Monthly Archives: February 2008

Singing Ringstead

This weekend is the Ringstead Shared Church Music Festival (and Church Anniversary). It started yesterday with Rosemary leading some Iona style worship for the Tursday Afternoon meeting.

Today was big on singing. We brought in Alison Adam all the way from London. Alison has been a part of the Iona Community for many years although now working free-lance from London.

Alison, Rosemary and Bob spent the day at Ringstead School, I joined them for the closing "assembly" (parents were invited to come and hear what the kids had been doing during the day). They had been round to every class teaching a range of songs (some from Fischy Music) and all came together for a sing (with lots of actions). Lots of enthusiastic kids enjoying themselves (and leaving wanting more). I really recommend Churches looking at partnering in this way with local schools. If we as a small village chapel can do this so can anyone.

This evening Alison led an Iona Big Sing, those who know me at all will be relieved I was there to run the bookstall rather than sing! Horrible night weather wise so numbers a bit down, but we had a great time learning a whole load of new songs. Some wonderful new songs that I will be introducing around the circuit with very powerful words on themes such as justice, healing, creation as well as some excellent lenten themes and world music (is that the right term for songs from various parts of Africa as well as El Salvador and Taize).

Tomorrow evening we have a concert by a folk band called Grace Notes (tickets still available on the door).

Sunday afternoon we have "Music for a Winters Afternoon" by our talented chapel musicians, then a tea which is followed by Cafe Style worship led by me.

So a pretty busy time in Ringstead. Slightly more so for me as we have a working party at Raunds on Saturday morning and a parade service on Sunday morning (Mothering Sunday).

I am like Richard

Well it seems Richard is a progressive: connexions » Hermeneutics Quiz.

Apparently, I’m a Progressive. Which is nice.

What are you?

via the splendid Dave Faulkener, who is apparently, a moderate. As he says, no doubt the quiz is flawed so there’s no need to take it too seriously.

Me I am also a progressive (75), but I so often want to answer "None of the above" that I don’t know how helpful it is.

Major Emergencies and Faith Groups

I spent this afternoon at the Northamptonshire Police HQ in a training session "Major Emergencies: Needs of the Faith Communities". As a result I will be signing up as a Multi Faith Volunteer to be available in the event of a major emergency (Fire, Flood, Terrorist attack, …).

Next training is scheduled for May, meanwhile some reading to do and forms to complete.

I have been thinking about some of the data. I am based in an area with the lowest BME (Black Minority Ethnic) concentration in the county (East Northants 1.7%, whole county average approx 10% !). I suspect that this might have the opposite effect to what you might expect. Given the numbers, volunteers of other faiths are likely to have to travel some distance to reach this area. I wonder therefore if it is actually more likely that I would need to support people of other faiths caught up in an emergency (as many possible emergencies would affect people from outside this area).

That does not worry me, indeed one of the benefits of  being part of this group will be the chance to be part of a multi-faith team which is currently impossible in East Northants (lack of other faith representatives).

This is one of those interesting newish developments for Methodist Ministers. In the past this was handled for all faiths by the Church of England which is highly unsatisfactory for all. Although the time required is not very great (in the normal run of things) it is a role in the community that many Methodist congregations will be unfamiliar with.

The rest of the day was far more traditional (paperwork, leading worship in a residential home, chairing a Church Council).

Turkish Theologians Reinterpret Sacred Islamic Texts

From Heaven’s Highway: Religious News: Turkish Theologians Reinterpret Sacred Islamic Texts.

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam – and a controversial and radical modernization of the religion.

The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.

The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad. As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia.

But the Turkish state has come to see the Hadith as having an often negative influence on a society it is in a hurry to modernize, and believes it responsible for obscuring the original values of Islam.

It says that a significant number of the sayings were never uttered by Muhammad, and even some that were need now to be reinterpreted.

Would Jesus Do This?

Threads from Henry’s Web » Would Jesus Do This?.

It’s time we reject definitions of masculine that involve senseless violence. Defending my home, yes. Defending my country, yes. Running around attacking people because I don’t like their personality or the way they portray themselves, absolutely not. I can’t even see how it can be a question.

Actually I go further. "Defending my country, yes" is very hard (impossible?) to justify  from the New Testament. The rest of the post is also good reading.

Homosexuality in Scripture challenge

Andrew at Theo Greek is writing on homosexuality and scripture in Theo Geek: Homosexuals shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

In this post he is very specifically considering 1 Corinthians 6:9:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor
adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals [TNIV]

Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male
prostitutes, sodomites, [NRSV]

I recommend reading his whole post. Two parts particularly caught my attention:

However Christians who have studied Greek are rather infamous for never reading or paying attention to any Greek documents outside of the Bible.

In short, I see no reason to think either malakos or arsenokoites in 1 Cor 6:9 have anything to do with homosexuality whatsoever. Such translations are simply a result of poor scholarship.

This first point is one that Dr Ann Nyland makes and which she addressed in her translation of the New Testament "The Source".

I respect Andrew’s work in challenging common translations of these words. At the end of the day though we do actually need to have an English Bible text so I would be interested in an alternative suggestion for a translation from Andrew. I also find it interesting that Dr Nyland in the Source has:

Don’t you know that people who are not right with God won’t obtain God’s Realm as their inheritance? Make no mistake! People who engage in sexual acts against the law of Moses, idol worshippers, adulterers, receptive male homosexual promiscuous cross dressers [malakos], anal penetrators [arsenokoites]

as "The Source" is the only translation I have that considers Greek outside the NT, yet Dr Nyland does not come to the same view as Andrew.

Dr Nylands phrase "People who engage in sexual acts against the law of Moses" is also very interesting as I understand that to be a great deal broader in scope than "sexually immoral" (TNIV) or particularly "fornicators" (NRSV), eg it presumably includes those who have sex during a woman’s period (Lev 18:19). If the meaning is that broad then I don’t see why the rest of the list is needed as it is all covered in the law of Moses anyway.

My own view is that the text is unclear, simply to use the word homosexuals as in the TNIV seems to be jumping further than our understanding of the text justifies.

In terms of application I am reasonably confident that we can agree that certain acts such as abusive homosexuality, male prostitution and homosexual promiscuity are condemned by this text (just as are any forms of abusive sexuality, prostitution and promiscuity).

At the other end of the spectrum I do not believe this text can be used to condemn consensual, committed, loving homosexual behaviour with any sense of certainty.

I hope that Andrew continues to look at the other New Testament texts on this subject.