Last week I spent at New Wine. The week was spoiled somewhat by a catalogue of health issues which started before I left and continued until after I got back, one thing after another. It all meant that I was simply not able to go to as many sessions as I normally would. So it wasn’t quite as enjoyable as I had hoped, but there was still some good stuff.
One of the highlights of the week was Simon Downing’s morning series on Hope from the book of Ezekiel, which was excellent. If anything he tried to cram a bit much in, but it was really good teaching on both a subject and a book of the Bible that are not often covered. Of the seminars, I enjoyed Alan Storkey’s two Jesus and Politics talks, but I didn’t buy his book, as I feel that I have already read a lot of N T Wright saying much the same things about the political message of Jesus’ ministry.
The most inspiring evening meeting was hearing Simon Guillebaud whose message was a simple reminder of the urgency of the gospel – “Jesus is coming, no one knows when, are you ready?” It was one of two occasions I visited “Venue 2” which I guess was the slightly more trendy (or perhaps “emerging”) venue. Like previous years there were some tables on the fringes, but this year saw the addition of a licensed bar. I’m not sure why this was desirable or necessary really. Its one thing to ensure people aren’t unduly uncomfortable, but this seems to be a big step in the direction of turning worship into a spectator sport. I hope this doesn’t become the latest must have feature of regular church services.