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A fuss over plastic

A photo of a clerical collar on the desk.

Amidst all the preparations for Easter (we tend to have a foreshortened Holy Week that doesn’t do much until Maundy Thursday), I’ve been reading The Faith of Generation Y. I’m sure I’ll try to write more about it in due course when I’ve finished it. However, I read a little bit today that caught my eye and got me thinking about this little piece of white plastic I wear around my neck.

“The elder end of Generation X, now in positions of church leadership, were likely to have been brought up by wartime parents. This meant a tight parenting structure with a need to step away from the family in order to create their own social spaces. When they became parents they were determined to ensure that there was not the same distance between them and their children. … Young people do not need to rebel against their parents because generally they can achieve what they want without having to do so. (Mayo et al, The Faith of Generation Y, 2010: 103-4)”

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Counter-intuitive growth

Over the Summer, I was fascinated by this article in the Telegraph not long before I spent the best part of a week accompanying our young people to Soul Survivor where we worshipped in a tent crammed to the gunnels with 11,000 people – 98% of whom were in their teens.

The Telegraph article explains how the US government is exploring a scheme by which overly large, sprawling cities that have fallen on hard times will have large areas bulldozed and returned to nature as forests and meadows in order to make what remains of the city more sustainable.

Particularly in the US where big is always seen to be better, the scheme feels counter-intuitive but is giving places like Flint, Michigan, their first interesting chance of a new economic start in quite some time.

It sounds like a really interesting scheme. I’m keen to hear how it works out over the long-term. However, it did start to make me think about what this might tell us in terms of church life as well. Read more

Bringing it all together

Image of the book cover for Holding Together

One of the key reasons why I chose to go to Ridley Hall to study for ordination was because Chris Cocksworth was the Principal. I had come across Chris through my work for Church House Publishing whilst he served on the Liturgical Commission and he struck me as a very wise man. I was particularly attracted to the way in which he, an unashamedly evangelical and charismatic Christian, seemed to hold that stream of church life together with a deeply ‘catholic’ view of the Church and a definite and strong loyalty to the Church of England.

Of course, Chris has now gone on to become the new Bishop of Coventry. Ridley’s loss is most definitely Coventry’s gain. Still, Chris’ approach has made a big impact on me in the last few years. One of the ways in which that happened was getting the chance to read some of the draft chapters of Chris’ latest book Holding Together before the book was published. Now that it’s hit the streets and I’ve been able to fit some reading in around other commitments, I’ve finished reading the entire book and I wanted to blog about it since I would definitely recommend it to others.

Chris is never easy reading. It’s a big book that will probably take you some time if you take it seriously but it is a very deep book and worth spending time in. Chris holds out a vision and tries to engage with the issues that result from an attempt to be gospel oriented (evangelical) in the power of the Spirit (charismatic) but with a firm commitment to the Church (catholic).

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Rights of reply

Just a brief one, but in the ongoing saga of the Wycliffe Hall controversy, there are two articles worth reading from Wycliffe Hall and one of their students. I’m not going to comment on Dr Turnbull’s reply in the Guardian, there’s plenty of response amongst the comments on that site to last a lifetime. There’s a fair amount of detritus in such discussions online and most of it I can happily live without, but there’s a few comments there genuinely worth reading… problem is spotting them when there is so much guff. Ultimately, though, focus on Dr Turnbull’s response. That’s the important bit.

Elsewhere, an old Sheffield University friend of mine, Richard England, has started blogging and has posted his thoughts on the situation as a Wycliffe Hall ordinand. As far as I know, he’s the only ordinand at Wycliffe to say anything about it thus far (mainly because I understand they were asked not to do so). It will be no surprise to regular readers to hear I disagree with his analysis but I do find it interesting that he ends up in 1 Corinthians as I have at various points (one and two) in this debate. I am becoming more convinced that Paul’s letter to a Corinthian church riven by ambition, factions and competition looks like it has a considerable amount to say to the Church of England at present.

Sunday programme on Wycliffe Hall & evangelicalism

Sunday programme logo

The Radio 4 Sunday programme had a long ten minute piece on the situation at Wycliffe Hall which didn’t say much that isn’t already known for those that have been following along. However, if you haven’t, it’s worth a listen to get a brief overview. (update: the slot starts 34 mins into the programme).

Richard Turnbull didn’t appear although they used clips from his Reform video but Christina Rees, Graham Kings, Pete Broadbent and Chris Sugden and David Peterson do all speak within the segment.

Graham Kings’ quote in the report that there needs to be ‘rigour withour rancour’ amongst the open, charismatic and conservative evangelical streams comes from this document on the Fulcrum website which may be helpful if you’re trying to work out the difference between these groups… although I’m not sure whether different people might like to be likened to canals, rivers or rapids!

*** Update ***

Other stuff of interest: