Had a good weekend, especially because we were able to catch up with a number of old friends we haven't seen for too many years - courtesy of a ruby wedding anniversary party.
Returned to Liverpool letting two points slip to draw with Arsenal after leading until the final few minutes. The thing I like about Roy Hodgson (Liverpool's manager for those really not interested) is his manner. He comes across as the epitomy of a non-anxious presence and as I've often looked for parallels between leading a Christian congregation and football management, I like that. Now a non anxious presence cannot guarantee success, but it does make for better relationships and greater understanding of responsibility in a complicated system like a football club.
Inevitably, also meeting a load of old friends, many of whom are in different churches now from the one we were once in together,w e heard a fair number of stories about 'how's your church going?' The role of the key leader, or Minister, featured rather largely in many of the conversations and when you have these summary conversations, you get the headlines, gut impressions, but an indication of how the landscape has changed in a a particular church over a ten, fifteen, or twenty year period in some cases. This is some of what i thought on the way home:
The Minister is too significant.
Church leadership is causing too many problems and not solving many.
No one seems to know what to do.
People are deeply concerned about the future, but feel powerless to influence it.
If we seem incapable of passing our faith on to a new generation of our own children (I was deeply disturbed by how few children of these twenty or so couples are following Jesus today) it is not surprising we are struggling to reach a new generation of new people.
That said it was a great party - good friends, great food (especially the king prawns) and a really good live band. Special thanks to Graham & Gill.