Friday, 27 February 2004

Did God kill Jesus?

That seems to be the question really going down on a number of POMO/EC sites recently, albeit rather briefly summarised. For some people it seems out of character that God might have quite deliberately sent his son to die in our place, and so have rejected this. Others have applied modern sociological thinking to this act and concluded that God is a child abuser. There have also been rumblings about the 'medieval penal substitutionary theory', suggesting that it's a western view that Jesus died in our place to fulfill the demands of justice.

I was reading through John's gospel this morning. At the end of chapter 12 John quotes bits of Isiah about how God blinded the peoples eyes and deadened their hearts 'otherwise they might turn and I would heal them'. The suggestion to me is that one of the theories I heard from Dan (at signposts) might have been nearly right: that people might have turned and accepted Jesus and been 'healed'.

But the way I read this is that it wasn't God's plan.

He actually planned for Jesus to die, and die in a particular place, time and manner. Put like that, it sounds like the child abuser theory is reasonable, yet I am sure that this plan was worked out and agreed between them before Jesus was born. The Father and Son in perfect unity, working toward the salvation of the world. And one willing to take the pain and suffering of the world apon Himself - the other knowing the pain and suffering of a parent, cut off from the child they love, yet seeing them in an agony they must not prevent or reduce.

As it says elsewhere "your ways are not my ways, My thoughts are higher than your thoughts". This is certainly foolishness to our 'Greek' society, yet a greater wisdom than that society has ever perceived.

Thursday, 26 February 2004

The Mariner family may be expanding!

However there is some good news:

Chris is NOT pregnant.

The bad news is that we might be having one of Sarah's friends over for a bit. Not that she is bad, far from it, but she's struggling at home, and for a variety of reasons isn't happy. I hope things don't get bad enough for her to need to come, yet at the same time I like her (from the little I've seen) and would like her to be able to see happy, loving family life. She's also made some bad choices, and if we could help with that then I'd be really pleased too.

And maybe she'd be able to see and meet Jesus for herself?

Monday, 23 February 2004

Thin posting ahead.

I'm due to be working in Bristol for the next few days. However because it's only a couple of hours drive I can't really justify staying over. That means I'll be leaving at 7.00 to 7.30ish and getting back between 7.30 and 8pm. Great.

To cap it all, the kit that should have been here on Thursday for preparation/testing will arrive around midday today (maybe?) and have to be un-crated and re-assembled before loading into the back of a van and driven down.

And frankly, I've got a headache, think I'm running a temperature and don't really feel inclined to spend 4 hours driving + playing removal man cum engineer. Pays the bills I guess.

And we had a bit of a surprise yesterday. Barrie (the guy that heads up Bicester Community Church) is moving on to plant a church in Banbury. There is a certain amount of prayer and questioning going on at the mo'. Not least, if he's pioneering, should we join him? We need to hear from God on this, but I've been increasingly unsettled for the last year or 2, missing being out on a limb where God has to work. We have always been a bit 'pioneer' ourselves, and while we can and do function as 'middle management' it's all a bit too safe and predictable. But it's no good, just following someone else's calling. Time to pray and fast a bit (more).

Thursday, 19 February 2004

More pics

From a lunchtime ride in the gallery. Oxfordshire was crisp, cool and blinkin' windy: and also rather lovely in it's sunny springiness. Frozen friends in Canada - it was mild enough for shorts today :-)

One thing which is interesting - every picture looks (to me at least) as if it tilts down to the right. I wonder if the camera has been damaged. It also seems to have dust inside the lens cover (non-removable) now.

Some time soon I'll post something a little weightier instead of all this trivia.

Wednesday, 18 February 2004


And we're not talking landings here ;-)

Had a great pre-pancake day pancake day last night with the housegroup. Not too many pics - they distract from the business of eating, cooking and generally getting on together - but enough to give you an idea of what happened.

Sunday, 15 February 2004

Women in leadership - an insider's view.

Talked with a good friend of ours today - Linda Ridgeway. Before joining our church she had been an elder in another local church. We had a meal after the meeting tonight, so I took the chance to ask her what she felt about women in leadership and her previous position.

Linda's answer was that the previous church had been quite different. The essence (left unstated - this IS England, and people are often careful about how they put things) was that they needed a woman to lead because there weren't the men to do it. Her position was that while women could do quite a bit in the church, government was a male area. I asked how she felt about things now. Linda and Andrew (her husband) lead a housegroup together, and she was happy with that. She also noted that women had a number of roles within the church (our worship leader was a women this afternoon, although the meeting was presided over by a man).

Linda - I believe this to be correct, but if you do get a chance to read it, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks

Tired this W/E

That prayer meeting, together with a late shopping trip Thursday night/Friday morning seems to have really taken out of me this Weekend. Saturday I should have been riding, but just couldn't face getting up in time to hit the trails at 10.00 (a late start too). Spent some of Saturday servicing the bikes instead (badly needed, but the main bike is restored to feeling wonderful again). Discovered I need a new mech hanger for Sharon (the saracen) - the old one got bent on one of my prangs time before last. At least that explains why it wouldn't get in gear properly. Still need to swap the bars, replace some tyres, fix a puncture or 3 and do a few odds and ends.

Today we drove down to see my mother in London. Chris is doing a craft course in central London tomorrow (learning to use a special clay that turns to silver metal when heated). She has stayed there tonight, giving the two women time together. It's amazing how she has just adopted into the family - they are like mother and daughter, and I'm really glad that she has become part of the family by more than marriage.

As for Muzzie, she's really not well. Her Myasthenia is controlled but has left her so weak that walking more than 100 yards is quite difficult. The medication has also brought on irritable bowel syndrome, and she's unable to eat properly, although she's pleased to be losing some of the steroid-induced weight. We were talking today about some of the things shes doing. Part of her work is to act as 'spiritual director' for a number of people, as well as counselling one or 2 of her old clients, left from when she was healthier. She had volunteered to take on 2 more people on the spiritual direction side. And all this when she has days when getting out of bed is a challenge. I'd struggle to find a parent that could set a much better example of love and self sacrifice (or hard-headed stupidity!).

On the way down I was fighting to stay awake. Once we'd got there I just kept falling asleep in the chair. Ended up just having to get up and walk while trying to talk. I don't want to miss out on time with here; I know there can't be more than about 5 years left, and I want to make sure we have time together.

On a similar but different note, heard the results of Chris's mum's cancer. It's level 3, and had got to the lymph nodes from the original mass. She'll be having radio-therapy once the wound has healed.

Saturday, 14 February 2004


I've just got back from an 'all night' prayer session in Oxford. Bicester were down to look after the slot from 2.00am to 4.00am and I'd been asked to bring the guitar 'in case'.

Well, it was great. God really turned up. There was much earnest prayer, despite the struggles to stay awake, tears, joy, compassion and a whole pile of other stuff that's gently blurring now.

Good morning. I'm off to bed shortly.

Friday, 13 February 2004


Tomorrow is Valentines day - a big deal for card makers and florists in the UK. It's also the 90-somethingth birthday of someone in our village.

Now this particular person is NOT a nice character; vindictive, paranoid, rude and the embodiment of the other unpleasant characteristics that comprise the English landed classes (y'know the type - tweed jacket, tweed skirt and probably tweed knickers too). Chris was on the sharp end of this shortly after we'd moved into the village, and the memory of coming home to her in tears is still fresh.

However, since this person was once a member of that priviledged group, she was brought up to view the world through their manners and externals, and as such is forced into a behaviour pattern. Thus she is obligated invite people she considers significant in the village to a 'birthday party'. We were reminded of this on Wednesday evening. Some of the people at the circuit training session we go to (how to be part of the life of a village) are also involved in the parish council, and therefore significant enough to have been invited.

Anyway, the invites (or lack of them) were being discussed on at circuits. The subject of her singleness had come up, and someone that possibly knew her a little better mentioned that she had lost her fiance during the WW2. I was turning this over in my mind on the way to work this morning, wondering why she was such a sourpuss. God just popped the thought in about how her entire life had been shaped and twisted by this single event, and how she was to be pitied, rather than scorned. She must have been in her late 20s at the time he was killed.

How terrible to have your life twisted by a single event like that.

So here she is, more than 60 years on, having not been able to look beyond that. What a waste.

Thursday, 12 February 2004

An interesting discussion about cloning

On Bikemagic. Zippy (the originator of the thread) is a Christian. I'm trying to make people think about what they say, rather than tell them straight out that they're wrong.

Oh, and bait one of the less careful posters there. Well, he did deserve it ;-)

Inner peace

I am passing this on to you because it has definitely worked for me...and at this time of year we all could use a little calm . By following the simple advice I read in an article, I have finally found inner peace. The article read: "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started." So I looked around the house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished....

And before coming to work this morning I finished off a bottle of red wine, a bottle of white, the Bailey's, Kahlua and Wild Turkey, my Prozac, some valium, my cigarettes and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how freakin good I feel....

You may pass this on to those you feel are in need of Inner Peace...

Actually I didn't quite follow this advice. We have so many opened bottles of liqueuers in our house that I would be so 'peaceful' I wouldn't be able to stand, let alone type.

A good quote

"Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee may have summed up the baseball operating system when he said, “In baseball you're supposed to sit on your ass, spit tobacco, and nod at stupid things.” That's America's pastime right there. "

I believe it's OK for Americans to make statements like this?

Tuesday, 10 February 2004

This weekend

It's valentines day. Could this be the POMO take on it?

A new link added to the blogroll

Signposts is a blog from Australia. There's been a lot of debate there recently about women in leadership. I find it a thought provoking place to go, hence including it in the blog. We don't always agree, but if we did, how tedious that would be.

A better evening.

Went and spent some time with the worship team from another Bicester Church tonight. It was great just to sit back and play for a bit - no need to lead, drive the music etc. Just be a part contributing to the whole. My friend from the previous night was there too - and apologised for his behaviour, so that's OK too. Mind you, he didn't say he was coming back again ;-)

Thanks if you prayed for me, and God bless if you didn't.

Monday, 9 February 2004

Lets hope today is better.

I lead worship again yesterday - always a slightly nerve wracking time, as my singing voice isn't completely ideal, plus I have to balance trying to hear what God's saying while playing guitar (and basically keeping everything going) too. It leaves me feeling tired and a little emotionally drained.

Ben got back from Oxford shortly after the meeting ended - he'd been to meet up with a girl with a view. Only she'd decided to start a relationship with someone else a couple of days before and so brought 2 of her friends along (for safety?). As he put it "they'd be talking away until I skated up behind - then there was silence while the eyes said 'get lost'". I had the exact same thing happen when I was 16 too, and I certainly reverberated in sympathy.

Then I had a friend (from the band that was) have a major teddies-out-of-pram session: lots of anger, searching questions and a bit of swearing at me. My usual resilience seemed to be down, and quite a bit got through.

Less than 30 mins later at home Chris had a serious go at me about something I hadn't done a while back.

So here I am, Monday morning, swimming gradually back up to the light. Onward and upward.

Saturday, 7 February 2004

Saw Chris's mum this afternoon

And she looks really good (for a woman of 76). She's happy walking around, smiles frequently, doesn't seem in any particular discomfort and considering all things is fine. Quite amazing really. Should be out on Tuesday. Chris is hoping to see the consultant on Monday, with a view to finding out what (if any) treatment she will have afterward. Hopefully chemo won't be necessary.

For those that enjoy the double entendre

From a show that was never supposed to be seen. The link is here. There isn't a single obscene word in there, but the meanings are quite clear. It's LOL-funny and mildly rude if you have that sense of humour, and just plain rude if you don't.

Definitely a classic.

In the same vein, in our last church in London, a previous pastor was German although with normally good English. One Sunday he was talking about relationships, singleness and meeting people. What he meant was that young single males should go out in groups with single females (we had that unheard of thing - more single men than women - in the church).

What he actually said was "you young men should go out and expose yourselves to girls".

There was a kind of silence, and you could see that he'd definitely engaged his congregation. After a few seconds some nervous laughter could be heard before realisation of the true meaning arrived en masse.

We should be visiting again today

So I'll let you know how Chris's mum is doing. Thanks again everyone.

Thursday, 5 February 2004

Thanks to everyone that prayed

We really do appreciate it.

The op was done about 5.30-6ish UK time yesterday (Wednesday) and they kept her sedated overnight. This morning I understand she woke up with only relatively minor discomfort, and when Chris got there, was sitting up, rosey cheeked and talking happily. Quite amazing. We're sure that everyone's prayers have made a difference.

I'll keep you posted if there's any news.

Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Fox news. "Beeb lied!"

Is there such an organisation as 'Fox News' in the US?

We've just heard this clip. It's so unreal that we're not sure whether it's a spoof or not. All the evidence here suggests that although Gilligan did embroider things, actually the government lied and covered up a number of facts, while modifying others. It's also been suggested that the Hutton enquiry was directed to suppress the facts, while exhonerating the government.

Who knows?

Just seen this. To the best of our knowledge Gilligan never went to Iraq to report, and the beeb would certainly never have shown a clip with him saying what he's alleged to have said (they're far too loyal). I'd suggest that the reason the US media haven't been 'caught lying' is that their lawyers are too well paid, and they're 'in bed' with the party machine.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just a dumb kraut whose grandfathers lost a war ;-)

And this thread from BM is quite interesting too. Both links came from there.

Anyone from the US/Canada out there able to comment?

It's been a very long time.

Since I was last astonished by anything software based. I have to say that, frankly, my ghast is well and truely flabbered.

I've always had a passing fancy for LINUX, even to the point of obtaining a full Mandrake 9 distro. However installing it was another matter, and although it went on OK, support for things like LCD monitors (all I had available on the system I wanted to evaluate) wasn't there.

Anyway on a whim I bought this months (March 2004) Personal computer world, which had an evaluation of the most common LINUX distros. Included on the DVD was a full distro for Knoppix LINUX. This is a single 699Mb ISO file that, when used to create a CD, will boot straight into the OS, complete with office suite, browser, everything you need to get started.

I'm typing this from my work laptop, running knoppix. I popped the CD in no more than 10 mins ago, and I'm working on a full configured computer! Fancy changing OS in your coffee break? To get to this condition with a winbox would take - oh - 2 hours minimum. Probably a lot more. Auto detection appears sorted.

And what is more, this is all running off the CD - no intrusion on the HDD - using a RAM disc. I can save data to the HD, memory stick or floppy if I want to, but otherwise I can work very happily. And if it all goes wrong? Reboot and you have a fresh install. No dual boot hassles. No risky partitioning. Apparently you can have your (LINUX) cake and eat it too.

Today isn't going to be much fun.

Chris's mum goes for her mastectomy this afternoon :-(

Let's hope it's fully effective, and she recovers OK.

Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Fascinating discussion on women in leadership

Over here. Found this through Leighton's blog. If you ignore the daft anon posting and the initial dogmatism then the discussion actually seems deeper and more worthwhile than usual for this kind of thing.

Shallow Hal

My daughter got this film on DVD from the library last night. I managed to see about 20 mins worth toward the end, between getting home and having to go out again.

The story is about a guy that enjoys 'playing the field'. He is hypnotised into seeing people as they are 'inside', thus he sees a grossly overweight and unattractive woman as slender and beautiful (more Hollywood stereotypes, but bear with it). And so they go out on dates, yet all the time reality breaks in - for example a horse collapsing under the weight of an apparently slender girl.

I wonder if some people are a bit like Hal. They have this beautiful idea of how the church might be, with everybody 'equal', all women able to lead, gays and lesbians enjoying fellowship with straights, gender corrected services (new plugs and oil filter sir?) invoking Mother God and everyone living in harmony while meditating on 'the light of the world' through a candle flame. It's just really unfortunate how reality keeps getting in the way. If only they could get together and DO something about all those people that don't agree.

Monday, 2 February 2004

Useful time tonight

I've mentioned before that we're trying to 'follow the cloud' as a church. Well, in no area has this been more apparent than our worship.

In July we had a 'full band' of dedicated worship leaders, singers and musicians. From the start of August this was trimmed to 1 guitar (at first) subsequently supported by a keyboard. In the autumn we added a worship 'facilitator', not to lead so much as guide things a bit. To begin with it was great, but became increasingly uncomfy, and around Christmas it became rather difficult and it would be fair to say that we'd lost our way in worship. Recently things have picked up, and it feels like we're heading back toward where we should be.

It's my responsibility to look after the worship team, under eldership covering. Tonight I met with the whole leadership team, plus one of the guys from Oxford centre (Geoff Norridge) that has input into the fellowship.We talked around things, where we'd been, where we wanted to go and the means by which we might get there. It's kind of tricky, because in the church there are those that would like a full band back, while there are others that are really glad to have things much more 'approachable'. My personal preference was for a full band, and I presented that as such. However my heart is that we'll have whatever works best for the church. It's slightly tricky, because I've been having to talk with some individuals that are NOT happy, and present the leadership view while suppressing my personal feelings. But hey, such is delegated authority.

The one sticking point is that many of the worship team would like a mid-week worship meeting. However many of the team are also very tardy about the main midweek meetings - not good, since we see the real life of the church working in these small groups. I feel sure that if they were all dedicated and committed to the family groups then it wouldn't be an issue. However, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it think. I'm sure they don't perceive this as an issue for themselves.

Interesting times ahead then.

Maths lessons

A little boy was doing his math homework. He said to himself,"Two plus five, that sonofabitch is seven. Three plus six, that sonofabitch is nine...."

His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, "What are you doing?"

The little boy answered, "I'm doing my math homework, Mom."

"And this is how your teacher taught you to do it?" the mother asked

"Yes," he answered.

Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, "What are you teaching my son in math?"

The teacher replied, "Right now, we are learning addition."

The mother asked, "And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that sonofabitch is four?"

After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, "What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four."

I think that we may have seen this particular lesson illustrated recently in real life :-)

Having not said anything

about the 'women in leadership' thing yet, I'm wondering - should I blog or stay schtum?

Randall, Linea, anyone else out there? Or is ignorance bliss?