Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Sermon which upset someone

So, I'm not a theological conservative.  That probably comes across in pretty much everything I write, but I thought I should say it.  I believe myself to be orthodox, however, and hold to those things which the Church expresses in the catholic creeds.  I also have a relatively 'high' theology regarding the inspiration of Scripture.

But I am not a Biblical literalist, nor do I hold to a doctrine of the infallibility of Scripture. I can't.  The Bible is too rich, too deep, too difficult, too flawed for that.  And by flawed I mean I understand it to be the record of human beings trying to make sense of God at work.  It has the breath of the Spirit blowing through it's words and on every page, but when we try and make sense of God there is a chance we will go awry.... 'Hey lets condemn (and or murder) pretty much everyone who isn't in our tribe, that's obviously what God wants' kind of awry.  And if we study this book carefully then we see that ideas develop, things change, people learn more, and grow, and experience God in new ways and so their understanding grows.  Of course we don't have our Bibles laid out in chronological order and divided up by editorial structure which would help us in understanding that, but that's a post for another day - like this one: A Big Bible Overview

This is all a preamble to last Sunday's sermon, which was on the readings the C of E commonly associates with Bible Sunday. In the Anglican Church of Canada it was simply Pentecost 22....

This is God's Story, Our Story, Everyone's Story, the recorded version of last Sunday's sermon should be below, if not, please click here:

And for the record, the reason for the title was a response to this sermon which came from someone I hold a deep affection for, but who cannot accept that each word of Scripture did not drop straight from the mind of God to the pen of the writer.  This man has an admirable desire to share the love and light of Christ,  and knows the Bible well. I stick with what I said in the sermon though - I sincerely believe there is only one Word of God and he is Jesus Christ.  Scripture contains the words we have been given to discover the Word.

Friday, October 25, 2013

On Tattoos, Twitter & Being a "public person"

I have, in the past two days, had some excellent conversations with some very good, creative, thoughtful people.  This is one of the perks of my job, on a good day, the other is that I got to have these meet ups in two of Victoria's best coffee shops (competition is great here, so when I say they are the best, they have to be really good!) - the two shops are Serious Coffee and 2%Jazz
- Vancouver Island based purveyors of excellent caffeinated beverages! (No tis not a sponsored post, I just believe in credit where it is due!)

It's a huge privilege being able to make time to talk to people about their story, to hear about just how much they have experienced, the skills and talents they have and what they have given and are giving to the life of the Church and community.  And these meetings were humbling examples of that privilege.

At one of these coffee based encounters I spent some time talking to one of those responsible for the St John the Divine Twitter & Facebook presence.  Bob is a creative guy with experience in newspaper editing and legislative record keeping (as well as other things) - he is also a Twitter and Facebook person himself and in the course of our conversation he said something which struck me:  "I don't share as much about myself as you do."  It wasn't a criticism, just a comment on the way I have chosen to make myself present on both my twitter and facebook pages.

To give some context, this was particularly in the light of a recent tweet which shared a short video made as a possible 'sales pitch' for a TV show that never was

This show was one where I would have been a part of a group of people who were all interesting, diverse, perhaps even a bit unusual.  The one thing that would have been shared would have been that they were all people I have got to know in the course of my duties.  One of which was my good friend Steve (that's him on the left) from 'Cranberries Luxury Hideaway' a self made man with more ideas buzzing around his head in a day than i have in a week!  Another group were those attached to the Yarcombe Inn where I was part of the group who set it up (also as part of a TV show) as a Community Run venture.  Last but not least was my biker buddy Chris, of Chris' tat shack, who was going to do me some ink, probably live on TV if he got the chance!

In the course of our conversation I did acknowledge that I had a tattoo, two in fact and there has been the inevitable embarrassing Facebook sharing of a picture of them both.  I also shared something of the fact that as a minister I found early on that I was a public person - someone who was known in public, whose face and details and lifestyle and phone number were in the public eye.  My response to that has been to be as transparent as possible - and to try and disabuse as many as possible of the idea that Clergy are in some way distant, superior or different to the rest of us.

I do get concerned sometimes that this might be perceived as some huge ego trip - or indeed that it might be some huge ego trip on my part!  But I hope that in being as authentic as possible I am not simply bolstering my own ego, but being part of a movement which is abroad, intentionally or not, amongst my sisters and brothers who are in ministry - lay and ordained.  This is a movement that says being a Christian, and serving the church, does not separate us from reality, and we don't see ourselves as better than anyone else.  We are who we are, we are who God has made us, though by the Grace of God we aren't quite who God will have us be.

So we invite you to walk with us in our becoming.  And see us warts and all.