Saturday, 28 May 2011

Friday, 27 May 2011


Just set up a Twitter account - @nigcoles - does anyone else tweet?

Alisdair's forced me so I can follow his bike riding, but it'll be interesting to see what happens. I've been wondering about it for ages and made John Henry my second person to follow. What do people say? With 140 letters a time you need to be Ryan Babbel to get into trouble, but I'll let you know.
Happy to follow others if you want to join in.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

WEBA goes north!

My colleague Alisdair begins his Land's End to John O'Groats bike ride today and needs all the support he can get, so feel free to check it all out.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

400 years

Thanks Andy for sending me this picture, which I love.
We held a Bible fresh event in Bristol today a variety of things going on, disappointing crowd (though 2pm onwards on a Sunday afternoon is not exactly designed for ?).
The service in the Cathedral was good though - many good things, but Steve the juggler was the highlight! What does it say about my spirituality when, in a service designed to celebrate the Bible, this is what I focus on! That said, I thought Ann Holt preached well and felt her message was thought provoking - not an easy wicket to speak on the bible on such an occasion. She mentioned Rowan Williams' quote about the best translation of the bible being that of life, which does it for me. However, she also alluded to the trend - more and more Christians are reading the Bible less and less. I have no reason to doubt either, but it is an issue I fear will undermine my hope of a re-calibration of the Church around the mission of God as embodied by Jesus. Getting your hands dirty, as the picture suggests, needs the soil of the word of God to get under your fingernails.
I was 'off' today and was pleased to catch Simon Woodman at Counterslip - excellent sermon Simon and a good example of making deep truth understandable to everyone. I checked this out with Malcolm so I now I'm right! I do wonder sometimes whether as Baptists, who are renowned for the place we give to the Bible, we are not more guilty than most at dis-empowering people at being those Bible translators into life. I have a concern we re-equip people with confidence to hear for themselves and wonder how many sermons preached today did as good a job!
Carlo Ancellotti got sacked today by Chelsea - despite finishing second, which tells you something about the place of 'success' and the state of English football. Shame Blackpool went down - especially sorry we'll lose Ian Holloway from the airwaves. Come back soon!

Friday, 13 May 2011

simple church

Another busy week, but yesterday provided an interesting day. We'd invited Pete Farmer down for a day exploring some of the practices around 'Simple Church'.
I guess there's a number of things which have struck me since yesterday:

As Baptists, we are generally fairly narrow in our expectations about how God might be at work in engaging the vast majority beyond the kingdom.
We remain fairly locked into a perspective on church planting, which is dominated by a paid leader, congregational model.
Our idea of movement is, on the whole, just that - an idea.
Our experience, or lack of it, in seeing people come to faith and seeing anything remotely approaching multiplication, has constrained our imagination.

Now, this could sound really negative and despondent, but far from it. The day was really encouraging and, I hope, opened sufficient eyes to the beginnings of possibilities in a variety of new directions.

Our next 3-in-1 is this Sunday in Gloucester. These are designed to nurture the idea of multiplication - albeit in a very modest way. My hunch is, at present, only a small minority have twigged this, but that's the thing with multiplication, you don;t need many to really catch on before the effect grows significantly. Jesus sent 12 in Luke 9, 72 in Luke 10 ....

Sunday, 8 May 2011

a work in progress!

Not sure why I do this! For a start, Sunday's supposed to be a day of rest, but that'll be the joke/hypocrisy there. Also, I'm supposed (my own rule) not preach anywhere the weekend before our Team Leaders away mon-weds, which is tomorrow. So, what do i find in my diary? .... three meetings today - aarrgghh!

It's a multiple choice where you cannot fail to get the right answer!
a my own fault?
b my own stupidity?
c my own irrational logic?

Anyway, I've had an enjoyable day and because of the added pressure and because it's been raining over the weekend, I had to pop down to the allotment to view progress, which is quite thrilling, but you probably will struggle to get as excited as me, simply from this photo! However, yes, these are our own potatoes and onions popping up and then there's the carrots, courgettes, butternut squash, runner beans .... hey, I'm getting into this.

I've nearly finished digging over the whole allotment for the first time and this is the real cause for celebration, but it's also the voice of God, for me, at least:

i.  If we'd have waited until all the ground was ready, we'd still not have planted anything.
ii.  If we'd have put off planting until I'd finished digging, we'd have missed the season for a number of things.
iii.  If we'd have not done any weeding of already dug ground, what we have begun to see grow would be smothered by now.
iv.  If we'd have relied on my quick dig technique, we'd have not removed hardly any weeds, but it would have looked good quicker .... for two days!
v.  Digging is hard, back breaking work.
vi.  You can't plant into unprepared ground.
vii.  Newly planted seeds never grow quickly enough.
viii. Newly sprouting plants need space to grow.
ix.  Newly growing plants thrive best without competition for nutrients (weeds).
x.  Seeing new plants springing up is what it's all about, but there's a long way to go to harvest time.

I'd better stop - before film club! Anyway, 10 commandments is enough for anyone.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

McDonalds Assembly, Tesco's power.

 You leave home at 6am, you drive over 200 miles, but you need some breakfast. When the only place you find open is McDonalds, but is also absolutely heaving, you know you're in Blackpool and yes, the BU Assembly. Two days over this weekend for me - I wanted to spend some time off with Maggie friday & monday; 'I'd have gone if it wasn't Blackpool again' and already getting the idea I struggle to separate content and context!
I enjoyed Andy Scarcliffe leading the worship (especially because Andy led a youth weekend I was on soon after I became a Christian). To be honest, I was in so few of the main events I dare not comment on my responses to the Assembly generally as I could easily be accused of not seeing, or hearing enough. I did enjoy Liverpool beating Newcastle 3-0 though!
Back at home, I'm still very conscious of the item in the national news around the 'riot' relating to the planned new Tesco's in Stoke's Croft. I've been struggling with myself - we came back from Barcelona (hotel courtesy of Tesco Clubcard deals) into the Stoke's Croft issue and that sums up the issue in many ways.
Everyone has condemned the protester's actions and appropriately so, but I'm not hearing much about the fact these people have expressed some anger most people turn a blind eye to - the huge power of large companies. Tesco's now have more outlets in Bristol than Baptist Churches, far more money on their altars and much larger congregations. Money talks and the evidence is fairly clear all around (our 'corner shop', just beyond our allotment is a Tesco's). In parallel I'm talking to people about how we can re-energise mission in the same area where the present issue has erupted, so this brings to light an issue we cannot ignore.
I've had some challenging conversations recently from the farming perspective on large supermarkets too, which also affects a large number of people in our region and need to re-examine my own practices. As Ben asked me recently, am I prepared to pay the personal cost for what might appear to be the only viable protest ordinary people can make? Is personal protest the only way forward, what are the ethical challenges we can make? 
Bristol's other place in the national news went to Judd Trump - well done - a shame he didn't win. However, being a finalist at 21, we might have a new world champion sometime soon I hope.