I was concerned to discover that the DLF had hee-hacked into my blog, even using my name. But since it paints rather a good picture of asinine heaven, I decided to leave it there and just say thank you for the kind remarks. Reconciliation is a lovely thing.
I suppose I'm still enjoying the after effects of the New Wine week we returned from on Saturday. What I saw and heard was remarkable - for example, vestibular nerves destroyed by radiotherapy healed during worship. The worship was impressive: a bit loud, but then it would be with thousands singing together plus all the paraphernalia of PAs. I think what impressed me was that I was surrounded by people who obviously WANTED to worship. I have to confess I did too; in fact I had unholy impatience when driving behind dawdling traffic on our way to the site in the morning!
There were sessions which majored on the upbeat aspects of faith (such as healing) but also ones on the darker side (such as desert experiences). Meanwhile we had talks on the life of Elijah given by Greg Haslam, the Scouser pastor of Westminster Chapel - which showed that all of the Bible is right up to date. I might have gravitated to the desert sessions, but I actually found the mixture a satisfying account of the mystery and greatness of God. In fact probably the most encouraging session for me was one called 'Diamonds in the Desert' (by Hils Grew, which I'm sure you can order off the internet, in due course: http://www.essentialchristian.com) in which we learned that God takes into wilderness experiences BECAUSE he loves us. To find out more, get the talk.
Another good thing which happened was meeting a Dutch family, Otto, Mirjam and Anne, who came and sat in front of us - such lovely and impressive people. Anne is severely restricted, wheelchair bound and autistic, but spiritually aware and at peace, even in the crowded and noisy marquee. Even though we met them for only two days, it was a wrench saying goodbye, we felt such real friends. I think the desert is a place for such friendship.
I sense I'm not the same as I was a week ago, and that's not just because I've had a birthday.