Monday, January 22, 2007

New World Order

Am I the only one who finds reports of Gordon Brown's 'new world order' slightly sinister? See the BBC report and Nick Robinson's blog entry. I don't have a fully developed eschatology, as such, and take the scenarios portrayed by the Left Behind series and similar with a large pinch of salt, but it begins to make you wonder... how will things all end (if you're premillenial posttribulationist... if you're a pre-trib and a Christian then perhaps it's not quite so relevant!). I can't quite visualise Gordon Brown as the antichrist, but you never know...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lurkers, Memes and 10 things I'll never do

It seems that last week was 'De-lurking Week', or so a few bloggers have claimed (well, Brodie and John at least).

As I'm a generous soul (possibly - watch this space for the Deadly Sin post...), lurkers have extra time on this blog to post a comment and 'de-lurk'. I confess, blogger though I am, I lurk a lot - usually feeling pressed for time to write reasoned and thoughtful comments (or ones that are humourous enough) but here and now (probably until the end of January, if you like) there are no limits, just give me your name (assumed or real, your choice), and something about yourself if you want - location, blog, whatever. I note we've recently had a Hawaiian visitor so if you pop back, 'Aloha' and make yourself at home.

I'm still relatively new to the blogosphere, and learning my blogiquette, but I get the feeling that I have been very bad. Nick over at Learning to Walk tagged me with what I understand is called a Meme (do I sound like an oldster or what?) over a month ago, and I haven't yet responded. This particular meme is '10 things I'll never do'. My first response was that it was a waste of time/space and too much like these email chain letters you get, but given that my whole blog might fall under the first category, that's no excuse, and the second, well nothing's actually being sent so it's not using up bandwidth everywhere it goes, and furthermore no-one is telling you that terrible things will happen if you don't respond... so here goes (in no particular order):

1) Stop being a nit-picker
2) Use the word 'never' without questioning whether there might be any exceptions
3) Stop reading books, novels, magazines, cereal packets...
4) Stop loving my wife
5) Stop loving my son
6) Stop loving & following Jesus (imperfectly, in this phase of life)
7) Be entirely organised
8) Be a morning person
9) Stop enjoying science fiction
10) Be able to come up with 10 other bloggers who haven't already been tagged

In light of number 10, I may restrict my taggees to 5 (as the above-mentioned John has done here) but beyond that, if you're a lurker or other visitor, why not consider yourself tagged and either post your 10 things in a comment, or leave a comment to link back to your blog.

In the meantime I tag:

1) The Magic Porridge Pot who hasn't blogged for a while...
2) Brash by name... likewise may be offline or just lurking?
3) Looking for my Fig Tree - why is it all my blog-tacts have (temporarily?) stopped blogging? Was it something I posted?
4) New eyes - highly recommended blog of life in Rwanda
5) TJ's miscellaneous thoughts - a blog that I found highlighted on Blogger's front page (as with 4) and am starting to read and even interact with - it's good to expand your own blog-horizons!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weekend Away

Ma heid's burstin', as you might say. The three of us are not long back from Lendrick Muir, where the ICC weekend away was held.

I have lots of stuff I want to blog about - and might actually get to before it drifts out of my mind like sand in your hands.

Things like - family life and the changes that marriage and children bring, ministry in the future, attitudes to money, modernism and postmodernism, journeying spiritually, visiting Africa, holidaying with a small person, authenticity in faith and life, new ways of being/doing 'church', looking for right answers vs asking the right questions, venturing out of my almost exclusively Christian enclave, sin - including some of the famous 7.

There are more topics there than I expected, and others might come up as/if I blog more!

Overall, though, it has been a weekend that has excited me. I haven't felt quite like this possibly since first year, and my encounter with lots of different ideas and topics around theology. Thinking about it, some of my module choices have avoided the subjects likely to bring new ideas into my head and have instead been about techniques (sermon preparation, music) or factual learning (history, languages) - though I recognise that even in these subjects, there are opportunities for mental expansion if you look. One thing's for sure - I am reconfirmed in my desire to get the most out of ICC, particularly if this is my second last term here.

However, 'getting the most' should not be (or not just be) taking as many modules as I can and racking up (or attempting to!) the good grades - which has often been my approach till now. I need to be seeking to find and think the 'big ideas' and new ideas, and integrate them into my practice - not just to get better at a technically good sermon that includes clever references and Greek/Hebrew words, or improving my listening skills for pastoral care. The stuff I need to do could lead me broadly in the same direction as our two weekend speakers: Brodie from Queen's Park Baptist and Stuart from Mosaic, both of whom are ICC graduates who are now in church leadership positions (see also Santa Fe Trail on the sidebar under 'ICC related blogs').

It's a scary thought - I could be a church leader, part of a church leadership team. Of course, I've been on course for that (as far as I'm aware) for nearly 5 years - but really (hopefully) a lifetime/since the world began (depending on your theological flavour of predestination) from God's perspective - but as this weekend's journeying theme has highlighted, it's one thing to be on the road to somewhere, and another to actually arrive. Not least because 'arrival' is probably a bit of an illusion until we reach the heavenly city, and is rather the start of the next stage of the journey...

So it's been a weekend away from ICC, away from routine (though we hadn't really got back into one from Christmas/New Year), and away from studying (oh, Hebrew homework for tomorrow...) but in a sense, it's been a weekend back - back to God, back to the journey instead of the apparently attractive side routes, back to a way of doing holiday with family that suits all of us (in comparison to our trip to Carberry last year - more on that story later!), back to what it is all about - integrating the gospel in our lives and presenting that gospel through our lives.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Skype and stuff

Forgive me father for I have sinned... it has been some weeks since my last blog entry. But so much has gone on - we've covered probably 1000 miles, done the whole family/Christmas bit, put in lots of work tiling this bathroom (the completion date: possibly before the new Wembley) and even done some filing. There's still a war on paper in our house but I feel we've won a couple of skirmishes anyway. Now we're into the new term, I have Greek and Hebrew to keep up with, a possible new language to learn in a Bible Translation course and/or an independent study course to decide on relating to worship/music/childrens' ministry, and of course my placement which will now include further reading, preaching (next time is in less than two weeks), individual and organisational visits... Not forgetting being a husband and father.

So why on earth did I spend most of yesterday downloading and getting started with Skype? OK so it's really cool, easy to use and basically free. Ok so now at least one of Peter's aunties can see him on screen (although not last night because he was asleep by the time I got the video working!). Ok so I had a great (free) chat with a cousin in Norway! And ok, so the search facility in the 'phone directory' is really quite good. But apart from all that, what have the Romans ever done for us? Seriously, it did use up time better spent doing Hebrew (although I got it done on the train) - and seriously, I do like it as a piece of software. I still have to work on this arcane skill called time management...