Thursday, October 25, 2007

Catch up

My goodness, I haven't posted on this blog for nearly two weeks.
I was in charge of a conference last week and this week I have enjoyed almost total media silence. I still ran two of my community/outreach groups this week but I've had lots of me-time for most of the week. As a result I'm feeling rather bored and looking forward to the primary school mothers' social Costa trip as usual on a Friday morning - I need to see people!! Let me at'em!

Actually, I popped into the office to spend some time with colleagues today. We had a leaving lunch today for a much loved and helpful colleague who was last seen buried under a mound of recyclable paper as he clears out 5 years of - ....paper?....- kind of a fitting tribute, really. We lose him but he becomes very useful somewhere else. Recycling of talents in the Kingdom of God.

Next week I have to work very hard attempting to exegete (or whatever the verb is - I seem to remember having this debate last year) for an OT assignment. I am very much enjoying the class and I find the lecturer entertaining and interesting and the content stimulating and thought-provoking.

Want to blog some thoughts on intergenerational stuff arising from the conference soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Some things I find hard........

I am struggling with one aspect of my character just now; when others to whom I am close have different priorities to my own.
When things that seem vital to me are not as important to others - whether it be house size/what to do with spare time/money/amount of time spent "out of the Christian bubble" - I can get intolerant, judgmental, on an ego trip, sad, disappointed even. I expect others to live up to my impeccably high (of course!) standards. Oh no - pride!!!

Jesus words flattened pride. I've just been reading some of his words to the Pharisees.

Forgive me, Lord.

On another note entirely, I have recently found myself becoming involved in the lives of two families who have suffered the most unspeakable tragedy. One is from Scotland, one is not. Both are bringing me to tears, I want to see a breakthrough. I want to see their lives changed. I want dramatic, miraculous, life-turning-around change. I can't bear the thought of their pain continuing. There *must* be healing for trauma in this good news, the gospel! And, if I'm honest, some of the tears are because I realise that there is a deep, personal cost involved in making myself wholly available to these families. It's comfier to not bother.

And again Jesus words go deep; "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:35)

I'm working a lot through - I sense some deep shifts in my thinking and in my call and purpose in doing what I do. And, oh yes, there's some dying to self having to happen.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

TOTAL Respect

I joked about issuing an impish challenge to a friend of mine. I wondered if this was a little foolish but hey - we all need to live a little.

And all credit to them - they took up the challenge to spend a few seconds on something really silly. They combined edgy teaching, prophetic challenge and a sense of humour. They took a firm line on some issues and yet maintained an approachability. They have a heaven-mindedness but also an earthly groundedness - and of course they know how to have a laugh. Personally, I've never got the "I've got joy deep down in my heart" thing. I've never been able to keep joy and laughter quiet!! (which has always got me into trouble). There are more serious faces in churchianity than there are broad smiles :-)


Some of you know I mark exam papers for a Higher subject.
There are very strict rules governing what you can and cannot write on an individual's exam paper - i.e. you can't write any words at all!! You use certain lines and symbols to indicate omissions, small errors and gross blunders. This is in complete contrast to my own papers I received back last week from a year ago - the word "random" and "I don't think so" featured heavily......

One year ago exactly I went through a number of stages to skip Year 1 of a degree in theology. I did work really hard but only for a short period of time (mid August to mid Sept) as summer is my busiest time job-wise. I guess I could have spent more time preparing but then it would have been in May and I would have forgotten it all (my memory is like a sieve).

I've had an embarrassed giggle at some of the comments on my scripts
Here's a selection: -
"very shallow" "no evidence of knowledge" "uninformed" and (my personal favourite) - "not pass". (whatever happened to the word FAIL?)

However, now that I re-read the answers I wrote under exam conditions, I am absolutely mortified at the complete tripe I wrote. What changed in the intervening week between the first exam and the resit was that I spent one hour in the local coffee shop with a friend who, without knowing what I had written, knew where I had gone wrong, because he knew me and he knew the style of writing I would use. He helped me change tremendously in that one hour meeting by going over the Grenz chapters and pointing out the slant I would have to take. I will never be a theologian but at least I have managed a basic grasp of some topics. And the resit one week later had "good" on it!

Apparently I tend towards the "Yoda" approach of sentence structure as this same marker highlights a paragraph in an essay a year later and comments "confused it seems". I don't really understand what "slow logic" means though.

This time last year I really enjoyed the mission studies essay I had to do and although the comment "random thinking" was also appended to this piece of work it was good enough to pass which is good enough for me, as I got a lot out of the reading I undertook for this. I'd rather be random than....errrr.....

On the positive note, I was delighted to read that I had achieved a "good pass" in Old Testament Studies. Again, I crammed for this in a month but this is the subject I am about to pick up again next week so I am looking forward to an area where I may have a little more ability than belief and thought. I studied archaeology for two years at university and one year of that was biblical archaeology. I can't help but wonder if this might help me a little in the class this year.