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SANDYS THEME in the leading

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					JULY & AUGUST 2005

GETTING OUR BEARINGS
in the leading article last month was that ‘tolerance’ is no longer understood in the old sense, but as a belief that no-one’s views are any more valid than those of anyone else; an acceptance of moral relativism; a refusal to condemn. One irony which he pointed out is how intolerant society becomes of those who do not subscribe to the current fashion – ‘Approval of what is approved of’, as John Betjeman ascribed to Oscar Wilde, ‘is as false as a well-kept vow’.

S

ANDY ’S THEME

permissiveness: this is concerned with what people do, not what they say. Words and opinions are of course merely tokens of deeds. Just as we now do not argue with much that we hear, we do not argue with much that we see. Behaviour that our parents would have stigmatised as wrong, we treat as different lifestyle choice. The Bible demands total intolerance of some behaviours: the Ten Commandments contain no opt-out clause. But nor are they an entry standard. All ten have been broken many times by good people, many of them good Christians. Those people remain good people and good Christians, but they can not be perfect as their Heavenly Father is perfect (see Matthew 5: 48). That is the standard that Jesus wants us to attain, and it is to get us there that we have been given the Bible as guidance. If you doubt it, just get out the Ten Commandments (they are in Deuteronomy Ch. 5), read each one, and ask yourself this question, Would the world be better place if everyone, absolutely everyone, obeyed this precept? Millions steal, but would we be

better off if no-one did? Or committed adultery? Or gave false evidence? Ah, but what about You shall have no other God before me? Obey that, obey all the commandments and the world would not just be better, it would be perfect. Those who want a perfect world need the courage to condemn what is making it imperfect. And that, of course, is all of us. We are thrown together with lots of people: some irritate us, some we find hard to live with, some have habits we dislike. In the past, this would happen at church. Then, one did not choose a church as we do now, but everyone went to their parish. This meant that there came together a group which had not chosen itself. They had to tolerate one another’s idiosyncrasies. Everyone had to face this difficult question: when I see someone behave in a way that I would not, should I publicly condemn it? Or does ‘love thy neighbour’ mean than I should bear with those with whom I disagree? please turn over L

English is a slippery language: since many shades of meaning can be represented by one word – depending on its context or tone – we may think that those meanings themselves are equivalent. For example, one may say that I can not tolerate bigotry (I condemn it), or avocado pears (I loath them), or peanuts (I am allergic), or getting old (not that there is anything I can do about it). ‘Tolerate’ has a different meaning in each example. Sandy made clear that he was referring to allowing others the freedom to speak freely, no matter how strongly we disagree with them, but perhaps what concerned him was less tolerance than

The answer to the question is, that it is not a question at all: you can do both. Indeed, you must do both. You must tell the difference between what is wrong, and condemn it, and what is the expression of our diversity and celebrate it. English, as well as being slippery, is supple: it provides us with fine gradations of meaning, so that ‘tolerating’,’enduring’, ‘bearing’, ‘stomaching’ or ‘putting up with’ all have subtly different payloads. They represent different states of mind, too: to bear

things and people that irritate us is a virtue. It is showing love. To turn a blind eye to what we know is wrong is no virtue, and no love. It is the failure to make this distinction – even, to realise that it is there to be made – which led us to the situation Sandy condemned. When Cain famously demanded ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (Genesis 4: 9) there lay unspoken underneath, ‘I am my brother’s brother’. None of us can afford to let judgment be separated from love. We should not put up with that.

AN ALPHABET A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Although things are not perfect Because of trial or pain Continue in thanksgiving Do not begin to blame Even when times are hard Fierce winds are bound to blow God is forever able Hold on to Him you know Imagine life without his love Joy would cease to be Keep thanking him for all the things Love imparts to thee Move out of ‘camp complaining’ No weapon that is known On earth can yield the power Praise can do alone; Quit looking at the future Redeem the time at hand Start every day with worship To 'thank' is a command. Until we see him coming Victorious in the sky We'll run the race with gratitude eXalting God on high; Yes there will be good times and Yes there will be bad, but Zion waits in glory where none are ever sad

TEAR Fund
Helen Evans
This is our Mission of the Month. St Michaels has supported Tearfund, a relief organisation, for many years

Having a small son who is currently recovering from chickenpox, I can identify with the Brazilian mother who is trying to stop her 11 month old son scratching at the red sores that cover his skin. However, my son is almost recovered and, should infection set in, I have immediate access to medicine that will make him better. By way of contrast, her child is getting worse and, subsisting on 50 Reais a month (about 33p a day), she cannot afford to pay the fare for the bus that could take him to the doctor. Even if she did, the chances are that the sores would only start again. The problem is water – or a lack of it. Her village has no water – no taps, no showers, no baths, no toilets, no basins, no sinks. No hose. No spring. No well. At the bottom of a slope lies a greeny-brown pool that collects in the rainy season and dries up before the rains return. Cattle drink and urinate here as flies and mosquitoes hover over the surface. The pool is the source of drinking water for the people of the village. They also wash themselves and their clothes in it. And the little boys sores? Probably mosquito bites, scratched by little hands, infected by bacteria in the water and fed by germs that thrive because there is no clean water to wash them away. But there is hope. Despite past broken promises from local politicians, the people in Mata Grande dos Alves will get a well this year. They have made the request, pledged support and labour and Acev, a Brazilian organisation with backing from Tearfund, will send in consultants, machinery and workmen. Acev have drilled 45 wells in the region in the last 11 years, earning widespread respect, even though evangelicals

are often met with resistance and suspicion. Pastor Lindeon Carlos Viera Santos, who will oversee the project, comments ‘we’re not swapping it (a well) for the gospel, we’re doing it as an expression of what Christianity is.’ Just 70 miles away, the thriving village of Caroa nestles contentedly in the hills. Because of generous support form Tearfund, Acev were able to build a well here in 1993 and the community has been revolutionised. A 67 year old grandmother who had previously lost 6 children through poor health says ‘The well started everything. It shows us that God loves us.’

3 July

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

Holy Communion Worship Together Holy Communion Holy Communion Holy Communion Evening Prayer Holy Communion Morning Prayer Holy Communion Holy Communion Morning Prayer Evening Prayer Holy Communion Holy Communion Evening Prayer Holy Communion Worship Together Holy Communion Holy Communion Holy Communion Evening Prayer Holy Communion Morning Prayer Holy Communion Holy Communion Morning Prayer Evening Prayer

Extracts from the Registers
Baptisms
March 20 Sophie, Leyla and Aurélian Saphy June 5 Charlotte Ashcroft, daughter of Neil and Catherine

10 July

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

17 July

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

Holiday Club 2005
Holiday Club is from 28-31 July (ages 3-11). The theme is “Pirates”. Contact Leah or Sarah on 8297 8997 for details

24 July

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

Thanksgivings for the Birth of a Child
June 19 Caleb Jelf, son of Owen and Samantha 19 Sierra Roddan, daughter of Andrew and Renée
The house to house collection for Christian Aid raised £3203.21, and we shall be able to recover another £482.55 in tax. Detailed figures are at the Parish Office. Thank you to all who distributed, collected and – most of all – contributed.

31 July

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

7 Aug

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

14 Aug

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

Weddings
J - I - C # 65 & 66 March 19 Jon Kiley and Sarah Hills June 15 Alan Bishop and Aimee Villiers
The green wossit goes to E R W U; the black wossit goes to H M E M; a blue wossit goes to B W. Where does the yellow wossit go? What word which is female and singular becomes male and plural if you remove an ‘s’? Solutions
The nearside, because we travel clockwise on roundabouts. Probably not: on roundabouts the weight is thrown onto the nearside wheel, but a car must always have a front offside occupant, though it may have no others. Both lists, because it contains a fruit (pear) and a vegetable (pea)
The Messenger is published by the Parochial Church Council of St Michael’s Church on the last Sunday of each month (except July and December), sorted by Joy Weller and delivered free by volunteers to homes in the Parish. Printed by Westbrook Publishing, 55 Beechhill Road SE9 (Telephone 020-8859 4873). August is the coolest month: Jonathan Causer (Telephone 020-8852 8226, j.causer@ukonline.co.uk). Copy date is the 10th of the month Items from The Messenger may be freely reproduced (an acknowledgement is appreciated). Publication does not imply approval by the PCC. Unattributed articles are by the Editor

21 Aug

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

28 Aug

8.00am 10.30am 6.30pm

Funerals
March Elise Viney Albert Dunn Wilf Hawkins Arthur Prothero April Malcolm Skinner May Barry Openshaw Eileen Everson June Ian MacKenzie-Kerr

9 The MESSENGER 10 The next edition of the Messenger 17 will be published in September. 23 Copy date is 10th August. 12

Rev. Marian Curtis
Contact details for Marian Curtis, 17 newly-appointed curate at St 19 Michael’s, will be published in the next issue 14


				
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