Superb post, looking forward to the book.
One of my teachers, mentors and friends Angie Shier-Jones has written a powerful post on responding to cancer in the form of a prayer: The Kneeler: Have no Fear.
Angie hits several nails on the head with this one.
I have written a fair bit about cancer over the years. One post that sums up much of my own experience is from August 2004 when I wrote:
cancer. What can you say to a son when he says "Will we ever have good
times again?" at a time like this? 42: Father-in-law has died.
Tonight I watched "The Wheel Heros" a story of the Geoff Thomas
foundation and how Geoff and other cancer survivors rode the whole
route of the 2007 Tour de France staying one day ahead of the race all
the way. It was completely inspirational, as a cyclist myself I know a
little about how impressive their achievement is.
In their response to cancer these cyclists put much of the Church to shame. Angie makes that point clearly, for example:
only on being told that I have cancer that so many of my staunch
Christian friends discover how painfully weak their faith and their
confidence in you is, and how deeply enslaved they are to their fear of
sickness and death.
At times when as a minister I have travelled alongside someone fighting cancer I have been asked how I cope, how does it feel for me? That is a complex question to answer, there are lots of feelings:
- a feeling of honour, of privilege at the way people are willing to allow me to to be part of their journey.
- feelings of anger at the destruction caused by cancer
- feelings of anger at those who claim cancer is sent by God
- feelings of gratitude for all those who dedicate their lives to helping people with cancer
But above all those is the joy when Christians look beyond the cancer and see Jesus, when despite or even through the cancer their faith blossoms and they come to be sure that the healing and wholeness offered by God is true, that it might not include a cure for the cancer but it will certainly last for eternity. Now those are the people who really inspire me, who give me so much more than I can ever repay.
So I am with Angie all the way and echo her messsage "Have no Fear", and that not just for cancer but ewvery part of life and death. This is the start of the theological defeat of cancer, of fear. Thank-you Angie.
Angie also writes:
the gospel all this time, I still haven’t managed to communicate your
message that life is eternal, that we need have no fear – and that life
in all its fullness doesn’t mean a life without pain or sorrow, then I
despair that I will ever succeed in helping to set people free.
At this point it is important to note that Angie was leading the seminars I was attending during the time my parents both died. It was Angie that got me reading Moltmanns "The crucified God". It was Angie's walk alongside me (as well as many others) that encouraged me and helped ensure that fear did not win.
Please read Angie's post and then start contributing to the theological defeat of cancer and to freedom from fear.
The report Hope in God’s Future (link is to the pdf) while adopted by a huge majority at the Methodist Conference upset one blogger.
David Hallam ended up writing four posts against this report, climate change itself, the Methodist Church, the President of the Methodist Conference and commentators like myself who responded in support of all the above. See (Welcome to the house of sin, Global warming – an alternative spirituality?, Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone and Climate change – an impossible debate)
Part way through that debate I made the decision to leave that debate and I have not been back to that blog except to create the links above. I no longer track it or visit it.
My reason for writing now is that I found a helpful response to the challenge “What if I am wrong about Climate Change?” at No Impact Man: What I’d say if I was wrong about climate change. He starts with
I get emails from people, every so often, what I would say and feel
if I was wrong about climate change. What would I say if, after
dedicating years of my life to bringing attention to the problem, I
found out there was no problem.
Well, first, of course, I would praise God in thanks that we have no catastrophe to contend with. Then, since many of the
measures needed to deal with climate change have a lot of positive
benefits, I will think:
There are then 17 positive benefits that he identifies that come from responding to Climate Change, evcen if there is no climate change.
He concludes with this challenge:
And now, to turn the question back on those who say that either there is no climate change or that it is not a serious problem:
What would they feel if we did nothing about climate change and they turned out to be
What would they feel if we buried our heads in the sand,
ignored the problem, and then irreversibly damaged the planetary
habitat that we depend upon for our health, happiness and security?
Of course I would also want to analyse Climate Change and our responses theologically (as the Hope in God’s report Future does) but I think these responses provide a good starting point.
In fact I think it is helpful to ask the question “What would I say if it it turned out I was wrong” about many of our beliefs. Why not try it, I have found it illuminating and what have you got to lose – you are probably always right anyway.
Worth reading the whole thing.
Hat tip: Bridget Jack Meyers
Great words and photos from Dave Perry on the Methodist Conference: Translations from the edge, codecs at the centre: Methodist Conference 2009.
Amazing leaps of logic here: adrianwarnock.com: TOAM Session 9 – R.A.W. By P.J. Smyth.
When Joshua was old God told him he was old he was told that there was still much to do.
Elephants are very undomesticated. They take risks. They are raw. Never say you won’t do something because there is a risk attached to it. We are a herd and we need to be skilled at uncertainty.
“Maybe the Lord is with us!” Keep that word maybe in your vocab. God save us from weak effeminate Christianity.
Jim Elliot said lets gamble our lives for Christ. We need to stand firm and act like men as Paul said to the Corinthians.
Men are being castrated in our age in terms of leadership in the home and the church. We don’t just want to prophesy we want live prophetically. Eg marrying and having kids.
PJ challenged the men to as Spurgeon put it to not turn “milksop.” Elephants charge, they don’t always think about the consequences.
We don’t want to build a zoo. We do not want to be domesticated.
Amazing isn’t it. So totally convincing as Biblical exegesis (please note heavy use of sarcasm by me).
Just two immediate thoughts.
Huh? How? What? I can’t see any connection between saying Maybe and being saved from weak effeminate Christianity.
and the church. We don’t just want to prophesy we want live
prophetically. Eg marrying and having kids.
I am married (21 years in a few days time). We have 3 kids so I must not be castrated and must be living prophetically. Oh wait. I am a feminist, an egalitarian so maybe my kids don’t count.
And then from the next section.
Oh good. I must go and listen to one preach the gospel this weekend. Huh?
Ekklesia have quickly picked up the historic decision by the Methodist Church
The actual notice of motion got amended from the copy that is online at present, so I can’t share it yet. My understanding is that we will be working out the legal details for changing standing orders prior to the next conference. The gist is that we both restrict membership and at the same time you can’t be a member of the Methodist Church if you are a member of a racist political party.
However, we also celebrate that the love of God offers hope of redemption for all. All are welcome in our worship where we can all hear the gospel, be transformed by the Holy Spirit and be reconciled with our loving God through the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. Those are my words but I believe they express the final resolution that we have passed.
Adrian Warnock is rather pointedly recommending a book:
The book has possibly the longest title of any on Amazon and is currently available for pre-order:
Women: From the New Testament to Today – How Women Can Build Up or
Undermine Their Local Church: How Women Can Bless – or Ruin – Their
- Wendy Virgo
I will pre-order this book. Of course I don't need convincing that women can achieve all that the very long title implies. I fact I celebrate that God calls all people. It is sad that a book is needed to justify what women can do within a Church that does not fully accept their calling to minister.
At the same time it is worth reading Newfrontiers – Why I'd never want to be an Elder (which I will probably respond to in more detail).
I invite you to compare and contrast this to several items of news from the Methodist Church Today:
- Sarah Malik our Youth President and other representatives of our Youth Conference have spoken extensively at the Methodist Conference today: Young Methodists challenge Church to broaden its horizons.
- We have also heard about and celebrated our National Youth Participation. The report from a very recent addition to our Connexional Team:
- We have celebrated the election of our next President and Vice President. Both are wonderful Spiritual leaders chosen and gifted by God to lead our Church. See The Methodist Church elects new President and Vice President Designate
What a joy it is to be part of a Church that is benefiting from God's calling and equipping people of great diversity to leadership throughout the Church. Thanks be to God!
Here is the official press release: Methodist Church elects new President and Vice President Designate: The Methodist Church of Great Britain | 8 July 2009.
A wonderful moment for the Methodist Church. The For the first time ever the Methodist Conference has elected both a woman as President Designate (Rev Alison Tomlin) and a woman as Vice President (Deacon Eunice Attwood). While we have had women serve in both roles before we have never before had both at the same time.
Many thanks to Anna in the media team for correcting me. This is not actually the first time that we have had women in both President and Vice President. The other time was apparently in 2001. As those who have tried to teach me in the past will testify history is not my best subject.
But far more important than there gender is that conference has elected two outstanding people of God, two people who I am sure have been called by God to lead us Spiritually.
I don't know Deacon Eunice, although I was impressed by her speech earlier in the week.
However, I do know Alison Tomlin, she has been the Chair of District for the Northampton District (well it was Oxford and Leicester District when I started) during my whole ministry and for many years before that.
I have found Alison to be a wonderful District Chair. Her Spirituality lifts the whole district, she inspires through example and through her outstanding pastoral care of all people. This year she led our District Retreat and I found it very helpful.
Don't just take this post as a sales pitch, just search 42 for Tomlin and see what I have written before.
This is wonderful news that demonstrates how God has not finished with us but is bringing new life and hope to the Methodist Church in Great Britain. Whooooo Hoooooo!!!!!!