Keep Going

This film has a strange beginning but keep going.  It is all about that entrepreneur we harbour inside but expressed through our art.  I haven’t seen anything so affirmatory in a loooooooong time!

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57 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting that – what a fabulous start to the day it was. Really beautiful, and profound. I’ve put it on my fb page. Ah, 7 minutes of contemplation in a crazy world.

  2. Glad to be of service 😉

  3. Go on, switch em round!

  4. Hi. am reading another Brian McLaren book “Everyday Conversations – More Ready Than You Realise” – have you read it? Should probably be made law that every Christian in the land reads it, and ordinande twice!!

    Anyway, in it quite early on, he explains what ritual is, vs ritualistic, and what its helpful for. Revelatory to me, as to why I find the Anglican rituals so mystifying, and alienating. Really helpful!

  5. I haven’t read that one…. yet. Just been lent the philosophy of Batman. That’s like giving me “The Theology of Ben and Jerry’s” 😀

  6. Great, are you planning to review it on here? I’ll look out for it!

    I have 3 BMcL’s on the go – a great one which you might relate to called “Finding Our Way Again – the Return of the Ancient Practices” which is great and I am hopeful will help me with my ‘issues’ about fixed rituals.

    The other is what used to be one book and they’ve now split into two, one for seekers looking for logical information, and the other for seekers looking to connect emotionally. I’m reading the emotional one, called ‘The Search for What is Real’.

    Am in a really tough place at the moment as it is seeming that I just can’t become ‘Anglican enough’. How did you do this, when you moved from the Baptist church you were in? Or were you really already ready for that? (I hope you don’t mind me asking you this stuff?)

  7. Wow – that’s a big one!

    “Anglican Enough”

    There are those who think that they own the church because “we’ve been coming here for 80 years” or “I am a cradle Anglican”. They are quite wrong. The Anglican church is for all. On a parish level it “belongs” to the parish not “the people who go”. That is why people have a right to be baptised, married and have their funeral conducted in their local Parish church.

    When it comes to ordination in the CofE however, there is a need for people to be within the tradition of the church. Why not become a Baptist minister? Why not become a Methodist minister? Why are you becoming an Anglican Minister/Priest? Why be ordained? Why can’t you do that in another role? I was a teacher who led worship (not just a musical sense) in my local church. Why did God call me to be a priest? Why the CofE? Why not Baptist minister?

    Some people will try and tell you that the CofE is a reformed church. Others will try and tell you that it is a Catholic church. It is both. That is why I become so annoyed at my uber-protestant compatriots who want schism within Anglicanism because they don’t like Catholics. Conversely I am annoyed with my Catholic compatriots who care more about the Roman Church than their Anglican brothers and sisters. To both groups I have to ask ‘why are you an Anglican’? What is the point? Your heart is elsewhere.

    Unfortunately I am going to have to mention boxes – and that is where we tend to keep dead people. I personally am quite confused within my Anglicanism but I am quite sure that I am Anglican. In the words of Walter Freer I am “unashamedly Anglican”. Ruth and I had an interesting relationship with the Baptist church. She is “cradle Anglican” and arrived at university and started looking for a church. When her non-Christian boyfriend said he would go to church with her she hadn’t settled anywhere. She took me where she had gone the week before with a Baptist friend and – lo I became a Christian. That was kind of how we ended up there. Her dad is a priest in the CofE so we would spend holidays being Anglicans. I started a degree in Religious Studies and quickly realised that my approach to theology was much more compatible with Anglicanism. I also found parts of the liturgical practice of the Baptist church lacking. Singing and listening to people tell me what to think wasn’t as vibrant and as rich a tapestry as I was longing for. I also had questions like “why are we singing ‘he is risen’ just before Easter”?

    I guess there were two reasons that this dualistic Baptist/Anglican existence ended. One was that I had a creationist “elder” pat me on the head and tell me I “was confused” because I questioned the scholarship of his google search to prepare a 3/4 of an hour sermon. As an RE teacher with a degree I was a little perturbed by the apparent uncaring attitude of this open handed dismissal. He also invited a preacher during a period between ministers and after 3/4 of an hour of sermon stood up and said “we don’t believe that here” and sat back down again. Actually we do. You don’t! We were also moving 100 miles away and made the conscious decision to join a local Anglican church.

    So my boxes? I am a follower of Jesus. I Guess that makes me a Christian. I am committed to the Anglican church and it’s broad theological understanding – the tension of faith as followers of Jesus. It’s rich inheritance of the catholic traditions of the church. How it is catholic and apostolic. I am committed to how the Anglican church “is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation” [ordination service]. That is why I am committed to the emerging movement as part of the Anglican tradition. To those “fresh expressions” that will “professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds”.

    As for my relationship with the inherited church as opposed to the fresh expressions of our faith, it helps if you are eclectic. As you will not from my latest post, I am about to undertake a week following a monastic Anglo-Catholic pattern whereby I will be leading plainsong. Yesterday I went to an Anglican church that has an evening service identical to my old Baptist church. We sang big sections of charismatic worship songs and had a 45 minute evangelical sermon extolling the biblical virtues of praying thanks in the morning and prayerfully examining the events of the day in the evening. I nearly stuck my hand up and asked if he meant “Matins” and “Compline” with a wry smile but thought better of it. On Ash Wednesday I want to be ashed. On Christmas eve I want to see some religion. The more the better. Chuck in a thurifer and push the altar against the wall. 😀

    I am certainly one thing – Generously Orthodox!

    However, those inherited patterns have me living in a parish where if we are lucky 1% of the parishioners (those people I earlier said belong to the church and the church to them) coming. Hence the need for us to be thinking about our traditions afresh.

    Sorry – I feel like I keep giving you an unending book list. This one is a really easy read! We do not Presume….: Beginner’s Guide to Anglican Life and Thought by Richard Giles. A very easy read and a good way of understanding what it means to be an Anglican. Also – read the CofE ordination services. They tell you what Anglicans believe is happening and what promisses you are going to make if you are ordained!

    Remember ordination is about what you are not what you do! As I said on ASBO – If you plant bulbs you will get daffs. God flourishes us into what we are and transforms us into what we become (there’s a dichotomy!) from the seed He has known since before we were in the womb! What you do is a whole other matter. I feel called to parish where I will encourage others to be pioneering. Some are called to chaplaincy etc. Some are called to be priests who work in a pioneering way outside of that parish structure.

    To put it into context. If you were to go to a Job interview at Coca Cola and answer the question “Why do you want to work for Coca Cola” with “I prefer Pepsi but they didn’t have a job” they will ask questions. If you know why you think coke is better than Pepsi and can tell them how you are going to be committed to the long term viability of Coke and would like to introduce the world to Coke they will be much more inclined to make you area manager of Coke.

    Remember – the CofE makes a huge investment in its stipendiary clergy. It costs 40-50k to train you. If you then bog off to Rome straight after ordination you have stolen a couple of churches parish share for the whole year! If you decide that you don’t like those “papists” who swing a thurible in the next parish and set up “Little Pocklingbury Evangelical Fellowship, fully independent and free church (we use the KJV don’t you know!!)” you have done just the same.

    Does that help? Does it even make sense?

    How could I possibly mind you asking? 😉

  8. BTW – I am reading Adventures in Missing the Point

  9. Bless you! I think it helps, inasmuch as it helps me to read and think ‘I am not commited to Coke or Pepsi per se, I just want to lead the thirsty to somewhere they can drink freely and forever’. I see that you are committed to Coke, and I wish in a way that I was as it would be easier. But I now go to the worlds least Anglican anglican church, if that makes sense.

    I feel sometimes like I’ll have to give up the whole idea of it and just go with doing as best I can vocationally. Then someone I don’t even know gave me a verse last night, which was about persevering, so on we go…

    I know it costs a lot to train. But Jesus doesn’t have his own personal training school down here. They’re all run by churches, who all want you to say you agree with things that you (I) don’t see being an issue in the Bible. The only theology of the priesthood I can honestly articulate is one of servanthood. Its what I see my Lord did, and doing – as far as I know, he wasn’t Anglican. Or Baptist. I cannot – thus far anyway – go with Sacerdotalism. I don’t see all the liturgy, ceremonial stuff, etc etc as being required by the Bible in a minister. What it asks for is character, integrity, service.

    I want to train, and then start a church-like community for folks on the edge who can’t really access church easily (where I live, the Anglican churches are pretty ‘high’). I don’t see how serving the homeless, sick, poor, disadvantaged is not meeting the criteria, but somehow it ain’t. In my bible it looks dead simple, but in truth theres a lot more complication going on.

    I could be naive and try and just go with what I’ve got in me, or I could learn to say the ‘right things’ and ‘play the system”, which I gather people do. I know I can’t do that, as it is disrespectful and disingenuous.

    Perhaps ‘Adventures in Missing the Point’ is a good word for me right now!!! I could cry with frustration. THANK YOU for letting me say this stuff to you.

    I loved your plainsong and the images btw. Just wonderful. I can find God in that and find it beautifully moving. All the best with it, hope its a blessed week for everyone who comes and all those who participate and lead. God bless you and keep you

  10. Phew. I just re-read your post, then my reply, and realised I have a huge problem, more than I could see before. I think I can read all the books in the world, and I’m just not going to ‘get it’ sufficiently because its just not what I’ve got in me. I was just on a leadership course at church tonight and one of the main things they said was – be yourself.

    Maybe its late and I should draw conclusions in daylight. Eek.

  11. Kim, I sincerely apologise. That was not my intention whatsoever. I was just trying to answer your question. I forget sometimes that I have made a journey that is quite different to that of others. I knew nothing about anything when I started this journey. They also don’t expect you to arrive at BAP and theological college knowing everything before you start. Be encouraged not dismayed. The most important thing is just what has been said – be yourself! God doesn’t call people to be someone else. God calls us to be ourselves – fully and completely. He wants us to flourish into who we are. My intention was to encourage you to see some of the wonderful things that I see in the CofE. I have tried to give the family jewels of Anglicanism in the same way that McLaren presents the generous take on all of the traditions and what they have to offer.

    Most important thing. You want to encourage people to drink beverages! Jesus is the living water on which it is all based. As I said, “I am a follower of Jesus”. That’s it. A ‘wayist’. Someone who follows the way of Jesus. Full stop. I want people to drink beverages. I want them to follow him. To have the gift of grace that for some reason He has given me. I can’t explain it. I often think that He’s made a mistake. But that grace is something that He has given me and I would like to help other people to experience that wonderful gift that God has given us in His son.

    I think that the Anglican church at its best* is a wonderful means by which God shows that grace to people. Coke is actually quite a good drink. It is a nice beverage through which people experience the living water. It is quite a popular beverage. It has a distribution network that takes it to each and every inch of England. There are no people for whom the CofE doesn’t produce coke. It isn’t dependent upon whether there is money there. The CofE doesn’t retreat when the congregation is small. It doesn’t pull people to one central location and brag about the size of its one congregation. It goes to every inch – with coke.

    Sorry, I’m doing it again.

    I’d be suprised if you did go to “the most Anglican church”. There is no such thing. Anglicanism embraces everything. You could go to a civicly minded city centre church or Cathedral. You could go to a charismatic church where they rarely even wear a collar and it looks just like a baptist service (the majority of people at Spring Harvest are Anglican – as is Pete Broadbent – the Anglican Bishop). You could go to a Book of Common Prayer church. You could go to Grace with Jonny Baker et al having an Alt Worship experience. You could go and worship with chaplain to the city centre in Bradford (quite a lot of protesting and liberation theology with no building). What about The Net in Huddersfield? An Anglican church without walls. Evangelical? Catholic? It’s all fine. Conservative? Liberal? Welcome. Join the debate.

    There’s no real concept of “truly anglican”. There is knowing where we have been and knowing where we are going. They aren’t going to expect you to know everything there is to know about Anglicanism. They are going to want to know why you are an Anglican and to be sure that you are committed to that.

    To use my analogy (I am regretting this one now!!), Anglicanism has Coke, Pepsi, Fanta and even Mountain Dew (and all other types of pop) on tap. The CofE embraces all sorts. Some Anglicans will try to define Anglicanism as their favourite. They will try and deny all other forms of drink. That is just a lack of generous orthodoxy.

    I hope that this has been helpful. I’d feel terrible if I have disempowered you. Remember, I’m just a bloke with a keyboard!

    *I could spend hours telling you the pitfalls of the CofE. That would be pointless.

  12. Thank you! And I’m so sorry – i didn’t mean you had made me feel how i felt, it was in me anyway!! Sorry if i put my gloominess upon you in any way – you have been incredibly generous with your time and explanations – a bloke with a keyboard can do a lot for the kingdom!

    I will read the book you recommended to me. Maybe I’m just back in that place of re-examining what the call was, and what it meant. For sure I will do that a lot more times, its part of the process. My vicar has told me to find a theology of priesthood and come back in September once I’ve wrestled with God some more, so there’s time and space yet.

    More thanks, and more apologies. 😆

  13. Don’t worry about it – I have time 😀

    If you have been called (which you sound quite convinced/ing about), investigate it. Test it. Discuss it. Mull it over. Pray about it. Read the Bible. Eat something. Watch some telly. Repeat 😉

  14. Aha – have you been spying on me…??! That is my plan. Its weird as it seems like periods of intense thought/reading/discussion, followed by periods of total lethargy and telly watching as a distraction. Can’t really do the eating much at mo (no bad thing, believe me, even stress has a silver lining!!)

    One thing I did mean to say was – its brilliant that you seem very well matched to your calling and your enthusiasm for it is very apparent and catching.

    Did you clock that the March edition of “e-expressions” is hitting inboxes as we speak? (I think you register for it on the Share or F/E website)

    Cheers! Must get on with the sleeping part of the plan.

  15. That is a very important part of the plan. Don’t forget to look after yourself/friends/family in all of this. That is the biggest mistake I see people make. If I don’t play my guitar, read a comic and go to the cinema I somehow lose myself and start to unravel!

    For some reason I seem to be no longer receiving the news letter. I have re-registered!

    Thanks for your encouragement. We all need it – me especially 😉

  16. I had an epiphany this morning about why I love the Anglican church. YES!!!!!!!!! Thanks Lord! 😆

  17. Hiya. Would you recommend books by George Guiver about the priesthood?

  18. Sorry – yesterday was as mad as a box of frogs (as my latest blog explains) so I have only just made it online. That is excellent news. Anything you’d like to share? Don’t feel you have to! I just like hearing the positives that people find in…. well almost anything church related!

    I read “The Fire and the Clay” but it was a long time ago. It helped. The best book (recommended by everyone – so you must have heard this before) is Michael Ramsey’s “Christian Priest Today”. Quite old fashioned* but theologically uplifting.

    * Some may accuse the scriptures of this as well 😉

  19. Hiya – I read your post, sounds a riot! It would be useful for me to go to some of that stuff, will seek it out.

    Well, I think I got reminded of what I most admire and like about Anglicanism, which is its broadness and that there IS a place for me and how I am, and the church I go to, which isn’t really visibly Anglican – we are allowed space anyway.

    The other part of that is my hude admiration for Rowan Williams and how hard the church has worked and is working to engage with really tough issues – like women Bishops now, and homosexuality, trying to hold it together and maintain unity, but engage with the difficulties of these issues. I love that we are trying really hard to enact the spirit of the gospel in these areas, and I love that we have fresh expressions!

    So, feels like I am starting to find a sense of belonging and ownership at last, which is a relief 😆

    I have almost finished Ramsey, and despite some frustrations with it, I do see its value and am quite liking it now. Have ordered one from the other guy aswell, to balance out my BMcL reading list!

    Cheers!

  20. Oh it was! The building has no multimedia capabilities whatsoever. It has no microphones or anything. It doesn’t even have a hearing loop!

    Everything had to be created from dust. Needless to say it was a nerve wracking time being the person who had to hold it all together and trying to facilitate other peoples vision of Alt. Worship. Today I slept to make up for it 😀

    Yep – Rowan is a good guy. If you read the stuff he has to say about Fresh Expressions he is usually on the money for how it applies to Anglicans.

    Congratulations on the belonging and ownership 😉

    For me the key thing Ramsey said was about holding the people in your heart and holding them before God.

  21. Going before God with the people on your heart, and going before the people with God on your heart – top, top quote and the main thing I remember! A lot of really wise stuff in there, especially about humility.

    I think I’ve read everything thats ever been said by anyone about f/e and I feel like I understand where he’s coming from, and that he understands where folk like me are coming from. I have to keep reminding myself that he has made space for us, even if we are derided elsewhere!

    Glad your event went well – sounds quite a task. How is the singing coming on?? (Will it be appearing on Youtube?)

  22. I don’t know about YouTube of me singing. That would probably be an error of judgement 😀

    As for the derision. That is part of the human condition. People like to create in groups and out groups and wear things as a badge of honour. Football shirts are a classic example. Chavs vs Emos. Biretta vs preaching scarves. It highlights the fact that Christ came to save sinners 😉

  23. Hmm, but it was great to see Liverpool give ManU a stuffing yesterday wasn’t it….!!

    I went on a leadership training course at church the other day and our pastor said that personal self-acceptance was the number 1 thing if we were to lead others, as otherwise there was a risk that we would put our ‘issues’ onto others, unwittingly, by being manipulative or whatever. Eek, I think I still have work to do there.

  24. it was wonderful. Unfortunately I had to then go to The Riverside and watch us come away with an unconvincing draw against some nobodies from the south coast 😦

    Your pastor is probably right. But let’s face it, there are years of college/course in which to do that 😉

  25. Oh dear, a Boro fan. 😆 Unlucky to draw.

    I think he’s right – and I reckon college will just about kill me with the work, travelling, learning etc, never mind finding time for personal development – what do they want from us??!!!! Aaaarrrgggghhhh.

  26. Or give up your job, your house, your friends and your entire life and move somewhere else and do something strange….

  27. AHA but here’s radical – how about stay where you are, in your own house with your own friends and give your life to doing something new and strange – right there, where you are. So just how am I gonna sell that one at BAP??? (Its ok, I have a cunning plan…!!)

  28. Mornin. I wonder if you read an article (dunno where I found it, somewhere on share or f/e) which was a speech Steve Croft gave a few years ago to some bigwigs, about Mission shaped church? Its 11 pages long or I’d post it here. If you haven’t read it, you might find it interesting. If you give me email address I’ll attach it ?

  29. More than 50% of the people ordained in our diocese will have stayed at home and trained from their own house and given their life to something strange – right there where they are.

    Not in a particularly pioneering way either.

  30. Ah, I’m in good company then?! Just off to have lunch with the vicar in my village – he’s an ex DDO and is helping me with my lack of Anglicaniam, poor man its a thankless task 😆

    Another BMcL just popped thru letterbox – “A Search for What Makes Sense”. Need to go away for a week and catch up on all my reading – and I’m bound to get 3 new ones today. He gives me what I think of as Extreme-Catholic reading matter, as its what I lack!

  31. What counts as ‘Extreme Catholic’? I bet it is nothing in comparrison to where I am 😀

    You did see the plainsong…

  32. He gave me a book by a Catholic guy about healing through the sacraments. In it, he was voracious is his attacking of the charismatic model of prayer for healing. I confess I couldnt get thru it.

    Just back – only one book today. Slipping! I am still waiting for him to reciprocate and finish Shane Claiborne.:lol:

  33. This I find is the biggest problem with Anglicanism. It is based upon negative assertion. The 39 articles are all “We aren’t Catholic…” rather than “we are…”

    I spend a lot of time hearing people doing this without realising that it is my part of the church they are slagging off. They don’t expect a charismatic to be amongst a bunch of Anglo-Catholics. Conversely the Charismatics don’t expect me to turn around and tell them that my RC mother was healed at Lourdes!

    Try to find something positive about the use of the sacraments in healing. It is a wonderful thing to be able to offer people once ordained. The symbolism is wonderful (comes straight out of the bible) and I have seen people healed through it.

    God is much bigger than party politics 😉

  34. I think the way I would do that would be to talk to a Catholic priest for an explanation, as some of the books are virually incomprehensible.

    I went to The Oratory in Knightsbridge a while ago for a full mass on a saints day, it was fab. A bit naughtily perhaps, I decided I would go up for communion, on the grounds that Jesus would let me, even if Catholics wouldn’t. As we all filed up, I was last in line. When I got near, everyone else got a place at the rail except me, it was full. When the Priest finished those who were there, I went and waited and he just ignored me and went back to the altar. I was fascinated to know if he had deduced I wasn’t Catholic and so decided not to serve me, or if it was just an oversight! Anyway, it was a great service and I was very blessed by it. 😆

    The issue I’m finding isn’t “we’re not Catholic”, its “we actually are quite catholic and you actually are not at all”. Fascinatlingly, the vicar was telling me at lunch that there is a group called Sea of Faith who don’t even profess belief in God. So, if they can find space for them….

  35. Also, its wonderful that your mum was healed at Lourdes – for sure many people are every year. It is one of my ambitions to do the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage one year, fab.

  36. Nearly 1/2 a millennium has passed on since the reformation. Since then we have had the counter reformation. Both are based upon negative statements. That is why (in Anglicanism) we now get a lot of catholics bashing protestants and a lot of protestants bashing catholics. The 39 articles were just the star of it when we were having a big protestant swing of the pendulum.

    I would assume that the RC priest made an oversight as they aren’t psychic. We nearly missed someone on Sunday. We’re only human.

    I would bet that any ordained members of SoF weren’t saying that when they were selected. Well Don Cupitt went on to publish books and profess SoF stuff later and then eventually left the church.

    I did hear one Anglican academic say that to remove someone like Cupitt would make him a martyr to the cause. Lets face it, I haven’t heard anyone mention SoF in 4 years. In both instances it was used as an example of “we’re so crazy we even have this group…”

  37. I nearly ended up having to read one of his (DC) books?! I have to admit, a broad church is great and all, but surely a belief in God is pretty pivotal??

    It drives me nuts that they abandoned the central point yet kept up the “traditions” – is that straining at a gnat while neglecting the weightier matters, or is it having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof? Hmm…maybe should get that plank out of my own eye 1st!

    I think the academic and intellectual influence is slightly too great – its great to think and discuss, but the point at the end of it all is to live it well- I reckon anyway.

    I am sure you’re right about the communion – I wasn’t in the least affronted as I probably shouldnt have gone up anyway. I didn’t mean to cause offense but I always think if its there I should participate.

    (Btw, I met Fr Cormac Murphy O’C once. I shook his hand and was totally and massively ‘electrocuted’ by him, a physically strong force came off him. My friends came to meet me after and I was just stood rooted to the spot with my mouth open – just like Bishop Len when Fr Ted kicks him up the bum in fact!! Maybe he had one of those trick electric shock things?!)

  38. As I said, I don’t think the church said “lets ordain this person who doesn’t believe in God”. I suspect that that belief came later on.

    I agree that church without God is pants. It is like an alcohol free beer. Same bitter taste…

    I get slightly worried when people slag of academics. I’ve spent 8 years at university in on form or another and am looking into doing a PhD…

    For example. At ASBO people are generally quite happy for me to answer a question or point to an example. We’re all quite happy to hold up Tom Wright’s books. We are also then quite happy to slag of academics for knowing something. We can’t have it both ways.

    Remember this whole “negative assertion of who we are” thing. The Emerging Church can be just as [if not more] negative than any others. At Greenbelt Pete Rollins said “the emerging church will kill off the institutional church and that is no bad thing”. It doesn’t get much harsher or negative than that ❗

    I’ve been thinking about your “trying to understand things from a Catholic perspective” problem. I can totally relate as it was the first thing my DDO did with me. Have a look at http://www.kencollins.com

    He does a really go job of describing things like vestments and sacramental theology in practical terms.

  39. yup, same bitter after taste, and no effect 😆

    I wasn’t slagging off academics really. I just think its a question of prominence or emphasis. I think postmodern people are looking for a life, a narrative, something tangible they see evidenced, not just ideas.

    I have seen churches talk a good talk, but if they don’t live that out, and their members don’t love one another and those around them, and the odd bods that come in, then ….? It has to be transformative – to the individual, the organisation, and society. In my humblest opinion anyway.

    Am not saying that can’t take place in universities and hallowed halls, as much as in youth clubs or estates, but there has to be more than just thinking.

  40. Also, thank you very much for the ken collins link. am working my way through the list of questions – fabulous! very helpful, and gently humorous too. Fab!

  41. http://www.kencollins.com/disc-44.htm

    the most profound truths, and best explained I have ever read.

  42. “postmodern people are looking for a life, a narrative, something tangible they see evidenced, not just ideas. ”

    Ahhhhhhhh. That would probably be my biggest academic argument 😉

    The problem is that without the foundation of the thinking the doing can lead us anywhere. As you asserted earlier on, there are certain things that our faith is meaningless without – such as the belief in God.

    I’m very postmodern in my approach. I don’t tell people things very often, I ask them questions. I wonder if that was fostered in my teaching career and now is blossoming in my church leadershipness… ❓

    I loved reading the Ken Collins stuff. Gentle and never particularly critical of others. Very easy to read. I read it in my spare time whilst teaching. 5 mins here and there.

    I came across his site when asked by my church to robe up. I wanted to know why. Why should I do this? What is the point? Surely God doesn’t care. I quickly came to the conclusion that there are times and places and reasons for it that make sense – especially for someone like me who mostly spends his time in a Metallica t-shirt. Instead of people focussing on my clothing they can focus upon something else (hopefully God).

    Ironically, years later I was criticised in my assessment at college for preaching in a Metallica T-shirt and combat trousers whilst swigging from a can of diet coke 😀

  43. Wow – cross posting on my blog 😀

    He is very good at expanding upon the bible! He strikes me as a very well qualified ( 😉 ) person who hasn’t let that impede his spirituality or need to get out there and do it!

  44. Of course I agree about the necessary foundation for the doing. But that can be gained without entering the world of academia surely? Not everyone can go to university.

    Jesus called up a load of fishermen and other assorted regular folk, and they learned about the foundation of the doing – by and through the doing – being discipled in daily life. We need to be rooted in the vine, and the word teaches us, by the spirit.

    This matters to me very much because I don’t think everyone needs to go to college/seminary/wherever, to live a life full of vibrant, world-changing faith. And when/if I get to college, I will try very hard to choose somewhere that teaches me what I need to know to shepherd / serve / develop and release others along the road, but in a workaday, useable fashion. I don’t want to learn very intricate and esoteric detail about things I’ll never need to know. 😆

  45. I’ll direct them to you for that???!!! (Only joking, of course)

    Btw, I couldn’t find the place on ken’s site yet where it explains about the robe wearing etc?

  46. Thanks for this. You are really stretching me to think about stuff. This is what I love about blogging!

    What is academia then? Is it not learning stuff? Do you have to go to university for that? Nope. But you do have to stretch your understanding within the context of your peers offering critique. What was Jesus doing when he went and sat at the temple steps as a teenager talking with the ‘academics’ about God? There was no university. There was no modular examination. There was no piece of paper at the end of it. However there was academia going on surely?

    Jesus wasn’t a carpenter. Jesus was a Rabbi. How many times do the gospels refer to Jesus teaching people (disciples, crowds, individuals…. people).

    By the word do you mean the bible or The Word in a John chapter one type manner?

    The reformation principle was that the word of God (The Bible) should be placed in every church in a language that everyone could understand so that communally people could study it and come closer to God through their own understanding as a community. We sometimes get sucked into this ‘theology as a personal discipline’ type mentality with lots of ‘I read the bible and it says’ without the addendum ‘what do you think?’ or even ‘what have other people said about this?’

    When does the ‘need to know’ stop and the ‘intricate and esoteric detail’ start?

    An example I will give of the blurring. Currently on ASBO the debate has turned back to homosexuality. When someone says sodomy in that context the esoteric detail is that it wasn’t until the KJV introduced the term that it existed in that usage. Also that it is sometimes used in recent centuries to refer to bestiality. Prior to the 17th century it was only really used to mean “wickedness”. The shepherding, serving and developing of that esoteric detail is that it isn’t a helpful term and that it may in fact give a pejorative understanding of the very real and pertinent issue of how Christians should respond to sexuality. [I have become far to wordy – this doesn’t often happen to me. Sorry]

    Does that make sense? Also, I want to know more and more about God. I can’t help myself. God is so huuuugely massive that I can never know everything that there is to know about Him. That won’t stop me trying to know him better!

    The robe wearing section 😉

    http://www.kencollins.com/glossary/vestments.htm
    http://www.kencollins.com/how-10.htm

    I did smile when he talks about not wearing a leather jacket 😀

  47. Ye see, you clearly still have a teaching gift!! 😆

    Will give all that more thought and respond some more later. My only one this second is – I feel the same about Jesus, I wanna know everything I can as thats how I learn about God – I look at how he lived, as scripture tells me. Thats the way I know what he thought, what he ascribed value to, how I see the essence of who he is, and therefore how God is, inasmuch as I see it embodied in his daily life and in what he said, did, modelled.

    I agree he was a Rabbi, but look at what happened to those folks around him in a very short time. If he had been cloistered up in a Rabbinical school all his ministry, it would have been a different story. He wouldn’t have met the woman at the well, or the woman about to be stoned, or the woman who put the perfume on his feet, or Zaccheus up the tree, or been in the storm on the boat. As it was, he worked, lived in a family, travelled about with co-workers. All the stuff of normal life. And they were taught on the job. That shows me that there is a lot can be learned and lived by normal folk in normal daily life about our faith and calling and mission. It can be simple!

    (Some of this comes down to learning and personality types I guess. No doubt you are a very clever bloke. Am not saying it isn’t right for some people to be ‘professional learners’, but there’s no reason that should have more value ascribed to it in our faith than others. We should all be being life-long learners, especially if we want teach others along the way :lol:)

  48. Just looked at the clothes pictures. I am pretty sure that I will never ever wear any of those things.

  49. here is my theology for this, inasmuch as i can explain it to you. for me, i want to commit all my resources to God’s use while I’m here, as a part of my worship of him. Thats my time (24/7), money, skills etc such as they are.

    I want to read the bible to ascertain what he wants me to do with those. I believe one of the reasons jesus came to here was to show us how to live, what the priorities of God are, how he would have us behave, as his church and his people, to reflect his values.

    In that reading, I see the parable of the sheep and the goats. It shows me to value and care for the needs of those who are desperate, destitute etc, widows and orphans. I read the vision in Isaiah about the kind of fasting God respects. I see in Amos that I should walk humbly, love mercy and desire justice with my God. I see Jesus valued the meek, the broken, the despairing in the Beatitudes. I see the people he hung out with, how he spent himself on behalf of the sick and the dispossessed.

    He was deliberately not born as part of the levitical priesthood, he wasn’t in the establishment or the system, or belonging to the intelligensia. He showed it no respect whatsoever, in fact the opposite.

    SO, with all that in mind. I spend my time – drinking a cuppa with the homeless, binding up the broken-hearted, hanging out in dirty grotty places at times with people who are close to the edge, because they are the people who need the gospel and need love and care and grace bringing to them. And in that, I learn more and more about God. It benefits and teaches me about the kingdom, humbles me, challenges me – everything. I could never ever learn from books what I learn from hanging out with those people and being in those situations.

    Does that make any sense?

  50. Watch me suddenly come over all Buddhist*…

    That surely is the middle path.

    [suspend the ‘Jesus was God and knew more than we do’ thing]

    If Jesus met with woman at the well and all he had to offer was “well the Pharisees have told me this so it must be true” what would have happened? If he met with the woman who was to be stoned and he had a superficial knowledge would he have said “yep – that is what Leviticus says”?

    If all he had to offer was the ‘perceived wisdom of the day’ rather than a firm knowledge of the scriptures, the traditions of the people and the reason to put them together what would he have to offer?

    Without the knowledge of who God is, we are not inspired to go and drink a cuppa with the homeless because we have not seen that we are told to do it.

    As an aside as the example of social justice is homelessness, the early Anglo Catholics who went into the slums used vestments as a way of communicating the faith to those who were illiterate whilst they fed and clothed them and called for social justice. Whilst those of a more protestant leaning were concerning themselves with academic learning they went and got on with the doing. They made worship colourful and vibrant and engaging. They had mass on a daily basis as their source of strength. They stuck to the daily office of psalms and readings and immersed themselves in the scriptures…. and as a result went on to produce some of the best academic minds of their time.

    The vestment thing. Totally understand. I’m not trying to convince you either, just pointing you towards a quite straight forward explanation of what and why they are worn by those of a catholic bent.

    I wouldn’t wear any of those that he was wearing either. What about this type of thing? I really love this because it really says something about Lent, Holy Week and Good Friday.

    *joke

  51. I think it is a question of degree (and not the academic sort :lol:) Of course we know to be moved to social action etc by the scripture, opened to us by the spirit. So, yes, we have to study, and we want to study.

    But how much is necessary, to then be moved to action and go and take that action? For the majority of us, we can understand enough to then go out and take it with us, wherever we are led to go. If I decide to go to uni/seminary/phd level to study more about him, i have to be very sure its what God is asking me to do with the time he has given me. Its not mine to do as I please, to luxuriate in a learning I’m not going to use in the crucible of life anytime soon. There is no Plan B, as the saying goes, and in the time I’m in the classroom, in not out being the hands and feet of Jesus.

    I perceive that learning can be an avoidance strategy for doing. It can also be an indulgence, when we really did know enough to get on with whatever it is we’re called to in the body.

    And, I think that studying traditions is only useful up to a point. Yes, know where you came from. But be aware that paradigm shifts happen with God, and step changes, so your past isn’t always a guide to your future. The study and knowledge of the happenings of the OT were not much use to the Pharisees in their understanding of what happened next. It was ‘now for something completely different’ and the obsession with traditions – that are outside the bible – are often elevated and imbued with sacred meaning which I don’t believe they have.

    Phew, I don’t normally think or talk this much. Gotta stop it now!

  52. I slept on it 😀

    Yes. Too much of one and not enough of the other is a dangerous place to be in. All talk and no action results in “not being known”. All action and no talk can lead to being errant.

    I think it is very important when thinking about the pioneering spirit that we remember where we are grounded. To quote a wise old systematician I know (who is now offended that I referred to him as old 😉 ) we need to see what is load bearing. What is taking the weight? If it isn’t God then serious questions need to be asked.

  53. Hiya. Good idea, so did I and am still amazed I ‘talked’ that much. Sos if it was TOO much.

    As a professional engineer previously, I love the load bearing analogy. Really helpful. 😆

    Now I’m gonna ask you a very tough one. What is the summary of your knowledge as regards suicide and the entering of heaven – for followers of the way and none followers?

    There is no time pressure on an answer for this. I really need to know and am going to ask a variety of people who are solid about it. If you don’t want to respond on this subject, I totally understand.

    Hope you had fun buying new ‘frocks’ !!!!!

  54. Eeek! Not ignoring you, will have a think and come back when I have time. 2 mins before I go out of the door probably isn’t enough!

    All I can think of off the cuff is that I have direct experience of this from earlier in my life (as do many) and probably give it careful consideration so that I don’t break myself and others!

  55. Sure. It isn’t the subject for a careless conversation.

    If its something thats too near the bone, we can shelve it though. Please don’t open yourself up to hurt. I have experience too and its that which makes me need an understanding I guess.

  56. “Perhaps we should learn from the clever, but imitate the simple.”

    Returning to our earlier conversation about learning – I loved the above quote I found in Ken Collins’ section about the Necessity of Communion. Seems a reasonable supposition to me 😆

  57. Kim – Don’t worry, it isn’t too near to the bone. It is almost half a lifetime ago. I’m having a think about it.

    That is a nice quote!

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