Saturday, 1 May 2010

Baptist Assembly Day 2

Cracking start to day 2.  It was good to use the Northumbria Community's morning prayer as the structure for worship.  Ages since I've sung it.  Particularly liked the soulful flute and whistle playing from the band's very own Richard Hammond look-alike.  Even better though was Karl Martin's sermon. Attentive to scripture, warm hearted, spiritually rich, appropriately humorous and very skilfully done.  Nice one Karl.  Look and learn folks.

Aside from a bunch of stimulating conversations the other main hi-light for me was hearing one of the students from Luther-King House, Lucy Berry, reading some of her poetry at the Prism do.  It made me feel irrationally proud.  Lucy writes some excellent stuff for which I can of course take absolutely no credit whatsoever.  She's not even a Baptist student for goodness sake.  Still proud though.   

Prism itself made me feel how "alternative worship" services nearly always make me feel.  I utterly approved of the approach they took but somehow couldn't quite get into it as an act of worship.  I'm convinced this says more about me than it does about this style of worship.  Maybe I'm more tied to sitting rows being led from the front than I'd like to admit.

Lucy reappeared at the after hours Assembly Redux which revealed BT editor Mark Woods to be a rather nifty host and interviewer.

On a personal note I enjoyed doing a seminar on mission, theology and The Bible with Roger Standing of Spurgeon's and Steve Finnamore principal of the Bristol College.  I liked the Q&R best.  I think one or two others enjoyed it as well.  Hope so.

Not entirely confident about my seminar tomorrow with the  Baptist Ministers' Fellowship.  I think it runs the risk of falling between two stools.  In its present form it's half way between a scripted lecture and notes for a more extempore talk.  I'll have to decide tomorrow which way to go with it.


Ingrid said...

I didn't hear Karl Martin myself but the only thing I heard was how down-hearted/irritated people (men and women) were by his 'you're sons get over it' comment.

Lucy Berry's poem on sending out missionaries should be read on main stage every year as people are being sent out - amazing.

Glen Marshall said...

I know what you mean about that comment (although he throw in a comment about blokes having to cope with being the bride of christ, which yes, I know, is no justification)I just reckon it's a shame to allow that to obliterate all that was good about it.

I bought Lucy's book and there's loads of good stuff in it, not nearly as patchy as many poetry books tend to be. said...

Glen, Sorry I didn't bump into you at the Assembly :).

I'm interested in your comments on Karl's sermon. I saw an entirely different side to it to you. Funny yes. Attentive to scripture, I'm not so sure. He is certainly working from a different model of cultural engagement to me!

Neil said...

Karl communicates well but I struggle to find an excuse for his comments about sons / bride of Christ since he clearly recognised the issue but choose to ignore it.

Listening to him on Satuday I was far from convinced that he was engaging with the text at anything more than a superficial level. The session was entitled 'Bible Study' but was Karl's talk a fair reflection of what the text says, the force of the writers argument or an application of it?

simon said...

Glad you made it to Prism, Glen, and gave it a try. I thought lucy was brilliant (one of many highlights at this year's Prism, i felt).
You're comment on alt worship is interesting. I guess it's what I feel about sitrting in rows and listening to a single person speak and tell me what to sing and what to do next. It doesn't work for me.
I guess I'd love to know how much such an approach features on the syllabus of our training institutions and how we're forming women and men to lead people in a variety of expressions of how we relate to God and learn the faith. I sense that we're still wedded to the face-the-front-and-litsen-carefully model. I wonder if that's up-to-snuff for today's world...
Thanks for the tip on Cole Moreton's book. Is he related to Tony Moreton?

Glen Marshall said...

Don't get me wrong I think Karl was far from flawless. I wasn't wild about the substance of his interpretation but I did think he tried to work with the text rather than ignoring it as many do. Don't think the thrust of what he had to say was at odds with text. I'll settle for that when it comes with confident, and highly competent communication skills. Oratorical flare is not everything but it is more significant than many are prepared to allow for.

Glen Marshall said...


Without doubt the old model still dominates here at LKH though some of us are seeking to critique it, some from the perspective of postmodernity and postchristendom, some offering a feminist critique.

I must stress that my observation was entirely at a gut level. It's the way I feel when I visit Sanctus1 and how I used to feel when we had our own alt worship service in Wakefield. Also the observation relates more to worship in general rather than engagement with The Bible when I'm completely at home with a more dialogical approach while also wanting to leave room for a good piece of monological oratory. I think they achieve different things.

Tony Moreton? Dunno. Who he? Cole is a journo (but don't let that put you off ;-) ) who has written for the Church Times and The Independant among others.

simon said...

Tony Moreton was part of Harvestime (the Bryn Jones grouping) based in Southampton in the 1970s and 80s. I was a journo myself so am glad to come across people who can write!

I agree with you about dialogue and monologue achieving different things and therefore both being valid.

I guess my concern with colleges is that we could be training people for a model that is passing away and where would thast leave us?

Glen Marshall said...

THAT Tony Moreton! No, no relative, or not as far as I know, certainly resemblance judging by the picture on the dust cover.

Yes I knew you were a journo (hence the wink).

Re worship model I think we are in transition both in the colleges (or at least here) and in contemporary culture. Still think that the jury's out on whether or not alt worship type stuff is the future. What do you make of Pete Ward's question the the emerging church movement asking if ec is as in tune with contemp culture as they claim then how come the movement attracts so few people? (That's not a criticism dressed up as a question, I'm genuinely interested in your opinion.)

simon said...

I think the word 'transition' is the key. It seems to me that what 'emerging church' is a label hung on a number of responses to the changes happening in culture to which affect the church.
It was a useful shorthand to describe changes that were bigger than merely tweaking the worship style of churches. But I think Pete is right that some elements of EC are no more culturally attuned than a hymn-prayer sandwich.
I am going to blog on this later so I'd be interested in your view on what I say.
Fundamentally, I guess I am more interested in seeing communities form that focus on helping people learn how to be disciples of Jesus. That's what we all want, it's just that I wonder if the inherited ways we have of doing this actually work.

Glen Marshall said...

Yup I'd go along with all that.

A sequence of questions. Are the communities we are seeking to form looking to be a more radical expression of discipleship than is typically found in the generality of our churches? If so does this mean bearing witness to a more radical and therefore more demanding understanding of the gospel? If so does this mean fewer people are likely to respond than would respond to a less radical gospel? If so is this a price worth paying? If so is there an inevitable tension between radicalism and popular appeal, between faithful witness and fruitful evangelism?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised and disappointed to read critical comments on another minister's sermon/preach in this kind of forum.

Is it positive and upbuilding to comment publicly on how you only heard negative things said (Ingrid's comment) and to post it on a public forum rather than feed it back to someone in person - and at the very least, in private in discussions between yourselves.

To question someone's integrity in handling scripture when they have been asked to speak at a large gathering by denominational leaders I find surprising.

Typecast me as a raging fundamentalist if you must, bit doesn't James 3 apply here?

James 3
1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check..and reading on.....!

Glen Marshall said...

"Anonymous" just a quickie to let you know that I've done a new post on some of the issues that your raise.

BTW I'd be the last to label you as a "raging fundamentalist" just because you seek to apply scripture.

Thanks for chipping in.