Evangelicals and Moderates

The evangelical Calvinists who recognised the good old ways of the Reformers found themselves trapped between an increasingly rigid adherence to the Westminster Theology regularly identified as “gospel” by the “orthodox”, and a puritanised form of rationalistic Calvinism encased in a hard federal frame of thought which had become entrenched in the thinking of the Kirk and was endorsed by the General Assembly.

– Thomas F. Torrance, Scottish Theology, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996), 224.

Sound familiar? Well he’s referring to the situation on the Church of Scotland 300 years ago. This battle being fought is nothing new, let’s stop pretending.


SF2011: Living the Dream

If you’ve read this blog or known me for any length of time, you’ll know that two things very close to my heart are intentional community living and serving the poor.

Being in San Francisco feels a lot like living the dream.

Community living is by no means easy. For one thing, I’ve never had to share a room for more than a week before. I’m very used to having my own space, a place to escape to but here that just doesn’t exist. In fact, finding a place to skype home with no serious background noise can be interesting: I’ve had to use the garage more than once! But the nights when Tessa, Bethany and I can pray together before going to sleep totally make up for it. Or being able to just go down the hall to hang out with my friends; always having people to share a meal with; knowing there are people around who will always have my back and put up with my joy and my sorrow. It’s a family and it’s  beautiful.

I think my favourite thing is probably the encouragement that you’re just continually bombarded with. The great British reserve, the Scottish sarcasm and the Aberdonian stingy-ness make compliments, affirmations and genuine expressions of love few and far between. Even if they are frequent, they often have to be deciphered from a myriad of satire, sly remarks and covert body language. Where as here, hugs flow freely, you’re sure to be told you’re loved numerous times in an hour and we do our best to regularly affirm and love on one another. Of course there are times when we get on one another’s nerves but these are dealt with swiftly, spoken about directly and then shaken off so we can begin anew.

I’m now half way through my time here and I’ll admit to having a hard time thinking about August 17th and having to leave. In all honesty, I don’t want to come home. I’m living the dream. I’ve fallen in love with San Francisco, with the Tenderloin, with it’s wonderful people and with my family here at YWAM. If I could, I think I’d stay forever. And until only a few days ago I was planning all kinds of ways of doing so. I was willing to walk away from school (translate: university), friends and family. I would have walked away from Scotland. I was willing to leave it all behind, to take all the upset it would cause and move on out here. I’m living my dream.

But this dream is only for this time. God’s dreams are bigger. What I see here is a dream come true now. What I see in Edinburgh is a dream come true in a few years, maybe even decades. I want my quick fix and easy answers but that is rarely God’s way.

He’s given me opportunities for this next year for a reason and I’m not going to throw them away. This is a springboard, a step along the way, an inspiration to look back on. It’s not the end of the road but something of another beginning. I’m not leaving gladly but I will come home happily.

And should God tell me to do something different in a few months or years time, I know now that I will do it. The one thing I was unwilling to give up was Scotland. There was no way I was ever going to leave, there was no place I could ever love as much, but San Francisco has shown me that God truly is in every place and can break me for anywhere. Scotland is no longer an idol I hold aloft but is a burden I carry by God’s grace.

Maybe one day God will bring me back to SF (which would be super awesome) and maybe I’ll one day get to do a DTS (Discipleship Training School), or maybe I’ll live out my days in Scotland building a community with my friends, or even some other crazy place. But you can rest assured that I’m going home in August and will make it through my junior (translate: 3rd) year at least.

And in the mean time, I’ll keep living the dream.