Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Stopping to smell the lightning

On the way home this evening, from my second meeting of the night and at the end of a full day, I stopped. It was a gorgeous evening, but as the clouds started to appear lightning flashed across the sky and grew more and more active and exciting over just a few minutes. I had to stop and just look - I sat there for half and hour waiting for each new burst to appear, for the sky to be lit up again. I thought I would try and write a poem - but settled for some prose instead...

Silent Lightning
It started orange, glimpses of sunset flung out of the sky landing left and right, each bolt giving the countryside around it a sudden burst of light. Skeletal fingers of fire chased each other through the clouds and then disappeared. Every now and then it looked as if the sky above the clouds was bursting in to flame.

As the now invisible sun dipped further and darkness fell, the flames that lit the sky were swapped for photoflash bursts of eye-numbing light. Falling to earth, or filling the sky the light drew attention, then forced it away as it seared the mind.

The air changed from the moist heaviness of the past days into a new fresh lung-filling joyful pure oxygen, no longer needing to be chewed before swallowing, or causing sweat to burst from every pore at the slightest movement. Deep breaths were rewarded with a new sense of being alive and awake in the midst of all this power.

Yet in all of this there was no sound. The thunder beyond reach, the wind low, no hint of rain. The clouds drifted majestically giving this violent scene a strange lack of urgency, as if the light was falling from the too-slow sky.

And until the rain came, it remained to be watched, causing breath to be held and eyes to be filled with too much light. With soul renewed and waiting for the rain to come, i stopped to smell the sweetness of the lightning.

It may not be good, but its a start. I'm sure it is just begging for a metaphor to be drawn from it, or made part of some allegory about life, or trite illustration of faith. No matter how my words may fail, though, the lightning speaks for itself.

Perhaps its coming back

After disconnecting from blogger last night i picked up a pen and my notebook and rediscovered the feeling of having to write. I had to make myself stop at three pages as all the words that i'd obviously been saving up flowed out. I wondered whether it was something to do with the act of using a pen, but then having said that I love to write on the computer. Perhaps it was just the resolve to actually get on with it and to work at it.

It was the same today - I found myself with a few minutes to stop whilst visiting a local hospital - I sat down with a coffee and 'whoosh' out came the words. I've never felt that compulsion that other writers have talked about until today - that feelling that I must write, as though the words are trapped inside and they need to come out. The three pages was a doddle, took about 20 minutes.

I think that creativity is something God-given, i also think that it is given to everyone and we can use it or not as we choose or have opportunity. I know I'm not a great writer, maybe I could be, but for now I know that alongside my calling as husband, father, priest & motorcyclist I am a writer. Say it proud now!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Creativity, Confusion and something else beginning with c that i haven't yet thought of

I've been away on a holiday, and a very good one it was too. I spent some time with my family (I love being able to say that), ie wife and kids, and stayed with a great friend in York then we were very kindly loaned a house in Fairlie, West Scotland, on the Firth of Clyde. It was a time to rediscover an old friend and why he is such a great man, to have some very high quality time with the loves of my life (Jo, Katherine and Jack) and to rediscover a bit of the creative urge that got me into this writing business in the first place.

Jem (the aforementioned great friend - blog link is on the right of this page) is doing something about creativity - a course or something. As part of this he disciplines himself to write three pages of text a day. This seemed like a good idea, so for the last part of the holiday I tried it for myself. It was amazing, the words poured out of me, my thoughts, my feelings, images in words, things which made me laugh, things which made me think. I couldn't wait to pick up my notebook each day and make the next entry - I even bought a smaller notebook to carry around with me and scrawled thoughts in it every day. I sat out on the balcony of the flat we stayed in in York and wrote and wrote and wrote. It was like rediscovering a vocation. I couldn't wait to get back and start typing away on the PC and writing huge creative bits of this blog and start writing poetry again and and and and....

And then i came back home.

In the eight days since I've returned the only writing I've done is lists of what to do and a sermon. I get up (normally in a woozy and not entirely compus mentus manner) and help get my daughter ready for the morning, i eat my breakfast, i pray and i work, then when i get home in the evenings i watch TV or work, or go out with friends. None of this is bad, obviously, and it has been a happy week or so - but i felt so fired up last week to write and write, to get that book done which has been nagging at me for the past two years, to write some articles, to start some research, to simply sit and scribble. Where has that gone?

I think I'm going to stop now, my day is drawing to a close somewhat earlier than usual (only about 10.30pm now ) and i might do my three pages before bed, get up feeling slightly less woozy than usual after an early night and do some more writing before the day begins in earnest again tomorrow. Pray for me brothers and sisters :-)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Discovered what Theologian I am

Online quizzes are fun. This was the latest from Quizfarm.com (http://quizfarm.com/test.php?q_id=44116)

You scored as Friedrich Schleiermacher. You seek to make inner feeling and awareness of God the centre of your theology, which is the foundation of liberalism. Unfortunately, atheists are quick to accuse you of simply projecting humanity onto 'God' and liberalism never really recovers.

Friedrich Schleiermacher




J├╝rgen Moltmann


Karl Barth


John Calvin


Paul Tillich




Charles Finney


Jonathan Edwards


Martin Luther


Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com