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Soul Food - Pastor's Pen for 28th May 2023

Lake Pupuke Autumn - hallelujah it's not raining!

You know that getting out in the fresh air on foot or on a bike feeds my soul (spot the handlebar in the photo) and assists my mental health. Also for someone who preaches regularly, it's important to engage with other voices in ministry, preaching and scholarship. This is one of the great benefits of the online world, to be able to listen to those who you want to learn from without too much difficulty.

A few famous folks died this week; Rolf Harris 93, Tina Turner 83 and Rev. Dr. Tim Keller 73. I'm sure Tina Turner stirred a few souls, but I'll be particularly remembering and giving thanks for the life of Dr. Keller this week, who passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

I have several of his books, including an excellent one on preaching, but just recently I've been listening to his recorded sermons on Spotify, and I have to say they are food for the soul and the mind. I won't become a better minister by scrolling Instagram for wisecracks, but Tim Keller has the right stuff for me. I often listen when doing practical household tasks, it seems a good use of that downtime.

Early in my ministry training, my tutor suggested we find one or two writers or pastors to learn from along the way, advice which I took. It stands to reason, if you don't get out much on a Sunday, you don't experience the breadth of teaching in the body of Christ that is available. Technology and published works fill that gap. There are one or two others I read regularly, such as Eugene Peterson and Tom Wright. You don't need many, but it's best to choose wisely.

Where do you feed the soul and mind, aside from Sunday mornings? Please take care with the algorithms of social media, and the endless possibilities of YouTube. By all means use these tools, but pause before calling it 'research.' We need to structure our learning within the body of Christ, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in conversation with wise friends. Find something worthwhile, an author who becomes a traveling companion along the way, or a genre that feeds the soul. Shalom...

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