Not posted anything for ages – but just came across the following from G. K. Chesterton.
What has happened to me has been the very reverse of what appears to be the experience of most of my friends. Instead of dwindling to a point, Santa Claus has grown larger and larger in my life until he fills almost the whole of it.
It happened in this way. As a child I was faced with a phenomenon requiring explanation. I hung up at the end of my bed an empty stocking, which in the morning became a full stocking. I had done nothing to produce the things that filled it. I had not worked for them, or made them or helped to make them. I had not even been good â€” far from it. And the explanation was that a certain being whom people called Santa Claus was benevolently disposed toward me.
What we believed was that a certain benevolent agency did give us those toys for nothing. And, as I say, I believe it still. I have merely extended the idea. Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void. Once I only thanked Santa Claus for a few dolls and crackers, now, I thank him for stars and street faces and wine and the great sea. Once I thought it delightful and astonishing to find a present so big that it only went halfway into the stocking. Now I am delighted and astonished every morning to find a present so big that it takes two stockings to hold it, and then leaves a great deal outside; it is the large and preposterous present of myself, as to the origin of which I can offer no suggestion except that Santa Claus gave it to me in a fit of peculiarly fantastic goodwill.
â€” G. K. Chesterton in The Tablet 2
I wish you all a happy Christmas –
Keep believing in Santa…
ASBO Jesus put up a great image the other day and by the time I got to look there were over 100 comments. My comment was on the nature of ambiguity in communication, something that we severely miss in the church. Jesus rarely explained the parables, and left room for discussion and interpretation. Often when I leave a service I have been speaking at it takes me ages to get out the door, people want to know the answers to the questions I have raised, they want to know where I stand, what i really believe. This dialogue is really important, but people still want to pin things down. On the one hand this is part of human nature and natural, the difference comes from the level of relationship you have with those with whom you dialogue. People who have travelled with me can cope with the ambiguity and lack of answers as they understand the journey. My initial conclusion about this is because people want us communicate orthodoxy but people who have been on the journey can live with the ambiguity because they have seen something of the orthopraxis along the way.
NCVYS has just brought out a policy brief on the new childrens paper download it here
A few thoughts after the skate pilgrimage. Flow as God, has had a powerful effect on the young people. At first Flow was all about their interpretation and worldview of it, however as we journeyed together their view was corrupted (redeemed?) to include God. As the Spirit invaded their frame of reference it has changed their view. Whilst on the one hand they can reject this they will not forget it. A critical questions for us in this generational work is how do we create space and opportunities to maintain contact, grow or stretch to be trans-generational? My initial thought is that Flow is the trans-generational experience (the yp have had an experience / encounter with God) that is more than the story of God (I think this may be really important but not sure yet). The critical issues now would be How do we enable the young people to encounter the rest of the story which tell the whole of life and will enable them to see/experience Flow in the whole of life; both over time terms and in terms of the scope of life?
It is interesting to note that we have started with their experience of God, and used this to frame the story of God. The interpretation of this story in the light of their experience of God is up to them. On one hand this could be seen as little different to youth ministry that centres on sung worship, where young people are drawn into the corporate experience, then get the story. The CRITICAL difference is that we suggested they were already experiencing (at least an inkling) God, (or God was present in the moment of Flow) further more this is a redeeming process of something that is already intrinsic/internal to them, rather than a borrowed non culturally relevant experience, and finally the onus rests with them to explore the experience and make sense of the experience, we will simply tell the stories of Flow and allow them to interpret.
Apologies if this makes little sense to you, but I wanted to get the thought down.
First Richard’s news if you missed it. Now…
A bunch of us were Christmas shopping last night after which bro-in-law told me that he had had his presents wrapped for free by people outside a church in the high street. I said I couldn’t bring myself to do that as it was cheating – I was a Christian already!
OK, I’m making a few assumptions which are really about myself and not about the people doing the wrapping:
- I’m assuming that they are trying to reach out to people who don’t know about God’s love by wrapping the presents and
- I’m assuming that they aren’t particularly intending to wrap everyone from their own church’s presents.
- So therefore I’m thinking that they don’t want to wrap other church people’s presents.
The questions that now go through my head are:
- Should mission activity be a simple extension of what we do for ourselves (the group), just extended out to others? (because otherwise we are saying we aren’t willing to do things for our closest friends what we are willing to do for others) or
- Can mission be doing something that when ‘they’ become ‘us’ we won’t do for those people anymore?
I don’t know – I think that there is more to this than meets my eye.
Anyway, I’m going to give bro-in-law the benefit of the doubt: He is single and perhaps he was trying to meet some generous Christian females from our nearest big town!
Yesterday I woke up no sense of taste (some would say I never had any anyway) then today started dribbling, and cant close one eye, I am slightly paralyzed on one side of my face, been to the docs and it is Bells Palsy although I like the name Idiopathic peripheral facial palsy (its the idiopathic bit I like – it kind of sums up how I feel when I am drinking anything), so am on a range of tablets and eye drops to treat the symptoms. (cost a fortune in scripts) . Josiah and Bethany helpfully commented that I was melting down one side! The docs know the cause in neurological but no cure however most (70%) recover in about 5 weeks.
Good chat with Paul
today, (thanks Paul) reminded me that I needed to put up the diagram from church on the edge process and links with Off the beaten track that the other Paul helpfully did. For more info on the circles check out the links in the right hand column either “The Tacking Church” under articles or “Off the beaten Track” under Talks and Presentations
Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, has reaffirmed the Governmentâ€™s commitment that volunteers will not have to pay for Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks that are required for volunteers working with children and in other sensitive roles.
If my son wants help with his homework because he is cutting corners is it okay to give him the wrong answers to teach him a lesson?
So much happened over the weekend it is hard to know where to start. At the beginning of the weekend in the bus we did a Flow gauge, where (using pictures of a skater in various stages of performing a trick) we asked the young people to gauge where they were in their understanding of what flow was all about eg 1 if they were clueless and 9 if they thought they had is sussed. At the end of the weekend they again completed the gauge to see if their understanding had changed. What was most interesting was that the young people who we had the best conversations with either marked themselves the same or decreased, whilst the yp that didn’t engage so much increased or stayed the same.
We told the story of Abs which was great and some really good dialogue around it although I would not tell them what I thought the story meant. One guy was really anxiously trying to work it out, asking all sorts of questions trying to get a handle on what it meant he did not see how you could break your board and flow all the time or even experience Flow when not riding. The following day we get to this great skate park, that was too wet to ride and he is stoked and calls up from the bottom of the bowl “hey Rich I think I know what Abs was on about now I can feel Flow even though I’m not riding”. Yet on the gauge he marked his understanding as lower than at the start of the weekend.
I think this is something about God being beyond their paradigm of understanding, and blowing their concepts of Flow. It was real upside down kingdom stuff. Paul helpfully reflected on this with me earlier citing about how the disciples must have had preconceptions about the Messiah but Jesus quickly blew this out the water and they must have experienced the same confusion.