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Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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September 2017

Community Fair in Newport

At our local church, St Julians Baptist, Newport, this morning we held a community fair, an open morning for local residents to come along and explore some of the community services that are available to them. It was really well supported and there were lots of really interesting stalls set up.

Some of the services represented there included, community police officers, local councillors, Newport Care and Repair, a local clinic for patients with macular degeneration, the Family Information Service, Newport Parent Network, Christians Against Poverty, Newport Credit Union, Newport Mediation, The Reading Tree, Age Cymru and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

I had a really good chat with the Age Cymru reps about pensions and was able to express my gratitude to Christians Against Poverty and Newport Credit Union for their help.

We offered refreshments for the visitors and were able to show the plans for our new Jubilee Hall which we will start to build next year.

It was good to see our local MP, Jessica Morden there to support the event too.

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Parker Palmer, To Know As We Are Known. My First Book Review

First bok review from my nephew’s new blog site. Interested in spirituality, education, mental health issues? This is worth a visit

Towards a better Question

Education as a spiritual Journey

I would be lying if I told you this book was new to my collection. In truth It was something I got hold off about 4 or 5 years ago at a time when I was heavily influenced by Rob Bell, I was in the middle of my degree and saw it  referenced in the back of a book by Mr Bell. I think the reason I initially got hold of it was to maintain my image as a faux theological academic.

This year however in an attempt to get on top of various issues I’ve been having with my mental health I have been pushing my self to read more and more as part of my own personal disciplines and routines. I picked this book up and opened the acknowledgements to find that it was the result of a conversation with Henri Nouwen. If…

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Responses to the Nashville Statement

In another of my multiple identities I run the website at affirm.org.uk, which is UK network of Baptist Christians working together for LGBT+ inclusion. For a long time I have had a strong Conviction that the church’s traditional position on sexuality is, not to put too fine a point on it, un-Christian and it’s refreshing to see changes happening, albeit slowly.

Below is a reproduced post that I wrote today for the site, regarding the Nashville Statement, a vile piece of garbage that I had the misfortune to read recently.

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This week a group of around 150 Christian leaders published The Nashville Statement, a set of affirmations and denials regarding sexuality and faith and in particular LGBT+ issues. This group, it must be said, represent a particular brand of conservative evangelicalism that this particular writer finds to be unwholesome to say the least.

I won’t post a link to the statement here, you’ll find it easily enough if you really want to read it.

There have been a number of responses to the statement online, many from the church and many from secular writers. I want to highlight two responses here that I found to be particularly helpful in presenting a more loving, inclusive and Christ-like representation of the broad spectrum of humanness .

Firstly the ‘Denver Statement‘ written by Nadia Bolz-Weber, an author of several ground-breaking books and a founding pastor of House For All Sinners And Saints in Denver, Colorado.  Nadia responds brilliantly to each of the articles and adds one of her own at the end.

Secondly from Christians United, a similar statement listing their own set of ten articles written in the same style as pairs of affirmations and denials, This statement has initially been signed by a broad spectrum of international Christian leaders and in this case there is an option for the reader to sign on in agreement to the statement.

Here at Affirm our purpose is to support the LGBT+ community, particularly those within the Baptist denomination, but in a wider sense to all those seeking to be at home in an inclusive, Christ-like church, it makes me sad to read the Nashville Statement, but I am encouraged by the responses and by the realisation that the love of Christ is all-encompassing and slowly, very slowly, his church is coming to realise that.

This post by Andy Long, website manager

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