Showing posts from January, 2007

Had to reflect on yesterday

I had to do a lot of brain work and a little less leg work yesterday! I spent most of the morning with our 'acting Team Rector' discussing what God is doing in this team of thirteen Churches and to think about what is going on generally in our parishes. It was encouraging and daunting to do this. Encouraging because for a group of rural parishes we are actually together doing as much or more than many larger suburban and urban parishes. Daunting because there always seems more and more to do. But these are good stresses, in the sense that much of this is about growth, about stability of leadership and ministry (to a certain degree), about vision and about moving forward. i have to put together today a document which sums up the areas we covered - mission, pastoral events, weddings, baptisms and funerals (also known as 'hatch, match and dispatch', prayer, worship, involvement in community life etc etc - it will be, i expect, quite a long document. So i had better

Some kind of record

This is my 45th post this month, though I am glad to say i haven't really spent any more time blogging, it just seems that little and often has worked! (Things like sermons were already written anyway). It seems that 2007 has begun with the most number of posts in my blog since i started two and a half years ago... Talking of which, I was wondering if New Kid on the Blog is needing a name change - having been at this for a while now it is maybe time to think of something else? Opinions?

The epitome of West Country Cool

If my rather obscure ramblings about Devon have whetted your appetite for finding out a bit about the Westcountry of England then I present The Wurzels - 'scrumpy and western music for the discerning yokel'. Or see what they look like here (or ' yer ' as we say)

Thuk yer's moi past, baint it

Having now discovered the delights of the BBC Devon website i must point you towards the way i am meant to speak, having been born and brought up in 'Deer Ol Debbun' - so here is a link to the Local Lingo page for true Devonshire Dialect. I baint laughed so much in yers, watch out for thuk chuggypig yer gert mump-aid. Yer tiz

This is my history

Found this picture on the BBC Devon Website and it had a profound effect on me. It will mean nothing to anyone else but the white building on the right of the Church tower is where i spent much of my youth and childhood. The top window is, or was, the living room of my grandparents - who for much of my young life were dominant, inspiring, loving features and died when i was still in my early teens. (Dominant in a good way, meaning influential! With a bit more thought i may well do a 'things i do because of my granparents' post to follow up on the earlier 'things i do' posts here , here and here ) I've never seen a picture of this before, and it's quite striking - for me anyway! Incidentally, the building on the left of the church is the Angel Hotel where my mother worked when i was a baby, and the low grey building behind the cross is the chapel of the old All Hallow's school which is now the Honiton Museum, which i used to help my mother clean when i was

Leave a comment...

having said i wasn't going to buy into any of the 'wordless wednesday'/freaky friday/manic monday etc etc schemes, i have decided that I should nonetheless consider today 'make a comment monday' - so i challenge you all to think of something to say about this post - which says nothing apart from 'please make a comment' or any of the recent posts here, or even an old one if you feel like ambling around my musings for a bit. I recommend the 'things i learned...' and 'it was inevitable...' posts at the start of January, i really enjoyed doing those. Or don't if you feel like lurking, it's all good. i'm just adding another post to see if i can break my own record of 43 in one month ;-)

Another Monday

Of course the week begins on Sunday - at least in the Christian calendar - but Monday is the day when, having prayed together, my colleagues and I get together to check up on what we need to do, how the service rota is looking (with 13 parishes this is quite and endeavour), make sure we are all OK (relatively speaking) and talk about what we need to keep an eye on in the coming week. Now most people probably would dread a weekly staff/business meeting, but this is one of the highlights of my week! As well as praying together, which is always a good thing to do, there is a sense of sharing together and a lot of laughter in our meetings. We've had some rough times over the past few years, and there continue to be pressure points which cause us all stress at one time or another, but there is a sense of not being alone in any of this. The life of a minister can seem a pretty lonely furrow to plough some of the time, and the idea of being in a parish where it is just me with the fin

This week's sermon - Epiphany 4

As I spent so long trying to put this together, i thought i would share this sermon. It's pretty contextualised, in that I wrote it for one particular parish and a lot of the stuff in it speaks to that Church, but there may be some stuff of value in here that you can draw from... Epiphany 4 (2007) Year C RCL Principal Readings Great is Thy Faithfulness – and love God is faithful. That’s why we gather here today, that – I hope – is why we meet together for worship any week. We bring testimony as to times in our lives when we remember God is with us through thick and thin. We praise God for his love and faithfulness towards us through, as one hymn says ‘all the changing scenes of life’. So I want to take a theme which comes, I think strongly, from our Scripture readings for today – the theme of faithfulness. Now it is easy for us to miss the importance of the story from our Gospel reading taken from Luke Chapter – we probably know of the story, some of us will know th

ha ha ha

Thanks to Margaret for posting this... More of the same at Reverend Fun

Favourite Poem

What am I, After All? What am I, after all, but a child, pleas’d with the sound of my own name? repeating it over and over I stand apart to hear—it never tires me. To you, your name also; Did you think there was nothing but two or three pronunciations in the sound of your name? Walt Whitman (1819–1892) I love this poem - but like any good work of art, i couldn't explain why. Not sure whether or not this is copyright - i got it from a poster on the London Underground! If I need to acknowledge copyright or remove this please let me know.

meme-ing with a vengeance

Thanks to 'the old fart' i have another meme, and liked it so much i decided to overwhelm my blog with two in one day... here goes Twenty Five Questions 1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be? France, probably in the Dordogne 2. What’s your favorite article of clothing? my T-shirt which says 'fat bikers bounce better' 3. Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex? Eyes 4. What’s the last CD that you bought? Can't remember, might have been Frank Zappa - Have I Offended someone 5. Where’s your favorite place to be? Home 6. Where is your least favorite place to be? In the car, in a traffic jam 7. What’s your favorite place to be massaged? Shoulders 8. Strong in mind or strong in body? Mind, body getting stronger 9. What time do you wake up in the morning? about 7am, though by choice it would be about 9am, but the world doesn't work with my preferred hours (late at night, late in morning) 10. What is your favorite kitchen applianc

New books on sidebar

Have had a little changeabout, added a couple of links and changed some of the books under my reading and recommended list. I still recommend Brian McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy despite many people seeming to get all hot under the collar about it - I thought it was well written and engaging and thought provoking. Like most books I read I didn't agree with everything in it - but then i don't tend to choose books just to re-inforce my prejudices, but to widen my perspective. The books in the sidebar link to Amazon UK, you obviously don't have to buy them from there, but the reviews are sometimes quite helpful and prices good. If you get the chance, go and check them out at your local SPCK or Wesley Owen stores... or any good bookstore!

Stuff people do in blogs

having done my first meme (below) I have been thinking about all the stuff people do on their blogs as little rituals which come up again and again. Recently encountered 'wordless wednesdays', 'leave a comment Monday', and 'weekend winks' - I know there are more, but I can't remember them offhand. I wondered if I should start anything like this. I have already mentioned copying Dr John's 'leave a comment Monday' - mainly because all though lots of people visit this blog and quite a few stay some time - comments seem to be few and far between. Other ones I thought of copying were 'wordless wednesday' - but that might involve finding some interesting pictures and might be far more effort than me and my stream-of-consciousness typing. How about 'Theology Thursday' or 'Freaky Friday' - though I tend not to write on Friday's as I am off with the family that day (so 'family Friday' it is!). Ummmm - trivial Tue

Never done a meme

So here's my first.... taken from Dr John , who likewise took it from Catch A quick translation - we don't have high school here in the England in the same way, we have secondary school and in some areas of the UK we have sixth form colleges (16-18 year olds) - at 16 (or so) we take GCSEs (we had 'O' (Ordinary) levels) in various subjects which are chosen aged 14. Mine were English Lit and Language, Religious Studies, Biology, Maths, History, Art, Drama. Then lots of kids leave school, but if (like me) you could stay on and do 'A' (Advanced) level subjects. I did Religious Studies, History and English. There were also 'AS' levels (Advanced Specialist) if you were really quite good. I did a religious studies AS. I should also say that I stayed in the same school for all my exams up to the age of 18 as we had a 'sixth form' as part of our secondary school. It's all changed since i were a lad (makes me feel really old saying that) - the

Issues based religion

I don't get to spend a lot of time surfing, usually i read the blogs in the sidebar every few days/weeks and a few most days. When I do surf a bit - as i did between taking my daughter to school and going out on my first visit of the day this morning - i am amazed and disappointed by what people narrow faith down to - as if God's only concerns were the teaching of sex education in school, or homosexuality, or whether Creation happened in six days, or whatever - this kind of issues led religion seems to me in direct contrast with a Christian faith which believes that God is somehow intimately involved with all of creation. I can see the need to raise awareness of certain political, social, ecological etc issues as part of our faithfulness to the standards of the Gospel, but to judge whether or not someone is a 'sound Christian' by their response to one or two issues is to miss the diversity and disagreement that comes from God calling us to be ourselves within the bod

Why would i need to study?

For the grand total of $29 I could get a doctorate from the Universal Life Church - all those hours of thinking and writing cut out and a lovely certificate to boot... Thanks to Nick Page for the link...

Blink and you'll miss it

Sun's come out, snow's gone.


Admittedly a rather pathetic dusting of snow on the ground, but enough to get the kids v excited! It also meant the first 'wrap up warm' day of the year, so out came the hat, gloves and scarf which very rarely make it out of the cupboard (I have the wrong shaped head for a hat as fashion accessory, gloves and scarf get in the way usually - but when i need to wear them all i really enjoy it, odd, eh?) . Jack, who was two last week (oops, forgot to mention that) was very distressed that I kept him in his pushchair all the way to school and back whilst taking Katherine there. He's now off with the childminder who has promised to let him play with the snow in her back garden. I am just about to prepare the assembly for the juniors (8yrs+) at the school as we continue the theme mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Jesus' job description , this week on the theme of 'comforting the sad'.

Needing a good clear up

One of the positive things about having our small youth bible study group meet in my study is that I need to get down to clearing up my paperwork, sheet music, guitars and general bumpf at least once every two weeks. I would also like to air the room out a bit but it is too cold to do that and the heating here isn't the most efficient or useful - need to retain every bit of warmth i possibly can. The temptation is to take that form of clearing up called 'Zen Pilemaking' - which involves creating a sense of serenity by ignoring everything that needs sorting and just making piles of papers around the room. It keeps the mind clear of pesky admin and enables the pilemaker to feel that there is a certain order within his or her universe. This is the path which i have chosen for this afternoon. I'd better get a move on, though, as the children will need picking up in about 20 minutes, and once they are home there isn't much chance of getting much done - and then i ha

Not done myself a mischief...

I thought i might be blogging as i tried to prevent myself slipping into a coma this evening - but my trip to the gym was fun, and involved no injury, strain or damage to myself at all. Not even my ego was bruised, as I managed a fair showing on all the equipment without either falling off or not being able to complete assigned tasks. I was by far the most large and wobbly person there, but it didn't matter, I enjoyed it and look forward to trying to fit in regular visits over the coming months. When i turn all svelte and sylph like i will plaster my blog with pictures of the new me...or maybe not. I did manage to fit in a working day around this, so please don't think i was slacking off!

Pastures new...and old

No, I'm not planning on finding a new position (though I jokingly mentioned looking at the jobs section in the Church Times newspaper to my colleagues this morning). I am off in a moment to the gym for an induction into the wonderful world of 'on track for fitness' or something like that... I've not actually been for a workout more than twice since my daughter was born (over five years ago) wheras i used to go three or four times a week - of course i was about sixty pounds lighter then, its piled on over the past four years or so. So now I have decided (with the support and encouragement of Jo) to try and get back to some kind of fitness. The nice thing is that I've not felt any 'compulsion' or pressure to do this either from myself or my wife, its more that this would be a good thing to do and i have always enjoyed working out... It is a new gym, or health club, or whatever it's called and it is quite different from my last one, which always makes


Been a good day today, after a grumpy 24 hours or so i apologised to my wife, who bore the brunt of my lack of sleep a couple of nights before - no big bust up just a general bad temper on my part! Services this morning were rewarding - good turnout for the 8.30am Communion and a good response to the sermon (printed below). 10.30 not such a good turnout, but a relaxed yet fun family Communion service which even the traditionalists seemed to enjoy. This evening's duties shared out as mentioned previously I got to go and play guitar for the evening worship session at which the Curate spoke well, as always. I gave her the subject of 'Jesus and relationships', as we continue our series on the nitty gritty of what Jesus said and did, expecting her to talk about juicy stuff to do with sex and sexuality, and she actually spoke on the whole attitude Jesus had regarding his relationships with others as shown through his parables, teaching and lifestyle. Very well done, but it

Well worth a listen

Jeff's Weddle's sermon on why Church building's aren't as important as they are often made out to be is great, it's challenging and well expressed IMHO. Go listen to it here . But (particularly if you have a Church building you are proud of) expect to feel uncomfortable.

Forgot to respond

to Dr John's comment on Saturday's post... Wouldn't want anyone to think i don't think comments are important! I am an Anglican Minister - and think that in lots of ways I'm pretty conventional, though apparently I'm not. Perhaps worth giving a bit of my background here... Some of this may be repetition, as i think some time ago I gave a potted history. Or as i like to say, my life in links... One of 17 kids (spread over two families) I was brought up in a 'non-religious' home but was sent off to Sunday School at our local Congregational Church (part of the Reformed movement, most of which are now officially linked with the Presbyterians to create the 'United Reformed Church', though Honiton has stayed independent and called itself an 'Evangelical Congregational Church) I stuck with it even when my parents said I was free not to go (which my older siblings took advantage of as soon as they could) as long as I kept out of their way on a S

Here's the more later

At the end of my last post i said i would probably say more later - so here it is! Actually, here is the sermon i preached this morning at the early communion service. Readings for this Sunday Epiphany 3 (2007) Year C RCL Principal Agendas The idea of agendas is something of a preoccupation with our society. We constantly hear in the news that ‘The Government has placed such and such at the top of the political agenda’, or that ‘Mr Blair has the general election as his only agenda’, or that people have hidden agendas, that there is a ‘globalisation agenda’ operated by some multinational companies. The word and the idea of ‘agendas’ is bandied about constantly. It’s not a bad idea, it gives an idea that there some reasoning behind the actions of those in authority. It has negative connotations when it is associated with secrecy or conspiracy, a way of manipulating and deceiving. Well, the Church has an agenda too. It’s not hidden, it’s not devious and it’s not complicate


Not a terribly interesting name for this post, but am feeling a slight creative block at the mo... Yesterday spent, as days off should be, with family, mooching around Cambridge with wife and son, then when daughter came home we had supper together and played for a while until bath and bed time. Quiet evening in. Very relaxed, very enjoyable. Needed some peace after this week. Didn't sleep well, though, and woke up with sore shoulders, neck and back due to tossing and turning and general wakefulness. I've finally got that cold which has been hanging around for ages and waited to come out until i had a restful day! So feeling a bit tired and grumpy today - not at anything in particular, just run down, i guess. Have to do all the usual planning and preparation for services tomorrow. A couple of Communion services, one of which is a 'family communion' and our informal service in the evening. Another member of the ministry team is speaking in the evening, and one

A good farewell

The funeral this afternoon went well, at least as well as these things can. After being blown around a bit by the gales which are currently besetting the British Isles, about 280 or so people filled the chapel at the crematorium to capacity, showing how popular this young man whose life we celebrated was. My concern was that we balanced our sense of loss, which was very palpable, with a sense of gratitude for all that he had given in his nearly 16 years in our lives. I think I managed to do that as best I could, and the contributions from the other full time ministers in our team, who both took part in the service, meant that it was an appropriate and meaningful farewell, and commendation of this young man into the arms of God. i was very moved at the slideshow which was projected onto the wall of the Chapel where we had the 'wake' after the service. What made it all most real to me were pictures of this lad and his sister playing together when they were the same ages as m

Well, it's here

The funeral of the young man killed on a local road is in an hour and a half and i have managed to get some thoughts together. One of the joys and privileges of the Church of England setup, especially in villages, is that we get to know people in our communities in a way that not all ministers have the opportunity to. I am still very much a 'parish priest', out and about spending time in people's everyday lives, being there at important times in life, in celebration and in sorrow. Having been here for six and a half years it means i am now doing weddings of young people who were teens when i arrived, and baptizing their children. It also means that i am taking funerals of people who i know quite well. Today's funeral is one of those. Thanks Louise for your comment on my last but one post, the problem i have had is not one of being distant from this young man and his family but actually knowing them well. It is also the second funeral of a young person who has die

Another Dave Walker classic

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

Can't think of anything to say

Heading says it all really. But this is not just with regards to putting a post up, but concerning a funeral talk i have to prepare for tomorrow. It has been quite a wait (nearly two weeks) but we have the funeral of the lad killed in a road incident tomorrow and having spent the morning putting the shape of the service together i am now trying to get some thoughts together. It isn't often i suffer from writers/speakers block on such an occasion but today the thoughts aren't flowing. It's not that i have nothing to say, but almost that i have too much... Will have some breakfast (not got around to that yet) then go and visit the family, perhaps that will help. Is it just me or does the word 'siezing' not look quite right in my post heading a couple of days ago? Seizing doesn't look right either, but my spell check tells me this is correct. Perhaps i should have checked before posting! Can't be bothered to change it, to be honest. Comment, if you li

Interesting reflection?

When I mentioned recovering lutheran's comment in my last post i realise that i responded only to the negative implications - what was actually said was 'In my opinion, the best and worst adverts for Christianity are frequently pastors.' and i responded perhaps in a slightly defensive way to the idea that pastors are a bad example of christian living, wheras the comment implied we can be good examples too! Perhaps this says something of my perception of other people's perception of ministry... Thanks again for the comments! By the way, I do like comments! Dr John has a 'leave a comment Monday' - and is honest about his desire to have people comment even if it is inane or odd, I would echo that and say, please comment - I will try to respond, you might even get a post of your own in response! Perhaps I should start a leave a comment day? Or just beg every day?!

Just another day

Actually there is no such thing! This morning I went to the assembly put on by the senior class in the local primary school. Every week there is a 'community assembly' to which all parents, and the local villagers, are invited... Actually, that phrase 'local villagers' does have connotations of pitchforks and torches turning up late at night, not that i am at the stage of deserving that quite yet. Anyway, lots of people turned out for today's assembly despite that fact that it had been moved from its normal Friday slot to a Tuesday in order to show the Ofsted inspectors (Government educational standards inspectors) just what we do in terms of opening up to the community every week. It was well supported, and a very good assembly put on by class 5. The only hitch was that everything they tried to project from the laptop came out blue for most of the assembly. At coffee afterwards I got chatting to one of my fellow parents, and we found ourselves talking about


So you thought you'd got away with it - aha, no such luck. Here's my sermon for my early service yesterday. A bit about John 2.1 - 11 ... Epiphany 2 (2007) Year C RCL Principal Service Feasts & wonders As you will know by now, in me you have a very human Vicar! In the past three years rural ministry has presented me with a very steep learning curve, and I’m still learning (and still making mistakes!) – but that’s all part of what it means to be a human being. And being human is an important part of being a Christian. That may seem a strange, or obvious thing to say, but I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of doing or saying something that has had the reaction from other people ‘and you call yourself a Christian’. As if being a Christian meant that we didn’t feel angry, or hurt, or confused, or have a sense of humour. As if being a Christian made us into ‘religious robots’ who all think and act in a certain way. Nothing, of course, could be further fr

Siezing the moment

You have to grab the time you have, i think. Yesterday after a good early Communion service (very traditional, small but attentive congregation) we had a Baptism service for a child in a local village (anyone want to debate the merits of infant baptism?) It was sparsely attended by the regulars, most of whom were taking a post Christmas break or recovering from the enjoyable but exhausting 'praise party' led by Children's minister Doug Horley (aka duggie dug dug), but we had a friendly and slightly bemused but willing baptism party consisting of about forty folk. It all went well (though I think my sermon was a little on the incoherent side) and I then found, surprisingly, that I was free for the rest of the day - very unusual on a Sunday - so i spent the rest of the day with my family - hooray! We went out for lunch, then we had a visit from family for a couple of hours, then we had some supper together, then I got to do the kids baths and stories/prayers with daughte

The joy of reading

I didn't get to post yesterday as i was rather caught up in preparations for the funeral of the young man who was tragically killed in a road accident at the end of last week and for whom we had a time of memorial and prayer in one of our local churches. I was glad that we had decided to do this as over two hundred of his contemporaries, friends, teachers, family and those who had known and grown up with him in our local communities came to pray, chat, light candles, leave flowers and messages and sign the book of condolence for the family. It was a moving and inspiring time, and a reminder of how even a short life makes an impact upon so many. Anyway, this morning has been something of a treat - my wife has taken smallest offspring off to see grandad and retrieve one of our dogs from its seaside holiday for the day and my little girl is in school for another couple of hours so i had the morning to myself - and i just sat down and read. Now, as regular visitors will have graspe

Drawing attention

I have to draw attention again to Dr John's blog link in sidebar. Pigeon Falls has a touch of Lake Woebegone about it and is always worth a read and always brings a smile. Dr John already has quite a following and doesn't need my help, as such, but the blog is such a gem I have to encourage you to visit it...

Got me to thinking

I am preparing my assembly for the local school this morning, and it is called 'Jesus' job description'. The job description it uses is this statement at the beginning of Jesus' ministry - that he read in the synagogue concerning himself. Luke 4 16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ 20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been

My brain hurts again

Not through reading incredibly dense theology, just trying to keep up with all that needs doing at the moment. I have a visit to do this afternoon, to the family who lost their son, but i also need to prepare the materials for our youth group meeting this evening, and get to the supermarket to get refreshments for that group, I've spent the morning doing publicity for our continuing series of talks on Jesus as well as publicity for the youth group and for the family service and baptism which takes place this Sunday. Alongside this my study really needs a good tidy up, and i need to get some filing done, and i need to do my expenses for december before i really annoy the treasurer (again). I should note that we have an incredibly helpful and patient treasurer! All in all this is just an explanation as to why i am not posting anything of depth and significance today. Its not a complainy type post, just an informy type one. Hope you are all having a good day...

Did i tell you?

The pointless drivel church podcast is now up and running with our first three nattercasts (a more accurate description than podcast). We've not actually posted anything since the end of October, but an hour and a half is probably quite enough of us warbling on for now... We aim to post regularly for 2007 when we just find enough time to record the next ones.

Theology to make your brain melt

I am reading a book at the moment which is serious stuff! I haven't read a book like this for some time and it is incredibly challenging and very rewarding indeed! If you've never read any academic theology this is not the place to start. If you like Barth's writings and want to look at things in an even deeper way then this is a great book to be going on with. I am preparing a review for this book, which is one of the books it has taken me longest to review since I started reviewing for Christian Marketplace magazine. I will not use the brain melting phrase in that review, nor am I going to give too much away now. It is a good read and worth the effort.

A sermon for Ephiphany

We have transferred our celebration of Epiphany to this Sunday as it is an easily neglected festival in the Church year, so here is a sermon I wrote for Epiphany a couple of years ago, as I had a baptism as my main service this morning and didn't need to write a full sermon for that - I spoke about being a light in the world instead (appropriate for Epiphany and Baptism) Anyway, in order to prompt (perhaps) a little thought here is that sermon... The wise still seek him… I don’t know if you noticed a few years back, but there was a glut of car stickers and posters outside Churches all over the country with silhouettes of men on camels and the words ‘Wise Men still seek Christ’ printed in large letters. There are still a few of the stickers and posters around, but they’re not so popular now – apart from the fact that something that seems clever at first soon becomes hackneyed and slightly wearing – they are also slightly dated by the fact it talks about ‘wise men’. Perhaps a

There's a painful irony here...

Having spent my past few postings reflecting on my family and the positives of that (not so many of the negatives, though like all families there are difficult times) I had to go this afternoon and visit a woman whose 16 year old son was killed yesterday in a hit & run. Of course there are no words to say, and having known the family for a few years now all i could do was say (repeatedly) that I'm here. It just makes you reflect on how precious people are, and how fragile. Enough for now.

It was inevitable, really

Thanks to Tom and Louise for comments regarding the last two posts, especially for the really encouraging one from Louise about the blog generally - sometimes I wonder why I do this - whether it is about ego (probably), keeping up my writing (definitely) or just to reach out and say 'hi, lets look at things a different way'. I don't spend a huge amount of time blogging, and quite often use stuff I have prepared for other contexts, but now I feel a renewed sense of purpose and value to it! Now, as was becoming obvious, time for the third instalment: Things I do because of my kids The influence, over the past five years or so, that having kids has had on me is tremendous. I know that parents go on and on about how it changes your life and there are lots of jokes made about lack of sleep or lack of sex life or lack of freedom (i think most of these jokes are more about expressing angst re: parenting than actually having anything funny to say!) but there are some things w

Things I do because of my wife

As part of what is now a mini-series... I hope she realises it (I've probably said these things over the years, but one wonders how explicit one has been) but my wife has been a good influence on me. So here's some ways in which she has changed me in her own subtle way. Respect for people - listening to what they say, and what they don't. Concern for how others feel, think and what their needs are. Being prepared - knowing that things need doing and being ready to do them. Lists - they are, despite my protestations, a good thing. Laughter - there can never be too much. A passion for justice - a love of the planet, for the disadvantaged and for fair trade Hope - my wife is a person who continues to hope and inspires me to do the same Honesty - always Grappling with doubt - about faith, life, people. It's never something to ignore or pretend isn't happening. Again, this is a list which could go on and on - but these are a few of the things which make me who I am

Things I do because of my parents

OK, have no idea where this came from, but thought i would share a few things about things that, on reflection, i can pinpoint in my life which are due to the influence of my parents... Accept people as they ar e - have an only slightly cynical approach to life, but will try never to jump to conclusions about people Not bitch and moan about life in genera l - stuff happens Put on weight - damn genetics and calories in beer! Love my kids completely and utterly - which also means, i now know, not letting them act like little so and so's Not plan things - as I grew up in a house with 9 kids and mum and dad (8 of the kids had moved out) there was no real hope of having anything sewn up, but life was taken as it comes (see stuff happens above) Think seriously about life, whilst enjoying every minute wherever possible - 'nuff said Want to celebrate Christmas in a certain way - not going into detail about this, but it has taken me 14 years to convince my wife that stockings are f

Didya miss me?

That's a rhetorical question, so don't bother answering. Actually, looking back over the comments for the past few weeks, there's little danger of anyone saying anything anyway! Have I offended someone? So, Happy New Year and all that. Having had a few days off I am raring to go, but not for another day or two... Tomorrow is sorting out day, when i put all of the Christmas services, sermons and 'stuff' either a) in files, b)in the recycling or c)in the bin. It takes a day to get things back together, as in the last week or two leading up to Christmas things just get dumped as i dash between services and events and I then have all the joy of working out what needs keeping or throwing before getting back to work after Christmas. Over this past week or so i have made a real effort to read a book which threatens to melt my brain due to theological overload. The title 'Job and the distruption of identity: reading beyond Barth' doesn't seem like necess