Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Living and True God

Here's the text of the handout for a sermon I preached the other day from Exodus 3, ("I AM WHO I AM") on the 1st of the 39 Articles (we only really got as far as "living and true God"). Maybe more on that later.

A new sermon series on

Famous “Anglican” Texts

from The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

The 39 Articles of Religion (1562)

of the Church of England

… for the avoiding of diversities of opinions and

for the establishing of consent touching true religion

Article 1: Of Faith in the Holy Trinity

There is but one living and true God,

everlasting, without body, parts, or passions;

of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness;

the Maker, and Preserver of all things

both visible and invisible.

And in the unity of this Godhead there be three Persons,

of one substance, power, and eternity;

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

A modern language version of Article 1

from An English Prayer Book (OUP / Church Society, 1994)

There is only one living and true God,

who is eternal and without body, indivisible and invulnerable.

He is of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness.

He is the maker and preserver of all things

both visible and invisible.

Within the unity of the Godhead there are three persons

who are of one substance, power, and eternity –

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

You can see some more jottings in a Word document here.

Something Amusing

Here are some notes I made while I watched the rugby yesterday for my slightly amusing item at the church harvest supper. A few in "jokes". You have to imagine something in the style of Wodehouse. I emphasise imagine. I ad libbed a bit and was able to get my revenge for some of the other items that had mentioned the new curate. The Curate will not cure-it, at least not necessarily: he isn't making any promises.

Well, thanks to the warm up acts.

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, [I'm not sure why I think that should be funny. Perhaps someone could explain it to me afterwards]

My lords, ladies and gentlemen, Father, Your Reverence, my Lord Bishop [I think that covers everyone? I wasnt so sure about the Gentleman bit]

I’d like to tell you a story.

So if you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll begin. [Not too comfortably. I thought I saw Father Cheeseman nod off earlier, so if you could give him a poke].

Dont worry: this wont be as long as one of John's sermons.

I’d just like to stress that any resemblance to any people living or dead is purely co-incidental.

Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.

The hero of our story is Rev’d Martin Floyd,

The handsome, witty, elegant, modest, new, young curate of St Ethelbergers without the Wardrobe, Westbourne.

(You may notice some autobiographical themes in this literary masterpiece!)

Our hero was delighted to be invited to the church Harvest Supper.

He thanked the good people of St Ethelbergers, but declined their soiree, since he, and his even younger, beautiful, talented, heavily-pregnant wife, were away on holiday that day, and besides, Wales were playing Fiji that afternoon, (…. Sorry to mention that for any Welsh fans in tonight…. Emotional. I’ve got no nails left. Depression. This would have been much funnier if I hadn’t had to watch TV by the way…). and besides, the young curate would never willingly miss Saturday Night I’m A Celebrity X Factor Strictly Come Dancing Ballroom Take Away Get Me Out of Here.

Then came the importunate ring at the curettage door bell.

It was Mrs Sylvia Most-Bright, the formidable church warden of St Ethelbergers.

She made it quite clear to Rev’d Martin that his invite was not a suggestion: it was a summons.

The much loved former curate, Wayne Elvis Presley had stolen the hearts of more than one eligible senior member of St Ethelbergers with his moves.

Even the hard-working Revd Jerry Hobdaughter, our feckless hero’s predecessor, had attended the Harvest Supper.

And so, Rev’d Martin dashed back from his holiday retreat and poured himself into his best togs.

But at said Harvest Supper, Rev’d Martin found himself in a state of abject terror.

You see, Mrs Most-Bright had made it clear to our hero that not only was he required to attend the Harvest Supper, if he wanted to receive his stipend, he’d jolly well do Something Amusing.

Our fearless, foolish hero had breezily told them to put The Curate down on the Batting Order for Something Amusing, until he discovered quite what he’d let himself in for.

You see, the Blind Date Harvest Supper had become infamous in the folk-lore of St Ethelbergers, Westbourne.

The Long-Standing parishioners swore that they had witnessed it with their own eyes.

Their conservative evangelical Bible preaching Vicar, Rev’d J. Ham-lady, had once undergone the most amazing transformation.

The Vicar had stolen his wife, Felicity’s largest Trouser Suit and spouted the catch-phrases of popular television personality, Priscilla White.

Beautiful relationships had been formed.

Hearts had been broken.

How could he follow such antics?

Our hero was terrified.

There was no way he would fit into his wife’s clothing, not even into her maternity wear.

How would he now fulfil his rash promise of Something Amusing?

Rev’d Martin’s amusing item had actually involved more expense, study, preparation, anxiety and sleepless nights than all of his sermons put together!

Revd Martin hoped that the good parishioners might laugh at some of his mildly witty lines.

That if they couldn’t laugh with him, perhaps they would laugh at him.

Someone with an amusing bray must surely take pity on him and set the others off.

Perhaps they could simply imagine the funniest thing they’d ever seen, and laugh at that.

Mrs Floyd secretly hoped they wouldn’t laugh too much.

Would she ever hear the end of it if her humble husband was a hit?

Would the good parishioners ever be allowed to leave if our hero was encouraged by a sympathetic titter?

Our hero thought to fall back on his one true talent: music.

Perhaps he could sing for his supper?

After all, Rev’d Hamlady had often commented what a delight it was to sit next to our hero at the front of church, in front of everyone, and enjoy his unique singing voice.

Mrs Most-Bright had also been over-heard to suggest to some of the senior members of the PCC that if they needed to clear out the hall of lingering parishioners at the end of the evening, they could always call upon Rev’d Martin for a rousing chorus of Men of Harlech.

Some of the congregation were at least deaf, so they might be convinced.

But no, for our hero, it was to be his first love, the piano.

Well, not exactly the piano, more the electric keyboard.

But he decided not to make it too brilliant, so as not to show up his wife.

After all, the piano was meant to be her forte. (subtle: piano forte)

Please will you excuse me just a moment….

Ladies and Gentlemen: Will you please welcome our hero, the Rev’d Martin Floyd:

For your entertainment tonight,

A very personal composition - My over variation – on a theme by Mozart – influenced by a French folk tune.

Just to show I’m not a one trick pony!

(Perhaps I should stick to preaching)

Come back tomorrow for more hilarious anecdotes!

Thank you!

* * *

Our hero decided to fall back on his secret weapon: plagiarism.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Explained Absence

We're off on holiday for a week (staying on a farm near Canterbury), back for the Harvest Supper where I've foolishly promised to do something amusing, and preaching on Matthew 23, then I've a week at Oak Hill to crack on with the PhD.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Job Opportunity

Please tell all your friends about...

An exciting opportunity for an




at Holy Trinity, Eastbourne.

We are a large Conservative Evangelical Anglican church

with a strategic town centre seaside location.

We are seeking a gifted and proven Bible Teacher

to lead and develop our work with young people / families.

Attractive accommodation and salary package

(depending on experience)

For more information, please contact Rev’d Marc Lloyd 07812 054820

I'm delighted that the PCC agreed yesterday that we should place an advert along these lines in Evangelicals Now, The Church of England Newspaper and The Briefing and so on and go ahead and appoint a suitable candidate.

We would be interested in hearing from anyone who might be able to help us or who could lead this work. The post may suit an ordained person seeking a second curacy or someone with pastoral experience. But people in training or helping out in their local church should certainly get in touch now!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Curate's Lot

Being myself a new curate, I was fascinated to pick up a copy of:

A. Tindal Hart, The Curate's Lot: The story of the unbeneficed English clergy (John Baker, 1970)

second-hand at Lewes Castle for £4.50. I could have had it for £4 if I were a member of the Sussex Archeological Society, but sadly I am not.

The book tells of curates (and other such non-incumbents) from Saxon times to 1969 and I have learnt lots from the 42 pages I've so far read in my back garden.

More from Hart another time if I can be bothered, but for now, here's his lyrical preface:

The story of the unbenificed English clergyman should be of some interest both to historians and to the general churchgoer. For humble, despised, ill-treated and badly paid as he has been down the centuries, he, more than any other man, has bolstered up our famous parochial system and kept it going for more than a thousand years. Pluralist and non-resident incumbents called him in to run their parishes for them, bishops summoned him to fill the gaps caused by sequestration, sickness or deprivation, and to many a harassed and overworked rector or vicar he has proved a tower of strength, helping to bear the burden of the heat of the day. Others have sat back at their ease, while he has done their work as well as his own. Yet he flits through ecclesiastical history like a wraith: unheeded, unsung, taken for granted, his faults and failings alone remembered. Usually a bird of passage, although there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, he has left few marks of his presence behind him, execpt in the hearts and souls of the men and women he has served so faithfully. In the long run, of course, he would either blossom into an incumbent himself or be cast aside like a worn-out glove by the Church to which he had given the best years of his life. One of G. K. Chesterton's 'Secret People', he has never until recent times begun to take his rightful and honoured place in society, he could well, even in the not too distant past, have echoed the words: 'Smile at us, pay us, pass us, but do not quite forget, that we are the People of England, who have never spoken yet.'

Let us then listen to his voice and follow his odyssey as like the ancient Roman actor he makes his bow: 'If I have ever pleased you, that is my reward; if I have ever offended you, I crave your forgiveness.'

Emphasis added, in an entirely disinterested way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Interesting, disputed or wrong?

Whatever is the world coming to and I never thought I'd hear the like and how times change, and so on.

I was interested - not to say shocked and distressed - just now to hear "disinterest" used on a BBC Radio 4 trailer as if it meant "uninterest", which to my mind it clearly does not.

The choice was no doubt influenced by the sequence of "disgust" and "dis- I forget what" in the phrase and I can understand that a tired presenter might make such a slip, but to me it seems unforgivable in a pre-planned trailer. One would think that someone in the BBC would have noticed it before broadcast and that the phones would have been red-hot since.

The "dis"/ "un" interested distinction is just the kind that we need to preserve as it allows the convenient and economical distinguishing of two related ideas.

However, I was surprised to see that the Concise OED on my desk allows:

Disinterest, noun, 1. disputed, lack of interest, unconcern; 2. impartiality

The usage note says:

The use of disinterested in sense 1 to mean 'lack of interest' is sometimes objected to, but it is in this sense that it is most commonly found and the alternative uninterest is rare. The phrase lack of interest avaoids both ambiguity and accusations of incorrect usage.

Even a lack of interest need not be unambiguos, as in the phrase, "he lacked (an / any) interest in Sky Television": does he not wish to watch it or does he not own shares in it?

Clearly usage determines meaning but this is a usage up with which we should not put.

Homemade Cake

There's little better than a good homemade victoria spongue and tea, is there?

Our previous church in London used to have good homemade cake and biscuits at its weekly Mothers and Toddlers group. It was an added selling point and provided a good homely and hospitable welcome. It all contributes to a good atmosphere for friendships and gospel conversations. People would bake on a rota so it wasn't too hard and the church would pay for ingredients as necessary. It was a wonderful way for those who couldn't help with the children's work in any other way to contribute to this vital outreach ministry: the body working together.

I bet any group in your church could use some homemade cake or biscuits. Why not offer to bake some for them? Indeed, your curate could use some....

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Speak up!

Mrs Lloyd was sleepily listening to Sunday today on Radio 4. She heard the RCs clearly had opposed creating animal-human embryos. The C of E bishop fudged. The RCs are often good at making a stand over things like abortion and they don't seem to mind so much being out of step with the spirit of the age.

You remember the old quip, of course, along the lines that "if you marry the spirit of the age you'll find yourself widowed in the next."

We might learn a thing or two from some of our RC brothers.

I swear by the Grand Pixie, Satan and all his imps...

On our visit to Lewes Crown Court yesterday we discovered that one can give the oath by a "god"of one's choice, more or less.

Now I know this will be defended as freedom of religion and choice, but I think it is wicked publiclly established idolatry such as the kings of ancient Israel were commanded to drive out.

I am not saying we should make windows into men's souls. Let people do what they like in their own homes and let them form private satanism clubs if they wish to worship Lucifer behind closed doors.

But courts are a public space and there is no neutrality there. They are the Queen's courts, she is (I assume) a Christian and the Christian religion should be publicly established by law. Likewise, in every court, council and parliament, there should be public prayer for the blessing of Almighty God, as there is in the high court of parliament and in every church in the land every week.

And by Almight God, I mean the living and true of God, of course, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Triune God.

I noticed the oath for Jews is the same as that for Christians expect Christians swear on a New Testament and Jews swear on an Old Testament. That really will not do. The whole Bible is a Christian book.

Are we to be a Christian country or not? We can only expect the judgement of God on such pic-n-mix public religion. I would say national repentance is in order. Perhaps Her Majesty would care to announce it in the next Queen's Speech or perhaps in her Christmas Address to her subjects.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Day out in Lewes

I've the long weekend off. I was supposed to be speaking on an Oak Hall trip to Paris but it was cancelled since the coach was twice vandalized at this location. So we saved some cash (on Yvonne's holiday booking) and have had 2 very pleasent days here so far.

We went to Lewes today. A good breakfast / mid morning snack in Cafe Nero and a bit of browsing in the shops.

Cheese Please! was a hit. We tasted a Welsh Cheddar called Bouncing Betty that had cranberies in it. Tasted much more like a Wenslydale to me. And a yummy Swiss Cheese with a plum chutney. We bought them in some good sandwiches for lunch which we ate at the top of Lewes Castle. And yummy chilly and garlic olives and fetta stuffed peppers to take home.

'Cos we gift aided our entrance fee to Lewes Castle we got tickets we can use all year. It was worth a look. Good views. A wedding was taking place on the grass near the keep with a harpist while we were there. Tourists were taking their photo with the white open top Bently. And fun dressing up in medieval garb. I very much enjoyed the sound and light show with the model of the town and an informative historical video in the gift shop and museum.

It was free to look round Lewes Crown Court today as part of the Heritage Open Day. Interesting. Barrasters, judges and ushers all dressed up and there to chat. One could go in a cell and a police van and have one's finger prints taken (no thanks). There were 2 of Her Majesty's birds of prey there too. I'm not sure what they have to do with the penal system!

Lovely free gardens in Lewes today too (at Southover grange). Convinced me I don't need to worry about the first frost too much yet, though it's September.

There's also Anne of Cleves' house to see in Lewes. She got it as part of the divorce settlement. We'll definately go back, only if to return our bottles to the Harvey's Brewery Shop.

Stopped off at Middle Farm on the way back. Lots of amazing produce from kennels to octopus.

This afternoon, reading in the garden, a glass of Lewes brewer Harvey's Tom Paine ale, rugby on the telly.

Tonight, indian take away from the Spice Garden and the last night of the proms.

Tommorow, All Saints Eastbourne in the morning and All Souls in the evening, I think.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ritual Actions and RP

I reckon it would be useful for understanding the Regulative Principle of public worship in the NT era to go through the NT and make a list of more or less "ritual actions" that are spoken of maybe more or less positively. Of course all or most of our actions are in some way ritualised, but I hope you can see what I mean and the point of it all. Off the top of my head:

OT rituals such as circumcision as good in themselves in their place
the Lord's Supper
meals / feasts - waiting for one another
shaking the dust of your feet as a witness
feet washing
riding a donkey into Jerusalem
Jesus asking Peter the same question 3 times
white robes
Sabbath keeping
Jesus' habit of appearing to his disciples on a Sunday
Putting aside an offering on the 1st day of the week
regarding some days as special to the Lord
day and night, waking and sleeping
communal singing
formal excommunication
laying on of hands / ordination
holy kiss
public reading a scripture

Can you add to my list?

Ritual (like "tradition") seems inescapable. God seems to like it. The options are good ritual or bad and confused ritual not no ritual.

Stranger Evangelism

I'd say we want less starnge evangelism, myself, but Rev'd Geln Scrivner's 43 thoughts on evangelism to those we've never met before are well worth reading - though I might have some quibbles, such as a more positive view of the value of apologetics. And I reckon there are fewer than 43 thoughts here - some are cheating by giving an example of the previous thought! Naughty. Cold contact evangelism doesn't have to be cold, Glen claims, and I reckon it'd be great to persuade him to show one the ropes some time!

Its brill to have Glen and his "gergeous ulster-woman" (his words, I think) wife here on the Sunshine Coast. Glen is also a new curate - All Souls, Eastbourne. Lots of other interesting stuff at his website Christ The Truth, some of it quite distinctive, for example on Christ in the Old Testament and perhaps with quite a lot of Luther influence?

Article 1 Sentance Flow Diagram

I never really got the hang of going these on Biblical texts and I'm sure blogger wont show it up properly, but here goes:

(I) There is but one

(i) living

and (ii) true GOD,


without (i) body,

(ii) parts,

(iii) passions;

of infinite (i) power,

(ii) wisdom,

and (iii) goodness;

the (a) Maker,

and (b) Preserver of all things both (i) visible

and (ii) invisible.

And in the unity of this Godhead there be (II) three Persons, of one (i) substance,

(ii) power,

and (iii) eternity;

(1) the Father,

(2) the Son,

and (3) the Holy Ghost.

Some points of this are debatable, of course. How exactly does "one living and true God" work? I guess it should actually be one living and true God as opposed to many lifeless / fales gods rather than there is one God, who is also living and true? Oh hum ho!

Passionate, Simple Docrinal Preaching (Article 1)

Rather foolishly, perhaps, I have set myself to preach on Article 1 of the 39 Articles of Religion of the Church of England at our main morning service on Sunday 16th September.

I shall consult Griffiths Thomas, The Principles of Theology, which is an exposition of the articles, of course. Good to be able to read something positive about Anglicanism by a Welshman. And the English Prayer Book has a helpful modern language version of the aricles.

The Bible reading is going to be Exodus 3 (God's name is I AM WHO I AM, implying his eternality, unity, asceity, perhaps?).

The sermon will be largely doctrinal but I think it will be necessary to show that these are biblical doctrines, not just made up philosophical gobbledygoook.

I also need to show why these things matter and what their practical application is.

In general the title of the 39 articles says they are for:

… for the avoiding of diversities of opinions and
for the establishing of consent touching true religion

Noble aims: unity & truth.

I'm starting to think, though, that one sermon on the 1st Article is pretty impossible:

Article 1: Of faith in the Holy Trinity

There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in the unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

So much there! That gives you maybe 2.5 mins on impassibility in your 30 min sermon, if you're lucky.

In particular, does anyone have any tips on preaching the simplicity and impassibility of God? How would you explain "God... without parts, passions"? Is there one text for each you'd turn people to? And a main practical application?

Which bit of the article should I do the children's talk on?

In fact, I wonder if the Article might not give us a sermon series. Something like:

(1) The One God
(2) The Living God
(3) The True God

(3) The Everlasting God - The Eternality of God
(4) The God without a body - The Spirituality of God (or is there a better way of putting that?)
(5) The God without parts - The Simplicity of God

(6) God's infinite power
(7) God's infinite wisdom
(8) God's infinite goodness

(9) God the Maker
(10) God the Preserver

(11) The Three Persons: Father, Son and Spirit
(12) The Trinity: One in Substance, power and eternity

Do you think there's enough material for each of these sermons? Would they all be worth doing? Or should they be broken down more: e.g. a sermon on homoousios, God the Preserver of the invisible things, and so on?

Any thoughts or tips or things I can plagarise or look at, most welcome.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hope 2008?

I've just spent a few moments on the Hope 08 website.

Hope 08 is a kinda Youth For Christ, Soul Survivor, Oasis thing. They say they're about communicating the gospel through words and action.

Here's their vision statement:

The diverse range of churches across the United Kingdom are on a constant mission to serve and communicate with the 58 Million residents and many visitors. 'Hope' proposes to support this on-going work, by facilitating intensified, united, focused prayer and a year of activities, communicating the Gospel through words and actions, creating a lasting legacy of both physical and spiritual change in the lives of communities and individuals.

Supporting Local Churches across the UK in their commitment to serve and witness to their communities

Encouraging Collaboration between churches and agencies in reaching out to their communities

Resourcing and Training local churches to develop their ability to engage with their communities on a long term basis

Impacting Individuals and Communities with the Gospel through words and actions during 2008.

All sounds admirable. Depending on exactly what diverse means. And provided they don't replace the words with actions. (And so on!)

In our part of the world (East Sussex & beyond) Asburnhum Place is acting as a sort of hub for it.

A doctrinal basis didn't leap out at me. All sorts of eminent people (including Rowan and a RC Cardinal) are advising them. I imagine they're not quite in the same place we as conservative evangelicals are?

Is your church involved? Is it the kind of thing we should be involved with? How?

How To Learn Anglican Psalm Chant

When some of us were trying to learn Anglican Psalm chant, before we started on the Psalm we'd la-la the chant a few times. No doubt that's helpful but here's another approach:

In fact, when choirs are learning a new chant, one of the first things they will do is speak the words together repeatedly, until everyone feels and reproduces the same cadence at an ordinary reading/speaking pace. Next, they will sing the same text on a monotone, again striving to develop a unity of pace/diction/cadence for the lines of the text. Finally, they will add the actual notes of the chant, striving to keep the pace and cadence that was present when they were simply reading it in unison.

(From Jack's Pipe)

If you think about it, it makes sense to get to know the words before you try to chant them since the whole point of Anglican chant is that the words govern the music and the melody you've been la-la-ing is going to be different for every line anyway.

Long term best or short term fix?

Maybe this is a stupid question but how do we decide between the long term best and the short term fix? Or, if we want to get there, where do we go from here?

For example, if some of our church music is pretty weak and we want to improve it (particularly making it more attractive to the under 40s) and eventually we want to chant the Psalms, do we just do it, introduce Psalm practice, start on some metrical Psalms, or give up on the whole thing and buy Spring Harvest 07, or what?

Or take the Sunday School. If we want children to be in church with their parents as much as possible, do we spend lots of time and energy on having a great Sunday school so that we can have lots of kids to send out to it?

I know, it all depends and we must distinguish. But it feels like giving up on long term goals for the sake of short term expediecy. Maybe its time for a cuppa.

Site for Singing Metrical Psalms

I'm sure chanting the Psalms to music is the way forward, but since I'm something of a lazy musical retard I was delighted to see this whizzy site, Music For The Church of God / Psalms in Meter, which lets you choose from a number of different metrical versions of each Psalm and a number of different tunes (which it plays at you) to sing them by. Hours of edifying "fun" and Psalm chanting as an ambition for the grandchildren.

Thanks to Dr Field, Mr Newman, Jack's Pipe and Father Mouser.

Homegroup Leaders' Notes on Jonah

Here are some notes for 4 studies on the book of Jonah I've prepared for the homegroup leaders at Holy Trinity, Eastbourne.

The studies basically follow the chapter divisions:

Ch. 1: The Disobedient Prophet Shown Up By The Pagan Sailors
Ch. 2: God’s Merciful Rescue of the Repentant Prophet

Ch. 3: God’s Merciful Rescue of the Repentant Ninevites

Ch. 4: The Angry Prophet Shown Up By The Compassionate LORD

And here are a few words of explanation and advice for the study leaders:

Please feel free to use the notes flexibly and adapt them to the needs of your group – missing things out or spending more time on one point as seems appropriate. It’s great if you can do some of your own preparation on the text too. I never find it easy to use other people’s questions! Obviously you’ll need to interact with what people say and not just go through the sheets. Remember that ideally we’re neither pooling our ignorance nor preaching a sermon: we’re aiming to ask questions so that people see the truths of God’s word for themselves and are able to apply them to our lives. I’ve tried to write the questions in blocks so that they build on one another and lead towards the points that the passage is making. Sometimes your group might hit on the point in one leap from just one question, in which case you’ll want to pass over some questions. In other cases you might need to break it down, re-word the questions or point at particular bits of the text. Some of my questions are different ways of getting at the same thing so it might be overkill to use them all. I hope there aren’t too many “guess-what’s-in-my-mind” questions!

Personally I would recommend encouraging your group members to read the text in advance but not giving them these notes before the study as the notes give away the points you’re hoping to discover together from the Bible in the studies.

With the notes in an electronic form you can play around with them, if that’s helpful. For example, perhaps one or two questions given out to group members in advance could work well.

Do remember to make time in the sessions to pray in the light of God’s word.

Please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk about any of the studies or anything from Jonah.

I’d appreciate your feedback on the notes and on how the groups go.

With my prayers,


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Salvation Geography & Jonah

Understanding the geography of Jonah 1:1-3 highlights Jonah’s dramatic disobedience. He’s sent to Nineveh in Assyria, 500 miles east of Israel, in what is now northern Iraq. Instead he heads to Joppa, to sail for Tarshish. Joppa was then a Philistine city, the modern city of Tel Aviv on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. Tarshish is probably Tartessos in south west Spain. Jonah heads 2000 miles west, virtually the length of the Mediterranean, the span of the known world. Jonah does the opposite of what he’s been told to do. He could hardly get more disobedient if he tried!

There’s a danger of parallelomania, of course, but given that Jonah is reluctantly shown God’s compassion for the gentile Ninevites, it is interesting that Jonah goes to get a ship in Joppa (Jonah 1:3) and Peter is in Joppa (which is named 10 times in Acts 9-11) by the sea when he has his vision and then begins to grasps that “God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:35).

Given the New Testament parallel between Jonah and Jesus (Mt 12:38-41; 16:1-4; Lk 11:29-32) it’s interesting to note that both Jonah and Jesus were prophets from Galillee. Jonah was from Gath-Hepher (Jonah 1:1), a city in the district of Zebulun, 3 miles north east of Nazareth.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Job Opportunities

The Economist for 23rd Aug 07 reports that:

Corporate chaplains are a booming business in America. There are roughly 4,000 of them (precise numbers are hard to come by) working everywhere from giant multinationals to tiny family firms. And their numbers are growing. America has several thriving rent-a-chaplain companies, and two seminaries that offer degrees in corporate chaplaincy, yet demand still exceeds supply.

I’ve no idea what the rules are on curates having outside interests, but if the multi-nationals of Eastbourne would like to employ a clerical consultant or non-executive spiritual director, I would be pleased to consider any offers.