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Showing posts from April, 2008

Tarting it up

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Spent today at Ely Cathedral - about once a month I get the chance to go and be a ‘Day Chaplain’, which means saying prayers on the hour over the Cathedral PA and being available to anyone who might want to chat, about pretty much anything. It was raining and grey, so I didn’t manage to get any outside pictures, but I did get some of the inside of the Cathedral - they were only taken on my pda, so no great works of Art, I’m afraid…The Space at the Cathedral is awesome, and for a thousand year old building is light and airy. The stonework is incredible and the attention to detail in the stone carving is amazing. It is a Cathedral that needs lots of superlatives! This is the Nave, and at the far end is the great West Door, you get something of the height of the main part of the building in my fuzzy photo… This is the view the other way from where the last photo was taken, with light coming down from the Octagon/lantern tower above. Behind the screen in the middle of the picture are the

Biting the bullet

I'm trying out the opposition! yes, my WordPress experiment is up and running! Try it here and tell me what you think!

Good advice?

Both Quilly and Eric have offered me the same advice regarding my blogger layout issues - move to WordPress.... Now I have a bit of a quandry. I like both of their blogs, obviously because of the content but also because of the layout and the feel of their blogs, likewise Sank has started a wordpress blog and left Blogger behind, and again along with his great content has an improved feel to it. But I find change hard! Well, I do in things like this. I've had the same email address for ten years and have stuck with it despite changing providers, i still have my fracme.net address for a webpage I took down three years ago (I never managed to get around to updating the page) and pay the fees to keep the domain name 'just in case'. The idea of changing my blog address is the bit that puts me off - partly because I have a bunch of free address cards and even a couple of freebie t-shirts (thanks to Vistaprint for that) with the old address of fracme.blogspot.com. Hmmm, w

Trying to understand and to learn

One of the blogs that I am pleased to have discovered and like to visit and which I enjoy is written by a thoughtful and devoted Muslim. It is, I believe, crucial to the world we live in that we seek to understand those of different faiths to our own and Saifuddin offers wisdom and clarity about Islam that can help me both respect and take seriously the concerns of our Muslim brothers and sisters - and to grow in understanding my own Christian Faith. I sincerely believe that seeking to know more of those beliefs which may not be ours does not affect our own integrity, but can open the way to honest and truthful dialogue. I mention this because of today's post which explains clearly the meaning of Islam and talks of the prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) in an enlightening and helpful way. It can be found here .

Blogger quirks

There's a whole load of stuff that Blogger won't let me do, which I have just worked around since I started using it in beta form, but which is starting to become pretty annoying. For instance I cannot move any of my formatting around - so all the stuff on the right hand of the page is stuck where it is, which means the amazon carousel which should be further down the page and the facebook link which should likewise have moved down is firmly fixed in place and nothing I do in the customize page can shift it! Also, if there is any html in any of my posts then once posted i cannot edit them, not even in the 'edit html' pane. I discovered this some time ago, so have left various bloopers in over the last few months, but was reminded of this frustration when I tried to edit the post about movies below and to move the boxes (for Gareth Higgins book and Die Hard 4) to separate lines so they don't mess up the spacing. Just a blank pane, nothing doing... Anyone got any

WOW

Three positive comments on the sermon below when I preached it again this evening.... Did someone cause some kind of tilt on the world's axis whilst I was asleep last night?

Another sermon, perhaps I'm making up for lost blogging!?!

Last Sunday of the Easter Season... Time for another sermon, this one is a rewrite of a previously preached sermon (something I rarely do, but i wanted to ground the opening in my own experience!). In its preached form is contained a fair amount of ad lib around the script - particularly around the fact that Jesus was so difficult to pin down when people asked questions he tended to respond with another question, or a parable, or a challenge. Anyway, here's the introduction, with more at New Kid Deep Stuff (click on [more]) Oh, and one of the hearers said that they liked this, worth noting because that's something like a 100% improval rate in terms of how many usually comment on sermons after the service... That might not be strictly true, but I sometimes wonder if people listen to sermons in the same way that I do - not very well :-) Easter 6 (2008) Year A RCL Euch Acts 17.22-31 John 14.15-21 Keep my commandments One of my favourite cities is York, we have gre

Six down, none to go

Just finished my final Annual Meeting and am feeling relieved and happy - all of them have been mainly positive, and only one had me feeling a little as though some members of the church were looking more backward than forward. I've said it before, I'll say it now, and I will doubtless say it again - we've got some very good people in our churches, people who give so much of themselves to make our communities (both the church fellowships and the wider communities) places of care, compassion, warmth, hospitality and grace. Thanks be to God!

Belated, but here at last

Thinking about this week's sermon, I looked back over last week's (so I don't repeat myself too much!) and as I've not posted a sermon for a few weeks here it is.... Matthew 7.7-12 John 14.8-14 Meeting God Where do you find God? Where in the last week, or month, have you found God? Or felt God to be with you in a special way? Or seen the hand of God at work? Perhaps you want to share something? Lets encourage one another with our experiences? I honestly don’t think we talk enough about where God, and indeed where we have felt God isn’t in our lives. We are encouraged in Scripture to build one another up, Ephesians 4 verse 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen [more]

Movie watching with a point

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Or without a point, as in last night. I stayed up late to watch Die Hard 4 last night. I really enjoyed it, but it made me ask some questions as to why many people 'buy into' the idea that violence can offer some form of redemption or hope. But maybe more of that later... I have to say that my movie preferences are often the butt of my friend's humour - as I like lots of stuff that people consider rubbish mainly because I like the premise of it. I love big concepts, and good landscapes and cinematography - as well as outlandish stories, so sci-fi movies tend to be favourites of mine. I also love films which have things i like in them, so movies with motorbikes ( Torque [2004] ,) Biker Boyz [2003] tend to get my attention whilst leaving friends cold. Even if they are terrible, i think that some movies are so bad they're good! I used to struggle with whether there was stuff that I should and shouldn't watch, and whether as someone who claimed to be a follow

Church - business or pleasure?

There's some interesting (and sometimes frustrating) discussions going on at the moment in our Team. We are a group of thirteen parishes which some months back lost our 'Team Rector' due to his having to resign through illness. So we are in the process of seeking to make an appointment to what is, officially, the senior position in the Team. As the longest serving member of this Team (I've been here eight years) a number of folk have asked me if I wanted to apply for the position, but I have no inclination to do so, nor do I feel called to. Our Team functions very much as a team of equals, but the Rector has responsibilities and concerns on a wider scale - and I feel very much as though I must focus on my service to these six parishes which I have pastoral responsibility for rather than the wider picture. Besides, I know that I am not the person this team needs at the moment, that we are in a situation which requires different gifts to mine. That's not to put

So much to say...yet

Over this past week my mind has been buzzing with issues, ideas, thoughts, concerns, hopes and dreams, yet I don't seem to have been able to get them into coherent enough form to actually write them down in any comprehensible way. I am taking some time over the next couple of hours to tidy up my study and finish some of the filing and sorting I have been doing over the past week or two, so I may well find that some ideas come to mind which I blog on in this time! Last week was a busy week, and its the time of year when my personal energy levels ebb somewhat, in other words its 'APCM' time. An APCM is an Annual Parochial Church Meeting, the opportunity to share reports about all the different aspects of Church life and activity in the previous year, the presentation of Church accounts and the election of Church representatives for bodies such as the Team Council and Deanery Synod, as well as those who will serve the Church as Churchwardens and PCC (Parochial Church Counci

Back to blog talkers

I've not done a blog talkers for far too long, though I always look over the questions I've not really engaged with them, but its time to get back into the swing of things, as I seem to be getting sorted generally at the moment! So here is blog talkers number 68. Time for another writing prompt. Please interpret this any way you wish. Here are some questions to help you get started: Joke. What is a joke to you? What do you find funny? Do you appreciate a good practical joke, or do you think practical jokes are cruel? What is the best joke you’ve ever played on someone. What is the best joke you’ve ever heard? Years ago I was the editor of the AOCM magazine, an annual magazine for Ordinands which someone takes on for one year and basically takes responsibility for compiling and producing the magazine and writing an editorial. I don't think I did a great job, the editor from the year before had arranged a number of excellent articles for me and I simply put them into a ma

Here we are again

Another week over, and the start of the new week tomorrow sees a day of worship and sharing with three different congregations. I don't like Saturdays, as it usually involves a last minute scrabble to get everything done - with between two and four services to prepare for, often with very different liturgies, different ages, different congregations, i can find myself putting together lots of alternatives in terms of talks/sermons, music and prayers. Some weeks I dread the Saturday push, when i have my act together, of course, I don't need to worry about that as I have got most bits planned and things are ready to go by this point. Actually, things are ready to go now - I had to spend lots of time putting various things together today, but as I am going out with lovely wife to have supper with friends I had to get my act together and have my sermon and other bits and bobs including the full text of an All Age service and 50 booklets for it printed! So no need for a last min

Throwing it all away

Actually, all I threw away on Sunday were my sermon notes, but i thought the title might get attention! Sunday was a good day, a great return to work and a really enjoyable way to spend time in Church! I stayed up until stupid o'clock in the morning writing a sermon which I preached at the traditional Communion (1662) service at 8.30am. I like this service, a good way to start a Sunday, reflective and quiet using words filled with resonance and depth which say so much despite being originally written in 1549! The sermon worked there, it wasn't a bad talk at all (though I say so myself) but having got to the next Church for our 10.30am Contemporary language Communion I decided that it wasn't the right sermon for that congregation! I am always telling those on the Worship Leading course I run that context reigns supreme in our worship (well, actually God reigns supreme, but context is important) so I took notice of what I said (yes, Clergy do try and practice what we pre

Been ages since...

...I did a book review Here's one that came on my jaunt to Paris last weekend. It's a very well written, well researched book, which gives a massive (and well informed) overview of how the Jewish and Christian Scriptures came to us. Talking about origins, construction, with historical and sociological insight, alongside a consideration of how Scripture has been viewed and used over the past twenty or more centuries, Karen Armstrong presents a beautifully crafted and accessible insight into exactly what the Bible is, where it comes from and the many different understandings of how it should be used, studied, considered and critiqued which have accompanied its development. Some of a more conservative bent might be concerned by the way she states as matter of fact that, for instance, Genesis has no concern to be a literal work, or that other compilers of scripture freely contradict, re-interpret and re-cycle each others ideas. It does present, though, a pretty dispassionate,

Revising, refocussing, re-vision-ing (!!??)

Those of you who come here regularly, or semi-regularly (you know who you are!) will have noticed a distinctly sporadic approach to blogging has crept in over the past months. This past couple of weeks, since Easter Sunday, have been completely quiet due to my absence from the Parish on a visit to France as I considered the next stage in my ministry. I mentioned that I had considered whether it might be the right thing for me to think of moving, and I did, and didn't get very far in the process, and feel very happy to have done it, but it has allowed me to take stock of what I am doing, have done, and hope to do and come to a point where I am quite sure I am in the right place, doing the right thing and am called to stay here for some time longer as I see through the next phase in the life of these parishes. It's an unusually bold statement for me to say that I believe I am doing what God wants me to be doing, but that's exactly how it feels at present. I came back from