Friday, 28 June 2013

Global Religious Trends

Report on global religious trends, from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

I'm grateful to Steve Addison  -  who's coming over to the UK, himself, in November, for alerting me to this.
I've only just downloaded it myself, so not begun to digest any of it, yet, but it looks extremely helpful - and free! Download now. Bless you.

Is there a growing interest, in 'movement'? I sense a growing desire to shift away from an institutional mindset.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A lecture on creativity with John Cleese

I'm not sure how John Cleese will feel about me holding him up, as an example to help missional leaders, develop their creativity, or even by suggesting he knows more about Jesus' ways, than he lets on about, but I find this clip both thought and creativity provoking, so pass it on:

John Cleese on creativity:

  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humour is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

On-going reflections on same-sex marriage

A week on from the vote, in the House of Lords, it seems even clearer now, Parliament are intent on a re-definition of marriage, to enable same sex couples to marry. Personally, I agree with Justin Welby’s perspective - this will undermine a cornerstone of British society.
It’s potentially, a wake up call for the Church – he says, desperately trying to find a positive! If I’m honest, I did think the House of Lords might vote against the bill: thinking they still weighed morality, as a sufficient component, in their decision-making. What this shows, however, is not only is the institution of the church, well and truly pushed into the margins of our society, but the Christian values, which have often acted as an anchor for our drifting society, are no longer able to hold us to any clear moral foundations. Education, law, government, the welfare state, to name obvious ones, have all been wrenched from the Christian values, which underpinned them.  
As yet, implications remain unclear in many ways – legal ‘experts’ cannot yet agree on what adultery is, for a same sex couple, or whether the status of lesbian woman, in a same sex marriage is classed as a parent. The whole thing is, frankly, confused. Will, Baptists, need to consider some level of civil disobedience, is not clear either, as yet.
One thing, which is clear to me, however, is the overwhelming majority of people, who worship in our churches don’t agree with the stance the Government is taking, do look to God's word as their authority, but they are fearful about saying so.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Be still

I'm fascinated, this morning, by the fact Acts 5, begins with the story of Ananias and Sapphira and ends with 'if this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it - and you had better not be found fighting against God' (vv38-39).
So were Ananias and Sapphira fighting against God? Absolutely! Not outwardly, but inwardly, in the recesses of their hearts, where our fights with God take place: whether, or not, they are ever outwardly expressed, or acknowledged to another human being.
It's also got me thinking about my week ahead.
I have a Trustees meeting, for our Baptist Association of Churches. We say we are moving 'towards a missional association', but God needs to sift our hearts, lest we hinder His plans.
I shall have engagement with our national expressions of Baptist life - these are real people, but tend to be lopped into an impersonal 'BUGB'. We need to take care, the pathways we are walking, are in God's direction, in accordance with His plans. 
I have meetings with local Churches, mainly leadership teams. Vested interests abound and we need to allow the searchlight of God's Spirit to shine: both upon our hearts and through our attitudes, words and actions.
Most of all, however, I need to be still and know He is God. If my 'program', or 'work', whatever my best efforts, is merely human, then it will fall apart. If I can glean enough wisdom to work out, which is simply me and which is God's business, I can save myself alot of stress and the spending of worthless energy.