Pastoral Letter

Dear Friends

In recent months our grandson, Castiel, has been staying with us for longer than normal. He is full of life and always wants to participate in everything. Having reached 10 he is now often bored, oh how I remember that. For the last while Cas has been on at me to try playing one of his computer games, Minecraft. I have never been one for computer games and always remove them from my phone immediately after getting a new one. However, a short while ago I decided that it would be the grandfatherly thing to give it a go and so I asked him to teach me. He was delighted and laughed uproariously at my feeble attempts to manipulate the console with all its knobs and buttons. At first it was hopeless but gradually I began to master (too big a word really for what was actually happening) the techniques of creative building in a virtual world. I must have accomplished something, because Cas leapt up from his bed poked his head out of the door and shouted, “Dad, I’ve got Grandpa playing Minecraft and he’s doing ok. See, you can teach an old dog new tricks!”
Well, this old dog acquired some new skills but soon found where his limitations were. Nevertheless, this gives me something new to spend time with Cas on. I was interested in my reticence to try something new. Maybe it’s a sign of age, who knows. However, I do love to learn new things. One of my past bishops used to tell us that he would wake every morning and say to himself, “I wonder what new things I will learn today?” Although I was already on that path I have taken that ‘morning thought’ to heart and often ask myself the same question. My immediate response to
hearing a new word is to find out its meaning and history. Every time I learn a new Latin name for a plant, insect or animal I am compelled to then find out the history and meaning of that particular taxonomic name. It is also one of the reasons I love watching nature programmes and travel documentaries. I only read non-fiction and reference books. That may sound very boring to some but to me it is life and wonder. Your inquisitiveness may take you into
completely different realms.
In short, I love learning. This may lead some people to the mistaken belief that I must be some kind of expert
in something. To me, an expert is someone who knows a considerable amount about something specific,
whereas I know a little about many things. This doesn’t make me an expert, neither do I ever want to be, but it
does make me an enthusiast. I am very happy to be called an enthusiast. The word and concept of
enthusiasm derives from the Greek words, en theos, (meaning ‘in God’). I am very happy to be enthusiastic about God and about all that he has made. It gives me great joy to learn and discover new things about the world and about
(him). Every day I look for something new to learn and every day I find plenty. Not only can old dogs learn new things but they can do quite well at it as I’m sure lots of you, who are around and above my age, will know. The more we learn, the bigger the world seems to get and the more awe I experience in relation to new discoveries.
I am currently researching one of the Old Testament prophets, I won’t tell you who he is right now, and I find myself reeling at the new discoveries, or rather uncovering old truths and insights. Interestingly, I have employed the services of an author whose book, “All That’s Wrong with the Bible”, seeks to deconstruct the narratives and “truths” we take for granted. I am grateful to him for his kind help via his book because it helps me to analyse what I really believe and the
process is strengthening my faith in a very powerful way. Never be afraid of criticism or of anyone whose opinion is different than yours. The conversation will help you learn and grow.
In the New Testament Jesus says this. “Therefore every teacher of the law (the Jewish Torah) who has been instructed about the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasurers as well as old.” Matthew 13 52. Faith in Jesus includes being willing to listen and engage,confident in what we believe and open to new conversations relevant to the world we live in. That is how Jesus was in his life and ministry and look at how
many people were drawn to his love and light. If we are closed minded, then sharing the Good News of the
Gospel in Jesus will be very challenging.
I pray continued health and happiness for you this
summer.
Stephen
07943 014277
Email [email protected]
One recommended source of listening to the Bible
being read by David Suchet on your phone is
www.biblegateway.com
Choose the New International Version UK (NIVUK)

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