My wife – and chief editor/the person to whom I check things, has given the go-ahead to start writing a series of personal-theological reflections on things I’ve learned.
This is, actually, significantly less pretentious than you might think.
Over the years I’ve been following Jesus and blundering around the planet we call earth, I’ve been privileged to be associated, at different times and places and in different ways – with some brilliant gatherings, groups and organisations. Whether I was paying or planning to learn from them, or was there by accident, or serving there, or working there, I like to think I’ve learnt (and, arguably, are continuing to learn) something from each of these.
Here they are, the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met:
- Chertsey Street Baptist Church (CSBC) – part of the Grace Baptist Churches
- Urban Saints Guildford (USG – Formerly Guildford Crusaders)
- The FIEC – The Federation of Independent Evangelical Churches
- UCCF – The Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship
- HTB – Holy Trinity Brompton
- The Vineyard
- St. John’s Nottingham
- LST – The London School of Theology
- SPCK – The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge
Over the next few months, before our next big adventure, I hope to share a few of the things I’ve learnt and am learning from each of these groups/things.
My mother always reminded me, in cards and comments, rebukes and celebrations, of words of Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Each of these groups, in their own way, I have found difficult. Each of these things, in their own way, I have appreciated. Each of these times, in their own way, I have learnt something from. The nature of the Kingdom of God – the rule and reign and glorious plan of God – is to trust and see what happens next. Thus far, it is fair to say, my path and our path has not yet gone as planned. Crooked and queer, we often remember the problems and forget the lessons. But what if we remembered, celebrated, and learnt from, the things we learn from different people and places and populations along our journey?
We should also recognise, however dimly and imperfectly, that what God is doing is not dead – and so, even if we are miles and miles removed, we continue to learn from the places that have taught us things in the past.
That is what this blog series will be about. It’ll be easy to write, hard to read, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.