Friday, 28 November 2014

I'd like to ask forgiveness.

From those that I've offended in my time at Heyford Park Chapel, whether in the time I was in leadership or before that.

My earlier post and some of the posts before that produced a response from people who were hurt by things that had happened. There was a feeling that I was washing my hands of responsibility, of blaming those who were hurt.

Well, it feels like God has been talking to me about it being more important to be in good relationship than to feel justified and to demonstrate that "I'm OK whatever other people do". I don't have contact with a lot of you, and some of you may never have met me, yet still feel offended on behalf of some of those who did get hurt through things I did at the chapel.

There are a couple of people I feel it's important to see, but if you would like to talk things over, feel like I've hurt you and want to restore relationship then I'd love to speak with you face to face. I'll put contact details in a comment after this post.

Funny how we get infected.

Black Friday.

It doesn't sound like something to look forward to, yet it seems the UK has suddenly discovered and embraced this alien concept, rushing headlong into a flurry of panicked shopping. If you get a bargain then I hope it's useful.

As a kid I recall queueing with my parents outside Perrins in Croydon, the night before they had a special sale. They queued literally all night (in the summer) in order to be able to buy a piece of furniture that we could never have afforded otherwise as a family. Now most of us in England are amazingly affluent, yet we still seem to have a lemming-like un-thinking need for more stuff. I find I'm drawn by the idea of a bargain too, yet it's also repellent when I see how much I have at home.

I'm sure I've posted something like this before.

Another aspect of society being overly affluent is that it's really hard to sell slightly used things without almost giving them away. I tried to move on a bunch of stuff earlier this year - not at all tat, and not over-priced either - and there was only a very little interest. Yet I see people throwing away to landfill things that are still quite functional, useful and otherwise good apart from being a couple of years old and out of fashion. I appreciate consumerism drives development, and the pace of development and creation of new, often extremely useful and powerful technologies has never been so fast. Yet it's as though we're gambling the future by burning through stuff as fast as we can in the hope we'll invent a way out of resource limitations.

I was fascinated to see an electric car has been recently type-approved for use on European roads that uses sea water and nano-flow cell technology to generate electricity. This naturally begs the question whether this could be scaled to put power stations on the coast, and then raises the next obvious objection as to what impact the output water would have on marine life. TANSTAAFL. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

It's Christmas, but easter is coming

I find it very hard to give myself to Christmas celebrations because I know easter is on the way. Likewise the build up to easter is never the mournful occasion that tradition would have it be, because Christmas is around the corner. Church traditions and seasons have become increasingly bizarre for me over the years - while I live in the 'now', it is always the same now: of Jesus having been born to bring life through His death on the cross.

Somewhere along the line we made stuff up to divert the pagans (who seem to have effectively taken it back in popular culture).

I've been reading Mark's gospel, well, just started it this morning. The intro in the NIV version I have talks about John-Mark (the author) and his ups & downs with church leadership, which then got me thinking about Peter and HIS ups & downs too, compromises and mistakes. Not the ones before Jesus death, but the ones after he became a significant figure in the early church. In a way it gives me hope, and yet I see the same compromises in the church today, yet magnified down the ages, and that's discouraging. Are we all so compromised as individuals that, even with God at work in us, we still produce fruit that's compromised too?

The answer is, of course, yes. But that's no reason to stop doing what we're called to do.

Stepping out of church leadership has meant discovering I still had opinions and feelings about things that had been suppressed in order to cope with the compromises. They no longer need to be kept quiet in order to allow everyone to get along and not upset people. Whether that's helpful or not I don't know. My rather offensive sense of humour is still there too, not quite so hidden away now as well, though that's *mostly* suppressed still. ;-)

Friday, 21 November 2014

A couple of weeks back I started getting sore patches on my head.

They were appearing mysteriously and randomly, looking like scratches on my scalp. No idea how they got there or why.

I discovered this morning my shaver foil has a tiny hole in it.

I've owned this shaver since 2006, and this is the second time the foil has needed replacing. The previous shaver was from Remington, and not only did it leave razor burn all over me, but the foils wore out in less than 12 months and cost 75% of the purchase price of the shaver, and the batteries were failing after 2 years. Junk.

It looks like Amazon have the correct parts, as do Glad they're still made, even though they're >1/2 the original cost.

Parts ordered, including a 100ml bottle of Wahl lubricating oil for £2.60 - a bit better than the 5ml bottle supplied by Braun originally and used very occasionally to conserve supplies. This should last quite a while and hopefully reduce wear significantly.

A photo from Belfast

Well, I could hardly not take the camera, could I?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

This is getting to be a habit

Posting while waiting to travel. The bombardier dash is like a big cigar tube with wings, but one got me here so I'm sure it will make it back too.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Sat waiting for the gate.

That's about as greyhound-like as I get. :-)

I'm off to Belfast for a couple of days work, going via Birmingham. Travel here was about as painless as it can possibly get, as transit through was easy too. Brilliant.

I bought a bottle of water in Smiths: £1.89 alone or free with a paper costing £1.40.

My one nervous moment was taking some antibody samples through security. Obviously they are in small tubes with hand written labels (I was tempted briefly to label 1 as anthrax, but that wouldn't really be funny). They swabbed the samples, found they were negative an handed them back. No worries. The tubes are in a bag with my toothpaste and deodorant, do they had BETTER be safe. ;-)

Still saying 'gate open in 5 min' after 10min wait.

Monday, 17 November 2014

It's sometimes helpful to go over old prophetic words and insights.

I've been looking for some old documents I had saved in order to progress a discussion about corruption of the early church. Instead I kept finding prophetic words stored up from before, plus some insights etc running from 5 to 12 years ago. This one came up:

Look to God to develop worship ministry further. Question mark – is guitar playing becoming too much ‘what I do’ – will I need to put it down so I can move on?

Well putting guitar down certainly happened. If it was what I did it's certainly not what I've really done for a long while now.

Monday, 10 November 2014

D'you ever have a problem with your sense of self-worth?

It's not been a big problem for me for a long time, professionally speaking, but I've just come face to face with it, and found myself struggling. I've just put together an invoice for a customer who used me quite a bit in October (that's great) and it came to enough money to make me ask whether a) it could really be that much and b) whether I was worth it?

These are not the right questions to be asking when you are the sole employee of a tiny business.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Today is the day....

you have made. I will be glad in it. :-)

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Pillbox.

Trying some different processing - it's always good to experiment.

Down by the canal.

Today I did something for the first time since 2012

Updated and forwarded my CV. Lets push this door, see whether it'll open or not.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

And tonight we say..........

goodbye to the housegroup.

We'll miss them: I'd like to take all these people with us, but that's not possible, so we'll just have to miss them instead.

Back at the NEC - 'tis an odd place.

I'm here for the Lab Innovations exhibition. Chris came too for Hobbycrafts. Our halls are as far apart as possible.
The trades Union UNITE are holding a conference here too, and walking between the different venues I kept passing men trying to look like Ed Milliband (the Labour leader for non-brits). I did see a bunch of ordinary people go in - these are the ones who actually 'do' stuff - but there was a difference between them and the ones looking like they were holding power. Quite curious.
Dixon's Carphone were having their Peak event to keep the managers fired up, and the people emerging from that seemed mostly male, late 20s/late 30s and dressed all in black. There was the occasional 'older sales-type' but they were rare.
Hobbycrafts attendees were almost entirely older women, older than Chris. Not of any one type, though obviously well off.
And so to my own exhibition.
This years show felt a little smaller than last years (part of the hall was blocked off, which I don't recall previously) with nothing exciting or new to discover. The job title MD got me a VIP entry which was a much smaller deal than it might be, causing me to grin at the silliness of it.
Seriously though, the 'Lab Week' exhibitions in London Olympia in the early 80s were huge, with the world flocking to sell lab equipment to an innovating British science industry. That there was no show for a long time, and this one is so small tells me a lot about science in Britain now. There have been a lot of mergers, rationalising, downsizing etc. But as much as anything I wonder if the animal rights protesting has simply caused the work to go elsewhere with fewer restrictions and a workforce who are really pleased to work in something better than telesales.
As for me, I think the time may have come to get a proper job again.

I'm not sure posting from a phone is a great idea.