“To be pilgrims means that men must perpetually return to the starting-point of that naked humanity which is absolute poverty and utter insecurity. God must not be sought as though He sat enthroned on upon the summit of religious attainment. He is to be found on the plain where men suffer and sin. The veritable pinnacle of religious achievement is attained when men are thrust down into the company of those who lie in the depths.”
Karl Barth – ‘Epistle to the Romans’
After a long and winding journey, I’m at one of those ‘mile-marker’ moments in life. After a nail-biting afternoon hitting the ‘Get Mail’ button on my email client every two minutes, I learned a few months ago that I had been ‘Recommended for training’ – which for non-Anglicans means I’m off to vicar school in September.
It’s probably come as a bigger surprise to me than anyone, I’d convinced myself it would be a “thanks, but no” by the time the email came through. I fondly remember many years ago when a mate from Church started going out with a young lady from my school. Somehow they realised they both new me, and when he explained how, she replied, “No way, can’t be the same guy. He’d never go to Church”. And here I am some 18 or so years later, getting ready to start training for a ministry in the CofE – like proper dog-collar and black-dress type ministry. Continue reading Pilgrim
Can you sponsor me to lose weight and raise money for our Fresh Expression of Church?
Can you help Sir Lancelot slay the flab dragon?!!!
I’m looking for people to sponsor me £1 per kilogram as I try to lose some fat and raise money for our Fresh Expression of Church.
In September we start meeting weekly, and will be sharing a meal together each month. Currently we are not receiving any regular funding for our group so we need your help to cover some of our running costs. All moneys will be used for running the group and will not go to any individuals.
Can you help us provide a sacred space for ragamuffins???
Follow the following link to sponsor: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/churchforragamuffins
For more info about what we’re doing take a look at this written interview with CMS or listen to this recorded interview with UCB Christian Radio (2hrs 17mins into the show)!
Thanks for your interest and support, I’ll be posting updates on social media.
This is an abridged version of an essay I recently wrote, if you’d like to read the full thing do be in touch
It’s probably fair to say that the environment in which we share the Bible in the UK has changed radically in the last 100 years. People are bringing different kinds of questions to the table. As one author noted, the air of expectation and hope of the early twentieth century very quickly gave way to the cruel realities of “Auschwitz, Hiroshima and the Gulag Archipelago”. The West’s great hope of self-redemption and apotheosis through science, technology, education and the secular nation state gave way to a climate of fear, mistrust of institutions, and philosophical confusion. Continue reading Hermeneutics for Ragamuffins: Some things a former Calvinist has learned from Liberation theology
Last Sunday I had the great privilege of sharing with St Matthew’s Church Luton on the subject of ‘Good News For The Poor’ :
I recently wrote this piece for the Fresh Expressions website, which can be viewed here. Fresh Expressions is a network of groups trying to ‘do Church’ differently. Hope you enjoy.
I love God, but I really struggle with His fan club sometimes.
I remember writing words to that effect on my MySpace page many years ago in a moment of desperation.
Continue reading Falling Between The Cracks – Disillusionment With Church
As I write this Jeni and I are sitting on a SleazyJet flight back from Iceland. The reason for our visit was to partake in a ’round-table’ conference for an organisation called ‘Radstock‘.
In simple terms Radstock exist to promote
“Mission at the heart of Local Churches, Local Churches at the heart of mission”.
Continue reading Travelling to the land of my forefathers….
This week we started a new series on the book of John with our Church youth group. The series started with me leading a session on John 12:20-36, and my prep notes ended up being long form, so I though I’d stick them on the blog:
John was a first-hand witness of the life of Jesus, one of his 12 closest mates. They journeyed together like brothers, and John particularly had a deep and emotionally intimate relationship with Jesus. John’s version of the story of Jesus was written with one purpose in mind, that it’s readers would “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing [we] might have life in his Name.” (John 20:31)
…“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:23-26 NIV)
Continue reading A Different Kind of Kingdom – John 12:20-36
So, any regular readers might have noticed a bit of a, well, lull in blog posts lately.
To say that the last few months have been busy would be like calling hummingbird ‘slightly animated’.
As if starting a college course and potential career change weren’t enough, we’ve decided to sell our house and move to the area where most of our ministry happens. As I said on twitter a while ago,
“bureacracy = my kryptonite”
And guess what all of the above involves bucket loads of….
It’s been a amazing and exciting time, but it’s also been a little tough. I haven’t been sleeping well, and I can hardly think about anything other than how damn powerless I feel. And that is pretty much the key point.
Continue reading When there are more questions than answers…
This is my attempt to make some sense of a struggle at work in my mind and in the wider Church. For the sake of argument I will be generalising and using stereotypes, so forgive me…
So let’s start with some background. Sometimes I fear that my present situation will result in some kind of theological personality disorder (and don’t you dare say schizophrenia, it’s a totally different thing). I attend a reformed evangelical church, with a very strong emphasis on Bible teaching. My own theological position has strong Reformed and Calvinist leanings, and I have generally held to the old war cry of the reformers ‘Sola Scriptura, tota scriptura’ – ‘Only the Bible, all of the Bible’ for the basis of my ‘theology’ – (for the purpose of this exercise I’m treating theology as an umbrella term for interpretation of the Bible, understanding of God and a ‘Christian outlook’ on life). Beyond this I have even been influenced by the (what some would call extreme fundamentalist and right wing) Christian Reconstruction movement. Broadly speaking my theological position could be described as a ‘systematic theology’. Bearing this in mind, most of my life and ministry is spent among emergents, charismatics, fans of liberation theology, left-wing, and generally non-‘sola scriptura’ type people. So basically I have feet deep in both the liberal and conservative camps, and yet I don’t fit into either of them. And I’m not alone.
Continue reading On Thought, Action and Order
Took this photo today at Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. Such a beautiful and peaceful place, although I’m biased as I married my soul-mate there just under 6 years ago. If you could transplant some Californian weather here it could just about be the perfect place of worship.