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

- Page 3

  • Aaaaaaargh! Not Again

    This email arrived this morning:

    "Dear Sister, this is a reminder to invite you to our meeting for Pastors' Wives on Saturday 29th October, 7-9pm at *****. If you are a Pastor, please would you kindly pass this onto your wife. For the purposes of catering, it would be helpful to have a rough idea of numbers, therefore, please reply to this e-mail to let us know if you are planning on coming along."
    Ok, so
    1. I am not a pastor's wife
    2. I am a pastor but I don't have a wife
    3. If I was a pastor with a wife, I'd be struck off
    4. If I was a pastor who wanted a wife, I'd be viewed with suspicion
    5. I am a pastor who has no desire for a wife or a husband; I like being single thanks all the same
    It annoys me because it assumes
    1. All pastors are male
    2. All male pastors have wives
    Neither of these is true.
    I couldn't attend anyway because I will already be at Baptist Assembly (Scotland) - far more my kind of thing!
    I am glad that for those who want it, there are pastors' wives events (NB this is not, so far as I can tell, a Baptist event), I'm glad there are pastors' spice events and networks but this 'sister' is not about to attend any of them.
    I ranted about this last year, as I recall, and nothing has changed, so rant again I will!
  • Mostly Armless

    Been a bit of an odd week - lots to do but nothing of note to report back on.

    This morning I saw the physio for the second appointment to treat my De Quervains tenosynovitis... I kind of like the incredibly long name which translates as 'inflamed sheath around the tendon that stops it moving properly'.  Suffice to say, a week of being splinted has made no difference at all, so this morning it was on to therapeutic ultrasound - two minutes of said process which is meant to aggravate the injury enough to make the body heal it up, or some such similar thing!  Anyway, I remain mostly 'armless' for the foreseeable future.

    By contrast, I spent yesterday afternoon doing one of the most privileged things a minister can do - sitting at the bedside of someone who is very ill and nearing the end of life, so in a hospice.  Reading well-loved psalms and hymns, holding his hand, signing him with the cross and then praying with/for him... no other walk of life offers such privilege.  Pastoral care takes many forms, but just sitting in the silence and sharing the waiting seems both to acknowledge our powerlessness and our faithful hope beyond this life.

    Today I am intending to do some reading ahead of my next preaching series.  This has the advantage of not needing functional hands, beyond turning over the pages!

  • Building the House

    Today the PAYG reading was the start of the very short book of the prophet Haggai:

    In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak,the high priest:

    This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house.’”

    Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

    Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

    This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD.“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

    Haggai 1: 1 - 9 NIV

    Usually, and legitimately, these words are understood as relating to the literal, physical 'house of God', i.e. the Temple.  The people Haggai addresses have been so busy feathering their own nests that they have allowed the Temple to fall into disrepair - the reference to panelled houses, beloved of the minor prophets, carries with it a sense of opulence.  For middle class Christians, who expend most of their resources and buying and furnishing lovely homes, the simple reading may well hold true, especially if the premises in which they meet for worship are in a sorry state of repair, but I don't think that is the only legitimate way to read the text.  The reality is that any UK citizen, no matter what their status or income, is in the top 10% of the world's most wealthy - we all effectively have panelled houses - so the simple reading refers to everyone AND there must be other ways of reading.

    What if we allow the fact that Hebrew like English uses the word 'house' in two distinct ways - (i) as a dwelling place, a building (ii) as a family or line (e.g. the House of David).  What if instead of thinking bricks and mortar, we think relationships?  What if we then ask ourselves where our energy goes - if indeed we give any energy at all?  Are we so busy garnering material comforts that we fail to build strong relationships? Are we so overwhelmed with work that we neglect those closest to us?  Has technology become our master rather than our servant?

    I find myself pausing to think in two directions.

    Firstly, how much energy do I devote to 'building the house' of which I am, by biology, a part?  By this I definitely do not mean reproduction - too late for me now anyway - but quality relationships that will survive the storms of life? I suspect my family is no better and no worse than average, with its own idiosyncrasies and squabbles, but my challenge is to think how I can better contribute to it for the good.

    Secondly, how much energy do I devote to 'building the body of Christ' a 'temple of living stones'?  What do I set out to achieve in my preaching?  How deep are the relationships I have with my folk? Are my pastoral endeavours adequate or even rightly directed?  How do I model the kind of inter-dependence that allows a strong 'house' to be built without it becoming exclusive or clique-ish?  What is the right balance of spiritual and practical, administrative and devotional? I don't think there are any easy answers, but I do think the questions are important.

    So, I guess I need to get away to the metaphorical forest to cut some metaphorical trees and drag them back to be used in panelling a metaphorical house.  Anyone lend me a metaphorical axe?!

  • One New Thing

    This is the opener for Sunday - what one new thing have you learned this week?

    I am posting it because people may need time to think about their answer, may even deduce they have not learned anything new this week, but in truth everyone will have encountered something 'new' this week... a new new skill, a new insight, a new piece of information, a new place to go, a new person they have met, something they saw or heard for the first time.

    Here are a few of mine...

    A documentary gave me new insights into the medical care of Australian aboriginal people in the 21st century.

    A chance conversation in a cafe informed me that it may snow in Glasgow this weekend!!!

    I learned how to create a calendar using Word

    I found a new blog to visit

    I found the missing 'something' for my sermon whilst chatting to someone over coffee

    I discovered an alternative reading of Haggai 1 (see above post)


    So, over to you, readers and Gatherers, one new thing you have learned (in a broad sense) this week.

  • New Skills...

    ... yesterday I signed for delivery of a consignment of stones (small pebbles) and paving slabs at church which will be used to help smarten up the area around the front door.  That wasn't in any of the courses I did at minister-school!

    Yesterday evening a small group of folk (not me!) met to shovel the stones into place and lay the paving slabs so that they can be topped with tubs of flowers to make the entrance more welcoming.

    We have a few other bits of tidying and smartening up in hand, so hopefully this will give a better sense (a) of us being a fellowship that is alive and kicking and (b) that we think church is worth doing well.