My friend Kevin mentioned something in a tweet about ‘church planting’ yesterday and that phrase ‘church planting’ had me thinking while I dug the garden. Maybe it was because I was planting things or thinking about planting things that preoccupied my time.
Anyhow, this is what I think.
I think that sometimes church planting might be more accurately called ‘denomination planting‘ or ‘our brand of church‘ planting.
Being brought up with a Northern Protestant evangelical mindset means that for a long time I had never considered the Roman Catholic church as a church. They worshipped saints and Mary and the Pope and had superstitions and dodgy nuns amongst many other wrongs. They where many things but I wouldn’t have considered them a church. S
So in my head all those chapels all over Ireland where not churches. All those Roman Catholics who went to chapel couldn’t really be believers. Which means that lots of Ireland is unreached with the gospel because they don’t have a good solid reformed, evangelical, Bible believing church just a snake pit of Rome in the parish.
Not that some of the Protestant churches where much better in my thinking because they might be crazy charismatics or awash liberal wishy washyness or else they are legalistic knuckle draggers. They need to drop the suits and the bad organ playing with dodgy choirs and get with the program.
Basically in my thinking there was good churches, not so good churches, bad churches and the Roman Catholic ‘church’. But now as I’ve journeyed on a bit and met people who have challenged my preconceptions I am not so sure of my ground. For instance, the current Pope seems more in tune with what I understand about the Gospel and Christianity than many of the famous evangelical leaders that I know. Am I still happy to say that the Roman Catholic church isn’t a real church? No, I don’t think I am. On the other hand thought I probably am because I wouldn’t want to become a member in one.
There does seem to be a revival in local breweries sprouting up over Ireland (judging from my Twitter feed anyway), which I think is something to be welcomed. According to that fount of completely reliable information at the beginning of the 19th century there was something like 200 breweries in Ireland. Then I suppose Arthur Guinness took care of that.
Metalman Pale Ale
Howling Gale Ale
White Gypsy Amber Pale Ale
I had my first St Patrick’s Day parade in Galway today and watched various groups fly banners and play tin whistles over the bridge.
It was a good day.
Particularly impressive was one of the marching bands playing ‘Eye of the Tiger’. I was imagining a day in Belfast when ‘Look for the Bear Necessities’ was played instead of some of those sectarian marching songs.
I also liked this lone gentleman pleading for more trees to be planted.
This last group in particle had me thinking and now that I’m thinking I’m pissed off by our hypocrisy. Edna Kenny was over in the US for the St Patrick’s celebrations pleading the case for the 55,000 undocumented Irish who want to contribute to the US economy, pay taxes and live freely in the land of the free.
Meanwhile there are refugees and asylum seekers who have suffered and had to flee from life threatening situations in places like Nigeria, Rwanda, Congo who want to do the same here in Ireland, to contribute to the Irish economy and that sort of thing but instead they are locked up in direct provision accommodation for years on end, not being able to cook their own meals, leaving children behind and suffering racism here.
This is the nice side of the walk home from the post office, ponies and views over Galway Bay towards Co Clare. The Silver Strand is down at the end of the road and Rusheen Bay has some interesting birds, if only I had binoculars to see what the birds are from a distance.
The bad side, the opposite way from this view is traffic zooming past at breakneck speed on the road to Barna meaning you have to concentrate more on vehicles than the beauty. I would walk this way more often if the footpath didn’t hug the road so closely.
The end of Nimmo’s Pier is a nice spot in Galway, you can look up the river towards the town and imagine Christopher Columbus sailing in and going to St Nicholas’ church all those centuries ago.
Apparently it is all a good place for birdwatching, particularly gulls. Though I’m a bird watcher and admired the oystercatchers and curlew , I don’t pay particular attention to gulls. But perhaps now is the time to start. I’m by the sea!
The little lectern at the end of the pier reminds me of pulpit a minister might use to preach at the city, but instead of holding sermon notes it holds a bronze plaque dedicated to the poet Louis MacNeice with a poem he wrote on the pier at the start of World War II.
O the crossbones of Galway
The hollow grey houses,
The rubbish and sewage,
The grass-grown pier,
And the dredger grumbling
All night in the harbour:
The war came down on us here.
Salmon in the Corrib
And the water combed out
Over the weir
And a hundred swans
Dreaming on the harbour:
The war came down on us here.
The night was gay
with the moon’s music
But Mars was angry
On the hills of Clare
And September dawned
Upon Willows and ruins
The war came down upon us here