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February


Re: Baptist Assembly tops gender balance report 
This is not very good news though touted as such. Project 3:28 is a small pro-women pressure group not a meaningful independent arbiter. It has no interest in whether the assembly is any good, the speakers say anything worthwhile or most importantly in correcting the most fundamental disgrace in gender imbalance whereby most of the Church in the UK is female and evangelising females. Their mantra seems to be that if we church attenders are all women then the speakers should be all women. Why are we annually giving them the oxygen of (our very minor) publicity?
Deb Fisher

I am more than a little surprised to read this report and to see that you are gloating over the ratings.  I am fully aware that we live in times when political correctness seems to takes first place, but surely for both the Assembly and the Baptist Church as a whole, the quality and ability of the speakers must come first.  Gender really has nothing to do with it!
John Dix

The same author (both human and divine) who wrote Galatians 3:28 (and Romans 16) also penned 1 Timothy 2:12. Women and men are most certainly 'equal'. But they are also 'different'. We are called to be companions, not competitors.
Keith

Re: Barbie and the missing generation
I was perplexed by the article suggesting that the church had lost the Biblical message of social justice.The author cannot have been looking very hard, as a cursory glance at the Baptist Times, publications by Tearfund and the Evangelical Alliance and even church newsletters would show that a concern for social justice is alive and kicking. Sadly this seems to be another example of a Christian writer believing that they have found what everyone else has lost. After all who spoke out against the government's welfare reforms, and social attitudes to refugees?
I would also suggest the author over-estimates millenial concern for social justice. Rather social justice is yet another commodity and as Barbie dolls indicate individuals consume the image of being concerned with justice. Hence, there  is much indignation over linguistic errors on social media, but if you want to see long-term concern for social transformation give me churches rather than Barbie!
Daniel Clark, Lima, Peru

(In response to Daniel Clark)
I think Daniel should spend half a day with some Christian students in the UK to see how little they have been taught about social justice. I did a talk at a CU a few months back and asked them to tell me where the Bible talks about justice, not a single one had ever been taught what the Bible had to say about justice, exception in the area judgement. I for one had no teaching on the subject, to my knowledge, growing up in a Baptist church. While I agree the church has played a significant roles in some areas (and as my brother works for Tearfund, my wife and sister-in-law also used to work for Tearfund I am very aware of their work) and we should not be taking the lead from the marketers, we are gradually being disconnected from generation’s X and Y, and yet they are seeing how powerful that message is amongst that age group, it is about recovery not reinvention.
Michael Shaw


Re: Holy Ground
Thank you Lynn for this blog. I was speaking from this exact same passage on the Sunday before last, with the same title 'holy ground' and how that space was a place of solitude, a place of encounter and a place of holiness. We followed the sermon with communion and a time for people to pray, light candles, take off their shoes.....it was a special time.
Paul Campion

Re: Garden that generate sympathy for refugees

It is truly refreshing to see that the designers of Hampton Court Flower Show have been moved and upset by images of fleeing families. They have decided to capture the imaginations of flower lovers and other viewers who otherwise might not have been interested in news of asylum seekers. The barbered wire and withering flowers propel viewers into deeper insights of the unimaginable horrors that hammer refugees in their prolonged journeys of conflicts. I congratulate these landscapers for their creativity and courage in contributing positively to the migrant crisis. I am now waiting for the musicians, artists, business people, footballers and other celebrities to wade into the rivers of refugees in dramatic fashion that will leave politicians in desperate searches for permanent solutions to the refugee crisis.   
Handsen Chikowore

Re: Faith at the boundaries
"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
I do agree with this article and we shouldn't compromise on the gospel. I do think we (the church) could make a difference and truly love each others diverse family a lot better.
What would that look like?
God's family have a responsibly to show authentic unity and acceptance in His church on issues that I'm sure God scratches his head and thinks - Where's the grace? At times we might have to let go of things that have become religious in our own denominations and institutions, which from the outside looking in appear foolish and hinder others from wanting to be a member of His family and know Him. For example membership based on believers baptism vs infant baptism and confirmation. I'm not suggesting every denomination practises the same symbolic rituals, but I do think they can surrender there religious pharisaic rituals and be seen to actually love each other within your own family (and kingdom). Encouraging someone "in the name of love" (manipulating, forcing, bullying, spiritually abusing) to be baptised again as they haven't been fully immersed doesn't speak love. I imagine that says a lot to the outside world.
His Kingdom isn't standing firm in the UK and a monumental shift (love) in us has to take place if we truly want revival in the UK.
My situation is I've recently got married and my partner goes to a church that believes in believers baptism only. I come from an Anglican background and I was baptised within a family household as an infant for which I'm grateful for. When I was 10 years old I decided to invite Jesus into my life as I realised that without knowing Him... His grace, His forgiveness and His mercy everyday my life was a bag of anxiety and knowing His forgiveness helped me to forgive more easily.
I only truly realised what a spiritually rich and privileged up bringing I had in God's family when I went to university and attended a Local Ecumenical church (Baptist and Anglican joined in 1982 which is when the church surrendered religion and the holy spirit was alowed to move and the church grew and contines to do so.). Meeting students and helping to disciple them through there university days, to becoming born again and having the honour of being a towel bearer at some of there baptisms. A few of them said..."I wish I had experienced your childhood." Having parents and God parents who seriously took on the responsibility to encourage, pray and disciple me until my confirmation which I decided to do at 14. Being a godparent to two children has been a real honour and to see one of them decide to confirm their baptism vows by full immersion as a teenager was a real encouragement to me as I have been praying for them. One thing I have realised and need to pursue on a daily basis is that we His children need to meet God daily for a spiritual baptism encounter to be renewed. A one off physical experience isn't enough for us to get through life.
I've recently moved to live with my partner and we discussed baptism before we got married and I said I wasn't prepared to get baptised again as it would feel like a lie when giving my testimony.
What could my testimony be? I feel my confirmation was my public declaration and at the time I was bullied for my decision.
I cannot become a member as I haven't been baptised by full immersion and my partner may have to step down from Leadership due to this. I'm not allowed to decide to get baptised to get membership status.
Thanks for reading and if you have any thoughts then feel free to comment.
Belinda Barrel
 

Re: Investing in child refugees’ education
I welcome the solidarity of more than 60 countries and major organisations for gathering together to pump out rescue package for desperate families in refugee camps. I am particularly enthused that 6 million refugees will be provided with education which will in essence help them to become independent, confident, self-directed, critical thinkers, professionally competent, reflective practitioners, innovative and, socially responsible. They are the future leaders of Syria and they will play significant roles in the reconstruction of their beloved country.
These children who are innocent in these horrific experiences should be effectively assisted in giving them tools such as education and ensure that their talents, creativity and confidence are fully nurtured. They have suffered more than the vast hell can accommodate in their home country and in lethal journeys that left many children swallowed by the ferocious waves of the sea. Investment in child refugees is a noble idea which have a long term benefits both for the refugees and the host countries. I would like to thank Justin Greening for highlighting the benefits of pulling resources together to give hope to Syrian people who are stained in the debris of unimaginable horrors.
Handsen Chikowore

Re: Scientists in congregations
Glad to see this. We need to move beyond the falsehood of the conflict model. In fact, research I did amongst ministers and folks on the CBA and SCBA Footsteps programme suggested a positive view of the dialogue of science and faith among Baptists. I hope that we will see some local projects from Baptist churches which help strength this view.
Dave Gregory (via Facebook)

Re: Three facts to know about “church decline” 
This interesting article suggests there may be other reasons for church decline. Would it be that we make matters more complicated than they actually are? Do Christians wait for the outsider to come to the church rather than the church go to them?
If the issue was expressed like this. What is required for the church to make contact with the outsider? What would be some of the answers?
Or to express it differently. Is the church aware that it is God's agent to communicate the Gospel to the world and is it organised for this work?
Patrick Boyle
 

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