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

- Page 4

  • As Good As a Rest

    Yesterday we were one of the Scottish baptist churches hosting members of the National Settlement Team (NST) who were (are) up for their occasional Caledonian gathering.  We were privileged to welcome Rev Dr Paul Goodliff, head of ministries, who brought us a timely sermon on the ongoing nature of conversion, or reconversion, as well as the need for an initial commitment.  Based on Acts 9 and John 21 (with a couple of verses of Ezekiel for good measure) it continued our lectionary approach, and fitted in well to the series with the working title Extra-Ordinary.

    Unusually, I read the Bible passages in the context of worship.  Other than as a visiting preacher, it is incredibly rare that I do so nowadays.  And I enjoyed it very much indeed.  I always enjoy hearing other people when I'm preaching, noticing new nuances in the texts as I do so.  The same was true yesterday, not least because it feels different reading aloud than reading silently.

    Next Sunday's service continues the Acts thread, and moves on from Damascus to Joppa, and I am already quite excited about what God might be saying to us in the little story we will focus on.

    If praying be your thing, and if Baptistness is something you understand, please pray for the NST as they endeavour to match churches and ministers.

  • So I'm a Little Slow...

    Not much of note been happening this week, just a steady game of catch-up on the admin, several small meetings and the realisation that next week starts the last 'lap' before my sabbatical and there's still a heck of a lot of preparation to do for that if it isn't going to end up as three months wasted.

    Anyway, the one thing that is new is that on Easter Sunday I finally relented and allowed Holly Cat into my bedroom.  Having been brought up strictly that 'animals do not go in bedrooms' I had held out for more than 18 months, during which every night a yowling, door-scratching moggie would wake me up several times.  Suddenly, all is quiet!  She knows that the bedroom is for sleeping (or seems to), accepts that the door is closed by day, but trots in purring when it's time for bed.  Up she jumps, curls into a pretzel shape at the end of the bed, and is sound asleep in seconds.  And I sleep better too.

    My biggest fear, based on other people's tales was a cat dribbling onto my face, demanding food - so far, so good on that one!

    There's probably a moral in there somewhere, or a sermon, but I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader!

  • Auld Claes and Porridge

    So today it's back to reality after a week of catch-up rest days and then a 24 hour prayer retreat in Pilochry.

    I was anxious about the retreat, bothered that it would loud and triumphalist and everything that winds me up about Baptist life.  I was anxious that there would be scary blokes who objected to women in ministry.  I feared it would be tough going.  For once my fears proved groundless.  I had a lovely time with fourteen gracious, gentle, funny, kind, affirming men, as we listened for God speaking through one another, through scripture, through silence, through prayer.  I came home feeling relaxed and refreshed (at least until the next round of emails and computer software glitches!!).  it was probably the best experience of Scottish Baptist life I have had, so huge thanks to those who invited me and who organised it, especially C, who is just such a lovely guy.

    Today it's back to admin, back to the privilege of speaking to people in all of life's variety, back to preparing for Sunday worship - and the delight of a guest preacher of some repute!  And the mundane things like an eye test, and printing out rotas, and trying to sort this flippin' computer (did not realise that the default factory setting is such that it does NOT automatically create restore points, which would have solved my problems in minutes, grr.  Fixed that now, so next time...)

    The retreat was meant to be about listening for God - and I think I did hear, sense, God saying something to me - nothing earth shattering, nothing I did not already know, but something I knew I needed to be reminded of.  And that was good.

    So then, choosing hymns or fixing windows live mail... hmm!



    UPDATE - hymns picked; live mail fixed... Oh happy day!

  • On Being the First...

    The death of the UK's first (and so far, only) woman Prime Minister has caused a flurry media activity, from the carefully honed (and undoubtedly written ages ago and kept in readiness) to the knee-jerk, from gracious and measured to vitriolic and offensive.

    If I'm honest, I have mixed feelings about her, and about what she did.  Some I don't think was wise, but some was clearly necessary; some I totally disagreed with, some seemed justified.

    But I suppose what it is that strikes me is the challenge of being first, the first, the one that people look at to see what such a creature might be, or do or say.  The person who is entrusted with a task in which she might fail or succeed - and will most probably do a bit of both.  The person who will disappoint, and be disappointed by, those who elect/call her.  The person onto whom so much hope is projected - and so much suspicion.

    This morning I am off to Pitlochry to spend twenty four hours on retreat in a male dominated group.  I am that oddity, that first woman, that inevitable heretic, the one whose every move, every word just might be taken and twisted to prove some point, either way.  Those I will be retreating with are good, honest, earnest, Bible-believing, less-heretical-than-me men.  Most of them are gracious and welcoming.  But there will be those who blank me... being first, the first, has its price.

    I have no desire to be like Mrs Thatcher.  Whilst I can do stubborn and bolshy, I don't think I am anywhere near her league.  In any case, I am not trying to steer a nation, I am seeking to serve a church.  I am not elected by people, I am, in so far as I know my heart, called of God.  No-one is going to devote 36 pages of newsprint to recalling my life (phew!) the most I will get is a line on a PowerPoint at Baptist Assembly if by then it still happens.

    My Dad, born a few months before his political hero, but pre-deceasing her by more than two decades, used to say one should never speak ill of the dead.  Whatever we thought of Baroness Thatcher, she was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and she was the first female prime minister of the nation I know as home.  Today she will be mourned by those who genuinely loved her.  And she was a first - one of a small portion of society who, chosen or otherwise, must create their own path, for there is none to follow... 

    May she rest peacefully, in the grace of God.

  • Odd...

    I had a lovely weekend away, and am now looking forward to a short retreat in Pitlochry tomorrow and Wednesday.

    This weekend I stayed in the Travelodge In Northampton town centre, as I have many times before.  I decided to flick through the TV/radio channels to see what was there and discovered it has BBC1 (London) and, even more bizarrely BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal (the Gaelic language station)... Via the latter I did listen to an English language BBC Radio Scotland programme... but all very odd, not least as none of radio 1, 2 or 4 was working.

    Just as curious, in its way, was the fact that for the first time EVER someone in Northampton queried my Bank of Scotland note (to be fair, her colleague looked non-plussed thst she had not recognised it for what it was, and the poor woman was so mortified when I said "well that's a first" in my bestest English accent that I wound up apologising)

    A very relaxing couple of days, read most of two books, and feel quite refreshed.