Monday, 6 April 2009

spring harvest (2)

First full day and straight into the Bible Reading series on Acts led by Dave Steell. There can be a danger that those leading these sessions try and cram too much in by seeking to do a close reading of every verse in the passage. Dave went for a more broad brush overview exploring some themes about the work of the Holy Spirit in the growth of the early church. There was a good flow to his talk and it was helpfully illustrated, though I would have preferred more variety in the form of presentation.

One of the things I will be observing is how the learning preferences agenda plays out in sessions like the Bible reading. In adult education circles we talk about espoused theory and theory in practice and my concern is that, though there may be a great deal of talk about learning styles etc., in practice many speakers and workshop leaders revert to their own preferred style.

After a quick cup of truly revolting coffee courtesy of Burger King (they’ve stopped serving chocolate because of lack of demand which I find hard to believe) I headed off to the first Learning Zone session. I’ve opted for the Theorist zone led by +Nick Baines and Viv Thomas. This was high quality stuff with input drawing on Miroslav Volf and Walter Brueggemann as well as the speakers’ own teaching, observations and reflections. I particularly found Volf’s exploration of the stages of an embrace, applied to Jesus’ choosing and naming of the disciples, opened up familiar material in a fresh way:

  • Open arms – invitation
  • Waiting – vulnerability
  • Closing arms – hospitality
  • Opening arms – release to go

There were also some interesting reflections on how the disciple learns and grows from Nick Baines covering:

  • Openness and curiosity
  • Honesty and simplicity
  • Questioning and imagining
  • Living with provisionality
  • Regrind the lens behind the eye – to begin seeing as God sees

Went for a swim in the afternoon with the kids. My son persuaded me to take him on the Master Blaster (a raft ride version of a roller coaster). This is the first year he is tall enough so I have many more of these rides to come – deep joy! Recovered in the sport’s bar with a pint and watched Man Utd v Aston Villa; another roller coaster ride. Cracking match with a fantastic finish. Every time I decide Ronaldo doesn’t look interested and perhaps it’s time for him to be sold, he pops up and scores a crucial goal. But the real star was a 17 year old Italian called Macheda who came on as a sub and scored a sumptuous winner in the second minute of injury time.

Evening session, which I watched from the chalet while looking after the kids who were too tired for their group, included a challenging talk by +Mike Hill entitled ‘You need to get out more’ based on Matthew 10:1-33. The focus of the talk was on the fears which prevent us living as disciples with an invitation to ‘change gear to overcome fear.’ It is always difficult to gauge the impact of these talks when watched on T.V. rather than live in the Big Tent but the general feedback I’ve picked up was very positive.

Quote of the day came not from a bishop or Spring Harvest ‘mega speaker’ but from my children.
The past is history. The future is a mystery. Today is a gift and that’s why it’s called the present.
Source: Kung Fu Panda.

Not sure how many more blogs I’ll be posting from Spring Harvest because the WiFi connection rates are extortionate but I hope to put some more material up by the end of the week. Also suffering from Twitter withdrawal symptoms!

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