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September 2020 


Six 800Re: Rule of Six
I have read about Darren Blaney's take on the Rule of Six. I enjoyed it very much. I know that this is a little outrageous but I inspired enough to state my own Lockdown  Rule of Six here. If we could have any Six members from most of our Baptists Together churches, who are able and willing to give £6 for 6 months, what 6 areas on Ministry (Home or Abroad) could that money dramatically touch?
George Ayoma


Pat Ingle800Re: The Revd Patrick Ingle: 1942-2020 
I was very sorry to read of Pat’s death – We overlapped in our times in Gwent, and also on the BU Council. One memory of him at Council says a lot for the man. He had to make what everyone knew could be a boring report, but one that formality rendered essential. We had hardly had time to close our eyes, let alone go to sleep, when he sat down. After a few seconds of stunned silence, the Southampton Row Council chamber erupted with the greatest outburst of laughter that we had ever known there.

When sobriety returned, the chairman felt constrained to ask Pat if he had finished. He had.
(Revd) David Hardiman  (nowadays in retirement in South Shields) 

Scriptures800Re: When I feel self-pity…

Colin Sedgwick's article irritated me. He usually writes sensible advice but I felt that this refection wasn't at all helpful during this Covid-19 pandemic. It lacked empathy and humanity. Perhaps, he didn’t mean it to come over thus, but alas it did.

So ...................

What about the man shielding because he has bad asthma, feeling really sorry because he can't get to the library, church or to meet his friends? Hasn't he every right to feel sorry for himself? A friendly chatty phone call, or leaving a home baked cake on the doorstep would help more than asking him to remember a fictional, or Biblical character from millennia ago.

Think about the young family, husband and wife both losing their jobs in the newly closed local car factory, and no other employment in the area. Would they feel less sorry for themselves by saying thank you, praise the Lord, because look at Joni? Actually, if you read her book, it wasn't all "Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits" for her anyway. It took years before she was able to climb out of her problems and only because she was well supported.

What about the single parent family? Work has gone and unemployment benefit isn't enough for the rent and food. Mum is feeling sorry for itself and doesn't know where to turn, "Ah well we'll be content because there are people in Africa who are worse than us". What rubbish - we aren't living in an African village! I have lived in, not just visited, Africa, and know what was like to live in the UN's designated poorest country in the world. It can be harder here during the pandemic, in a developed nation, where they are many rich folks, and you neighbours have what they need and more, yet you struggle to put food on the table.

What abut the lady, married for 50 years, with a husband with dementia? The home is miles away by bus. Because of Covid-19, she can't see him. Of course, she is feeling really sorry for herself and wondering if she will ever be able to tell him she loves him before he descends into a cloud of unknowing. Remembering Esther won't help her.

And then there is the self employed sound technician, only two years out of college, so no Government grant, with no work, and theatres not opening until next year, if at all. Searching but finding nothing because 200 or more are after each job. Yes, they should be feeling sorry for themselves, especially seeing folk with more than one home and worried that they will soon be homeless. Telling them about Biblical characters fortitude and that they should be thankful isn’t going to help them.

Years ago, when I went through an extremely difficult time (I won’t go into it), I had a Christian friend, who said similar things to me. I wanted to thump them ............. and I'm a pacifist! In fact they made things worse as it just loaded guilt on top of of the difficulties I already found myself in! Yes, I did feel sorry for myself. Empathy would have been more useful than quoting the Bible.

So let's travel alongside those feeling sorry for themselves - we may not know their full story; those depressed or on the verge of it; those unemployed; those who haven't enough money to feed their family. Let's listen to them sympathetically, find out how we can help them and encourage them practically at this difficult time. None of us have experienced a pandemic like this before. Don't offer spiritual platitudes,  expecting that to make a difference to their problems, please.
Name and address supplied

Danger800Re: Black lives and dangerous ideologies
It is rare to see the heart of these ideologies that have had such a global impact, damaging the lives of many  so succinctly unpacked. In a world where we are too easily overwhelmed by confusing messages through our ubiquitous media, Christians need to develop understanding  to be 'salt and light'. Mark's article has given us much to think about and to point us in a fruitful direction.
Anne Burghgraef

Another very stimulating and thought-provoking article from Mark. Thank you!
Mark Y

It's so important for Christians not just to react to what we see around us, but try to understand the ideologies and assumptions lurking behind. Even the newest cause often turns out to be making claims about existence that are as old as the hills! Which is why more than ever we need people with the philosophical knowledge willing to step up and point out the issues. Bravo, Mark!
Tom Pettinger

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