mission talk

missionI kind of unexpectedly enjoyed my experience of lecturing at SEITE last night. I say unexpectedly because I cannot remember the last time I was so nervous before I did anything. I suspect the last time was deaconing for the Archbishop in Coventry less then three months after being ordained … with 10 mins notice … name dropping I know … but last night felt just as scary.

Lecturing is probably an over-elaborate term for what was, in reality, a long conversation about mission. But … then I believe the best way of learning is to listen and pull things apart together.

I enjoyed working with my group last night. The people come from a variety of backgrounds, but when we spoke about hopes for this module there was quite a strong vein of thought that people wanted tools to increase their confidence enabling to engage with their community in a more meaningful way. I can work with people like that!

Last night we talked about mission. We argued about what mission is. We asked ourselves whether we were being influenced by a background of a redemptive or an incarnational model of theology. We mused over which parts of our culture we should encourage and which parts we should challenge. Essentially, we asked ‘what does it mean to be a Christian?’ …. and we could not agree … on any of the above really!

That encourages me … as a reflective practitioner who a lot of the time uses a synthetic model of theology to underpin his work … it is important to me that we realise that a lot of stuff is not so much a choice of ‘either or’, but more of an acceptance of ‘both and’ as we look at our response in different situations.

Looking forward to taking the conversation on next week.

changing habits

We have been doing a bit of energy awareness education in our house and it seems to be having a good effect!

I recently switched our energy supplier to British Gas. As part of the deal they sent us a free energy monitor which attaches itself to one of the electrical cables going into the meter and transmits how much electricity is being used at any one time and, more importantly, how much that is costing us each day and each month.

I guess I am like many dads and I am constantly moaning about the TV being left on when no one is watching it, and lights left on in empty rooms. I think we have all been shocked how much power we have been using as a family – discovering, for example, that just turning the hall light off could save us nearly £5 per month.

The result … the house is in semi-darkness! But … this has got to be better for the planet and it’s quite interesting that a simple meter by the phone has had such a great effect on our behaviour. the good thing – this has got to be better for our carbon footprint, and also for our wallets!

I guess, reflecting on this, it shows me again how key meaningful illustrations or activities are if we are to make an impact and change behaviour. I have been ‘going on’ for years about turning lights and things off … no one has listened to me … but the little meter with the £ and kw sign has had more impact in minutes than I have in years.

I guess people just need to see the reasons plain and simple!

Hook’s Revenge at NBC

This evening was another proud moment as Chair of Governors at New Brompton College. The production of ‘Hook’s Revenge’ an original script to the school was stunning, beautiful, funny and a simply amazing production. For someone who has been connected with the school for nearly 15 years now it ws fantastic to see the level of confidence, talent and commitment that was being shown tonight.

The staff and students are amazing and it is a real privilege and honour to be connected with you all – thank you!

twitter pride

I was pleased and proud to see this tweet the other week on Twitter from Sarah Brown.
This refers to the staff at the school I am a governor at and they were called to Number 10 to meet the PM and Sarah.
It’s good to see the government marking and acknowledging success – and Judy and Jo are cool but they would be the first to say they represent the whole staff on New Brompton College.
If you want to see the pic of Judy and Jo with Gordon, Sarah and Paul, our MP, click here.

weekend madness

It’s been a bit of a busy weekend. I don’t often regret my move from Dorset to Kent (or even the one from Bristol back to Kent) but this weekend I did. Medway is one of the few ares that still has grammar schools and along with that goes the 11+ / selection test. We have given all our children the choice and Joe decided he would like to take it despite it meaning being under ‘exam conditions’ from 8.30 until 1.15 on a Saturday morning in a large conference centre with around 300 other children.

Talking earlier in the day with friends, we realised that even when we took our degrees we were never under so much pressure for such a long amount of time. Yesterday children were queuing outside these centres across Medway for up to 30 minutes as they waited for the centre to open and be registered. I don’t like the system and it seems to be parallel to sacrificing our children. It seems to me this is a system to make it all easier for the local authority with no thought to the welfare of the child.

I don’t want to get into all the politics of grammar schools – those of you that know me are aware of my thoughts and I am not knocking them here. The system, however, must be wrong. When I did the test years over 30 years ago I never realised what was happening. There was no stress, it was one in our class with our teacher sitting in our normal places amongst our friends. I have to ask why we can’t do that today – the stress we put children under through this system is madness!

Children are adaptable and he returned home fine enough – but just because children are adaptable and do it does not make it right!