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- Page 5

  • At Home in Lent - Day 9

    Today's object is 'baggage'.  The focus is mostly on material possessions, and their potential to become very important to us, but there is also some metaphorical use, with 'baggage' as the thoughts and feelings we may carry with us, internally, and which prevent us achieving our full personhood.

    I have a misisonary friend who always travels light... She has recently spent around two months on home assignment with nothing more than a small backpack... quite salutory when I fling wide my wardrobe doors and see how much stuff I have in there!  I'm sure it is wise to reflect on what we need, what we treasure, and what we could reaonsably relinquish.

    For me, it's the metaphorical stuff that resonates.  My tendency to overthink, to over reflect, and to assume that I must be the one who is wrong - even when I know I'm not!  It's hard work to put down this stuff.  Hard not to feel responsible when I shouldn't.  Sometimes I do have a 'big bag of worries' as the kiddies book is titled.

    Jesus said, my burden is light... Not a life free from baggage, but a life with baggage that isn't going to cause us to stoop or stumble.  Perhaps this burden is something like 'responsiblilty' which has implications for how I behave, but which should not, if carried correctly, be burdensome.

    Lots of big stuff happening locally, nationally, internationally... I, for one, need to learn what I should be carrying, and what I should be putting down!

  • At Home in Lent - Day 8

    It's a daft photo - me with some sort of glitter stuff stuck to my face and wearing a bright pink hat!

    Today's object is 'hat' and the Bible reading is the bit from 1 Corinthians 11 about the wearing of hats (or at least covering the head) in worship.  The reflection talks about culture and tradition, freedom and respect, all of which is fine.


    Etched in my memory is the Sunday morning in 2010 when I stood in the shower and watched the hair wash off of my head.  I put on a scarf (my scalp so sore that the wig was unbearable; I never wore it after that) and headed off to church.

    I have a bit of a hate-hate relationship with hats! I don't like them, but nowadays when it's cold I need to wear a hat to keep my head warm, and when it's sunny to protect the back of my head/neck. I have a range of woolly hats, chosen to coordinate with my coats, cos I'm an old-fashioned kind of a girl. I have some sun-hats and I kept a few scarves for use in summer.

    I wonder what hats symbolise for you? I wonder how you feel about them?

    Perhaps the point isn't the object, but the complexity and ambivalence of it, the interplay of necessity and choice, culture and tradition, freedom and control...

    Do you wear hats, God? And if so, when? And why? (I once asked if you were bald - you didn't reply!).  Help me to be willing to engage in the complex reflection of the 'why' as well as the 'what'. Oh, and if you could let me know about the hats thing... ?! ;-) 


  • Discernment by Voting...

    Rare, political post coming up!

    The whole B-word debacle rumbles on, and illustrates time and again that making decisions by 'simple majority' is never simple.  In the last few years two referrenda have shown that seeking 50.0000000000000001% is not a good basis for decision making.

    In church we know that. I've never been part of a church decision of any importance that was made on anything less than "two thirds plus one" and usually much higher, at 75% or 90%.

    Back in 2003, I failed to be called to a church by 2 votes.  They would have called on 75%, I got 72%.  It hurt. It hurt like crazy and all these years later I still feel sad when I remember it.  But this much I can say - it was a clear decision, properly made, and able to be supported by the whole church.

    Also back in 2003, I was called to a church by 2 votes.  They would also call on 75%, I think I got 78%. It was an honest vote - I knew not everyone was convinced of the call, and one abstained on the in grounds they hadn't heard me preach.  This much I can say - it was a clear decision, properly made, and one that everyone could get behind.

    In 2009, I needed to secure 90% for a call to my present pastorate.  There was a 'backstop' that if the vote was close either way, a second confirmatory vote would be held, allowing people to support or not, as they felt led, the call.  The actual vote was 98% so the second vote wasn't taken. It felt good - a ringing affirmation of the call I felt.  Once again, it was a clear decision, made properly, and everyone could get being it.

    I wish that politicians would learn from the churches... I wish that they would/could slow down and take the time to really listen to each other (perhaps asking them to listen to God is a step too far!)... And I wish they would set the bar sufficiently high that only those issues where there was a real degree of support could be passed.

    If the EU Referendum had needed even 66.7%, then both sides would have had to work far harder to make their case.  Had it needed the 75% or even 90% level that churches would demand for decisions of such import, I somehow doubt it would ever have happened - and that would, in my view, have been a good thing.

    Now we have an exhausted, and probably quite ill, Prime Minister, who has pursued to the n'th degree something that she didn't even want. Whatever my views, she has worked incredibly hard (as have the folk in the EU) and done her best. Parliament is in disarray, money has been squandered and people left wondering just what on earth is going to happen. It makes me very sad indeed.

    So, I am grateful for the practices of the churches, to take time, to pray, to ponder (and maybe even to procrastinate sometimes!) and then to set a bar high enough that the work done before a vote is taken is sufficient to give good confidence in that decision.


  • #JustaPriest25

    A great hashtag being used by women who are ordained as Anglican priests to mark the 25th anniversary of the change that allowed their ordination (in the C of E). The idea is that the term 'women priest' should be ditched after all this time...

    What a journey has been travelled in those 25 years! Women are now serving as bishops, and around half of Anglican clergy are women.

    So I'm having my own hashtag #JustaBaptistMinister100

    We still speak of 'women ministers' or worse, 'lady ministers' a century after we began.  I concede that sometimes it's useful to refer to 'women ministers' or, slightly better, 'women who are ministers' but I dream of the day when the distinction is as ridiculous as saying 'woman oncologist' (there are still 'lady doctor' references, sadly) or 'women cleaner'.

    Rejoicing with Anglican sisters who rejoice, weeping with those of all traditions who weep because they are excluded from exercising their call based on the absence of a Y-chromosome (or other specious grounds)

  • Shine on, Epiphany Star...

    It's now just over two months since Epiphany, and yesterday, opening a drawer, a happened across the star on which I wrote my three promise to myself.

    "I promise to take my days off - or lieus days" - I knew this would be a demanding one, and it is.  Life doesn't work that way, and I have fallen way short already.  This is purely MY responsibility, no-one else's, no-one has coerced me or asked me to work on Mondays, its just that sometimes the right thing to do isn't the legalsitic one, and sometimes, like buses, things arrive all at once.

    "I promise not to apologise for being me" - I'm doing better on that one, I think.  It's hard to undo fifty-plus years of apologising for existing. I still over analyse and over-reflect, but I am learning to stop myself and step away from the negativity.

    "I will shine by sharing my joy" - Tricky to measure!  I try to focus on positives anf to smile more often.  And having been taught the 'Peter Pan' self-motiviation exercise last week, am hoping to get better yet.

    So, two out of three going OK, one needing work - I reckon that's a good start, and that awareness wil help me do better yet.