Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mission: the fringe is the centre

Took our youth group to a youth worship meeting last Sunday. It was organized by 16-year-olds, the band was more 16-year-olds, and the main speaker wasn't much older. They also showed one of Rob Bell's nooma videos, trendy post-modern talks set in a diner. About eighty people were present. At the back were a few grizzled youth workers, the usual suspects, old friends from small churches on the edges of Cambridge. (The big central churches tend to be more self-sufficient.)

I think God likes hanging round the fringes. I certainly do. I remember feeling similar when, years ago, I went to interview the leaders of Viva Network, which is an agency that tries to network together the different Christian groups working among children in crisis. They, too, were young, few, new, on the fringes of things, with a large vision.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Theology: So good we can hardly speak

Please be warned that this blog post has a high theological radiation count so feel free to skip it.

OK, it is a bit geekish and perhaps even a little sad to combine 'theology' and 'so good we can hardly speak' in one heading.

It's even more worrying that this blog recently has been all about stuff I've read, ie things going on in my head. Should I not get out more, meet people, do things?

Anyway. I've just finished reading
  • A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren (modish theologian in the emerging church movement) and rereading

  • The Open Secret by Lesslie Newbigin (whom I saw once, as a very old man, here in Cambridge).

Along with E Stanley Jones' book mentioned earlier, I can't imagine a better popular theological introduction to what the church should be doing in the world and how it should be doing it. These guys--I may say in a desperate attempt to show that I did get out more once, about a decade ago--rock.

The last few weeks I have heard the grind and creak of heavy furniture being moved around in my head.

The best thing I've learnt is that, through Christ, everything matters. Bednets in Africa matter. Fun and play matters. Adoring Jesus in a quiet room on your own matters. Dinner with my kids matters. Everything matters. Body and soul and community and creation all matter. I need to discard the Phariseeism that I have been schooled in (which says only spiritual stuff really matters). Body, soul, community, creation all die -- and are all raised, so they all matter, and they are indispensable parts of a whole.

What fun.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Famous for ten more minutes

Modesty almost forbids me, ahem, from putting in this link to this writing competition in Singapore. We were lucky enough to be named among the winners. We had to write about reasons to visit Singapore, and the prize was a trip there, wrapped up in Business Class flights and being filmed and photographed.

My singapore experience