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so i read it, mark and its not bad. its typical for them to take a skeptical approach to sound objective. be of good cheer - we know you are doing a great job and people are moving from darkness to light, however you call it. you the missionary man, you are!

and if its any consolation, you came out much more manly than me on the genderanalyzer.com test. you were 76% male which is much higher than me.

Hi Mark
Greetings from another Shropshire blogger. Take the rough with the smooth, awareness of the Godless nature of Telford is now way higher than it ever was before and perhaps more spiritual but not religious people will seek a relationship with God. Trust it will.

Thanks Phil,
But the thing is Telford is no more or less "Godless" than anywhere else... Sunday Church attendance is no measure of God's presence or mission/action IMHO... I've lived in all sorts of places and tbh I find wealthy upper middle class places (where Church attendance may well be quite high) more depressing (more consumerist, more money obsessed, more NIMBY, more introverted etc.) than places like Telford!

Andrew... but not as high as a certain Macho Man from Seattle...

... Thank the Lord ;-)

He did seem determined say that what you are doing is not working.He did not get that more in your face methods of mission can often do more harm than good and turn peope off these days.He also did not get that its an organic pricess, which takes time, its about litening and sowing small seeds...... often we do not see the steps towards God that people are making. keep going Mark!!!!

Hi Mark, I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. Godless was the word used by the BBC, so I was using their reference and I hoped it would cause people to prayer for Telford or those interested in seeking to take another step. I live in Shrewsbury (although not in the wealthy middle class places) and no I don't suppose it's any more or less godless than Telford. However how would you measure God's presence/mission/action?

Hi Phil, sorry mate... I guess I was just feeling a little bruised!

I would say first that God is omni-present, so I don't know about measuring God's presence, it is visible in Creation, in each other, in others etc... on the other two I think one way is to go back to Luke 10 and ask where is God "preparing the harvest" or another way of putting it is where is God raising up "people of peace" (not Church folk, but people who open the door, welcome us into their community/home and return the peace we "offer")...

which leads me on to ask how much do we (the Church/Christians) pro-actively offer peace (again in a Luke 10 model - i.e. unencumbered by baggage, offering healing and bearing witness to the closeness of God etc.), how much we seek to "share life" (a la 1 Thess 2) and to actively love each other and those we are called to serve... it seems to me that we should seek first to offer peace, if peace is returned (if God has been preparing the ground) then we GO IN and STAY IN... if peace is not returned, we move on....

so I guess it's the presence of the "people of peace", the door keepers who partly indicate the action of God... then if we take the 1 Thess 2 passage on it talks about how the combination of our lives lived righteously and openly in the heart of community, our servant hearts and our witness as the reason for our love that bring the "ring of truth" to the message of reconciliation - this IMHO takes time... and as you rightly say constant prayer.

Mark, I listened fearing that they were going to much crueller in their approach...I think that they simply were not prepared to try and remove their own assumptions about what church "had" to be like before engaging with the very different reality that you represent...Again and again, people's expectations of the church are so strong (and negative) that they make it impossible for them to recognise anything else AS church. (Of course, it's a problem for some "insiders" too...but that's another story)
Hope you're not feeling too bruised by the whole thing.

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