Sunday, 21 July 2013

Two Sermons on The Wedding at Cana

As is my custom, if someone asks for copies of my sermon notes I stick em up on my Scribd page, just in case anyone else might want to go get 'em.  This weekend I preached two different sermons from the same passage.  Yesterday was the ordination service of one of our students, John Thompson, at Princes Drive Baptist Church in Colwyn Bay.  We read John 2:1-11, the wedding at Cana, and I used the the story to highlight lessons about the nature of ministry.  This morning I was preaching at my own church, Chorlton Central in Manchester and read a scripted imaginative retelling of the same story, from the perspective of watching angels.  Anyhow, as I said, if you want the notes pop across to Scribd and help yourself.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Kitsch Jesus in the Smelly City

Back in the day I posted a blog about meeting God on Market Street in Manchester. That encounter prompted me to develop some material on Urban Spirituality for our MA course on Spirituality in Contemporary Culture.  This in turn spawned a framework for a half-day city centre retreat which has been taken up by friends and students for use in Prague, Stockholm and Birmingham.

This week here at Luther King House we've been teaching the Spirituality module on our MA Summer School.  We ran the city centre retreat again.  It got lots of positive feedback from the students.  It also gifted me with another unexpected encounter with Jesus.

I wasn't actually doing the retreat myself this time but I was in the city, buying bread and wine for the communion on the street that would round off the day.  I was making my way through the Northern Quarter on my way to Methodist Central Hall for our retreat debrief when God's Spirit beckoned me into a seedy night club back entrance.  I like to use back streets whenever I can.  It makes walking more of an adventure.  I'm not sure what The Spirit used to grab my attention, in fact I haven't a clue, but I found myself walking over to take a peek.

And there, in a stinking, piss-soaked door-well was Jesus.  (Apologies if the word piss upsets you, I don't mean to offend, it's just that neither wee nor urine are quite up to the job.)

I realise this is a rather kitsch Jesus, but I was in the Northern Quarter where they do kitsch rather well.  So it sort of fit.  It also fit because it seems to me it's just the kind of place you'd expect to see Jesus.  Or at least the kind of place where you ought to expect him.   How fitting too that he'd been defaced.  They'd scrubbed out the word love.  Or at least they'd tried to.  True the letters had been erased but the word's still there don't you think?  Again, it's the only word that really fits.

... he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
Lord, we pray for all who use that door-way.  And we pray for ourselves. Please beckon us into uninviting places.  Meet us there and open our eyes.  And if need be our nostrils.  Amen

Sunday, 16 June 2013

In Memory of my Dad on Fathers Day

Kick Off

September fresh we start anew, by early autumn nipped to ruddy life.
New season’s paint has reddened smooth my fragrant iron resting place.
The terrace choir’s achant, brown baritone and tenor bright
as holy Bruno climbs from briar censers and Bovril salts my tongue.

And there you stand,
Brylcream slick and shiny shoed,
your china blues ablaze,
your Woodbine-yellowed fingers, shoveled thick and calloused kind
holding me.

And I, thrilled by bigness smalling me, otherness calling me,
Gifted, belonging and beckoned on, I know
from you I will not run for fancied wealth to slops
nor break my bonds for freedom-false but rest
and thrill at what will one day be.

Then as pigeons flap from floodlight frame and haloed, hover,  
echoes down the years:
“This is my beloved
in whom I am,
in whom I am well,
in whom I am, well, pleased.”

Just in case you are interested there's an annotated version on my Scribd page.  You know, like the ones you can buy for Shakespeare, Plath and Hopkins ;-)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Exploring Contemporary Spirituality - Theology Summer School at Luther King House

This is coming up soon.  Places are filling up quickly.  Still a few slots left.  To book by email click here

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dave Egerton Band 30th Anniversay Concert

Wow!  This is bound to be good.  Look!  It's in neon and everything!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Urban Embrace

Look!  A conversational, reflective, creative and friendly bit of getting stuck into urban mission and ministry, Manchester style.  I'm going.  Go on, join us.

Friday, 26 April 2013

New Tutor Appointed At The Northern Baptist Learning Community

This news just out from the learning community with whom I minister ...

The Northern Baptist Learning Community has announced the appointment of the Revd. Dr. Tim Mountain to the position of tutor.

Tim is currently Senior Minister of Grantham Baptist Church, Lincolnshire where he has served for nearly sixteen years. Previously he was pastor of a church in Westerham, Kent. Before training for ministry at Spurgeon’s College he was a secondary school teacher. He holds biology and theology degrees, including a PhD in ecology, and is just completing an MTh in Applied Theology. Tim says, “I am delighted to be able to serve NBLC in this new role.  I’m looking forward to working alongside the other members of staff team.”

According to Dianne Tidball, governor of NBLC and Regional Minister Team Leader in the East Midlands, “Tim has been a good local minister, serving his church and enabling it to be an outward looking community centred on Christ.  He has served the Association well particularly on our Ministry Development Group.  He will be missed but we wish him God's richest blessing in his new role.”

This is NBLC’s third recent staff appointment.  Clare McBeath and Glen Marshall were called to be co-principals just three weeks ago.  Both said how delighted they were that Tim will be joining the new staff team adding,  “Tim combines a wealth of experience with an engaging style of teaching.”

Dr. Mountain will begin his new ministry in August.  As well as teaching at Luther King House in Manchester he will also act as NBLC’s main link with the churches and associations of Yorkshire and the East Midlands.