Monthly Archives: September 2007

New work email address

I have a new work email address. One that will hopefully last the rest of my working life.

david . warnock @ methodist . org . uk  (remove all the spaces)

I am jumping the gun a little in announcing this as the service does not officially become available until October 1st.

All Methodist Ministers (Deacons and Presbyters) in active work are going to be offered this. It will be interesting to see how quick the uptake is.

We get a secure web mail system or the ability to have this forwarded to another address or the option to use POP3 to read.

I am sure there may be teething problems in rolling this out. But feel free to say hi this way.

It is always easy to think of more things we might like (yes I can think of a long shopping list) and it is easy to say we should have had this years ago but instead I would just like to pause and say thanks to the team who have made this possible.

Hope in Thrapston

Tonight we had an ecumenical meeting in Thrapston to start on a vision for Hope 2008. It was amazing, more people than we had dared hope for (over 60) and really positive reactions, ideas and commitment. We collected about 40 questionnaires  with ideas and offers of support.

It was great that all four Churches in Thrapston (Baptist, Catholic, CoE and Methodist) were represented in the preparation and leadership of the evening as well as in attendance. We were also blessed by the support of Mark Lees (Rushden Full Gospel Church and Development worker for East Northants Faith Group).

That is three positive things for me in Thrapston in a week.

On Monday we had a great fellowship group meeting. We looked at two passages from Scripture that really resonated with where we are at as a Church (Luke 14:12 & Luke 24:32), these came from Time to Talk of God that we have been looking at for a while now. The section headings were

  • You are going to end up in unexpected company you probably wouldn’t choose.
  • As you journey together and wrestle with scripture, you will glimpse Jesus.

After reflections on the whole verses in context and our own experiences it led to an exciting conversation about the future of the Church that we will look into at the Church Council coming soon.

On Sunday afternoon we have the Thrapston Harvest Festival with the Thrapston Town Band playing for us (well not all of them, there just isn’t space and we quite like our eardrums working).

What is a minister?

The debates have raged for years, whole books (come on MPH how come your own search does not find your own books) have been written on the subject (and without coming to much agreement IMHO). Now David H has accidentally started a new debate when he asked Why do we do weddings?

The debate moved on (cos realistically weddings are not a very significant use of time for most Methodist Ministers) to whether Methodist Ministers are "professionals" or not. It seems that Pam and I managed to shock Ian, which was interesting and I have to say for me quite surprising.

So are Methodist Ministers "Professional"? It seems to me that is a tricky question. In plain practical terms in seems to me that there are three different definitions in common use:

Professional as in a traditional vocation.

Doctors, Lawyers, Architects and Priests are among a number of "traditional" professions. However, this use of the word profession has fallen out of common usage. I also wonder to what extent it ever applied to non-conformist ministers.

Professional as in high quality.

This is a pretty modern understanding and one, it seems to me, has come from other cultures. In Britain it was always considered that the amateur represented the best quality. See for example the film . Anyway it is certainly in common usage today. The phrase "professional quality" is used to sell almost anything and also frequently used to justify high prices.

Professional as in paid.

Another traditional definition. Used most commonly in sport.

Are any of these definitions helpful in considering what a Methodist Minister is and how they do it? I don’t believe they are, for historical, theological and ecclesiastic reasons

In Methodism our ministers are understood to be a representative role, that is crucial to how we are church. A representative role goes against all 3 definitions of Professional.

To separate some vocations out as professional certainly goes against the idea of a representative role. It suggests hierarchy alien to Methodism and a separation between ordained ministers and lay people that on other posts David laments. In my ministry I find the counter cultural aspects of the gospel to be vitally important. Being considered a "professional" appears to me to be fully embracing a culture that stands entirely against the gospel.

  • The call to discipleship is not restricted to certain professions.
  • The idea that high quality is only achieved through paying a high price also goes directly against much of the teaching of Jesus.
  • The idea that ministry/discipleship/call is only for those who are paid is ludicrous and damaging to the gospel and church.
  • The idea that people’s worth can be measured in monetary terms stinks. I am honoured to be able to stand alongside those who in the eyes of the world have little value, look them in the eye and say "Jesus says he came to bring good news to the poor, he says you are of infinite worth and I believe him and that is why I am here as a Christian".

So I do not consider myself as a Minister a "Professional Christian", instead a person called by God and recognised by the Church to serve as a representative of him and his people, something I consider a great honour.

How to do pastoral care at Greenbelt

A member of our District team and Circuit Leadership team who is a local preacher and will remain nameless (he lied) sent me this photo with the comment

"Attached photo demonstrates how pastoral care of
those at Greenbelt is best offered!"

100_0846

Anyone else wishing me to offer pastoral care in this manner is very welcome to apply via the comments.

PS Does my bum look big in this?

UK Methodist Bloggers Conference: Whats up Dave?

Well I have been very quiet since 42: UK Methodist Bloggers Meeting Status Update and yes there has been a reason for that, but I can’t tell you what it is or I will have to kill you (yes I am joking, you know that don’t you).

I have been waiting for some news that now seems will not come til early October. However, I can sense that bloggers patience is pretty limited (us being very immediate types of people).

So here is the scoop.

There is a UK Methodist conference being planned for post summer 2008 that may well include a "track" for Methodist Bloggers. There is a concern that if we have a UK Methodist Bloggers conference in January that the support for the other conference will be reduced. That would be a pity as the other conference (you know, the one I can’t tell you about yet) is much more significant in the life of our church. NB The "other" conference is not "The Methodist Conference" and it would be open to all who have expressed an interest in the "UK Methodist Bloggers conference" (space permitting). The other conference will be longer and mid-week which may restrict access for people in "proper" jobs.

At this point I can see 3 options:

  1. We wait until we can go public about the "other" conference and then decide whether to have "our" conference in January. That means waiting until approx 10th October.
  2. We decide that we will go ahead with "our" conference anyway as the goals are quite different, the timing and costs are different and we do not think it will reduce the attendance at the "other" conference.
  3. We decide that we will not "compete" with the significant and important "other" conference and so decide to throw our whole hearted support behind the mystery conference.

What are your preferences?

As for the rest of the arrangements:

  • Looks like we are slightly leaning towards 4/5 January as the dates.
  • Ruby and I have already exchanged fish on Facebook so I know she is unable to come (the fact that she is doing so much while working full-time amazes me). I have not checked with Martyn yet, but will do so. I would be very surprised if he did not attend the "other" conference although by that time he will be a past president.
  • I have volunteers to help with programme which is great.
  • I have not had much feedback on the times, so far Lunch to Lunch seems popular with the tiny number of people expressing a preference.

I find it exciting to be part of a denomination where lots of things are happening so that decisions like this need to be taken.

My personality has changed

Wayne suggested taking the Myers Briggs personality profile. He is comparing them to Bible Translation preferences (see Link: Better Bibles Blog: Bible translation and personality types).

Interestingly I cam out different from the past.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

My full history is that I started as INTP (that was at a time of conflict and threat at work so with hindsight it was not surprising I had retreated into myself).

More recently during my ministerial training I came out as ENTP although the T was not very powerful.

Now the F has dominance, I think somewhat overstated as I know that I tend to apply F in a logical way. In some sense I have decided through T that the F is important and therefore think carefully about F, that boosts the score here somewhat more than it should be. I would personally see these as almost 50/50. That is borne out my being pretty comfortable with both the ENTP (interesting that "Church Worker" is not a suitable career – lucky for me it is a calling and vocation rather than career choice) and ENFP profiles.

I am comfortable that I am no longer an INTP although I do like to dabble in that at times. I guess the fact I am comfortable discussing my personality in public like this is a good indication of being E rather than I.

Note that the strong Intuitive and Perceiving scores have always been consistent. I would place my natural preference myself at something like E=60%, N=80%, F=60%, P=95%

Within my training course E’s were rare as were T’s.

Oh and it won’t surprise anyone that I said of my Bible Translation choice:

As for Bible translations TNIV is my most used translation of choice followed by CEV, The Message and NRSV).

Insider Terrorist Attack

From Schneier on Security: Insider Terrorist Attack.

Pakistani Army officer as suicide bomber:

According to reliable sources in the local police, a Pashtun army officer belonging to the elite Special Services Group, whose younger sister was reportedly among the 300 girls killed during the Pakistan Army’s commando raid on the Lal Masjid in Islamabad between July 10 and 13, blew himself up during dinner at the SSG’s headquarters mess at Tarbela Ghazi, 100 km south of Islamabad, on the night of September 13, killing 19 other officers.

There probably isn’t any practicable way to prevent these sorts of attacks by trusted insiders.

I suppose that is true if you start from a position that you needed to kill 300 girls in a commando raid.

On the other hand if you don’t kill 300 girls in commando raids there are a fewer people intending to kill you and so you are less at risk from suicide attacks by their brothers.

Remind you of anything? How about Matthew 26:52

"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

The solutions to terrorism do not lie in conventional military security options but in love, justice, mercy, compassion and peacemaking.

Connected views

It seems that some who do not believe in evolution do not know if the world is flat or not: Co-host of The View doesn’t know if Earth is round or flat (video) – Boing Boing.

I suspect a connection or rather a correlation between these views. I wondered about other possible correlations. Do you think the following might be correct? Starting with the above example

  • Those who do not believe in evolution are more likely to not know if the world is flat.

and then some more

  • Those who do not believe in evolution are more likely to think Rome is the capital of France
  • Those who do not believe in climate change are more likely to think that Greenland is green (well on the other hand they may soon be right)
  • Those who do not believe in evolution are more likely to think that more guns means less gun crime.
  • Those who do not believe in climate change are more likely to think Iraq is now a stable democratic country whose citizens are grateful to the USA (but they probably don’t know where Iraq is).
  • Those who do not believe in evolution are more likely to think that Muslim is another word for Terrorist (but they also will not have met any Muslims).
  • Those who do not believe in climate change are more likely believe that America has high standards for car emissions.
  • Those who do not believe in climate change are more likely believe that fuel prices in America are high.

In other words a complete lack of understanding of what science is is related to basic ignorance in other areas.

Oh and I also connect the "complete lack of understanding of science" to beliefs in male headship/male authority seems there is a huge correlation there too.

That should stir some people up!

BTW to admit my own ignorance. I have never heard of "The View"

PS Yes I made up all the correlations, no evidence but personal prejudice.