>Postman Chris

>Editing our parish magazine is a job I could do without – I’m not the sort of person who likes to devote hours to any one task. To make the job more satisfying I introduce a bit of impishness like copying this photo of some grave humour taken by Scott P Richert.

Part of the impishness was to inaugurate the monthly Editor’s Award. Past winners have included Tarvin Environment Group (“best new group” and “group with most promise”, to Jenny Wardle for capturing the essence of prayer in a bouquet, and a collective award for all those who are dis-regarded in their communities in spite of the integrity and service (“our communities would be much the porrer without them”)

This month’s award is for “cheerfulness” and is awarded to our village postman, Chris. I stopped him so I could take a photo of him and explained the reason. He was seriously (and cheerfully) overwhelmed – and shocked! I wonder why. Is it because he doesn’t regard himself as any different to anyone else? Is it because we rarely show appreciation? Is it because we are not used to prizing such qualities?

>Public theology

>Public theology is a funny expression suggesting that there is a choice between private and public theologies, or rather between bad theology (theology that remains private is not Christian theology) and good theology.

Public theology is what is happening when Archbishops etc make their reflections public and relevant. How difficult it is though – and that was illustrated at a meeting of clergy today. A neighbouring clergybod said how she felt she didn’t know enough to comment on various bits of church news when people ask her – in so saying, she was doing a bit of public theology by making her concerns public. She was jumped on by someone with the “right” answer. (Heaven preserve us from those who’ve got the last word!) I reckon theology to be a process to be undertaken publicly as the church through collaboration. Theologies develop through interaction with others and through prayer – never the finished article because there is always an OTHER to be heard from somewhere.

It is very difficult being Christian in public and doing theology in public. There are always those ready to twist what is said and done – whether it is my friend Jane, Rowan or Jesus – and the public aren’t always very interested in finding out what we really meant. Jesus did not try “that’s not what I meant”. He just suffered the consequences of public theology.

And this isn’t public theology – I don’t think – but it’s Spike Milligan.