Real lives change theory

Good detached work training session in Bishops Stortford yesterday with a fairly eclectic bunch of people. Off to do some stuff in Weston super Mare next week and at the MAYC conference the week after. One thing that was interesting yesterday was how easy it is to talk about issues without really recognizing the people they affect. I often use a worksheet to explore what people think about different issues eg giving out condoms to young people, but this time I included a story about the issue stressing that it was real young person, not just an abstract concept. It is so easy to detach real life from discussions and think theory rather practice. The way people engaged with the discussion in so much more depth and passion and way the dicussion changed reminded me of the difference between orthodoxy (believing what is right) and then when confronted with real lives the need for Orthopraxis (doing what is right, which can seem to conflict with one another. The Wickeds full

God of the unknown road

I have come across this prayer from Thomas Merton on several blogs recently.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

Nobody’s Fool movie download

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Developing Doctrine through Practice

I have been reading some stuff around Christian doctrine recently and a few things have come to mind. Firstly that when thinking about the historical context of Christianity that an important start point to remember is that “All Christian doctrine arises from Christian experience”(Richardson). This is important as it validates the praxis approach to mission and ecclesiology (the theology of church). It also gives space for developing doctrine and possibly theology in and out of the current context or experience.
Another Richardson quote that caught my attention was “the earliest doctrinal statements were thus missionary apologectic, not intellectual systems of theological speculation”. As well as reinforcing the above points I feel it raises some interesting points and questions for the emerging church scene.
The Wickeds video I have raised in earlier blogs (mainly in december) some concerns about the lack of theology of the emerging church with particular reference not to the practice of emerging church(as there is some good stuff around), but to the thinking about the concept of church. The conversations that are happening are great but more often than not concern what we do rather than what we are. Although it could be argued that the development of the label emerging church from Alternative worship has been part of the effort to understand what we are.
As you will be aware my startpoint is mission and therefore the theological startpoint is missiology, this has led me over the years to a new ecclesiology, and yet I always feel on the edge. I think Richardson helps me understand why I feel on the edge so much in this place, and the reason is that current doctrine has become detached from the “missionary apologetic” and is far dryer than it should be. It is almost as if there is a sense that we have arrived at a conclusion of doctrine, and yes it is okay to talk about contextualising this, and being creative but lacks allowing true praxis to take place where real growth, movement, and creativity can happen. As I write I feel like there is a tendency to treat missiology and the emerging ecclesiology like a bonsai tree. The roots (theology and doctrine) are set allowing the tree (mission) to grow to only a certain size or odd shape. When the tree does put on a spurt of growth and develops a new root, that root all too often cut back, whilst at the same time not necessary cutting back the growth because that is seen as good. I wonder will we become too top heavy with not enough roots to sustain us.

Chicken or egg, values or purpose

Been thinking recently about purpose and values. Do or should projects start with values and then develop their purpose? I would suggest that Christian projects often start with a purpose in mind,usually around mission or conversion. In good circumstances the people then add their values to the way that purpose is achieved, at worse people don’t engage in developing or thinking about a value base. In youth and community work the value base is usually clear (set by history, training, and policy) with workers being aware of why they do what they are doing. Often the project would start by defining the needs of the people they are working with (which in itself is a reflection of the value led approach)and then develop projects purpose.
How does faith engage in this debate? If service is key then surely this value stands before we develop a project/purpose, in order to serve people fully we need to understand and respond to needs. Yet we have to balance this with the purpose we have in the great commission. What comes first chicken or egg?


Today I finally got broadband connection. It arrived in the village in December I got on line today, but couldnt think about anything to blog about as moaning seems the order of the day. Car in garage (hoping the turbo hasn’t packed up), creditcard bill arrives, Road tax and insurance due, easy jet cancelled flights to Denmark from Bristol, and my imaginary dog, a faithful collie/jack russell cross called Bob, died and I buried him under the patio, and cant get the paving slab to lie flat.

An epic journey of wallpaper and ??

This weekend I plan on embarking on a journey of epic proportions, via B and Q. I was prompted to make this journey when Bethany came home with a note to bring in a special book to school for her RE lesson next week. My plan (please note I have not convinced the children or Lori of the idea yet) is to write our Bible scroll. Hence the need for the trip to B and Q for a roll of wallpaper. My hope is that as we write and draw the journey of the Bible it will resonate (although the kids might not use that word) with our journey. However do we include it all, should I leave out some bits? The bibles the children have all are selective, but in some ways it is the boring bits like the genealogies that will most easy for the kids to make links to our journeys. Do we write the psalms, and come up with our own wise sayings, at the moment for Jo that may well be buy the orange properties when playing Monopoly. Ah the wisdom of youth!

Rethinking church

I have posted the article that YOUTHWORK magazine ran on Off the Beaten track. I was looking at the simple church site which got me thinking again about missional church and definitions. So I thought I could post up the article if anyone was interested as it also gives a fair description of where I am coming from. Youthwork are inviting comments so feel free.