Friday, 27 August 2010


Wordle: Elders

From a recent brainstrom at our Elders meeting - thinking about the qualitities of an elder.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Who do we respect...

In Philippians Paul tells the early Christians that they are citizens of heaven. This means that if we are citizens of heaven then our lives and thoughts are conformed to a different way of thinking.

Despite this we are easily seduced by the thinking that prevails around us. I was struck again this week by the insidious nature of the saying that “respect has to be earned”. It is a saying that many of us use.

This saying could suggest that my starting point with other human beings should be one of disrespect. When I looked up the meaning of respect this would mean that I would not honour or give deference to another person. I would not esteem them or be polite to them.

But God’s gift to us in Jesus reverses this saying. God’s decision is to honour us, to give esteem to us in our brokenness, to give deference to us and lift us into feeling truly human by treating us with respect. All this even though we have not earned it for as human beings we have so often lived without respect for God, for one another and for God’s creation.

God’s choice to respect us as people in Jesus does not earn God respect and love back it actually results in Jesus on the cross. We need to not deceive ourselves into thinking that in showing others respect this will be reciprocated – this was not Jesus experience.

The way of following Jesus challenges us to reflect on whether our engagement with those around us will be dictated by the morays of a secular society which says “respect must be earned” or, on the other hand, whether we will live respecting others and so as witnesses to our citizenship in the kingdom.

If we are to be people who live our lives in God’s time then approaching all people with respect and regard would appear to be part of our shared purpose in Jesus ministry, even when that respect is not reciprocated nor even earned. When we can do this we witness truly to God’s unconditional love for us and God’s grace.

Friday, 6 August 2010

An induction of a Traditional Minister

At an induction I attended recently the minister being inducted responded to his induction with these thoughtful words:

"I want to be a ‘traditional’ minister – that is, a Minister who is deeply rooted in our tradition, not bound by traditionalism.
You see Tradition calls us to be the church; worshipping and trusting in God and serving the world
Traditionalism calls us to worship and trust in the church; afraid of the world and serving our own desire for security

Our tradition calls us to never cease praising God with psalms and spiritual songs.
Traditionalism says – “Yes, but only from the Methodist hymnal; or the Scripture in Song books”
Tradition reminds us to cling to the Word of God, and use it for teaching and instruction
Traditionalism says – “Of course, using the proper Queen’s English”
Tradition convicts us of the truth that the way of Christ is the way of the Cross – of giving one’s life for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
Traditionalism says that this way is adequately lived out in committees, fetes and working bees.

Our tradition also causes us to pause when the latest and newest thing comes along, promising to revolutionise life as we know it; and reminds us that it is just as foolish to worship technology instead of God, as it is to worship a particular style or era of church life.
So in my unfolding discovery of how I am going to be a Minister here I will be seeking to hold fast to the riches of our tradition, and prune away my temptation to traditionalism; so that we can together discover how to be the people of God for today heading into the future that God continually calls us into."