A parable of faith in community

Bangladesh.  Dhaka.  Down town, early Sunday evening.  A derelict factory in the middle of a five lane roundabout.  It is the building where I am going to preach. I start making my way through the chaotic traffic. Continue reading

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He said: God why have you left me?

The last words of Jesus were My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

This is the first in a series for Before the ending of the day when I will consider each of the last words of Jesus on the cross and their meaning for our own contemplation of death and dying.
In Mark’s gospel 14:33-39 Jesus’s final words are full of fear and puzzled anger. He is dying terror-stricken and alone.
He might have saved others but he cannot save himself from the inevitable.What can a God-forsaken Christ say to us about dying?

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A very influential man (2)

indexIn a recent post I said I would return to ‘Cry of Wonder’ by Jesuit Priest Gerard W Hughes. It was to be his final book. He died two weeks after its publication. I promised a review.

It is a long book. It sounds like its author. Slow, discursive, self-referencing and needed a strong edit (which it has not received). It also captured my attention. It is built around three themes: Unity, Peace and Holiness

Whilst Hughes claims it is not a biography. It is biographical. He thinks back over the story of his life spotting various themes as they emerged and developed.

However, there is a surprise.

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A series of convictions

landscape-view-bradgateThis is my last post for a while as I relocate to another part of the UK. I’ll start writing again in a few weeks time with the benefit of some time to consider WindingQuest’s purpose and content so far. Any thoughts or reflections on the content so far would be welcome.

I leave you with something I wrote a few years ago. It comes from a book I wrote for the Bible Reading Fellowship in 2007 entitled: Seeking Faith Finding God (extract here).

I concluded it with a series of convictions about what it means to be a Christian:

  • We need to seek God. Rowan Williams, shortly before he took up his post as Archbishop of Canterbury, was asked what he was praying for the Church. He expressed the hope that Christians would be able to set on fire the imagination of our society with a vision of God the Holy Trinity. This will not happen unless, like the psalmist, our deepest desire is to know God (Psalm 63:1-5). We have reduced our idea of believing to having a number of ideas about God. The original meaning of the word is to give our heart to the object of our belief. So to believe in God is to move into a relationship with God. One that will give energy to the task of exploring our faith with others.

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The re-birth of non-conformity

birds-of-a-featherIt all began with a conversation about Colm Tóibín’s novella/play – The Testament of Mary – about Mary after the death of her son (see posts here and here). The Testament of Mary involves a reconsideration of the traditional theological interpretation of what the Bible and the Church has made of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

We decided that non-conformist churches should be comfortable with the sort of radical re-interpretation of scripture because of their bias toward non-conformity. After all non-conformity traces its origins back to the Reformation which opened the way for a different approach to the contents of scripture. And, while a r/Reformation – of any sort – may be erratic, in the end it must be comprehensive. It must touch all possible elements of what is being reformed.

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Today is his name day

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‘For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I am fully known’.

Paul of Tarsus

Today has been given the name of a friend who died this time last year. My diary has other such name-days now. They are growing in number. It is just a time of life I’m passing through I suppose. Today as we walked the two of us, dog and friend, we remembered him. He liked dogs and talked to his dog too.

But what am I doing? What does this remembering add up to? It gives me some sort of comfort. But it’s troubling too. It can feel a bit wallowing. Immersion in sentiment someone told me. All you’re doing is immersing yourself in sentiment. Was she being cruel or realistic?

I was troubled last night when the BBC reporter ended his piece about Stephen Sutton’s funeral with the standard words of comfort to the effect that ‘he will live on in the memories of his friends and family’. And yes, he will. Stephen was an extraordinary young man. He was ready to accept that life is not just the number of years we may have. It was more than the money raised. It was his courage and his articulate defiance that we admired and remember. I hope I will have some of that when I need it. The people closest to him will remember him. He will never leave their life. Just like my friend has not left mine.

But is that it?

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