There is the wonderful little story of the wee girl who was drawing a picture. "What are you drawing, darling?", asks mummy. "I'm drawing a picture of God.", the little girl replies. "But Darling, nobody knows what God looks like!" "Ah!, but they will after I'm finished my drawing!", was the solemn reply.
I kinda remembered that story as we were all given pieces of paper and coloured pens tonight and sent off to our rooms to "do a drawing" of our parishes and how they related to the Diocese. And No Words Allowed! How did I draw my parish and its relationship to the Diocese? If I had a scanner here in the Glynhill Hotel, I would gladly share it with you! It certainly involved lots of people, and my matchstick men are now infamous!
I wonder if what I shared eventually with others would be similar to what others in my congregation would draw. Do they see things like I do, or vice-versa? We maybe all need to start drawing when I return. Maybe if I roll out my own drawing all will be revealed like the little girl's God?
But don't mistake the above goings-on as a frivolous exercise in a time wasting clergy freebie. (Although the food is to die for and the bedrooms extremely spacious and comfortable). This is all serious stuff, and if anything the leadership from the Grubb Institute is pretty intense in nature. The Transforming Experience Framework, leading to Authentic Ministry is heavy stuff indeed. The experience of being a person, in a context, in a system, surrounded by the living God active in the world is no place to be if you are not prepared for some soul-searching and squeaky bum thinking!
Again, it's good to share some soul with fellow clergy, stipendiary clergy, who give their lives and guts and souls to their parishes, often to the detriment of their own well-being.It is in receiving from our people that we are affirmed and strengthened, and I reflect that I am truly blessed!
I talked much today about a ministry of enabling, and I have a people thirsty for enablement. That's why we have a glorious future as we walk in the footsteps of Jesus, well...... sometimes we do!