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- Page 5

  • Journeying Stories

    Last weekend was a significant one for two ordained women I know in England, both of whom are now former Baptists!  It's been interesting to ponder their journeys, such as I know of them, to compare and contrast, and to think a bit about my own ongoing journey.

    J was ordained forty years ago as a Baptist minister.  She had resigned as a Baptist minister and become a URC minister long before I knew her.  She is a highly skilled and extensively published liturgist and hymn-writer, among her published liturgies being the one she wrote for leaving Baptist ministry.  Forty years a minister - ordained when I was still at school and still working out what this Christianity thing meant for me.  J taught me pastoral theology and some stuff around liturgy and worship when I was at 'vicar school.' Forty years is a tremendous achievement and I salute her for her faith, her determination, and her willingness to make a stand over her understanding around human sexuality.

    A was a also a long term Baptist minister.  I'm not quite sure how long she served, but certainly right up to her retirement.  Last weekend she was ordained within the Anglican communion and is now serving as a curate in Derbyshire.  She is a another woman for whom I have huge respect and admiration.  She is one of the of few people who has preached a sermon that has stuck in my mind.  A resolute and determined woman with a passion for gender justice and addressing the topic of violence against women.  She was my personal tutor in my final year at college, and no-one could have had a wiser or more supportive companion.  I wish her well in this new stage in her journey.

    The two events happening simultaneously and separately for these two women I respect has given me pause for thought.  I can't imagine resigning from the list of accredited Baptist ministers.  Neither can I imagine becoming an Anglican (not even a Piskie version thereof).  But I know the danger of saying 'never'!  For me, for now, ministry is definitely Baptist, and definitely in the church I am privileged to serve in Glasgow. 

    Should I work until my anticipated retirement age, I'll clock up around 28 years, which isn't a bad innings... but more important is to keep plodding on, taking a day at a time and trusting in the promises of our faithful God.

  • When Hoarding Comes Good...

    As part of my ongoing (if currently stalled) decluttering process, I seriously considered getting rid of all my children's books.  I'm glad I didn't, becuase it meant I still have this one which, whilst dated linguistically, remains a useful resource for tracing the way the Bible has been passed on over time, at least in the UK.

    I reckon it was 15p well spent about 45 years ago!

  • Going Deeper - with David Livingstone

    Week 2 question starters...

    Going Deeper with David Livingstone – Some Questions to Ponder or Discuss

     

    My Own Story

    David Livingstone’s story shows that he had a questioning approach to faith, seeking to reconcile it with his interest in science and, later in the light of his African experience to reflect on his views on salvation

    • Thinking about my own life and faith, what questions have I asked? Have I struggled to integrate my faith with other aspects of my life? 
    • Have I had any experiences that have caused me to re-think my faith or theology? How did that feel?
    • Is there one question that is occupying me right now, or maybe that ought to be?

    What is Success?

    David had aspirations as an evangelist, an abolitionist and as an explorer.  It could be argued that he was unsuccessful in all of these, gaining only one (recorded) convert, failing to find the source of the River Nile, and slavery got worse before it got better.  However, he viewed all he did as part of a much bigger, eternal, perspective of God’s Kingdom.

    • How do I measure success? Is that helpful or healthy? 
    • What are the advantages or disadvantages of viewing our endeavours in the larger context of God’s eternal promises?
    • Livingstone’s achievements in exploring Africa were enormous, if not what he had imagined. Are there healthier, life-giving ways of viewing our own endeavours?

    Salvation

    It seems there are two main theological questions that arise from David Livingstone’s story, and they are both complex and challenging for our own discipleship.

    • Who can be ‘saved’, how does that occur, and how does that affect our views on mission and evangelism?
    • Livingstone understood his salvation not as a ‘ticket to heaven’ but as a call to action to alleviate human misery. He wasn’t (just) ‘saved from’ but he was ‘saved for’ a reason.  What practical/political/values difference does it make for me to be a follower of Jesus?

    Clay Feet

    The apostle Peter is our scriptural example of a man whose life was a blend of the admirable and unworthy.  David Livingstone was no saint, and his journals show he regretted not being a better husband/father.  Even Jesus, it might be argued, failed (from a human perspective) by getting himself executed. 

    • How does this affect the way I view myself or others?
    • What one thing will I take away from today, to encourage me in the days ahead?