Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Are you still here?

I was more than a little surprised to see Feedburner still reporting over two hundred people subscribed to Coffee-n-Cake... so I wondered. How many people are actually reading this?

If you read this, post a comment to say 'hi'.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Personal blogging

Hello folks! John's comment on the last post has prompted me to post this: I have to admit that, once again, I've lost my "personal blogging" mojo. I'm enjoying writing the geek-fest that is Geek-Speak, but as for personal insights and whatnot... well, it's just not coming.

Sorry to disappoint and all, but I thought it best to let you know what's happening rather than keep anyone hanging on! Having said that, it was after I decided to give up on my last blog that I suddenly got more inspiration. I'm not promising the same will happen, but who knows :)

In the meantime, do check out Geek-Speak, and feel free to leave this blog in your feed reader in case anything comes to me.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Honestly...


Has there ever been a franchise with more games potential? I don't think so... So why release a Doctor Who game of Top Trumps!?

I mean, there's the TARDIS to explore, alien worlds to visit, beings to negotiate with or, when that fails, shoot. Puzzles to be solved... and what do we actually get? A computerised version of comparing stats... might as well have given us Doctor Who excel instead.

PS - for all that I think this is a wasted opportunity, I am not that deeply distraught - you don't need to inform the samaritans or anything.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Still here...

Sorry, updates are still few and far between here! Still blogging over at Geek-Speak though, so if you want you can keep up with the posts there. I do plan to blog more here... but just don't have much worth saying at the minute.

Also, having become addicted to Twitter, I've discovered Plurk... a new take on the whole micro-blogging thing. You can see my profile here, and friend me if you want :)

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Amy's fun, up in smoke


The local vandals strike again :( Bit of a shame, because Amy had really taken to going on the swings.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Aah... nice

Just back from divisional leaders' retreat at Peebles Hydro hotel. Very nice.

Spent most of the time being thinking about the "future Church", led by John Read who is the officer at Regent Hall (The Salvation Army on Oxford Street, central London).

Very nice few days :)

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Clergy and the priesthood of all believers

This post has been a long time coming... like, years... and it's been so long because I've had to think very hard about what I think on this. Here's the thing that's been rattling round my mind: if we believe in the priesthood of all believers, what exactly are clergy (ministers) for? It's a tough one, because there are so many different views. Some say we need the clergy, but then they don't know we need them for... some say we don't need the clergy, which makes me wonder whether the whole calling to officership that God placed on my life was just some kind of psychotic episode on my part.

I'm putting this out there now because of two things. Firstly, Candidates' Sunday is coming up and I've been thinking even more than normal about what Officership is and how it fits into the crazy community we call The Church. Secondly, my friend Andrew has posted two very thought-provoking posts over at Army Renewal (link and link) and I felt inspired to finish my thoughts off. So here we go :)

I guess I should go through what I understand the "priesthood of all believers" to mean. There are two views of this that I think mesh nicely together:

First is the idea that we are all our own priest. That is, we don't need another person to stand in for us to enable us to speak to God. Yes, we sill have Jesus as the great High Priest, but other than Him, we don't need anyone else. Is that important? Well, yes, because it means that we don't depend on anyone: every believer is capable of literally coming before the throne of God and asking for forgiveness, interceding for another, asking a question, or whatever else you want to do. We are empowered by the fact that there is no longer a priestly caste in society... or rather, there is, but it includes every single believer. Martin Luther made this a fundamental principle of his teaching, saying, "Our baptism consecrates us all without exception and makes us all priests" and "Every shoemaker can be a priest of God, and stick to his own last while he does it".

The second view is that "all believers serve by God's grace as priests to one another" (The Salvation Army Doctrine Council). If this is so (and Galatians 6:2 and James 5:16 would seem to add weight to this) then as well as being our own priest, believers serve as priests to each other. No pressure, eh? As well as being able to step into the presence of God, I bring the grace, mercy, and presence of God to those around me. You can't do the second without experiencing the first, which is why I say these two mesh together so nicely.

But wait, there's a third view (yeh, I know, I said two but bear with me): that all believers, together as a body, act almost like one priest bringing the grace of God to the world. That is to say, the Church behaves as a priest pointing those outside of it to the grace of God and challenging them to rejoin His family. Again, I think this fits with the others, and I'm happy to say that each of these is actually a diferent facet of the one concept: these are all important elements of the Priesthood of All Believers.

Priesthood is to do with our basic nature as people of God, while our position in the Church is to do with what God has called us to do in response to that basic nature.
Well, what now? The Priesthood of All Believers is quite different from the "leadership of all believers", "teaching of all believers", or "whatever you want to put in here of all believers". Why? Because not every believer is called to be a leader, teacher, musician, or anything else. If priesthood meant everyone could do everything we would all have every Spiritual gift. No, priesthood is different from gifting or calling... priesthood is to do with our basic nature as people of God: when we are saved we simply become priests, while our position in the Church is to do with what God has called us to do in response to that basic nature. Priesthood is about the fact that all believers have access to God, and all believers have a responsibility to dispense God's grace to each other and to the world at large.

So, where to the clergy fit in then? Being a "minister", "pastor", "officer", or whatever they're called in your particular church is as much about calling as being a "worship leader", "technical guru", "musician" or "creche worker". I, as an officer, am not called to be the priest; I just am a priest by dint of being part of the Body of Christ. Officership is about something different - it's about fulfilling a certain role God has called me to that's quite separate from my status as a priest. Luther held the view that while every believer is a priest, and every believer has the right before God to preach and administer sacraments, those who do so must be given the consent of the rest of the congregation. So it seems to me that the clergy are just priests like everyone else, but they have been ordained by God and given the consent of the Church to fulfil a certain role. The question is, "What is that role?" That's another question that I'm still thinking through, but I can say this: everyone is a priest, not just the officer. Officers (and other clergy in other denominations) are simply fulfilling a calling that is just as valid, but not more so, than anyone else's calling. The real question is, no matter what role you are fulfilling, whether you're doing whatever it is God wants you do with your your life.