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No More Leaders March 25, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Church, Life, Theological Reflection.
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The Bible, the church and the world are full of them: leaders. Powerful, driven people in powerful positions driving and shaping our lives, our society and even our thoughts and beliefs. They walk all over us, they talk all over us and behind closed doors they talk about us and dream up strategies to save us.

And somewhere — not high up above, but somewhere down below, here amongst us — God strips naked and kneels, wraps a towel around his waist, and washes our feet.

And I… at last, at long last, I think I begin to understand. I understand why God came amongst us as a man. Not to show us male leadership, as many in the church would have it, but to turn that leadership, that arrogance and dominance, on its head. To serve. To be amongst us one who serves.

And you… you want to be a leader? To be in control? Then, like Christ, you must set that aside. All your dreams, all your plans: they’re nothing, nothing at all, and they will take you nowhere except, perhaps, to an early grave.

And those who say leadership is male? They’re probably right: because leadership is folly. It is not the way of Christ. The way of Christ is service. Service that gives, and goes on giving; and for those who serve there is neither male nor female, no gay, straight or in between: we are all the same, all one in Christ Jesus.

Say goodbye to leadership, with all its trappings of power and control. Strip yourself naked, wrap a towel around your waist and go, wash your neighbours’ feet.

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Fresh Expressions of Holiday Club March 24, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Church, Music.
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You may have seen this before. Never mind: it’s worth watching again: the Easter vacation is upon us and it’s children’s holiday club time. Here’s how a holiday club should be done, courtesy of one of my all-time favourite bands. Pump up the volume and enjoy:

Spring has Sprung in Bedfordshire March 9, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Photos, Watching and Waiting.
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No leaves on the trees yet, but I’m sure they’ll be along soon…

Spring Sunshine: St Andrew's, Langford - March 2010

Spring Sunshine - St Andrew's, Langford - March 2010

Snowdrops in the Woods at Moggerhanger Park, March 2010

Snowdrops in the Woods at Moggerhanger Park, March 2010

Winter has done its worst, but springtime brings new life, new hope…

Brenda Harrison, RIP March 4, 2010

Posted by Emma Jayne in Christianity, Death.
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I never knew Brenda Harrison but I know this about her: she was a woman of God; and like me, she was a lesbian. Unlike me, she was also an evangelical, and that must have been such a difficult path to tread: evangelicals are not renowned for their tolerance of those who don’t — or won’t — conform to their particular perspective on life.

She was also a founding member of Accepting Evangelicals, an organisation that describes itself as

a open network of Evangelical Christians who believe the time has come to move towards the acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships at every level of church life, and the development of a positive Christian ethic for gay and lesbian people.

That’s pretty amazing. More than that, it’s mind-blowing. Liberating! It’s beyond belief — quite literally beyond belief, because it’s a step beyond belief into faith, faith in a God who loves and lives amongst us and accepts us as we are.

So today I’d like to take the opportunity to thank God for Brenda, for her life, for all that she gave of herself in living what she believed and daring to be known for who and what she was. I’m sorry that I never met her; but I hold on to the hope that one day I will, in that life beyond this life where we will all know, even as we are fully known, how much God loves us: how deep and wide and long and high God’s unfathomable, immeasurable love for each and every one of us is.

And for Pam, her partner now left behind after Brenda’s battle with cancer, I simply join with Mike Dark in prayer:

May we all pray for her partner Pam that she would be upheld and comforted at this awful time. May the sweet memories of their lives together strengthen Pam as she comes to terms with the loss of Brenda.

You’ll find Mike’s full tribute, albeit brief, on the Accepting Evangelicals news page.

And to you, my friend, reading this: to you — especially if you’re an evangelical — I offer a challenge: will you dare to stand, as Brenda once stood, for the acceptance that God’s love demands of each one of us? Will you join Accepting Evangelicals?

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