Asking the right question…

It began at Westbury URC in Wiltshire with the lectionary reading of Jesus confronted with questions about divorce. Questions are not always what they seem! In the conversation with the Pharisees Jesus takes a question intended to trap him in legal niceties and turns it back on his questioners. The question from the Pharisees was harsh and judgemental the answer was shaped by grace and compassion – ‘Let the little children come to me, do not stop them’. We still often find ourselves hiding behind legal and constitutional convention afraid that grace and compassion Westbury URC might be too costly.

It was on the back of that reflection that I headed to Manchester for the Conservative Party Conference. The questions that we put to politicians were around the increasing gap between rich and poor, the plight of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and poverty in Africa, UK membership of the European Union and the European convention on human rights. Asking politicians to make unpopular decisions has little integrity unless we too face

Free Church reps

Free Church reps

the discomfort of asking questions of ourselves.

After a quick detour to meet with Synod Clerks and wrestling the question how we might better listen to one another it was off to the Emirates stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club, to listen to the evangelist J John. He has a vision of evangelistic campaigns based in football stadiums beginning with July 2017 in London. They couldn’t be an alternative to local churches getting on with the job of sharing the story of faith in their locality but people might find it easier to ask friends and neighbours to an event at a football stadium than in a church but why is

URC folk at the Emirates

URC folk at the Emirates


That left me asking the question of the people at St. Andrew’s, Chesterfield how as churches we had taken the most exciting, liberating, world changing event in human history and making it boring and apparently irrelevant to life in 21st century Britain. I don’t have answers but perhaps I am beginning to ask the right questions.

David Grosch-Miller

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