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Viewpoint from Rev Sue Seeley 21/10/11



Rev Sue Seeley
Neatishead Baptist Church
Dove rightIn Neatishead we live on many boundaries. Geographically we have a watery boundary, Barton Broad, to the east. And we are near the political boundary between North Norfolk District Council and Broadland District Council. For the local media it’s the edge of the Yarmouth Mercury versus the Norwich Advertiser and Network Norwich/Norfolk versus Network Yarmouth. The media is itself an example of a completely different type of boundary – that between pen and ink and cyberspace, passing through the printed word on the way
As Dissenters, early Baptists were pushed to the edge of social and religious life. Look at the location of many of the older Baptist chapels (our own included); they were usually on the edge of the village or town because the Anglican hierarchy did not want those new-fangled, awkward non-conformist Christians in close proximity to their Established churches
dove left 
Things have changed for the better. Many churches enjoy good fellowship with those of different spiritual hues. (NBC is within the Horning benefice and also a member of Churches Together in Wroxham, Hoveton, Belaugh and Neatishead.) So that’s a positive drawing-together. On the other hand, at least in Europe, many Christians feel it’s the whole Church that’s now on the boundary. Laws are passed that give scant regard to religious heritage and witness – as Christians we are being pushed right to the edge of society
But is that a completely bad thing? When part of an “Establishment” - whichever that establishment is - one can become complacent because there’s no need to defend one’s position. And for Christians this may mean we lose a sense of urgency to be a positive cutting edge within both local and national society. Jesus does not need us to defend him, but he does require Christians to be out-and-out witnesses to his transforming love and power. As St Paul said,
I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, non-religious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized — whoever. I didn't take on their way of life [instead] I kept my bearings in Christ — but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. 1 Cor. 9:19-22
(The Message)
So let’s all be radical, let’s welcome Living On The Edge! Because then we will be
·           Distinctive - the same, yet different
·           Diverse – one style of church doesn’t fit all, whether for us or those whom we meet
·           Not Defensive – if we accept diversity there’s no need to be defensive
·           Daring - there’s room to use all the different means available to spread the Good News of Jesus
·           Delightful – bringing joy to those whom we encounter
·           On the edge of, yet at the same time at the heart of, our community and nation


Lesley Smith (Guest) 25/10/2011 10:18
Interesting thoughts, Sue.