About Me

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I was commissioned as a Church Army Officer in 2000, and spent 9 years working in parishes, mainly with children and families. In 2009, I began ordination training at Ripon College Cuddesdon. I married Clare in July 2000, and our first child, Nathan, arrived on September 22nd 2010.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Essays finished!

Today I finished the last of my essays, and so all four are bound and ready to be handed in tomorrow. The plan now is to have a break over the weekend (to have some quality family time) and then hit the revision for the ethics exam on Monday.

The end is most definitely in sight!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter at college

We've had a very full few days at college, experiencing the 'Triduum' together as a community (this is the 'technical term' for the days from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday).

I have been a part of the choir for this experience, and have absolutely loved it! It makes me wonder why on earth I haven't sung in choirs before - it's been great singing psalms, anthems and Taize chants with others. Some of them have been sung in unison, but the best part (for me) has been learning how to sing the Tenor part whilst others are singing the Soprano, Alto or Bass parts.

That said, the most moving song was the final piece on Maundy Thursday, when we sang Psalm 22 (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) We sang the verses, whilst the congregation joined in with the above refrain throughout. It was a haunting experience, and I felt myself empathising (as much as is possible) with what Jesus must have experienced in that desolation upon the cross, abandoned by all, including his Father. If there's one thing we can be sure of, it is that God will never abandon us - the Easter story tells us that.

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Nathan update

A good friend has (rightly) chided me for the lack of photos of our son on this blog! So here's a few of the more recent ones:

Nathan's Baptism (January 23rd)
With godparents Richard & Emma, plus Rebekah & Christopher

Fun in the doughnut! (5 months old)
With Mummy, 6 months old
In the last week, our Nathan has really developed a taste for food! He loves putting all sorts of different things in his mouth - not a lot is being actually eaten yet, but some of it is! Mealtimes are very messy affairs right now, but it's totally worth it to see him having so much fun trying out these new tastes and textures!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Work nearly done!

I finished writing my last Long Essay earlier today - this one was on what Liberation Theologians have to say about the Christian Doctrine of Sin. I discovered a lot of interesting things in the course of writing it, but perhaps the most interesting was what the feminist theologian Daphne Hampson had tosay.

She notes that most Protestant theology speaks of pride as the root of all sin, mainly due to humanity's desire to be autonomous - a desire which generally ends up in either ignoring God or trying to put oneself in the place of God. But for women, pride is actually an inadequate way of looking at sin.

This is because pretty much the whole of history has been patriarchal, in that society has been structured by men in the interests of keeping men in positions of power. Women, in contrast, have been oppressed - and still are (one only has to look at the continuing resistance by some to women in the episcopate to see the evidence of that). As such, defining sin in terms of pride for women is tantamount to asking them to continue self-abasement and self-sacrifice - something which is appropriate to those in power (men), but actually perpetuates the oppression of women.

What, then, is an appropriate way to view sin for women? The argument is that sin is basically colluding with this oppression by accepting the domination of men. Rather, women should look for salvation through becoming 'more grounded' in themselves, thereby attaining the status intended for them by their Creator. There is an element of responsibility here - women are called to claim the power that has been denied them.

I find all this very interesting, particularly with regard to what it means in pastoral terms, for me as a future leader in the Church. One implication is to consider how I, as an ordained priest, will be able to participate in the empowerment of the oppressed (which, obviously, includes other sections of society besides women). It is difficult for me in that, as a middle-class, Caucasian male, I am basically in the group of 'oppressors' whichever oppressed group is being considered (women, ethnic groups, the economically poor, etc). If any readers of the blog can speak from the perspective of one of these oppressed groups, I would be delighted to hear your thoughts!

In the meantime, my academic work is almost done! I need to do some tweaking to all four long essays, but the vast majority is done, which means I can look forward to Holy Week!