Showing posts from August, 2006

Still on the go, great book

This is my current review book that i am trying to finish up and get the review sent off. I won't go too far into detail, but just to say it is a short (but not lightweight) book of theological reflection on what it means to be a Christian in response to who Jesus was and is. There's no in-depth reflection on the Incarnation, no attempt to be trendy, just a highly relevant, simple (though not easy!) read all focussed on Jesus and the reign/kingdom of God.

Jim Wallis on Capitol Hill

God's special interest is poverty - great short thought from Jim Wallis speaking on Capitol Hill. Thanks to Mars Hill for posting this, good blog!

Back from Greenbelt?

Anyone back from GB06? What did you do? What was the best bit of the festival for you? What did you think of the new mainstage? Anything that really stood out? Anyone go to any of the literature stream stuff? Let me know, please, I not terribly dismayed that I didn't go - it's been a good bank holiday weekend - but I would love to hear your experiences...

Taking risks with links

Decided to add the Amazon World Cinema DVD link to my sidebar because I think my way of thinking and many things in my life have been enriched by catching a glimpse of the way the world is portrayed through movies. This might mean that some of the links don't meet with the approval of those who visit here, movies that perhaps might concern some Christian folk, but I am going to keep the link anyway because even watching movies that disturb (see Jem's review of Crash, I was the one who called it harrowing when we watched it together) can make us think again about how we make the message of Jesus Christ relevant to a very dark world. Some of the world cinema movies I've watched have been fun too - see Luc Besson's 'Taxi' movies or 'Les Vacanced de M Hulot' or 'Amelie', some of them are masterful examples of the celluloid arts for instance the 'Three Colours Trilogy'. All in all I think seeing stuff outside our usual narrow frame of referen

Books in the sidebar

As you can see, there are a few extra bits at the side, and a couple of things have disappeared. I wanted particularly to add some links to books which are either on the go or have been mentioned before in my postings. I thought I would say a few words about the ones there now Brian McLaren - a Generous Orthodoxy - have been carrying this around for about six months, partly to see what all the fuss was about and partly because i have had in my mind the idea for a book with a similar title for some time - still not got around to reading any of it yet, so can't comment, but he has certainly stirred up things in the Evangelical world. Sally Morganthaler - Worship Evangelism - a great book, in lots of ways. It begins with the challenge to consider what Worship is and a particularly good summary of 'worship within the Psalms' which gives plenty of food for thought. The basic premise seems to be that worship in itself is evangelistic - something i agree with completely - and t

You can tell i have a slack half hour

Three posts in a row, my mind is racing (must be all the caffeine I've consumed this morning) so I'm filling in the time with a few posts - perhaps trying to compensate from not being in the 'creative atmosphere' of greenbelt by being a bit creative on my own. Anyway, every now and then I put something in my blog about what books I'm reading and then usually forget to mention what i thought, so here (with some help from Amazon) are a few i've read and what i thought about them I love Dave Gorman's books, style and general attitude, and the Googlewhack adventure is his best so far - there's a certain lunacy inherent in his inability to resist a challenge and the way he sets himself seemingly meaningless tasks which become imbued with a desperation the reader is drawn into as the book carries on. I really enjoyed reading this book, and one is kept wondering right up until the end whether he actually ends up achieving his goal - by which time you're

Woah - nostalgia city

After a late night visit to see someone in hospital I returned home to find my wife looking through a box of old photos - pictures from college, old school friends, 80's hairstyles etc etc. Having planned to conk out I was rapt for the next hour looking at these pictures. It was something of a rollercoaster as i felt a huge amount of embarassment at my hairstyle (or lack thereof - style that is, not hair) a huge sense of loss at friendships now gone (some of which i have tried to rekindle, but Paula, Doug, Gill and John seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth) and a sense of now having a life far removed from my expectations. I find myself often wondering 'what if' when it comes to relationships, decisions made, things lost and found. It's probably part of what it means to be human, to hold on to memories and use one's imagination to envisage alternatives. On the whole I have few regrets, but do find myself thinking 'if I knew then what i know n

Obesity in Britian

I read in the paper this morning that three quarters of men will be obese in the next few years, this means, I guess, that its only my head destined to remain unfat...

Summary of theological thought through kissing

Its an old post on the Faith and Theology Blog , but a goodie, a summary of the theology of kissing which gives an insight into the style of lots of theologians... That makes it sound very high fallutin', it's funny is what it is.

Still emerging

Having been slightly shocked at the animosity (often dressed up as 'sticking by Biblical standards' or 'trying to live Christian life in a new way' depending on which side you are on) in the Emergent Church debate, I was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful posting on the EmergentNo blog from one of the main bloggers which was concerned with how we can draw on a variety of sources (as we all do) for our Christian formation. It advocates tolerance and consideration, and was worth reading just for that. I was so pleasantl surprised I even sent a 'thank you' email to the author. The text of the post can be read here .

I did not love her...

One line in the latest Bruce Cockburn keeps reverberating around my brain 'I did not love her - but it's different when it comes to you' - obviously the whole premise of the song. It got me to thinking how many times we can fall in love in life - and how we can remain faithful to our partner through all of the feelings that go alongside that. I have a friend who I go out for a drink for once a week or so, and on a few occasions we have got around to talking about whether there was a great love in our life who we didn't stick with and whether they were 'the one who got away'. In fact at one time the subject came up a few times over the course of a couple of weeks, I think because of a meeting with an old flame on his part which had got the cogs whirring and the 'what if..' machine that most of us seem to have in our brains sprung into action. I know, though, that far from his days as 'Jack the lad' in London in the 70s this man has stayed fait
Bruce Cockburn Oooh, new vid from the great BC...


Spent midnight til 1am this morning/last night in the prayer room at our 24/7 event here in our village and found myself profoundly affected by the amount of prayer which is going on. For a small community (about 1200 in this village) we are managing to maintain 49 hours of continuous prayer in our little village hall. Not quite 24/7 - more like 49/2 but an encouraging start. Those who had put the space together did a great job of creating an ambience and pulling together lots of resources to aid prayer and have given plenty of (metaphorical and physical) space for folk to explore praying - my hour passed swiftly as i spent the time chatting away to God! Tried to do some listening too, which is much harder. Came away from that time feeling energised and excited about the praying people in our Church fellowship and the possibilities that come from praying together about our life of faith in community. Realise i don't mention prayer much in this blog, but wouldn't want anyone t

Two years a blogger

Had the revelation this evening that a week ago was my second anniversary of starting a blog. My blogging has been pretty patchy at times (just take a look at the arcive section to the right and see how many months are missing) but now i am, um, less patchy not necessarily any smarter or more interesting, just less patchy Happy blog day to me Happy blog day to me Happy blog day dear meeeeeeeeeee Happy blog day to me (big crescendo, lots of trumpets and huge round of applause) Thank you, i love you all

Bit more grumpy than i should have been

Was a bit harsh about Greenbelt in my last post, and now i have guilt issues.... It is unfair (and frankly wrong) to say that they aren't engaging seriously with theology, my beef is that there is so little basic theological teaching in the Church and lots of esoteric, or trendy theological subjects that grab attention for a while and then fade out - and i think to a certain degree this is reflected at GB. Of course there are lots of important issues which people need to grapple with about our engagement with the world through faith and art, and GB does this admirably, but i still have this niggling feeling that if we don't own the shared theology of the Church which stretches way back to our roots then we build sometimes very complex edifices on rather shaky foundations. I have been fortunate to have a very small part in the brainstorm session for greenbelt over the past few years, and some fantastic ideas have come out of those sessions, including the idea of a small serie

Speaking online

In response to a couple of requests, here again is the chance to hear some of the sermons on the creed of which i was one last term at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Been thinking a bit why i don't really feel any attraction to Greenbelt this year, and i think it is because, yet again, there is no serious attempt to engage with basic Christian Theology - I am not one to be bound by doctrine and dogma, preferring faith in Jesus Christ! But I do believe that to know who we are as Christians we need to know where we come from, and going back to what the Church has proclaimed for generations is a good start... The Faith and Theology Blog is undertaking this, a series called Theology for Beginners - worth looking out for. And the sermons from Emmanuel are here . Incidentally, perhaps my concern about emergent stuff is to do with a lack of accountability to the historic formularies of the Church. As well as structures of accountability which are built in (or should be) to more mainstr

emergent does upset people, doesn't it!

Following on from my last flippant post, I am interested just how much the whole emergent movement has terrrified the Conservative Evangelical Church in the USA, i read an entry on emergentNO blog (you can work out the address for yourself, i can't be faffed to link it) which expresses terror at one particular e vangelical p oster- c hild (now ex e.p-c) who mentions an interest in contemplative spirituality!!!! (The person in question so obviously in need of saving is Max Lucado, evangelical writer and speaker). No matter that Christians have embraced contemplative spirituality as part of the rich tapestry of a life of prayer and devotion for two thousand years, no matter that the shape of the Church most of these groups hold so dear is post-Victorian, or post Evangelical reformation, and bears very little relation to the shape of the fellowships of those who actually knew Christ! No, what's really important is that the only authentic expression of Christian faith is that whic

being [emergent]

Don't get me wrong, i think the emergent church movement (or 'fresh expessions' in the C of E version of trying to put an instututional stamp on the same thing) is a good thing on the whole - I have concerns about authority and accountability but that will have to wait til i get the idea for my Ph.D thesis sorted!... It does seem, though, after a trawl through a few emergent blogs that what i really need to do is start putting square brackets around things if i really want to be emergent... so what do you reckon to [new kid on on the blog] or to give it a really edgy theme [newkidontheblog] cool, eh?

On a completely different theme

Saturday saw me having a really enjoyable ride down to Reading (about 100 miles) to see some old friends, in fact I'd not seen them since 2000 when we all went to the Great British Beer Festival together (I still have some very unflattering pictures of myself from that event, not because i was in a drunken stupor but because i had a very dodgy haircut!) Not only was the ride lots of fun but a few hours in a garden celebrating a 30th birthday was a great way to reaquaint myself a little with them, and to bolster my resolve to see them again. One of them is in the process of exploring his vocation to ordained ministry in the C of E, which might mean he ends up within visiting distance if they come to the Cambridge Theological Federation for training - which would be fun. They also have a delightful daughter who I'd not met before, which made me realise just how much can change in six years! When we were last all together Jo and i were childless too! Now most of our days, ind

Thanks Jem

Jem has put a comment below as a response to my last post which leads to some thoughts of his worth reading (they always are on Jem's blog! ) - but one of the most helpful things in that post is that he gives the address for which is an invaluable site giving all your local councillors, MPs and MEPs and contact details for them. Worth putting in your bookmarks... And on the theme of Israel and the Lebanon, lets just hope and pray the ceasefire holds. For more thoughts check out sojourners on the net and the lebanon chronicle

Avoiding difficult subjects

I was reflecting on just why i have not felt a great pull to blog on the situation in the Lebanon or on the scare over the plot to blow up planes mid-flight over this past couple of weeks and have focussed on the relatively trivial events in my life... It's not that i don't care, just that i have nothing to say. Or rather that there is nothing that i could post on this blog which would make any difference - or at least that's how i feel. I am happy to warble on about my motorbike, things going on around me, good music, even theology, but with regards to the scary and horrific events going on in our world i feel that distressing and unjust and downright evil as they may be my noodling on about them isn't going to help. For some appropriate response from the c of e look here and follow this link for some thinking from Richard Wells over at Connexions. I leave it to better informed folk to start your thinking process going and guide your prayers.
Michael Berk Bells This is my first attempt at adding a YouTube vid to my blog, and what an introduction, I love this track - in case you didn're read the post below, this is Michael Berk who I saw at The Bun Shop on Monday of this week

CURB YOUR DOGMA: A Foot in Both Camps

CURB YOUR DOGMA: A Foot in Both Camps I do like what Ken has to say, as can be seen in my response to the article. Looking forward to future instalments


Had a great evening yesterday celebrating our 13th Anniversary of Marital Bliss.... Found a great venue in Cambridge which we've known of for about 12 years but never been to! It's called the Bun Shop , and is a pub come tapas bar come restaurant etc etc. Also on various Monday Nights it hosts and acoustic night set up by the Acoustic Routes group who meet regularly at a little place called CB2. So, good grub, good company (the lovely Jo) and good music, what a great evening. There were two artists, one was Bernard Hoskin a founder of acoustic routes who has a great voice and plays guitar very nicely indeed as well as being an excellent singer-songwriter and the other was a guitarist who rightly deserves the title 'virtuoso' called Michael Berk - I can't describe his style except to say he was amazing - bits of folk, blues, Jazz, celtic, flamenco all wrapped up with some incredible and firework-filled playing. I've not been so impressed since I saw Steve Vai

Not mentioned the bike for a while

My lovely k1100lt, as mentioned in previous posts, has been out of the news lately - this is mainly because I've not ridden it since going away on holiday at the start of July. I have had lots of fun on it and it is a great bike to ride, very comfortable with a fair turn of speed when needed! Unfortunately it has developed an unhealthy tendency to fall over! I should stress that this has not been when i have been riding it... and it has only had two falls, but there is some minor cosmetic damage to my baby which has caused me great heartache! The first time was when trying to reverse it out of my garage - which (with the usual sensible planning of a diocese which doesn't actually want the expense of creating a garage so just puts gates on a lean-to) has a gravel floor - my foot lost its grip and the bike was slowly and quite gently lowered to the floor. Very little damage done there. The second time was more spectacular and i missed it! In the heat of the 1st of July the bike


the word that is missing from the end of the last post is 'here' which is where i put the link that blogger doesn't like, fortunately it seems to work in the header of the previous post..... life is just one big adventure

Readings for Transfiguration

No matter how hard i tried, Blogger couldn't cope with me adding links for my previous post, though firefly and joss whedon (spelt wrong, sorry) worked after repeated goes i could not get there readings to stay, in fact it seemed to cut out the nearest paragraph if i did try, so i am going to have another go at this, and add the readings to both the header above and

Glory be!

Another sermon - its been a few weeks since i posted one, but here is my offering for this Sunday, the Festival of the Transfiguration: Shiny I must admit to being something of a cult TV fan, and it is to Joss Wheedon's excellent, but short lived,series Firefly - that i turn for a word that strikes me with regards to today's festival - the word is 'Shiny'. 'Shiny' seems to mean 'cool', 'great' 'good', 'excellent' and lots more besides, often used ironically, but a great word nonetheless. And its the word that came back again and again as i read the lections for this week. 'Shiny'... God’s glory shines . In our reading from the book of Daniel we hear the story of a vision of ‘the Ancient one’ – similar to the vision of St John of Patmos in the book of Revelation. We read of the glory of the Ancient one and of ‘one like a human being’ (or ‘Son of Man’ as it is often translated). We are told that this ‘Son of Man’ is give

A few thoughts

Its late again, so i am not going to be here long. Just a thought to keep the blogging up. Have been trawling the blogsphere looking through all the links i have attached here, plus added Curb Your Dogma by Ken Howard - Ken is an Episcopalian Priest in the suburbs of Washington DC who stayed in our house with his wife and daughter whilst we were away, and came to supper after we returned whilst he enjoyed a few days of study in Cambridge! Anyway, my thoughts, I am amazed by how much good stuff is out there in the blog world - lots of dross too, but i am still quite pleased I have included the links I have and don't feel I want to drop any - do try them out, some of them are updated more than others, some I agree with more than others (try and decide which!) but all in all there is plenty of good thinking being expressed in these parts of the blog world. Its fun too to look at the UK Godblogs and to take a random trip around the blogging episcopalians from the links in the sideb

Can't cope with endings

For those of you who think the title of this post contains hints of deep stuff, i will let you know very early on that it doesn't.... As i have been reading a variety of novels lately (i tend to read a couple a week) I have come to the conclusion that i really don't like the way most of them end. For instance, take Mil Millington 's 'Things my girlfriend and I have argued about' . It's very funny, almost to the point of being smug at times where you feel the author has a style which says 'yes I'm funny, I know I'm funny and I am going to put lines in that show how funny I am and make the plot revolve around them'. Anyway, despite that it's a good read, until the end - or at least i didn't like it. My wife thought the ending was good, and was happy to live without a resolution, but i wanted a hint as to what happened next... I prefer happy endings anyway. As i reflected upon this i realise that a lot of novels i've read lately have l