Showing posts from May, 2006

Down and out in Cambridgeshire (no hills)

Not really down and out, but have had a couple of 'downer' days, overshadowed by going to see someone very sick indeed in our local 'mega-hospital' - Addenbrookes in Cambridge. This person is such a fighter, so defiant of any attempt to control her life that to see her helpless and wired up to umpteen machines and any number of tubes was a bit of a shock to the system. It really put the kybosh on my visiting for a couple of days so i have cracked on with getting my act together administratively and generally catching up with emails, phone calls and diary schedules. It did make me reflect on the dangers of ministry in that we get to know and, indeed, to love these folk and sometimes have to see them go through hell and still be expected to keep going - often without support - and take the flack for all the difficulties the Church is going through, and the criticism for not doing things the way people want (normally in a style redolent of the archetypal 1950s/Carry on

Stewing in my brain

Have been thinking quite a bit about 'transformational theology' since reading ' The Art of God ' by Christopher Irvine - this wonderfully crafted book of theology addresses the way in which our worship is founded in the transformational nature of encountering God's Spirit. It is very much based in the western liturgical tradition but draws from a variety of sources, Scripture, poetry, early Church teaching etc etc to help us consider again just what is happening in worship. i was struck by many things in the book, it is very readable but pretty dense theology, but one thing that really made me think was the way he talked of worship as 'doing' - it is not something that happens to us or for us, but something into which we enter actively, even when the words are being read to or for us (as in the Eucharistic Prayer, for instance). My own concern is that in worship I can 'do a good show' as a worship leader, but the purpose of what we do is to offer o

I am not a heretic!

Had problems with the phrasing of the questions, so not sure if some of my understanding of Christian Theology was well represented! Anyway, had a go on another online quiz (now my lunch hour!) and the results are: You scored as Chalcedon compliant . You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451. Chalcedon compliant 100% Pelagianism 75% Monarchianism 67% Nestorianism 50% Socinianism 42% Arianism 33% Modalism 33% Monophysitism 33% Adoptionist 25% Apollanarian 17% Albigensianism 0% Docetism 0% Donatism 0% Gnosticism 0% Are you a heretic? created with

Speaking online

My earlier sermon at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, is now online as a download - you too can hear me struggle with my maths (yes, I said two thousand millenia, then later two hundred centuries - good job i only claim to be a theologian, not a mathemetician). Anyway, the files of a selection of this terms sermons on the Apostle's Creed are here .

More from Dave, so even more funny stuff

I love this cartoon... Cartoon by Dave Walker . Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons .

More funny

Dave Walker's Cartoon Blog is a great way to spend some time having a laugh whilst having a think, the link is in the sidebar here, so i recommend a visit. He's started a site called 'we blog cartoons' which gives the opportunity to share some of his stuff and he even provides the chance to 'hotlink' which is very generous as it involves stealing some bandwidth from him! I will endeavour to work out how to uplink images to the blogger server, but for the time being here is something which made me smile - go to his site to see more Cartoon by Dave Walker . Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons .

Distractions and diversions

Well, have laid off the blogging partly because a) have had nothing important to say and b) have had a busy few days. Its been good busy rather than bad busy, though, the new bike has filled up hours as i have taken it out in preference to any other form of transport recently! I don't know how long this will last, but i am making the most of every available situation to ride, even in the wind and rain which have been pretty constant since picking it up on Thursday! (Not a fairweather biker me!) Had some very good things going on, a short and even enjoyable PCC (Parochial Church Council) meeting, wedding rehearsal and wedding, baptism (done admirably by the Curate), couple of hospital visits, a number of services, the Annual Meeting previously mentioned, some sermon writing, some praying (we do that every now and then!) as well as some good time with family (completely adorable kids and scrummy wife) and a great 'bikers and babes 50th birthday' party on Saturday - at whi

Theological fun

I know its not really theology but i had to add this.... Your Deadly Sins Pride : 40% Sloth : 40% Lust : 20% Envy : 0% Gluttony : 0% Greed : 0% Wrath : 0% Chance You'll Go to Hell : 14% You will die from faulty botox injection. How Sinful Are You?

Another funny 'what are you' thing

Looked up what muppet i am with the muppet personality test You Are Kermit Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know. You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems. Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green. Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies! The Muppet Personality Test

got it!

This is it, the eagle has landed, life begins anew... Yes i took delivery of the blue beastie yesterday, and rode back from Peterborough in comfort and with great joy! Have to admit that at one point i found myself singing the words Nempnett Thrubwell to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus - now that's a confession! Rode it up to Ely Diocesan Office today for a Committee for Family and Social Welfare meeting of which i was vice chair - even on a motorbike there is no way to blast through a contra-flow, so ended up being late for the annual meeting! It's great! I plan to go out for a quick visit to a local hostelry this evening, just for the joy of riding it again!

As promised

BALDOCK (n.) The sharp prong on the top of a tree stump where the tree has snapped off before being completely sawn through. Douglas Adams & John Lloyd The Meaning of Liff Pan Books

grrrr, arghhhh, agggg

What a day! Had a less positiv experience today of Royston than mentioned in post previously. Was part of an audience of 30 invited to go and see Show of Hands at a showcase in London. It surprises me that i have not mentioned this group before, an excellent acoustic duo whose music is fantastic comprised of Steve Knightley and Phil Beer , multitalented multi-instrumentalists based in the West Countr (God's own land) . Anyway, accolades aside, i thought a leisurely train journey down to London, would be in order followed by a trip up to Stanmore to visit a young boy in the National Orthopaedic Hospital who had recently had a spine straightening operation. This was the plan. i arrived in Royston (op. cit) to find not a single parking space, and tried the roads near the station to no avail. So I belted (at a speed unusual for my volvo, but not illegal) to Stevenage, where all six of the very large car parks were full. These endeavours to find a parking space and make use of our

Basic Theology 2 - the sermon

I believe in the Incarnation! As you continue your trek through the Apostle’s Creed I am here to offer my two pennyworth about Jesus in fifteen minutes or less, at least I only have to look at two thousand millennia of teaching on the incarnation and not at any other subjects! It would be easy with the part of the creed that I am covering this evening to be distracted and talk about whether the Virgin birth really happened. Whilst it is a fascinating argument, I am not sure that going off into such realms will really advance us on our journey of faith here this evening. Though the assumption of human form, enfleshed through the human nature of Mary and enlivened by the Holy Spirit of God is an important part of the theology of Jesus being both God and Human, it is an explanation, rather than part of the core theological concerns of the Creed. I don’t want to disappear into talking about what some do and do not believe, but in the spirit of the creed to talk about what we as Chri

Basic Theology

Preached at Emmanuel College Cambridge last night and had a very enjoyable evening! Fantastic choir, beautiful worship and the sermon was OK too. I preached on the part of the Apostle's creed which deals with the incarnation and decided to take a view, echoing a talk i did at Greenbelt a few years back, that some basic Incarnational theology was in order. In discussion with the Dean of the College afterwards (v nice supper, not good for the figure but very enjoyable) he remarked how little basic Theological education there is in our Churches, and i think its true. Whilst i enjoy preaching Sunday by Sunday and try to include theological thought in there as well as Biblical application, there are lots of basics in our faith that many people have not really been informed of. I have been trying to get Greenbelt to do some 'basics of faith' talks for a few years now, but haven't caught the imagination of the talks planning committee. The Church at large, and GB in part

A bit of liff before bed

ROYSTON (n.) The man behind you in church who sings with terrific gusto almost tree quarters of a tone off the note. Douglas Adams & John Lloyd The Meaning of Liff Pan Books Looking forward to a bit of Royston tomorrow (or rather, later today)

Da Vinci Code

Had to put the title just because it might pop up on about a gazillion search engines! I have completely ignored the arguments about the DaVinci Code because, in my humble opinion and all that, its not worth it. It would be like arguing about a James Bond book, or Robert Ludlum (choose your thriller writer!) - I don't try to get my theology from novels, even Christian ones (I've read some horrendous Christian novels). On the other hand, there is a very good response from the rightly revered Rt Revd NT Wright which can be found here . Worth reading. Da Vinci Code

Save SPCK!

Noticed on the Cartoon Blog that Dave Walker is starting a one man campaign to save SPCK - Christian booksellers with a wide remit in selling material from a variety of publishing houses and not tied to a big distribution contract in the way that Wesley Owen is owned by STL/Authentic... I like SPCK so herewith (and in the links sidebar) a link! Save the SPCK!

Inspiration for Worship

Today was the training day that i mentioned in earlier posts - and what a fantastic day it was. Helped by one of the colleagues from my own team the small group of worship leaders being trained started the day with worship, then straight into some innovative and forcefully presented ideas for All-Age & Family Friendly worship and talked about making a worship space that really invited and embraced all ages with a reminder that worship for all ages is not worship for Children, and that including children did not mean dumbing-down or over-simplification. As she said, 'we should put as much effort into welcoming children as we do into bringing in adult members of our Churches - why is it that we put them in a corner with a tatty teddy, a few old books with their covers missing and some incomplete jigsaws yet wouldn't dream of offering a hymn book with pages missing or a prayer book that was old and worn out to the members of our congregation'. Challenged and inspired by

Sublime and ridiculous

Its amazing how quickly my posts have strayed from the heavy theology of asking about 'the nature of prayer' and 'Ruth offering a perspective on postmodernity' to 'what time of day am i' and, my favourite, motorbikes! Having said that i make no apologies for the motorbike stuff, am looking forward to picking up my new machine on Saturday week and riding down from Peterborough on it! I can only describe the feeling i had on my test ride as a bit of 'Nempnett Thrubwell' which is taken from the book ' the meaning of liff' (or its later reissue 'the deeper meaning of liff ') by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd... This wonderful book uses odd place names, mainly in the UK, to give us 'a dictionary of things that there aren't any words for yet' very funny, and perhaps you will find a few cropping up in other posts. Nempnett Thrubwell (n.) The feeling experienced when driving off for the very first time on a brand new motor

A thing of beauty

Well, thought having mentioned it I should show it to you all... Unfortunately Jem, the 250 went in part exchange, but it needed some work done on it which costs next to nothing for a dealer to do, but would be a fortune if you'd done it. We can discuss how to get you biking another time!

Very Excited

Bought a new motorbike - BMW K1100LT for those that like to know these things. If you don't need to know the details then it is blue and shiny and a very nice bike to ride. When i say new, i do mean 'used', just new to me!

Filling in time

Waiting for someone to drop in for a meeting so i thought i would pop on and say hello! Like many of my postings i'm actually starting with no idea what i want to say, so 'hello' may well be the deepest part of this post! Am in the process, still, of preparing the 'Worship Leader's Day' - this is part of a very exciting move in the Diocese of Ely to not only claim it wants lay leadership, but to actually do something about it. We are training a small group (about 15) of people who will have an active part in leading worship in their parish Churches. These Churches are all rural, and all have Clergy, or at least have Clergy coming soon if they are in interregnum, so it's not just a stopgap measure to try and fill the gap left by not having a Vicar. It may not seem radical but in the overclericalised world of the C of E (esp in rural areas) its a great breakthrough and a wise move on the part of the Church towards actually getting more people involved.

Shameless self promotion

Whilst looking through the Greenbelt lineup for this year I found that the cd of my talk back in 2002 is still available. Just thought I'd let you know because it is one of the talks i've done that i am most pleased with. It was called ' Faith and Belief' and was part of some writing I had done about what the nature of the two are. I don't make any money from it, so I'm not trying to sell them!

Had a look at what time of day i am

You Are Noon You are upbeat, ambitious, and never at loss for energy. You have a lot that drives you in life. The desire to be the best, and a secret hope of fame and power. And while you definitely have a Type A personality, you are still fun to be around. You have a ton of charisma and a genuine interest in others. You are adored by many. What Time Of Day Are You? Not quite sure how accurate this is, but it made me feel good - though if anyone has any idea about what it means to have a type A personality please let me know. Made me laugh too, which makes it all worth it

Keeping it real

Thanks to Dave for thoughts on my previous post - words of wisdom ' Don't be a slave to the blog...' Enjoyed setting up new shape blog - ie new links, some extra buttons and generally getting to grips with how these things work (or don't, sometimes) it was a small exercise in being creative and felt very rewarding! It seems the best way to blog is a little at a time, i have really enjoyed reading a variety of blogs lately, esp through ukGodblogs and britblog and the most engaging have snippets with the occasional longer post. Was grateful to Ali for her response to my uber-long Ruth posting and think i might try and put in a longer thought, hopefully with some depth every now and then but on the whole may keep it slimmed down and toned up. You never know, perhaps I too could do the same physically too. I read somewhere (on someone's blog probably) if you can't spend less than ten minutes a day blogging then you are blogging too much! Not sure if I

Going mad with blogger

Have had lots of fun in past couple of days doing some rather dodgy (ie haphazard, not illegal or immoral) cutting and pasting with html and adding links and other buttons etc etc as somd of you may have noticed. Actually, i say some of you, but i really have no idea if this is ever read - except that every now and then i get a comment, which i am always grateful for - so i have added a site meter, which was looking rather pathetic with a zero on it when i put it on. Anyway, it might give me some idea of whether anyone pops by and doesn't comment - and if it still looks lonely in a couple of weeks i will change the code (i can do that now, waheey) so i only can see the site stats and pretend that all this wordage does go somewhere...


Before i drag myself off to bed i thought to myself that i should say something about f reecycle - all the rage at the moment, and very useful - not two things which usually go together... Got something you want to get rid of? Don't bin it, freecycle it. Need something - you can always ask (well, as long as you've done some sharing yourself, at least that's how our local one works). Also plenty of chance to pick up stuff that you may well need which someone is trying to get rid of. Clear? As mud, i expect, read what it says here and find out if there is a group in your area.

Sad loss

I know I'm late in finding this out, but sad to see that Rob Lacey died a week or so ago. He had fought with cancer for some time. Rob was innovative, funny and a great actor and writer. He was most well known for his 'street Bible' or 'Word on the street' and i was amused and shocked (in a good way) by his 'guerilla Bible readings' where he would read out his own paraphrase of scripture to somewhat surprised passers by. He contributed to 'Just Worship DVDs' Vol 1 and Vol 2 and some stuff for a RUN ( Reaching the Unchurched Network ) DVD called InMotion the stuff he did was excellent - creative, thought provoking, spiritual. Thoughtful short pieces from Conrad Gempf and Dave Walker

Another quickie

The observant amongst you may have noticed firstly that i did manage to edit my bookmarks to add the witness mag and that i have removed e-church active online magazine. The sad decision was made to cease producing the magazine and the cost of keeping the site up was prohibitive. They are looking into archiving the material (very good stuff) when they find a sympathetic (ie preferably free) host but for the time being the e-Church active link just takes you to a rather sad page saying goodbye. I did feel a deep sorrow when i found it was folding, because i thought it was good stuff and because it was my first ever proper writing break - thanks to Brian and Richard at amp for keeping it going and to Sue Elvidge for the sterling editorial job. Fortunately we can still see Sue's work on Surefish where she writes various articles and amp (active media publishing) i s still going and producing other good stuff. All things must pass.

Just a quickie

Reading the good as ever Sarah Dylan Breuer Lectionary Blog I followed a link to a very interesting Mag called The Witness - 'an Anglican voice for justice' available both in hard copy and online, i believe- worth bookmarking, and when i have the time i will add to my links.

Reflections on Ruth

These thoughts are based on Ruth 1.16-18 & 1 Peter 2.4-12 Bible verses are all linked because I don't want to break copyright, so please do follow links to read...via ' The Bible Gateway' Ruth – finding our true home I want to talk a little bit about what’s going on in our world today as we start our series of these great figures in our history of faith – today looking at Ruth, next time Esther, then Daniel and finally Paul. You might wonder what Postmodernity has to do with Ruth, but on some very close reading of the text and a fair amount of reading on the whole postmodern thing I hope that we can use this stuff to offer a bit of new thinking about the way we engage with the world today. There is no such ‘thing’ as postmodernity – its just a phrase that various thinkers and writers have used to gather together their thoughts on the state of the world today. It perhaps helps to know that when people talk about Modernity they don’t mean the modern world, they

Still blogging!

Well after the joys of the election and my dental surgery (not sure which was worse) i am now back on the go and have just finished a rather weighty talk about the book of Ruth which tries to apply some of the content of that wonderful, romantic, episode in the time of the Judges to our present 'Post modern' world (eeek, the PM word.! i might just post it here, although it stretches to quite a few words. i do love doing theology, it does stimulate the old brain and faith cells. Plenty to think about, perhaps it will be my next post. I will see if i can blog it through WORD and then you can comment for yourselves, or ignore it completely as seems most expedient for you...

Staying up late

Don't know why i do it - am watching election results come up on the BBC Website and feeling depressed. Its not that i feel invested in any of the political parties - my alliegance to Labour has disappeared over the past two years and I left the party 18 months ago - Gulf War, approval of GM crops, PPI, etc etc meant i couldn't hack it any more - plus no one bothered to contact me when i said i wanted to leave so felt no enticement to stay. There is just something incredibly boring about watchin election results, and feeling let down whatever the result! Sometimes i wish the map just turned green or yellow or something different. I think it is the samey-ness that is so wearing, even with gains by one party or another there is a kind of inevitablitity about it all. Plus it always seems ages for South Cambridgeshire to declare, so my own sense of personal investment is limited until that point. Am going to bed now. Got to have dental surgery tomorrow. Preferable to watc

What do we do when we pray?

Am preparing a talk for a group this evening on prayer, and have chosen the theme at the head of this post. After twenty six years of active Christian living (or at least trying) this is still something I struggle with. What are we doing when we pray? On the very basic level I believe we are changing ourselves, or being changed by our encounter with God and that prayer is at least about that transformation that occurs as we place ourselves at God's disposal and pray with honesty and humility 'your will be done'. From this I beleive comes a network of those who are seeking God's way and are transformed into being the answers to prayer. In this way prayer is world changing. But what about praying for those things upon which we, and possibly no other person of faith, can have an impact? Does God change the world when we pray? I remember a wonderful, rather quirky, Jesuit lecturer on my undergrad course who said that if God answered prayers in the way that people

More going on

Didn’t mention, as wanted to keep in a separate post, of a visit over the weekend by another clergybeing – one previously mentioned in postings – Chaplain to a northern University College and all round great bloke… Over the course of the weekend, when not distracted by various concerns, we managed to fit in some deep thoughts about what we are, what we’re doing, and where we’re going.  he mentioned my previous expressions of ‘not quite envy’ about his lifestyle – relatively free, travelling, academic engagement alongside pastoral work and talked about his ‘grass greener’ vibes to do with my situation as a country minister, with a family and a nice Rectory, various interests and, explicitly mentioned, motorbikes.  I’m not sure why I mention this, but it was a nice reminder of what I am blessed with, and how learning to live where we are – spiritually as well as physically – is a difficult part of our self-integration. Came away from the weekend with profound sense of gratitude for all I

Getting On With Things

Had a few days away after Easter and have hit the ground running on my return.  It was a bit of an odd ‘holiday’ as I spent two days of it preparing and doing a funeral (for my wife’s Grandfather, fantastic man with 100 years of very full history behind him), then had to come back for an Annual meeting for one of my parishes, then return early for another annual meeting – all very important and worthwhile, but rather messed up the ‘holiday’ possibilities.   Anyway, am now back in full flow and getting things sorted after the busy-ness of Easter and all that it involves.  As previously mentioned, it was a fantastic Easter, but so busy that all the normal stuff gets put on hold somewhat…  So far the day has been full of admin, phone calls and sorting out the piles of paper that accrue when one goes through an extended period of ‘dumping stuff’ because there is so much going on. One thing I have been picking up on is my reading and there are some books which are really grabbing my attenti