Adventures in Generosity

The occasionally coherent ramblings of a Stewardship Advisor in the Church of England

Season of mists …

Yes it’s a cliche but this mornings ‘low cloud’ (thats Pennine slang for endless drizzle) made me realise that the summer is officially over.
In fact, for me it ended somewhere on the M6 last Tuesday as the Beacroft-Mitchells snored themselves home from Greenbelt. Much more than Master B-M’s first day at school, the end of the festival felt very much like the end of the festive season. That 1st January, “oh dear, glad it’s all over but wish it never had to end”  feeling of satisifed exhaustion.  Perhaps my 4 year old summed it up best; as he waved bye bye to Cheltenham he asked me “Mummy, why can’t we just live at Greenbelt ?”.

 The great thing about Greenbelt though is that whilst January 1st can be tinged with a sense of regret for things not done or apprehension at things still to do, the post Greenbelt fug is embued with a sense of renewed spiritual strength. Inspiration from talks heard,challenges from impromptu conversations in queues, warmth from friends made or friendships renewed, a sense that Gods Kingdom might, just, be an obtainable reality rather than a mythical neverland far off in the future.

Greenbelt for me is an embodiment of Christian Stewardship in its widest sense. Stewardship not limited to time talents and treasure, but in its truest form, embodying a generosity of heart and spirit which can challenge while still respecting and can accept or reject ideas without condemning or judging their proponents. 

Critics focus on what a friend at church called ‘dodgy theology round the edges’ and yes, there is some, but there is also the traditional, sometimes in a new context which can open our eyes to aspects we didn’t notice before.  And the fact that old and new, traditional and flaky, left and right, liberal and reactionary can come together in one place, with a smile on it’s face and say ‘welcome, come in, sit down, lets talk’ is surely what being a Christian, a truly generous, hospitable Christian, is all about.

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