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  • Apologies

    For some reason formatting is currently doolally and Blogspirit site working very slowy -apologies for near illegible posts



    Don't know what happened by after I re-installed Java it is now OK.

    Technology.  pah!

  • Pilgrim People - Robert Frost & Sister Act?!

    I can't say I'm sorry to get to the end of January - it has been a singularly crazy month, demanding physically, emotionally, spiritually. I am due a good telling off from all my minister friends for working 31 days straight, but here you go, it's like that sometimes. Hopefully February will be a tad less loopy, though my diary is already pretty crammed. Anyway, Saturday is our vision day, with the title Pilgrim People, to be led by the minister of a churchin Derby whose situation is not a million miles different from ours - they too have been in schools and other centres for three years after their building was closed by a fire, This morning one of my task is to plan the closing worship for the day, and I have to be honest in my state of exhaustion, it is proving fairly self indulgent - creativity, "secular" resources and letting the Bible speak for itself. So here's what it will be.

    Matt 7: 13 -14

    Poem : The Road Not Taken

    Luke 9: 57 – 10:9

    Video Clip – Sister Act “I will follow him”

    Response – Footprints (cut from paper) to be pasted onto a poster 'I will follow Him'



  • Mountains and Plains

    The preacher at my ordination service used the interelationship of mountain and plain to pull togther my chosen readings from Matt 25 and Matt 28.  As I have pondered the readings from Exodus 24 and Matt 17 for 'Transfiguration Sunday' this relationship has come back to me.

    Why go up the mountain?  Precisely because you are going to come down again!

    Moses must have been fit (as in healthy and able bodied) as he seems to have been up and down moutains quite a lot, despite his advancing years!  He didn't go up them to see the sights or in search of some kind of personal spiritual 'high', he went to listen to God.  And what God said was all about life on the plain.

    Jesus and his cronies went up a high mountain, code for going to seek God's self revelation, and it happened.  Never mind trying to demyhtologise or remytholgise or rationalise it all, Peter, James and John were left terrifed and needed a hug from Jesus (or a touch at any rate) to get them on their feet again.  And the revelation?  Listen to Jesus.  That was it!  Do what he says.  And they came back down the mountain and nothing had changed - there was a crowd and someone seeking healing.

    To me, this is an important reminder that Sunday worship is not an escape, nor yet seeking a spiritual high, rather, at least in part, it is coming apart to listen to what God is saying about the everyday.

    My sermon will end with some sayings of Jesus as recorded in Matthew that I feel speak into the needs of the three congregations who will hear me speak, along with an invitation to 'listen to Jesus' before going back down the metaphorical mountain and into the world.

    The service will end with BPW 201 It's good, Lord, to be here (J Armitage Robinson) the final verse of which says: -

    It’s good Lord, to be here!

    Yet we may not remain;

    But since you bid us leave the mount

    Come with us to the plain.


    Next week we're in the wilderness and facing temptation and learning to see opportunities for growth and maturity...

  • Beastly Baptists and Other Stories

    Awful Anglicans?  Measley Methodists?  The list could be endless.

    I was doing some brain dumping following some reading on theology of history, attempting to sketch out an essay plan as a skeleton, not a piece of prose (since the prose version failed miserably) and found myself pondering the ecclasiastical equivalent of the Horrible Histories series of books published by Scholastic.  Indeed, I think I might treat myself to one or two under the guise of research!


    Horrible Histories Annual 2008 (Horrible Histories) (Horrible Histories) 


    As far as I can gather, these books work on the premise that (a) history is worth studying (b) most people think it's boring (c) we need to do something about that.  Not, I think, a million miles from what I'm attempting to argue.

    So this, in brain dump form, is what I think I'm trying to say...

    Understanding Baptist history is really useful, our past is relevant and interesting.  BUT most people don't think so, they think it is boring and irrelevant.  So, something must be done about this!

    Let's start with those who HAVE to read it and what they HAVE to read and move on from there... they tend to be people seeking some kind of formal Baptist acceditation and they tend to read 'official' Baptist histories.

    A question that arises then, is how these 'real readers' match up with the 'target audience' or the 'implied reader' of the text, and what effect this has.  With two examples examined, I conclude a mismatch that is unhelpful.

    What kind of 'target audience' or 'constructed implied reader' might be more helpful?  A model from Biblical studies may be helpful here.  (Iser, Bockmeuhl, others)

    Arising out of this model is a question about theological awareness and use of theological and/or 'God' language in writing Baptist history.  Theologies of history, generally predicated on eschatology, give a helpful way of approaching this. (Rae, Gilkey, others)

    If theological and teleological implications matter, what does this mean for trajectory and 'plot' considerations (fall-rise-fall models cf Hopewell and others).  How might the story be more helpfully or imaginatively told?

    What might make the story more interesting, bring it to life, add colour? (Ahlback, Spargo and others)

    And then, lastly, what might be a way forward... Beastly Baptists maybe?!

    Answers on a postcard.


  • Compliment of the Week

    Said to me today after the service "I like coming here, it's not like going to church, it's more like a party."

    As five people had slept through part of the sermon and a few others had shed a few tears (which was good - a release of pent up emotion by people facing tough situations) it wasn't the description I'd have come up with, but encouraging all the same.