Monday, 27 April 2009

Bread and Wine

It’s been a while. It took a line from a song. The song in question was Melody Gardot’s* Some Lessons.

Well I’m buckled up inside
Miracle that I’m alive
Do not think that I can survive
On bread and wine alone.

It’s not entirely clear what the song is about other than learning difficult lessons from a painful life experience that came close to being the singer’s undoing. However, it did spark off a thought in my head and this is the place for capturing and airing such thoughts.

Do not think I can survive
On bread and wine alone.

I suspect that Gardot is alluding to that line of Jesus and Moses, “… one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD”. Hope so.

What occurred to me was that if we tinker with Gardot’s words just a little we get a rather neat way of expressing something that I reckon both Moses and Jesus would want to say to some of us today.

Some would do well to attend to the two Hebrew prophets, those, that is, who make the mistake of living as if the good stuff of the world - stuff like beer and sandwiches, sex, football and John Coltrane - is the sum of life, plunging with such relish into created goods that they forget the good creator. Others though ought to cock an ear in Gardot’s direction, those who live such religious lives that they end up leaving all sorts of Father-given, life-nourishing gifts on the shelf unopened. God-neglect is folly, world-neglect is such a shame.

"One does not live by bread alone."
"One does not live by bread and wine alone."

* Melody Gardot is one of a recent spate of jazz inflected female balladeers such as Madeline Peyroux, Duffy and especially, in Gardot’s case, Nora Jones.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Mainsream Weekend Conference For Women in Leadership

It's been encouraging in recent months to see sections of the Baptist family becoming much more proactive in seeking to encourage women into positions of leadership. Here's details of the latest event to come to my attention. I share it because this is an issue at the heart of the gospel, one that we need to keep on and on working at until we rectify our abysmal record on gender equality.

And here's the blurb to go with it

Wonder Woman?
‘Girls Allowed’ Weekend Conference 13-15 November 2009

This is a great weekend designed specially for women leaders, ministers’ wives or younger girls or women who know God is calling them to leadership/pioneering situations.

We have a fantastic line-up of speakers who have exciting, inspiring stories to tell, including:
Baroness Caroline Cox, at one time deputy leader of the House of Lords; Kate Coleman, who made history when she became the first black female president of the Baptist Union, and others who will be part of the event. Lynn Swart has agreed to join us to lead worship.

There will be a choice of Seminar Streams:

Established Leaders: This stream will explore the joys, challenges and opportunities of being a woman in leadership and offer some support and encouragement for the journey. It’s aimed at Ministers, Youth Pastors, Pastoral workers, Deacons, Elders, and ministry leaders.

Emerging Leaders:
This stream will look at exploring a call to leadership and the challenges and choices women face when they hear that call. It’s aimed at young women (16-25 year olds) who feel that God might be asking them to become leaders, or women who have done something else (career, family, caring) and who think that God is calling them to something new.

Espoused leaders!? (That’s ministers’ wives to you and me!) This stream will explore what it means to be married to ‘the minister’; how to balance the stresses of ministry and life; who you are as a person in your own right and what God’s calling is to you.

Main Sessions will run in the mornings so they’ll be loads of free time for cappuccinos and chatting, catching up with old friends and finding new ones! There’s a great swimming pool on site and squash courts for the energetic. Saturday evening will provide cafe style chill out with music and entertainment provided. There’ll be some Fairtrade stalls offering the opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping!

You can download the brochure, including the booking form, by clicking HERE


We realise you, dear reader, may be male! That means you know someone who should not only be aware of this weekend, but given real encouragement to be there. It may be your wife, a church leader, a full-time church worker’s wife, your church administrator, or a woman on whom you see God’s hand for leadership. Maybe your church could even consider sponsorship of some of these folk? We particularly want help to encourage the younger girls in your church, from 16 upwards, who obviously have God’s hand on their lives.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Summer School Part Two: The Bible in Post Modern Context

Further to my earlier post on our Partnership For Theological Education Summer School here in Manchester on religious diversity, we can now release details of the other strand that will be running concurrently. Mark Brummit is a highly engaging and somewhat unconventional teacher. Formerly research fellow in biblical studies here at LKH he is currently assistant prof at Colgate College, Rochester, NY.