Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday thoughts

1. We discussed Just One today and were generally musing on the potential impact of a stadium event in a post-Christian world vs Graham at the Hackney Empire in 1957. Perhaps the answer will depend on the prayer?

2. Eugene Peterson has a new book coming out which is always exciting.

3. I wrote a blog post to get something off my chest and haven't published it. Who knows if I will. Today, I spotted the case of a heterosexual couple who think its unfair they can't have a civil partnership because they are a man and women. I am even more confused having read this and the news is they lost.

4. Cranmer wrote a blog post about my Bishop which introduced me to the word 'quixotically'

5. You will be forever grateful to the people/person who led you to Jesus. The person who did that for me was doing his first university mission and slept on the floor of a students room for a week. Now he's speaking in Football stadiums.....

6. This section of BiOY hit me this morning. Jago is a Vicar pal in Clapham leading a wonderful church:

Jago Wynne, author of the book Working Without Wilting, talks about pastoring mid-week gatherings for people working in London. He says that those who came by themselves from their workplace as isolated Christians generally looked weary, struggling with the pressures of working life.
On the other hand, those who had found other Christian colleagues and who came to the services in groups of two or more were almost universally far more upbeat and radiant.
Jago writes, ‘If we are isolated Christians in our day-to-day environments, whether that is the workplace or school or university or home, it is good to pray for the Lord to provide us with another brother or sister in Christ. Even their mere presence can be a source of encouragement to keep going in serving the Lord in life and in mission.’
7. I've recommended 'Making sense of God' to someone on our Alpha Course. Here is Keller speaking about it to Google.

8. I've been listening quite a bit to Brandi Carlile recently.

9. My watching the storyline in Nashville about the complexities and pain of coming out as a country star coincided with my reading this post about complexities, confusion and pain of coming out as a Vicar to General Synod.  

10. I am still falling asleep to MLJ.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

On home

This is a beautiful, stirring, timely and challenging post written by a friend.

Monday, February 06, 2017

A day closer

We've been away for a bit of a break which has been wonderful.

1. We watched 'Black in Trump's America' and there was a financial statistic comparing the wealth of blacks and whites that literally left us without words.

2. A pal has put me on to a propheticy podcast called 'The Trumpet Daily' that has become his bedtime listening. Listening to the one about the Inauguration was I confess fascinating, a little crazy and compelling in equal measure. In days gone by (the time of 'The thief in the night') Christians were forever debating the signs of the times- now not so much.  This was a bit like an audio version of 'Left behind' but with more gravitas and quite why it is broadcast from Oxford for an American radio station is unknown. My go-to book for eschatology is 'And the lamb wins' 

3. I have started reading 'Dirty Glory'

4. Yesterday, I used 'The Rose' as an illustration and every time I listen to it it reminds me of how much grace has been extended to me and to us all.

5. A new motto

6, I try (and sometimes fail) to take one day a week for what John Stott called 'Q' in his diary.

7. I am enjoying the songs of Brandi Carlile.

8. Is 'regret' what's needed or something else? It's unlikely to help the dialogue at General synod this month. Psephizo asks 'Were shared conversations a con?'

9. This is our most important task

10. 'The greatest answer to prayer is prayer itself. God can perform miracles easily, but only rarely do we humble ourselves enough to truly ask for them. When the church becomes so hungry for more of God's power and presence that we finally turn to him in persevering prayer, seeking his face day and night, we can be sure that the Lord will not be slow to act'

Dirty Glory, Page 43

Monday, January 23, 2017

Designing your life

From time to time I happen upon something that's in the 'that was very thought-provoking' box. This podcast with Dave Evans about 'Designing your life' did that. Maybe it just caught my mood. He's seems to be a really interesting guy (career with Apple/ Gaming/Software then a teacher at Stanford) He's also a Christian.

I have always, as we all are, been interested in calling, purpose and vocation. Most of us never stop asking the question, 'Am I doing the right thing?' or 'Is this the right job?' or 'What should I do next?' Or even the bigger one of 'What's it all about?'  Too often, I see in the church we fail to speak to what vocation looks like in the world and careers (or multiple careers) so I am always looking for interesting books to recommend to people in that zone.

Inevitably, as a pastor, I do spend lots of time speaking to people about their jobs and I found Dave Evans both interesting and helpful. He's challenging in his critique of the church in relating to the world (my moment was his story of the man who taught him the Saturday morning Bible study). Personally, my life as a pastor feels like a second life and the more and more I look at the world in God's economy there may well be third and fourth one's on the way.

As I look at the education system, it seems preoccupied with  passing exams. Surely, a life well-lived shouldn't peak at fifteen with good GSCE results? A good and rounded education/ upbringing should prepare you to answer the question 'What do I want to do with me life?' Now, of course, to answer that question depends very much on your worldview but we all ask this question repeatedly. However there are I think particular seasons when this question becomes paramount and front of mind.

a. When you leave school

This is a time when you choose the course you will study or the job you will take. What will govern that choice? What are your gifts and skills? What are you interested in? What parental/mentoring wisdom is available to you? What influence have good teachers and leaders had? What jobs have you tried or seen adults do that appeal? What do you like about them?

b. When you leave university

This is a season when you have tons of time to work out what you want to do- much of it wasted in my own experience. Often, you are so preoccupied with working out the boundaries of freedom and what is means to be an adult that vocation falls down the list and is left until the last minute.

c. When you reach middle age/retire

We are all living longer. If you are planning to retire then you now have almost another life ahead of you once your done with your official 'job'. 'Falling upward' speaks to this- particularly in men. Do you have a plan for your last years? These are the years when we begin to realize we might actually know something that might be useful. It's struck me that both Obama and Cameron are not yet 55 and have so much more potential than to speak about what they've already done for lots of money (Tony Blair).

Anyway, this might be food for thought if you are the parent of a teenager, in transition, planning retirement or changing course. Here is the link to the 'Christian Companion to designing your life' referred to in the podcast.