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  • Health and Wellness

    Monday morning 'blog-sweep' picked up this interesting post on 'wellness'.  It did make me pause for a moment in thinking about my own work - am I focussing on 'dis-ease' or 'church sickness' rather than health or 'wellness'?  I suspect the answer is 'yes and no.'

    I am prompted in my thinking by experience of churches that 'could do better' - whose health would benefit from being improved, but I don't think that means I am being totally negative.  What I think I'm saying is that in undertsanding ourselves better - in this case by engaging withour past - we discover the latent potential to do things well, which is not a million miles away from the ideas in 'wellness.'

    When I think about some of these 'seemingly opposite' ideas, I find myself reminded of the old debate between physicists (boo hiss) and engineers (hurray!) over centripetal and centrifugal forces, and my conclusion that it all depends which end of the 'string' you are at.  That along with the assertion many years ago by Professors Laithwaite and Thring that both exist and a jokey reminder of Newtons laws about equal and opposite reactions.  'Wellness' and 'Health' aren't opposite (nor does the post highlighted suggest they are) but the focusses on both what is 'good' and what is 'not so good' are, I think, important.

    I suspect that in churches we need to be looking at both 'what is good that could be developed' and 'what is not so good that should be addressed.' 

    I'm also intrigued by the way that 'emerging' and 'deep' church is looking at some of the same broad issues that I'm trying to explore in 'conventional church' - and wondering whether we'll come out at similar or different places.

  • More Compliments!

    Well, I am doing well for compliments at the moment!

    In recent weeks I've discovered my services are 'sometimes strange but not boring' and that I 'don't look like a minister.'  Today after my visiting preach, I was told something I hear periodically from 'little people' in churches with lots of intellectual members - 'I understood everything you said.'  That is definitely the biggest compliment, the one that I cherish when all else fails: sometimes I feel I talk a load of old tosh, sometimes I'm not sure if the sermons actually go anywhere, but if someone feels that it's made sense, and they've been able to engage with it, then, yes, it's been worth it.

    A strange but understandable service led by an unministerial minister - mmm, I think I like that description!!

  • Portaits of Jesus?

    medium_Jesus14.jpgMy next sermon series is aimed at helping people to appreciate something of the diversity of the four gospels and is provisionally titled 'Portraits of Jesus.'  The good challenge, for me anyway, is deciding what in one sermon each might be - the theme to choose from each gospel - and which books might help me here.

    Some vague ideas floating around are...

    Matthew's Portrait - 'The New Moses' - fulfilment

    Luke's Portrait - 'The Friend of "Sinners" ' - inclusion

    John's Portrait - 'The Living Word' - incarnation - kind of logos made simple (I thought about 'Revealer' and the delightful 'Johannine Pimpernel' but am not sure about communicating them!)

    Mark is proving more tricky - 'The Secret Messiah' - the frequent 'don't tell anyone yet,' Messianic Secret theme but not easy to work with; the absence of birth/childhood AND post resurrection material is obviously significant but what 'portrait' does it match?  I've just ordered 'Binding the Strong Man' and 'Through Mark's Eyes' from Amazon but whether they will help (or get read in time) is another matter.

    Any clever folk out there got any ideas or books to point me at?

  • Testing the Cringe Factor

    Next month our COMPASS meeting is 'Faith & Fun' - because we don't have a speaker so Catriona is doing a quiz.  I have styled it along the lines we used to use when I was at work - we had a weekly lunchtime quiz and my team occasionally entered (and embrassingly always either won the quiz or the free draw), so I know that in principle the format works or at least it did in Cheshire!

    My concern is the cringe factor - i.e. to what extent does anything 'faith related' go in, if at all?  On the basis that even The Weakest Link and 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire (apparently, I never get the time to watch!) have the odd Bible question, I guess people won't be too taken aback, and we do want to prompt thought, but is the level right?  For that matter, is a quiz that would have worked for in Knutsford appropriate for Dibley?

    I am posting it in PDF format so you can shred it, critique it or even nick it (but you have to solve it yourself!).  Photos were nicked from the web but the rest is mainly my own work.  Above all, I'd like feedback on the cringe factor.


  • Laptops? Speakers? Help!

    Well, miracles do happen!  This week's Deacons' Meeting saw someone suggesting that the church bought its own laptop (maybe a data projector and some decent speakers will follow...).  If what I know about computers would fit on the back of an envelope, well most of my deacs could fit their knowledge in the back of the stamp, and most of my congregation don't even own a computer.  Bless 'em they said "you can get a laptop for about £300" but when I asked what software it included, and if it would meet our needs they looked blank.  I know a lot of churches use 'open source' software which is broadly Microsoft compatible (most of my folk who do have computers have work provided laptops with Office, so we need Office or something that will work with files generated by it) but I am ignorant of this area.  Also processor speed - one deacon said "you need a fast processor for DVDs" but they work fine on my cranky old steam-driven PC and the various laptops I've borrowed (none this year's model) - so any guidelines?  Finally speakers - I just bought myself some shiny new speakers which at 16W rms with a little sub-woofer are a vast improvement on the 1W to 4W rms things that come as standard with desktop machines (apologies to non-physicists for whom this is a bit techy!  And to the purists, for whom 'rms power' is not a real term, rms current/voltage, OK) which I will be using tomorrow - but has anyone any advice on speakers to use in a hall (plugging into the PA is not an option due to layouts).

    Thanks, O Wise Ones