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  • Poetic Justice... or somesuch

    The nice BBC weather forecaster this morning announced that the weather was overcast and threatening rain... except in Scotland and the East of England where it is gloriously sunny.  This is poetic because one could be forgiven that weather only happens in London.

    Of course the fact that I've turned my week upside down and having my personal bank holiday and day off Thursday and Friday may have fooled the weather gods... (my Mum claims that for the last 20 years my Dad has held the role of "clerk of the weather" so you could always blame him if your weather doesn't suit...)

  • Shameless Self-Indulgence... Superb Singing

    It's not very often that I allow myself to pick hymns and songs on the basis simply that I like singing them (so long as they fit reasonably with the service theme of course) but yesterday I did.  So, we started with 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty' moved via 'Lord of the Dance' to 'Teach me to dance' and ended with 'St Patrick's Breastplate.'

    People sang them brilliantly - and the choir pieces were superb too - all of which added to the experience of worship.

    There aren't many trinity hymns and songs - a few 'rounds' such "Father/Jesus/Spirit we love/adore you" - so it was good to sing the two we did; the 'dance' ones connected with the trinitarian metaphor I was using.

    St Patrick's breastplate is not the easiest to sing, though two Baptist churches with a certain set of initials, smaller and larger, do it brilliantly.  Sometimes it is good for us to sing ancient words, words which have been sung in chapels and cathedrals, monasteries and marquees, by countless people through many centuries, marvelling in the wonder of a triune God who surrounds, upholds and indwells their very being.

    So, suitably indulged, I'll revert to my more usual practice of 'does it fit', 'do people know at least some of them' and 'is there suitable variety in pace and mood'?

    Next week we are thinking about BMS, welcoming a new member and sharing communion... looking forward to it already.

  • Trinity Sunday


    Whilst trawling the www for images, I happened on this painting entitled Trinity Sunday by a Russian named Valery Badakva.


  • A Sweeter Sugar?

    I have been watching the Junior Apprentice on BBC1 (and rooting for Kirsty, my local Scot, who reminds me a bit of a minister friend of mine in Yorkshire).

    What has struck me most, so far, has been the visibly more gentle Lord Sugar.  Still astute, still razor sharp and somewhat ascerbic in his comments, but ultimately kinder and almost fatherly, with great words of encouragement to those he has fired.  From what I read of him online, he is a great family man, a tad old-fashioned in regard to women and work it has to be said, and a great champion of young people.  I have always enjoyed The Apprentice (one of those rare excuses ministers get to call people stupid!) and usually, if not always, concur with the decisions made (I have even seen Sir Alan, as he then was, follow his heart rather than his head, which was quite endearing).

    My old church, when asked to which TV programme they would compare themselves, chose The Apprentice on the basis that I was always setting them challenges.  Thankfully I wasn't seen as a Sir Alan character firing unsuccessful candidates or cutting people down with sharp remarks.  And of course there were no stupid people in my church anyway... some a bit low in confidence, many a bit fearful of fouling up, even a few who maybe didn't always get what we were about, but definitely not stupid.

  • You Too?

    In my more cynical moments I end up thinking that there are two unwritten rules for academic research:

    • You can only have an idea if someone else has already written it down (the requirement for a citation for every second word!)
    • You can only find support for your ideas from a prescribed corpus of works (those the academics like)

    I know it isn't really quite like that, but it feels like it sometimes.

    Today a book landed with a satisfying thud on my doormat, the purposes of which are anything but my research.  The 'good' thing is that it ticks the academic box so even if it says things that non-academics have already said (or, more properly that I read elsewhere first) at least it can now be appropriated for my own arguments.

    Daniel L Migliore Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdman, 2004 2nd Edition, is as its title suggests a basic systematics, dogmatics or doctrine reference (which you call it depends on where you went to school!).  In the preface to the first edition the author writes:

    The sole novelty in the presentation of topics is the inclusion of three imaginary dialogues of representative theologians and theological positions of the twentieth century.  The dialogue form is, I think, not only pedagogically appealing, but often captures the vitality of theological inquiry and th eopen-endedness of theological discussions much better than more conventional expositions.

    Migliore, xvi

    This model, albeit not expressed so clearly as Theologian A and Theologian B in discussion is not so far from what McLaren attempts in some of his popular writings, and is precisley the model used by the 17th century (English) Baptists, albeit that in each of these their protagonists and antagonists are pure constructs.  Of course Migliore's 'real theologians' are just as much constructs (his representation of a view of their views) but because of who and what they represent automatically (or at least more readily) acceptable in the academy.

    So what?  So I think Migliore is offering me a suitable academic peg upon which to hang my hunch about a possible means of making material more accessible and accessed.  And I feel that he is just one more writer recognising that this approach has potential, so he fits into my 'you too' category, at least in this one regard.