Tuesday, 14 October 2008

friends - part II


Ok, so the photo's not my car, but it sure felt as if it was going to be. Just outside of Oxford - en route to the Urban Expression day with Michael Frost between two roundabouts on the ring-road I went from 'I wont get to the funeral this afternoon' - to - 'I'm going nowhere fast' - to - 'if I don't get out quick the whole thing will blow up!' It didn't, but when I switched off the engine, it didn't! Images like the one here went through my mind and I was out - quick. The saddest part  of the day for me was missing Peter's funeral in the afternoon, which I wanted to be present for. The day with Michael Frost was excellent, but for another time....

Following on the theme of friends…. I realise it’s not just me. How many Church members have many genuine friendships running with people not-yet Christian? From conversation and observation very few it seems. It seems a no-brainer to me this is one of the crucial issues for us today, but the more we focus on attempting to fix the problem by coming up with new schemes we are in danger of adding to the problem even more. The excuse Ministers often come up with is easily my reality – we’re too busy doing Church stuff. All the time we perpetuate this model of Ministry we send a massive message, which easily over-rides any sermon on the subject. The ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’ doesn’t work today (I suspect it didn’t work very well yesterday either). I have a determination to live a more balanced life than others within the Church often expect – as many a minister will realise, that’s easier said than done and not a pathway which will avoid expectation clashes along the way.

I also wonder whether the increased interest in Ministers seeking a Spiritual Director, which incidentally I wholeheartedly approve of and support. It could be another way of masking the truth – is easy for a Minister to be friendly, but we don’t always do friends quite so comfortably (I hear the same said about Church after Church by their own members). The legacy of College conversations ‘ you should avoid having friends in your congregation’ has not in my opinion, served us well. As one who ignored such advice I am not unaware of the problems it can accumulate, but I’d rather struggle with those than the alternative. What does a ‘no-friends here’ sign over our life say about the work of the gospel in our lives? 

2 comments:

Bob said...

Nigel - sorry you missed the funeral; it was a great occasion, and a fitting thanksgiving for such a great guy. Hope the car is sorted!

Nigel Coles said...

me too! no news at this point may not be good news - turbo definitely blown and maybe damaged the engine (new in June!) - ouch.