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February 2021 


The Chase800Re: 'Keep shining your light in whatever circumstances you find yourself'
What a lovely uplifting story thanks for sharing!
Lucy Olofinjana (via Facebook)

A wonderful witness for Christ 
Patricia Greer (via Facebook)


TPNW800Re: Do we have enough hope? 

Martin Tiller's article on the Prohibition Treaty struck a moving personal and political note for me. My father Tom Cuthbert lived in Rugby and was a lifelong opponent  of nuclear weapons and the policies  to justify them. As an RAF navigator flying in Wellington bombers he was lucky to have survived 'ditching' in the Mediterranean. Nursing a broken jaw, Dad and his crew were rescued after four days by the destroyer 'Blyskavica', and that happily for me ended his operational flying days.

Dad began my education in opposing nuclear weapons with a cinema trip to see 'The War Game' originally banned from broadcast by the government. Today I am an active member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and have worked hard for their National Council  for over 30 years. The Prohibition Treaty is a huge problem for this Johnson government having invested so much in new nuclear weapons.

My MP the Culture Minister Oliver Dowden assured me that the government may attend a UN meeting in Vienna to review the Prohibition Treaty to be held at the end of 2021 and will approach the Ministry of Defence as a first step. I have written to all the County Councillors in Hertfordshire (78) asking them to support this approach as a minimum.

The problem is the commitment the Prime Minister made to the Ministry of Defence on November 19 2020 offering £192 billion over 4 years for a huge range of armaments including the nuclear armed submarine fleet.

This is a strategic disaster as the death toll from the pandemic tops 104,000 people. The Prime Minister's Integrated Review should have been for the NHS to train nurses and medical staff during the summer of 2020 when the pandemic had receded a bit and distribute the vaccines we are so in need of now in 'this winter of discontent'. 

Martin's article reminds us that the treaty is a viable means to secure the end of nuclear weapons and rebuild international trust with those states like Russia and China so vilified because of their authoritarian stance and their fear of the West.

The Baptist Union is a brave voice for nuclear disarmament and the promise of world peace. If we can achieve this then at last we may have the resources to combat the numerous other problems our troubled world faces as the Covid pandemic illustrates every day in this sad time most of us still hope to live through.
Tom Cuthbert

Satellites800Re: Why it's time to shift the centre of youth discipleship

This reminds us of a quote from @ShaneClaiborne: in his book Irresistible Revolution, where that we lose young people precisely because we have molly coddled young people
dcbcplymouth (via Twitter)

This is brilliant,  I wonder if it’s just youth discipleship though and perhaps there’s lessons for the whole church? It’s not just an hour on Sundays!
Martyn Strong (via Twitter)

Can I push back a little? I understand that you’re saying our methods reflect a lack of depth in our thinking as to God’s place in our lives? But I think it’s more than that. I think our theology (deus ex machina, theology of exchange, sacrifice) inevitably drives people away.
Joe Haward (via Twitter)

I'm sure it's way more complicated than I can articulate in a short article (and with my limited brain!). Recently I've been really struck by how seriously and repetitively God asks his people to have no other gods... Arguably now our culture is just chockful of them. So - I think the issue of God's primary position in our lives is THE key issue that the Bible describes. But there's loads of other things to address, exactly as you say.
Martin Saunders (via Twitter)

Tertullain said that the greatest problem was idolatry. No doubt it’s a continuous problem. I’m just wondering whether putting God first is primarily a problem because of theology (Augustinian, reformed, evangelical). Thanks for the article. Good to open the discussion up.
Joe Haward (via Twitter)

Technology mixing table800Re: The haves and the have nots

Thank you Michael Shaw for your article. It has troubled me for many years that people travel miles in cars to big thriving churches, while round the corner there is a little church crying out for help. Has our faith become a spectator sport? Do we just want - "to get a blessing"? Do we not recognise Global Warming in our car use? And are we just plain selfish?

We have usually worked in what are classified "small churches" wanting to reach out to people who need to hear and experience God’s love in difficult areas. We stopped asking for help. The bigger churches just seemed to want to take us over or make us into clones of themselves. They didn’t listen to our vision or ask about the demographics in our area. They give the impression that they knew it all and we didn't: God's blessing them because they are big, not us because we are small.

In one small church I had just started a successful youth group with our un-churched estate kids. I needed another body to help me out as our “Time for God” volunteers finished. I got in touch with a bigger church not too far away. They sent their professional youth worker. He didn’t listen to me at all, just talked about their “wonderful programme” telling us how it would benefit us. We didn't have money for their fancy resources and they weren't going to provide them free! Their kids were educated middle class kids, ours were un-churched with low self-esteem and poor education. Their programme would have been like speaking Double Dutch to our kids. Needless to say, I declined. God provided a lovely mum to help me instead.

In the training sessions that I have run and the people I have worked with, I have been shocked at the way some “professional” youth/children’s workers talk of "volunteers," disparaging them as if they know nothing. Yet many "volunteers" have more experience and knowledge than these fresh out of uni folks.  "Volunteers" have become second class citizens in the professionalisation of children's/youth work. Churches who can’t afford to employ them are looked down on – even when they are actually doing a better job. Is this 2 tier system really God’s will?

As to music! There is more than one way to worship God. Do we recognise that?  Technology – who is going buy the hardware these small churches need but can’t afford? Maybe we don’t need all the fancy technology anyway to worship.

We seem to have forgotten the basic good manners, never mind Christian virtue of sharing what we have with those in need. So thank you Michael for highlighting this. I just hope that bigger, richer churches are humbly listening.
Name withheld


Salve chronicles and dangerousRe: New resource helps Christians story-tell their faith 

Mark is always innovative and entertaining - and above all his approach is effective at engaging people in thinking about world views and faith.
Kevin Keefe (via Twitter)


Covid church4U CardRe: Covid Conversations: church4U in Pickering
As a #housechurch from the beginning it has been freeing and an opportunity to serve in the community rather than expect people to come to our building! Love seeing #church in this way!
The Ark (Askern) (via Twitter)

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