Last opt in Christian teaching session of the school year yesterday with my class of 11 year olds: non of whom is a regular attender at any church.
I wanted to sum up what we had looked at the whole year and indeed the whole 7 years that many of them had experienced in these classes.
They wanted to play some games, so after the interactive teaching bit around what makes a Christian, we played a version of ‘Simon Says’ (they suggested it- I turned the chees factor up to 11 by making it ‘Jesus says’) and then we played chinese whispers.
The phrase ‘Follow Jesus in everything’ became ‘Cheeses mum says more’- they found it very funny. So did I, but also thought provoking. If this is one of our central messages: Follow Jesus in everything, it is strange how that can come out as ‘Do things our way’ or ‘But we like the organ and pews’ or ‘Dynamic worship, multi campus and kicking youthwork’ (please don’t get me started on this one) or any one of a 1000+ other phrases.
Strange too, how that chinese whisper becomes something different in my life, relationships and wallet so many times….
I’m just thinking of the metaphor used here (see 2 days ago- Luke5- keep up) – ‘fishing’.
So often I have heard it implied like the leisure fisher (pardon me- I don’t fish and have no desire to) in Britain, stood on his own with a line, trying to land fish on the bank (the church- the safe castle on the bank that we outreach sinners back into).- kind of a bold, lone, aquatic warrior.
When you look at the story though, it is a very communal thing- he gets stuck (or rather ‘they’- other gospels have ‘Andrew’ and it seems like there was someone else there aside from those in the other boat) and he needs the help of others: a group thing.
What’s more, they are not landed in the safe castle, but the moving boat….
…ok- I’ve stretched the metaphors a bit, but it made me think…
Ok…. aside from the referee who cannot spot whether a goal is a goal, I have nothing else to say but ‘abject’….
Not even our national cricket team beating, yet again, a 2nd rate cricket team (that’s Australia) can make up for it….
Passage I’m using today is Luke 5. Part of it is ‘I will make you fish for people’. I’m thinking about how he didn’t say ‘I will make you wish for people’.
When you wish you stay still, dreaming, praying , hoping. Nothing wrong with those things; I do them a lot. But you don’t actually move, search out where the shoals are, learn their ways etc…you just wish and long that they will come to you.
It is safer to wish though, than actually take a boat on the big wild ocean and fish; you might tip over, drown or miss the fish completely. With wishing you are safe; you may have beautiful dreams but you remain gloriously fish-less.
(This picture was entitled: ‘success: the key to happiness’….wrong, so very wrong…)
My pet dislike right now: anything in church or in Christian terms referred to as a ‘success’ or ‘succesful’.
It seems a word too loaded with business-speak, too focussed on numbers (I once bought an evangelical calculator from a shop; apparently a group of 57 people attending an event can actually be 80, 90 or even more than 100, depending how much the person inputting the figures wants to show ‘success’)….not that I am opposed to business practice etc- as with anything, I can learn a lot from it. I also think that things should have aims and be evaluated. But please do that with care.
Thinking: when was the last time you used ‘success’ to describe something in the church….cos I can’t find that word in my Bible. I can find ‘blessed’, ‘faithful’, ‘good’ and (depending on translation) ‘prospered’ (although, come to think of it, I’m not much keen on that word either) but not ‘success’.
Please be a ‘success’ and don’t use it.
..Taking a chunk of bread at communion. It was good bread and thinking ‘I am still hungry’. Then, being a professional god botherer thinking ‘This works on many levels’.
I used to think that ‘intimacy with God’ was just an inner journey. I don’t now and steer clear of ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ songs and stuff advertising ‘intimacy with God’ (and don’t get me started on phrases like ‘This will release and empower your inistry to a new level’. Don’t). Don’t get me wrong- I think there is an inner journey and I need still spaces, prayer and deep conversation.
I just don’t think ‘I need you Jesus’ is enough. I’d like to think ‘I am still hungry means things like ‘for God’s reign to come on the earth and to work for and long for Luke 4 stuff’.
I’m just weary of ‘intimacy with God’ to be marketed like a product/an experience- it conforms too much to our western individualised consumer centred world.
So I hope that I am still hungry…
A day of huge hope for England football fans, but also a day where grim despair lurks (this is the expereince of an English sports fan backing any of our teams or individuals. Let us not forget Wimbledon either, although I cannot abide tennis).
This joke bought some reality and humour into today. As the kids say: rotfl
Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs.
The seven dwarfs always left to go work in the mine
early each morning.
As always, Snow White stayed home doing her
As lunchtime approached, she would prepare their
lunch and carry it to the mine.
One day as she arrived at the mine with the lunch, she saw
that there had been a terrible cave-in.
Tearfully, and fearing the worst, Snow White
began calling out, hoping against hope that the dwarfs had
‘Hello…Hello!’ she shouted. ‘Can anyone hear me?
For a long while, there was no answer. Losing
hope, Snow White again shouted, ‘Hello! Is
anyone down there?’
Just as she was about to give up all hope, she
heard a faint voice from deep within the mine,
“ ENGLAND FOR THE WORLD CUP”
Snow White fell to her knees and prayed,
‘Oh, thank goodness! ……. At least Dopey is still alive.
(Picture not from my village:ethnic diversity here means that you are from York)
Two weeks ago few people had heard of them round these parts.
And then the world cup began and we began to ask in this order: ‘what is that buzzing sound?’/ ‘what is that annoying sound?’ ?’can someone please make it stop?’/’can someone shoot someone?’/ ‘actually: it seems quite exotic’/’ want one, want one,now, now, now.’
Someone in the village who works in South Africa has one. And they have lent it to me and we are ‘practicing’. My wife hates it.
Should things go our way tomorrow, steer clear of Hutton Rudby and the house we live in as there will be, as one hymn puts it (that used to crease me up as a young child)’ a mighty trump’….
It was fathers’ day yesterday in Britain. I don’t ‘do’ it- I think it is too commercial- another excuse to buy stuff I don’t need. I made this clear, but was told ‘the children have to buy you something’.
So we compromised at low cost.
Still how could you go wrong with a DVD of Zulu (Michael Caine being Michael Caine in a DVD is always good) and a T shirt that my children chose for me which says:-
Washing Up X
Beer and Chips
They (and I) wanted me to wear it to a church’s funday in the afternoon. My wife advised caution. I followed her advice. Remember: in some Methodist circles, John 2 never happened, or it was Ribena…