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Sunday 16th August 2015

Today's readings commend the pursuit of wisdom, who is personified in ancient scripture as a woman with gracious hospitality to offer. Our children will be asking each other today "what is wisdom?"

The question returned to me as I watched, intrigued, a news item on an American television channel about a shooting range that has opened in Chilton County, Alabama. Not just any shooting range, this one: it has been opened by the Rocky Mount United Methodist Church using a gully right behind the church building itself. It started off, says Pastor Phillip Guin, to address the needs of a number of older female parishioners who owned hand guns but didn't know how to use them. Now they regard it as an outreach ministry; "an opportunity to reach out in the name of Jesus Christ in a setting that is completely unique". Pastor Phil, demonstrating his own handgun skills for the camera, poses the question "Who's to say that church can't happen right here?"

We are always talking about new models of ministry that expand the conventional pew-sitting Sunday-morning approach… but the shooting range has its critics, who ask what kind of person Jesus was and what he had to teach us about peace.

Br Andrew and I enjoyed listening to Brian McLaren recently who has identified three major things his own Christian background has egregiously neglected: poverty, peace, and the planet. Let us respond to Ms Wisdom's call to be informed, to be considered in our judgement, careful with what we let in to our minds and what we let out of our mouths.

Ellen