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- Page 6

  • Great British Summer of Sport

    From Bradley Wiggins to Andy Murray and all stops in between - what an amazing summer.

    I am REALLY glad I don't have to choose the Sports Personality of the Year...  what a task that will be.

    Thanks to BBC and Channel 4 for their coverage of so much that has been so amazing to watch.

    All four Briitsh nations should be proud of their own (inlcuding those they claim willy nilly by dubious means!) and as a whole we should rejoice in aquitting ourselves excellently on a world stage.  The cynics (and to a degree I was one) have been proved wrong.

  • Choosing Lyfe?

    Last night we had the first gathering our new Bible Study & Disucssion group.  A dozen people came along, with apologies from another two or three - so very encouraging.  People seemed to enter into the discussions with great energy and there was a good feel about the group.  But!  I am bewildered.  The Lyfe material, which I had been naive enough to take on trust and adapt minimally, seems disjointed and the choice of passages (especially for the first study) a little odd.

    We are using Big-hearted Lyfe, which I chose on the basis, pure and simple, it was by BUGB President Chris Duffett, who strikes me as an all around good-egg.  This means that, unusually, I did not examine the book before buying it, or spend ages with it ahead of time.  Rather, yesterday morning I sat down with it and worked out a way of delivering what it offered.

    OK, so the first meeting of a brand new Bible study group looks at Matthew 13:36 - 52, the explanation of the parable of the tares, and then a series of other Kingdom parables.  The emphasis on 'in/out' and dividing up at the end of time seems an odd place to start if we are thinking about a God who has a huge loving heart, and whose will is that none be lost.  Never mind how we understand references to burning, and gehenna, and so forth.  The 'nicer' buried treasure and valuable pearl parables were lost as people recoiled from the image of fish being cast this way and that on the basis that some were 'good' and others 'bad'.  Whilst we did have an interesting discussion both on just how 'good/evil' is defined and conditioned culturally, it was not the most helpful starting point with a new group, some of whom did not know one another very well.  Ho hum.

    One of the interesting explorations suggested in the material, and which I used as a 'warm up' was to consider an area of life inwhich we have some influence - work, home, clubs, etc - and to think about the values that shape our exercise of that influence.  Unfortunately, I could not find a way to relate that to these eschatology passages without severe mental gymnastics.

    Lastly, the study guide suggested three 'challenges' for participants to take away.  I thought these were actually quite good in their own right, and offered things that might appeal or speak to different people.  But again, no clue as to how they related to, or arose from, what we had been working with.

    On Thursday I am using the same material with another, established, and very, very different group.  Between now and then I will be writing some completely new material with less emphasis on the dualism and eschatology, and more on the present day inbreaking of the Kingdom inaugurated by Christ.

    So, reserving judgement on Lyfe in general and this booklet in particular.  I am led to understand that Chris occasionally reads this blog, so if he does, and wants to respond (comment facility permitting!) I'd be pleased to know hear his views. [failing that I'd happily post a response sent by other means]

  • Cariad Duw (again)

    I posted about a service based on the Welsh word cariad in relation to God's love.  Since then I have been asked if I could post the details of the words and their translations.  So, courtesy of our Welsh speaking worship leader, here they are:


    C – Cyfeillgarwch / friendship

    A – Amynedd / patience (but not in the suffering sense of the word, more the opposite of impatience)

    R – Rhuddin / heart (of a tree or timber but not heart of the body – that is calon)

    I – Iesu / Jesus

    A – Addfwynder / gentleness, meekness

    D – Daioni / goodness

    Hope it is of interest/use to others

  • Psalm for a Digital Age

    Today I have been working on the material for this evening's launch of our new Bible Study & Discussion group, which is based on the Bible Society Lyfe guide called 'Big-hearted Lyfe'.  I am excited to begin this new group, which opens the way to all sorts of ways of exploring scripture.  One of the follow-up options was to look at this little you-tube video, which is a clever rework of Psalm 23.

    Between now and Thursday, I have to prepare another version of the same study for a very different afternoon group, many of whom do not use "t'internet" so for whom this analogy (love the near pun there - analogue/digital... oh, never mind!!) wouldn't work.  I really love the Thursday group, they are so faithful and great fun to be with... so I hope I can find a way in that works for them too.


    Oh yes, cue spooky music - my sermon title for next Sunday is:

    'Responsible Words in an era of Instant Messaging'

  • WWJD?

    Today's PAYG was centred on the account in Luke's gospel where Jesus heals the withered arm of a man present in a synagogue on a sabbath (Luke 6:6 - 11).  The person guiding the reflection noted that at the point the story begins Jesus had already antagonised the powerful religious in some way, so much so that they were out to get him.  Was it something he had said or done?  So they were eagerly looking for any teeny weeny transgression in order to pounce.  Jesus could simply have walked away, past the man with the withered hand, and said nothing.  He could have settled for a quiet life rather than risk antagonising, or being antagonised by, others.

    This really spoke to me - with my loathing of confrontation and fear of offending blended with a sometimes too short fuse when I am annoyed or irritated by something or someone.  Sometimes, of course, discretion is the better part of valour.  Sometimes standing up and being counted is important.  Jesus was no people pleaser, confrontation clearly didn't faze him, and he could be quite sharply spoken on occasion... above all he was true to himself.

    This morning I woke still turning over stuff from yesterday in my mind, still all too aware of my clay feet, but in this reading and reflection, it seemed that God reached out to me, reassured me, and said 'it's all alright.'

    Way back when, as I began the path to ordained ministry, I confided in a friend that my biggest fear was that something I said or didn't say, did or didn't do, would drive someone away from Jesus, from God.  Perhaps fear is an unhelpful word, perhaps 'concern' would be better.  And maybe I somehow accord too much import to my words and actions in influencing other people negatively.  I think I have been reminded that WWJD is be true to himself, to confront, to subvert, to ignore, to challenge... and that what I have to do is be true to who God has made me to be, which may sometimes include doing or being the things I find uncomfortable...