Showing posts from 2005


Well, I went on me holidays, and then came back... Been a bit busy since then, and haven't got around to blogging, as may have been noticed by anyone who might drop by here every now and then. I have noticed that most of those who were blogging like crazy at the end of August have slowed down somewhat, not that this is in any way trying to justify my own lack of effort on the 'shouting into the ether' front, just an observation. Can't quite put my finger on why I've not done this, but my general writing, my columns for echurch active and all of my efforts at being creative are going through something of a hiatus at the moment. In fact I feel a bit flat generally - tired, I think. It's amazing how creative I felt on holiday - was scrawling away in my notebook, and even got that idea for the novel I know is in there somewhere, have since had another idea but haven't done anything about it. There's just an undefined lack of impetus at the moment. Admit

Away with the ferries

Won't be here for a couple of weeks, am off on me hols to France. So rather than leave the blog empty with no explanation thought i would let you know. I'll have une verre de vin for all you bloggers (or should that be 'un'?)

not a creature was stirring, not even a blogger...

After a manic flurry of activity following Greenbelt all is quiet on the West of Cambridge front, certainly in terms of adding anything to this bloggy jobbet. Interestingly it is only only New Kid that is doing this, a lot of the blogs I've visited have calmed down somewhat in the past few days. Interesting, and encouraging that Greenbelt can inspire that kind of activity. I can't quite put my finger on why, I guess it is just the overwhelmingly creative atmosphere and the fact that people are encouraged to think holistically - so that faith is certainly not a 'one day a week' thing but a vibrant, living, challenging, inspiring, daily activity. Hopefully the thought, the creativity will keep going throughout the year. One thing which made me think this year at Greenbelt was the comment that 'GB' helps some Christians 'survive' from year to year, and that going to Greenbelt is like a refill of the batteries (in fact i read that on a posting on the Gr

For Blog's Sake

As the more observant will have noticed there are a lot more links to blogs on the right hand side than there were a week ago, this is partly due to the inspiration of discovering blogs through the Greenbelt Tag and partly in response to some of the comments that have been posted here in the past few days. I would say, though, that I'm not just chucking on references to anyone, these blogs are worth reading, and i have been seriously impressed in the blogfest that has been my past few late evening's entertainment by the quality of thought and the fun that is part of the blogging community. I don't operate a strict editorial policy, I don't necessarily agree with what is written in all of them, but i do enjoy them, so try a few out. Some are deeper than others, but i leave you to find that out for yourself - after all it's not the destination it's the journey that's important (or some old cack like that) ;-)

More GB 05

It happens every year I think that i am just settling down to normal life (is there such a thing?) and the whole Greenbelt thing just will not lie down and play dead! I am not the type that lives from Greenbelt to Greenbelt (more like minute to minute really, i have a very narrow perspective....i call it focussed!) - but i cannot deny the impact that this four days has on my life throughout the year. It all comes back to this 'whole life philosophy' that permeates the festival. I am an arty-farty type so when i first encountered Greenbelt back in 1987 before going off to uni to study Drama and Theology (hence why i ended up as a minister - i was not qualified to do anything else) i was inspired by the vision of bringing faith to such an important area of my life. The influence of Gb on my theological development, the freedom of expression and thought, the sheer fun of the festival is beyond my abiltiy to describe. Likewise the refusal to accept the idea of 'being told


I said i would say more about GB, so here it is, more stuff. The greatest gift GB gives is the train of thought it inevitably kicks of, though my train often forgets to stop at the stations labelled 'reality' and 'practicality'. As a festival GB does inspire creativity - even if it is a case of disagreeing with people, or not understanding. Last year my involvement with Between the Lines made me actually think about whether or not i wanted to get on with this writing business or just keep it a hobby. I may have thought about it, but it still remains very much a part time thing. Since last year, though, i have continued with my column for eChurch Active, have done a few reviews for eChurch and a couple of other organisations, i have seriously got down to thinking about my creative life and what things i do which can inspire and continue that, and i have done a lot more reading - a huge amount more - which i have enjoyed very much indeed, thank you very much. This y

At the heart of Greenbelt

Had to add another link to piccy of the wonderful yellow and red stripey tent.... greenbelt2005

A Bloggers Prayer

One of the things that Greenbelt has begun exploring is this whole blogging malarkey, there were session in between the lines and as part of the wider programme. One of the interesting things which i have read about since coming back from the festival was that Andrew Jones has worked on a 'spirituality of blogging', part of which is a prayer for bloggers. All a bit deep for me at this particular time as my sleep patterns start to readjust to full on family and work life (staying up til 3.30am and getting up again at 8 not recommended with two kids, a wife and six parishes to consider). Anyway, i will devote more brain time to the subject when feeling a little more together, until then you can read the prayer by clicking the post name above or going to Andrew Jones has a blog at well worth looking at, even if you don't buy in to quite the same perspective.


Was going to print the latest online test - mentioned in previous post - that told me i was a genius but i can't figure out how to correct the html that is missing from the cut and paste ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha so much for an ego boost ;-)


Another year at Greenbelt - and i am shattered! A great festival, more people than we've had for some years, huge variety and diversity of humanity who come and take part/watch/drink tea in the vicintiy of a huge variety and diversity of events, seminars, music, cabaret, dance, art, stalls, literature, panel discussions, worship, prayer. The list goes on. After 18 (or perhaps 19, my maths is bad despite my genius IQ - tried another IQ test which i will post on this blog just because it does my ego a huge amount of good, despite the fact there is no substance to such a test). Anyway, after a nearly 20 year attendance at Greenbelt - consecutive, mind you, none of this year off namby pamby nonsense - i realised i have a somewhat more mature view of what goes on than I did previously. By this i mean i can pick and reflect and choose and dismiss and consider and enthuse and whatever in a way i couldn't over previous years. It means that i felt more duriing Greenbelt this year and

It's not a scam!

Joined up to the free ipods thing, where advertisers get you sign up for a trial offer and you can then refer others who sign up etc etc. If you get five others to sign up you get a free ipod - so i thought i'd have a go..... It doesn't involve any buying, just a trial with, say a DVD rental company that you have to cancel after a few weeks. It is legit - all a desperate act on the part of advertisers, capitalised on by a company which does genuinely give away ipods if you get five others to sign up. Don't take my word for it, see what the BBC had to say So, if you have a mo - try it. I'm always up for getting freebies wherever possible, who isn't?

A couple of weeks elsewhere

I've not added anything to these pages for a couple of weeks because I have been caught up with events around here. Although everyone has been affected by the horror of the bomb blasts in London, we've been affected in this village by the death of a young woman who, though ill for some time succumbed to complications brought about by her sickness very quickly and her death was a shock to everyone. The day after my writing attempt (see below) I was called upon to visit the local Intensive Care Unit in Cambridge where I stayed for some time with the family of this 20 year old girl. Her kidneys had failed 2 1/2 years ago and since then she had been on constant dialysis whilst a donor had been sought for a new kidney. When her blood pressure suddenly went up she was admitted to hospital where she lost consciousness and as pressure increased in her brain her autonomic functions shut down and her brain died. I was amazed by the way the family coped with this awful situation and, wit

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 s

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 oppor

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&

Discovered what Theologian I am

Online quizzes are fun. This was the latest from ( ) 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 67% Anselm 60% J├╝rgen Moltmann 53% Karl Barth 53% John Calvin 47% Paul Tillich 40% Augustine 20% Charles Finney 20% Jonathan Edwards 13% Martin Luther 13% Which theologian are you? created with

Joyful living

A few years ago the musician Frank Zappa asked the question ‘does humour belong in music?’ – actually it was the title of one of his albums. The only reason I mention this is because one could equally ask the question ‘does humour belong in faith?’. I hope that most people would answer ‘yes’ without having to think about it – but unfortunately a lot of people I meet seem to think that the Christian Church is a pretty humourless organisation. Sadly, Christians have a reputation for being serious and sombre most, if not all, of the time. I remember as a teenager someone saying that Christians were people with ‘black suits, black books and black looks’ – not really a very good advert for the Church at all. But Christian Faith certainly isn’t one that is meant to be overly-serious. We do take very seriously the problems and difficulties of the world. Most Christians have a concern for justice and a hope for peace which occupies a lot of our time and energy. We recognize the very re

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Pentecost was a great celebration in the Parishes i went to yesterday, a bit of a glimpse of what we can be as the Church when we let ourselves be open to the life of the Spirit! I only had four people in the tiny village Church i went to at 8.30am, but it was a great service of Holy Communion and i can honestly say that God was very much a part of our prayers and worship as the four of us gathered in a Church full of the prayers of the saints over many centuries. We may have been few, but the Angels and Archangels were having a party nearby and we got to join in... Then to a larger celebration (remembering that larger equals about 50 in these parishes) in another Church. In lots of ways it was a traditional, unexceptional Eucharist - but at the same time it was full of joy and life and touched by the Holy Spirit in such a way that made our liturgy and all of our worship come alive. No, there were no noticable tongues of fire, miraculous healings, speaking in tongues - but the life of

Reflection, Royalty and Rejuvination

Had a great time this week staying at Windsor Castle, or rather at St George's House in Windsor Castle. Yes, that Windsor Castle, where the Queen lives when she isn't at Buckingham Palace or Balmoral or Sandringham or wherever. Didn't get to see the Queen, but did get a few days of serious thinking about what this Church business is all about. A bit of time out of the Parishes to think about Parishes is quite a good thing from time to time. This time together was called a 'Parishes Consultation' and whilst ostensibly concerned with reflecting on 'Clergy Spirituality, Lay Spirituality, is there a difference?' actually offered the chance to reflect in some depth on many aspects of the church and her mission and ministry in our present day. We had some very nice, very traditional services, good food, comfy beds and some excellent talks by various Canons of St George's chapel, as well as the obligatory and enjoyable tours of the Chapel (which is the home

just tired and over-emotional ;-)

As i have carried on in ministry i have learned that i have limitations 'no, really?' i hear you cry! Well, obviously i've always been aware of my many shortcomings, what with having a natural tendency to low self-esteem and all that, but it is amazing how the training that many ministers receive and the attitude of those we minister to and with gives the impression that the ordained leadership of the church can and must be omnicompetent - as if we meet every job with a cry of 'this is a job for Clergy-man' (or -woman, -person, - squirrel or whatever) and rip off our normal clothing to reveal a shiny dogcollar that magically equips us for every situation, and our super shiny halo that lifts us above all we survey.... Of course it isn't like that. As a minister of the Church i hold tight, or rather i cling, to that wonderful phrase 'the Grace of Orders' (ie Holy Orders, what we who are ordained are called and subject to). It is this wonderful, sustaini

The privilege of ministry

Today was the day of the funeral of the aforementioned musician (did anyone notice my deft use of the word aformentioned there - i took an online IQ test and apparently am quite clever, its just a shame no one has noticed) Anyway, it was a good funeral - at least as good as these things can be! It had laughter and some tears, some very good tributes by some very accomplished musicians and a chance to celebrate a life as well as mourn its passing. And my reflection on this? Well, its a reminded of the huge privilege we have as ministers of the Church in being allowed in to the most profound times of people's lives. It is of course also a huge responsibility and i, normally a placid type of person, get furious when i hear of the abuses that those who call themselves pastors and ministers are often guilty of. I have quite a high view of the calling to ministry, and - i hope - a humility that goes alongside that as i realise how inadequate i am for the task! thank God for the divine

Express yourself

I spent the morning today with the widow of a very talented and dedicated musician. It struck me in conversation that to this person music was life, it was all about communication, expression, emotion, mystery, precision, hope, love. Music was all. Music is, of course, a language that is powerful and affecting. It is something that most of us are used to in the background (as i type this i have my internet radio playing some very chilled jazz - no doubt that i will be enjoying something heavy, or folky, or poppy any moment). Because music is so much in the background we often forget its there, a bit like we can forget what a gift language is because we spend all of our days gassing away - well i do anyway. It is easy to debase the languages and forms of expression we rely on, to allow things which can be exceedingly positive to adopt a neutral policy. I do this with my music, my writing, even my observance of faith. Thank God that every now and then we all get a glimpse of the

a flurry of activity

twice in two days - i obviously have more time than i know what to do with (ha ha) whilst i wait for a friend to turn up and help me transport an item of garden furniture half a mile up the road i have a few moments for reflection, and these reflections have been inspired by the excellent thoughts for this week, and a link to an earlier blog, by sarah dylan breur I have problems with the idea of pastoring in the Church in the classic sense. By that i mean that the word pastor means, in its etymology, something akin to animal husbandry, which at worst suggests that there in an inherent superiority of human beings over animals and that somehow this idea spills over into the relationships a minister has with her/his people. In other words, to quote one of my lecturers at Theological College 'I don't like calling myself a pastor because you aren't sheep'. I do see the positive side of that image, of nurture and self-sacrifice that

i'm baaaack

Actually, I've just popped in because i thought i really should start to say something again. Things have been very pressured lately just because of the time it has taken to do everything that needs to be done - so much for this being a one day a week job! I have six wonderful parishes full of intelligent, committed, thoughtful, concerned people. Many of the expectations placed on Clergy are unrealistic, but there is a certain level of pastoral visiting that one needs to do, after six months of unsettled life with a move, holidays, Christmas, a new baby etc it was time for me to do some remedial work, to visit as much as possibly could - this has been the focus of the last three months or so.... It goes on, I continue to make as much time as is humanly possible for visiting people, alongside other meetings, appointments, service planning and leading, events, praying, reading, writing sermons, and of course the hours i spend in a car getting between places. This is not a compla

It's a boy

The title says it all! Jack David McCollum arrived on Sunday morning at 6.15am - after saying in my last post i was expecting to do services, the whole day was completely banjaxed... I'm not going to do one of those blogs which goes on about the life changing nature of having a child or being there for the birth etc etc - if you have children you know, if you don't then the likelihood is that you don't really want to know. I just want to say that my perspective on life has been altered somewhat by recent events - but i guess perspectives are always being altered for all of us anyway so no great revelation there... ttfn

A lot more weeks without blogging

It has been nearly two months since I visited my own blogsite or wrote anything here (just in case you'd not noticed). There are a number of reasons why this happened, Christmas services & busyness (occupational hazard), immanence of small child appearing (no, not happened yet, but we have been anticipating for three weeks now) and generally lacksadaisicalilty (not sure if this is a new word, but do quite like it). Actually, the real reason is that i have felt something of a lack of investment in this whole blogging process. When i started it was all very exciting and a few people responded and it was fun and i spent lots of time and energy putting stuff in. I also felt it was somewhere i should be honest and after a couple of quite vulnerable postings i think i wondered if i'd said too much for my own comfort and left a couple of people guessing as to whether i was talking about them etc. Then it became a bit of a run of the mill thing and i didn't get any respo