Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Cake and Slow Church. Slow Cake. Cake Church.

I've just got back from the North West Baptist Association ministers conference and during it we had something called '7 on 7' - 7 people speaking about something they are passionate about for 7 minutes. It was good..... and I was one of the seven people and I said I would put up my talk on my blog - so here goes - with a few changes so it makes sense! 

If you spend any time with me you might be able to guess what I am passionate about. It appears that people on facebook with their random sharing of anything to do with shoes and anything to do with maths think they know what I am passionate about. I do like shoes and I do like maths. I even got asymptotes in my sermon on Sunday on Ephesians 6……

However, it’s not until you spend time with me you realise that it’s not all about those shoes or all about that maths…..

If you have spent any time with me in the last year or so there are two things I have probably done….

First, is offer you cake. I have a thing about cake. Not because I like eating it (although, I admit, there are times I do) but because it's an experience. I am not a massive fan of shop bought cakes and when someone brings shop bought cake when they have offered to make cake I have a secret intense disappointment. I am passionate about the homemade variety. This is the variety that has had time to be created. This is the variety that speaks of love and of care. This is the variety that makes me stop and savour.

The thing about cake for me is not in the eating, but it’s in the making. And making is not just about reading and looking. If you just read and follow a recipe without playing with any other senses the cake may be nice, but it’s not the same. I’m sorry.

The first thing I do when creating cake is to wander around and dream. Even if I am going back to a tried and tested recipe that dreaming and imagining is still there. I might have googled or searched books, but the dreaming (often in the car on the way home from college) is always there. This cake I am making – I need to really believe in.

The second thing I do is make the cake. With scales. I measure….. then I taste, then I feel, then I smell….. then I add…. (milk often actually is the magic ingredient). Then I put it in the oven and let it be. Let it rest as it grows, moves, breathes…..

The final thing I do is I listen. The cakes talk.

So.... now you think I am nuts. But, when you listen to sponge cakes baking they speak, and when they stop speaking they’re ready. It’s not about the time stated in the recipe book, it’s about when the cakes tell you they’re ready. You can hear it. You can feel it. Taste and see. And……

The second thing I may have mentioned if you have spent time with me,  is how you need to investigate Slow Church. Slow Church is church like cake baking and eating. Slow Church is a movement about cultivating community in the patient way of Christ. Slow church is inspired by the International slow food movement.

The slow food movement is a movement that goes against the grain of fast food…. Of buy and eat fast. Of lunch hours and business meetings. Of hour long lunchtime ministers meetings (let’s kill two birds with one stone ministers meetings). Of the rush from one meeting to the next. Of turning the occasional times we have traditionally just hung out with others from church to week by week, slow, slow, patient, focussed community building. The slow food movement is dedicated to the enjoyment and production of local food and wine, the preservation of food traditions, and  the promoting of pleasures of conviviality – from the Latin word for feast, which literally means ‘to live with’. The slow food movement challenges us as churches to ask questions about the ground our faith communities have given over to the cult of speed and challenges us to rethink the ways in which we share life together in our church communities. It challenges our ‘one size fits all’ church and discipleship models and calls for quality, local centred journeys forward, breathing and walking together in Christ’s way.

Slow Church is the challenge to be, faithfully and well, the embodiment of Christ in a particular place over time. Slow church speaks of the type of community where people are invited to hang out for a while and taste and see that the Lord is good.

Cake and Slow Church. Slow Cake. Cake Church. That’s what I am passionate about.