Much of my work time at the Diocese of Leeds is spent working out who we are, what’s going on and why we are here. It’s easy to mock organisations for struggling with these questions but actually these are really big life questions for us all to grapple with.
I can’t help feeling that global political events can be understood at a very personal level in terms of identity, belonging, freedom and generosity. We want confidence in who we are and what we are good at; we want to belong to something we can call a national family; we want our independence.
The really exciting “want” or desire is to to be able to give. There is an instinct within most people to want to give something to the word and make a difference. Thank God for that. The only problem is that some people have a very small world, or a very selective world, so the challenge for me is to see bigger, see wider, see deeper.
I risk of becoming too serious, so here is something about growing the church. The Church of England wants more people to come to church. The question for me is not just about bums on seats. Here I use the labelling of milk as a handy analogy – and just to make it clear, I’m no shining example, I think I’m stuck on Greet Top with an aspiration for Red Top.
Red Top: Skimmed Christians
They come to church for the exciting bits and skim off anything that’s difficult to digest; Perhaps when something big happens in their life like christenings, weddings, funerals and so on. Oh, and carols by candlelight is lovely.
Green Top: Semi-Skimmed Christians
They come to church most Sundays but this is largely a health routine in line with their philosophy of “everything in moderation”. The playgroup is great for the kids and after a busy week it helps recharge my batteries.
Blue Top: Whole Christians
They live their faith seven days a week and leave nothing out when it comes to being guided by God. They pray and worship God every day each in their own unique way. They want to see everyone living as God intended – flourishing together, free from poverty, inequality and injustice.