I am still being nourished by our reading weekend. Quite often on a Sunday I am presiding at a Eucharist and this phrase ‘hints of hope’ blesses me. Just like when I see a rainbow that evokes a sense of hope in me, so I see so many hints of hope in people as I encounter them across the week. And it is so often in seeing people’s faithfulness in the every day little things that gives me that glimpse.
We are fed in worship, blessed, and sent out to be ‘hints of hope’ … We are part of God’s big vision and mission – the redemption of all things – through the earthy craft of living out our vocation, hour by hour, task by task. I want to do the big work of the kingdom, but I have to learn to live it out in the small tasks before me – the missio Dei in the daily grind p95.
Warren, T. H. (2016). Liturgy of the ordinary. Downers Grove: IVP.
“‘….ethics is first a way of seeing before it is a matter of doing. The ethical task is not to tell you what is right or wrong but rather to train you to see’. Because the Christian narrative is countercultural, the community in which we hone our moral skills is the worshiping church, which teaches us what it means to be humble, patient, and hopeful people, virtues one fails to find in ethical systems informed by different narratives”.
This is another quote from our reading weekend a while back. I was reminded of it as we discussed Psalm 131 about not being proud yet hopeful (good job Julia). I think this quote is not encouraging us to be proudly different as Christians but humbly being God’s people, seeking to see God’s way and only then seeking to do things God’s way. I am personally persuaded that it is first and foremost important to be the right type of person before seeking to do the right thing.
Christian Ethics four views. Introduction Steve Wilkens (ed) p. 12 quoting Stanley Hauerwas. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2017
If you have not come across the 4 views series, it strongly recommend them.
We were walking the cliffs at Bude when we came across what seemed to be a memorial for someone called Pete. I don’t know whether they had gathered there and painted the stones and then engaged in some ritual to put them there or if they were made off site and brought there. It connected with something I had read earlier in the i by Poppy Damon which talked about the way younger people want to engage with funerals – you can read it here. Then Tuesday was our bereavement day in our human development and pastoral care module where we encourage students to reflect on a range of issues and responses to them – this is one activity they may have devised.
In terms of real stress that others face my situation on Monday wasn’t really stressful but I had to call whether or not we would have snow days this week. I was in meetings all day and students needed to know so I didn’t have long to consult with colleagues and make a decision. Since the middle of last week I have been having severe weather warnings for Birmingham for this week. Over the weekend I was getting amber warnings for snow and checking the forecasts for so many different places our students travel from I decided on snow days. I hate the thought of someone having an accident because they felt they should travel in conditions which are challenging and tend to err on the side of caution. There is also an issue of equivalence – our region is so big that some students will be snowed in and others not but setting work means that everyone gets the same input and there are plenty of ways to talk to a tutor if you want to.
However, it does feel a little like I am stuck in the story of Peter and the Wolf with some of the weather related stories. Ever since the storm of 1987 which wasn’t called properly it feels as if forecasters tend to err on the side of caution, which is probably a good thing but which makes it really difficult to make the best decision about what to do.
If you are not familiar with the story this is an interesting article:
Some of you are old enough to remember the bit of graffiti, “Be alert, Britain needs lerts”. It amused me then and still does, v sad i know. The title of this quote reminded me of that type of quote, a nice clever play on words, but a bit more profound.
It encourages me to not to be a victim to my environment, but to take responsibility, control for my own actions and the tone of things around me. To set a positive feel in the room, meeting, team, situation, to respond to what the context needs. It is easy to slip into complaining about our situations, the negativity, cynicism, defeatism, to become dragged down by it, even complicit. This quotes encourages us to be people who set the attitudes, mentality, values and virtues of our situations. we don’t have to be in leadership position to do this, but we can all take a positive lead.
n Wednesday evening we heard Wilfred Emmanuel Jones speaking at a forum for the Tamar Valley area of outstanding natural beauty – equivalent in status to a national park. That is the place we holiday most. He talked about seeing a search for spirituality and connectedness and how he sees the Tamar Valley as a thinking room – and how it could be promoted as that. His own story was of a childhood in Small Heath where he escaped to an allotment and aged 11 decided he wanted to buy a farm. He encouraged us to dream big and dream early as it took something like 30 years to see that dream turn into reality and he has built the Black Farmer brand into something that sells high quality food and reflects his values. I love the concept of place as thinking room but believe I can find it in the city too.
I rarely get to a curated art exhibition but yesterday I got to see am exhibition of work inspired by the writing of Virginia Woolf. I encountered her writings in my 20s and back then read most of her fiction. While I am probably still more inspired by the written word rather than visual media I found the exhibition fascinating. Such a wide range of themes, of media, of images that I need to let lay in my mind for a while. Most of all it was the use of metaphor of room and landscape that I resonated with and it made me think of different types of writing which one day may have the opportunity to experiment with. This is the introduction to one of the sections: