Friday, January 12, 2007

Audio Audacity

Two items leap off from the radio listings for today and I thought I would flag them up; 1) Adrian Mole and the Blair Mole Project "Adrian Mole, as a 'representative voice from Middle England', is commissioned to present a feature on Tony Blair's 10 years as Prime Minister. Adrian, not surprisingly, has a somewhat idiosyncratic view on the Blair legacy."Radio 4 Listing As an ever eager fan of Adrian Mole for many years I am rather excited by the prospect of the Afternoon Play providing another installment in this unique persons' life. The last time we heard (well read) Mole was in the run up to the Iraq War when his love (Pandora) was supporting the war and he was against it - as an evaluation of Blair and his legacy I suspect it'll be poignant but also amusing... This is followed by 2)Costing the Earth which looks at the true environmental cost of our supermarket based shopping habits and how the intensive methods required to produce the quantities for wholesale are having a questionable effect on the environment. From the write up on the website it looks like it will go beyond the "ooh aren't supermarkets crap" to a real analysis of the entire food chain and the effects we, as modern day consumers, are having upon it. Take Care Y'All John

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Contradiction in Terms

The face above is Revd Hugh Price-Hughes. One of the greatest Methodists who ever lived, who worked and challenged the Wesleyan system to ensure it was fulfilling mission based objectives and not just being pious in the pews. He would be, if things were possible, a Methodist hero of mine. One of the things that I enjoy about him is that he stuck with what caused him so much anguish, pain as well as trying to remove him from office! I am often challenged as to why I stick with the Methodist Church, challenged by both those in and those outside the church. This is, in particular, coming to ahead as I go to meetings where futures of this institution are battled out through (so called) godly conferring. I stick with it for a variety of reasons, but the passion to stick to it was rather nicely summated by Bob Hopkins who wrote this article about loyal radicals (in the Anglican Church). Whilst I would never be pig-headed enough to say I was a radical I would happily say I am in a system I want to challenge and change for the reasons outlined within. (Hat tip to Jonny Baker) For those of you who find the article too petty or even not long enough then I suggest a wee trip to the bookstore to get Why Study The Past by Archbishop Williams. In his usual, eloquent, mind-boggling way manages to disentangle what it means to be forward looking within a historical body and how to use both the benefits of looking forward with the lessons and benefits gained from looking backwards. Indeed this leads me to my final recommendation which is less hypothetical and more practical. Pioneers of Social Passion is an examination of the contribution of Methodists in London to the civil society of our capital. It looks beyond just petty beuricrats to examine people like Rank (his Central Halls), MAYC and their London Weekends, Clubland Methodist Church and much more. It is not just a wallowing in nostalgia though, each examination ends with a minor challenge around the idea of if that style/method/the point of that mission is relevant to the modern day. A humbling book that allowed me to get excited about the institution I am part of which was coupled with a suitably apt kick up the backside to ensure I never just look at the church through rose tinted spectacles and think about what was done then and what needs to be done now. Take Care Y'All John

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Covenant Sunday

This Sunday is one of my favourite Sundays of the year. It is the time that we, as Methodists, renew our relationship with God through the recital of the covenant prayer. What excites me so much about it is the sense of bewilderment about the prayer - it reminds me of the act of trust that is faith. For through this prayer we are asking to be moulded and used by an entity that I can never prove exists, yet I believe does. Therefore it is a part willing submission, yet it is also a blank canvas. It clearly states that throughout the year use me to do your will (bringing of Gods Kingdom) which is a most exciting prospect and a nice way to reground myself in my thoughts, reflections and work as 2007 starts to get into full swing. The text of the prayer has evolved over time and I reproduce the modern version because it is more sensual and reflective. The older version (also in the most recent Worship Book) I feel doesn't quiet capture this, instead reading (to me) as a tiny bit more "give itall up to God and he'll sort everything out without me even having to lift a finger" which does rather jar with my personal theology. Even so, what is interesting about them all is the lack of conclusivly binding theological statements of belief within it, bar the mention of the trinity at the end, instead it is a way of connecting with the other and adding no caveats to it. Therefore if you have little or no belief or have a all embracing,encompassing, solid as a rock belief it doesn't matter and that within itself is something to be celebrated.Ultimately , whatever words are used, it is also the act itself that I also find exciting and thrilling so wherever you are I hope you have had the service you want to reground yourself in all this God stuff, ready to face 2007! Take Care Y'All John
The Covenant Prayer "I am no longer my own but yours. Your will, not mine, be done in all things, wherever you may place me, in all that I do and in all that I may endure; when there is work for me and when there is none; when I am troubled and when I am at peace. Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded; when I find fulfilment and when it is lacking; when I have all things, and when I have nothing. I willingly offer All I have and am To serve you, as and where you choose. Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am yours. May it be so for ever. Let this covenant now made on earth Be fulfilled in heaven. Amen