I'm off to Cheltenham for a few days on the last residential teaching block for my theology course. I have a sense that it's going to be a good time. The staff at the theology college and our local 'hub director' (the lady who makes it all happen here in Hampshire, basically) have all been praying for us students and they've sent us much encouragement over the last few days.
The sessions for my group will mostly be split between a module on Christian spirituality and a doctrine module. I'm really looking forward to both, but in quite different ways. The spirituality sessions promise to teach me many new things – or rather many old things that I'm not yet aware of! We'll be looking at and trying to learn from contemplative, mystical practices and writings from the whole history of Christianity. And I expect the doctrine module will force me to confront a few issues with my own thinking about a few different points of theology. How close am I to embracing what some might describe as heresy, especially regarding open theism and simple / organic church? And what if I am close to embracing 'heresy'; does that matter?
Just in closing, a quick word on the chess tournament. I did pretty well, finishing with a win, two draws and two losses. All my opponents were higher graded than me so my score of 2.5 out of 6 was slightly better than par. A good weekend then. It was really hard work though! It felt like my opponents just didn't make any mistakes. But that's the thing about people graded higher than you; they don't make many mistakes. Or at least the mistakes they do make are subtle enough for you not to notice them. The upshot of it all is that I'm pretty tired as I write this, so if you're a praying sort then please pray that God would help me to stay focused and sharp this week. Thanks!