Showing posts from June, 2007

Time travelling Vicar

Blog talkers this week is difficult to keep down to one thought, so I am going to waffle on a bit generally. Bit of a nostalgia fest, and a fair amount of what ifs... If you could go back in time, what one piece advice would you give yourself? It depends where I'm going to go in time! If I went back to my teens I would say 'go to the gym' - just because I enjoy it so much, and starting earlier would probably have meant I wasn't the large rotund type I am today, although I might have been one of those whose head became smaller than their neck. Or perhaps in my late teens I would have said 'ride a motorbike'. There's no end to the possibilities of what might have happened if this had been the case when I was a student. I think much of what makes up my life now is probably formed by the fact that I had no transport when I was younger! I would perhaps have travelled a lot more over the weekends at College, whereas I stayed in and around London (no real nee

Credible, moi?

A confession, in case you've not noticed it before I am a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy junkie, it's always been my favourite genre in books, movies & tv stuff, but over the last couple of years there have been some outstanding shows which I have enjoyed as much for the comment they make about today as the imagination and excitement of the setting and stories. Foremost amongst these are Firefly , Battlestar Galactica , Heroes , Babylon 5 and even that old chestnut ' Star Trek' in its many incarnations. Anyway, an interesting article in today's Guardian is all about this theme, find it here .

Inactivity rules!

Actually, the only place I have been inactive is in the blogsphere, things have been busy for the past few weeks. I have had lots to do, have caught up on LOADS of admin stuff, done a number of visits, prayed a fair amount, read stuff, gone to meetings, tried to help some folks out with some wedding applications, dealt with some outstanding issues to do with marriage registers, married some people, been to a wedding in York and spent time with family and friends. In lots of ways its been a good few weeks, though I have spent much of those weeks tired and lacking inspiration to blog or to read too many blogs. I particularly enjoyed my weekend, not only was it a chance to be with the family for a couple of days, but I went (as previously mentioned) to the beautiful city of York to attend the wedding of my closest friend Jem to the lovely Louise. I got to be a bit Vicar-ly on Friday evening when I was invited to take a part in the communion service put together by Visions , in York

Blog talkers for Father's day

I know I'm not posting this on Father's day, but here is this week's blog talkers... Where did your father go to work every day and what did he do? How did his job affect your family? My father (strictly speaking my step-father, but as much of a 'dad' as any biological father) was an Irish 'Navvy' - he worked in construction mainly, ran a roofing/asphalting business for a while, and filled in with factory work when there was nothing else available. He worked hard for as long as he was able, and was very much a man who felt he should 'bring home the bacon' for his family - and instilled by his example rather than by telling us that having a family was a responsibility that should be taken seriously. He did have a major family - 17 kids! - but worked hard and expected us all to work hard too at whatever we did in life. It means that even now the idea of being thought of as lazy is one of the things I fear most! Dad had a work ethic that meant you gr

lots to say again

but no energy to write it so I'll just let you read, should you wish, this month's editorial for our local magazines... Togetherness As a blogger and regular contributor to and reader of various websites I am often surprised by how much people ‘give away’ about themselves to complete strangers on the Internet. Some of the people I read about are willing to reveal what are quite often intimate and deep secrets to a potential audience of thousands and more, and often say that they feel the internet is their community, where they make their friends and where they feel safe. There is a myth that people who spend lots of time on the Web are lonely and pathetic individuals, or geeky types who are no good at relationships. My experience is that this isn’t the case, and that people do make lasting friendships online which they often carry on face to face at a later date. Just last year online I made a friend of a colleague in the USA whose family stayed in our Rectory whilst w

I sometimes wonder

how I 'come across' in my blog posts, i can't really tell 'cos I'm reading them from the inside, as it were. This comes from Glen's response to my last post, i didn't want to give the impression that I was bitter about no longer traffic exchanging (well, only on exclusively blog exchanges) but that his comment had been an impetus to rethink. The time spent clicking and getting annoyed by the audio on many of the ads was disproportionate to any value it had, the decision was made anyway it just took a little nudge to make me really think about it. I think I might stay on trafficpods until I reach level 10 by surfing enough to keep a pod going! I like the sense of achievement from reaching a certain goal! Those who are pod people will know what I'm talking about, but its too complicated to try and explain here! Anyway, back to my initial statement. I hope I come across as good-natured rather than curmudgeonly and that my thoughts don't seem arro

Bookmark me now!

If you come from a traffic exchange (trafficpods, boostmystats, bionichits, teamhits, clickvoyager), and have a vague interest in coming back here every now and then, please bookmark me as I am gradually letting my credits run down and will be appearing less and less. This is, in part, because I have lost that sense of needing affirmation by having lots of visitors and, in part, not wanting to to spend time clicking for credits. Glen got me thinking and I've just moved on from there! In an effort to make it easier for those with limited connectivity and 15 second timers I have cut down the number of pages displayed initially on this blog (see, I do listen and take note, and I do hope it helps), so until the credits disappear I will, I hope, not be slowing things up too much. i have signed up for a couple of purely blog exchanges, but I find that I like surfing that way as I find out lots of interesting, obscure and generally weird things - and there are no ads, apart from bann

How many states of the USA can you name?

Whilst taking some time out this morning (between Morning Prayer and visiting) i had a go at the Guardian Quick crossword - which in my case is anything but quick, wot wiv being not so grate wiv wurds an all dat. I got stuck, though, on four questions which named State Capitals and asked for the State they belonged to. I then wrote down all the US states I could think of, and got 27, which I don't think is bad for a UK resident who has only ever visited New York, Maine, Mass (not even going to try and spell that) and New Hampshire. My biological father (who died before I was born) was a US Airman, but as I have no idea where he came from that doesn't give me a headstart. So, how many states can my US readers name? Perhaps you have to reel them off regularly at school from the age of four so can do the lot? Perhaps you don't know many at all? oh, 28, I've just thought of another one, no, two. Illinois and Arkansas, so 29. There's lots of talk in the internat

interview meme

Eric, from erichasissues , has provided me with a five question interview which I am to give answers for. It's my own fault for asking for them! The idea is, if you want a go at this meme, to ask me to send you five questions to be answered on your blog - that's it. If this is the case comment and put 'interview me!' (along with your email address formatted x [at] so that the evil 'bots' can't pick it up) OK here goes 1. On Music: You mention in your blog that you would bring your “Guitar” to the remote cabin. Being interested in music as I am, what kind of guitar is it, what kind of music do you play, and for how long? I have a few guitars, a fender of indeterminate name which is an electro-acoustic steel 6 string. It tends to be the one I take around with me to Church meetings and services as it makes a lot of noise, good concert hall style body with lots of resonance, but i'm not happy with the action and some fault in it means I'

Another blog talk - catch up time

I wish I'd done this last week! Short answer to last weeks' blog talkers. If you had to spend one year living alone in a remote cabin, what would you spend your time doing? (And let’s assume there is no access to Internet) I would read, and read and read and read... Read through the whole Bible again, get lots of good novels, some sci-fi, probably a book to teach me music theory (which would mean taking my guitar, I guess) and some music books. I would read some of the Christian classics I've always meant to read but have only dipped into, St Augustine, Julian of Norwich, Cloud of Unknowing, Aquinas, and some more modern theologians, Barth, Rahner, Moltmann, and CS Lewis, Tozer Austin Farrar, All of Miroslav Volf's stuff, etc etc etc. Reading and playing guitar, that would be a good year (as long as no one was around to hear the guitar playing, it wouldn't be a good year for them) Probably have to take some music and DVDs too - but I'll stop before my fantasy

Been thinking about this all day

Before trundling off to bed I thought I would seek wiser and broader opinion than mine! Following Glen's comment about this blog taking ages to load for a 15 second surf timer (not quite sure how that works, 15 seconds - as I said - is 15 seconds, and even on ASDL I find that blogs are loading as the timer is finished, it makes no difference to the timer itself), and holding up folk who are trying to gain credits to sell their highly valuable scheme for making money (that wasn't meant to sound sarcastic, but I guess it did). This brings me to the question that I want to encourage some response to - Should blogs be allowed on traffic exchanges? After all the nature of a blog is to get longer and longer (guilty as charged), though the content is time limited and disappears after a few weeks - a fact not grasped, it seems, in the comment made before about my blog getting longer, that may be the case, but it is all hidden away after about 15 postings or so. (As an aside, I

Blog talkers returns

Been busy for a few weeks, but thought I would take up the mantle again! This Week's blog talkers discussion starter: Tell us … What are your opinions on the subject of giving personal information out in your blog entries? Do you use the real names of the people you blog about? Have you ever had a bad experience with someone getting ‘too much information’? I’d like to know: Do the people that you blog about ever complain that you are blogging about them? I've tackled this a few times over the past few years blogging - though I'm not sure I've ever talked about it online, I've thought lots about it. Doing what I do, which involves lots of 'pastoral care' I avoid mentioning situations or names for much of what I do, because most people in this area would probably recognise what or who I am talking about, and because pastoral ministry is so strictly confidential. As for personal information, most of my details are available publicly because I am a public fig

Blogging and stuff

Something written in the comments to my last post by lgglobal (top earner on the trafficpods click exchange) made me think, along with quilly's remark about quality rather than quantity of visitors being important when i reached the 100000 visitor mark. I signed up to the traffic exchanges I did (list below in the 'milestone post') in order to get some profile, and so that it felt worth writing this blog knowing that some folk would actually read it! Having been at this a while I've considering dropping the exchanges and the need to surf to gain visitors (its amazing how much clicking you can do whilst on the phone!) - I suspect that over the coming weeks I will do so, and allow my built up credits to use up before deleting the accounts. When I started writing this blog someone left the comment 'don't let it take over' - and though I've not become obsessive about it, one can become concerned about how many visits one has each day or week (it works ou

Sense of humour failure

One thing I've noticed about being as busy as I have been lately is that I don't laugh as much as usual! Nor do I seem to make people laugh as much as I normally do. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not the funniest person in the world, but normally my brain seems to see the funny in most things and every now and then, normally without thinking what I am saying, I will say something which can make people laugh about a situation. This has got me into hot water on a number of occasions (good job I have spell check, I can never spell that word) as the not thinking bit tends to bypass the 'this is a stupid moment at which to crack a funny' part of my brain - so perhaps this is a measure of my growth in maturity rather than a reflection on my busy lifestyle. Nahhhhhh, maturity is overrated. There are Oases of humour within my life, though, my family are fun to be with, so there's lots of laughter there. I fell in love with my wife because she is so quick and fu

Just for a change

A shorter sermon than usual, more of a 'thought for the week' based on the two readings, so I think I will post the lot here, rather than sending it off to NewKidDeepStuff. I have to say that despite the fact I've already preached this, it feels very much like a work in progress, what's posted here is only the bones of what I said this morning, have fun... Trinity 1 Proper 5 2007 Galatians 1.11- end Luke 7.11-17 Cosmik, man I don’t know if you have ever seen the magic roundabout, a rather surreal children’s TV show from the 1970s that was made into a computer generated movie a couple of years back. It was a very strange show, but great fun, and even my children aged 2 and 5 enjoy reading the book about the picnic – which I am happy to go through in detail if anyone would like to later! The most wonderful part of the magic roundabout was the characters, Ermintrude the cow who loved singing, Dougal the dog with a fondness for sugar lumps, Brian the snail, and D

A milestone

According to my sitemeter sometime today I passed 100,000 hits, hooray! Now this is in no small part due to being part of the free click exchange networks I belong to, including trafficpods , teamhits , boostmystats , bionichits and clickvoyager . I don't get to visit them every day, but they do add to my traffic and I am grateful to all of you who stop around whilst surfing! Thanks to all of you who actually mean to come here too! You seem to leave most of the comments, and I really appreciate your contributions. Kudos 2 u all...

Just to be clear

I might have given a wrong impression about silence generally in my post on prayer! When i said i loathe silence, I was really talking about imposed silence from those who tell us that its the only way to pray. Silence is a good thing, and (I repeat) the older I get the more I appreciate it! So thanks to those who have commented on my prayer posting, short and sweet from all blog spots , a very thoughtful response from sushil , encouragement from reformed cynic Tom , and wisdom (as always) from Quilly . I should also say thanks to those of you who have commented recently who I've not responded to, often its because I can't think of anything to say that I don't seem to respond, but I appreciate the responses and it does make me think! I don't always come out of the other end of the comments book with the same perspective I went in with! So thank you Dr John , Sank , Andrew , Nick , The Old Fart and others who I will now feel bad for missing. I think its worth sa

I did some thinking

A rare event these days, I've been so busy I've not really had time to go into depth about much - but this Sunday i had a longer talk to prepare on the book of Ruth, under the title 'Ruth and Redemption' so here it is, or at least here is the introduction and the rest can be read here Ruth and Redemption Context - starting with Ruth Chapter 1 You would think that with the theme of ‘kinsman redeemer’ that runs through the book of Ruth that there would be a fair amount on Redemption there, wouldn’t you? Well, there is, I guess, but it’s not terribly explicit in the text! Paul kindly sent me some notes on this thoughts for this evening’s talk and I have to say that i couldn’t really wrap my brain around them terribly easy. Apparently there are two words for ‘redemption’ that occur 23 times between them through the book of Ruth, but I couldn’t find most of them! I did find some wonderful websites of Jewish sermons – or ‘Midrash’ – that talk about this wonderful book o

People come in all shapes and sizes - so do prayers!

With my 'lads group' last night, though only two turned up (!) we talked, or rather I talked and they got easily distracted, which is OK because I get easily distracted so it was fun too! Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the subject was prayer, and as I was preparing the evening and digging out some of my old notes (some of them up to 25 years old EEEK!) on prayer I realised how much my feeling about prayer has changed. I was brought up in a tradition which said that praying in Church was good, praying in homegroups was good, but the impression given was that the best kind of prayer was alone either morning or evening as part of a 'quiet time'. Now I can see that a daily discipline of prayer is important, and I love to pray - but quiet times just aren't me. I don't do quiet very well. I like to read, I like to spend time just sitting and thinking, but an extended period of what feels like 'forced' silence just fills me with horror, and boredom, usually

Bringing it all together

Last week saw one of the most profound evenings of our course for training worship leaders. It was very enjoyable being able to listen to the speaker, rather than being one of the leaders, as we had a guest from the Diocese who came to talk about 'remembering'. Whilst much of it was focussed around how we structure services of remembrance - for important events, for Remembrance Sunday (the UK version of 'memorial day'), for those who have died etc etc there was a lot of deep thought went on about what it means to 'remember'. I was struck again by how important 'remembering' is to us as human beings. As we re-member we integrate our history, both our personal history and our identity, and the 'big picture' - national identity and faith history into what it means to be ourselves. Remembering well is about bringing together all the disparate parts of our lives and making something whole. So in our gathering week by week at Church we are re-mem

Trinity Sunday Sermon

This Sunday's sermon It's the Sunday no one wants to preach, lots of theology! So here's how I get around it... to a certain degree. How does the Trinity help? Today is Trinity Sunday, so I am going to talk about the Trinity. But I am not going to try to explain the nature and meaning of ‘God in Trinity’. I am not going to tell you that God is like a Shamrock with three leaves, or explain one of the Church’s profoundest teachings using the image of a Triple Decker chocolate bar or of toothpaste with three stripes in - all of these things do not do justice to the depth and wealth of theological thought around what exactly it means to describe God as ‘The Holy Trinity’ Neither, you will be pleased to know, am I going to try and explain any of this theological discussion around themes such as ‘what is the trinity’ or ‘how do the persons of the trinity exist together’ nor will not be exploring the words ‘consubstantial’ and ‘co-eternal’. The reason I won’t be looking

Could blog all day

After lots of posts over the past couple of years asking again and again 'why do i do this?' and grappling with whether its an ego thing, or a publicity thing, or something altogether unhelpful I have, over the course of a busy few weeks, come to the conclusion that i blog for two reasons. Firstly I blog because i like to write, and with all that is going on in my life at the moment I don't have time to put together long treatise or anything of any length at all. I would love to write a book, and ideas are just stacking up for a book about faith, and about - as Dr John very generously said in a posting a few days ago - taking an old, old faith and making it new and fresh. Not that I think I have much to do with that, i believe that Christian Faith is as new and vibrant and exciting and transformational as it has ever been. I just like talking about it, and writing about it (obviously). The second reason I blog is to think out loud. It may not seem terribly ordered t