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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 9

  • Going Deeper - with Mary Slessor

    Two weeks in to our summer series, and I'm fiding loads of interesting things to ponder.  Each week, I've offered some 'going deeper' questions and invited people either to take them away, if they so wish, or to use them as conversation starters rather than listenign to my thoughts.  For good reason - such as I haven't really pushed the idea, the papers haven't been that visible - the uptake has been minimal, no-one's 'fault' but mine.  Anyway, having gone to the effort of preparing them, I've decided to share them here, in case anyone finds them interesting or useful!!

    Going Deeper with Mary Slessor – Some Questions to Ponder or Discuss

     

    My Own Story

    Mary Slessor was, as are we all, a child of her time, influenced by the context in which she grew up and the significant events in her life, for good and ill.  Her concern for the well-being of her mother, her strong views on the dangers of alcohol, her passion for justice and opposition to superstitious practices are examples of this.  Her early racism (she thought white people were superior to blacks) is a negative example.

    • Thinking about my own life, what factors have shaped my attitudes and values? What prejudices might I have absorbed? 
    • What is one thing that matters to me because of my experiences?
    • What is one aspect of my character or values that I am less proud of?

    Life and Death

    Mary encountered practices that shocked her, from the killing of twin babies, to ritual trials where people were forced to drink poison, to murder as a means of settling disputes.

    Throughout history, and to this day, killing (or abandoning to die) babies has been practised.  In contemporary scientific, western culture, decisions are made to terminate viable pregnancies that pose no risk to the mother because the foetus is the ‘wrong’ gender or is believed to have certain genetic conditions.

    • Almost everyone we know would agree it is wrong to kill or abandon babies because of their gender or (dis)ability, but what about genetic screening or even so-called ‘designer’ babies?
    • How do my own views affect my attitudes to others?
    • How to I handle the tension of such complex matters – how does my faith inform this?

    Non-violent Protest and Subversion

    Mary would physically place herself between powerful leaders and their intended victims, blocking the way, and pleading with them for alternatives that would meet their requirements without losing face.

    Shifrah and Puah subverted Pharaoh taking advantage of his ignorance and arrogance.

    Saffiya chose to smile at an aggressive racist who had invaded her personal space

    • Have I ever employed subversion or non-violent actions as a response to an issue?
    • How might I react differently in tense or conflict situations to be a person of peace?

    Cracked Vessels

    All the women we ‘met’ today were (or are) flawed, with their own strengths and weaknesses, yet from each of them we can learn something that is valuable for our own discipleship of Jesus. 

    • What one thing will I take away from today, to encourage me in the days ahead?
  • Rapid Protyping... for All Age Worship!

    Were there ever any doubt as to why I did not consider, let alone pursue, a career in art, this is surely self explanatory!  Protoype for one of the 'arty' options for tomorrow's service,

    A quick swish with a sponge and some acrylic paint on a cheap square canvas.  Silhouettes printed and cut out and stuck onto the sunset background.  Achievable in a short time and actually, surprisingly effective.

    The other option is this:

    african silhouette.jpg

    Nothing like the orignal I saw on Pinterest, but can be done fairly swiftly and is fairly effective also.

    Just the small matter of typing up the instructions now!!

     

  • No-one's Debtor

    I remember it well, a medical misisonary couple visiting the church I was attending at the time, sharing their story of living by faith and realising the truth for themsleves that, 'God is no man's (sic) debtor'.

    Since following the call on my life to train for ordained ministry, my own experience has shown time and time again the truth of this assertion.

    In the year before pursuing the call, I saved hard, and then sold my house, using the proceeds to to fund rent, food, insurance, utilities etc over the next four years.  There were small-ish bursaries from which I was able to contribute to the cost of my college fees, a friend who gave me the tithe on her overtime, and my Mum who collected all the appropriate BOGOF deals and gave me the free ones.  Amazingly, when I left college, my bank balance was the same as it had been when I started, and I was able to use that money to establish myself in my new home.

    Over the years, I have received generous hospitality and practical gifts (including sacks of onions and (in the days when I ate it) back pudding!).  People quietly paid for flights, train tickets, hotel bills and car hire when my mother was critically ill and I was newly diagnosed with cancer.  There have been endless lifts, vets bills have been paid, someone gifted me money towards the bookcases for my office, others have given me 'ice-cream money' for holidays... the list goes on and on.  Just this week, two monetary gifts (one shown above) which, together, almost exactly matched the cost of my new computer.

    Anonymous benefactors, generous friends, considerate colleagues and a God who is not only no-one's debtor but is actively outrageously generous.