Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thought transition

Right now I would have been teaching a scripture class...
This Sunday, being Trinity Sunday, I'm sure I'd be preaching...
If I were preaching on this passage I'd be telling this story...
When I did a kids talk on this parable, I'd use this prop...

Now that I've been out of vocational youth ministry for over a year, my mindset is starting to change.

Increasingly, my mind doesn't automatically shift to ministry mode when I step into a church, listen to a sermon or get an overview of my week.

But, it's been a slow process.

Will it continue?
Am I now as distant from the ministry mindset as I'm going to get?

For, while I'm still attached to a few churches, I now don't read hundreds of church, ministry and youth ministry articles per week. But they still pop up on my radar.
While I preach very occasionally, I'm now off the treadmill of the ministry-production-line. But, I'm still open to it.
As you might be able to tell, my frequency of blog posts have reduced. But, my mind still churns out some thoughts on the church and ministry.

I wonder, as I drift towards - hopefully - a job as an ancient history teacher, will my mindset shift towards these areas, and, how noticeable will it be

Monday, February 20, 2017

The first-year know-it-alls

The old saying goes that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...

Last week I got accepted into my new university course.

This, of course, means that I'm about to become the self-proclaimed most knowledgeable person in the field of Education and Ancient History.


Because I'll be a first year university student.

And, in a (few) year's time, I'll have done just enough of my subjects to begin to think that I know it all.

But I won't.

Not even close.

But, my knowledge in the field will greatly increase.

Unfortunately, for many first year's, their awareness of their field takes a little longer to develop.

The way my original theology lecturer explained it was like this...

Beginning by drawing a circle on the whiteboard, he explained that this represented all we're originally aware about who God is and the Christian faith. On day one, you might be able to shade in a sliver of the circle representing what you know.

With a little theological study, you'll learn a lot. Compared to what you already know now, you're sliver of knowledge might double.

When this is held up against your original awareness of God, you might fall into the trap of thinking that you now know a lot.

But, with time, you should not only expand your knowledge of God, but you're awareness of all that theology encompasses.

Over time, you should come to the realisation that, in fact, you're awareness has far outpaced your knowledge. And, with that, so has your respect and wonder of what you're studying.

Monday, February 13, 2017

For... With... Together

I'm going to pray for us...
I'm want to invite you to pray with me...
Let's pray together...

The above sentences all result in the same thing. The person up the front prays aloud.

But, the above sentences are not the same for those listening.

The first tells you to passively watch.
The second tells you to actively listen.
The third invites you to be involved.

Now, in certain occasions and audiences, the first or second options will be a better fit.

If you're uncertain about the religious beliefs of those in attendance then you shouldn't force them to prayer...
But, in a church setting, you should always lean towards the latter option.

Anyone up the front of a church service should actively fight against being a mere talking head.

The trouble is, especially when dealing with youngsters, we only use the first prompting to initiate prayer, giving a poor example to follow.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Would I be a good target?

Today, while waiting to get my haircut, I saw a gaggle(?) of Mormons and wondered what I'd do if they knocked on my door.

Depending on the inflation of my spiritual ego, oscillating from... Feeling underwhelmed in my faith... To being prepared to joust theologically... To being ready to gate crash the beliefs of the poor soul daring to knock upon my door., I'd be happy to open the door and converse.

But, I wonder, if I engaged with a door-step missionary, could they say anything to reel me in?
Could they say anything to make me question my faith?
Could they say anything to make me legitimately engage, never mind believe, the Book of Mormon?
Could they say anything that would make me try out a Mormon church service?

For that matter, would the same be true for a Jehovah's Witnesses? Or Buddhist? Or Hindu Or Muslim? Or Jew? Or Scientologist?

Would some faiths stand a better chance with me?
Would they be the ones which are closer to fundamental Christianity or drastically different?

I ponder all these things and wonder how they apply to Christian evangelism?

Are people of established faith, similar or quite different, more or less likely to positively converse, never mind, convert?

At the core, am I a prime target for the suited flock of Mormons, or would I quickly be disengaged from?

And, personally, how far would I be willing to drift from traditional Christianity if I explored another belief system?