Monthly Archives: December 2010

Blogging on blogging

Great post by Pam: Blogging on blogging / blogging on chaplaincy.

The chaplaincy part does not apply to me (although reading about Pam's experiences has been interesting, exciting and helpful). However, the rest is so much better than I would write.

So far as 42 is concerned I agree with Pam:

I haven't been blogging a lot. But I'm not contemplating giving up. And I'm not going to vow to blog more in the near future either.

and

My faith in God is rock solid

For me my blogging focus is on 42bikes and I am thoroughly enjoying twitter. 42 itself is not going away and may return to full prominence at anytime :-)

Meanwhile real life is great and I am thoroughly loving being in the Leicester North Circuit.

The joys of collaboration

On Sunday I was planned for three carol services. It could have easily been an exhausting drag. However, all the Churches showed lovely signs of hope through the way the worship came about collaboratively.

One of the first collaborative features  was that all three services used the Leicester North Circuit Advent Blessings cards, these have been really popular around the circuit and were used at all three of these carol services.

Queniborough Carol Service (10:30am Sunday 19th)

Eileen, as worship leader and I had met last week to prepare the service for Queniborough. Beyond that she had taken on many of the arrangements for the worship which was great. When I arrived for the service she and Audrey had taken into account I might not be feeling very wonderful (due to the wisdom tooth extraction that was supposed to happen on Wednesday but which in the end was cancelled) so Audrey had prepared some intercessions (which proved to be much better than I had prepared). Lots of people took part in the service, one even commented that they hadn't ever read in Church before. As a small rural chapel it had a lovely relaxed family feel about the service.

Rothley Carol Service (4pm Sunday 19th)

The service at Rothley was a slightly more formal affair for the village with various eminent local people doing the readings readings. Sue, as worship leader and Steward had sorted out all the arrangements which again made things easier for me and involved more people. The service included a solo from Christine and afterwards we had warmed fruit punch with mince pies etc. Nice to see plenty of people in the chapel and meet many for the first time. Again as the minister it was a lovely balance between people taking initiative and doing things while also wanting me to be involved.

Syston Carol Service (6pm Sunday 19th)

Quite a while ago the Church Council suggested that a group of volunteers put together the carol service and it worked really well. The Church was full downstairs with quite a number of people in the balcony.

The team sorting the worship had got a huge number of people involved with scripture readings, music, prayers, sketches, dramatic readings etc. We had a large varied band from pre-teen to well shall we say quite a bit older than that :-) We also had a choir perform and a music group who led another song.

It was a huge delight to be able to take part in this worship, it was held together as a coherent whole with good and accessible theology behind the choices made and the way they were led. I loved it.

At the end I had been given a "spot" to close off the service, the Bullitt cargobike Sleigh came in (properly kitted out with fairy lights and wrapped presents) as I reflected on what we might be hoping for at Christmas and contrasting that with the Hope that comes with/from Christ.

As the Church was so full I had been a bit worried about fitting the "sleigh" down the aisle but I just managed it :-)

One of the best things about a service like this is that everyone compliments the minister for the results of everyone else's hard work :-)

Conclusion

In prospect I had thought this would be a tough day. I was expecting to be recovering from general anaesthetic and wisdom tooth extraction. The work load included three services (all with refreshments after, one with a special church council after as well) set in very different contexts and with quite different expectations about what a carol service should be like. Having two of the services packed close together is an extra load.

Yet at the end it was not a tough day. So many people were involved and were organising things and doing so in ways that were open, helpful and well communicated that it made all the preparation so much easier. In all three churches people were relaxed and welcoming the various contributions and that atmosphere really helped the worship.

It was also fantastic that the quality of the thinking and theology lifted another potential burden from me. There were no awkward moments when you thought "what has that got to do with this service?" The prayers were beautifully thought through, fitted well and had some lovely phrases in them that lifted us and challenged us.

All in all the wide collaboration which was not my doing but simply the culture, the way things are done and the way that people want to do things that made these services so special for me and which at the end of the day meant that I had been able to worship fully myself and despite still recovering from a cold reach the end without feeling exhausted and drained.

I find all this immensely encouraging as well as enjoyable and helpful in my own faith journey.

So a big thank you to all at Queniborough, Rothley and Syston Methodist Churches for having such a great way of working, worshipping and being community together.

Cycling Updates

A lot more cycling posts since 42: Cycling Updates:

Enjoy

An unusual week

This week is slightly odd. Not the normal sort of advent rush. Well actually it has started that way but will be quieter for a few days now.

Yesterday was a trail between different things.

  • Short staff meeting
  • A big funeral for the Circuit, led by Rachel with John Hucknall coming back to preach. Lovely service and good to be able to be part of the congregation as we worshipped, gave thanks for the life of Brenda, mourned and commended her to God.
  • Riding to Rothley for a bite to eat at Templars coffee, gift and piano shop before a home visit where there was good news to celebrate.
  • An evening meeting as preparation for a wedding blessing. Nice couple and will be a pleasure to meet with them for wedding preparation over the coming months.

Today was simpler if not quiet

  • District Executive meeting in Northampton from 10 til 3
  • Girls Brigade in the evening. It was a big rush to be ready in time as I wanted them to be part of preparing my Bullitt Sleigh for Christmas. They did the painting and as a result it will be a somewhat asymmetric sleigh :-) We also did the chocolate Christmas story and they had a chance to catch the chaplain out with any questions about Christmas.

Tomorrow the pace changes completely.

After a meeting to prepare for Sunday morning worship at Queniborough, I'll have to nip into the Church at Syston to move the hopefully dry sleigh out of the way. Then off to the Royal Informary to have a wisdom tooth out under general anaesthetic.

As I am not supposed to drive, cycle or make decisions for 24 hours I guess any blogging might also be affected. Fortunately I am then able to take it easy before 3 carol services on Sunday. I do hope I'll feel up to finishing off the Sleigh though as I promised the Girls Brigade that it would get an outing at the Syston Carol Service at 6pm on Sunday. If/when I get it finished there will be pictures available :-)

Loving the response by Local Preachers and Worship Leaders

On Tuesday evening a packed meeting of Local Preachers and Worship Leaders from the Leicester North Circuit spent time considering the material for the Just Walk Across the Room course that we are doing throughout the Circuit for 4 weeks starting 23rd January 2011.

I was delighted to overhear someone in one of the small groups at the meeting saying that they could easily work with the material we had provided and getting enthusiastic about it. Others were also positive (at least one Worship Leader has asked to be involved in extra services during the course).

Then today I got another response from one of our local preachers. The first draft of a hymn they have written to fit the course. How cool is that. I love it!!

Beyond the local preachers and worship leaders we have also had a great response when we have been arranging the mid-week small groups. We have places and leaders sorted out for 7 mid week small groups already and done so easily with plenty of volunteers. That gives us good coverage geographically as well as a variety of times of day and days of the week. How cool is that :-)

The latest prayer update is on the Circuit website, I love the commitment to prayer and to supporting mission :-)

Oh and the rest of the agenda was also good, including good news on the progress of both Local Preacher and Worship Leader training :-) :-)

Celebrating teaching from Mark Driscoll

It seems that Mark Driscoll is not preaching at this time of year (seems odd to me, but I guess it is a relatively insignificant difference compared to many).

Anyway on the Mars Hill blog they are replaying old sermons from Mark Driscoll. I have criticised his teaching (note it is from the same year) in the past but here is something I want to agree with:

In 10 Ways the Doctrine of Suffering Is Mistaught | The Mars Hill Blog there is this paragraph:

I had this conversation with a wife whose husband was beating her. I said, “What in the world are you doing remaining with a man who beats you and your children?” She said, “But, God is teaching me so much through this and I’m growing in my relationship with Jesus.” I said, “Well, praise be to God and be sanctified, but call the police. Have him arrested and thrown in jail. He, too, needs to be sanctified, not just you.”

This is good news. There are far too many reports of pastors in Male Headship Churches telling women that they should suffer at least for a season (see part of my post 42: The Simple Pastor: We differ on eldership not leadership).

One problem is that when (like Mark Driscoll) you teach that women are not equal to men (otherwise known as Male Headship or Complementarianism) you are on a slippery slope. If you teach that men have authority over women and that wives should submit to their husbands then there are some men who are going to use this as an excuse for the husband to demand that the wife submits to violence and other forms of abuse. Indeed we have heard Mark Driscoll teach a woman that she should give her husband oral sex (even though she does not wish to).

John Piper admits this: see Women In Ministry » Ask John Piper – Do some complementarians deny women opportunities?

I do not believe that God requires a system that institutionalises vulnerability to abuse in the way that Male Headship does. See some of my other posts on this:

For me there is little doubt. Systems that lock power away from certain members of society have a history of causing abuse and harm (eg apartheid, slavery, racism). For me with my experiences there is no doubt that male headship falls into this category. It does not mean all men who claim male headship are abusers, but it does have more potential for that to happen. 

and 42: Patriarchy Leads to Abuse. Period or 42: The dangers of power in Male Headship.