Friday photo – childhood memories

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I don’t always make a shopping list and I had forgotten lemons (or limes) which are an essential item for us. As I was driving back to where we were staying I remembered there was an old fashioned greengrocer with produce piled up. I found the lemons and some were still wrapped in this beautiful, colourful tissue paper. My mind immediately floated back to childhood where a great uncle had a fruit van and he would produce oranges with beautiful wrappers. Fruit seemed a lot more special back then when carefully wrapped and more seasonal. Now fruit can feel a bit functional – have I eaten my five a day yet? I am often surprised by the way that memories return from tiny triggers. It was a very special lemon and I appreciate more fully those who cultivate and pick them!

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Wondering Wednesdays – doing what brings you joy

Last night we attended NFL UK live. One of the things that struck me was this statement from Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Quarterback: ‘I still feel like a little kid when I am out there’ (after 15 years). It reminded me of the statement from Eric Liddel ‘I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure’.

I am immensely grateful that I found my purpose and something that brings me joy when I was young. I sometimes lose that feeling like a little child when bogged down by some of the challenges of what I do and my moments of joy are not all work related. We can feel that joy of a little child over so many different things – what do you do that brings you joy like this?

Honest Christianity: what must we do before we search?

Search, looking, exploring etc are all current popular concepts in describing our spiritual and religious journey. As regular readers know I use a new daily readings book every year. Last year Sally and I got very organised and brought one in the early autumn to put away for a Christmas present. We have yet to find it!

So one of my new peer support group members lent me this book last week. I have not read much of Richard Rohr’s work, so I am looking forward to it.

His answer to our title question is…”true surrender must precede the search”. He goes on to say” I do not trust the search without the the surrender”. So, no room for cheap, costless searching, if it has worth and is worth finding, it seems reasonable to cost something. Ask any professional sports or arts person. Sounds like a good manta for the year ahead.

Radical Grave Richard Rohr ed J Feister 1995 St. Antony Messenger Press Cincinnati, Ohio

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Friday photo – writing to think and encourage

This is one of my lovely Christmas presents. Fridays are often a day for writing and some of the initial planning is done by hand. I have a mind ma book for things I want to write. Writing helps me think and seeing something outside of my head often helps me explore it in more depth or at least feel I have dumped it on to paper. So first thing I scribble a bit in my journal and today is about editing other people’s writing which is a blessing as it is a way that I engage with new ideas but also a way I can support others to get things out there and help their voices to be shared.

Wondering Wednesdays – the importance of youth ministry

img_20190106_125739593_hdr-effects4008192750137439604.jpgLast week Paul and I attended the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry Conference in Durham. The opening address was given by Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham who is a fellow trustee of the Child Theology Movement. He is the Bishop who advocates on behalf of children and young people. He shared from the life of Aidan, Cuthbert and Bede and drew his talk to a conclusion looking at the Apostle John, reminding us of the importance of our call:

John and his brother James leave the family fishing business to become followers of Jesus. I take it that the testimony of Polycrates, Irenaeus and Jerome is to be trusted and John remained alive to a very great age and died in the early days of Trajan; that is around 98-99AD. This makes him a very young man as one of Jesus’ first disciples. It would appear that at least he, possibly others amongst the Twelve, were what we would now call teenagers. Jesus called and trained young men as his disciples. John heard Jesus teach, saw Jesus’ miracles, experienced Jesus’ friendship and himself went out proclaiming the kingdom during the three years of Jesus public ministry as a very young man. So when the mission post Pentecost begins he is still a young man. Leadership of the early church did not lie with the older generation, at least not alone. Jesus it appears deliberately placed his work in the lives of those who were young. Perhaps this was with an awareness that at least a small number of them would live to a ripe old age so that the continuity of apostolic witness was guaranteed for a good long period. Yes, here I speculate a little as we do not have written anywhere with certainty the mind of Jesus on this. But I think it is speculation worth considering. Investment in the young for their own sakes, and for the longevity of a purpose makes sense. This after all was always the vision of Moses instruction to the Israelites about passing on the story to their children. It is the vision of Psalm 78 with its fourfold generational vision of transmission if the faith story. Our calling today is to both invest in young people for their present, and for the long term future. It is not the divide of ‘now and future’ but the connectivity and continuity of ‘now and future’.
John the Apostle potentially stands as an example for us about calling young people here and now with a long term vision in view.

You can download the full address here

Epiphany reflection: Madonna of the slums

This was an image that was shared at a youth work conference Sally and I were sharing at this weekend. We were invited to focus on the first thing that caught our eye. For me it was the eyes, of both mother and child, Mary and Jesus. The intensity of the focus, in different directions, sending the same or varied messages?

What do you see?