Here’s an interesting lecture by Kim Riddlebarger on evangelism. The table comparing Man-centred and God-centred evangelism is particularly useful.
Jon has been complaining recently that some of his bloggy chums have not been blogging so much recently. I can only assume that since his exams are finished, he has too much time on his hands and wants to fill the long empty hours perusing edifying prose. Since he reads this space, and since my post rate has dropped catastrophically to around once per week, I can only hold my hand up to make public confession of the aforementioned failing.
Before I explain why I have not been blogging, let me first explain briefly why I do blog. Firstly, I blog because I have time on my hands and naively believe that what I say might change something ‘out there’. The second reason is that I don’t have time on my hands, I have some work to do, but I really don’t want to do it. In other words, blogging is a means of procrastinating, under the guise of doing something useful. I don’t think there are any other reasons.
So if I don’t blog, what are we to conclude? Well, that I don’t have time on my hands and I want to be doing the other things that I should be doing.
So, what have I been doing? We it is a bit of a saga that began back in March. I had to do a church placement as a module for my theological studies degree course. I sorted out a placement with a church plant project in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, working with an experienced Baptist church planter and three others like myself. There is not a single church in that town that is consistently gospel-preaching.
Under God, with a lot of hard work a church meeting has been established with on average 30 people attending. It turns out that, unknown to the planting team, there has been a core of Christians in the town praying over the last ten years or so for such a church to begin. So it has been hugely encouraging.
As a result of working on this project, I have been asked to work part-time over the next six months with another small reformed (in the broader sense of the word) church on a housing estate in Derby. My work has begun formally last week, though I have been easing into the work informally since my exams finished. This work will impact on my studies, since I will have to reduce to 60% of full-time study.
There are several advantages of this plan:
- Firstly, training: the completion of study while also doing real ministry work is appealing. I have been concerned for some time that my studies have removed me too much from the real task of ministry. This way I can make sure that what I am learning is fully grounded.
- The specific area of church planting and evangelism is worth learning about in these days.
- It is another step in testing the call to ministry. I will be preaching usually once per week. As my mentor says, some people improve with such an opportunity, while others get worse!
- To play a part in the progress of the gospel in, as far as I can see, a largely untouched area of Derby.
There are some cons, though:
- I will be supporting a (mainly) Baptist work when my convictions are Presbyterian. Since this is a training opportunity, I must keep this secondary.
- It delays completion of my studies for a year.
- Disrupts the family with respect to church involvement. It is confusing for all of us to be members of one church (Woodlands) yet me being heavily involved in another. Needs to be handled with wisdom.
- It will be a tough job in a tough area of town!
So there you have it. Things have changed for me, I have been busy, I have enjoyed it, and therefore I am not blogging so much. You should perhaps worry for me if I start blogging a bit more!
Clearly I live on the wrong continent.
Following Al’s recent comments here on this blog about the importance of ‘narrative’ and ‘story’, I read this comment today by Tom Wright (again), where he makes an interesting comment in a section on today’s questions about Paul’s theology:
The currently fashionable category of ‘story’ or ‘narrative’ has been employed as a way into [Paul’s] theology, though there is currently no agreement on how to use the category, or what might happen if we did. (p. 21)
In using the adjective ‘fashionable’, does he mean to treat the approach as a disposable garment? At best it is an approach yet to reach maturity, it seems. But then the comment was written in 1997…
I like how he goes on to point out a danger found amongst some biblical theologians:
The dislocation of biblical studies from theology … has meant that Paul is often studied by people who are not trained either philosophically or theologically, and who indeed resent the idea that such training should be necessary. Many New Testament scholars use detailed exegesis as a way of escaping from heavy handed and stultifying conservatism; any attempt to articulate an overarching Pauline theology looks to them like an attempt to reconstruct the sort of system from which they themselves are glad to be free. As in some other scholarly circles, using the study of history to exorcise one’s own past is an attractive, though one suspects ineffective, form of therapy.(p. 21)
Ouch. He points out one of the hazards of reading other authors: trying to work out if there is a less than obvious personal agenda. Has Wright himself got one? (he asks mischievously!)
Tom Wright, speaking of Albert Schweitzer, says he
…thus carved out his own path through the first half of this century, a lonely and learned giant amidst the hordes of noisy and shallow theological pygmies.(p. 14)
I wonder who he would include amongs the pygmies.
Unfortunately I have suffered a catastrophic loss of interest in this medium. Comes with being too busy. Constantly wrestling with the propensity towards self-indulgent waffle, just as this post is now becoming. Time to sign off I think…
It’s been pretty mad last week.
It has been Carnival Week in Little Eaton. This is the big village event of the year. The weekday evenings are filled with events:
- Monday – five-aside football tournament for the kids.
- Wednesday – Duck race. (Hundreds of people buy a plastic duck with a number on it. There are a number of heats with 50 ducks in each. The race commences when the ducks are chucked into the brook at one end of the village. Everyone waits for the ducks to arrive at the other end. It’s very silly, kids love it. There is even a sad individual who does a running commentary. There is a prize and some people get very wet.)
- Thursday: Wild, wet ‘n’ Whacky. A cray It’s-a-Knockout kind of competition. 30 teams of 8 kids. Everyone gets wet, even the adult supervisors and scorers.
Here are some pics from Wild, Wet ‘n’ Whacky…
Close-up. Kate in white, blindfolded carrying a tray of cups of water. Wet…
On Saturday afternoon there is a procession with floats and lots of dressing up. Then there are races, competitions, games, rides on the park etc. Unfortunately it had been raining, but it didn’t put people off.
Marching band (Check those outfits. Nice.)…
Carnival Queen’s float, with attendants. Kate was on there somewhere…
Snow White Float (does the driver know where he’s going?)
Finally, a sign from a stall…
Children may be cheaper, but I would imagine they are harder to throw.