“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
Something has changed in me recently. Massively so. I’ve become quieter, spent less time opening my mouth and more time listening (much to the delight of some folks). Only a few years ago the world seemed to fit into such nice, neat little boxes, and I had an answer for everything. And so often when you put the world into nice little boxes, what you’re really doing is putting God into a nice little box too.
Continue reading Beauty From Ashes – Finding God in the most disturbing of places
In 1997 Paula Cole sang, “Where have all the cowboys gone?”. The meaning of the song has been taken in different ways but it seems that Cole was expressing something of the tension of the 90’s man. My teenage years took place in England during the 90’s, and I too felt something of this tension. The term ‘metro-sexual’ hadn’t yet been coined and there was still the expectation of men to be tough, strong and physically capable. This came with a shift in the emotional and domestic expectations on men. “I’m a man of the 90’s” would come dancing off the lips of guys who started paying more attention to learning to cook than how to change a spark plug. Gender stereotypes were being challenged, it began to be socially acceptable for men to moisturise and discuss hair products. (I’m a cocoa butter man myself)
As a casual observer what seems to have followed is a challenging time of testing gender stereotypes and roles, people (especially men) seem to have built their self-understanding on shifting sands. Self-assured men and boys seem to be polarised between flamboyant eye-liner-wearing metro’s and misogynistic-chauvinist bully-boys. Left in the middle clambering for a foothold are the rest of us, with few strong male role models left in the home, the big screen and especially in spheres of leadership. “Where is my John Wayne?” asked Cole, but today the John Wayne’s of this world don’t measure up to the expectations of men to be as adapt at expressing their emotions as fixing a leaky tap. (N.B. I am not saying this in support of strict gender stereotypes, just as an observation of the shift in western culture).
Continue reading The Warrior Poet – King David and Beyond
We made it to our first 1,000 hits this week, which is amazing to me! In view of this I thought I’d share a little about my background, and why writing this blog as been part of a process of healing for me.
I never thought that writing a blog about my thoughts and experiences would interest other people, which is why I’ve never done it before. But after about 6 weeks of writing I’ve reached over a thousand hits in 32 different countries. I’m not saying this to show off, but because I’m dumbfounded by it. For years I’ve had all these ideas rolling around in my head, and I fantasised about writing a book one day. Not that I thought anyone would want to read it.
Continue reading First 1,000 Hits and why I write