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A space to reflect on Christian theology, spirituality, and ministry within the Church of England

Sunday, 24 June 2012

So what's all this about?

First thing's first, welcome to this blog!

It strikes me that before we get into the business I actually created this blog to discuss, it might be an idea to give you a brief introduction, both in terms of who I am, and what I envisage this space being about.

And you are...?
The simple stuff first, then. As I write this, I'm both a curate and a deacon in the Church of England. For those not in the know about C of E language (and bear with me, those who very much are), that means two things. A curate is a job title (like 'vicar' or 'rector'), meaning that I'm essentially still in training and functioning as an assistant to a more senior clergy person. An apprentice vicar, if you will. I've just finished my first year (of 3 or 4) of curacy in the Buckinghamshire parish in which I serve, and thus far am loving every minute. Really. My role as deacon, on the other hand, refers to a level of ordination. The C of E has three levels, like the Roman Catholic Church - namely deacon, priest and bishop. More on that in future posts.

After heading up to Oxford University to read theology way back in 1998, I kicked around Keble College until 2007, had a wonderful two years working for Wiley-Blackwell publishers as an assistant journal publishing manager, and finally spent two years in training for ordained ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon.

In terms of general interests, I'm on the eclectic side. I'm a confirmed science fiction and fantasy fan, particularly Doctor Who, and have been fortunate enough to have some short fiction and audio drama credits writing Doctor Who fiction for Big Finish Productions. I'm a regular attendee at conventions (Gallifrey, WorldCon, I'm looking at you), and chances are if I'm not working I'm off doing something SF/F related. I've been practicing Ki-aikido for the last year, which I'm enjoying immensely, even if so far I've only made it to my yellow belt. Though I simply don't have time in my life for it at the moment, I had tremendous fun over a couple of wonderful years with the SCA and briefly with the Vikings, which means I'm one of the few curates who can show up to a St. George school assembly in my own armour, carrying my own sword and shield.

Ok, so that's me. I'm sure other facets of my personality will emerge over time.

And why the blog?
I wanted to write this blog for two main reasons. Firstly, one of the things that's drummed into you at theological college, and then later during curacy-related IME (Initial Ministerial Education), is the need to be a 'theological reflector'. That is, it's a good idea to make a habit of taking time and space to work through theological and pastoral issues and questions that bring you up short in the course of ministry. I do that naturally to some extent, but it really helps me to write my thoughts and conclusions down. So, I thought, why not write some of them down in the form of a blog? At least then, some other people who might be musing on the same things might find them useful.

Secondly, and much more selfishly, I miss the theological discussions that were a regular feature at college. I really miss bringing up a topic, and being able to benefit from colleagues suggesting their own thoughts, good books that they'd been reading and could recommend, and the general back and forth that helped my initial barely-formed theological ideas get hammered out into something that I could take into the world.

What I would love is if this could be a place for some of that back and forth. For me to lay out and wrestle with the things that are on my mind and heart, and perhaps get some feedback, some reading suggestions, some interaction that could help me, and anyone reading along, develop our thinking.

That's the ideal. Whether it works in practice... I imagine I'll find out!

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