It's been a while since I simply blogged about the state of life, the universe and everything around me. It's also been over a year now since we stepped out of local church leadership and into the unknown. I often look back and wonder how things might look now if I'd made a different decision 15 months ago or even three years ago when I sensed it was time to move on from a very settled life in Bedford. But I can't go back and change any of that, so there's little point dwelling on it all now.
So, what's been happening in our little corner of the universe? Well, I've been rather busy this month with funerals. I guess some folk will be surprised that I'm still actively involved in this, but am and it's good for me and it's a really important ministry. I know there were some who thought I did too many funerals for people "outside the church", but let's face it, most people are "outside the church". And just to make matters worse, they not even looking in from the outside! Possibly the biggest shock to our collective evangelical systems is the realisation that the people we usually call lost don't actually feel lost and are not as unhappy and unfulfilled as we like them to be.
These are things that drew Anne and me out of our comfort zone of a nice tidy church life and into something altogether more unpredictable and less easily defined. We know that circumstances probably look very different to some, but the simple truth is that every day the fit was less and less comfortable. Right from the start of my church involvement I was awkward and uncomfortable with the prevailing culture of the church as I experienced it.
So here we are, and we're making this journey slowly. We've begun the pray for the community. Still a bit haphazard really, but we are developing a plan, and as soon as it warms up a bit I'm sure we'll be out on the streets praying blessing wherever we go. Okay, so we're not really just fair-weather folk, but it'a been busy and cold and horrible and we've just not really got stuck into it.
I've been busy with my coursework and I'm hoping to get finished next month if I book my final exams in time. As part of my course I've had this great opportunity to run a free sports massage clinic at a large media company in London. I've done almost five months there, and it will come to an end around March time. It has been a great learning experience, and I've met some interesting people with some challenging soft tissue issues. Fortunately I've some good successes sorting them out and today I was even told how highly recommended I've become! I also work with the physio at a local rugby club. That's been great too, for a whole different set of reasons. I hoping that I'll be able to stay on after my course finishes and I'm all diploma-ed up. I organised this one myself, so it's not really a placement and I seem to be appreciated there too.
My relationship with my denomination is becoming clearer. I won't say too much about it now, but I've decided that there are somethings that I need to control rather than allow others to make the decisions. Over the next few months I'll bring the process of reflecting on those things to a conclusion and make a decision about the future. I went through a phase of feeling rejected and cast aside like a puzzle piece that didn't fit, but I feel less like that now as I begin to see the place of some of the issues and some of the questions in a broader context.
We have some great friends that we don't see at all, but who respond to our Christmas news with encouragement and wisdom.
I keep wondering about trying to collate my wandering thoughts into something more book like. Not a print thing, maybe an e-book or something. It would be good to explore doing that somehow. It wouldn't be a book on a set theme, just a sort of journal of thoughts and reflections. There's also a couple of ideas I've had including writing a simple guide to planning a funeral. I've seen a few more substantial books, but nothing short and to the point.
Last thing in this ramble then is preaching. I've preached once since leaving legacy ministry and often wondered if I'd every preach again. Well, I've got one visit booked (to talk about our journey and what we're doing now), and I've had another invitation come through recently that I need to think about. Not sure I want to step back into the everyday stuff, but these will be interesting explorations of how I feel about getting behind a lectern again.