Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Thursday, April 7

Church update, and theology of guidance

We keep having contacts with the old church.

  • While going to meet my wife at Hospital I bumped into one of the ladies who used to be in her groups – one of the prime suspects for our troubles.

  • Same day saw the treasurer in Tesco – tried to pass discretely behind her but she started turning round just as I was passing. Fortunately eyes didn’t meet.

  • That afternoon the Vicar emailed me for a meeting at the mid-point of our ‘sabbatical’. This was at the height of my wife’s illness, so I had a good reason to decline. We were far too stressed already to be dealing with him.

  • Mrs met the church secretary in Neros. Polite but empty conversation ensued.

  • While Mrs was taking daughter to blood test, met Vicar in waiting room. Again, polite but empty conversation.

Now: if we were feeling positive about the old church, we would see all these co-incidences as God-incidences and go rushing back. But since we still loathe the leaders there, and none of those we met said how much they missed us and want us back, of course we interpret it as God showing us that we definitely can’t go back. Are we being consistent here? I think not. Not least; we haven’t given them a fair chance to say it. I declined the meeting. I avoided the treasurer. The other encounters were in public places where they probably felt it was not appropriate to risk talking about serious thing, knowing how sensitive we were and given to losing our tempers with them. So I think we should give them a chance to say more formally that they want us back and to make proposals for that return…. even if all it does is prove that they are not sorry for what they did and don’t really have any constructive proposals – it would be like last time when they asked us for our proposals, when really the onus was on them. They did the damage, it was for them to remedy it. I really struggle with forgiveness. I know the theory that we should take the initiative in these things, but I find I can’t forgive and work with people who don’t acknowledge their guilt and don’t show any signs of remorse or repentance. Well, God doesn’t forgive under these circumstances either. But I am stuck with unforgiveness and the heavy heart and sense of guilt that goes with it. And if I was on my own I could eat my own humble pie but I am with my wife who is the one who was really sinned against, so I can’t get all chummy with those who hurt her until she has forgiven them too. So we don’t feel the door is open to us to go back, and we have no desire to go back. And our lives have been marked with God’s blessing since we left so he’s clearly on our side …. Except that Mrs has been totally crippled with a massive flare up of arthritis that has stopped her going to the shop round the corner. What’s that all about? Is it some kind of punishment from God for leaving? Is it the devil trying to stop us doing a good thing in the new church? Or is it just a flare up that was due to happen anyway in the natural progression of the disease? Or was it caused (or aggravated) by the stress of it all? She’s on prednisolone tablets now and slowly improving – hopefully she will be reasonable mobile in time for our once-in-a-lifetime holiday next week.

Honesty box

There’s an honesty box in the office kitchen for people to put money in. So they want honest people to put money in. Honest people to do the opposite of dishonest people. That’s what the ‘dis’ bit means. So, if they want honest people to put money in and they want them to do the opposite of dishonest people, this means that they must want dishonest people to take money out. After all, if dishonest people did leave the money there then the honest people, doing the opposite, would have to NOT leave it there (and take it out). So one way or another, they want either the honest people or the dishonest people to take money out. And if they want people to take money out, I’d better go for my share now before its too late.