A friend sent me a song recently and it made me think: The Outlaw’s Prayer by Johnny Paycheck. You can find it for yourself on YouTube. It’s about a stranger going in to a big church and being asked to leave because he wasn’t dressed right and didn’t look right – from the congregation’s point of view. OK it’s a bit twee but it does have a message to the self-righteous, if they can see it. Churches advertise in the hope people will attended their services, accept their brand of Christianity. Sometimes becoming a social club for the self-righteous. 

Oh sure, it’s easy to knock down but difficult to build something founded on truth and love, accepting each other for who and what we are and not making judgements. Johnny Paycheck’s song says a lot about churches who judge by their own standards and interpretation of Scripture. I have another Christian friend who dislikes what he calls ‘organised religion’. I see his point though by our own defective human nature all religions are organised in one way or another, with rules and regulations. I try to follow the example of a man called Jesus who spoke truth to power. They had Him crucified, though the people listened to Him in amazement, feeling His love and compassion for them.

I feel this year I have a new mission. To connect with all those who have been put off by churches and ‘the religious’. Of course, people often use all the bad stuff they hear about churches and so-called Christians as an excuse not to delve deeper in to what may possibly be at the heart of the affair: could there actually be a God? A defence mechanism, deflection, push it away, I don’t want to think about that stuff, it’s confusing. Fine, it is our choice. I have often heard the rather half-hearted comment “Oh, I believe in God” when it is clear they never had any intention of exploring a living relationship with Him.

That’s why I have founded The Olive Grove Retreat here in Calasparra, Murcia where people can come for a day or a few days to think quietly about their life and where they are going. To put their busy life in some sort of perspective, to reflect on their problems whatever they may be in the beauty of the olive groves. No pressure, simple peace and quiet. If they want to talk, I’m here, if not it is their time. 

You are welcome to contact me confidentially at any time about anything that troubles you.

‘Bye for now and God bless you

Rev Andrew    

ahrea2@yahoo.co.uk or ring 634 386 179