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  • Good Questions...

    This morning our monthly Saturday prayer group met.  It is a small group - 4 or 5 of us - who enjoy warm croissants and coffee/tea before we pray.  Today after we'd prayed we continued to chat a bit and all sorts of good questions began to emerge.... will there be Muslims or Mormons in heaven?  Is God Universalist?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  What do we mean when we pray for healing?  Do souls sleep from death until the resurrection?  Is heaven a bejewelled city - or is there a heaven at all rather than a new/renewed earth?  Why doesn't being a Christian guarantee a wonderful, trouble free life - and in any case what might that look like?  We didn't answer any of the questions, and the relationships in that group aren't yet ready to push things too much, but it did feel like a giant leap forward. 

    Fairly often, in a one to one, people will talk to me about more complex topics, but they nearly always fear sharing their views with the church for fear of being seen as 'unsound.'  If I can, I will point them at resources to help their thinking, or offer them a variety of ideas I've encountered, but always resist telling them pat answers.  I also say that I will continue to support them whatever they conclude.  Maybe it is because of this that periodically people feel the need to pray quite pointedly that I give more attention to my spiritual life! 

    There was a Christian song, I think sung by Martyn Joseph, in the 1980's that said something like "I will keep on asking the questions, but answers will never come to me, for such is the mystery" - and I think it is true.  For every question listed above there is a simple answer - and it's probably wrong, or at best partial.  It is good to ask questions, it is good to seek understanding - but above it's a relief to know that ultimately where answers are concerned it's God's problem, not mine!

  • Two out of Three Ain't Bad! (In fact, it's very good...)

    I have just typed up my monthly minister's letter for the church magazine and also done a quick report on our Pentecost events.  I have chosen to do something I very rarely risk - I have thanked named individuals, albeit en bloc, for their contribution to the events.  A high risk strategy, because someone may have been missed and will be miffed, but overall a useful exercise because it shows that 2 out of 3 church folk were actively involved in making the events happen, and that even one of my ninety somethings was on a stall all afternoon.

    Whilst some people are too frail to have helped, most of those who could have did, and that is what's worth shouting about.  In few churches would two thirds of the membership be motivated to get stuck in to a missional event - but imagine what might happen if they did...

    So, to the good people of Dibley Baptist Church a mega massive WELL DONE!

  • Hello Beattie!

    This week the Baptist Times (BT) has listed in its fun loving Beattie's Diary column those of us who blogged about Assembly.  So if Beatttie sent you here, a warm welcome to my corner of Blogland, I hope you enjoy your visit.  Contrary to what you might have inferred from Beattie's column, you don't have to agree with me to visit or to comment - given I average around 1000 visits a month I am sure many don't share my views.  Some of my blog-friends I have never met in real life, others I know socially or professionally and we disagree on lots of things - but we all seem to think that Baptists are lovely but crazy (or crazy but lovely) people and/or we enjoy writing or reading about ideas to do with life, faith and mission.

    Way back when, when I was still a spotty teenager, Maureen Lipman was Beattie for a totally different organisation, a kind of crazy Jewish auntie whose big concern was 'you got an "ology."'  I always imagine the BT's Beattie in a similar vein - maybe this kind of stuff is "blogology?!"

    Anyway, if you are visiting for the first time, don't take me or my stuff too seriously, but do be open to new-to-you ideas.  Feel free to comment - whatever you think of my twaddle.  Oh, and keep reading Beattie's column!! 

  • Be Careful Little Bloggers What You Blog

    To plagiarse the song I learned in Sunday School all those decades ago.

    Today's Baptist news esweep includes this link to a post on the ethical responsiblities of Baptist bloggers.  The author is correct in noting caution in our wording and the need for a repsonsible attitude but I was left feeling that this was a bit eggs, grandmother and suck arranged into a well known phrase or saying.

    Most of the time most Baptist/Christian bloggers - or at least those who I read - are very gracious in what is posted.  Sure we use popular language and the odd expletive might creep in.  Sometimes we get annoyed and let others know it.  And even sometimes we get it wrong.  Well, we are, afterall, human.

    I did wonder what might happen if the archangel Gabriel started posting chunks of the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) cos there are parts which are pretty not nice, not polite and not calm.

    Be careful little bloggers what you blog - not because of the Father up above, cos the song says he's looking down in love - but because you just might upset other people with your tone and vocabulary.  Of course we should be careful and responsible, and the article is clearly not against blogging per se, just perhaps hints at something I'd find a bit too holy to be helpful.

    Altogether now...

    So watch your ears, your eyes, your hands, your feet, your blog... 

  • Philistine Physicals?

    Every now and then someone sends me a list of allegedly real "church bloopers."  Here is one I actually saw this week...

    "Wednesday morning gentile exercise to music"

    Pontius pilates maybe?