Posts Tagged ‘Kathleen Nielson’

I met with my prayer support group this weekend. We’re now in our 22nd year of meeting, and on Saturday (in between eating and talking and praying and taking a short walk together) we listened to recordings of two talks by Kathleen Nielson. Kathleen heads up Women’s Initiatives for the Gospel Coalition in the US and brought some wonderful insights into Old Testament narrative. We listened to her talks on Rahab and the Tower of Babel. Her teaching is engaging and stimulating – highly recommended.

The great encouragement of meeting for prayer and bible study helped with the fact that I was away from home when a sad accident befell the Vicarage Rodent. Those of you who follow on Twitter will know that our degu had a sweet habit of escaping at bedtime. Alas, this weekend his escaping habit ended very unhappily, and Squeak is no more. There was a solemn funeral in the back garden, where he joined his erstwhile companion, Snuffle, who predeceased him. What with Squeak’s demise and some stressful adventures with trains (I nearly ended up in Glasgow instead of London, for starters) I am very thankful that I’ve got no further trips away planned for a while.

Snuggling with the Vicarage Cat

Happy Days: Snuggling with the Vicarage Cat

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On Saturday I took a couple of lovely ladies from our church to the Midlands Women’s Convention in Derby. It was the first year of a Midlands convention, after last year’s Northern Women’s Convention was sold out, and disorganised bookers (err, like me) missed out on tickets. What an encouragement it proved to be – around 700 women, some great talks and a terrific band.

I came away particularly challenged about my approach to bible reading. The main speaker was Kathleen Nielson, whose background is in the study of English literature. Her great passion is reading the bible *as* literature. I was reminded how easy it is to read the bible quickly, like a Tweet, or even a blogpost, hoping to grab something meaningful in as short a time as possible. In our busy lives and instant access culture the temptation to treat the Word like fast food is ever present. But, as Kathleen reminded us, a diet of fast food can leave us with malnutrition.

Since much of the bible is poetry – not just the Psalms and Proverbs, but great chunks of Old Testament prophecy in particular, we need to remind ourselves how to read a poem. Poetry reading is very out of fashion because it takes time and thought – it’s certainly not something I would automatically chose to do of a free evening! A poem is pretty much the opposite of a Tweet: I love Twitter and the short sharp thought, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take time to chew over the Word and think about what God is saying in a much more reflective way. Even if it’s hard. Which it is when you’re extraverted and easily distracted. Or even if you’re not.

All in all, it was a thought-provoking day. I spent tonnes of money on books too – the enthusiastic Jonathan Carswell and his team from TenofThose had a stall. I also had the chance to talk a wee bit about my blog in a seminar and was very pleased to tweetup with fellow blogger Sara. If you’re now feeling you’ve missed out, there are still tickets available for the Northern Women’s Convention in Manchester next Saturday. Or join us for next year’s convention on 6th October 2013.

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