A friend has been meeting with an elderly mentor for study and prayer and tells me his friend really 'knows' the bible. His new encourager has had him reading an old book called 'In understanding be men'. You might want to read it.
I have introduced a friend to my passion for fly-fishing and you never quite know if the enthusiasm will last- I think it might. By the way, I am the one fishing in the rain!
That was my problem in the face of my chronically bad back. You might think it would be simple but there is so much to choose from and everyone has a view. Here are just four that were suggested: cranial osteopath, osteopath, physiotherapist and chiropractor. To be honest, I didn't much care, didn't know the difference between any of them and just wanted the pain to go away.
A few factors came into play and here's how I made my decision:
1. Go with a recommendation
2. Go local- (I needed to be able to walk)
3. Go where you can get an appointment quickly and to a place and person you like the look of
So I opted for an osteopath called Phil recommended by my friend Millie.
On my form, I put my occupation which then led to an interesting discussion. I asked Phil how you know which of the back disciplines to choose. "Much like your game" he replied "It's all spirituality isn't it- you just have to go ahead and choose and hope you pick a good one"
So this is my ecclesiological thought. To most people the church is like a back remedy. They have no idea where we are until the problem comes and when it does have no idea what we do. They pick one someone recommends, make a visit and give it a go untrusting themselves to the person up front. At the end, they are asked for money, may or may not feel any recognizable difference and are left almost as bemused as when they began. They may or may not come back, might try another discipline but, there again, it might just get better over time anyway now the pills have started to work.
What you really wanted was good news and you surely know when you have encountered it.
Still chewing this thought, I called my friend who is a GP. What she said was interesting. "They all do the same thing but give it different names" ....."What matters is the person doing it and whether or not they do it well".
Church as back remedy. Confused? You will be and they certainly are...
I have finally got around to listening to Keller's talk on idols. I have been rather busy with essay writing and preaching and tax returns so have not been listening to talks or reading much. My next read is going to be 'The quest for more' which I am looking forward to.
There were many things that moved me and challenged me in this talk but the main thing was that Keller did exactly what the preach was about. Here, sitting before him were a couple of thousand? (I don't know exactly how many) church leaders and 'sound' preachers and he read their mail. He went after their idols of preaching and ministry and over work and competitiveness and of power and pride.
This is courageous preaching.
He saw the Asherah poles and tore them down before people's eyes. At least he tore them down before mine.
Idols. Yes, idols yet again (It's all about idols-read the last verse of 1 John).
As an aside, a pal and I speak a two or three times a week on matters of scripture, life and 'stuff'. If there is a verse we don't get or a drama we are facing we share the burden or theological question or thought or joy. He is a great encouragement to me. Ministry and life is not meant to be a solitary business- try to get someone to call.
The verse we are pondering is Proverbs 20:5. I am enjoyed the chew.
The Bishop of Croydon also has some views on 'girly music'.
A friend recommends an album by Ashley Cleveland called Before the Daylights Shot which might be worth checking out. He says it is '..some of the best reworking of hymns I have ever heard...'. It is £17 on import so try Spotify for a listen.
Frustrated by your MP? You might find this site helpful
They have been dubbed the new atheists. Here one of them, Christopher Hitchens, and Pastor Doug Wilson agree to thrash out the issues. Looks like this film will be fascinating stuff so here is a sneak peak.
A pal is giving a paper on Romans 6 and I told him that Lloyd-Jones would not preach on Romans until he had understood chapter 6. He asked me for the reference so I had to go and search for it and typed it out for him and here it is:
"One Sunday evening at the close of the service at Westminster Chapel, somewhere about 1943, a certain well-known preacher came into my vestry and said to me: 'When are you going to preach as series of expository sermons on the Epistle to the Romans? I answered immediately: 'When I have really understood chapter 6'
Like many others I had struggled with this chapter for several years, and had read, not only well-known commentaries, but also many sermons and addresses on it. But none had satisfied me; rather they had left me with the feeling that they were in trouble. Some just skimmed lightly over the surface, using the chapter to prove their particular holiness theory. The more solid commentaries seemed to be contradicting themselves and each other.
In 1954, while preaching a series of sermons on Spiritual Depression, and studying this chapter again, I suddenly felt I had arrived at a satisfactory understanding, and preached two sermons on Sunday mornings giving what I now regarded as the true exposition of the main argument of the chapter. Having done so, I felt that I was now in a position to preach an extended series on the whole Epistle; and I began to do so in October 1955"
From the preface to his 'Exposition of Chapter 6-The New Man' (Banner of Truth 1972)
This is a stunningly simple and enormously powerful talk by Henry Orombi on what it means to be a leader. If you lead a church (wherever you live) then listen to it and may it bless and encourage you-spend the £4.40-and if you are abroad get New Wine to send it to you.
Do whatever you can but make sure you listen to this talk and particularly the prayer at the end-just this alone will teach you how to pray. Incredible, moving, stirring.
Carol Ann Duffy is the new poet laureate taking over from Andrew Motion. I heard her say that she is not a person of faith but she says she misses the Catholic liturgy of her childhood. People who pray, she mused, have the benefit that they have someone to speak to and she also said interestingly '...I think poetry is secular prayer' [speaking on Radio 4]
Here is one of her poems on exactly that subject.
Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer utters itself. So, a woman will lift her head from the sieve of her hands and stare at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.
Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth enters our hearts, that small familiar pain; then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth in the distant Latin chanting of a train.
Pray for us now. 2 Grade I piano scales console the lodger looking out across a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls a child's name as though they named their loss.