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  • This year's challenge...

    All my life, I have been one of the most risk-averse people imaginable, which is probably why I was a very successful 'risk assessor' back in the day when I had a 'real job'.

    I joke that I have a fear of being electrocuted, so God made me an engineer in the electricity industry.

    I joke that I have a fear of drowning, so God made me a Baptist.

    I also have a fear of 'edges' - I am that person who dutifully stands well behind the yellow line on train platforms, and props up the wall in Tube stations (island Subway platforms in Glasgow are a nightmare - I joke that God in kindness made the Subway stations I use (with one exception) those that don't have island platforms).

    In contrast, I have no fear of heights, will happily walk across glass walkways, and enjoy the view at the top of bridges, mountains and high buildings.

    So this year I've decided to sign up for the 'Zip Slide the Clyde' challenge on Saturday 16 June.  Step off an edge, go over deep, cold water, and admire the stunning view!  All raising a few quid for a really good charity.  A great blend of terror and exhilaration in prospect - good job I have a few months to prepare myself!!

  • An exciting countdown...

    This morning I've been preparing for this afternoon's Baptism class, which is such a great privilege and pleasure.

    I think what I enjoy most about this kind of group is that it is always bespoke and always has to be flexible... it's only once you start exploring together that the real questions emerge, and all your carefully considered programming must give way to responding to the needs of the group. I find it challenging, not least because my brain is sluggish these days, but I also revel in it... meeting with people who are eager, earnest and excited is infectious.

    So I am excited as we count down the remaining Sundays until the big day when no less than five people will be Baptised.

    Exercise to reader: what do you understand by 'evangelisation' and how is it lived out in your own walk of faith and discipleship?  This is one of the questions on the list for this afternoon!

  • Chapel... Cat... Conversation... (Concentration...?)

    This morning began with my turn for chapel prayers at the University down the road, and for once I landed an 'OK' story - Jacob wrestling with God at Peniel.  My thoughts seemed well received, and, unsually, there were nine people in the chapel (more typically it'll be about three plus me!).

    Then I went to give breakfast to a cat whose humans are currently away.  I was honoured with snuggles and purrs during the half hour I spent with her.

    After that, it was off to the Ministers' Meeting that I coordinate.  Unusually, there were only four of us, yet the conversations we shared were, in my view, the best - as in deepest, most open, most authentic/genuine - that have taken place to date.  Two main topics struck me, both related to preaching.

    The first, from a relatively inexperienced minister, was about the process of preparing a sermon and how long it takes.  I think the sharing of experiences was encouraging in normalising their experience, and the challenges that arise trying to fit everything in.  The second was someone who rarely preaches successive weeks, who is about to lead a short series, and was curious to discover how others might go about it.  Again, normalising and sharing - important elements of support and encouragement.

    And now I have my own sermons to write!  Not quite sure what's been happening recently, but this is the third successive week where it's Thursday afternoon and not a word written - though lots of mulling has been going on.  Two very different services to work on, plus the second Baptism class, so I'd better get concentrating!