And here is a follow up to yesterday, in case anyone is sharpening their theological teeth ready to bite me…
Once I rehearse I can almost play this song very badly. It is a little known song by the Proclaimers called ‘The Light’. The song is essentially a blast against those who sought to judge the singer in his struggles with faith. He utters the great line:-
‘And if I’m found wanting when my case is heard,
It’ll be my the Author, not some interpreter of His word’
Amen to that…
I have often been a follower of http://miketodd.typepad.com/. I have never met him- one day I’d like to. I love his insights and his thinking.
I read this a few days ago and found myself nodding and agreeing:-
‘In an era where many of us within the faith refuse to listen to the theology of those we deem (or have been told are) too _________ (you fill in the blank), we need more story. Don’t tell me what you believe, show me how it impacts and guides people’s lives’.
If you read what I blog for any length of time you will know I am so tired of people attacking and labelling each other and not listening. That is not to say ‘anything goes’- I don’t believe that, but I am often so enriched by listening to those I disagree with.
It is a bank holiday today. Knowing Britain that means rain, rain and more rain. Which is a pity as I have a chance of watching some cricket at my beloved Rhos on Sea today…
It is ‘back to church sunday’ in a few weeks in Britain. The two churches in this village are following it.
As the minister of one, I’m supporting it. I’m supporting it with reservations. My friend Dyfed, whom I hope to meet up with this weekend has blogged well on this. Take a look:-
I agree with him and I’d also add the idea that some raised in my church- the title- shouldn’t be all about us going to others, building church among them, with them, instead of the title that seems to suggest ‘Come and join us’?
But I’m still backing it. Why? I may have said this before on this blog, but I once was asked in an oversight meeting for prospective ministers at theological college about what my philosophy about evangelism was and I said very flippantly and thoughtlessly: ‘If I have to pogo naked at 3am through the college chapel to make someone think about Jesus I would do’.
I would never be so flippant now 🙂 and some things make me cringe and are so downright cheesy, but I think my principle still holds…
I could write about being on holiday.
But I’m not going to.
I could talk about new music that is moving me.
Interesting thought that is stirring me?
No: it is staying in my head.
Today I’m blogging nothing.
Ooops…..I just did. So much for trying not to blog….
Something I picked up in France, cheap (my main criteria). I have happy memories of putting it on, driving through sunlit fields, a baguette in the back of a car and feeling like a tres stylish extra in a Jacques Tati film. I never did look in a mirror to see what I actually looked like.
Pure late 60’s nostalgia, even if, despite it being over 40 years old I doubt whether I shall ever use ‘Je t’aime moi non plus’ in worship just yet…..
There is some good stuff on there as well as some early French europop that is best left in the 60s. But each time I play it I imagine I am in the sunlit Loire and I dream…
I love August! I have have learned that this is a good time to go slow, to lie fallow and to take lots of leave.
I am in a unique position to do so- my leave entitlement is very generous (although I did work out if I managed to take it all, it would be the equivalent of working a 5 day week all through the year with no leave). I think I have managed to work just 4 days…..
This used to disturb someone bought up on Wesley: ‘I would the precious time redeem and longer live for thee alone’….. but maybe redeeming the precious time is just as much about having periods of doing nothing ‘useful’ or ‘productive’.
Anyway, back to sleep…
There is a song by James that has a lyric like:-
‘After 20 years, I’ve become my fears; I’ve become the man I always hated’
In the car I turn into a grumpy old man. One of the many things that makes me grumpy is 4x4s driven by people who don’t need them: they guzzle fuel, block narrow lanes and as for the argument ‘they keep my family safe’, I want to scream ‘but not any family that you bump into- they are more dangerous’.
However, following our car being written off (see a few days ago)someone has lent me for occasional use a Honda 4X4 (rural area- working at funny hours etc means that often I cannot get to places without another car).
I drove it last night…..and it felt sweet….. I have become Jeremy Clarkson (British reference)….
…actually not strictly post holiday as thanks to the wonders of August and my leave year ending on the 31st, I’m off for nearly a week in a day or so. This blog may take a break, or my anally retentive nature may force me to post when I am away…
I’m going back to our crash which I have been reliving the last few days as I complete copious insurance forms. That has actually been the worse thing about it as I have been tense and sometimes unable to sleep as the memories came back.
Many things struck me about the crash, but one thing in particular: the kindness of strangers. A number of people put themselves out beyond what I would expect: the guy we were pushed into (who broke a bone and had his car written off) who most likely saved our lives, the highway patrol people, the guesthouse owner, the car rental people etc. Some of this was just professionalism, but I felt it went a bit further than that on many occasions.
It got me thinking: I am so tired of reading stuff from a faith perspective that talks about how good Christians are or how bad non Christians are or even stuff that says ‘ok, they may be good, but that won’t save them: they are going to hell’ (on the latter point, in this game of life, IMHO there is one referee who makes decisions- He doesn’t need advice from the players. It looks ugly in football-worse in church).
There is a lot of common grace in this fallen, flawed world: a lot of refracted light from broken pieces of mirror.
I am now back home….profoundly grateful for the luxury of a long holiday and surrounded by mounds of letters and e-mails and still feeling in holiday mode.
I am profoundly grateful to still be alive. A rather careless Belgian lorry driver succeeded in writing our car off in a high speed crash at 70mph on the M20 not far from Dover. Thanks to God, stout Japanese engineering and the presence of mind of a Range Rover Driver who was able to put his 4×4 in the way of our spinning and semi airbourne car and the next carriageway we managed to walk away.
It may well be the last time I tut copiously and murmur when I am passed by a 4×4 driver who is smoking.
That’s an awful lot.
Believe me; I have got more- but then again, you have too.
I think the biggest thing for me is Grace. Sing ‘Amazing Grace’ or listen to ‘Grace’ by U2. Even read ‘What’s so amazing about Grace’ by Philip Yancey’; one of the few books to bowl me over.
I remember a quote from that book, which may not be as it is exactly put:-
‘There is nothing we can do to make God love us more- there is nothing we can do to make God love us less’
..and I love that bit from the good book about we are saved by Grace, and not by works, lest anyone should boast. That keeps me humble (although I often aspire/desire not to be).
…and I remember and shudder about how that quote was used as a bludgeon to bash anyone who was suspected of being ‘unorthodox’ in my early Christian days (and how I did as well): it’s amazing how humans can do that with Grace- it is so amazing that we have to restrict it, armour it and refine it.
…and I know what Bonhoeffer said about making it ‘cheap Grace’….. but it is amazing isn’t it? Least I believe so.