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  • Desist!

    Every once in a while, my mother would become exasperated at her four children becoming incredibly noisy and announce in her best Glasgwegian accent 'desist!'  I wish she'd been with me tonight, at the local Christian jamboree because after half an hour of singing getting louder and louder and showing no sign of abating, I sure felt like shouting it!  In fact, if I'm honest, I felt God was probably saying it but the noise was so loud that hardly anyone could hear.  Psalm 46:10 - desist!  I AM God.  Mark 4: 29 - shush, cease, desist.

    As time passes, I get more and more confused about the applause that follows songs and hymns - who or what is being applauded?  Not sure it's actually God.  Desist!

    Also, I'm finding more and more that music is led by musicians, even professional musicians, who have as much liturgical sympathy as a brick through a window.  How Great Thou Art is for me a song sung fairly quietly, marvelling at God's creation... tonight with a heavy rock beat and syncopation beyond the norm it was belted out at max volume... Desist!

    Reaching 20 years of age, this jamboree has done some stirling work, raising over £70k for Christian charities along the way.  It seems to remain fairly popular (though attendance was notably down this year) and I know that for many people it is something very special.  It is all too easy to criticise something jsut because it doesn't tick the boxes for me. 

    Just that tonight it seemed to me God was saying 'desist' - stop all the noise and listen to me.  1 Kings 19:12 'after the fire, the sound of sheer silence.'

  • Remembrance Resources?

    Once again it is the "what shall I do for Remembrance Sunday" time of year.  Looking back over the stuff for the last couple of years, and having had one or two requests for more info about stuff I've used, I have cobbled together a PDF file of the last two, which people are welcome to use or adapt.  I do not claim to have acknowledged all the sources, and you won't find prayers of intercession because in my church these are led by folk on the rota.  What you will find is a couple of attempts to do something a bit creative.    The down side is you get my 'reflections' (complete with typos)

     I've also included part of a PowerPoint from last year (which still has our CCLI number included) of some photos I set to run automatically while a CD played in the background - I used the Barber Adagio for Strings, but plenty of other things would be suitable too; it would be a small matter to edit the embedded music hyperlink thingy.  Again, sources are not acknowledged, so please don't sue me if I've breached some long forgotten copyright.

    In return, does anyone have anything that I could pinch?


    mini remembrance.ppt

  • VIKs

    Today I met with a few other female ministers, and female para-churchworkers living and working in and around Dibley.  It is a very 'ad hoc' grouping, meeting when we happen to be able to get enough of us together and is slowly evolving into a tea-shop gathering (all very good Baptist stuff, coffee houses were where they met to work out their theology in the early days).  'Vicars in Knickers' (VIKs), also known as 'Girlies' is a place where we talk about church life, try not to whinge too much, and end up swapping funeral horror stories.  This week I managed to trump my own 'the coffin got stuck' with 'the hearse got stuck' (It did, yesterday, and I had to go the front of the crem chapel and ask if the owner of vehicle registration blah blah blah could possibly move it as it was causing an obstruction...).

    Today we were pondering what it is that women bring into ministry that is 'good' and what is 'good' rather than bad about being a woman minister.  We commented that our approach to preaching is (possibly) different from that of men - though that may be as much about personalities and preferences in style (are those gendered?  Discuss!).  Then one of the VIKs started to share how a recent sermon had been very personal for her, as she reflected on Acts 21 and her desire to take her congregation onwards when people advised caution.  It was one of those odd moments when you know beyond a shadow of doubt that God is talking to you - and I now need to spend some time reflecting seriously not on what she had been preaching, but on what that passage is saying to me. 

    Posting this in cyberspace is slightly risky, but I feel that if I post it, I might actually spend time working with what God is saying to me, rather than simply ploughing on regardless.

  • This is a man's world...

    I'm not very good at being feminist about things.  In 15+ years in the world of science and industry it, by and large, didn't matter that I was female so long as I could do the job.  Granted, I sometimes got phone calls from people who didn't know me who assumed I was Mr Gorton's secretary and usually ended up pouring the tea at meetings (cos the blokes couldn't work the airpots) but it wasn't really an issue.

    So when I started studying theology and came across feminist stuff I was wary, not least of the aggressive anti-maleness I encountered in some quarters.  By engaging with it, I learned a lot, and found I saw things I'd never before noticed.

    This week we start the rehearsals for the GB Christmas show (oh joy!) and I have been looking over the script.  Once again the lead part is male - last year it was a little boy called Luke  (so I re-wrote it as a girl called Lucy) and this year a male donkey called Alfie (who will undergo gender reassigment to become Alice by tonight).  Now I know these things are written for mixed classes, and there need to be parts for both boys and girls, but why is it that the best parts always go to the boys?  Even in recpetion class there is a subtle message that 'this is a man's world' - usually perpetuated by female play writers - this seems to need to be challenged.  Or have I turned into a rampant feminist and just not noticed?


    (Mind you at least I'm not faced with trying to persuade some unfortunate lad to play the part of Mary....)

  • Spurgeon's Calvinism...

    We all know that in England the Particular Baptists triumphed (we do, trust me!).

    We also all know that they were Calvinists, some of them so much so that it made them hyper, hyper-Calvinist that is.

    And we all know that Spurgeon was a Particular Baptist.

    So it has been interesting to read Underwood's take on developments among Victorian Baptists .  Here's a chunk from page 204...


    More than once Spurgeon prayed "Lord, hasten to bring in Thine elect, and then elect some more."  He seems to have used this phrase often in conversation, and on his lips it was no mere badinage.  With its definite rejection of a limited atonement it would have horrified John Calvin.  Towards the end of his life, Spurgeon said to Archbishop Benson, "I'm a very bad Calvinist, quite a Calvinist - I look to the time when the elect will be all the world."


    Hmm, Spurgeon tending to Arminianism or even Universalism?  Now there's a view you don't read every day.