Over the past few weeks a couple of events have been on my mind (Holocaust Memorial Day & a planned UK Tour by evangelist Franklin Graham). They are completely unrelated and yet both leave me with the resounding message of the importance of loving our neighbours, of not 'othering' those who are different from ourselves.
I could not count the number of worship services or prayers meetings I have attended, been part of, or even led. Sometimes these are wonderful experiences and provide opportunity to find some way of 'connecting with God'. Sometimes these gatherings of fellow Christian's are life affirming and full of joy, others are as dull as waiting for a late train on a damp night after a long day at work and seem to take forever. Many times I have laughed or rolled my eyes at the predictable nonsense I have heard or experienced.
There is a fairly common expression of Christian relationships that speaks of three dimensions - Up to God, In to the church, and Out to the unbelieving world. I think this provides a useful summary of Christian community which I hope to unpack in future posts; but I have come to realise at least one axis is missing.
I know it could sound either big headed or like a pipe dream, I mean who really believes they can change the world? I say I believe in the all creating, powerful, mysterious God and that I love adventure but then I play it safe. I want to learn how to take real steps of faith to live out my faith in such a way that my world is changed and therefore the world for others is somehow better.
Do you remember science classes in high school? Other than Bunsen burners and the Van der Graff Generator, me neither! One thing that you learn in biology is about life. All living things apparently have 7 life processes that indicate that they are in fact living. Perhaps you recall MRS NERG... (Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity, Nuitrition, … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Journeying
Sometimes things just need to be shared. This poem by Stewart Henderson is beautiful and sad. It's worth pausing and reflecting on. Land of Milk and Honey Is this the land of milk and honey,the one for which this city gaveconscripted youth to war’s dark waters,woodbine battalions of the brave? This city of abandoned vehicles,bankrupt … Continue reading Land of Milk and Honey
My wife and I enjoy making up stories about people. We might be out for coffee, sitting on a train or walking through town. Just based on what someone is wearing or how they present themselves we imagine a whole back story to their life, relationships they have or don't have, and what they are … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Listening
'In the beginning God created...' (Genesis 1:1) How did the church become so bland? Look at historic church buildings and they are incredibly intricate, ornate and beautiful. People will travel for miles simply to visit a church building because the architecture and the art are incredible. Over the years the church has influenced music, not … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Creative
In a conversation recently a fellow pastor seemed to be interested in some of the things I was saying about racial, disability and gender justice. He asked to take my details so we could arrange to meet in order for him to learn more about the 'justice agenda'. Of course I am more than happy … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Just
When I sat down to write about the church being hopeful and offering hope I had in mind to write about being a resurrected people, living with the faith that despite the darkest of times we face we live in the hope that resurrected life is just around the corner. I come to this but … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Hopeful