Monday, August 01, 2005

Stand up

I believe this wave will bear my weight so let it flow

Yesterday I spent the day in London with my friends Rhys, Monica, baby Grace, Megan and Jane; an all kiwi gathering, except for Grace as she was born here. We began with lunch in the Sun Inn opposite Barnes Pond, where I tried another Belgian fruit beer, Fruli. This is technically a white beer but feels more like a blend of kriek and a strawberry smoothy. Regardless, it was very tasty and there was no hesitation in having a second one when round 2 started. We moved from there to Jane's place for tea and Cadbury's mini rolls...

After we finished our mini rolls (except for Rhys who took one for the road) we went our separate ways, Rhys, Monica and baby Grace back to theirs, Megan back to Camberwell and Jane and I managed to negotiate London traffic to go to Holy Trinity Brompton, a church that Jane goes every week and a church where my friend Jon recently became installed as a curate. Now, HTB is not really my sort of church. I prefer smaller churches with less singing and more Groove Armada and U2 in the background. Churches like hOME in Oxford and Cityside in Auckland. I like to be able to ask questions in the middle of the service and I like to be able to opt out when I feel uncomfortable (church for cowards maybe??) or when I just feel tired (church for the lazy??).

I don't know that much about HTB other than it is where the Alpha courses started. But I respect my friend Jane's judgement and I love and want to support my friend Jon so when in London on a Sunday I'll leave it open as an option for a thing to do. I'll be there again in two weeks time on the day I fly to New Zealand. That's also the same day as Jon preaches for the first time. However, all this is not really the point of this entry (tip - when blogging get to the point sooner). And unfortunately for the wider world, I aint going to go into too much detail as there is some stuff that isn't really for public consumption. But the point I can share is that at HTB last night I found myself being somewhat threatened and most uncomfortably I had nowhere to hide, no dark corner with loud music, so I had to sit and listen. The sermon/talk was on the parable of the talents. Having grown up in the church I got complacent about a lot of things, but in recent years I think I have forgotten a lot of it or, moreover, lost understanding of a lot of it. As the parable was being read, I couldn't help but think 'go on, explain this to me, what on earth are you on about'. Somewhat more uncomfortably, the next passage in Matthew is the splitting of the sheep and the goats. As I listened I was challenged over and over again to stop living my comfortable christianity. It became a bit of a slap in my face. Quite what I am going to do about it is not something I am planning on writing about online, it is more something that I am planning on talking about with friends over a beer, especially another Fruli if I can find somewhere in Oxford that sells it.

But in summary, I found HTB a surprisingly useful experience (the surprise comes from the fact that I have the bad tendency to be smug about my cutting edge church, when last night I wondered if I was missing the point). It made me challenge some of the stuff that I hold to and while I might be right about such things, it is useful to be open to criticism.

If I hadn't seen such riches I could live with being poor

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