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  • Different Angles...

    This month, our services have all explored the same parable, but from four different angles...

    The "Prodigal Son" from the perspectives of each of the two brothers, the father and on Sunday coming, the mother.  It has been interesting and challenging (it would have been everso easy to say the same things every week) and I've had my thinking stretched quite well along the way.

    This morning, as I was 'hymn choosing' for this Sunday, I dug out a sermon I wrote back in 2009 telling the story from the perspective of the mother.  It was intriguing, if not entriely surprsing, that some of the same ideas, words and phrases were present in that sermon, so I think it's good that I'm taking a slightly different slant this time.

    Anyway, for those who like a bit of a narrative preach, here's what I wrote all those years ago...

    Read more ...

  • Busy - in a good way!

    Apologies to regular checkers-in that I haven't posted anything for a while.

    There are two main reasons for this:

    Firstly, I'm not sure I have anything worthy enough, even by my low standards, to share

    Secondly, I have been pretty busy both with church stuff and personal stuff.

    As some know, at the back end of last year, I decided I needed to take myself in hand and be much more proactive in looking after myself.  Doing this means planning, and planning takes time.

    So far, as well as a short break to Rome in June, I have a short break to Edinburgh in July with some friends, and am in discussions with another friend for a longer trip to the Czech Republic in the autumn.

    In terms of work-type stuff, I have registered for two one day events, one organised by JPIT and entitled 'Brave New World' which will look at how we might respond to national and global changes, and one organised by BMS World Mission which will be a miscellany of interesting 'theology and...' presentations.  This 'ticks boxes' for CMD in a way that is interesting, stretching and enjoyable.

    My trans-local Baptist commitments continue to provide variety and opportunities to serve in both Scottish and UK-wide capacities. Lots of good things in my diary for all of these, each of which carries its own sense of responsibility and privilege.

    Church itself is pretty exciting at the moment, with lots of new people (I think I counted about 15 since September!) and lots of good stuff happening.

    And then I continue to declutter my flat and my life... Today I dismantled a thirty year old storage unit that has seen much better days to make way for a new (additional) settee due to arrive this weekend.  Two big bags of stuff sent to charity shops, and the remains of the unit waiting to go to the recycling centre.

    So, having got some groundwork in place, I can now begin to enjoy the year ahead, knowing that many milestones are already in place.  And I'll try to blog a little more regularly too!!

  • As Others See Us...

    Recently I heard that, at a fairly significant gathering, someone had referred to the area in which I serve as "the latte drinking West End of Glasgow".  A comment that elicited suitable laughter from those who heard it - except those from our church.

    Well, yes, I do drink lattes (as the title of this blog has proclaimed for over twelve years!) and I do serve in the West End of Glasgow but...

    I have drunk lattes, purchased in an independent cafe, and carried up a treacherous flight of stone steps, with a 'shut-in' nonagenarian, whose life has been devoted to serving those on the margins of society, especially peopple with drug and alcohol dependency... And I regularly drink tea with some of them in a church hall.

    I have eaten pizza, and drunk tea, in a nationwide multiple, with newly arrived asylum seekers, bewildered and bemused by all that is happening for them.

    I have discussed Baptism with a convert from atheism, whilst supping tea in small cafe in one of the 'lanes' and Membership with assorted folk in tea shops.

    I have bought meals at the fish and chip dine-in for homeless people vulnerably housed in a B&B

    I have met EU nationals terrifed by the results of that referendum in cafes where I listened to their concerns.

    I have planned marriage ceremonies over pizza, discussed legal charity matters whilst munching scones, written prayers on serviettes and much, much more.

    So we drink lattes in the West End.  So what.  That doesn't make us posh, it just means we employ our privileges in the service of God's Kingdom.


    A footnote: I wish the person who uttered those words could see us on a Sunday morning and discover the incredible diversity of who we are.  I wish they could experience what I experience as the Lord's Prayer is intoned in multiple languages, and at various speeds.  I wish they could drink a cup of coffee from a hotel 'airpot', chat to our people, and be humbled by the stories they would hear.  I wish they could - but only if they could also come with an openness of heart to see how God is transforming us ever more into who we might be.