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  • Where'd the Time Go?

    This morning I have been undertaking a bit of a review of some ideas I put together for church life at the start of 2010.  As well as being a useful exercise in seeing how much has been achieved - both from the list and beyond it - I have found myself wondering where all the time has gone!  I am now writing things like 'we should consider this in 2012' by which time I'll be well into my third year up here.

    The reality is that 2011 has been a bit of an odd year for me... I still feel like it's just beginning when in actual fact it is half way through already.  Although I worked all of 2010, the final quarter was at a reduced level with no strategic thinking going on.  Time flies by so quickly anyway, but having a chunk effectively missing makes that even more so.

    It has been a very encouraging review of what has been achieved and useful to note some possible ways forward for the next year or so.

  • A Grand Day Out

    007.JPGNo Wensleydale cheese, no home-made space rockets, just a coach ride through some of Scotlan's lovely countryside, gentle banter, a picnic shared with midges (of course) a proper Scottish high tea and the typical local weather that brightens up in evening.

    The Coffee Club summer outing was a success, with 22 of us (including a jolly and helpful driver) enjoying ourselves very much.

    This is our picnic stop and our resident photographer snapping away!

    A good time was had by all.

  • It's a Hard Life...

    ... or a dirty job that someone has to do... and I will...

    TRG BBQ 2011-3.jpegTRG BBQ 2011-2.jpegTRG BBQ 2011-1.jpeg

    Yesterday our Theological Reflection Group had its 'end of term' barbecue.  The sun shone and around a dozen of us enjoyed an outdoor repast.

    Today I have a lunch meeting which is in part a promise keeping exercise, dating back to last autumn when I made a pact with someone to have lunch once all the active cancer treatment was over.  Business and pleasure - a mix of which my former boss was very much in approval.

    Tomorrow I am out with the Coffee Club for a scenic coach trip, picnic and high tea as we mark the end of year (but don't close for summer, we carry on supping our coffee/tea/hot chocolate/Guinness regardless)

    Thursday is a bit of church archive cupboard clearing.  The hoarder/lover of Baptist history in me has some trepidation over what gets junked; the responsible person in me is thinking 'data protection' and 'why do we really need that...?'

    Friday a 'normal' day in the office.

    Saturday hopefully nothing much to do other than my exercise class.

    Sunday is the Sunday School end of year celebration combined with marking Trinity Sunday, then our second Philosophy Cafe with a title something like 'What Are Universities Really For?' and then our evening choral communion for Midsummer.

    After that I have a week off!  It feels slightly weird to be going away for a while - kind of strange not having to be in easy reach of Glasgow.  So five days in a holiday lodge (including a bit more promise keeping that dates back 14 years!) and a weekend visiting family.  All good fun.

    Photos (c) KF

  • Multi-Lingual

    This morning's service was very multi-lingual and included songs and readings in...




    High German





    And then it came to the Lord's prayer we almost certainly added




    Two obsevations...

    Firstly, the rhythm and feel of the four languages in which we heard scripture read (German, Swahili, French, Welsh) added a richness to our worship that is lacking in any single language service.

    Secondly, although most people prayed the Lord's prayer in English, I could hear other voices and languages and the blended sound was rather beautiful.  I have a feeling the vision of Revelation 7 was something  like that and not, as people sometimes suggest, everyone in a single (usually 21st century English) language.

  • Pentecost... After Now

    A busy and interesting day (and it's not over yet) as our morning service was followed by one of our 'Philosophy Cafe' events as part of the Glasgoow West End festival.

    The thrust of my sermon was roughly this... the first eleven chapters of Genesis present an increasing level of dislocation in the created order - between humans and God, humans and the earth, humans and animals, male and female, parents and chldren. siblings, nations, languages - that Revelation presents the vision of a reconciled diversity and that Pentecost was a moment in which that vision was first glimsped.  The Holy Spirit came, and comes, to embolden us to live and speak Good News and to model, so far as we are able, the vision of reconciled diversity.

    The Philosphy Cafe was, to a degree, leading us to think in a similar way... if the model of Modernity no longer works, if consumerism and materialism and so on no longer work and are not sustainable, what shape might society need to take?  What is necessary for the well-being of society?  How do complex issue get worked out?  Professor Phil Hanlon of Glasgow University spoke in an engaging and fascinating way and had a quiet smile to myself as I found a few (teeny) overlaps with the morning service... I just wondered how many churches had had people talking about ancient and pre-scientific worldviews in one day!  You can find more about his work here.

    The connection between the two seems to me for churches to model something different, to be communities of grace (whatever that means!) to anticipate the eschaton, to grasp the nettles and grapple with complex issues.  I have a feeling that FairTrade, which has its origins in Christians daring to dream a different future is an example of how we can make a difference, but still have a way to go.  One issue Phil Hanlon raised was about carbon footprints, which does complicate the FairTarde agenda - yes, it's right to pay fair prices to people, but is it right, for example, to import roses from overseas just so we can have them out of season, even if they are Fairly Traded?  Are we just cleaning up western consumerism?  And if we take into account the carbon impact, how do we then ensure those who currently grow Fairtrade roses are offered viable alternatives?  Thinking globally rather than locally gets more and more important.

    This is not a carefully thought through response, it is simply my reaction to what I shared in today.  It just seems fitting that as the Spirit of God empowered disciples to speak and be Good News in their age, to we are called to think what that looks like in ours.