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Being a Deacon Today – R. Brown

May 9, 2013

BADTThere is a bit of rivalry between deacons and Readers as to their raison d’etre. As readers and lay people who work in the secular world but preach in church, it is claimed that we are ‘bridge-people’. We represent the church in secular and we represent the secular to the church.

Deacons are also called ‘bridge people’ because originally they were the church’s social workers, carrying out its message in areas where there was practical need.

The author acknowledges this rivalry. Her book gives some of the history of the diaconate and looks at present day trends. I ended up feeling well-disposed towards deacons!

Good bits:

We can only lay down our lives if we have first owned them.

It comes as a surprise to many that God’s call to us is not as harsh as we might have feared: God delights to work with our strengths, our passions and our interests. Frederick Buechner speaks of our vocation lying where our deep joy and the world’s deep need meet, but so often we think it lies simply where the need is, discounting joy as part of God’s loving gift. Source unknown

Desmond Tutu has observed that if governments the dangers of apophatic prayer (prayer that opens us to the mystery of God rather than to what can be known of God) they  would ban it immediately. He says that no threat is as dangerous as the power of a people radically set free from the value structures of their world. Belden Lane The Solace of Fierce Landscapes p. 173

Or, as Kenneth Leech writes from the context of inner London, ‘It is the mystical element which gives warmth, humanity and tolerance, and without which religions can grow hard, inflexible and cruel. It is the mystical element which integrates theology, action and prayer.’  The Sky is Red p. 31

A good leader never stops being a good follower Stephen Cottrell

The Church and the world need leaders who know how to be led. Henri Nouwen

see also

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