Friday, December 30, 2011

My New Year Letter

The Rectory, Rookery Lane, Rushlake Green, Nr. Heathfield, TN21 9QJ
01435 830421 M:07812 054820 Y:07729 557835 (mobile reception poor at home) /

Friday 30th December 2011 AD

As I (Marc) failed to write a single Christmas card this year, and at the prompting of Mrs Lloyd, I thought I’d attempt a New Year letter. You’ll be pleased to hear that despite their undoubted brilliance, it won’t consist entirely of boasts about Jono (4), Abigail (1) and Matthew (0)’s many achievements. I’ll be blowing my own trumpet a little too!

Matthew Zechariah Richard Lloyd’s greatest achievement of the year so far was probably being born, weighing 8lbs 11oz at 15:32 on 23rd December. (There are some snaps on The Face Book). Apart from Our Lord, Matthew was the greatest Christmas present of all and is overshadowing much else, just at the moment. Both mother and baby are doing well and are considering venturing out of the house for the first time today. Daddy is rather exhausted but just about bearing up. I’m glad paternity leaves only lasts 2 weeks as I can’t possibly keep up with producing 3 meals a day and putting the dishwasher and washing machine on. Thank the Lord for the olds and out-laws!

We moved to the countryside last January and so far the natives have proved reasonably friendly for the most part. I think I’ve only really upset a few batches of locals a few times and clashed with The Rushlake Green Mafia once. It is true that “Sussex Won’t Be Drove”.

So all is going tolerably at Warbleton and Bodle Street Green parish churches as far as I can tell. They were stuffed to the gunnels at Christmas but there remains room for growth week by week, especially at Bodle Street. The plans to add Dallington parish church to my fiefdom are grinding on. “Like a Mighty Tortoise Moves The Church of God”. I’ve been doing a primary school assembly there every week which taxes my creativity. Please send ideas and outlines. Progress on my PhD has been similarly speedy.

Mrs Lloyd is enjoying being a more than full-time Mum, wife and unpaid Vicar’s help. Very much above and beyond the call of duty she has heroically launched The Little Warblers Toddler Group, which has been great. Some weeks there’s been a small band and lots of good chats; other weeks we’ve felt rather overrun with customers and in need of some extra helping hands.

Jono is very much enjoying Daisy Chain Nursery where he is learning all about the real meaning of Christmas: Santa! He’s not slow to correct them when they get something wrong! For much of the year he has inhabited the parallel universe of Octonauts (as Captain Barnacles) but just lately he has become Mike The Knight. All this produces great courage and heroism in his better moments.

Abigail continues to be a very live wire, in to everything and not to be left out.

Well, that’s more than enough of that. A very happy new year to you all. We’d love to get a boastful letter from you too! With our love and prayers and every blessing for 2012,

Marc, Yvonne, Jono, Abigail, Matthew, Caleb the Dog and Esther the Cat.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

God is love - dangerous talk

Someone who I don't think I've ever met commented on Twitter to someone else that some other people I've probably never met had said to him on his blog that it is dangerous to say that God is love because if you do you'll end up as some kind of dreadful liberal inclusivist universalist like Rob Bell.

Although the idea is refuted by its own absurdity, I thought I'd dignify it with a response here:

(1) You know you are in danger of losing the plot if Biblical language gives you the willies. 1 John 4:8. Enough said. Incidentally, this argument ought to make us realise that Baptism is a big deal too and much more than getting wet.

(2) Any statement is open to misunderstanding. Sure, if you are going to say God is love you must know who / what God you are talking about, what real love is (that it is jealous, for example) and indeed the nature of being and predication, along with everything else in the universe. Of course. What is is is a jolly good question. It is dangerous to say anything. We only know something completely if we know everything so we cannot totalise the statement "God is love". Or rather, if we said that properly we would say everything. We get in to deep waters whenever we say anything. Our speaking is always different from that of God the Word who spoke and created the world. For us, there is always more to be said. We always lisp. At our best we merely echo God's perfect speech. It is perfectly true that in some circumstances, God's love properly understood implies his wrath since the loving response to sin is holy anger.

(3) Yet, whilst we must not pit God's love againts his wrath and so on, God is love is a statement more proper to God than God is wrath. God's wrath is what we might call his strange, alien work. From all eternity, in His Very Self, the Father has loved the Son and the Son has loved the Father in the bond of the Holy Spirit. Where and when there was no sin there was no wrath. But there has always been love since The Triune God is Love in Himself. And that love overflows to the world. And, yes, love wins.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Parish / Church Magazine Ideas

I have the joyful opportunity and the regular responsibility of writing a page of A4 for our church / parish magazine every month. I've been at it for a year now. Here are some idea starters:

Recent or prospective events in:

the locality
e.g. the Sussex Marathon, the Heathfield Show, the shop up for sale

the church
e.g. mission plans, The Year of The Great Parish Visitation

amongst your family and friends
e.g. the birth of a new child, a friend emigrates

national life
e.g. the royal wedding, the Olympics

the media
e.g. what some rock star said, the death of a celebrity

something topical

the church year / feast & festivals
e.g. Valentine's Day

the secular calendar
e.g. New Year, Guy Falkes night

the seasons

a bible passge you've been reading

introduce or review a sermon series

summary, extract or overflow from a sermon

review or reccomend a book, film, play, ballet, opera, theatre production etc.

something from the blogs

something arising from occasional offices of weddings, funerals, baptisms etc.

say thank you, sorry or please about something

find something in a dictionary of quotations to agree or disagree with

write in the form of a diary, letter or notes (i.e. a number of paragraphs as mini articles)