Welcome to my new blog, launched on St Luke’s day, 2019.
St Paul uses a form of the word oikodomeo twenty times in his letters. (A good essay on the use of the word in the NT can be found here). It means to build up, literally to build a house, and from that to edify, which is the way Paul uses the word.
In Ephesians Paul writes:
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2: 21-22
This little passage seems to capture the whole of the importance of the word for Paul. The presence of the Spirit, who does the building, the work on the whole body as a temple of that Spirit, the joining together which is the communion to which we are called, in which we exist, without which Christian faith (and human existence) is meaningless.
I hope and pray that this blog will contribute to the building up of the church and to communion as we face the missional problem of our time.
A major reason for starting a new blog is to organise material better. The subject list on the left should enable you to find things more easily.
Jesus is the centre and heart of my life. I cannot imagine living without him. Knowing him makes things possible that would otherwise be impossible. I want everyone to know Jesus and to share this deep joy.
Most of my adult life has been spent working in education I believe that knowledge has a great deal to offer the church in understanding how to evangelise children and young people. Much of this blog will reflect on that.
As a former teacher of Economics I am also profoundly interested in the way in which our economic systems reflect, or fail to reflect God’s justice for the world. There is insufficient challenge to the neo-liberal trap in which we are caught. I hope I can draw attention to those who describe that trap and ways in which we might escape from it; if we have not so far destroyed our planet that it becomes irrelevant.
For me the key to evangelism is the union of heart and mind taught in orthodox theology. Serious understanding of the gospel matched with serious piety. Many people seem to begin with the assumption that prayer and relationship with Jesus is going to be difficult. As if the so called dark night of the soul is something most of us should expect! It is quite the opposite. The New Testament is clear that we are to be given immense spiritual gifts. A few, rare souls are led through the desert. That is not, thank God for most of us, though life itself may present its deserts. Much of this blog will also consider the spiritual life and Spiritual Direction, a ministry which, against my expectation, and wish has been mine for nearly two decades.
After decades of reading on the spiritual life and built on my own experience of prayer I have come to the conclusion that two things are essential to Christian prayer: psalms and eucharist. There will be plenty on those on this blog.
As a teacher I am equally interested in enabling people to have sufficient intellectual understanding of the gospel to sustain their faith. There is much work still needed on that in the church. In both education and the church experience has ruled over knowledge in recent decades. Fortunately that is now passing.
As a Headteacher and CEO of a Multi Academy Trust I believe profoundly in good management in organisations. Many in the church are very suspicious of that I hope I can do a little to persuade them that the gospel is as present in good management as it is in ‘theology’ or ‘spirituality’.
Closely linked to good management is good safeguarding. As an educator I know that effective processes and a good safeguarding culture keeps everyone safe. This blog will also reflect on that and all that the church can do to be a safe place for everyone. There is still a journey to be made. Being a safe place is essential and at the heart of being a gospel community.
This is an exciting time to be church. I love our inherited models of church. I have also been involved in and lead new communities and new ways of being church and love those equally passionately. Building a bridge between those expressions of the gospel is essential as we face the task God is giving us.
Well, none of that will be news to those who have followed either of my previous blogs. Welcome back! And welcome to those who are new. I love the communion/connection that blogging brings. Thank you for joining the fellowship!
With love, prayers and blessings, in the fellowship of the Spirit,
Director of Education, Diocese of Liverpool