Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Just another Manic Monday

It's just another manic Monday
I wish it were Sunday
'Cause that's my funday
My I don't have to runday
It's just another manic Monday

The Bangles

There was a time when Sundays were a carefree 'funday' with no running around and no work!  Life as a Baptist minister means that Sundays, although often fun, are generally busy.  I have tried to make Mondays less manic.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.  There is always the unexpected visit or pastoral emergency.  There is always paperwork.  There are always emails and phone calls.  There is always the next sermon to plan and write (Friday is normally sermon writing day).  Today, amongst other things, I sorted out my in-trays, filed some stuff away and wrote several to-do lists.  On my to-do list was to write another blog.  It is nearly midnight as I write this.  I guess today skipped over to tomorrow.  At least it didn't rewind to yesterday.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday. 

Lennon, John Winston / McCartney, Paul James

I had in mind to blog on a new subject today but my mind keeps skipping back to the previous subject of women bishops.  I preached on women in ministry on Sunday.  I hope I did the subject justice.  Justice is, after all, what it is all about (see my post Women Bishops and Baptists).  Before the recent general Synod many thought progress was being made and finally women could be consecrated as a bishop in the Church of England but it looks as though that problem is here to stay, at least for the time being.  In the Baptist tradition we have regional ministers.  Some joke that they are our bishops but, with decisions being made in the church meeting and thus government is bottom-up rather than top-down, they are not quite the same.  The Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) is rather like an umbrella that shelters and protects its member churches.  Baptist churches are self-governing and free to discern the mind of Christ for themselves.  BUGB has no Synod to say what must happen in its member churches only advise.  They can advise and support the calling of women ministers, like myself, but they cannot tell a church they must accept a women minister or even allow one to preach.  BUGB seeks to support and encourage women ministers and to help educate its churches.  This is being done and yet I want to ask for more.  If we want society to take us seriously then we cannot preach justice on a Sunday and ignore the needs of our sisters in church.  Whether we are male, or indeed female, we all need to be encouraged and empowered to be who God has called us to be.  What use is it to pray that God sends his Holy Spirit to equip the church if we are going to ignore the gifts of more than half of the congregation.  I am not saying that all are called to lead the church.  I am saying that God calls women as well as men to do so.  It is clear that women need more encouragement than men to use their gifts and take up their calling.    

My journey to ordained ministry has been a long one with many twists and turns, I guess that's life, it began when I was about 16.  Having ran away from my calling, having tried to ignore it, having given it back to God only for it to come rebounding back I finally said yes to God.  Having completed my training it took me an extra year to find a church to pastor.  In the meantime I put that time to good use and completed an MA in mission, perhaps that was God's plan for me, but part of me just wanted to get out there.  Now I am 'out there' part of me wants to study some more, but that's just me.  I like to study.  I like to write.  It is part of who I am.  There is more I could tell you about that difficult journey but I prefer to live in the future rather than dwell on the past.  The future mission of the church lies in the hands of women and men.  It is God's mission not ours.  He has equipped his Church.  She is ready...

 Rise up church with broken wings
Fill this place with songs again
Of our God who reigns on high
By his grace again we'll fly.