Creations 4 – Men’s Group and Work Book Club

This creation began back in the early Autumn last September, but has continued and been added to in the form of a work based Lent Book group exploring The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book, written by his very fine self, called ‘Dethroning Mammon‘ Making Money Serve Grace.

The origins of this co-creation started when 5 men got together in a local pub in Southall to talk through how we might set up and start something to encourage engagement, discipleship and building friendship among men at our church, St John’s Southall. It was clear that there was an identifiable need and opportunity, however I was if I am honest not 100% comfortable with the idea as I am somewhat uncertain about single gender groups. In expressing that uncertainty, I am not saying I am against them and recognise context, culture, time and place can mean this can be a very vital and important thing to do. However, I remain convinced it may be more for a season than a forever and a day thing.

That said, I was very happy to co-lead / co-host a gathering that started in September and continues to this day. Initially it was simply about being together, starting with a social and from that place delving into a brilliant mini series on Baptism, Bible, Communion and Prayer based on Rowan Williams gem of a book ‘Being Christian‘. The richness and accessibility of the writing in this book is superb and this book along with the follow up ‘Being Disciples‘ are two excellent reads that also work really well as short series for home or discussion groups.

The group has continued to explore a number of other themes of ‘Fruitfulness on the front line’ and the ‘Five Mark’s of Mission‘ and now we are also turning to ‘Dethroning Mammon’ over Lent.

What I’ve loved about the group is the diverse perspectives we bring in terms of age, stage of faith and culture. I have been challenged recently by two conversations and very challenging posts about our need to widen our worldview, perspectives and influences that move us out of our comfort zones. This has lead me to conclude that I need to engage with more poetry/art likeunder the skin and read more work like The Good Immigrant.   Over drinks and snacks we’ve delved deep and formed some great bonds as well as learning a lot about the other, the world, our selves and God.

In a post Brexit, Trump President, politics of hate and fear culture, the richness of diversity and escaping our bubbles is needed so much right now.

In addition, I’ve ended up on a bit of roll and set up a work book club over Lent to also discuss and study Dethroning Mammon. Combining Lunch time gatherings with a couple of after work pub discussions I’m looking forward to discussing the book with two very different groups, both of which bring a richness and different perspective that I know I need and will enhance my understanding and my journey this Lent. In fact, if something like Mammon is to be Dethroned in my life (or even given less authority /  a better perspective) I’m going to need all the time and people possible to give it a try!

I sense that all of this will come to an end at the end of April, and I’m quite comfortable with that. If there is life beyond that then that’s great, but if it’s just for a season that’s also good with me.

 

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