Baptism is Like a Wedding Ring

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English: The photographer's wedding ring and i...

English: The photographer’s wedding ring and its heart-shaped shadow in a dictionary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the pastor said: “It’s all about allegiance to Christ.
Baptism is like a wedding ring. It’s the outward reality of an inner experience. If you feel that you are a Christian it is a natural progression. It is serious and you should do it if you’re convinced, not under pressure. Did that help?”

Yeah, it did.

Pastoral Care Can Provide a Real Boost

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I had a meeting with Pastor 3 today. This was the first time I’d really spent any time with this pastor outside of a church setting.

I found it extremely useful and got some good wisdom on coping with various aspects of my life right now. I wrote the salient points down in my journal. I try and do that whenever someone says something that I know I need to hammer into my brain as I am prone to a lot of doubt (about the world) and self-doubt.

I am very interested in the role of pastors. I think it is because I am interested in how organisations work, even though can be something of a lone wolf myself.

Faced a Dilemma

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I did not enjoy Life Group last week. Yes, it was a shock to me too! The reason is simple: the church I am in is more fundamental in its beliefs than I am. I don’t mind people’s differing beliefs but sometimes it seems like some church members are not living in the real world.

Because I have not grown up as a Christian I have seen and experienced things that they may not have done. I am not saying that makes me better than them – no, but maybe I have a more rounded view of life in some ways.

It made me rethink moving to the town where my church is based. I am still keen – it’s a neat little town surrounded by beautiful countryside – but I need to keep an open mind and continue to get to know the other places on my list and keep my options open.

I did think about going to St Egremont’s (not its real name, of course.) This is a more liberal church, with around 600 members, and one of the divorce group ladies has been going there for 22 years, She is a bit of a hippy type like me and I like her a lot.

I also talked it over with two of my church friends, who are UK-based missionaries. They were helpful. They agreed that they were fundamental but are sympathetic to my concerns. They suggested I talk to one of the pastors so Pastor 2, the youngest pastor, has willingly agreed to be there for me.

I have decided to stick with my church as my ‘base’. The people are great, it is a thriving church, I like going to this other town, and I do broadly agree with much of what they believe – but not all

Steeple

Steeple (Photo credit: dmushrush)

of it. Meanwhile, I will check out St Egremont’s at some point, and possibly the branch of ‘my church’ that is in my city too.

My ex suggested the Quakers. I said, “no.” Nothing against them but I think they are quite a middle class bunch in my city. I want a church that is thriving, with Life Groups and all sorts of projects. My life is quite a secluded one as it is so more of that would be counterproductive.

‘Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby

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I do worry that the only times I seem to be happy, socially, these days are when I am doing things with the Church or my Christian friends – and a few other non-Christian friends. 

Will I detach from other friends/acquaintances and be left high and dry? Am I a victim of the Be Thou My Hobby syndrome? Yet… another part of me thinks this is who I am becoming, that this is the real deal. I hope so.

My main concern about My Church (i.e, this particular church) is that many members are conservative in nature and Conservative politically whereas I am from a Left-Liberal background.

Spring Heeled Jack as depicted by an anonymous...

Spring Heeled Jack – Cover of an English penny dreadful (1904) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I made a comment, quite a long one, in Life Group the other night and I did feel that they hadn’t a clue what I was talking about. It related to modern day versions of the Penny Dreadfuls like Chat and Take a Break and how publishers use them to make the poor and disenfranchised feel like their situations are not so bad after all in comparison to the horror stories they read.

There are people who are more on my wavelength in the church. They are a more intellectual (not saying I am, but I was quite political at university and so are some of my old friends and my Ex). I live in a fashionable, liberal area of a small city about six miles from the church. The church itself is in a semi-rural area.

My home area gets on my nerves, TBH, but I kind of fit its profile. It’s the hot spot for Guardian readers, public sector workers, same sex couples, Greens and liberals,  and snooty-nosed bicycle riders from down South who have settled here. (Actually, it really does get on my nerves!) 

In the church, female friend BL, Pastor 3, male friend SB and a couple of women who go to the divorce group seem to be more…thinking. Male friend SB is definitely the one person I’ve met since my separation who I have most in common with. (We are just friends and likely to remain so). He is a bit ‘out there’.  He can’t be classified easily. I’ve made assumptions about how he might think in the past – then he surprises me. That’s a good thing!

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Smart Friends

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The title: "God the Almighty". The o...

 “God the Almighty”. The open book with text from Gospel of Matthew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Friendship needs wisdom. Smart friends know when to talk, when to laugh, when to weep, when to shut up and when to kick you in the rear.”

– My Pastor.

I reckon My Pastor should put all these words of wisdom he shares on Facebook into a little book – maybe along with those by some of his friends like Matthew Burt of the “I’m gonna get on my knees and fight like a man” quote – and sell them to raise funds for the church.

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A Pastor or Three

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Volunteer Ministers

Volunteer Ministers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I have reblogged and quoted stuff Pastor 3 says or writes this does not mean that I think any less of the other two pastors. No indeed! Pastor 3 is a man of electronic communication so it is easy to connect that way. Pastor 1, the church‘s lead pastor, is not a social media person, but he is a very fine leader, and Pastor 2 is, I would say, a people person.

A church chum said we would not have the divorce group if Pastor 1 had not come along. Although traditional in many ways – and probably a Conservative voter (I am not) – he is also innovative. His   manner is both firm and gentle. He is also high up in the national church.

Pastor 1 will be embarking on a new volunteer project within Church Town, involving the large GP surgery, and I hope/have been asked to be involved in this in a small way. I will blog about it when it happens.

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