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  • 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.

  • When the music stops...

    It was cluster pulpit swap day today, so when the music stopped, we all rushed to find another church to preach in... or some such.  Some such actually.  It was all fixed up months ago when yours truly as resident organised person ("you did such a good job last time") worked out who hadn't previously preached where in this arrangement and how to split four ministers from three churches between five services over four churches without anyone preaching twice!  We did it (by missing one service, which one of my folk covered, at the only church that still has two services every week and which doesn't have a minister to offer into the shuffle).

    The reality was that three out of four ministers ended up attending a servcie at which one of the others preached, but also had to preach an 'away' fixture. (Is this starting to sound like one of those logic puzzles... Revd Black didn't preach at Salem who use the RSV and BHB...).

    My visit to D+2 went well enough in the end - though I was amused by one of the GB parents who clearly didn't grasp I'm a minister who told me I'd done well!  Intriguingly, both myself and the minister from D+6 (who came to us) found ourselves nervous about the away preaches - why was that?  Is it a good thing?  In some ways, yes, I think it is.

    We had a great turn out this afternoon, and as I was pressing buttons for PowerPoint (they gave up on Impress) I got a very different view of procedings, as well as giving my usual button presser a week off.  For a while I found myself envying my colleague's adjective rich language, how she painted word pictures that really came alive, whilst I just deliver it pretty straight.  But only for a while.  Somewhere along the line, I have learned that my style is my style, and that there are plenty of people who can relate to it.  It's just enriching to get some variety - either way round.

    Although three out of four ministers had to do a double shift today, we also had the blessing of taking in rather than only giving out.  It is always good to visit other fellowships, if only because they help you to see your own afresh.  For me, it felt a bit odd standing in a church on a Sunday rather than a school hall - rarely do I lead worship in church buildings any more.  For others I guess it was the size or age of congregation, the time or style of service that was unusual. 

    Hopefully next time someone else will do the logic puzzle (which actually isn't that tricky) and next time the music stops we'll all once more have a novel experience of the wonderful diversity that is the Honey Nut Cluster we are.  (Did I tell you we serve clustered creams with our tea on these occasions....? sorry.)