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Philip Garside's Sermons and Resources Online | Creativity Unleashed
27 March 2020, 2:51 PM
Review of Let Your Light Shine Through
Every Methodist preacher in Aotearoa-New Zealand should have this sermon collection by Philip Garside. And, if they are wise enough to purchase it, they can also put the link on their mobile or desktop device to access his online collection of additional resources.
Philip belongs to a small group of Methodists who have either printers ink on their fingers and palms, or it runs in their blood. Either way they have taken the time and care to collect their most important work and seen it into print. This latest book reminds me of one such character: the prolific and talented Deaconess Rita Snowden, OBE. She, who rode John Wesley – her motorbike – around New Zealand in the 1930s, wrote her first book in 1933. As Rev Donald Phillipps said, “For over four years she was the travelling representative of the Methodist Literature and Colporteur Society, taking books all over the country in her caravan.” She wrote at least a book a year for the next 56 years achieving international recognition. Tall poppy syndrome ensured she had a wider audience overseas rather than in New Zealand.
Well, Mr Garside doesn't ride John Wesley, but he takes his publications around Methodist Conferences and Synods, Schools of Theology and other church gatherings. He also puts them online, a resource Rita would have greatly appreciated. He has published numerous authors, religious and secular, and preached faithfully his own sermons, written his own hymns and music, and made various resources available over decades.
It is this latter collection that I want to encourage Methodist folk to buy. With a print copy in your hands you can dip into it, and discover a theological intelligence, a preacher's vision and a pastoral heart.
Note, however, you will be hard-pressed to read it all at once. It's not that kind of book. There are 62 sermons let alone the other material. As I review it, I am dipping in and out of it, wondering why we do not see this kind of offering more often? Philip says of his own work, “You will find that these sermons take a teaching approach. I’m fascinated with how the Bible readings for the Sunday arose: who wrote them, what political or religious situation they sprang from, and what the writer intended as the message to readers and listeners in their day? I then add in related material from our lives today, from our world, and suggest ways we can interpret the Bible readings. What Good News do they contain for us here and now? I usually draw out a sermon’s spiritual or devotional lessons as part of a short recap at the end. Head stuff first, then heart, then hands.”
I move around these sermons, acknowledging they are lectionary based, yet all the while wondering 'what is his concern with that which is beyond the biblical content?' I am not disappointed.
What am I learning about how contemporary church-goers and lay preachers see the issues for our day and age? Philip provides some answers.
Obviously I don't agree with all of his solutions, and might quibble over some of the exegesis, yet he engages me. And that, and that alone, is the key to his success as a preacher. Then I think, maybe with a touch of nostalgia, what has happened to Connexional leadership that such enterprise, raw talent and faith commitment is neither affirmed, denied or even imitated by the current mob. Garside is proof that Methodism is not yet dead, but the contrast between what he does and what the Connexion does, doesn't bear thinking about.
So Philip joins a short list of the old-style Methodists who found within themselves, the flame, the fire, to preach and publish and be damned – and some of them were! A R Fitchett, W Morley, W J Williams, H Ranston, R Snowden, O Burton, W Parker, S Dawson, J J Lewis, D Mullans, D Phillipps, S Thompson, T Wall, R Sugrue, D Willis, D Hill.
Obviously, it's not a complete list, and quite a few more could be added, lay and ordained. There is a note of caution about this list, however.
Search and you will find notable and not always grace-filled characters in the Methodist Connexion, who attempted to silence each one of these listed. Those who had the publishing DNA in their genes infuriated the narrow-minded and the jealous. It's in our history and some of it can be traced in kiwiconnexion's Methodist Survey.
So, all power to PGPL and to Philip for this book which gets the evangel into the marketplace. I like it.
Bonus images: Philip notes, "I am going to post on my company Facebook page each afternoon at 2pm, a photo with one or two keywords, with an invitation for people to: ponder and respond."
Edits to this post:
- David Bell - 27 March 2020, 5:20 PM
27 March 2020, 5:22 PM
Here's the correct link to Let Your Light Shine Through