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- Page 5

  • Dandelion Time

    dandelion clock4.jpgSome months back, a minister friend and I independently found ourselves thinking of dandelion clocks in relation to my little church, and more especially, my role within it nearing its completion.

    It is an image/metaphor that has been helpful, as I have pondered God's Ruach blowing gently to disperse the seeds for another season's growth.

    In the last couple of weeks I have been decluttering and offering all manner of goodies to other ministers, churches and groups... today I sent off a list to be circulated round EMBA!  I have been quite specific in my guidelines, that items are for use not shoving in a cupboard 'just in case.'  It has a bit of a dandelion clock feel about it... I release these 'seeds' of potential, a pack of shiny card here, a badminton kit there, a games compendium somewhere else... and people I won't ever meet can be touched by love of God in places I will never go or know.  That doesn't make me special or holy or kind, rather it is just the seeds sown in me reaching harvest themselves.  I recall with gratitude those who gave me things, did things for me, taught me skills and above all modelled Christ...

    Blow, wind of God

    Carry the dandelion seeds of hope.

    Near or far,

    Let them take root

    And grow.

    Bringing joy





  • "Very worthy and very boring"

    I was talking to someone over the weekend about some university changes that impact on my research work and through which I am trying to navigate/negotiate a workable route alongside a geopraphical move.

    "It all sounds very worthy and very boring," she said "I'd far rather be at the coal face."  When I pointed out I am at the 'coal face' as well and that's the whole point of practical theology she dismissed the whole field as "not proper theology, just a load of unreflected experience."  Her final comment, when I said that Moltmann asserted all good theology is ultimately practical theology was "pah, you'd never see him on a pastoral cycle."  Maybe not, but I was left with a lovely mental image on him on a bicycle!

    It's a good job tongue-biting is on my list of competencies.

    How does one win, I wondered.  Practical theology does indeed need some sustained theoretical work, which is precisely what I am trying to do - even if it is deemed 'boring' and 'not practical' albeit 'worthy' - but a lot of theorists deem it 'improper.'

    As I pondered the comments, and the likely underlying reasons, I concluded that one of the problems of practical theology is that, alas, a lot of stuff is peddled under this banner that perhaps isn't really theology (as one of its advocates, Stephen Pattison would, I suspect, readily concede) and a lot of people who don't 'get it' cheerfully throw out the baby with the bathwater.  All of which makes my 'worthy and boring' foray into the theorectical aspects of a practical field all the more pertinent I guess.

    Just maybe this gives me the kick up the backside I need to continue at a point where exit routes appear especially attractive (not least as they offer more letters for less work!!)

  • Why Now?

    Why when you have only a few weeks left of a pastorate does

    • someone tell you that last week's service broke through twenty years of denial/suppression of an issue in their life?
    • someone start coming to church who needs massive levels of skilled support and care?
    • someone with recurring mental health problems move closer to a 'flip' phase?
    • someone get ill and another one injured?

    Why when you ought to be putting things down and unwinding is there a sudden surge of serious stuff to deal with?


    Then I thought

    • maybe the person who has been in denial will now find opportunity for a new beginning
    • maybe the new person will find the acceptance they need, and the church discover inner strength to cope with their needs
    • maybe the mental health issues will be a trigger for greater interdependence?
    • actually illness and injury are just part of everyday life

    I recall thinking several months back, there's never a good time to leave, always a reason to delay and stay longer... but maybe leaving when there's a lot for people to get stuck into is a good thing?

    Why now?  Perhaps because now this little church is able to cope in a way it wouldn't have been before.

  • Less Auspicious Endings...

    Tonight should have been 'thing in a pub' and I dutifully took myself off to the local... leaving after an hour during which not one person from church had shown up.  I had boosted takings by a couple of quid, had ordered food for next month and had a bit of a conversation with the landlady, a barmaid and a couple of customers, so it wasn't a waste.  It wasn't even unexpected, to be honest.  Just a tad disappointing.

    On the Fresh Expressions DVD is a Methodist minister who says that what he wants to be able to say when he meets God is 'I tried' and I guess that's what can be said about this initiative... 'we tried.'  I guess it made some difference to some people, and I certainly enjoyed the speakers we had during the first year.  I guess I have learned something from it, and would be a bit better equipped to explore a similar venture in the future.

    So, next month I will invite the undertakers and other people I know from around the place to come and share the food... and as for those for whom it was ordered they will not taste one morsel and will weep and wail and gnash their teeth... or not... probably not.

  • Officially Soggy

    Seemingly Dibley had the highest (or one of the highest anyway) rainfall levels in England (not UK) in July, at around 7".

    So there you go, we are officially soggy.