I don’t generally do facebook, but last week I went to our Team Leaders meeting to be greeted by Jez Brown’s comment ‘I like the breakfast’. Apparently, our present guest from Belgium had posted pictures of me preparing a very fine English breakfast! However, whilst I don’t look at facebook very often, I have signed up to join the group looking to place Delirious’ ‘History Maker’ at no 1 this Easter. Good idea, or not, it’s another insight into the power of social networking and the internet. Reading ‘Here Comes Everybody’ by Clay Shirky at the moment too. This is subtitled “how change happens when people come together” and is all about the new future of involvement. Now whether us Christians cotton onto make best use of what is essentially something part of the very fabric of the mission of God remains to be seen.Here’s the youtube link to the song, if you didn’t sing it last Sunday, and need to listen for yourself
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
We had a steering group meeting yesterday for PMC here in the UK. Martin Robinson is part of this and I always listen to his observations and reflections on mission and UK church life. So, when he came out with a 'after all these years, I've come to the conclusion...' statement. I had my ears tuned. What did he say? - 'basically almost any Church can grow .... the difference between those who do and those who don't is down to whether they are prepared to pay the cost of mission.' True/false? It pretty much bears out on practice. Don't we make life so complicated? The question some are posing to Churches is 'what would you do to reach this community if you had XYZ resources?' - it's designed to demonstrate we have the resources if we use them appropriately. However, shouldn't the question be 'what must we do if we have nothing?' Jesus did send disciples out with 'no purse, no bag, no sandals' (if only he'd allowed the sandals eh!). Is this a call to dependency upon God, a warning about how stuff clutters, a call to focus on the keeping the man thing the main thing, or all three?
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
It's the morning after the night before. Not what you might think, however. I went to two church meetings yesterday. Both were 'church meetings' as Baptists describe them of the gathered body of Christ in a particular community. Both were very small churches, although one had three times the membership of the other.
Saturday, 20 February 2010
Well, what's going on again in the world of sport? Amy Williams winning a gold medal at the winter Olympics is an astonishing achievement. The fact that Amy comes from Bath makes it higher profile here, but being the first British gold medal winner for 30 years makes her name in the record books secure for a long time to come. There's a few hills in Bath, but you don't get that good with a toboggan made out of an old table, which is probably where I went wrong! What kind of faith does it take to achieve such a feat?
Monday, 15 February 2010
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Well, we’ve had our annual Ministers Conference this week and it usually leaves me pretty drained emotionally. This year, however, has been a notable exception to what I’d assumed would be an on-going rule.
Why is the question I ask myself? Two things spring to mind immediately – One factor is the sense of sharing the load within our small team has become reality. This means, whilst I still feel I must ultimately carry the can for anything which doesn’t work etc. we now have a much greater sense of shared responsibility in practice – for which I am very grateful.
Secondly, a less demanding queue of requests this year has meant I’ve been able to spend more time simply catching up with various folk and having more obviously leisurely conversations than all being loaded with difficult issues.
My colleague, Pat Took, was our key speaker and, I think, went down well enough, although I’ll know more after looking at the feedback forms. Interestingly, she helped us look at three dimensions of Baptist our distinctives in order to encourage us to evaluate them in our present contexts. So, we looked at
- the crown rights of the redeemer,
- the priesthood of all believers
- walking and watching over one another in love.
The most stimulating session, for me, was one where she looked at the nature of Christian community alongside the questions ‘do we want it?’ and ‘what’s the cost of it?’
No photos – took my camera, but it stayed in the bag, so maybe not as relaxing as I thought!
Friday, 5 February 2010
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
I’m not sure it was an eureka moment, but there was definitely a touch of the ‘ah-ha’s’ for me last night. I was at a deacons meeting helping them begin to think about the future when their present Minister leaves – nothing new there.
I was listening to their comments about how they saw they church and their current frustrations with not being able to build any momentum.
We were talking about ‘people today’ and how they tend to be both risk averse and, also, how commitment is being expressed differently. Margaret then simply said ‘but these people were talking about have been church members for years and are not young people’. Now it may be just me, but I’ve tended to engage with these things with an in-built assumption we’ve been talking about new people into churches, or younger people. The reality, what I’ve been missing, is the popular culture, in both these concerns is now the church culture in many places also.
I’m happy for readers to simply read and smugly mutter ‘slow’, ‘stupid’ etc at their screen, but this has been quite helpful for me. I think it will influence my ‘where are we now’ parts of reviewing church life in any particular situation. It’s increasingly clear to me that unless we address the culture and values of any group, we shall make our plans in vein. This certainly seemed to be what I was hearing last evening as issues, whose roots go back years were re-counted.
Monday, 1 February 2010
I've had a few conversations with friends recently about the state of modern football and there's no doubt there's a certain nostalgic atmosphere around them - wasn't it great when you could stand behind the goal, when you had to get in Anfield at least an hour before kick-off to get a decent view, when you could just turn up and queue, when tickets didn't cost an arm and a leg. Of course, no one mentioned you couldn't watch football on TV apart from MOTD & Sportsnight, how the urinals were frequently ankle deep (especially at Wembley I recall), how as a child you needed a wooden step to stand on to see anything even if at the front, etc. So, is it my age and that of my friends? Anyway, what place does Christianity, or Christian values, now have in the midst of a set-up , which seems to be dominated by mammon?