WOW! A BRAIN-CELL TICKLING COUPLE OF DAYS at a Conference concerned with The Future of Ministry – followed half an hour or so after getting home by this month’s Parochial Church Council Meeting for me, and a two hour Old Testament seminar in Manchester for my colleague – so a bit late in the day for much immediate reflection. But I can’t let the day close without offering a huge thank you to Canon Professor Martyn Percy, to conference organiser Canon David Herbert, and to every one of my fellow participants at Foxhill.
And a big thank you to the faithful lay representatives to our Parochial Church Council. Whether we’ve been conferring at Foxhill or round table here in Bramhall, you’re all part-responsible for the sense I have, at the close of the day, of having been energised and recharged in our shared apostolic task in God’s world in our time.
I’ve been given enough stimulating input in the past 24 hours to keep me going for weeks and months to come. Tracy and I will share something of this as we reflect upon it. But for a quick jotting down of one of the most important things I came away with today: Martyn Percy recalled an account of a certain good and godly archbishop who was once asked by a group of German theologians what his own theological starting point was. I don’t know whether they were delighted with his answer (I imagine they were) but I definitely was:
… I think the starting point for all theology is somewhere in the middle …
Yes! Don’t we all do well to recollect that someone’s been here before us, and someone will be here after us. Everything we do, all our theology, all our apostilicity, all our ordinary, everyday living is “somewhere in the middle”. And that’s fabulously liberating. It means we can honestly try to practice a bit of Kosuke Koyama’s Three Mile An Hour God – cos we don’t have to provide ALL the answers. It’s a shared enterprise, is Life. And the starting point for all of us is, indeed, always somewhere in the middle.