1. The abuse scandals of the C of E have seemingly been very badly handled.
2. I am currently reading a lot about mission. Michael Frost's idea of 'BELLS' that he explains in his little book called 'Surprise the world' is extremely helpful. I have to say it's also an encouragement that we are doing some elements of mission pretty well- particularly eating which is the 'E' of 'BELLS'.
'Sharing meals together on a regular basis is one of the most sacred practices we can engage in as believers. Missional hospitality is a tremendous opportunity to extend the kingdom of God. We can literally eat our way into the kingdom of God! If every Christian household regularly invited a stranger or a poor person into their home for a meal once a week, we would literally change the world by eating!'
Hirsch and Ford quoted in Surprise the world, p.48
3. This is an interesting discussion about the Supreme Court gay wedding cake case.
4. 73% of Anglicans according to BSA think sex before marriage is 'not wrong at all'. I would want to ask if the same group think sex outside marriage is 'not wrong at all' and if not what's the difference? Survey data like this makes me despair at the comprehension of the basic tenets of the gospel, the work of the Cross and realization of the scandal of grace in the C of E.
The word 'porneia' means sexual immorality. In deciding how to translate porneia, we need to avoid extremes or too much laxity and rigidity.......Porneia was, in fact, a generic word for sexual infidelity or 'marital unfaithfulness' (NIV), and included "every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse' (Arndt -Gingrich)
Issues facing Christians Today, Page 294
Sadly, too many Anglicans it would seem do not these days read the Bible, let alone owning a copy of Stott's seminal text on ethics.
5. On the subject of the gospel someone on our current Alpha course said this. 'There are only two categories of people- 'sinners' and 'redeemed sinners'. That phrase has stuck with me all this week. Tomorrow we are exploring the question 'How can I have faith?'.
6. This account about MLJ's needing to 'make room for the cross' convicted and moved me.
7. I have a theory that ecclesiastical and academic titles are the enemy of power in preaching.
8. This Spurgeon line from a handout someone gave me following a gathering of one of our Community Groups is worth a ponder:
'He made you for an end. Find out what that end is; find out your niche, and fill it. If it be so little, if it be a hewer of wood or a drawer of water, do something in this great battle for God and truth.'
9. A few comments on Ordination services that a good number of Vicar pals/ Non-ordained folk have been commenting on as many happened across the country this weekend.
a. In a service with so many guests and people who do not yet know Christ to not preach the gospel clearly and accessibly is surely a radical missed opportunity. To steal a cricketing analogy, on the biggest game of the year we should really try to pad up someone who can hit the ball about a bit and with a proven track record for unction in preaching.
b. Why not have a bit of testimony? We have twelve or so folk who are giving their lives for the good of the gospel and in service of the church so why not ask a couple of them why they are doing it. It may inspire others in their own call:
What was life like before you were a Christian?
How did you come to know Jesus?
Why do you want to be a priest?
c. Don't sing the prayers
d. Choose hymns that people know with a tune they can follow.
e. However committed the person, no one wants a service to last two hours.
10. I went to the licensing of the Vicar of my old church last week. Firstly, the bun fight afterwards was a little taste of heaven seeing old friends and faces, eating sumptuous food and drinking good wine. Secondly, in the morning I had discussed whether or not we can be considered 'the treasure' in the parable of Matt 13. The answer of most of the commentators is no. So this bit of the liturgy was interesting to me:
The Bishop extends his hands over the Vicar and people and says:
The Lord declares this day that you are his own, his treasured possession; work together as a people holy to the Lord your god, and may God meet all your needs from his glorious riches.
All: To God be the glory for ever and ever. Amen