Monday, July 30, 2007

Sporadic blogging

Just a warning, things have been pretty all over the place hence the random blog entries. This is likely to be the case over the next few weeks. There's alls sorts of catching up to be done and some holiday coming too so less and less chance to blog. I am still grateful for all of you who keep visiting and thanks for the comments when i do get the chance to blog. To those whose blogs I'm behind on reading and commenting on, apologies, but I'll catch up later.

Have a good August...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Will it blend?

Every now and then you need a bit of internet insanity, and a good laugh, so try will it blend - follow the iphone and bic lighters links to watch the best vids, and it is worth it despite the annoying ad that precedes it...

This is not a pay per post or an advert or an endorsement of any kind, just something that made me laugh...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A sensitive soul (?)

As I get older, I seem to be more affected by things - more emotional, more ready to cry, more aware of the things which are less than perfect in this world. Sometimes I wonder whether it's just being tired more often that leads me to this - I can feel myself getting emotional at the end of movies, not just the heartstring tugging stuff! Not that I burst into tears at X-men or anything.

I think the more I see of life, the more profoundly affected i am by it. I see the horror of violence and war, the evil that people can perpetrate, the loss which comes from death and the power of the ties of love that bind us. I like to think that I am becoming more aware and empathic than I was as an empty headed teenager, and certainly part of the process of growing older and maturing is having a certain dissatisfaction with the way things are, and longing to change things for the better. It's not a case of 'it was so much better when I was younger' because in lots of ways it wasn't. I'm just more aware of the joys and horrors of the world now.

In part having kids has made me see how fragile and precious life is. Taking lots of funerals also makes me aware of the same thing, and what a profound effect the most simple soul can have on many lives just by being a normal, thoughtful, caring individual. All those moments which those of us in ministry are privileged to share a role in - birth, marriage, death, the struggles and triumphs of everyday life have served to broaden and deepen my appreciation of the present moment and the things which are most valuable - namely family, friends, love, companionship, hope and faith.

My growing knowledge of Christian faith (even us ministerial types are on a constant 'learning curve') has caused me to grow in passionate commitment to 'growing the kingdom' - sharing and living gospel values of justice, peace, love, spiritual and social growth. I think as I get to know Jesus better I see more and more of his agenda - a radically inclusive, constantly questioning faith which longs to bring in God's kingdom - or perhaps more accurately, the 'reign of God' in the hearts, minds and lives of women and men who are dedicated to following this strange, difficult, committed, grace-filled Son of God. I hope I never lose that ability to cry, laugh, shout and whisper in faith or that vision of a world made whole which compels me to follow, to serve and to be the one who God is calling me to be.

God bless you in your seeking and finding, in believing and belonging.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Only a week late

Blog talkers from last week...

I never got around to much last week, at least in the world of blogging, so here's another catchup moment.
Looking back in life, what did you do 3, 6 and 12 months ago? Have these actions played a major role in your life or has it been like any other day?

3 Months ago - I was recovering from a wonderful but very busy Easter. I had a week off after Easter, but was still feeling pretty tired. Things have been extremely busy around our Team for a while, and we've been shorthanded for a number of months. Fatigue seems to be the order of the day most of the time, just keeping up. Means I'm looking forward to some time off over the summer ;-)

6 Months ago, February saw the start of Lent, which meant extra events leading up to Easter time. There was lots of stuff going on around the place.

12 Months ago, we were all at the house in which we have a small share in France. It was baking hot and we were melting. It was then i decided that at some time we needed a new car, as the handbrake cable snapped and we nearly passed out with the heat and no ventilation...

So nothing lifechanging really. It has been a hardworking year with lots of good things happening alongside a general undertone of being tired. Probably from these comments and from the general theme of this blog I give the impression that my work as a minister is pretty much all that goes on. This isn't the case, and as a family we've had some great time together. Even at my busiest times my priority is to be with the family as much as is possible, and on the whole I think we manage well.

I am really looking forward to some time off, though.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A glimpse of sermon

Before preach it tomorrow, here's the sermon I plan to give in the morning, a special treat for you all ;-)

Year A, B, C Mary Magdelene
The ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’

Today we remember a rather peculiar saint, someone who wasn’t the most expected of saints, a woman. It wasn’t common in the early church, or even in the church up to recent times, to honour women – except for Mary the mother of Jesus, of course – so Mary Magdalene stands out from the list of those who were remembered in the first days of the Church.

Mary of Magdala is exceptional, there was no way of escaping the fact that she is was the one chosen by Jesus to be the first witness to his resurrection, to the promise of new life for all that came on that wonderful Easter morning. But there is also no denying that this is a rememberance of both celebration and of frustration…

That’s right celebration and frustration. And this reflects much of our faith, even as we celebrate the risen life of our Lord Jesus Christ after his passion, the events of Holy Week and his painful, lonely death. We remember that we are, as I’ve said before, an Easter People, people filled with the joy of the new life of Christ and with a hope that conquers even death. Yet we remember that although the resurrection is the most wonder-filled event of our the Christian faith, we still live in a world which is full of pain and death. [more]

deep quote

The cruelest lies
are often told in silence
Robert Louis Stephenson

I have no idea what it means, but going through the first season of Millennium, which is something I have not watched for years, it was at the beginning of one show...

Something to think about? Or just another case of trying to find meaning in the meaningless, let me know...

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Been a while since I did a video post...

ILike this vid from the Goo Goo Dolls, its made me want to see the movie, so it's done its job! Like the song too, good lyrics.

patchy and all over the place

And that's the weather, let alone my blogging...

It's been an odd July, no summer to speak of in the UK, and whenever I dare to venture out in shorts I seem to attract rain - and a comment of 'fat git' from some random person in a car park this morning, which I had to process by thinking of clever insulting replies which I would never say to anyone!

It's been a real case of writers block for me in this past couple of weeks, I have struggled even to put sermons together - which is not like me at all, normally the words kind of leak out of me without much rational control, though I like to think I make sense at least 60% of the time. I think it's just being so busy and rather tired with all the events and experiences of the past few months and its all catching up on me as I wait, or rather long, for my holiday in a few weeks time. We are going en vacances to France and leaving the house in the care of a housesitter soon, and i am starting to count down the days.

The end of the school year means lots and lots of events both in my capacity as a parent of a pupil and as Vicar/Governor in our local schools. The school which I am not a governor of has had their end of term show which was fun, and I've been visiting there to do assemblies all term - though I will have to miss their final assembly of the year as I am going to be at the school in this village which has its final assembly tomorrow too!

Alongside this, the usual round of weddings, fetes, funerals, baptisms and all the visits that go along with that have seen my days pretty well packed. My brain is full.

In case you think I'm having a moan, this isn't the case - I'm trying to give a long list of excuses as to why I've not blogged (not that I really need to explain myself to anyone, but it makes me feel better) and to say that lots has been going on, I'm not trapped under a rock, and thanks for those of you who've stopped by even though I've not updated anything....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This week's sermon

Meant to post this on Sunday, sorry for the delay. As always here is the opening of the sermon (though preached rather differently on Sunday) and you can read the rest, should you wish, on my deep stuff page by following the [more] link

Year C Proper 9 (2007) RCL Principal
The hard road

A favourite word in our household is ‘faffing’. Whenever Jo or I are in a flap or wandering about looking lost we normally ask each other ‘what are you faffing about?’ or when we are in a hurry to get anywhere (not an uncommon situation) and one of us seems to be distracted then the normal attempt to speed things up is to say ‘stop faffing around’. There is a fair amount of faffing goes on in the McCollum household, and in the past couple of years I have discovered how much children can add to it – not just because of all the things we have to do for them before we go anywhere, but because they are discovering lots of ways of faffing themselves!

For those of you who don’t use this wonderful phrase, faffing is generally messing around, being distracted, not having a focus, and not getting done what needs to be done and generally messing around.

There’s not much sign of that in today’s readings. [more]

Blog talkers for this week

I was right - this week's blogtalkers gives lots to talk about...
What is one item that you own that has minimal monetary value, but has such sentimental value that you wouldn’t sell it for any amount of money?
This is my opportunity to say that we don't have a lot of stuff worth much! But we have lots of little things which are priceless. Our photos are - and having recently signed up to facebook it's been great to see some of the stuff that friends have put up, going years back - a real nostalgia fest.

Without wishing to seem too holy, something I really value is the Bible I got at my ordination to priesthood. I've got about fifteen translations of the bible, and I have other bibles in the same (NRSV) translation, but i like the fact that it's a normal, not a presentation leather or gilded edge or red letter, bible. It does have the coat of arms for the Diocese of London (where I served for the first four years of my ordained ministry) on the back, but other than that it's just the same kind of hardback bible that could be picked up in any bookshop.

Apart from the fact that the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) are very good translations of the original greek and hebrew manuscripts, and read well - in the sense they are good for reading both for personal study and 'out loud' - I like this Bible as a symbol of ministry. In many ways its not 'special' - that's not a reflection on the truth I believe to be in the Bible, but about this particular book. It's an ordinary book, with a symbol on the back. But within it are truth and faith and hope and love. I would hope that is the case with those who serve the Church in ministry - nothing out of the ordinary, but within there is (as St Paul says) 'treasure in earthen vessels' (any though I might not wear a coat of arms around the place, my clerical collar (or dog collar as most people call it) is a pretty obvious symbol of my ministry).

I love to read the Bible, not always an easy read, and needs thought, prayer and openness to faith to get to grips with it. If a fire were to burn down my house then this particular Bible would be the one I would grab (once I'd made sure the family were all out, of course). There are plenty of others I could grab, but that is the one which i would like.

There's my thoughts on that, there are lots of other things I could have mentioned, but as I often cheat on the blogtalkers thing and don't answer the question as asked much of the time I will not mention the guitar, or particular cds, or books, or pictures, little 'knick knacks', items of clothing, prayer stool or the other gazillion things that all mean something! At least i won't say anything beyond that passing reference, anyway...

Sign up to blogtalkers here

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Belated blogtalkers

The blogtalkers question for this week wasn't really a discussion starter for me,
Tell me about your most unusual laundromat experience. Have you ever, or would you ever leave your laundry unattended at a laundromat? What would you do if it wasn’t there when you came back?
I've never used a laundromat... It's somewhat out of my experience, and though I could conceptualise with regards to the mights and perhaps, I am lacking in motivation, sorry folks...

It's cos I'm in Church fete season, so off to stuff my offspring with ice-cream and look vicarly, whatever that means.

Perhaps tomorrow's question will inspire me to write at great length...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The danger of blogging

I have noticed recently, and it was mentioned by Brian to me a few weeks back (not on his blog, as that seems to have conked out) that as I go about my daily life I find myself thinking 'this is how I would say this in my blog page'. I do it without thinking consciously about it, but though I don't blog about everything that happens much of what I do is framed mentally in terms of what I would say about it if I were to post it. Perhaps this is why I've not been blogging as much lately, my brain is saying 'this is way too insidious'!

Anyway, this came to mind particularly as I was reading the book by Richard Dawkins 'The God delusion' - as i read it I was thinking 'how would I review this for my blog'. Perhaps feeling that there is no other way to respond to it - the book is clear, concise, well written, engaging, thought provoking, and yet there is a feeling that Dawkins throws out meaningless and uninformed statements about Religion which have very little to do with Faith. It's like seeing someone speaking who is obviously intelligent and well informed but somehow doesn't really get to grips with the true substance of a subject, but happily continues anyway with no one able to interrupt.

I like the book, and I like the way Dawkins introduces it, often accused of intellectual arrogance having read about the third of it yesterday I find he is simply someone completely and utterly convinced beyond all doubt of the truth of his claims, that science has disproved God - or more accurately, if I have got the sense of what I have read so far, that the balance of probability is overwhelmingly that there is no such being as God - that any other conclusion is inadequate and foolish. I disagree, of course, but don't mind him saying it, and am happy to talk about the issues he raises. But then, he would probably describe me in the same way he refers to Anglican Clergy in the early part of the God delusion, as nice but not really effective or ultimately useful in any way at all!

I do think it is a book worth reading, and as I have to wait in until the courier arrives with a new PC monitor (to replace the one that conked out a couple of days ago, forgot to blog about that one - I'm using a borrowed screen at the moment) i will read some more, then I will have to make sure I get a copy of 'the Dawkins Delusion' by the excellent theologian Alister McGrath (though this particular book hasn't had very good reviews, at least not the ones I've read).

And whilst I am doing all this, I shall be thinking of how I put all the stuff that bounces around my head onto my blog.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

having a laugh

Thanks to Jennyhaha at Flaw and Disorder I went off to look at what my blog was rated - and here it is:
Free Online Dating

apparently this is due to only having the word 'fart' in here once. Well, twice now (wonder if that will affect the rating).


I am informed that adding the link may increase visits from spammers, I wonder if the word 'moron' adds to my rating too?

Monday, July 02, 2007

A sermon for Trinity 4

Boring title, but it does exactly what it says on the label

Trinity 4 (2007) Year C RCL Principal PROPER 8

Discipleship and discipline

It does often seem that whenever there is an ordination, or a celebration of ministry in the Church then we try to take the clergy down a peg or two! I say this slightly tongue in cheek, but today’s readings and the readings used in the Cathedral yesterday, and the readings we use on Maundy Thursday every year at the renewal of Ordination vows all have something of a hard edge to them, as if we don’t want the Clergy to become too carried away with their status!

And in many ways this is quite appropriate. For years us Clergy enjoyed a certain status and, indeed, power, which led to arrogance and a certain amnesia about the message we are called to proclaim, one of humility, servanthood and the need to rely on God’s grace alone. Today’s readings bring this home in a rather stark way.

There’s so much it would be possible to say about today’s readings. There is a depth and a richness to what is on offer from Scripture for today that I could quite easily spend a number of hours going through today’s readings and simply talking about what is in there – without any extras or interpretations… [more]

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What a weekend

The reason I've been AWOL over the past few days is because so much has been going on! On Friday we celebrated my baby sister's graduation, as she received her degree from Cambridge University, followed by a nice lunchy thing with my mum and my other two younger siblings. Its the first time the five of us have been together for years, so it was fun, and tiring! Then the evening was spent at the Bishop of Ely's garden party, which was a very pleasant way to pass an evening, and a chance to be with lovely wife for a few hours, and my fantastic colleague and acting Team Rector, Fiona. A woman with the ability to spot a pastoral issue at 100 paces, and the best sense of humour in the clerical world.

On Saturday I got to go back to Ely again for a great celebration in the Cathedral as two new priests were ordained who are part of our Team. They are both voluntary (also known as Non-Stipendiary Ministers, but that's a post of its own) and have given a huge amount to our team over the past year as Deacons, but now are able to perform all of the tasks which are a part of Priestly ministry (also a post for another time). The cathedral was packed and I had the great privilege of being one of those who 'laid hands' on our new Priestly colleagues as they were ordained.

Today, we continued the celebrations of their new ministries with them Presiding at Holy Communion for the first time. I had the joy of assisting at one of the services in the morning whilst Fiona did the other. Then a number of us got together for a lunch and the official welcome before taking a few hours off and swapping around for evening services. I preached at the service of the one who Fiona had been with in the morning and vice-versa. In between that I managed to cut the grass (one of those jobs which seems to need doing more and more each year, darn global warming) and re-wrote the sermon I was planning to preach as I wanted to say something different to originally planned. When I am slightly less tired tomorrow I may well post it, it has been a couple of weeks since I put a sermon up, or posted anything on my 'Deep Stuff' blog.

So now you have some idea as to the reason for my silence for the past few days, bet you're glad you stopped by...