James’s Blog: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

James’s Blog:  Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

I was discussing with someone who suggested that, as an atheist, he at least was ‘…thinking for himself’. I pointed out that, unless he had invented atheism, he actually wasn’t. None of us really think for ourselves, I told him. There are thousands of years of history and debate and experience behind each of us, and all we can ever do is just pick a side. Read more

James’s Blog: The Wisdom of Old Ladies.

James’s Blog:  The Wisdom of Old Ladies.

When I was at Spurgeon’s, our Pastoral Care lecturer told us that he had spoken to his mother on the phone recently. She had told him that she had gone to an evening fellowship group at someone’s house, and when she had arrived, the young assistant minister was already there and had made himself at home in the most comfortable armchair available. “Tell your students not to do that,” she told her son. He passed this on to us, not because it had anything to do with pastoral care but because he was just doing what his mum had told him to do. My time at Spurgeon’s was very beneficial to me, but as far as practical lessons go, that was one of the few that I can remember.  I’ve always chosen my seat very carefully since. There’s wisdom in some of these old ladies. Read more

James’s Blog: Growing Old.

James’s Blog:  Growing Old.

It is the dreadful lie of our culture that you must take the great adventures while you are young. Maybe so in abseiling and Bungee Jumping; but it is not so in the truly dangerous business of the Kingdom.”

Peter Volkofsky

It’s definitely true that our culture lionises youth. Getting old is seen as a backwards step; a decline; a curse rather than a blessing. But if you’re bemoaning your lost youth then you’ve done nothing more than bought into another lie. There’s a Native American saying: “No wise person ever wanted to be younger”. The truth is that if you’re living well, then you’ll be growing in character and wisdom. If you’re giving your relationship with God the attention that it deserves then you are more like Christ today than you were this time last year. If this is the case, then you’re actually more useful to God now than you used to be, and you’ll become even more useful the older that you get. The Bible is full of elderly heroes; men and women who didn’t hit their stride until the years of experience had caught up with them, and the wisdom of suffering had tempered and focused their youthful energy. Jesus himself spent his youth preparing for the tasks of middle-age. Let me add this: if you aren’t nurturing your relationship with God then you’ve got bigger problems than aching muscles, saggy skin and unwanted hair.

Be encouraged. The world may tell you that your glory days are behind you; that your purpose now is to grow old quietly and aim for nothing more than to be a productive member of United Kingdom PLC, but I tell you that God has plans.

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