Monday, 28 March 2011

The 5 Marks of Mission

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

I am currently reflecting on this.

Handy film guide

Saturday, 26 March 2011

In the future I think I will use these suggestions

Up your sleeve!

In addition to the questions we suggest for each book, it’s a good idea to have some general questions ready which can be applied to any book such as:
  • How engaging did you find it – did it interest you from the word go?
  • How does the author’s view relate to your faith position?
  • Did you find that the book challenged your beliefs?
  • Did any part make you angry or irritate you?
  • Would you read more by this author?
  • If you were to describe this book to a friend, what would you say?

(taken from the SPCK website on book clubs)

Finding Hope and Meaning In Suffering

I have finished my second lent book already, which probably means I need to crack on with assignment reading! The second book is:
Finding Hope and Meaning in Suffering- By Rev Dr Trystan O Hughes (One of my former lecturers at Bangor).

It is an accessible book, but what makes it interesting is the website above. Not only does he refer to some interesting reading in the book itself but this is supplemented by the websites additional resources. I find it important, when considering an issue, that there is a variety of media to look at listen to and consider and this does this really well. This takes it from a personal read to something which could work as a Lent Resource or in a small group setting.

What about the content? It is not a theological treatise on theodicy, though it is something he has clearly thought about in the background, he is seeking to help those who are suffering to be able to look beyond what they are going through. He is giving hope. The clear pastoral concern is evident throughout and I would expect nothing less from a Chaplain and someone who has and is a fellow sufferer.

It is very easy for me to put my size 11's into it with a stray word, I remember doing that at University, engaging my mouth before my memory of someone's grief. The hope for Trystan is that God is not the author of our suffering but is present with us, he is known as the suffering saviour. Instead of suffering being a curse it can lead to greater appreciation of life.

I commend this book as a great resource to explore suffering. Maybe this book will help people to find God in the midst of real life and not some utopian view that Christians should always be healthy and wealthy .

This is only my opinion so feel free to disagree if you have read it.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Post- Evangelical

In addition to the daily grind of reading for college (currently Anglicanism) I have taken Lent to embark on reading some of the books that have sat on my bookshelf for sometime. I have just read Dave Tomlinson's Post-Evangelical:

It was timely as I completed last term's module on Issues in Modern Theology (Post modernism, inter-religious dialogue, etc). It is a fairly old book now and so has lost some of the controversy that it had at it's publication, though it is still a discussion which is ongoing. 

The question of retelling the gospel is entrusted to each generation, this means not altering it to fit but asking what is distinctive about this good news so we can tell it to this generation without watering down or misrepresenting it.

Jesus's words today are still powerful and transformational, Dave Tomlinson's point is that being post-evangelical today is being true to scripture and Christ but not to mindless doctrines. Anyone who has studied any theology will realise that the authority of scripture is pivotal to this whole discussion and therefore this is touched upon though briefly. Tomlinson is saying that many have found faith through evangelical churches proclamation of the gospel but after some time they find that they are faced with issues which are not answered by black and white statements which are given from the front. There is very little ground for questioning.

All this is really just an introduction to a debate which is now raging in full and has moved on to the emergent church. It is a good point of introduction, the follow up addition of essays led by Graham Cray provides further material to think on.

Finally what is interesting about this book is looking at the "new" generation of evangelical leaders. These are now dated and I would question if they have quite as much influence as previous evangelical leaders. Due to the way evangelicals have grown in size there are many competing voices. One thing I have faced in an evangelical tradition is a suspicion of Theology, which as a graduate from a "secular" university and
as an ordinand I find quite frustrating. The questions I faced at uni and now again are the ones that most people face at some point. In my questioning it has led me back to scripture and prayer rather than away from God. 

I do not have all the answers and I certainly don't want to throw out my heritage. I guess that this is what formation is all about! 

The Road

Last night I watched the Road a film about a dystopian future, much in the vain of the Book of Eli or the slew of video games which abound. As always there is an attempt to ask questions of human morality in the face of survival, cannibalism or loving your neighbour?

Any road we travel on has choices, do we get somewhere at the expense of others? The film shows that survival and protecting what you value muddies the waters of morality even with some quasi-Christian idea "the fire burning inside". As a film it does what it says, it paints man's creation, which is a bleak one. The film didn't hold my attention the whole way through as though it is well acted it is ground that has been well trodden. Still worth a watch but not a light hearted Friday night choice.

I would agree with Peter Bradshaw's review that it fails to catch the full horror of the situation and it is true that it is far more graphic in Cormac Murphy's book. Though I would add I am not sure I would be ready for that film! Zombies are far less disturbing as they have been corrupted by some plague or other. Cannibalism on the other hand is a corruption of the person which is equally dehumanising but more frightening in my mind anyway.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

It begins

Having taken 3 months to actually get round to starting this blog, I have finally resolved layout issues! So what am I attempting here?

Really a place to house some of the things which are challenging me or interesting me as I walk this path set before me. One where I have plenty of choice in which way to go. With so much choice and so many voices competing for my attention how do I filter these things?

I will try and do this here. Please enjoy my wanderings and feel free to comment, the only rule I apply to the blog is to be slow to speak, and apply grace before engaging..