Thursday, 23 September 2010

Back to study

A few weeks ago, I posted regarding Edinburgh uni's requirement for me to gain at least 40 university credits. This can be read here. Edinburgh has a centre for lifelong learning, where I could have studied the required number of credits, the timing of the courses were such that I just couldn't fit them in with work. So, I will be studying with Aberdeen uni's CLL. They have the option of allowing students to undertake distance study.

This term, I will be studying New Testament Greek and Mark's gospel. I hope they will be interesting...I'm sure they will be. I've been told Greek, once you learn the alphabet, is much like Latin, which I have studied and really enjoyed. Unfortunately, I have forgotten much of it as it is 18 years since I did study it!!! It's funny, when it was first suggested I could study Greek, I thought "but that's why we have translations". Then, in the middle of August I was chatting to an American friend and called her a clart. I then had to explain what it meant. Like many Scots words, it's not that easy to translate. At that point I had the revolution learning biblical Greek may not be that bad an idea.

Naturally, Mark's gospel is going to be interesting and useful for my future career. Somehow, me thinks, I might just use Mark's gospel on a fairly regular basis.

So, my classes start on Monday evening. I'm looking forward to it. It'll also give me a more gentle start to study than no study for 11 years then straight to uni full time. I also hope, having some credits already will take a little of the pressure off me at the start of uni full-time next year. Maybe not, but I can always hope!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Turning water (and fruit) into wine since 2010!

Spot and I are on holiday, but the weather isn't exactly conducive to camping, o we've filled the last week and a half in other ways...

We picked 15lbs of brambles (blackberries for those outside Scotland) over a couple of days last week. Most is now fermenting into wine - 4.5 gallons at the moment! A tub has been reserved in the freezer for later in the year.

We also have 5 gallons of Cabernet Sauvigon from a kit fermenting too. That's the third kit wine we've done - the first 2 being demijohns (i.e. 1 gallons)'s amazing what you can pick up in a health food shop in Stirling these days...The first 2 gallons turned out so well we thought we'd give a larger quantity a try. Apparently wine is better made in larger quantities.

Once the wines are finished, we're going to turn water into beer. We bought a kit from the same shop as the wine kit. All we need is 40 pint bottles...we're half way there already!!!

We started this wine/beer making malarkey as we were having a clear out to turn one of our spare rooms into my study. In the process of this, we "rediscovered" the array of wine making kit we bought a couple of years back. I say rediscovered as we hadn't forgotten about it, just not used it. The way I say it was we either used the kit or got rid of it - hence the start of our new "hobby".

Saturday, 4 September 2010

What to wear...

Over at Pilgrim's progress, Nik has been posting on what to wear as a minster. You can read the post here.

Generally, I think it's useful for the congregation, especially visitors, to see who the minister is. This is where the dog - sorry, clerical - collar comes in useful. I know, when I am a minister I will wear one for leading worship, certain types of visits where being instantly recognisable is advantageous and funerals.

It's a uniform. I recognise the assistant in Tesco by their uniform. I know if I want to know where to get the item that's been moved for the umpteenth time, I ask the person in the right clothing. I suppose the same goes for ministers!

As for robes...quite frankly, I'd get roasting in them. Generally, I don't feel very cold, unless it's really hot. So, robes would get me too hot under the collar! There are times, I know, where they set even more gravitas - such as when performing (or should that be administering?) the sacraments and remembrance Sunday. Having said that, if I was called to a very cold church, my opinion on robes may change very rapidly!!!

Preaching scarves...well they can be useful. A bit more formal than just the collar, but without the insulation of robes!

And there's then the debate (at least in my head) on what to wear with the collar. Jeans, biker trousers, a suit?  That will depend on the occasion and people involved.

Sometimes, though, I think the collar can be a barrier. People will see the minister in a different light. They may not fully show themselves or be appalled to see the minister having a pint in the local! Even out of uniform, a minister, by some, is still expected to be a certain type of person and not necessarily very Christ-like - I'm sure he'd go to the pub. Jesus didn't change clothes to teach the people, according to scripture. Maybe he did, but it was not recorded. I'm sure if he did and there was an important reason for it, it would have been recorded by the gospel writers.

From a very personal point of view, at the moment, I wear a suit jacket when leading worship in my home church. It shows I am being more formal and sets a bit more gravitas (for me, believe me, that is an achievement!). I am doing pulpit supply at the end of October and I will wear a suit on that occasion.

When I start training, I think my attire for the occasions will remain fairly constant. Although I will be a trainee minister, I wouldn't want people getting a false impression I am  the minister, as that could lead to all kinds of comedy situations.

But, at what point would I begin to wear a collar? At the right time in training? At the start of probation? When following the call to congregations? When being ordained? Spot thinks probation. He uses the police analogy, where even during training the police wear a uniform. I pointed out there are indicators on their uniform they are in, should trainee ministers have a blue clerical collar!!!

God has called me because of who I am. My clothes are a reflection of that. So long as my clothes do not distract others from His message, I think that's all that really matters.