Lent:1

Time!

Well, this could be for any day I guess. But I think this is for this Lent when we seem to get our validation around ‘getting things done’ or subduing Time to our time.

I have had this saved for a while and it speaks to me:-

Walk, don’t run.
 
That’s it.
 
Walk, don’t run. Slow down, breathe
deeply, and open your eyes because there’s
a whole world right here within this one. The
bush doesn’t suddenly catch on fire, it’s been
burning the whole time. Moses is simply moving
slowly enough to see it. And when he
does, he takes off his sandals. Not because
the ground has suddenly become holy, but
because he’s just now becoming aware that
the ground has been holy the whole time.
 
Efficiency is not God’s highest goal for your life,
neither is busyness,
or how many things you can get done in one day,
or speed,
or even success.
 
But walking-
which leads to seeing-
now that’s something.
 
That’s the invitation for every one of us today
and every day, in every conversation, interaction,
event, and moment: to walk, not run. And in doing
so, to see a whole world right here within this one.

On silence…

This is a terribly ironic post to put on a blog that updates daily….

Some of you may be aware that Steve Chalke, Baptist minister, Songs of Praise etc put up a post/statement last week about why he felt that same sex partnerships and equal marriage could be Biblically justified. The statement is here http://www.christianitymagazine.co.uk/sexuality/stevechalke.aspx and it is worth reading. It is also worth clicking on the fuller statement.

Within a day, the Evangelical Alliance put up 3 statements critiquing this. See http://www.eauk.org/church/stories/the-bible-and-homosexuality.cfm  http://www.eauk.org/church/stories/not-radical-enough.cfm & http://www.eauk.org/church/stories/homosexuality-and-hermeneutics.cfm

Understanding of marriage/sexuality is an important issue: Christian faith is holistic- ‘body’ and ‘mind’ are never seperated. But….. but….

….if someone makes a statement like this, I am thinking that there is a place for silence. A place for thought, reading, contemplation and prayer whilst you really listen to what the other person is saying. I wonder if at least 2 weeks or longer should pass in cyberspace before you even begin to issue a response. And when you issue a response, season it with Grace and do not include phrases like:-

 ‘Steve’s approach to biblical interpretation allows for a god in the likeness of 21st century Western-European mindsets’.

Within theology, that is like playing the man and not the ball; all of us are culturally conditioned- some of us are blind to that.

I remember the furore a year or so back about the American writer Rob Bell. He had published a book called ‘Love Wins’- go google. It seemed to challenge much traditional evangelical thinking. People began to send angry tweets to ‘Rob Bell’- except the Rob Bell they sent them to was an English electrician by the same name. At the time, he was suprised and hurt by the anger & I am sure he said something like he was not a Christian and after receiving the tweets did not want to be if this was how they treated each other.

And you will know they are Christians by their haste and bile…..

(There is a really good post on this by one of my friends http://www.dyfedwynroberts.org.uk/index/steve-chalke-and-evangelical-fear)

Hearing about a church review

OK; it may be a mistake to use what an American pastor of a mega church says in much smaller British churches, but I think this holds true:-

‘We want to be calling people to deep bonds of solidarity with one another. We may gather in a massive group, but from the stage I often say, “This is just a church service. Church is actually about caring for one another, and serving one another, and speaking truth to one another in love. Don’t get the two confused.”

It does; I recently heard about a church reviewing its life. I asked someone what the outcomes were. Almost all of the outcomes were about the hour on Sunday and ‘what we like’. Maybe I didn’t hear well enough what actually came out and it is good to look at what you are and why you are. But today; don’t confuse this hour on a Sunday with the sum total of ‘church’.

 

Rob Bell- Leadership journal.net 1/2/10 ‘Tying the clouds together’

Rob Hell…. more

(my point exactly: do something meaningful and don’t waste your time printing/photoshopping the above)

I don’t ‘do’ celebrity Christians; perhaps the term should be an oxymoron. However, whenever I have caught snippets of Rob Belll on the net or through the Nooma DvDs I have been impressed. Sure the guy has flaws- don’t we all- but he communicates well. If you like cricket (I don’t: I love it) he is like a legspinner: compelling watching, takes wickets, but can bowl bad balls as he is experimenting. Trouble is; some people are only comfortable with medium pace: it is safe, won’t get hit, but predictable.

What I have been completely unimpressed by is the bile he attracts from some Christians. In my darkest days, I don’t think that Christians need opposition, as we manage to rip each other to shreds often enough. It is the safest thing in the world to attack other Christians… you can stay in the Christian ghetto and work yourself up into righteous indignation but never actually ‘save’ anyone or get on with the ‘real’ business of being salt and light (and yes, I know this from personal experience: I am guilty)….said he lapsing into ‘Christianese’…

This is an interesting post from someone who works for a faith based organisation but who has no faith himself:- http://jonkuhrt.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/an-atheist%e2%80%99s-encounter-with-rob-bell-by-ronnie-stockton/

I particularly liked this:-

I’ve had no ‘miraculous conversion’ but I am now open to all of the mysteries and unanswerable questions that accompany the stories and parables of the Old and New Testaments.  I initially ascribed this opening up process to the power and persuasion of Rob Bell and the sense of elation that accompanied hearing ‘his’ story.  What is increasingly apparent to me though of course is that Rob Bell is talking about Jesus – thus the story that speaks to me is the story of Christ. 

Testimony like this impresses me a whole lot more than articles about  ‘ah, yes, but is he sound?’

Rob Hell

As I don’t twitter, I missed the storm about this last weekend:-

[youtube]ODUvw2McL8g[/youtube]

I am still a member of M.E.T. (Methodist Evangelicals Together). I find myself in the camp, but often loitering around the edge of that camp- never in the centre.

I do not like labels, but this recent furore has made me even less likely to use that label.

I see under 3 minutes of a promotional video, engagingly put, using irony,being subtle and asking heartfelt questions. Many of these questions are what people ask. I have a lot of time for Rob Bell; he has an engaging way of putting something across, he communicates well: I could hear him recite the telephone directory and want to listen.

In reply to that, in the storm in teacup that resulted I saw snap judgements, bile, refusal to listen, the perception of any question as opposition and lots more stuff that just made me so sad. Where did careful listening, teasing out of questions and sensitivity go? Where did the belief in Grace go? It strikes me rather like sitting down to listen to a new CD and then ripping it out of the player after the first chord and saying ‘I don’t like that’.

Truly, in the opposition, Love Lost.

Postscript

Good summaries at:-

http://maggidawn.com/rob-bell-love-wins/ , http://theshinyheadedprophet.blogspot.com/ (3/3/11) and http://sallysjourney.typepad.com/sallys_journey/2011/02/can-i-be-a-liberal-evangelical-please.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EternalEchoes+%28+Eternal+Echoes%29