Suddenly it’s November, and the last time I posted was July. It has been an exceptionally warm October, heightened by a week visiting family in the south-east of England (where the temperature has, on average, been six degrees warmer than here in South east Scotland) which has masked the approach of winter and the anticipation of snow, decreasing income and a new year.
This year has been a strange mix of negatives and positives…I’m not sure why I even wrote that, because ‘life’s like that’…but somehow this year even the negatives seem to have led to unexpected positives, which has been a bit of a surprise.
Once again, we face the prospect of needing to move house (our current rental is going up for sale…houses are, however, still selling poorly and slowly up here, so who knows). This raises all kinds of questions about where we should live…moving back across the Border to Berwick-upon-Tweed would make school for Susie (who we’ve decided to keep in the English system when she leaves First School in July 2012) much more straightforward, moving away to seek work elsewhere and be closer to extended family (among other things Wendy and I became grandparents for the first time this summer, but Joel, Kirsty and baby Malachi live in Torquay, currently an eight-hour drive away, with our other children liberally spread around England!) would also need to be a possibility at a time when both our incomes are falling.
Advent, the time of watching and waiting will soon be upon us. I always try to find something new to study and meditate on, and this year I’ve chosen Paula Gooder’s book “The Meaning is in the Waiting”. I remember Paula as a teenager from the time I attended Brunswick Parish church in Manchester in the 1980s…now she’s a respected theologian and writer and I’m a ‘not-so-respected ex-this-and-that’ (and reasonably happy to be that way!!)…how times change.
I chose this particular book having read Paula’s book “Heaven” as part of a lot of reading I’m doing about the Last Things, Christian hope, death, heaven, resurrection (this has nothing to do with the approach of my sixtieth birthday)…Tom Wright’s book “Surprised by Hope” has been seminal in helping to clarify and articulate much of what I think about this subject, based as ever on the teaching of the broad, sweeping themes of scripture rather than minute and speculative analysis of out-of-whole-context passages.
Over the years I’ve grown to mistrust much of the recent, politically driven and sensationalist writing on this subject that is coming out of America, so it’s refreshing to find such clear thinking coming from UK theologians.
As Tom Wright ‘wrightly’ points out, if we get our theology of the last things askew it affects the way we preach and demonstrate the gospel, our stewardship of planet Earth and a host of other things, and in my opinion, the thinking of the average church member/Christian is wooly and confused to say the least.
I’m not saying I’ve got it right, but at least I’m making the effort to go back to the scriptures and see what they really say…