Had a few days away after Easter and have hit the ground running on my return. It was a bit of an odd ‘holiday’ as I spent two days of it preparing and doing a funeral (for my wife’s Grandfather, fantastic man with 100 years of very full history behind him), then had to come back for an Annual meeting for one of my parishes, then return early for another annual meeting – all very important and worthwhile, but rather messed up the ‘holiday’ possibilities.
Anyway, am now back in full flow and getting things sorted after the busy-ness of Easter and all that it involves. As previously mentioned, it was a fantastic Easter, but so busy that all the normal stuff gets put on hold somewhat… So far the day has been full of admin, phone calls and sorting out the piles of paper that accrue when one goes through an extended period of ‘dumping stuff’ because there is so much going on.
One thing I have been picking up on is my reading and there are some books which are really grabbing my attention at the moment. I’ve read a couple of Terry Pratchetts that I really enjoyed – I love his take on stuff, and the Wee Free Men and Thief of Time are great books in the Discworld series. On the novel front I am also (finally) reading ‘Brick Lane’ by Monica Ali which is wonderfully written and very thought provoking.
What has struck me recently, though, is the Theological books I am reviewing – one of them is a masterful exposition of the nature and purpose of worship by Christopher Irvine called ‘The Art of God’ which is beautifully summed up in the blurb on the back ‘We are God’s art and worship is his studio’. This book is concerned with the transformative purpose of worship, and indeed of the whole Christian life – with the basis being that we as human beings are made in the image of God (abeit a marred and often distorted image), that salvation is the restoration of that ‘Imagio Dei’ (possibly spelt wrong () and that sanctification is about being made in the likeness of Christ through our Christian journey. Obviously this doesn’t do justice to the rich texture and depth of thought in the book, but I highly recommend it. I am also reading a book in preparation for a sermon to be preached at one of the Cambridge colleges in the near future about ‘preaching the Apostle’s Creed’. I have taken the subject of Jesus Christ, Son of God and plan to use some of the material I put together for a talk at Greenbelt a few years back on the importance of Incarnational Theology in Christian Faith but this book, called The Life we Claim by James C Howell is an enjoyable theological romp through the central tenets of our Faith. Finally I am just about to embark upon a book I received a few months back from the Author’s agent called ‘The Soul at Work’ by Margaret Befefiel. It looks like a fascinating and very well written work concerned with ‘Spiritual Leadership in Organisations’ and the second Chapter is called ‘Leadership for Transformation’ so will build upon my present fascination with transformational theology.
Thought I would share these, just to let the world know that despite being caught up with the everyday work of ministry, most of us try and keep our imaginations pumping and our theological springs well oiled (I will let you imagine what that means).
The question that arises for me now is ‘what kind of book should I write????’ Am thinking of one about theology for most of us – as I don’t think that the Church at large is brilliantly served in terms of general theological writing containing the basics of Christian thought. What I mean by this is that we tend to focus on one thing or another, and the big issues in the Church at present seem to be about morality and our view of Scripture – but there is so much more about our Theological heritage, Church tradition and structure, engaging with a world where there is a ‘suspicion of metanarratives’ (any thing that claims to be ‘The Truth’ and explain everything. There is something about telling our story as Christians, rooted in the story of the Church and of Scripture and allowing ourselves to engage with that story and then to engage with the world that at the moment eludes me. I say at the moment, I have been talking of writing this book for two years and have little more than adapted versions of old talks to show for it.
So that’s me at the moment, don’t get much for ages then it all pours out in one go! Got to get on with making my study inhabitable and visiting some sick parishioners before my evening meeting. More another time, no idea what that might mean, though.