Posts filed under 'church'
Posted on 24th June 2020
‘Prayer is a marvellous and necessary supplement of our feeble efforts but it is a dangerous substitute’ Martin Luther King.
I do not know the original context of these words. The quotation turned up in the monthly mail-out of Contemplation and Action; a movement based on the ministry of Franciscan Richard Rohr. It was part of a series of comments on Black Lives Matter.
As a Baptist, King would have been brought up in an intense praying culture. In his time Baptist prayer meetings were signature events. They define the pattern of Baptist spirituality. Personal prayer is expected of each member of the congregation. So his comments have a back story.
“Let us pray about this” was a default response to any situation. King knew this could be a powerful force. Prayer has been called primal speech. It is an intrinsic part of human evolution. Whoever you might pray to and whatever you think will happen is not the point. Prayer like Soul describes the intrinsic mystery of our life. We are not alone.
But is prayer a substitute for action? King seems to be suggesting this. He knows action can be deeply influenced by prayer but prayer instead of action is in his words ‘dangerous’. What could he mean by this?
Posted on 20th May 2020
What do we do about the story of the Ascension of Jesus? Do we really have to believe that if we had been there we would have seen Jesus going up into the sky? Two hymns help us to consider these questions. The first from the 1700s, the other written in the last fifty years. They are both in the hymn book Singing the Faith.
John Rackley explores this story.
Posted on 12th May 2020
Abraham was charged by God to teach his children ‘the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just’ (Genesis 18:19) and ever since we have wondered what that means.
Jonathan Sacks gives a superb summary of how the Jews have interpreted this instruction in his latest book, Morality.
‘Love your neighbour.
Love the stranger.
Hear the cry of the otherwise unheard.
Liberate the poor from their poverty.
Care for the dignity of all.
Let those who have more than they need share their blessings with those who have less.
Feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the sick in body and mind.
Fight injustice, whoever it is done by and whoever it is done against.
And do these things because, being human, we are bound by a covenant of human solidarity,
Whatever our colour or culture, class or creed’.
Posted on 12th May 2020
Rev John Rackley, our associate Baptist minister, has re-started his own blog at windingquest.wordpress.com
This is how he introduces himself.
Life is a bridge.
Cross over it
but build no home on it.
Bruce Chatwin Songlines 1982
I grew up in a fishing community in Devon UK from generations of sea-farers going back over 200 years.
I have worked as a bus conductor, secondary school teacher, radio broadcaster and Baptist minister.
I have lived in Leicester, Cardiff, Great Missenden and now in South Leicestershire.
I have travelled in Scandanavia, Hungary, Italy, India, Bangladesh, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.
I love autumn and the approach of darkening evenings.
Posted on 24th April 2020
Rev John Weaver is a past-President of the Baptist Union and, subject to the future of our movements, is coming to Christchurch in September to talk about the Climate Emergency.
In conversation with John Rackley he has developed this pattern of reflection to help anyone consider their experience of COVID-19. An expanded version of this is available on the Baptist Times website (link to John Weaver’s Baptist Times post).
Posted on 16th April 2020
Back in March, which seems an age ago now, Rev Dr David Hilborn gave a seminar at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Stoneleigh titled “Fake Theology: even more dangerous than fake news?” We live in a world where extreme views can be propagated easily through social media channels. These views are sometimes supported by very dodgy theology, and Christians today need to be able to recognise these distortions of the gospel and to counter them.
Posted on 15th April 2020
Some thought for Lent from Rev John Rackley – a bit late, but perhaps it still seems like Lent in these strange times! [read the full Restrain Yourself! post]
Posted on 22nd March 2020
Like everywhere else, there was no service at Christchurch this morning but the church was open for private prayer and about a dozen people came along. (Some may also have come to get supplies from the Traidcraft stall!) The Methodist Church is streaming services from Wesley’s Chapel in London, and I followed the service this morning at 11 am, which was led by Revd Jennifer Smith, the superintendent there. Before she was ordained Jenny was a lecturer at Leicester University and a member of Christchurch so she is well-known to the longer-standing members. It was a short service based on the liturgy from the Methodist Worship Book.
Posted on 26th January 2020
The annual Covenant Service is a tradition going back to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. On January 5th this year it was led in Christchurch by our Baptist minister, and here are his thoughts on its meaning.