My name is Joe Pritchard, and I intend to use this blog to reflect on and record my journey of Christian faith as I start to work out my own personal Ministry within the Church of England and undergo Reader training. It will also save me answering a lot of questions as to where I disappear to every 4th Sunday….
I do run a personal blog called Joe’s Jottings, and the question may well be asked ‘Why not put everything in one place?’ Well, that’s a good question! I’m not sure what the answer is, because I’m open about my Christianity in day to day life, so why blog under ‘separate cover’, so to say?
I think the separation is for two reasons:
- for ease ease of maintenance – two blogs, 2 separate posting schedules, no way that one set of postings will get preferential treatment over the other.
- More importantly, keeping my postings on faith in one place make it easier to follow developments in my spiritual life
Another reason is that it will also make it easier to include the blog in my portfolio of coursework…
So, what will you find here, and what over at Joe’s Jottings?. Here will be posts on faith issues, my reflections and hopefully some insights as my faith develops, thoughts on being a Christian in an increasingly hostile secular environment, notes on my prayer life, etc. Joe’s Jottings will continue to host the meandering thoughts of me.
There may well be overlap; I don’t believe that you can be a Christian today without sticking your neck out and having some views on society, politics and economics that go against the views of Government and media.
What is a Reader
Well, when I first came across the term in the context of Church I thought ‘someone who reads in Church.’ Things are never that straight forward in the Church of England. A Reader in the Anglican Church has a very specific role and Ministry, as described here on the CofE’s own web site, and here on Wikipedia.
“Readers are lay people who have been selected, trained and licensed by the Bishop of a diocese to preach, teach and lead worship in a pastoral context.”
Why it feels right for me
A good question – I have always been very hot on social justice issues. When I came to faith it was partially because of reading books of the Old Testament such as Isaiah and Micah who are strong on the same things, as well as the teachings of Christ in the New Testament gospels. What always struck me was that these writings maintain their relevance today. I also became aware that there are a lot of misconceptions about Christianity and what it involves, and why people become Christians, and I felt that maybe , just maybe, I could have a role in helping more people turn to Christ as their saviour, as well as bringing home the continued relevance of the Christian faith to modern life – even for people who don’t necessarily believe.
It took a while for me to take the plunge; after all, Readership Ministry is a vocation, something to be called to by God. I didn’t have the experience of Samuel who heard God speaking to him, calling him to be a prophet, in the middle of the night. For me it was an increasing feel that it was ‘right’, that took place slowly over a year or so. I listened hard through prayer and reflection to see whether the calling was there, and felt it was – so here I am.
What sort of Christian am I
Well, one who believes in God, the resurrection, and that Jesus Christ is my saviour. Don’t laugh; these can be optional extras for some believers. I don’t believe in the literality of all parts of the Bible; I do not believe, for example, that God created the universe and the world in 6 days, then had a well earned rest. I do believe in the theory of Evolution, quantum mechanics, and the Big Bang. I’m an Anglican – Church of England – and like to worship in a traditional way. I get nervous around priests, vicars or pastors who bounce down off the stage to demand of me ‘Brother, are you saved? ‘. I am not ‘happy clappy’, but not ‘grumpy cat’, either. It’s been said (initially several hundred years ago) that the Church of England is based on scripture, reason and tradition – that sums me up quite nicely. (An interesting ‘single page view’ of this from a contemporary Canadian member of the Anglican communion is given here)
And the rest of my Christianity, you can work out by reading this blog or grabbing me the next time you see me and having a chat with me about it. That goes best with tea, coffee or a beer….