This week will see me venturing north eastwards - to Norwich. For why - I hear the nation cry? Well those who are interested anyway - which limits it a bit!
With other members of the Mission and Public Affairs Division (Archbishops' Council) to help launch the 'Wedding Project' with local clergy in that Diocese. I was asked to play the role of 'critical friend' last week as the presentation and other material was worked through in draft form. Very impressive it is too - not just in terms of content but the fact that a lot of research by a quality business organisation and mini - trials with clergy, married couples, people thinking of marriage etc lies behind the finished product.
Bottom line - surprise, surprise - Vicars, (generic term for dog collared people), who like people and can share bucketfuls of grace, human warmth, acceptance and informed passion without the judgement of religion. Sounds like Jesus in my book....
It also sounds like many clergy I know and love who would rather spend their time 'out there' with people being and sharing Good News but find they are spending most of their quality ministerial time keeping 'church shows' on the road and addressing ineffective and culturally outdated agendas.
'It is vital that our concepts of holiness undergo radical transformation. Holiness has often been equated with separation and moralism. Jesus could be accused of neither. He mixed widely with those who were regarded as 'sinners', to the detriment of his own reputation. And his emphasis was not on clean living, but on the redemptive acceptance and forgiveness of God. Our primary call is to the process of change itself; the will to be transformed for the sake of God's call to life. It remains to be seen whether the church in the West is willing to pay the price of following Christ into a new era.' (Mike Riddell)