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- Page 6

  • Double Honour?

    Every now and then a minister will, tongue in cheek, cite 1 Timothy 7:!7 which, in the KJV, so it must be right (!), says, 'Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine' as the reason by he or she (usually he, it has to be said) ought to be paid more or given more time off.  It is certainly the case that when I talk to people outside church they are often shocked to discover what ministers are paid.  I'm not complaining, I knew what I was getting into, and compared to some in this country, never mind overseas, I am comfortably off.  But this text came back to mind last night at our churches together meeting, at which I was the only minister present, and the chairperson said to my people 'I hope you're paying her well, she's worth two.'  Well, I guess compared to the experience of our Methodists who get one fifth of a minister, maybe I am.

    And then I got thinking about why most ministers are so bad at receiving compliments and why, on the whole, we are so bad at showing our appreciation for/to them.  This week has felt very strange because the compliments have been flooding in - well there've been about half a dozen anyway - but all of them have come from outside my own fellowship.  So why is that?  Why is it easier to say something encouraging to those outside our churches (or families) than those inside?  Is there a sense of taken-for-grantedness that means we no longer see how blessed we are?  Is it because it is easier to see the failings of those we know better?  Or is it that we see ourselves as the employers of these people and that you just don't thank people for doing what they're paid to do?  (Though my experience in industry was that I did get thanked for doing what I was paid to do...) 

    So, where does this leave me?  I think I have to learn to be better at accepting praise when it comes, and some of it this week has been quite amazing.  And I think that we as churches need to learn to be a little more open in expressing our appreciation of those whose work is to labour among us 'especially preaching and teaching'.  Perhaps if we could manage two compliments to every one criticism, our ministers (and others) would all feel more valued.


    As an aside, this week I heard that having a 'A' level in Maths should boost your earning potential by an average of 10% over a lfietime.  Since I have one - and some degree level maths as well - maybe I can claim to deserve 2.2 times the honour?!

  • WWJD?

    I love lunch club days; they are frenetic, hard work but our members love it so much that it is all worth while.

    Today was no different from any other month except that John (not his real name) was having problems with his false leg and we had to lift him on and off the coach to get him to the restaurant.  Not dignified, not safe - not good enough.  So we booked a wheelchair friendly taxi to take him home afterwards.

    There were definitely some comedy moments as I walked along, pushing the wheelchair with John's leg tucked under my arm.  Thankfully, he is a man with genuine good humour and saw the comedy value for himself. 

    WWJD?  Well, there are no stories of miraculous regrowth of amputated limbs, so it's an interesting one isn't it?  I'd like to think he might have had to call a taxi too!  

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?

    So today's Baptist news esweep brings to my attention two very different articles, one that encourages and one that dismays.

    On the one hand we have Rick Warren trying to encourage ministers, even if his cookie making analogy is not the greatest, recognising that life includes some pretty grotty stuff and saying that 'God never wastes experiences – good or bad. He wants to use your experiences to make you a more effective minister.'  Then we have a Nigerian Archbishop reportedly telling us of the evils of multiculturalism and inclusivity, and warning newly trained ministers about the evil world beyond the safe confines of the seminary: 'the “consequences” of multiculturalism were “grave. We end up with what looks like Church but in reality is not.” '

    As I've thinking about leading services on 'grace' and 'mercy' and re-reading a little book called 'Our God has No Favourites' with its focus on accounts of Jesus inclusivity in a multicultural milieu (scandalous!) the words of the venerable gentleman make me very sad indeed.  The archbishop is probably right in saying we can end up with what looks like church but isn't really - I'm just not sure I'd define 'right' the same way as he does.  And if that makes apostate or a heretic bound for eternal damnation, well, hey, I reckon I'll be in pretty good company! 

  • God Words

    I've had some fun today playing around with the idea of grace in the light of suggestions that 'grace', or at least 'charis' has associations with abstract concepts like 'charm' and 'beauty.'  As part of my introduction on Sunday I'm using a picture of ballet dancer and a swimming swan, which are often seen as 'graceful' - the elegance and beauty belying the effort and concentration 'under the surface.'  But the idea of 'graceful' - being filled with grace - as becoming beautiful, beguiling, attractive, winsome and so on appealed.

    But if grace is of God, then in some way these words each something of God's Godness - and it is a wonderful challenge for me to contemplate such ideas as the 'winsomeness of God.'  I am reminded of one of my favourite childhood hymns 'God is love, his the care' with its refrain 'God is good, God is truth, God is beauty, praise Him.'

    Grace is free in evey sense of the word - not only is there no charge, but it is unbounded.  I am finding that my metpahpors around 'grace' and my metaphors around 'Spirit' are overlapping and am wondering if that matters?  One of my favourite film images of God is in the (dire) film 'Dogma' where God appears as a young woman turning cartwheels (I know I've mentioned this in a past post but am too lazy to check back where, and if it's good enough for the likes Theresa of Avila...).  Might there be a playful delight in grace as well as all the intense doctrinal stuff?

    God you are...












    closer than my breathing

    yet beyond my imagining or understanding

    beyond words

    yet word of life...

  • Becoming Reality...



    The photo may not be the 'greatest,' and I make no apologies that neither of the signs is legible, but it is nonetheless a signficant moment.

    A 'for sale' board has appeared outside Dibley chapel as it goes 'on the market' today.

    I was surprised by how much more 'real' it felt to step out of my front door and see a large red and white sign announcing the fact to all who pass by.  In a few weeks time it will (DV, as my grandmother used to say) no longer be my problem.  My one hope is that whoever buys it gets on with removing the building before the vandals so any more harm...

    Watch this space for further updates