Monday, January 31, 2005

Jamie's First Birthday

Hardly seems like a year ago since our nephew Jamie was born, but this weekend was the anniversary of that snowy night when Birmingham was gridlocked with traffic and we wondered if Rachel would be able to get to the hospital or not. On Friday night we went down to Truro in Cornwall where they now live. It was great to see them settling in to their new place. When we got there on Friday night, Mum was feeling a bit poorly. Turns out she had some strange stomach bug which proceeded to spread to Rachel, Karl, Jamie, Dad and me over the course of the weekend. Much puking and pooing ensued! Su managed somehow to escape it though. We still had a nice weekend, managing to go for a walk on the beach and pay a visit to a small fishing village, but a lot of the weekend was spent huddled in the living room under duvets. It was so strange seeing Jamie ill. He slept virtually all day on Sunday, and when he was awake he was very floppy and quiet. He didn't even want to play wind the bobbin up!
We're all feeling much better now, and I'm looking forward to going down to the Vineyard Pastor's Conference tomorrow.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

On Being A Disciple

More from transforming mission:
'For Matthew, then, being a disciple means living out the teachings of Jesus, which the evangelist has recorded in great detail in his gospel. It is unthinkable to divorce the Christian life of love and justice from being a disciple. Discipleship involves a commitment to God's reign, to justice and love, and to obedience to the entire will of God. Mission is not narrowed down to an activity of making individuals new creatures, of providing them with "blessed assurance" so that, come what may, they will be "eternally saved". Mission involves, from the beginning and as a matter of course, making new believers sensitive to the needs of others, opening their eyes and hearts to recognise injustice, suffering, oppression, and the plight of those who have fallen by the wayside. It is unjustifiable to regard the "Great Commission" as being concerned primarily with "evangelism" and the Great Commandment" as referring to "social involvement". As Jacques Matthey puts it,

"According to Matthew's "Great Commission", it is not possible to make disciples without telling them to practice God's call of justice for the poor. The love commandment, which is the basis for the church's involvement in politics, is an integral part of the mission commandment."

To become a disciple means a decisive and irrevocable turning to both God and neighbour. What follows from there is a journey which, in fact, never ends in this life, a journey of continually discovering new dimensions of loving God and neighbour, as "the reign of God and his justice" are increasingly revealed in the life of the disciple.

college life

As I enter the final 6 months of my degree, I find myself trying to focus on my college work, trying to reduce my church commitments, looking for a job and failing at all three. I'm getting there though - 2 essays down, 3 to go, plus a dissertation and 5 exams. As part of my dissertation reading I picked up transforming mission by David Bosch. It's one that's been on the list for a long time, but I've only just got round to getting it. Now, the sensible thing to do would be to skim through and find the relevant bits for my work, get the quotes and move on. I, however, find this virtually impossible to do. I read the introduction, and couldn't put it down. I'm now working my way through the entire book, and finding it fascinating. This is why it takes me ages to write an essay. (well, that and the internet). Anyway, here' a bit about the early Christians which struck me :

'Christians-so we read in the second century Letter to Diognetus are not distinguished from the rest of humankind as regards their speech, their customs, and where they live. There remains a critical distance between them and reality around them, however. They are kept in the world as in a prison-house, and yet they are the ones who hold the world together.
The way in which they held the world together was, preeminently, through their practice of love and service to all. Harnack devotes an entire chapter of his book on the mission and expansion of the early church to what he calls "the gospel of love and charity". Through meticulous research he pieced together a remarkable picture of the early Christians' involvement with the poor, orphans, widows, the sick, mine-workers, prisoners, slaves, and travellers. "The new language on the lips of Christians", he summarizes, " was the language of love. But it was more than a language, it was a thing of power and action". This was a "social gospel" in the very best sense of the word and was practised not as a strategem to lure outsiders to the church but simply as a natural expression of faith in Christ.' (p48f)

Friday, January 07, 2005

Pixar do it again

As a bit of light relief we went to see The Incredibles the other night. Wow! what a movie. I'd say it's probably the best computer animated movie to date. Better than Shrek? yes. Better than Toy Story? yes Better than Finding Nemo? yes. The combination of x-men and james bond (and lots of other movie tributes) with unbelievable animation, amazing action, ridiculously over the top gadgets, and (unlike a lot of these things) it's actually funny. Go see it! now. Or at least go and watch a clip -

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Good Ole Gordon

Gordon Brown was excellent on the today programme this morning. He is leading the call to put a hold on IMF/world bank debt repayments for the countires affected by the tsunami. This could amount to as much as $3billion dollars in a year, which makes the pledged aid so far (vital as it is) look like small change. Of course, this is only a start, and hopefully a stepping stone to significant debt write offs.
He said the time has come when the West should not be choosing between aid and dealing with the underlying causes of poverty but doing both.
Get your white band on Gordon!

Sunday, January 02, 2005


Happy New Year to anyone who happens to be reading,
It looks like 2005 is going to be a really big year for trade justice campaigning. With the UK hosting the G8 summit and also holding the EU presidency, there is going to loads of stuff going on, especially in April when there is a global week of action. There seems to be a real sense that the tide could begin to turn this year in the fight against poverty.
Most prominent seems to be the make poverty history campaign that Christian Aid and others are running. Thanks once againg to steve for some very informative and practical posts.
I have been reading a book which su bought me for Christmas called IOU which I would recommend to anyone who wants to gen up on all the issues involved in global debt (without requiring an economics degree).
I remember being involved in the jubilee 2000 ring in Birmingham and it was really exciting to be part of, but only really a beginning. I have taken my eyes of the issues over the last couple of years I'm sad to say, but my prayer and new years resolution is to make this a year of campaigning and awareness for debt and poverty reduction.
I'm quite excited!
Lord let your kingdom of justice come, your will be done on earth, in 2005, as it is in heaven.