Meet the writer: Kate Bruce, Guidelines September–December 2020
Kate Bruce is an RAF Chaplain. Her PhD is in preaching and imagination and (in normal circumstances) she regularly offers day conferences in preaching and leads retreats. She enjoys writing, reading, running, keeping fit, and comedy. She loves being outdoors, and has a particular fondness for Weardale in County Durham, where she has a house from which she enjoys walking and exploring with her black lab, Indie. In less COVID-inhibited times, she enjoys time with friends, and has come to enjoy the social time spent on Zoom.
We asked Kate about her series of reflections, 'Spirituality and mission 20:20', in the current issue of Guidelines...
What do you enjoy and value most about writing for Guidelines?
Writing for Guidelines gives me time to explore themes I might not otherwise have thought much about. It pushes me to explore the connections between the bible and the everyday. The limited word length focuses the mind. I try to read my own work critically – does it feel resonant? Is it earthed in the everyday? Does my inner cynic buy it? If she pulls it apart... then it's not worth much! I'm always wary of simple answers and ideas which crush by not factoring in the pain and complexity of much of life.
What inspired your series on spirituality and mission 20:20?
As is usually the case, I was writing for myself and picturing the reader peering over my shoulder. I make the assumption that if I am honestly wrestling with an idea then that struggle to explore will resonate with others on the same journey, even if they disagree with my conclusions. I aim to produce reflections that are credible, helpful and honest – challenging people to really address their own thoughts about mission. Perhaps it's a caricature but I sometimes wonder if the church can be divided into the super keen mission types, and the rest of us – bumbling and mumbling along. It's for the second group I wanted to write.
What did you learn from writing it?
The writing crystallised for me a sense that what God asks for from us is that we be ourselves, trust him and work from there. The mission belongs to God. I was struck again that too often we despise, or miss the little things. Yes, of course the great mission initiative matters, but so too does the simple act of reaching out and comforting the grieving, dropping a casserole around, or asking, 'how was your day?' and staying around to listen deeply to the response. I was reminded again that mission – in the sense of concrete acts and ways of relating – stems from who we are and our images of God. Spirituality and mission are deeply connected – which was one of the things I wanted to bring out.
What is the key thing you hope your readers might take away from the series?
Hope, comfort, courage and inspiration. A sense that you really do matter to God's purposes; nothing is wasted, no act of loving kindness, however small, goes unnoticed – and they all delight God's heart.
You can find Kate's reflections, 'Spirituality and mission 20:20' in the September–December 2020 issue of Guidelines.