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.
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.
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
About six months after my wife and I married I was diagnosed with depression. I have been known to make the rather obvious joke about the cause of my depression being married life, in reality this couldn't be further from the truth. I likely suffered with depression for years before I ever met my wife. … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Liberating
Part of my training to become a pastor involved completing a theology degree. In addition to those elements of the course that focussed on academic study and essay writing we would also complete sessions to help us consider and prepare for the more practical aspects of ministry. There would be sessions looking at funerals and … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Repentant
I will admit I can find it somewhat pretentious to talk about the prophetic. I think it comes from the experience of preachers claiming to be prophetic, having prophecies or claiming a title of Prophet and making bold claims that God is speaking to them about specific issues of the future. Frequently these claims are … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Prophetic
Gifted, Diverse, Fragile, Disabled and Scarred Gifted Body It is fairly common to refer to the church as a body. This stems from the writing in the New Testament attributed to Paul which refers to the church as the 'body of Christ' (Ephesians 4:12). Paul's use of the body as analogy for the church refers … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Body
I recently asked members of my church what they would include if they were to take on the task of starting a new church. Granted I asked at a time that included children but the answers became increasingly eclectic, but included... A Choir and Music GroupTiered SeatingLarge ScreenA Good Sound SystemCafe (for people to access … Continue reading A Vision for Church
I have been reflecting on what I saw and experienced in Zimbabwe, the physiological, political and financial needs, the church, the business, the searching for a saviour and the reflections I see in the UK. My reflections bring me to the theme of water. What concerns me is the church has become reliant on models of delivering sanitised spirituality through a Victorian system or a bottled version with exaggerated promises.