I became a trustee of Market Place Books in Kendal because I wanted to encourage my fellow Christians to have a ‘learning faith’, to dig deeper, read more and ask questions. ‘Bite Size Theology’ came about so we could reach out with that agenda, to be a place where people could come together and delve deeper. We wanted it to be for everyone, accessible, ecumenical and in ‘bite size’ chunks so it’s not too big to swallow. We were so thrilled when CCL were able to work in partnership with us to lend us their expertise. The theme for the three sessions was ‘Why does Jesus Matter?’ and this first session [on Wednesday 6th September] was titled ‘What is the Kingdom of God and why does it matter?’.
The evening was wonderful. We absolutely packed out the entire ground floor of Café Nero in Kendal, people had come from many different denominations and from an area spanning from Milnthorpe to Penrith. There was talk of a real ‘thirst’ for more opportunities to study theology and how excited we were to quench it. The atmosphere was one of excitement, anticipation and camaraderie, note books at the ready.
Rev. Dr Allison Fenton introduced the topic with some fascinating and challenging insights. The first thing that struck me was the question, who builds the Kingdom of God? We often talk about our work being to build the Kingdom but Allison suggested it’s not something we do; it’s what God’s doing. She then asked us 3 questions – ‘where?’, ‘when?’, ‘what?’ We split off into groups to discuss where is the Kingdom of God? When is the Kingdom? And the big question: What is it? Our debates and fascinating discussions gave us a rich tapestry of answers, many reassuringly similar such as the Kingdom is ‘here and now’, ‘among us’, the ‘now and the not yet’ and the ‘was, is and is to come’.
Allison concluded by speaking about what God’s Kingdom means for us now, a vision of what could be. The fact that the Church isn’t perfect but we have a hope that the Kingdom will come. We are seeking to respond to God, living in community, living imperfectly but in the light of Christ: ‘Putting his glory on display so that we might invite others to taste and see what it is to be in relationship with the triune God’.
The next sessions will be the 11th October (www.cumbriachristianlearning.org.uk/event/lenses-looking-cross-jesus-die/) and 8th November (www.cumbriachristianlearning.org.uk/event/christ-risen-jesus-rise-dead-difference-make/) in Café Nero, Market Place, Kendal, 6:30 for 7.00pm, do come and join us. We believe theology is for everyone!
Author: Penny Severn
for Market Place Books