posted by David Emerton on Thursday 16 May 2013 17:16
‘Now the serpent…’ At the beginning of Genesis chapter 3 a new character enters the biblical story; a character who actively opposes God.
As created beings, Adam and Eve are given the capacity to choose whether or not to live under God as they were called to do. That’s why they can experience temptation. Specifically, the temptation of the serpent to assert their autonomy over and against the word of God: ‘Did God really say?’; ‘You will not certainly die’; ‘Your eyes will be opened’. And in asserting their autonomy – eating from the one tree that God had commanded them not to eat from – things, to use theologically loaded terminology, go pear-shaped. Sin enters in to all of God’s good creation.
posted by Ron Bushyager on Monday 22 April 2013 15:39
Most of our daily living is spent dealing with the minutiae of life – responding to the immediate pressing day-to-day challenges, tasks and joys. However it is sometimes good to step back for a different perspective and see the wood for the trees, and to do this from a spiritual point-of-view. A ‘spiritual autobiography’ provides a way to do just this.
Last month saw two significant developments in the worldwide church in the space of just a few days. Pope Francis was elected as the new head of the Roman Catholic church and Justin Welby’s time as the new Archbishop of Canterbury officially began.
Closer to home at St Stephen’s, James Lawrence (the leadership principal of CPAS) spent a Sunday with us and I interviewed him at all three of our services. James shared a range of insights with us and if you didn’t get to hear him speak I would encourage you to listen to the interview with him on our website www.st-stephens.org.uk/talks. Two things James said stood out for me as being especially relevant for us at St Stephen’s at this time:
posted by Ron Bushyager on Monday 18 March 2013 14:38
Ron Bushyager writes...
On a car journey, and out of the blue, my five year old said, ‘Daddy, prayer is boring for children. I think adults must like it more.’
We chatted about the value of prayer, which she happily accepted, but this didn’t change her experience of it being a ‘boring, adult thing’. When we started exploring a way to pray that she would actually enjoy, the mood in the car changed. We now pray at bedtimes with a very big dice, making it a game. 1-3 we pray for one group, 4-6 for another, or even/odd, or any other permutation. We roll and roll and pray and pray.
Jez Barnes Writes... When Ciara Courtney, our most recent children’s pastor at St Stephen’s, felt called by God to ministry with children in South Africa last summer, we began praying for God to show us the best way forward for our ministry with children both in the church and in the wider parish. After two rounds of interviews for a new children’s pastor, involving eight candidates, we still didn’t feel we had found the right way forward. In the meantime, Alex Cacouris (currently training with us part time as an ordinand) was doing such a good job ‘holding the fort’, with other members of the children’s team, that we began to wonder whether Alex was meant to be part of the longer term plans.
posted by Jez Barnes on Friday 1 February 2013 20:17
Jez Barnes writes... “See I am doing a new thing, now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43 v 19) This verse from the prophet Isaiah came to mind for both Sonja and me as we were preparing to lead the final Sunday services of 2012 (Sonja) and the evening with Nicky Gumbel last month (me).
It’s a verse that picks up on the reality that living life as a Christian always involves being on a journey with God. One Old Testament commentator Barry Webb notes that this verse and the surrounding verses in Isaiah (speaking about the return of God’s people from exile in Babylon) are full of allusions to the exodus from Egypt as God led his people towards the land he had promised them.
posted by Jez Barnes on Tuesday 4 December 2012 15:32
As the old joke goes, if you take Christ out of Christmas, what you’re left with is M & S! I love enjoying the fun, food and festivities that go on around Christmas, but there is something even more than that to be celebrated.
posted by Jez Barnes on Thursday 22 November 2012 15:07
The Church of England has been front page news this week following the decision of General Synod not to approve the legislation to enable women to become Bishops. Personally, whilst recognising there are different opinions on this question, I was surprised and saddened by the decision. The Bishop of Kensington wrote this week to all the clergy in the Kensington Area and, with his permission, an edited version of what he wrote follows:
I was deeply saddened when I received the news on Tuesday that the General Synod had not finally approved the legislation to enable us to proceed towards the ordination of women as bishops in the Church of England.