Wednesday, May 31, 2006

23rd Psalm

We've just been discussing Psalm 23 in our small group bible study. We discovered a pattern that most of the psalms follow. We talked about how God can renew our souls as we sit silently in his presence. But what was really striking was walking through the dark valley. We saw that difficult situations are often the pivotal in the psalms. It isn’t until we go through it that a lot of the things in the psalm make much sense. Until then they can sound a bit like pat answers of happy-clappy people. After going through the time when we might rail at God, God leads us back to a second naivety. God is not just with us when we are happy; God is with us now in the middle of the problems. It is not that we can fulfil God’s purposes when we overcome the circumstances. Overcoming the circumstances is what the Christian life is all about. It is in the middle of this that we can know eternal life – a quality of life that we experience now as we deal with the dark valley of difficulties.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006


I really enjoyed taking notes from Anna’s talk this morning at church on what it means to be born again. I find that some talks produce more questions than answers – which, I hasten to add - I don’t think is a bad thing at all. The term born again was used by Jesus when speaking to one Pharisee privately who unlike the others was obviously a spiritual seeker. The Pharisees were hypocrites, judgemental, arrogant and narrow-minded. Perhaps today that is this how people sees ‘born again’ Christians? May be the term ‘born again’ has comes to represent all that some people loathe and fear in the same way the word Pharisee has?

But how would Nicodemus have understood the term? Anna discussed this well. She explained that born of the Spirit means our spirit is reborn… when we are most in sync with the Spirit we are most fulfilled… Jesus is the mediator for us in this experience… God is not monotheistic alone... Brilliant!

Yet I am left wondering to what extent we should understand ‘born again’ to refer to a process rather than a crisis. A journey rather than a destination? Perhaps conversations are more important than conversions after all?

Just a thought.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006


Communication problems can be frustrating! In all organisations communication is an important key to getting things done whether its college or some other workplace, church or any organisation. I was recently teaching my access class about two major communication patterns in group dynamics. Some organisations to some extent restrict there communication to hierarchies. So messages are passed down in the form of instructions and up in the form of reporting back. But it is easy to miss people leaving them disgruntled. But more recent wisdom is seeing the value of another pattern – one in which everyone is encouraged to communicate with everyone else. This is increasingly becoming practical with email. I think this must be the way forward.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

School Prayers

Callie has been accepted in the Nursery of a school just round the corner from us. We’ve been searching through Ofsted reports, prospectuses and websites but eventually thought the school nearest her was the best choice. One interesting fact about living in Birmingham is that it is so multi-cultural. So it’s not surprising that the valuing of each other's culture is given a high priority in the school. Great! But in England all school children take part in a daily act of collective worship. Will our multi-cultural locality mean that the worship is not as Christian as in some areas? In the school where Callie will be going there is collective worship in the classrooms three times a week. And during their time there the children also have the opportunity to visit places of worship not just a church building but also a mosque, a synagogue and the gurdwara. Now at home we have taught Callie about our Christian faith and read her Bible stories everyday. Of course we do have the choice to withdraw her from collective worship and not go on the trips. But could these experiences actually be good in helping her to develop her own robust faith? We’ll have to see.