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Michael's blog

Go and talk about it!

‘If another member of the community sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.’ (Matt. 18: 15)

Life in community is dynamic. At times there is friction, misunderstanding and hurt. That is a normal part of community life. If it can be avoided that is helpful but it’s not always possible. Conflict happens. This text from Matthew is a practical text that addresses this fact. Its most important insight is this, ‘talk directly with the person concerned.’ Talk to them not about them.

He comes to us as one unknown...

‘He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: "Follow thou me!"…’

Pastoral care, developing awareness

You may recall the story of Job: God allows Satan to strip away from Job all that makes his life meaningful, in order to test whether Job’s devotion to God is premised on rewards or on something deeper. Job is quickly plunged into anguish as he loses everything. He has three friends, all good religious folk, who try and ‘help’ him. But the best they can do is often helpful insights borne out of their own experience. They display little awareness of Job or his desperate situation.

Listening...

Pastoral care in a church community is important. It is one way of living out the great commandment, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ Pastoral care happens in all sorts of ways: it might be a meal that is cooked for someone, of the offer of a lift, or the writing of a card, or a prayer… An important dimension of pastoral care that I would like to focus on is listening to others. Let me share a story with you:

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