By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

- Page 2

  • A New Kind of Church History?

    I have just begun reading Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christianity published this year.  So far so good... nothing that surprsies me but even so, worth continuing.

    What has struck me is that in this book he makes mention of the theologians whose work has informed his writing.  It is striking because when I cited some of his earlier work in an essay I was (justifiably, if not entirely rightly imo) criticised over the status of my sources.  McLaren writes in a popular style rather than an academic style and is not, strictly speaking, a theologian.  This can lead to the purists dismissing, or at least looking down upon, his work.  In this latest book he notes the scholars whose work inspires his writing such as N T Wright, Marcus Borg, Walter Brueggemann, Gutierrez, Jon Sobrino etc.  Whether this will convince the purists that his writing has 'come of age' I have no idea.  What it does seem to suggest is that there may be a new kind of Christian writing that is both academcially rigorous and widely accessible... which is not unlike my endeavours for church history.  The challenge of accessibility is a big one, and worthy tomes on library shelves won't shift the people of God very far at all.  There is a connection to be made, carefully and creatively, so that the thoughts of the great and the intuitions of the rest of us can be related and then made availalbe to those who have neither time nor opporutity to do so themselves.

    There is obviosluy a need for great academics, but there is also a great need for practical theologians... and it is the latter that I aspire to be.

  • The Dance Settee

    So, Trinity Sunday is almost upon us, and with it my service called 'Lord of the Dance.'

    Among other things we will be singing the song known in my family as 'The Dance Settee'

    When we were small one of us, quite possibly me, but the origins are lost in the mists of time, came home from school and began to sing a song that included the line 'I am the Lord of the dance settee.'  And it stuck.  My nieces and nephews know it by this name, and great care is needed when Gortons and semi-Gortons are present not to slip into this form of words.

    So if I mess it up on Sunday, forgive me.

  • Summer in the City


    The view from my kitchen window last night at around 22:30.

    The city is beautiful.

    Alas my photography skills fail to capture the glory of the full moon

    419.JPGFrom my living room.

    The Campsie Fells and the last glimmers of light.


  • When the Same Old Same Old is Good

    Today turned into one of those days when I ended up thinking life was so much less hassle when I was an engineer and wondering why did I need to spend four years studying theology to end up doing what I was doing.  There is some bad pseudo-Newtonian theology that would say that what was unfolding was the 'almost equal and opposite reaction' to the earlier post, but I refuse to believe it.  Just 'one of those days'.  After I'd done all I could I had a stupidly rapid turn around to get over to Girls' Brigade where I'd foolishly agreed to be 'inspecting officer' for the end of year award's night (crazily early 'even' by Scottish school year end but there you go).

    It was the same old same old: little girls so excited they almost burst, earnestly singing with all thier might 'he's got the whole world in his hands' as the mums eagerly sought little Roxie's face and granny wiped away a few tears as Morag won the prize for best attendance.  I've been doing these things now, as a leader, for 29 years (scary! nearer 35 overall) and it ought to be meaningless but it's not.  Somewhere in those little girls' endeavours there was a reminder that it is all worthwhile... that the days you go home thinking 'I'll swing for you, so I will' (even in a middle of England accent!) are as nought compared with the joy in those little hearts.

    And so, of course, it is with ministry.  Some days are just grot (and today wasn't all grot by any means) but they disappear in the glimspes of grace, the surprises of joy, the aha moments of new understanding, the uproarious laughter of divine humour... and a million other wonderful bits even of same old, same old.

    So, whilst I really don't want too many days with the frustrations today brought (none from my regular 'flock' in case they are feeling worried!) the reality is that theology is non-Newtonian and there is is always a source of joy to be found if we are open to spotting it.  In the end, no matter if it would be easier and less hassle to be an engineer, it would never give me the beautiful moments that this calling does.  Likewise I may not have spent four years studying theology to deal with stuff that crops up, but the stuff that crops up ultimately shapes my theology.

    (And now I'll get my tea!)

  • Caution: Sophia Active!

    Holy Spirit at work... sometimes faster and more mysteriously than we will ever imagine.

    This afternoon I have been invited to lead the closing prayer at a small, midweek Gospel Meeting as it breaks for summer.  Next session I have been invited to speak.

    That may sound like something teeny weeny, but it's massive.  If you know what I'm talking about, you'll understand and marvel as I do.  If you don't, then marvel at the marvel!

    All over this land God's Spirit is moving...