Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Christian Union Mission Week



Today is a big day in the seemingly interminable quest for women bishops in the Church of England, but it really won't change a thing. Honestly, really it won't. Absolutely not.

But what does have the potential to transform lives is the Christian Unions' Mission Week. His Grace had no idea this was taking place until @TheVicarsWife alerted him, and it really is far, far more important than issues of gender and sexuality at Synod.

There are more than 200 Christian Unions on university campuses, representing around 20,000 Christians from across the denominations. The UCCF mission is straightforward: "Living for Jesus and speaking for Jesus at university; we want to give every student in Britain an opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus."

This is about students reaching students with the gospel. Of course, Christian Unions are active in mission all year round, but this week is specifically set aside for outreach. Some of you will doubtless write this off as the superficial zeal of crash-bang-hormones, but you judge harshly. Consider the programme - THIS IS JESUS - from the Cambridge Christian Union. It is slick, professional and charged with gospel truth. If the medium is the message, this is laden with enticing credibility. And this - JESUS: CASE CLOSED? - from Imperial College, is vibrant, original and acutely relevant.

Here's another one from Aberystwyth University: just take a look at the sorts of 'Search' topics they address:
Can we have a purpose without God?
Does Jesus exist?
Is faith rational?
What does Jesus offer?
Is there only one way to God?
Who was Jesus?
Does God allow suffering?
Why did Jesus have to die?
Why would God send people to Hell?
Did Jesus rise again?
It is easy to forget that starting university can be a profoundly lonely and depressing experience. Many teenagers are leaving home for the first time in their lives - having to cook meals, wash and iron clothes, manage a budget, cope with debt, as well as handle a myriad of academic pressures and negotiate complex relationships and emotions. In this increasingly secular age, few leave school with much knowledge of Jesus at all, or even a basic awareness of the contents of the Bible. There is often aversion or hostility, mainly due to the subtle inculcation that Jesus was a dude but Christianity just isn't cool. It is often not until students are confronted with the big questions that they are open to thinking about Jesus, and Christian Unions have an immensely important role to play in feeding the hungry, guiding the wanderer and loving the lost.

This isn't formulaic evangelism, but acute pastoral care. CUs are charged with teaching and preaching the Word, but often become proactive spiritual consultants in some daunting and occasionally impossible situations - bereavement, drugs, pregnancy, abortion, breakdown, failure - each a cry of despair and a cause of the deepest spiritual longings. Faithful CU members are lay ministers, earthed in their communities, supporting and nourishing their peers while trying themselves to focus the lenses through which they may interpret a confusing and ambiguous world.

Some Christians preach an inaudible gospel; others a partial one; still others an incomprehensible one. Christian Unions are effective witnesses because they inhabit the world they seek to reach: they understand their context and their audience. As Lesslie Newbigin asked and observed:
How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic of the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.
Those who praise God at university are the ones who are charged with explaining God's message to those who are being lost. Pray for them - especially this week - that the fruits of their labours will ultimately praise God in the world.

63 Comments:

Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

This post is truly heart-warming, the Aberystwyth website excellent.

When I attended university I was unaware of the existence of a Christian ministry – living away from home for the first time, having moved to London from a small village in the countryside I would have very much appreciated the spiritual and social care they provide.

It is especially encouraging when many of our university student bodies are specifically targeted by the adherents of another faith, often to great effect.

11 February 2014 at 11:03  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

wonderfully pointed out, Your Grace.

These poor souls inhabit and walk in the world of the secular 'Illuminati', where the mention of Jesus's name is folly and old hat.

May we pray for the young in our body that have to fight on the frontline of aggressive multicultural nonsense, that allows the divisive, self assertive tendencies of the religion of peace full reign on campus but denies the hearing of the sweet sound of salvation to the young.

Blofeld

11 February 2014 at 11:05  
Blogger Phil said...

My parents both became Christians at university through student groups like this. I'm forever grateful for Christian students who cared enough to reach across the awkwardness and embarrassment and traditional British reserve to share the gospel that had changed their lives and the Saviour whom they loved.

May many students find the truth and the hope of Christ this term.

11 February 2014 at 11:10  
Blogger David Hussell said...

This is an important field of both pastoral care and mission, interdependent activities, well explained in this encouraging article by Archbishop Cranmer.

May many young people discover the joy of a relationship with Christ the Saviour and the beauty and wisdom of the Scriptures.

Those on this site who appreciate the importance of helping form the next generation of able Christian leaders may interested in visiting that of the Wilberforce Institute, which is doing sterling work.

11 February 2014 at 11:57  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

His Grace should invite a chapter into his blog here for a bit of that Christian unity.

*chortles*

11 February 2014 at 11:58  
Blogger Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Back in the early 70's I worked with other ex-uni people who were on fire for the Gospel. As artisans we created films and photographs for display at concerts at the Westminster Methodist Central Hall amongst other places. It was all great fun and tremendous to see young Christians bringing their friends to meet with the Lord. Good to see that the CU movement is going on strong.

11 February 2014 at 12:56  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

"In this increasingly secular age, few leave school with much knowledge of Jesus at all, or even a basic awareness of the contents of the Bible."
My daughter's very young A Level history teacher thinks the Old Testament consists of the Pentateuch and that the Book of Leviticus is the rule of law for Christians. This became apparent during a lesson on Henry VIII; the only two students who spotted the glaring errors were my daughter and her friend, both familiar with the Bible from home. This despite the fact that the entire class has studied the compulsory Religious Studies GCSE. I have pointed out to the head that the RS curriculum is clearly not achieving its stated aim of giving students an 'understanding of all religions'; I could be cynical and suggest it is deliberately giving students a misunderstanding of Christianity!

11 February 2014 at 14:16  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Avi Barzel said...

" His Grace should invite a chapter into his blog here for a bit of that Christian unity.

*chortles*" We await their unexpected arrival here shortly with bated breath? *SNIGGERS*

Blofeld, my fine chap.

11 February 2014 at 14:24  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Christian Unions - born out of one student’s vision for mission

In 1919 Norman Grubb was a young student at Cambridge University. He wrote, "I had one overwhelming urge - to get around to all the rooms of the men in my College and witness to them."

"I did this, though often it cost me a lot to do it. Before I left university, the Spirit distinctly came on me to go and speak in no uncertain terms to all I knew personally who had not accepted Christ, or who at least showed no sign of spiritual life. There had been this definite "commission" that I had to give myself to witness in the university. I went and pulled no punches, and a number came out for Christ, about sixteen of them. This caused a stir like a touch of revival. As I shared these experiences with others in the Christian Union, it came like a vision to me that every university and college in Britain and the world should have its evangelical and witnessing Christian Union, as we had. Little did I then realize that this was the start of what has since grown to become the world-wide ‘Christian Union’ Fellowship, now in hundreds and probably thousands of colleges in all nations."

What a man and servant of Christ... Oh that there were his kind abroad the lands in the church hierarchy. What could be possible?

Blofeld

11 February 2014 at 14:55  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Also, I should have added, that the few young who are truly Christian, who have survived the de-christianization propaganda extruded from all parts of our society, must be given every encouragement and assistance by those of us who are older. They are the precious seed corn for a future crop of faithful Christians. Hence my support for the Wilberforce Institute.

But these University CUs are absolutely vital -- Brilliant !

As the Apostle Paul knew so well, you have to convey the gospel message in a way that makes sense to those of the culture that you are reaching out towards. Due to the speed of cultural and technological change, the young are best equipped to do this.

As I say, Brilliant !

11 February 2014 at 15:06  
Blogger non mouse said...

Very good, Your Grace. Especially in view of the context described by today's communicants, I am grateful for the quality of RI at my old grammar school. Not a hint of Islam about that! And later ... well, all about me were Christian, and the churches were many and all open for meditators. Except for the ones that remained only as bomb sites from WWII, of course.

To help address the present decline at earlier-than-uni level, perhaps Busy Mum's students (backed by parents) could take an initiative also: how about organizing a school 'society' - in the old way. We had an "SCM," I recall = "Student Christian Movement." Or has the government forbidden that kind of thing too?

11 February 2014 at 15:26  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack salutes the work of the Christian Unions.

From a little bit of research, Jack has learned the CU has faced varying amounts of harassment in recent years in our "multi-cultural" society over telling the Gospel message and Christian values. You see, we are a "diverse" culture and it is "wrong" to be "exclusive".

There was a situation in 2007 with a University ruling that the Christian Union must permit non-Christians or atheists to be its leaders! Jack does not know how this turned out on appeal and is trying to discover this.

These are fine young people standing up for and proclaiming Jesus and Jack says God Bless them all. These are the young "cultural warriors" for the church.

11 February 2014 at 15:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

A fellow wasn’t going to comment on this thread, until he read the marvellous motion put forward by that honourable member for Toronto, Avi ,and sort of seconded by our twopenny megalomaniac, Blofeld.

One also feels that the membership of the Christian Unions should be alerted to the magnificent blog that is Cranmer. The insight that these fresh types will gain of the world they will shortly be a working part of will stand them in good stead come the inevitable. As well as act as armour against the musings of the cultural Marxist tutors they currently have to endure.

So, with that in mind, one suggests that any retired commentator with time on their hands who wishes to do some good with it (…and remember, that’s time off in RC purgatory, don’t you know…), may wish to research the relevant addresses for His Grace.

Tally ho, or what !

11 February 2014 at 17:26  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Jack. “a University ruling that the Christian Union must permit non-Christians or atheists to be its leaders!”

Indeed. Jesus wouldn’t like that. One would also suggest the Christ wouldn’t like homosexuals or women to be leaders on his church on earth. He was rather particular in many ways, was the man, NOT to present the fairer sex as possible missionaries for his message, and who are we to disagree. There was no arguing with him, you know, mind made up from the start. Didn’t say he would reconsider his decision next year, now did he ?

Take note synod…



11 February 2014 at 17:27  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11 February 2014 at 17:53  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

In my daughter's CU the University appointed a new Chaplain who was both Female and a lesbian in a relationship

The CU refused her permission to address the CU meetings, but the Chaplain enlisted the Uni to support (She was being discriminated against) her overriding the CU.

The CU stood firm with support of local Churches the most vocal of them was an Anglican Reform Church. Faced with disbandment the CU gave her a platform only everyone to leave when she started to speak and resume the meeting in the student's own rooms. This happened twice more.

Eventually the Chaplain left the University.

You see young people enjoy a fight and definitely not all are liberal.

However they nearly lost because of our foolish discrimination laws and only won because if ingenious ways of getting around them.

Phil

11 February 2014 at 17:56  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

IGOr-the cliché-ridden hunch-backed dumbwaiter whined [horses whinny]

"twopenny megalomaniac, Blofeld." *Snorts* TWOPENNY!!*Snorts*

11 February 2014 at 18:01  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, Happy Jack says he agrees Jesus' " ... mind made up from the start. Didn’t say he would reconsider his decision next year, now did he ?"

Jack asks, who can fathom the Mind of God and discern what was permanent and what particular to the circumstances during His earthly life?

For now, these young Christians are to be applauded for their courage in sharing the Gospel in an increasingly hostile environment and one prays they are orthodox in their beliefs and moral values - i.e. as Jack sees it, traditional and conservative.

Blowers, would you settle for a "thruppenny bit megalomaniac"? If pushed, the Inspector may be willing to go as far as a "bull megalomaniac".

11 February 2014 at 18:44  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

I say, that Blofeld fellow does a marvellous impersonation of a horse’s arse...

Have you seen him ? He’s going to get a gong for it one day.

Anyway, the Inspector was thinking. Blofeld has bags of spare time. God knows, the blighter spends enough of it annoying us, what !

So why doesn't HE collate the Christian Union addresses.

What do you think chaps ?

11 February 2014 at 19:35  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! The Christian Union is a splendid organisation. Here in Barchester, Mr. Bunce is the CU Shop Steward, and his union meetings are well attended by several demoninations, including the Seventh Day Tea-totallers, the Holy Jam-Rollers and the Latter-Day Muggletonians. Their picket line at Mustafa Fatwah's Curry House was very successful, though shouting 'Blackleg' at Mustafa's customers was perhaps not wise considering they were under surveillance from the Peelers. As soon as I heard cries of 'Kettling' I dashed down with my caddy of Earl Grey and a salver of hobnobs, but I fear I got the wrong end of the stick. Or truncheon, as it happened... still, could have been worse, eh DanJ0?

11 February 2014 at 19:46  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

My Dear Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack was disturbed to hear about your close encounter with a constable's truncheon. He hopes you have recovered from the ordeal.

It was good to hear Mr Bunce is so ecumenical and is organising local protests. However, one trusts the poor souls in his care are not used as flying pickets.

11 February 2014 at 20:12  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Phil Roberts @ 17.56

What a splendid bunch of young people at your daughter's CU ! They will emerge from that experience strengthened by the fight.

Also I am glad to hear that staunch support was offered by the local Anglican Reform church. My nearest one is 26 miles away but I attend when I have the time. The preaching is superb, very Biblical.

11 February 2014 at 20:26  
Blogger bluedog said...

Busy Mum @ 14.16 says, 'I could be cynical and suggest it is deliberately giving students a misunderstanding of Christianity!'

Brilliant! And sadly true.

Heartening to learn, Your Grace, that the CU movement stands ready to give such excellent pastoral care to students. As the Establishment becomes secular, the natural anti-Establishment feelings that the young express can also embrace Christianity without embarrassment. The wheel has turned full circle.

11 February 2014 at 20:43  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

""Blowers, would you settle for a "thruppenny bit megalomaniac"? Jack lad, talk of ladies 'bits' only gets the inspector all hot and flustered and without a Mrs Ordinary (that about sums up the best the f*rt could possibly kidnap and force to marry...
She'd probably look like Marty Feldman's grandma with matching tache) or cup of bromide, he'll take his venial frustrations out on any poor unsuspecting gay blogger that comes mincing and skipping his sorry way.

Will settle to for the two-pennies, solely for the peace and the sake of me poor eyesight, from his potential blog rantings.

Blowers

ps

Has anyone else noticed that iGor's hump moves from side to side on different comment threads?? It's probably where he stores his drag outfit when he performs at Madame JoJos KITSCH CABARET. Think he goes y the name Sunny The Snake Boy, master of Bellydance, Bhangra and Bollywood styles (Those many years, serving the empire, not wasted old boy, what!). *Sniggers*

11 February 2014 at 23:11  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Blowers, well that's an alternative 'theory' about our Inspector's hostility towards homosexual visitors to the one put forward by our resident 'agent provocateur'.

Very gracious of you too to to accept 'two pence'. Jack would have held out for the 'bull' - a silver sixpence. You really need a go-between, old boy.

Good night and sleep well and Jack trusts your health is on the mend and your back pain is being eased by the wonders of our NHS.

12 February 2014 at 00:53  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Jack lad,

"Good night and sleep well and Jack trusts your health is on the mend and your back pain is being eased by the wonders of our NHS."

Been waiting for me medical report from the quack shop for over two weeks now and despite me ringing regularly and getting the runaround, NOWT. Cannot start medical regime until it's received. The NHS *hock-spit* is solely there to provide expensive employment via the taxpayer for a bunch of incompetent time wasting layabouts.
Customers/patients are a blooming inconvenience to their highly paid paper pushing, 'worked off me feet' 8 hour lounge.
National Hooky Service...God Bless Hooky Street .

Blowers

12 February 2014 at 01:19  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I came to Christ in my first term at univrreity through the friendship and testimony of the CU. God bless this movement. There was enough hostility and contempt then, it must be worse now. May God strengthen, encourage and protect them.

12 February 2014 at 01:46  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Blowers,, Happy Jack sympathises with you.

Jack talks with nurses and doctors. He blames all the inspections, quality indictors, performance measures and the 'professionalisation' of nursing and doctors. Caring for the sick used to be a vocation - a calling. Now its big business with big salaries.

More and more money into measuring what's being done and what the so called targets and strategies are. More and more bureaucracy and form filling. It's a whole self-serving industry and it's lost its focus.

Remember, health care started as Christian charity. Now its big business.

Hooky Street. A market place for dodgy substandard goods that cannot be returned. Jack says get yourself an independent advocate.

12 February 2014 at 02:18  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 February 2014 at 02:40  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

So I played a game of Clue tonight. And I won. Here was my winning solution.

"In the theater by Mr Beckett with the Script."

Just 48 hours and counting. We're all with you in spirit.

carl

12 February 2014 at 02:42  
Blogger Len said...

Who is a credible witness to the Gospel?.
The Written Word of God and the Word made Flesh (Jesus Christ Himself)are the only reliable witnesses to the Gospel.
The Word (written and made flesh) testify to each other.
Once Jesus was resurrected He left His Spirit as His Witness on Earth.

Unless we have both( Spirit and Word) working together we end up with a dead religion which plays itself out with rituals and works of men.This might seem satisfying to a few but many will sense the futility of this and leave the church as many are doing.




12 February 2014 at 07:58  
Blogger Len said...



' In him[Christ] you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. '(Ephesians 1:13-14 RSV)

Two things which which are always found together in Scripture -- the Word, and the Spirit.

12 February 2014 at 08:14  
Blogger David Hussell said...

bluedog @ 20.43

"The wheel has turned full circle"

You have a good point there. It should become increasingly possible for gifted "missionaries" to relate to the disaffected young because of their natural sense of questioning of the established order. As that order currently subscribes to a Marxist/Feminist analysis of society's ills, a genuinely Spirit led Gospel approach may well become increasingly appealing to the young.

It will however have to be put in terms understandable using the current culture, and that's where the skill lies. Without in any sense diluting the Gospel, it's necessary to find a way to present The Good News in a way that "speaks" to the young. We need a latter day Wesley, 21st C style.

12 February 2014 at 08:32  
Blogger Nick said...

While the Archbishop of Cantebury is busy congratulating apostate episcopal bishops on their paper degrees, and the Synod is busy discussing everything except God, these young people are out there making Christianity real, and no doubt encountering a great deal of hostility from atheists and other Christophobic types.

So who are the real disciples? Those on the front line or the jobsworths in the Synod?

No doubt in my mind

12 February 2014 at 09:02  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Jack lad,

All I want and need is a likkle bit of paper saying what meds etc..The NHS has become a mirror into substandard life and sevices in our nation.

17 years ago, it was something to boast about even if it took a while to get in. You were treated thoroughly and well.
Now we have targets, that get you in on paper, on the system but not in reality because they then give you the verbal runaround not logged in the system.

This is why Ernst gets VERY ANGRY with politicians here lecturing other nations about the UK, Justice, Police, NHS etc, when in truth it is a mess and they are living in the past glory of our nation, as they well know!!

We have become a nation of systemic chancers, blaming others coz 'we can't be arsed ourselves'. If you hear the chorus long enough, you know the words and can then join in.
#lets make excuses and cover things up, and hope you go away.

Blowers

12 February 2014 at 10:41  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Nick @ 9.03

Agreed ! No doubt in my mind either.

12 February 2014 at 11:21  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"Steward Work Placements or Internships available via the Christian Union for the General Synod.

Work shadowing

Synod members can use work shadowing with frontline christian union members to get a taste for a particular job role that they might be considering such as reaching out for Christ to win souls.

It gives Synod members an insight into how a professionally committed ambassador for Christ goes about their daily life and can be useful in preparing them for future meetings with the lost, to present their Boss and what He offers for free to those alone in this world, without hope.

It also allows Synod members to experience how the same task of presenting Christ can be different depending on its setting.

Synod members also need to be aware of how time-consuming the process can be for the person being shadowed and the pressure in getting that gospel message across in simple terms, as looking for and creating opportunities are very precious, so preparation and a genuine interest in the area of saving souls are vital.

The main outcome of work shadowing with the Christian Union for 'hard working' Bishops, etc. is an increased knowledge of an area of work or job role that you might be considering in the future such Christ consider that you serve some useful purpose to Him rather than discussing things He never gave a commission to you for.

It will help you gain an understanding of the real world and the sinners needing saving within it, which can be invaluable when you come to wondering what on earth you are in that cassock for.

Working for Christ is a job for life and shadowing with real ambassadors for Him can help you decide whether it is really for you, rather than currently calling out bingo number at your local church hall gatherings."

Blofeld

12 February 2014 at 13:10  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! I can't for the ife of me see the purpose of Synod when one has bishops...and why bother with bishopesses when one has bishops' wives? (Here I must declare an interest). Synods are Presbyterian things, surely? Well I suppose there was the Synod of Whitby...but that was under the Abbess Hilda (a woman after my own heart).

12 February 2014 at 13:31  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Ars Hendrik...I tried some of your gin with a cucumber the other evening...so did Mr. Slope, and it brought tears to his eyes.

12 February 2014 at 13:34  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, do not bother my friend; you can no longer rattle me. Nothing can disturb me anymore. I am a rock in the middle of a turbulent stream. I am through denial, anger, bargaining and even depression, moving onto the final stage, acceptance, with serenity and growing joy. I will study Waiting for Godot and mouth the lines as the young thespians stumble through theirs, stage-whispering encouragements with a broad smile. I may even find or make a t-shirt with Samuel Beckett's face done up in high contrast like Che Guevara's and whip out a hidden cloth banner with Godot Rocks! I will clap, shout encouragements and lough with joy at the orphic ending:

VLADIMIR:
Pull on your trousers.
ESTRAGON:
You want me to pull off my trousers?
VLADIMIR:
Pull ON your trousers.
ESTRAGON:
(realizing his trousers are down). True.
He pulls up his trousers.
VLADIMIR:
Well? Shall we go?
ESTRAGON:
Yes, let's go.
They do not move.


Take a moment from your scattered busy day and contemplate the depth, the genius, the poetry. Feel it, accept it, be it....

12 February 2014 at 13:46  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Avi, have you been on the Hendriks too?

12 February 2014 at 13:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ah, no, Mrs P, but will probably spend the rest of my life on it after being forced to see Waiting for Godot performed by 12 and 13 year old boys at at my kid's school.

David Hussel, perhaps the situation is different, although I doubt it, but back in the day, when I was frequenting Jewish Student Unions, we found that even one or two excited kids who went overboard with their preaching to the less committed could empty the room in no time. If left alone to go on day after day, it stayed empty. Yes, a few kids get drawn in, but the majority are repelled. The solution: Lot of functions with free or cheap food and volunteers cruising about, engaging newcomers in light, friendly banter and more importantly, extricating the shy individuals from the relentless preechy pests. There is no point hurling a message at someone who will never come back because his experience was soured. The other thing to watch out for is the tendency to split into the usual cliques of cool people led by the alphas who forget about everyone else and begin excluding and bulling...on a social level, student unions are no different that nurseries. Enforced mixing by randomly forming groups for activism projects is a way of countering some of that. Just a few observations.

12 February 2014 at 14:21  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"David Hussel, perhaps the situation is different, although I doubt it, but back in the day, when I was frequenting Jewish Student Unions, we found that even one or two excited kids who went overboard with their preaching to the less committed could empty the room in no time. If left alone to go on day after day, it stayed empty. Yes, a few kids get drawn in, but the majority are repelled."

Is it ever thus with those called to believe by Promise the things of God?

Romans 11
11 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,

3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.(Had the majority of Israel been repelled by Elijah's overexcited preaching?)

4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal (Did God fails miserably as the number 7,000 is a pittance. Perhaps free manna and volunteers cruising about, engaging newcomers in a light, friendly banter about Babylon not being such a bad place after all and more importantly, extricating shyer individuals in love with Baal, who may have listened to the message said differently by another from the relentless preachy Elijah.).

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.


When king Ahab and the prophet met face-to-face, Ahab accused Elijah of troubling Israel, as you do the excited messengers of Good News. But Elijah replied that it was the royal family which had “troubled Israel” by deserting Jehovah (“the Lord”) and following “Baalim” (the plural of Baal).

“How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.”

Has Israel ever learned from its history? Do tell, my boy.

Blofeld

12 February 2014 at 15:31  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

you can no longer rattle me. Nothing can disturb me anymore. I am a rock in the middle of a turbulent stream.

Ah. Figured out how to smuggle in some Scotch without getting caught, did you. I knew you were resourceful enough.

carl

12 February 2014 at 16:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Very nice, Mr Blofeld, I like your style, but I'm sure you will understand that my understanding of Torah is vastly, substantially and dramatically different from yours. If that's alright with you.

I omitted to mention that the student body at my university, which before the Islamic waves arrived, was well over 90 percent Christian...by Christian I include of course Anglicans, United Church, Evangelical denominations and Catholics; the typical Canadian composition by order of numbers. Somehow, before my arrival the Christian union there was taken over by what other Christians called, not in a nice way, the "Bible thumpers," and it quickly dwindled to a group of less than a dozen of very earnest people...all guys, actually. By the time I left university, they had been moved to shared facilities and maintained their echo chamber with another, unrelated group.

I didn't mention this, because I didn't want to sound like I'm gloating, cackling with schadenfreude, which I'm not. But in that same period our Jewish Union was moved three times to bigger and better offices to accommodate larger and larger groups of students. There were marriages that came out of there, friendships we still keep up, business partnerships. Not a few non-Jews drifted through, most of them traditionalist Christian kids from small towns who were clearly escaping the secular mess around them. Scores of previously indifferent Jews became involved religiously, politically, culturally. Some wear black hats now, others have moved to Israel, others like me became observant married within and participate in the life of the community, raising committed families and continuing the outreach. We are talking hundreds of people in the span of four years. The Jewish union is even bigger now, with its own building containing a sanctuary, a kosher cafeteria and other student life facilities.

The purpose of a religiously-based student union is to provide a safe and pleasant home away from home to students of your faith or background and to strengthen and promote the beliefs or culture. Without an Elijah around and because no one is compelled to attend, its success measured by quality and numbers bears witness to the skills, competence of philosophy of its managers. There is no point to missionizing without results. Even less to losing people and then telling yourself it's all their fault. Well, not unless the goal is to feel good and smug about one's self. There is a tiny, narrow margin somewhere between the shouting and the threats, and the bread and circuses, the overdone "relevance" and other distractions. It's not easy to find, but it's there and like it or not, it takes specific training, education and skills to do so. Most Jewish student unions in my parts and the US still are fortunate in having a large cadre of dedicated professional leaders to pick from.

You would make a great lay preacher, if you are not one already, Mr Blofeld. While we differ in our views and faiths I can tell that with your wit and passion you could move a crowd. But please, whatever you do, let others with years of background, with the mundane skills in administration and young adult education advise and manage the student unions. There were mistakes made in the past, but most Protestant, Catholic and other denominational seminaries have excellent programs now. If you want them to at least survive in today's university environment, that is.

12 February 2014 at 17:21  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

No, no, Carl, no fire water for me at Waiting for Godot. I'm steeped in its mysteries and last night stood at a major intersection, in -20C with wind chill, fluttering script in hand, shouting out Beckett's lines to astonished passerby. Join me in my quest, my friend. Excuse yourself from work, go home, light some candles and swaying back and forth, begin chanting the enticing lines to be transported into a world you never knew of.

I will issue a quick report after the play and related festivities tomorrow, probably after 10:00 pm EST or thereabouts.

12 February 2014 at 17:37  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Very nice, Mr Blofeld, I like your style, but I'm sure you will understand that my understanding of Torah is vastly, substantially and dramatically different from yours. If that's alright with you (Do carry on, that chap).

I omitted to mention that the student body at my university, which before the Islamic waves arrived, was well over 90 percent Christian ...by Christian I include of course Anglicans, United Church, Evangelical denominations and Catholics; the typical Canadian composition by order of numbers. Somehow, before my arrival the Christian union there was taken over by what other Christians called, not in a nice way, the "Bible thumpers,(The eveangelicals you mentioned earlier?)" and it quickly dwindled to a group of less than a dozen of very earnest people...all guys, actually. By the time I left university, they had been moved to shared facilities and maintained their echo chamber with another, unrelated group (The Humane Society?).

I didn't mention this (Tsk Tsk, my lad), because I didn't want to sound like I'm gloating (G-D forbid), cackling with schadenfreude, which I'm not (Much appreciated). But in that same period our Jewish Union was moved three times to bigger and better offices to accommodate larger and larger groups of students (Using your modern Judaism evangelical skills on display here, at drawing the lost of Israel together?). There were marriages that came out of there, friendships we still keep up, business partnerships (Same as at Ernst's old Youth Club that expanded in size and number in Darlington). Not a few non-Jews drifted through, most of them traditionalist Christian kids from small towns who were clearly escaping the secular mess around them. Scores of previously indifferent Jews became involved religiously, politically, culturally (How so, as you appear to give no mention of the deails of putting flesh on dead bones). Some wear black hats now, others have moved to Israel, others like me became observant married within and participate in the life of the community, raising committed families and continuing the outreach (You have nebver explained but what does thisd outreach actually reach out with?). We are talking hundreds of people in the span of four years (Ditto me Youth Club). The Jewish union is even bigger now, with its own building containing a sanctuary, a kosher cafeteria and other student life facilities(How was this achieved and for what purpose..Strengthenening of the Mosaic promise that they are G-D's special people or how to live as an ethnic Jew in a society that doesn't know it's a*%e from it's elbow).

12 February 2014 at 17:58  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

The purpose of a religiously-based student union is to provide a safe and pleasant home away from home to students of your faith or background and to strengthen and promote the beliefs or culture (What might these be, that your union advanced?). Without an Elijah around (He truly needed that impressive support you have mentioned to get the message out to those stiff necked people, did he not? Rank amateur *Chortles*) and because no one is compelled to attend, its success measured by quality and numbers bears witness to the skills, competence of philosophy of its managers (Ditto me Youth Club..hardly a religious outreach except by the building it was in, and to entertain kids from destroying all and sundry between 7-10.30 pm Mon-Fri). There is no point to missionizing without results (But how and by what are results judged...Membership only is hardly key to the intrinsic values of the club being held to, now are they). Even less to losing people and then telling yourself it's all their fault. Well, not unless the goal is to feel good and smug about one's self. There is a tiny, narrow margin somewhere between the shouting and the threats, and the bread and circuses, the overdone "relevance" and other distractions. It's not easy to find, but it's there and like it or not, it takes specific training, education and skills to do so. Most Jewish student unions in my parts and the US still are fortunate in having a large cadre of dedicated professional leaders to pick from.

You would make a great lay preacher, if you are not one already, Mr Blofeld (Aw, shucks, my wonderful fine boy*blushes profusely*). While we differ in our views and faiths I can tell that with your wit and passion you could move a crowd. But please, whatever you do, let others with years of background, with the mundane skills in administration and young adult education advise and manage the student unions (Ooh dear, all those years with the youth club wasted). There were mistakes made in the past, but most Protestant, Catholic and other denominational seminaries have excellent programs now(Hardly leading an individualt o God, hmm. ). If you want them to at least survive in today's university environment, that is (Who could ask for more, eh?).

12 February 2014 at 17:59  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

As a Cambridge student I am delighted to see Archbishop Cranmer plugging our mission week! Many non-Christians came along, invited by their friends or off the back of publicity and I'm led to believe that some were saved. There is currently a Christianity Explored-style follow-up course running for the next five weeks. It's all tremendously encouraging!

12 February 2014 at 17:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Now, now, Mr Blofeld, no regrets and dewy-eyed fantasies about returning to those student clubs in our collegiate jackets we couldn't fit into anymore to impart our leadership experience and wisdom to the pimpled youth. We're both too long in the tooth and things have changed.

Oh, and if you are bent on replicating the Eliyahu ha'navi effect, remember that he trained Elisha through a long apprenticeship and Elisha was appointed and kept a position as an official prophet for over 40 years. Prophesy too was for the pros.

12 February 2014 at 18:18  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Well done, Mr Keningley.

Avi Barzel said...

His Grace should invite a chapter into his blog here for a bit of that Christian unity.

*chortles*"

Well done, that fellow. It appears your requestful invite and prayer has been fulfilled. *Chortles INDEED*

Blowers the believer

12 February 2014 at 18:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

last night stood at a major intersection, in -20C with wind chill, fluttering script in hand, shouting out Beckett's lines to astonished passerby.

Uh huh. So if I was a friendly neighborhood police officer, and I saw someone "[standing] at a major intersection, in -20C with wind chill, fluttering script in hand, shouting out Beckett's lines to astonished passerby" I would probably make a totally different assumption about the relationship between this situation and the likely presence of Scotch.

carl

12 February 2014 at 18:24  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Oh, I nearly missed this one, Mr B: But how and by what are results judged...Membership only is hardly key to the intrinsic values of the club being held to, now are they...

Well, you took off my answer to that now, didn't you? Tsk, tsk! I listed religious and community involvement, observance, contact, religious growth and most importantly, marriages and connected, sound families. "Intrinsic values" are best measured not by what people say, but by long term objective results.

12 February 2014 at 18:26  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Well done, that fellow. It appears your requestful invite and prayer has been fulfilled.

Huh? Oh. (Blushing) I misread the title as "Christian Unity" and shot off a naughty quip about how you Christian folks here might need a bit of that, what with your Orange and Green Wars, as I call them. Obviously, due to my sloppiness it was misread. Sorry to confuse, Mr Blofeld, Still not clear about what you think I meant, but no matter, my fault as I said.

12 February 2014 at 18:31  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, not "scotch" but antifreeze.

12 February 2014 at 18:33  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Another possible misunderstanding, Mr Blofeld, does "Christian" the way it is used by you and others denote only Protestant evangelists, and only certain denominations at that? Like, not High Anglicans, the Eastern Orthodox and dare I say it, C-c-c-catholics?

Different scene of course and probably unrelated, but occasionally some earnest orthodox Jewish offshoot tries now and then to use "Jew" to mean only themselves and a few other groups they approve of, but so far we're good at shouting down such deadly-divisive crap and marginalizing the fanatics. Having clear scriptural and tradition based criteria to smack them over the heads with does help, though.

12 February 2014 at 18:43  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Thomas Keningley, you sound like an admirable young man! Just the sort we need at our higher seats of learning. I shall parcel up a supply of hobnobs and post them off to you directly, so you can have midnight feasts in the dorm.

12 February 2014 at 20:19  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack looked into that Synod of Whitby you mentioned earlier. It was an important meeting by the sound of it.

Now, you were very naughty saying it was held "under the Abbess Hilda". She attended as was influential, but King Oswiu called it and held it at Abbess Hilda's place, now Whitby Abbey.
Churchmen came from all over to attend. The decisions of the synod called a bit of a rift with the Celtic Christian monks living on Lindisfarne over church practices.

Jack loves to visit Whitby Abbey on a sunny day and laze on the cliffs after wandering around the building. His mind imagines all the goings on in the place down the centuries. Its so sad it fell into ruin because it was shut down during the Reformation.

He also toddles along to Lindisfarne, Holy Island, from time to time and ponders on matters of Christian division. One has to watch he waters there though.

Jack was fortunate enough to see the real Lindisfarne Gospels,
the earliest surviving Old English copies of the four Gospels. The originals are in the British Library in London and this is causing a bit of a brew-ha up this way.

Nice chatting and do forgive me for going on a bit. We could talk for hours on all this, dipping hobknobs in a cup of Earl Grey.

12 February 2014 at 21:48  
Blogger non mouse said...

Now you're talking, Happy Jack!! And I wish Oswin were here to enrich our discussion of his home lands.

Re LFG: On a visit to Lindisfarne long years ago, this communicant was indignant to learn the manuscript was in London; however, the curator suggested that many people felt it was safer, down yonder.

One wonders if that philosophy still holds good, given the alien setting of the once sovereign city. Perhaps the present brouhaha is justified then, and we should re-consider rallying around old Bamburgh (or Monkwearmouth, Jarrow, etc.)!

Or, there's always the other option. Remember those monks who wandered when the Vikings hit the monastic establishments.... ? :)

13 February 2014 at 03:42  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

@ Non-mouse 15.26 on 11th
Sadly,having become very familiar with school's equality policies, a modern SCM would be banned for the reasons outlined by Happy Jack at 15.31. They would simply not be allowed to be true Christians because anything they say would be classed as homo/Islamo/phobic etc.Last year, sixth formers were allowed to debate the Marriage Bill but of course, discussing homosexuality per se was out of the question.hence the debate was pointless.....
As Phil (17.56) says, the discrimination laws are forcing Christianity underground so although I recognise Avi's description(14.21 on 12th) of how groups get taken over by bullies and split into cliques etc, a modern group will only survive at school by compromising on the truth and, well, conforming.My children have had many successful one-to-one or small group discussions at school which are not really within the Head's radar so to speak.

Well done to Phil's daughter and co!

13 February 2014 at 09:54  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Good morning . Happy Jack doffs his hat to you at this our first conversation.

It is a great pleasure to wander the lands of Aidan, Cuthbert, Eadfrith and Eadberht and to reflect on the Viking and Norman invasions. The collapse of the great Northumbrian kingdom led to the monks of Lindisfarne fleeing their island in 875 taking Cuthbert's bones and other precious items which are now at the big church on the hill in Durham. The Gospels were stolen from Durham during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and should be returned.

Jack asks if you are suggesting a raid on the British Library to right this historic wrong? That would create a stir! Jack knows the odd villain or two .... and Blowers is a former criminal mastermind ..... Mrs Proudie can offer motivational talks and hobnobs.

(Best keep this chat under your bonnet as it could land Jack in hot water for "conspiracy".)

13 February 2014 at 12:19  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

... dratted machine! That should have been:
"Good morning non mouse

13 February 2014 at 12:20  
Blogger Nathan Haley said...

They have been very sucessful too. Here in Bangor, we've been able to reach hundreds of students and the results have spoken for themselves. Glory to God that 5 were saved that week alone and 20 others have signed up to study Lukes Gospel with us

17 February 2014 at 08:06  

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