Friday, 27 June 2014

Why Liverpool should stand by Luis Suarez.

I’m a Liverpool fan, so biased, lacking in objectivity and incapable of rational argument … and that’s just what my wife, Maggie, might say!
However, I am tired of the pretence, listening to phone-ins on five live this week, whilst driving around – I doubt if there’s a club side anywhere who wouldn't welcome Luis Suarez into their first team and I'd be interested how the supporters of other clubs would react if he was one of theirs. Ironically, Barcelona, the latest club apparently trying to sign him, could be the exception – not sure even they are big enough for Messi and Suarez in the same team.

Much has been said and written suggesting Liverpool should get rid of him. The argument goes he’s a disgrace to the club who are known for value based decision-making and dealing with discipline in-house. That’s precisely why I would be hugely disappointed if we walked away from Luis Suarez now. Right now he needs people who will love him, help shelter him from the storm, pick him up and get him back on track. Last season he was a revelation: a model of someone who had learnt from his mistakes, responded to the wise words and support of Brendan Rogers – and everyone had forgiven him to the extent, players and journalists alike voted him their footballer of the year.

I’m not defending his disgraceful act, I’m not denying his need of help, but casting someone adrift at their lowest point is never an answer. If Liverpool FC remain true to their values, now is the time to show it.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Weekend away - the gifts, but now we await the fruit.

We've just shared a terrific weekend away with North Cheam Baptist Church - at Oak Hall. It was a delight and privilege to be back among the church where I was first inducted as a Baptist Minister, back in 1986. 
It's been a helpful reminder about the nature of my ministry as a 'Regional Minister', especially as they asked me to lead around the theme of 'the gifts of the Spirit':

- local and regional (can) produce a synergy, which can be a real blessing.
- we (RM's) remain practitioners in a very real sense - as long as we don't allow ourselves to be consumed by the organisational demands of maintenance.
- both regional and local 'Ministry' remain utterly reliant upon the Spirit of God if we're to see any genuine fruit.
- many people feel the place of the Bible in the local church community is being challenged by the institutional 'Baptist' viewpoint - this incorporates regional and national people like myself into a position I feel I don't belong to.

I guess many others will surface as the week progresses ..... 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

more gardeners?

We had some interesting conversation at our Cluster Facilitators overnight, this week. A game of two halves, to keep it topical - thought we were going nowhere (fast) at half-time, but a great second half recovery!
We remain a very localised connection of churches, despite talking about clusters, associating, networks, mutual accountability and learning, etc.
One particular challenge, which I've brought away is the reminder the Lord is looking for more gardeners - we were reflecting on John 15. A gardener looks for fruit and if there is none, then it's a reflection on how good a gardener they are! (I know this, personally, one well!).
I don't think this was being applied only to cluster facilitators and can certainly apply to anyone in Christian leadership.
It's an uncomfortable route to go down, but dare we must.
The question with me, right now, is can our own Baptist Union adequately re-invent ourselves for a new generation?
“Even a dysfunctional culture, once well established, is astonishingly efficient
at reproducing itself.” (Megan McArdle, “Why Companies Fail”)

Some of us having lunch at our WEBA Cluster facilitators overnight at Cotswold Farm.