Tuesday, March 27, 2007

update on my life (or part of it)

Few weeks back I blogged about my 'to try or not try for paid church ministry' dilemma.

Shortly after writing that post, I decided 'twas not the career for me: 'church leadership' systems are too riddled with temptation and corruption; the only real reason for entering into them is a need for status and respect; it's far too likely that, whatever my initial idealism, I would end up serving nobody but myself and contributing less to the world than I do as a lowly pew-warmer. Or getting stupidly busy and stressed. No, no, no, I thought. No, no, no.

Last week, for some reason that I really can't put my finger on, I began to change my mind (again). It struck me that, while I will be dubious about the concept of 'calling to the ministry' until it sits on equal terms in church dialogue with 'calling into banking' and 'calling into admin', it does in fact make practical sense for me to be a 'minister'. Just look at the things I'm good at, the things I enjoy, the things that move me and that I'm willing to make sacrifices for. Look at my history and my circumstances. It all works. I love God. I'm a Christian. I care about the church. I see potential for helping people to make the most out of their lives in a church context.

I've also come to the realisation that my current and my previous jobs have ruled out for me the option of ordination as an Anglican priest. For good or bad, my experiences in those contexts have put me off. Other experiences would have encouraged me, I know, and no doubt if I'd worked in Baptist House I'd be gagging for the C of E. But you only have one life!

Tomorrow I'm going to talk to my minister about all of this. Which is a bit nerve wracking because he hardly knows me. I tend to waffle vaguely when I'm nervous, so he might decide I'd be useless. Or I might change my mind about the whole thing before I get there.

We'll see.......

Monday, March 19, 2007

mr and mrs

Two good friends got married at the gorgeous, old Lord Leycester Hospital building in Warwick on Saturday. Strangely, for somebody who was invited to 14 weddings last year alone (I kid you not) this was the first 'non church' wedding ceremony I'd been to.

The bride, Danny, looked stunning in scarlet. We ate Indian sweets, samosas and curry followed by mango ice cream, then danced to a juke box. I had been asked to read a couple of poems during the ceremony, which was a privilege but surprisingly scary. I'd have been fine with a bible.....

Danny and Alex have really been married for ages. They've been together ten years. It was fantastic to see them declare their commitment in the presence of people they love. I got so far into the sense of celebration that I had to hold my tongue to prevent the occasional 'amen' squeaking out. You can take the girl out of the church.......

Very good indeed. Congratulations, guys!

And, as always, it was great to catch up with friends in Leamington. Lovely, lovely friendies.

PS - One bizarre thing about civil marriagies is that there can be no mention whatsoever of relgion or God. I had, until Saturday, blamed this on militant secularists. But it turns out that the church requested it be so. Very, very worrying........

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Read an article about prayer the other day. (Work-related hazard).

The writer was chiding Christians who pray fervently for trivial things, like a parking space at a busy supermarket. He said such prayers, and the ensuing praise when they are 'answered', are symptomatic of poor theology. Do we believe that God is prone to clicking his fingers and creating a parking space just because we ask? And, if that is what we believe, how do we justify the fact that the same God didn't do anything when someone else prayed that their friend wouldn't die of cancer. Or when so many prayed for an end to the Holocaust. Etc.

I get his point. I've been irritated with the 'parking space' Christians too.

But I've also done 'parking prayers'. (Actually, when I'm driving, my attitude is one of constant, fervent prayer that there will be no bloodshed.)

I know that prayer isn't about getting what I want. It's more profound than that.... But if my response to pathetic, trivial needs did not include reference to God, wouldn't that demonstrate an even more shallow theology? Doesn't thanking him for daily 'blessings' and blaming him for daily irritations demonstrate an awareness of his proximity?

Prayer is a deeply significant part of my life. But so much of it remains a mystery to me. And this guy got me thinking......

Whaddy'all reckon?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

sex, sex, sex

Flipping heck! Blog readers - I need a break from conversations about sex.

Homosexual sex is the big one. There are people in my office who make reference to this during every verbal exchange, be that a discussion of staples, communion wine or which pub to go to for lunch. At least one colleague, I'm sure, thinks of nothing other than gay people and what they get up to in the bedroom. Half the time I find this boring. Half the time, infuriating. Half the time, depressing.

And that's one half too many for anybody.

Furthermore, not a day goes by without me learning that some married person I've just met (often in an important church job) is having an affair. Or has had at least one affair with another married person in an important church job. Or is not to be trusted because they're always trying to have an affair.....

It's all rather disconcerting. I have been party to more conversations about sex in six months working for the Anglican Communion than I was during five years as a student of English Literature....

Saturday, March 03, 2007

You can choose your friends.....

We recently went out for dinner with Jon's sister, Rachel, and her fiance Tom. Tom is a Captain in the army.

They have a nifty little sports car. Four adults don't quite fit inside it. Tom and I, in the back, struggled a bit. Tom struggled most because the only spaces for his head were the parcel shelf and the area between the handbrake and the roof.

I would have felt sorry for him, had I managed to stop laughing for long enough.

Makes you worry a little for our country's military defences, really.......