One thing I’m doing here at Knaphill is getting ready to organise a church party to next year’s Spring Harvest. (Yes, church members, look out for information in the notice sheet and on the video screen: it’s coming.)
As I surfed around various links, it brought back memories. Not only of it being the place where thirty years ago I heard a call to Christian leadership, but also of the last time I went, in 1997.
That year, I was a seminar speaker at Minehead, and to my astonishment the seminars I gave can still be purchased. If you doubt me, look here. And available not only in the original cassettes (the only format available fourteen years ago) but on shiny CDs. Though not those new-fangled MP3s, sadly, for instant download.
I never sold enough for them to consider it worth writing me a royalty cheque, and I have moved three times since then, so they won’t have my address on their records. However, it made me wonder whether I would still say the same things about the topics I was given. I would certainly be more subtle and sophisticated about postmodernism. I would speak differently about singleness. I was single at the time, having been through a broken engagement, but had not yet met Debbie. I don’t think I would alter the basics I taught about culture, although I like to think I would add some richness in terms of the importance of cultural engagement and appropriation. As for hermeneutics, well it’s a matter of interpretation. 🙂
I’d probably be embarrassed to hear the talks again, but the flip side of that is that it’s surely a good sign to know your thinking and your faith has progressed. Howard Ashby, the minister under whom I was converted, once said that for every Sunday he always revisited old sermons, because there would be something wrong with his faith if he couldn’t improve on what he had said about a passage or a subject years previously. There is wisdom in that approach, even if it’s not what I do regularly. (But I do occasionally.)
And it will be interesting to view Spring Harvest again next year after a fifteen year break. What will I make of it? And although I’ve been as a punter since I began as a minister, it will be the first time I go pastorally with a church group. Previously I simply went with Christian friends.
I wonder what it will all say about the journey of faith.