jesus said to them: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (vv.39-40).
Oswald Chambers observed, “God has a way of bringing in facts which upset a man’s doctrines if these stand in the way of God getting at his soul.”
Unsettling experiences that cause us to question our assumptions about the Lord can also lead us to a deeper understanding and trust in Him—if we’re willing to think it through and come to Him.

My mind cries its questions,
My longing heart, joining.
O Father, please hear me!
O Spirit, keep teaching! —Verway

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” —Socrates

Thanks David!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The subversion of Christianity ...

Not the easiest of reads as Ellul hits hard illustrating the means and way Christianity has been subverted and fabricated. He points to the many contradictions between the bible and the practice of the church as scripture has been reinterpreted by culture and times in their own nature.

Lots of quotes noted down - here's one...
Our God is a God of beginnings. There is in him no redundancy or circularity. Thus, if his church wants to be faithful to his revelation, it will be completely mobile, fluid, renascent, bubbling, creative, inventive, adventurous, and imaginative. It will never be perennial, and can never be organised or institutionalised.

Ellul, J. (1986: 157). The subversion of Christianity . Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Hagberg on Faith Development 6/6

Summary 6 - Life of Love - 6 - Transcends us

The final stage that Hagberg identifies is that of a faith that reflects God. The sense of journeying out continues in selfless Christlike living that is defined by total obediece to God and compassionate loving for others. The needs of self are abandoned in complete hospitatlity for others and the consequent disregard for self sees a detachment from things and stress. This is the utter poured out life of love that knows no boundaries.

Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company pp 159

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Hagberg on Faith Development 5/6

Summary of Stage 5 The Journey outward -transforms us

After the unsettlement and disorientation of what Hagberg calls the wall, she suggests that we are turned inside out and unmasked in order that an unconditional love can emerge. Faith is surrendering to God in a new way that brings with it a renewed sense of God's acceptance characterised by a deep calm or stillness. While there is a similarity to the productive stage, the journey outward represents a new sense of calling, vocation or ministry less defined by a striving for uniqueness or a seeking for responsibility while more characterised through genuine concern and focus on others' best interests. Discovering a glimpse of God's purpose in life in all things comes from seeing that depth comes from relaxing into the evolving into being God's person. Fullness and being whole seems to be enough allowing vocation to be fulfilling.

Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company pp 148

Friday, September 02, 2011

General E Wickberg

"There are certain things which The Salvation Army can spare and still be The Salvation Army -- citadels and other meeting places, for instance. Money, too, can be done without. The advantages of organization are not entirely essential. One thing, however, The Salvation Army cannot spare. The Army, which William Booth gathered together out of the most impossible material, to the astonishment of the world, cannot do without the pioneer spirit. The pioneer spirit is as necessary now as ever, for left to itself a movement tends to stagnate. Uniformed officers and soldiers we have in encouraging numbers -- but too many seem to have forgotten that they are not to be known as 'members'. We can say without equivocation that were we to lose the daring and the determination of the pioneer spirit we should no longer be The Salvation Army. There are plenty of churches and congregations. They have their own special work to do, but we are called to be pioneers of the Kingdom"

Wickberg, E. (2007) The Officer, January/February 2007

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

IoW 2011

Tent hitched ready to head off to a favoured campsite on the IoW. International Drought Breakers are go....

Sent from my iPod

Monday, August 15, 2011

"... I got the barbecue out"

"... I got the barbecue out" Wasn't really the answer I was expecting.

Conversations after church over a cup of tea are pretty always good. I like them! You get to connect, to share and to know each other. I had been doing well with Ron, his week hadn't been good workwise, carwise or in fact catwise. Suzy family pet for many years had died and I was being talked through the decision to cremate rather than bury. My pastoral face was caring and unshakeable.

".... Sorry to hear about your cat, so how does cremation for pets work?"
The answer asked intense questions of my pastoral face.

"Ron... You barbecued your dead cat? It must've taken ages...!"

"yeah... even after I stuffed her with fire lighters! ... we got there in the end, Marlene bought a new biscuit tin for the ashes..."
The pastoral face disappeared.
"Ron I don't want you taking this personally, don't be surprised if I don't come to a barbecue at your place!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Willard quote ...

What is it, exactly, that he, the incarnate Lord, does? What, if you wish, is he "good at"? The answer is found in the gospels: he lives out the kingdom of God, and he applies that kingdom for the good of others and even makes it possible for them to enter it themselves.

Willard How to be a Disciple 1998 Christian Century April 430 ff

Sent from my iPod

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Open Yale Courses....

Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.

Looks a good resource to me!

More here

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Rob Bell really needs to visit Faith House...

The group that stays for discussion after Monday Drop in at Faith house is developing really well with Rob Bell's Nooma a good starter.

I love the way Malcolm takes it all so literal and after a great discussion about anger and irritation he starts to make a point about RB's story involving him chasing a man who tried to break into his car.

"The thing that I don't get is this...."

We wait expectantly.

"Why didn't he have an alarm on his car...!"

What I really love is that his literal observations are always receieved by the group as if they are made by Gregory of Nyssa himself!

Monday, July 04, 2011

St Katherine's Foundation - Retreat Day

Every year we have a retreat day for teh session aboput to be commissioned, so it was the Ambassadors of Holiness' turn to spend a day in the urban oasis that is The Royal Foundation of St. Katharine, at Limehouse in East London.

One of the reflective exercises was to spend time in the Beatitudes and to paraphrase it. With a bit of inspiration from Pungente, J. J., & Williams, G. B. (2004). Finding God in the dark: taking the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius to the movies. this is my effort.

Complete are they who have the right opinion and no illusion of themselves for they know how to live.
Complete are they who are at ease with their vulnerability for they will not be trapped in a fear of living.
Complete are those letting go of the dead in their lives for they will experience the abundance of new life.
Complete are those who know not only 'what' and 'whom' to love but also 'how' to love for they will experience fullness.
Complete are those whose compassion has no aims nor seeks reward for they in turn will understand the absurdity of this love.
Complete are they emptied of self for they will be shaped by completeness itself.
Complete are they who exist to model all that hate and domination isn't, for they resemble their god of reconciliation.
Content are they who are derided and mocked for their longing to be kingdom shaped
for they will know what it is to live.
Completeness is yours when you continue to live a life of abundance in the face of those that abuse, deride and try to dominate you. Be content knowing that you live in God's dimension.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lost Lyrics - Hail to the Lord's Anointed

Never really noticed these words by James Montgomery (1771-1854) before.

Hail to the Lord's Anointed,
great David's greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed,
his reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
to set the captive free,
to take away transgression,
and rule in equity.

He comes, with succour speedy,
to those who suffer wrong;
to help the poor and needy,
and bid the weak be strong;
to give them songs for sighing,
their darkness turn to light,
whose souls, condemned and dying,
were precious in his sight.

He shall come down like showers
upon the fruitful earth;
love, joy, and hope, like flowers,
spring in his path to birth;
before him, on the mountains,
shall peace the herald go;
and righteousness, in fountains,
from hill to valley flow.

Kings shall fall down before him,
and gold and incense bring;
all nations shall adore him,
his praise all people sing;
to him shall prayer unceasing
and daily vows ascend,
his kingdom still increasing,
a kingdom without end.

O'er every foe victorious,
he on his throne shall rest;
from age to age more glorious,
all-blessing and all-blest.
the tide of time shall never
his covenant remove;
his name shall stand for ever,
his changeless Name of love.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Bible and Critical Theory....

A brief look at this on-line Journal makes me think I'll be back for a deeper and longer look.

The Bible and Critical Theory

"The Bible and Critical Theory is an exploratory and innovative online scholarly journal for biblical studies, published by the Bible and Critical Theory Seminar. The journal explores the intersections between critical theory, understood in the broad sense, and biblical studies. It publishes peer-reviewed articles that investigate the contributions from critical theory to biblical studies, and contributions from biblical studies to critical theory. The journal has an active series of book reviews, which are published as they are ready."

Monday, June 06, 2011

Open Lectures... Dr. Luke Bretherton Tuesday 21 June 2011

William Booth College is pleased to invite you to an open day with Dr. Luke Bretherton to be held on Tuesday 21 June 2011 in the Assembly Hall.

Luke is a Senior Lecturer in Theology & Politics and Convenor of the Faith and Public Policy Forum at King's College London. Prior to King’s he was Director of Studies of an ordination training course for Anglican, Methodist and United Reform clergy and before that Research Director of the St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. In addition he has worked with a variety of faith based NGOs, mission organisations, and churches in a wide range of cultural contexts both in the UK and abroad (notably, East Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia). His most recent books include:

  • Luke Bretherton (2010) Christianity and Contemporary Politics: The Conditions and Possibilities of Faithful Witness Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 
  • Luke Bretherton (2010) Hospitality as Holiness: Christian Witness Amid Moral Diversity  Aldershot: Ashgate 
  • Luke Bretherton, Russell Rook (2010) Living Out Loud: Conversations about Virtue, Ethics and Evangelicalism Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press 

 We look forward to spending the day having our thinking stimulated and challenged particularly within and around the concept of Hospitality as Holiness and invite you to be part of the day with us.

Registration is from 9:10 - 9:40 before opening worship at 9:45. Luke will present two sessions before lunch either side of a coffee break . A Q&A session will follow an interview after lunch with the day aiming to conclude by 3pm.

Please note that parking at WBC is not available but lunch is free!

Please register through emailing gordon[dot]cotterill[at]salvationarmy[dot]org[dot]uk


Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Independent -- Tricky reality for preacher after world fails to end

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

It's fair to surmise that today did not go entirely according to plan for Mr Harold Camping. For starters, he woke up.

© 2009 Independent News and Media

Sent from my iPod

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fully Human...

Certain words to me seem to have been hijacked and diluted and 'pure heart'seems to fit that category.

Calon Lân is a Welsh hymn, the words of which were written in the 19th century by Daniel James, sung before Welsh rugby union test matches an anthem. I found it interesting that this Welsh word used for pure heart equally means to be complete.

I don't ask for a luxurious life,
the world's gold or its fine pearls,
I ask for a happy heart,
an honest heart, a pure heart.

A pure heart full of goodness
Is fairer than the pretty lily,
None but a pure heart can sing,
Sing in the day, sing in the night.

If I wished for worldly wealth,
It would swiftly go to seed;
The riches of a virtuous, pure heart
Will bear eternal profit.


Evening and morning, my wish
Rising to heaven on the wing of song
For God, for the sake of my Saviour,
To give me a pure heart.


I love the connection that is begining to take shape in my thinking that can be summed up by St. Irenaeus. 'The glory of God is a human being fully alive'

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lost Lyrics - Saviour, I long to be!

Song number 521 seems to be quite a mission anthem

Saviour, I long to be
Nearer to thee;
In word and deed and thought
Holy to be.
O take this heart of mine
And seal me ever thine,
Fill me with love divine,
For service, Lord!

Make me a blazing fire
Where'er I go,
That to a dying world
Thee I may show:
How thou hast bled and died
That none may be denied,
But in thy bleeding side
A refuge find.

So shall my moments flow
In praising thee,
For thou hast never failed
To strengthen me.
Filled with the Holy Ghost,
Saved to the uttermost,
In Christ alone I'll boast
And forward go.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Independent -- The first year of coalition government

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

A is for Arts, which the Liberal Democrats mostly like but the Tories don't, because they see them as being devised by, and for the enjoyment of, a predominantly left-wing, anti-government bunch of "agitprop" merchants, gays, chatterers and subversives who shouldn't be subsidised by public money. Hence, a big cut in Arts Council – how they hate those two words – funding, and the abolition of the Film Council. Unemployed actors will have to bite the bullet and do voice-overs for Tesco. Do Tories really have what Denis Healey once called "a hinterland", something other than politics or money on their mind?

© 2009 Independent News and Media

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Buechner's Ontological Winner...!

There is perhaps no better proof for the existence of God than the way year after year he survives the way his professional friends promote him.

Buechner, F. (1988:5-6). Whistling in the dark: an ABC theologized. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

A Primer on Today’s Missional Church

JR Woodward clearly loves Mission and has put together an amazing resource here

Thanks Wayne!

Just a bit of fun.

Here's my cabinet based on the short questionnaire.

You took the Political Animal quiz on, and your personalised cabinet of political characters was:

William Wilberforce

You basically accept that Christian political action will be necessary on all fronts if we are going to have a fair and righteous society. The law should reflect both Godly moral foundations and practical concern for the poor. This approach is epitomised by the campaigning parliamentarian William Wilberforce, who led the drive to abolish the slave trade and restore the 'manners' (ie moral foundations) of Britain.

Oliver Cromwell

The most committed political activist needs to recognise that there are limits to what can be achieved by politics alone. Ideals can too easily become idols, and some things will never change without an inward work of salvation in people's lives. Puritan parliamentarian leader Oliver Cromwell used the power of the state and military force to pursue his vision of a fairer and more Godly society, but is often accused of oppression and brutality in the process.


You believe that Christians should be passionate advocates for social justice using every means at their disposal, including political ones. 'Saint Bono of Dublin' has used his massive public profile as a rock singer to campaign for international humanitarian causes, especially in Africa. His faith in Jesus has led him on a journey that has influenced politicians and presidents around the world.

A little worried that Cromwell crept in - sorry to my Irish friends!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Wise Words...

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Here's the quote in its fuller context following the double bluff that has gone viral!

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, pp. 62–63 (1967).

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Independent -- John Sentamu: Is the Big Society big enough to offer shelter to refugees?

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

The events of the first Easter were told against a social backdrop of violence, injustice, migration, and the desperate search for safety. Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Passover that week, a festival that recalled their forebears' desperate flight from Egypt as refugees. Generations before, their ancestors had gone to Egypt as economic migrants. In the past weeks, as the turmoil in the Middle East has played out, Egypt has once again found itself a refuge for those seeking sanctuary. Having made historic changes in its own political settlment, it is admitting fugitives from the conflict in neighbouring Libya.

© 2009 Independent News and Media

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hagberg on Faith Development 4/6

Summary of Stage 4 - The Journey Inward - unsettles us

The fact that faith development becomes more about rediscovering God is unsettling. The process of unlearning and relearning comes through the emergence of a life of faith crisis. The certainities of life and faith are lost and once daely held answers no longer provide direction. The pursuit of personal integrity in relation to God causes the paradox and ambiguity of God being released from the box alongside an apparent loss of faith.

Moving on from here involves embracing the paradox and at the very least being open to the possibility of allowing for a new certainty in God. The search for self that has dominiated needs to be recogised for what it is, and moving away from ego dominated thinking opens the meaning of the true cost of obedience. While reflection is important, the consumption of self centred assesment and constant pride fueled questioning imobilises people. The letting go of spiritual ego and accepting God's purpose for our lives outside of the filter which is our opinion, represents the starting point of seeking wholeness through personal healing and pilgramage and moving forward.

Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company pp 110

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lost Lyrics - Precious Jesus, O to love thee!

Sang these words by Francis Bottome as part of Holy Week this morning and the themes of fullness, kenosis, mystical union, mission hit me between the eyes.

Precious Jesus, O to love thee!
O to know that thou art mine!
Jesus, all my heart I give thee
If thou wilt but make it thine.

Glory, glory, Jesus saves me,
Glory, glory to the Lamb!
O the cleansing blood has reached me,
Glory, glory to the Lamb!

Take my warmest, best affection,
Take my memory, mind and will;
Then with all thy loving Spirit
All my emptied nature fill.

Bold I touch thy sacred garment,
Fearless stretch my eager hand;
Virtue, like a healing fountain,
Freely flows at love’s command.

O how precious, dear Redeemer,
Is the love that fills my soul!
It is done, the word is spoken:
Be thou every whit made whole.

Lo, a new creation dawning!
Lo, I rise to life divine!
In my soul an Easter morning;
I am Christ’s and Christ is mine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Independent -- Losing our religion: The Church of England in decline

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

As the faithful look forward to Easter and the Archbishop of Canterbury prepares to officiate at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, it may seem inappropriate to be discussing the future of his Church. But this Easter week, I can't help feeling – more than ever – that the Church of England will not survive my children's lifetime and quite possibly not even my own.

© 2009 Independent News and Media

Sent from my iPod

Friday, April 08, 2011

Lost Lyrics - We've a story to tell to the nations

Perhaps more a case of found lyrics rather than lost - but these words by H. Ernest Nichol caught my eye.

We've a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right.
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.

For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ's great kingdom shall come on earth,
The Kingdom of Love and Light.
We've a song to be sung to the nations,
That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
A song that shall conquer evil
And shatter the spear and sword,
And shatter the spear and sword.

That the Lord who regins up above,
Has sent us His Son to save us,
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.

We've a Saviour to show to the nations,
Who the path of sorrow has trod,
That all of the world's great peoples
Might come to the truth of God,
Might come to the truth of God.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Independent -- Johann Hari: The plan to save Ed Miliband

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

I am worried about Ed Miliband. I backed him to be leader of the Labour Party. I badly want him to beat David Cameron at the next general election. But here's my problem. He has been leader of the Labour Party for six months now, and my mother, my father, my brother and my sister – all normal British people on average or lower incomes who swing between parties – haven't noticed him yet. He hasn't said or done anything that has jutted into their stressed and busy lives. They have no thoughts about him at all. And there's a more worrying postscript still. There isn't yet a single five-minute clip I could send them of Miliband where they would consistently understand what he was saying, or identify with it.

© 2009 Independent News and Media

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Power of Words...

"...a library is as holy a place as any temple..."
"How like a winter hath my absence been from thee.." Doestoevsky - Words have power writes Buechner.

"Words written fifty years ago, a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago, can have as much of this power today as ever they had it then to come alive for us an in us and make us more alive within ourselves... even across great distances of time and space do they ever lose their capacity for becoming incarnate. And when these words tell of vitue and nobility, when they move us closer to that truth and gentleness of spirit by which we become fully human, the reading of them is sacramental and a library is as holy a place as any temple."

Buechner, F., & Connor, G. (1992:170ff). Listening to your life: daily meditations with Frederick Buechner. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's been a while...

"So would that only be for what you consider to be heaven or are you saved for here and now?"
It's been a while since I have been evangelised and I have to admit it left me feeling a little annoyed but I am trying to work out exactly why? Two well meaning young men tooled up with no doubt the latest in hip communicating tracts accosted me on the street and just came right out with it. "So are you saved?"

I guess I wouldn't have minded if had they introduced themselves even in a nominal way to establish the semblance of a context. Perhaps I wouldn't have minded if I wasn't in full uniform (including cap btw!) trying to raise money to bring hope and fullness to those who experience the hell of life confronting them the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep.

However, I smile and politely say that I firmly believe I am and I wondered whether they too were saved. "Oh yes" they smile. "So would that only be for what you consider to be heaven or are you saved for here and now?"

A new look comes across their faces!

"So you are in The Salvation Army then?" I'm impressed that contextually they are making some connections. "Do you preach the gospel?"

I ask them whether by that did they mean merely the good news that Jesus came, died and rose again, or did they make the connection that gospel was that but ever so much more. I asked if they meant did I align myself to the sovereignty and rule of God and that by implication saying Jesus is Lord is to declare a counter cultural reign or way of living. I assured them most certainly we preach the gospel and we do it to the extreme.

I sensed they were growing tired of me and there is a reprise "so are you saved...?"

"Look do you think I would be stood here doing this if I wasn't?"

"Well we need to go and evangelise now...!" I think I remain patient in tone. "Well all the best", I venture "...and I hope you also get the chance to use your hands"


"Don't forget remember to love people with your hands as well!"

As they prepare to go I ask them if they had heard of Lesslie Newbigin, they hadn't. Did they get what Newbigin meant when he said that 'words without actions are dumb' - they didn't, and that is why I think I think I was left feeling a little annoyed - words without actions are dumb in both senses of the word.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A plea to learn our history...

Frank Viola makes a plea to learn our history here.

Why? Beacause in missional and discipleship terms he considers that we are "peppered with many converts to Christianity who possessed fire-insurance policies, but few of them were actually following Jesus as this world’s true Lord."

Good article thanks Simon ;o)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Bono Interview: Grace Over Karma

Bono: My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love. What does that mean? What it means for me: a study of the life of Christ. Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honor. I don't let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond [sighs] in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that's my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that's not so easy.

This interview seems to be floating around at the moment - more here

Monday, February 14, 2011

Great article in the Leadership Journal. Here are some edited highlights.

"Biblical justice involves making individuals, communities, and the cosmos whole, by upholding both goodness and impartiality. It stands at the centre of true religion, according to James, who says that the kind of "religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" James 1:27. Earlier Scripture says, "The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern" (prov 29:7)

As we experience the wholeness that Jesus offers, we are to carry his justice forward in the world.

Both individual transformation and community transformation are part of restoring wholeness. While morality and immorality are birthed in the human heart justice is centred in God's heart. We are to purify our hearts whose desires lead us to sin. With transformed hearts, we are to extend God's justice to the poor, orphans, and widows, and show no partiality. "

Metzger, P.L. (2010) what is biblical justice in Leadership Journal summer 2010 pp 25.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Cape Town Commitment

Lausanne 2010 - A Confession of Faith and a Call to Action

The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (Cape Town, 16-25 October 2010) brought together 4,200 evangelical leaders from 198 countries, and extended to hundreds of thousands more, participating in meetings around the world, and online. Its goal? To bring a fresh challenge to the global Church to bear witness to Jesus Christ and all his teaching - in every nation, in every sphere of society, and in the realm of ideas.

more here

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Mystery...

If you understand it is not God you understand...!

- Augustine

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mark Lawrence...

I've just had Mark Lawrence's art recommended. They look stunning.

See them here

Monday, January 24, 2011

Buechner on Mission...

" is our business (not like so many peddlers of God's word but as men and women of sincerity) to speak with our hearts (which is what sincerity means) and to bear witness to, and live out of, and live toward, and live by, the true word of his holy story as it seeks to stammer itself forth through the holy stories of us all."

Buechner, F. (1984). A room called Remember: uncollected pieces. San Francisco: Harper & Row. pp 56

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hagberg on Faith Development 3/6

Summary of stage 3 - The Productive Life - rewards and exalts us

The life of discipleship develops into a practical outworking of that discipleship, in other words faith is working for God. This stage is characterised by a striving for uniqueness in the faith community and a seeking for responsibility. Great value is placed upon symbols or form with a need to achive perceived spiritual goals. As a result, frequently people here are characterised by being overly zealous and self centred seeing life as a performance. Moving on comes from a variety of sources including a loss of certainty that can come from experiencing personal/ faith crisis or feeling abandoned or recognising the need to look for direction. The catalyst for moving on can come from an acceptace of vulnerability and a letting go success

Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition (2nd ed.). Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company pp 86

Monday, January 10, 2011

knowing, being and doing...

Commissioning last year was conducted by The General, as part of his sermon he highlighted what Luther saw as the characteristics of a minister of religion.
  • Study - mind
  • Prayer - heart
  • Affliction - empathy completed only then with action
I wish I could find the reference as it resonates with Catherine Booth's thoughts of officers who should be people of head, hearts and hands. The strength of WBC for those who can see it is the commitment to encourage a framework of knowing, being and doing.

There is a difference between the function of training that is shaped by the 'essence' of ministry and that of a function of training that is shaped by the 'form' of ministry. Luther's characteristics are a good reminder of what should shape what training should take.

I've just seen the plans for the new reception at WBC; when it is finished will be dominated by Jeremiah 3:15.

"I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding."

A good reminder!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Independent -- The little red book that swept France

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

Take a book of just 13 pages, written by a relatively obscure 93-year-old man, which contains no sex, no jokes, no fine writing and no startlingly original message. A publishing disaster? No, a publishing phenomenon.

© 2009 Independent News and Media

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Books 2010 ...

Books of 2010

Books I would be sorry to lose:

Hagberg, J. O. (2004). The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith

Moltmann, J. (2010). Sun of righteousness, arise!: God's future for humanity and the earth

Jamison, C. (2009). Finding Happiness: Monastic Steps for a Fulfilling Life

Ackerman, J. (2001). Listening to God: spiritual formation in congregations.