Monday, 24 November 2014

The positives of working somewhere where there’s no Starbucks

Tim Keller says somewhere that his advice for rookie pastors wanting to gain early experience to prepare and equip them for the long term is to consider being a ‘country parson’. In other words, he advises ministers to seek work in churches that are out in the country, in places deep in the sticks, somewhere where there’s no Starbucks. Among the reasons Keller gives for this counterintuitive counsel is that having to work in rural (often small) churches will expose ministers to the full spectrum of ministry tasks and skills (fund-raising, counselling in various settings, visiting and spending time with a vast spectrum of people, speaking in very diverse contexts, training most if not all the lay volunteers, etc, etc) which would tend not to be the case in more urban, often larger churches. Having been in a semi-rural parish for the past 4 years, Keller’s argument resonates with me and in the past few days, another reason has vividly been presented to me. I was recently visiting a parishioner who’s only just started coming to church. At the end of a very cordial visit, I was presented with among other things, the incredibly sized goodies pictured below (The smaller ones are supermarket bought). When was the last time you saw anything like this at your local grocers? Well know ye today that being in a rural parish vastly reduces thy shopping bill and affords thee wholesome goods that make thy taste buds tingle. Also, young pastors should not turn up their noses at such places!


Just look at the leaves alone on that - impressive hey!

Doesn't the tiny shop bought one look terribly anaemic?

Onion soup galore here we come!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Why do we go to church?

The funny poem below was published by a vicar back in the 19th century. I am sure that I've been all of these people at one time or other (allowing of course for some modification here and there) but I now pray God that I might be more the last on the list...


Some go to church just for a walk,
Some go to stare and laugh and talk,
Some go there to meet a friend,
Some their idle time to spend,
Some for general observation,
Some for private speculation,
Some to seek or find a lover,
Some a courtship to discover,
Some go there to use their eyes,
And newest fashions criticise,
Some to show their own smart dress,
Some their neighbours to assess;
Some to scan a robe or bonnet,
Some to price the trimming on it,
Some to learn the latest news,
That friends at home they may amuse,
Some to gossip false and true,
Safe within the sheltering pew,
Some go there to please the squire,
Some his daughter to admire,
Some the parson go to fawn,
Some to lounge and some to yawn,
Some to claim the parish doles,
Some for bread and some for coals,
Some because it's thought genteel,
Some to vaunt their pious zeal,
Some to show how sweet they sing,
Some how loud their voices ring,
Some the preacher go to hear,
His style of voice to praise or jeer,
Some their sins to vanish o'er,
Some to sit and doze and nod,
But few to kneel and worship God.

Why do you go to church?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Here's when you should refuse going to heaven

We want HIM! I should refuse heaven if Christ were not there. Take Christ away from heaven and it is but a poor, unheartsome, dark, waste dwelling. Heaven without Christ would look like the direful Land of Death. Ah, saith Christ, your joy must full, John 14:3, then I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. I confess, mansions are but as places of briars and thorns without Christ. I want heaven in order to have Christ, not Christ in order to have heaven.

— Samuel Rutherford, Christ dying and drawing sinners to Himself  

Friday, 14 November 2014

Monday, 10 November 2014

Research shows working mums outperform kiddie free women

That's the conclusion of recent research cited by the Washington Post. Here is one of the key paragraphs:

For men, fathers of one child and those without children similarly throughout much of their careers. But men with two or more kids were more productive than both groups. The effect for women was even more dramatic. Using their own method for analyzing research publications, the authors found that within the first five or so years of their career, women who never have children substantially underperform those who do. (The difference in productivity between women with one child and those with no children is more muted using a different ranking for research. But in both cases, mothers with at least two children perform the best.)

One of the reasons given by the Washington Post for such surprising data is that mums with multiple children tend to be hyper-organized. Whilst agreeing with this, pastor-theologian Peter Leithart adds another important factor - the effect parenting has on settling people:

The research may be “counterintuitive,” but anyone with kids knows it’s accurate. Like marriage, parenthood focuses attention and forces efficiency in time management. Probably more importantly, parenthood, like marriage, settles, and no one is less productive than the unsettled.

That intiuitively makes sense to me and as we are expecting the third kipling I'm off to share this with the lovely Mrs K.