Today was my first experience of broadcasting - I was on Thought for the Day at 7.40am - it wasn't that long ago that I was always in my bed at 7.40, and on Sunday I agreed to broadcast at 6.00am - why?
For any who might be interested here is the rough script of what I said in the Thought for the Day:
The other day I read an excerpt from a book by Malcolm Gladwell – I found it so intriguing that I googled for other books he’d written and while I was doing this I found a video of him talking about spaghetti sauce! Now, you might wonder what was so interesting about spaghetti sauce – well, he tells how Howard Moscowitz was hired to find out how much sweetner to put in Diet Pepsi –and during his research he discovered that there was no right amount – no straightforward average - different people liked different amounts – there was no perfect Pepsi – only perfect Pepsis!
From this he realised that there is no perfect anything – we are all different and have different tastes, but not everyone was happy with this idea – and he struggled to get work - until Campbell’s hired him to research spaghetti sauce. By making 45 different sauces and testing them he discovered that there were 3 predominant tastes, plain, spicy and extra chunky – but no one made extra chunky spaghetti sauce – when people were asked what they liked they didn’t know that they liked it extra chunky! Campbell’s made an extra chunky sauce - and made $600m over 10 years.
So why am I telling you about spaghetti sauce in a “Thought for the Day” slot? Because in the same way that Howard Moscowitz believed passionately that there was no one perfect Pepsi, there was no one perfect spaghetti sauce – I believe that there is no one perfect Christianity! There are only perfect Christianties!
You may well have heard about the disagreements between Christians – homosexuality, women Bishops, whether to read the Bible literally or not– and in most cases those who are most vociferous and get their views into the media are those who take the most extreme positions. Of course those extremes do exist within the church, but so do many other views as well - and I want to say that it takes all views to embrace the whole of God’s love - that God is so much bigger than any one of us can comprehend. There’s an African proverb – it takes a whole village to raise a child – and similarly Max Warren once said “It takes a whole world to know Christ.” - only by adding together our knowledge of God can we see more of her!
I want to talk about the power of God to change our lives, but I also want to talk about the powerlessness that Jesus embraced on the cross. So is God powerful or powerless? I want to say both! God is both/and, not either/or – black and white, male and female, rich and poor - and I could go on. I can’t always explain how this works – but I can trust that God is bigger than I can comprehend and that he can make it work.
And at a time when we are preparing to celebrate God coming to earth as a powerless human baby – perhaps a willingness to acknowledge our own inability to explain everything is the best way to discover the true meaning of Christmas.