Skip to main content

What's Dumbledore got to do with it?

House Season 3 arrived! Woop. As House puzzles over things he stumbles over many things that might work and that might be important, but eventually disgards most of his ponderings in favour of the one thing needed.

I suppose JK Rowling did that with Harry Potter - she must have had vastly more ideas than she included in her huge books. Like that 'revelation' that Dumbledore was gay. The problem there is that she never once revealed that in the book - so surely the issue of his sexuality is up for grabs by the reader isn't it?

In preparing a talk the 'revelation' is all there. Nothing is hidden. But the preacher still can't cover everything. I remember once hearing a student scream frustration that there hadn't been much talk of the Holy Spirit in CU meetings for a few weeks - mostly because we'd been going through the early chapters of Romans. And then you hit chapters 5-8 and there's a whole lot more about the Spirit. The preacher hasn't got to tick every box, he needs to distill the big idea of the passage at hand. Other stuff has to remain untouched for a while. I had 4 talks on 2 Timothy, if I'd have had 16 it'd then loads more detail could have been explored. My Calvinist biases (probably) showed in this first talk, though I tried not to be too strong either way given that in a CU context there is room to differ on what Election is about.

[I'm reminded that Wesley & Whitefield differed strongly on the issue and eventually agreed to not spend too much time talking about it lest they break their strong missionary partnership. Issues shouldn't be avoided but there are sensitive and careful ways to approach them (more on that in 2 Timothy 2v14-26!). ]

Many of my other theological biases on 'secondary matters' (ones on which it is possible to disagree and still work together in evangelism) wont have come through in this first talk, or indeed the rest of the weekend. Where I stand on baptism, charismatic gifts, women's ministry and a whole host of other issues didn't and couldn't come up. The text never took us there. - another weekend with another part of God's word and they might have been inescapable!

My agenda is set by the passage (more on that in the posts ahead) but I can't include everything. These days I seem to go into 30 minute talks with about 1700 words of script, that's not a lot to have. When it came to 2 Timothy 1v1-2v13 I'd shot myself in the foot by tackling such a long passage, but as I'd pondered the manuscript of the book a couple of months back it seemed like one big section - with it's repeating themes of not being ashamed, suffering, guarding the gospel, grace etc.

But to preach what I preached (Saved by grace, strengthened by grace) meant I had to leave a load of really good God-breathed things in my study, like...
1. The biographical encouragement to Timothy about the genuine nature of his faith (though I pick that up a little in chapter 3).
2. The encouragement to fan into flame the gift that dwells in him - and a whole lot of stuff on the indwelling of faith and the Spirit in the Christian... guarding the deposit of grace by grace is inextricably linked to the work of the Holy Spirit but I'm not sure I had space to explore this very far, though I'd have loved to.
3. Detail on the nature of enduring hardship as a Christian - I made reference to it, but didn't have space to unpack and feel the force of.
4. The stuff on God's faithfulness and our faith or faithlessness.
All of which is good stuff for future study and potentially the blog allows for some extra-canonical exploration on top of the weekend's talks. What mattered most was the overarching concern of Paul to remind Timothy of the grace he knows in Christ - a concern that would put backbone into this believer.


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…