Had a great day with YWAM England leaders at Homsted Manor, West Sussex. Loved all the vision and passion. It is true that YWAM people are the most passionate people in the World. Homsted Manor which is where I spent a couple of years back in 1985 was looking superb, good to see the oak floors all polished up and the grounds too just beautiful, particularly the waterfalls.
I pride myself in not being too reactionary or defaulting to obvious positions regarding contentious issues. However, I am starting to become a tad paranoid! I was distressed to read about the chap in Manchester; Adrian Smith, who had the temerity to make a fairly innocuous comment on his own private Facebook page, in his own time off from work, about the possibility of same sex marriage in church. Commenting on a BBC news story, he said, prepare yourself, it’s quite shocking “an equality too far”! Shock Horror! Not only did he get demoted at work, but District Judge Charles Khan at Manchester County Court, threw out his case this week, claiming that Mr Smith’s human rights did not apply. Seems ridiculous to me, or maybe I should become really careful about what I write on FB in case the thought police bag me. Hang on a minute, this is great Britain isn’t it?
My second story which is fuelling paranoia, is the story about the nurse Abdhul Bhutto who was unable to attend to a patient, despite the only other assistant and Mr Bhutto hearing that a fragile elderly patient fell from her bed, because the nurse was in prayer! The patient died, not because the nurse was unavailable, but certainly his absence due to prayer for four hours, did not, shall we say, assist the situation. The point of this story is not to vilify Mr Bhutto, who the Coroner is waiting to give evidence, but to ask the question; If Mr Bhutto had been a Christian praying and not someone from a different faith, how tolerant or intolerant would the media and police have been to Mr Bhutto?
In my view, Mr Smith should be able to express his measured views in this great nation without being demoted, the judge should have been a bit more sensible and Mr Bhutto should have left his prayer to assist the old lady (whose husband, Steve Griffiths had been a professional footballer).
So, yesterday was budget day, and today therefore is budget dissection day. Nothing new here. The annual challenge for the Chancellor is a distilled version of the five year term challenge for any Government – that is there isn’t really very much they can do. I mean most of the budget, like that for any organization is set and immovable. So really all that can happen is trivia in the margins. For example, I mean please give me a break, 50% or 45% tax, to be honest, and I know this might surprise some of you, it won’t affect me either way. Nor will it affect about 97% of the population. It would be so nice to hear a candid politician say something like “Mr Speaker, since spending on; education, health, defence and welfare are 90% all buttoned up, we find ourselves slightly emasculated – so we are going to make the very few minor adjustments which we can”. It is bizarre to consider that on the rare occasions that a politician considers “thinking the unthinkable” as in Frank Field back in 1997/8, or even the recent Welfare bill, by the time it gets through hundreds of amendments all these shenanigans emasculate “the unthinkable”! This means that we NEVER will get any radical root and branch change, just never ending poncing about in the margins. Ah Humbug!
The Lantern, Merley. First of all, so packed out at about 250 people, there was standing room only for myself and my South African buddy Marco, who at 6’6” is the resident baby comforter for mum’s as they tire of managing babies. Marco just stretches out his massive arms and gives the little ones a sweet grin whereupon, without fail they drop off in his arms. Marco loves babies – just as well really.
As it’s Mother’s Day today, Rimmer, the Vicar did a great job of honouring women, interviewed three women, and did a brief talk. Bit of sung worship with the guitar led band, a few prayers and all done in about 70 minutes.
Of course it’s then that real Church begins as 250 people all begin to chat, catch up and arrange to meet. So is it just a big social club? Well, it’s true that’s what it looks like, but scratch a little under the surface and people are mostly connecting because their common interest, is their faith in God, and crucially how God is impacting their lives today. So, since there are literally stacks of young families, folks are praying for each other and helping each other with kids, and seeing God intervene in their lives. Needless to say, this is all pretty exciting. I chatted to an older guy who clearly was recovering from a fairly significant illness of some sort. To my shame, I had no idea what had happened to him, so I just smiled along, and was pleased that he could once again talk and sing, and also pleased I wasn’t rumbled regarding his condition!
I think this is so interesting. All over the World it’s like this, which is beyond any social network, whereby people from all ages, professions and social strata’s, without trying, find themselves “being church”, sharing the news of the goodness of God with their chums.
Another really weird thing at the Lantern is the 250 people are always in flux, so new people are arriving, and old ones moving on to a massive degree. This, however is not a problem, it just seems to have a sweet and appealing DNA that seems to work!
Buzzing like a bee kind of a day!
Got a lift to Chingford station from my old buddy Steve Sullivan. Steve is originally a Kiwi but has lived his entire life in YWAM England. He is the nicest person in the entire World – no kidding. Got the train to Liverpool Street, except that it broke down on the way, which meant an hour with a carriage full of very grumpy, very cold commuters. When I arrive at St Pancreas station, I had missed my 11 am Eurostar to Brussels. However the nice lade in the office, just popped me on the next one at no cost! How cool is that. Arriving in Brussels about 4, I had just an hour to get to the European Parliament whereupon I joined MEP Anna Zaborska and Antoine Renard, President of FAFCE to launch International Marriage Week in the main debating chamber of the parliament building.
Meanwhile things are popping and fizzing everywhere else, see my last post from Sheila Weber. Nola Leach Chair of MW UK has posted a Marriage Week promo video, and over 1000 people were at a great event last night in London.
Tomorrow I leave super early to catch a 6.30 flight to Budapest to be with our Hungarian friends n the Hungarian parliament for their launch event.
I did enjoy last night hanging out with my YWAM buddies, shared a few stories around the virtual camp fire, which was just great.
In this in depth interview interview Richard & Maria Kane discuss the reason for Marriage Week, why it’s important and answer the crucial question; Is it any good?