Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sorry for the delay

Apologies that neither my notes on 'the Spirituality of Social Media' nor my 'thoughts on prayer and silence' haven't made there way here yet due to the busyness of ministry here in the Five Alive Mission Community and because both sets of notes need to be transferred from being handwritten to being on screen... It's unusual for me not to have notes prepared on netbook or PC but it just happened to be that on those two occasions I didn't have access to either.  In fact I quite enjoyed the "Fountain Pen on Moleskine" vibe and felt like a proper writer for a bit, maybe worth musing on that for a bit another time?  

Will be back soon!  I hope!

An Audiobook Review

I have signed up for the Reviewers Program on ChristianAudio.com - quite enjoying the books I've downloaded for review, so here is my first review....

Dallas Willard - Hearing God

Five Stars (out of Five)

Encouraging, Clear, Thoughtful and Helpful

From the opening challenge to the end summary Willard's words draw the listener in and seek to cause us to respond. Willard has a way of putting his finger on the kind of questions many 'normal Christians' ask - highlighting our own sense of inadequacy and need for guidance and discernment.

'Hearing God' encourages us to have a Biblical, intelligent approach to our relationship with God and to learning to have a more relaxed and open attitude to our conversations with him. It inspires us to think in terms of 'walking with God' and listening as well as talking - of being Christian rather than just 'doing Christian things'. It's a view of transformation, of exciting possibilities, but offers sound and practical advice along with the hope that we will encounter God in a new new way.

The narration is clear, not too slow but not overly fast, a pleasure to listen to.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Thought for the Week AudioBoo

Last one for today!

Yes it's me again

I seem to be going through a little excitable flurry of activity with this blog rediscovery business... Anyway via the rather excellent Bored Again Christian podcast website I found little gem of a Derek Webb Video, the visuals may be pretty basic, but the lyric is excellent and it's a pretty cracking song too....



And just to prepare you, sometime soon I will try and Audioboo my Thought for the Week.  Is there no end to today's blogfest????

Had to share this one

Learning to Pray

Actually, this post could also be called 'Falling in love again' (sung in a sultry Marlene Dietrich voice, preferably) because my last week of retreat has been the cause of some enlightenment, some struggle and some joy as I have learnt to stop and pray in a way that I haven't addressed before - or at least not in the way I did last week!

My immediate thought was that I must put a gratuitous picture of Marlene Dietricht here, just to add to the visual impact of the post.... even though The Blue Angel from which the song was originally taken is the story of a less then salubrious woman who specialises in seduction.... more details on Lady Garfunkel's Song of The Day: Falling In Love Again..

Actually prayer being seductive isn't such a bad analogy - really entering into prayer is something that can consume and inspire, it enchants and it can become almost obsessive.  But this is part of a journey I have been on and I am getting ahead of myself.  So let's rewind.

I am not the silent type, or the stopping type.  Rather, when I stop I tend to watch, or listen - PC, TV, Radio, Internet - I am the rotund, hairy, Clerical poster-child for the multimedia generation.  Time off means time to catch up on some viewing, surfing, listening.  I still retain a love of reading, but that often takes second place to other forms of ingestion of information, story and entertainment.

And today's Social Media World has added to that.  Don't get me wrong, I am a great proponent of Social Media and recently did a very positive (and quite well received) talk on'The Spirituality of Social Media' that I really need to get the notes published for - it was at a recent Retreat Association Conference and I have promised them handouts, but that will need to wait a few more days. Social Media, though, needs strategy - not a plan for selling and marketing, or a daily post schedule (though some work that way) but a conscious approach which prevents us becoming bound by our self-made 'need' to use Social Media.  But more on that another time, particularly as I often find myself struggling with this anyway, summed up by this cartoon from Geek and Poke...
I've had to stop, really stop and think about silence, prayer, spirituality and spiritual refreshment lately. It's a journey I have been toying with for some years, but one which recent attendance at that Retreat Association Conference and some discussion with my Spiritual Director have made me focus on and think about and more than anything else to act upon.  

I called this post 'Learning to Pray' not because I can't or don't pray - but that my approach to prayer has been limited by my tendency to self-select my 'prayer methods' - often involving carefully crafted liturgy, or images, or taking, or music.  I am now finding a new way of falling in love with prayer which is more contemplative, involves stopping and listening and silence.  And this is again reminding me of how and why I fell in love with a loving, embracing God who is found and who finds me in many ways, sometimes surprising ways, sometimes disturbing ways, often challenging ways and always in ways by which I am changed in the encounter.  And much of my recent experience of this has happened on a motorbike journey which I undertook last week.  More of which later.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Bang or whimper

Feeling drawn to blogging again - my time has been so full that the process which pulled me here in the first place had little time to function... crumbs, being away has certainly not made me clearer. Let's try again - I've been so busy I've not had time to think, let alone write... That's better.

So having managed to lose most of my regulars, if not all, what do I do now?  A BIG relaunch - get the word out that New Kid (well it was a relatively clever name when I started) is back?  Or do I just gently slide back into blogging and hope things pick back up.  That's certainly more my style

Since I last wrote things have certain moved on for me personally and with regards to the communites I am still trying to serve as best I can!   There's some folk I have lost touch with and need to rekindle those relationships; I've been incredibly busy, too busy, and need to get some space and order back into my life; I've spent a fair amount of time finding out about the new things I need to do and keeping up with some of the old things.  It has all been pretty full on.

One major change is that I have taken on the role of Rural Dean.  It's not a well known 'office' in the Church of England, but it carries a number of responsibilities that involve more contact with the Bishop and his staff in the Diocese and working more closely with Clergy Colleagues, as well as supporting a group of parishes called 'the Honiton Deanery'.  It's quite a learning curve but is proving to be rewarding and making me think very hard about my responsibilities and my approach to ministry generally.  As is often the case, Dave Walker sums up the role beautifully! 

So, not much time on my hands to write - but recent conversations, a few days away praying and various things which I have encountered are pushing me back here.  Hopefully this may well be the start of something more substantial!