Friday, 20 August 2004

They're back!

Ben returned today from Kyrgystan. Well tanned, slightly smelly and a little fitter and leaner (if that were possible for someone who's 5'10" and less than 120lbs) than before he went.

He came bearing gifts, such as rugs, pictures, a wooden box (for the outlaws) and a litre of fermented horse milk (really, and it smells like salami!). There are 229 images to work through from the trip. When I get a chance I'll post some.

Sarah also returned from Soul Survivor. She was touched by God, and had a great time. She was a little muddier - as you'd expect camping in England - and has a few more bruises from the mosh pit they arranged by a stage in the evening.

Good to have them both back. They've been missed.

Thursday, 19 August 2004

Rejection of homosexuals

Jordon has a link to Scott's site, where Scott posted an article about rejection and acceptance of homosexuals.

My take on this is that Jesus accepted sinners, calling them to repent. As a church, we have fellowshipped with couples that live together, fornicating. Homosexuals that are active are not greatly different from this.

A requirement of church membership (for us) is that we determine to try to live our lives in holiness, rejecting sin. There are no problems accepting any single adult into membership on this basis, whatever their sexual orientation. The basis for not accepting someone into membership would be that they rejected Jesus as saviour and Lord of their life, and/or that they refused to repent of or recognise known sin in their lives.

If you agree or disagree I'd like to know. If you don't think anything then you needn't post.

Online gaming is taking over the world

It's just overtaken Namibia.

Wednesday, 18 August 2004

Just found an logo that appealed.

You can view it here.

PoMo Christianity and Gnosticism

I have been reading the letters from Peter, John and Jude over the last couple of weeks. These were all written to combat the emerging heresy of gnosticism that arose in the latter half of the first century and matured in the second century AD. I have been struck by some similarities between the expressions of PoMo christianity and gnosticism:

An assertion that we cannot know the truth.
Interpretation of scripture to fit personal wishes.
A focus on mysticism and 'special knowledge'.
Support of immoral behaviour.

Also not specifically a gnostic trait, but also discussed: a desire to return to older, empty religious forms.

Now if I were clever and dedicated, I might prepare an in depth paper in the same way Leighton has regarding sophists, as a study of I Corinthians. However the truth is, I'm off on holiday in a couple of days, and it ain't gonna happen.

Why the apparent attack on PoMo stuff? It's not really an attack, but over the last 18 months I've been following a number of blogs, reading comments, following posters back etc. I've had a period when I've absorbed quite a bit of info from a wide variety of sources, many of which seem to be aknowledged leading lights in the 'emerging church' movement.

I began with no perspective, either good or bad. I met people that stirred me. Some stirred me to love and enthusiasm, and pushed me closer to God. Some I found made me question what I believed and thought in a very positive way. The 'worship labyrinth' concept sparked a bit of creativity, and a desire to exand the way I worshipped. While there were things that didn't sit quite right, I became quite positive about EC things. But then I dug deeper, and some rather unpleasant things started to crawl out. There appeared to be a large body of people with free-wheeling liberal, and frankly heretical 'theology'. I observed an absolute denial of certain clearly stated biblical truths, together with an incorporation of humanistic philosophy into stated beliefs and a support of immorality.

It was interesting too, that some sites actually made me feel slightly ill after reading their contents. I'd come away feeling soiled, and as though God's spirit within me was offended.

Now I certainly don't want to get into a 'burn the heretic' rant, but I think that the EC is NOT a 21st century charismatic movement. Instead I think it is a reaction of the disaffected to mainstream 'safe' religiousness, in great danger of being hijacked by a rejuvenated form of an ancient heresy. Those who would consider yourselves part of this movement and love Jesus, I would say "be on your guard".

Happy anniversary

1 year and 290 posts later, the Blog of the Ancient Mariner is still going.

Monday, 16 August 2004

Well - those that know me?

Courtesy of a link on Jordon's site, I've taken the Enneagram Type test.

free enneagram test

I'm half inclined to go back and re-do it, because many of the questions covered more than 1 aspect of who I am. I scored equally between the 'Helper' and the 'Enthusiast':

free enneagram test

It's interesting to see where I did least well too: I only scored 2 points on type 3 - Achiever (OK I can live with that) and type 9 - peacemaker (certainly missed it a little on that one).

Twaddle, really.

And to prove it, I've just been back and re-done it using equally valid answers, with completely different results. I may be slightly scizophrenic as a person, in that I've taught myself to deal with certain situations in certain ways. For example, I'm actually somewhat shy, but because it's necessary for me to meet (often quite important) people, I've had to learn to hold conversations when I actually feel intimidated. After a while my modified behaviour has kind of 'replaced' my natural attitudes:

free enneagram test

What was interesting is that my second highest score this time round was cat 4 - the individualist: At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

This is also somewhat true.

It really is complicated being me sometimes!

Now I've read the descriptions a little better. I think I'm a 7 more than anything. Oh well, I'm sure it's not all that bad.

Sunday, 15 August 2004

Sarah's leaving in the morning.

Off to soul survivor. Not with the youth group, but instead with some other Christian kids from school, accompanied by a couple of teachers.

Should be good - but what will we do with ourselves while they're away?

Lots of things!

Friday, 13 August 2004

When fresh breath matters most?

As seen on the Clarke family blog. Posted by Tim Marchant.

For a number of years my local pub had the standard Durex machine on the wall, then after a refurbishment it was (curiously) replaced with a breath mint machine.

I always had this vision of couples late at night in darkened lanes having conversations along the lines:

"You did pick up something from the gents like I told you?"

"Yes of course I did. Fancy a mint?"

Made me LOL.

Thursday, 12 August 2004

I've been discovering new forums

This place is a little small and parochial in some ways, but the topics of discussion are sometimes compelling and insightful. Like these:




You'll need to register to post, but I highly recommend getting in there, even if you can only play cards.

Tuesday, 10 August 2004

Summer time, and the weather is plentiful

One might be forgiven for thinking that Noah had just been reincarnated in the last couple of days. It's been silly warm - yesterday was mid 20s yesterday, but the rain has been torrential. This results in an amazing degree of stickiness for all concerned. Wearing a lab coat doesn't help either.

Today is better, since it rained overnight and cooled down a bit. About an hour ago it stopped, and we've now got sunshine with rising temperatures and about 95% humidity.

Other than that, life goes on. My mother goes in for some testing this afternoon, with mild concern about possible cancers. We shall have to wait and see what the what the outcome is.

Saturday, 7 August 2004

I think I managed to work off some of that Chinese meal this morning.

The evidence is here.

It was tremendous fun, and really good to be back with the other guys again, but hard work.

And blinkin' HOT.

*edit* Link now working. Thanks Sarah, for pointing this out.

Thursday, 5 August 2004

Happy Birthday Randall

The lucky guy is a couple of years behind me.

Interesting that I was 41 when I began shaving again (although being a guitar player, mountain biker and all round 'rad dude' I had to keep a goatee). Is this the affordable way of managing mid-life crisis, I ask ;-)

Wednesday, 4 August 2004

Well, it's been OK (kind of) so far.

I went to work. I came home again. Nothing bad happened.

Chris has booked for us to go out to a local (not too expensive) chinese restuarant, which is nice. I have a large piece of beef in the fridge (reduced!) that I'd planned for tonight, but what the heck. I'll find a way to freeze it somehow.

I've done a bit of a 'fleece' and bunged the Heritage guitar on HC for sale. We could use the cash at the moment, and I've not felt completely comfy owning such an expensive instrument. I love the looks, but my strat actually works best for what I do. It's a big investment to only bring out for the occasional solo.

God knows what's right.

Birthdays - schmirfdays.

Well, 2 1/2 hours later I'm back. A little fatter and deeper in debt ;-)

Good food. The Yin Hong in Bicester is a bit different to some Chinese style stuff I've had, but well prepared and presented none the less. It wasn't particular;y cheap after all, even though Wednesday is a 'special' night - all you can eat for £13.95 a head. Portions were not 'special small' either. I'm still settling in the deep south.

Tuesday, 3 August 2004

The sky just turned black.

We've been sitting here in the office, sweating away like crazy - it's about 30'C outside and feels like 95% humidity. It the last 5 mins it's suddenly got so dark we've had to turn the lights on, and it seems dazzlingly bright. We've had a couple of peals of thunder, and as I started typing we heard the first rattles of hail stones on the windows. The temperature has also just dropped at least 10'C.

Bye bye summer, it's been nice knowing you.

I can feel the headache there now, from the storm building.

I have been reminded of my frailty

By Randall, no less.

Randall had a birthday on Sunday, and shared a day of celebration with his friend Tryntje, yesterday, whose birthday is Thursday.

Now I split these 2 - I'm 43 tomorrow, and began reminiscing in the comments on Randalls blog, when I thought it might be interesting to do so here instead.

Birthdays were always special when I was a kid. It wasn't the presents alone, although since we were quite poor in some ways, receiving substantial things was a real treat. But the whole day was made special. For several years running my birthday treat was to be taken to the London zoo, with a friend (and of course, my 'little' brother).

It's interesting how the memories come back. I have little snapshots, and as I'm digging deeper more are emerging. The first snapshot is of leaving our house in London quite early, but being August, it's hot outside already and the 'hot smell' was rising off the pavement. This was coupled to a feeling of both lightness (looking forward to the trip) and brightness from the brilliant sunshine being reflected off the pavement - much more of an issue when you're only 4 feet tall or so - and cool air coming through the toes of your sandals.

We walked over to pick up my friend on the trip. Her name was Julie Wadey, and because I was expected to call her mum 'auntie' I assumed she was my cousin. Ho hum. Their house had the steepest staircase I'd ever been up - so steep you felt like you couldn't make the bend at the top. One year they gave me an Airfix kit of a Republic Thunderbolt - the picture on the box showing a classic silver thunderbolt with black and white chequers round the nose, climbing up from a bombing run. I loved models as a child, and spent all my pocket money one them for years. I wonder what happened to Julie.

We would travel up on the train, and then get on a river boat that took us from Hyde park to the Zoological gardens. The boat journey seemed completely timeless, and a cool break from the earlier heat. Stepping off the boat at the other end, I remember returning to the heat as we walked along paths covered with fine gravel, inset with flower beds in geometrical shapes. The flower beds were all new in this particular memory, and were actually dark brown earth, waiting to be planted.

There are a lot of memories that all blur together from when we actually entered the zoo, and I'm sure they stretch across several years. The Aquarium was (to me) vast, with all kinds of exotic and conventional fish, from tiny neon tetras to huge tilapia and carp, and weird stuff like lungfish, electric eels and axolotles. The reptile houses were good, but there are few solid memories from them, blending with every reptile house I've visited.

A famous exhibit was Pipaluk - a polar bear - bred in captivity if I remember correctly. Pipaluk wasn't especially amenable to do much in the heat, and it must have been very hot it his white concrete enclosure. All the polar bears just flopped around, apparently oblivious to the crowds trying to see them.

The Elephants and Rhinos enclosures were close by, and were surrounded by curving sandy coloured concrete walls with a ribbed surface (memory again). The floor of the enclosures was bear earth with a couple of short scrubby denuded trees inside for them to scratch against. The elephants were friendly and interested in visitors, coming to the edge of the enclosure and extending their trunks so they could sniff you, and (if you were brave) you might stretch out a hand and touch the rough skin and feel the strength of the muscles underneath. I remember the tip of a trunk coming my way and stretching to reach it. The end of the trunk wasn't hollow, but was clearly divided into 2 nostrils, with little fleshy extensions at the top and bottom that were almost like fingers, and could be brought together to grip things. And it was damp!

The Lions seemed to prefer being inside, and although we saw them tearing their meat, they weren't particularly exciting. However the Tigers were something else. Pacing up and down in their cage, they were much more like Felis domesticus in their movements. There was a commentary while we were there, discussing tiger-stuff. The memory I have is how to distinguish between types of tiger - IIRC Bengal tigers have a white spot on each ear and the 'other kind' don't. They also have a greeting sound, rather like a domestic cat - a Prrup noise. The announcer made the noise and the tiger Prrup'd back. When the crowds had gone (things like this were always crowded then - few people had TV and wild animals weren't 'old hat' then - I waited until the tiger got closer, pacing in his cage, and PRRUUP'd at it. I think it answered, but I can't actually remember. I did try this at home, and it worked on our cat though.

And what was the final thing that we'd do before leaving? Visit the shop of course! They had all kinds of rubber animals (big fad here, in the 60's and early 70's) that were very realistic. Of course being a boy, I HAD to buy snakes. Some of these would be up to 3 feet long, and coloured to look very realistic. There were beetles and dinosaurs and Lions and tigers and elephants and rhinos too, but none of these were as exciting - or as LONG - as the snakes.

Curiously, I have no memory of ever travelling home. However I do appreciate the investment my parents, and particluarly my mother made for me in those birthdays.

Monday, 2 August 2004

The world in the church

I picked up the Times this morning, and read an article that made the front page with interest.

Archbishop stands aside to be humble parish priest

The archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, announced yesterday that he is to retire 5 years early to return to his roots and serve as a stipendiary parish priest.
He was quoted as saying "...I am looking forward to just being with people, caring for them and about them".

Further in the article it also states: Already senior diocesians have begun jockeying to succeed Dr Hope as the country's second most senior prelate after Canterbury.

It's very pleasing that there is a note of incedulity in the article: how could someone as powerful as Dr Hope wish to step down from power to become ordinary? Now it may be that everything got a bit too much for him, but I'd like to believe that he also wanted to get back to a place where it was just him and God, and he could just get on with serving people.

The other interesting bit was the reference to 'jockeying' for position. Given that the paper may be somewhat biased in it's reporting, I presume the offices of some of the potential 'candidates' did have statements prepared expressing readiness etc for this. To me, the idea that one can attain a position of authority in the church by one's efforts and through political persuasion is about as wrong as anything can be. If this is a half true representation of how things really are then it's no wonder the anglican church can't find unity (or even a biblical perspective) on so many key issues.

I can just picture Paul and Silas running into the crowd shouting "we are just men like yourselves". God save us from men that think they should have position and authority in the church.

Sunday, 1 August 2004

We had this email from Ben today.

Forgive the spelling - it must be really hard trying to type on a Kyrgyz keyboard ;-)

hiya dad.
i'm mailing from an internet club.
say hi to the others for me. i haven't been able to find postcards but i'll thank people anyway when i get back.
as expected no broadband, speaking of which is ours back up again?
i am back in bishkek for the day after the forst phase of walking. it was tiring. i hate this keyboard, it is appalling...
anyway, i am mailing, and then i'm going to go and find lunch. bishkek is a really interesting city, there is a real contrast in sty;es out here, but its quite a nice place. the mountins are the best, the look really good. i have taken over 100 photo's already, and would have sent some if they had a usb cable. its fantastic.
my self inflating matress has turned outto be really good, but it still doesn't make sleeping on rocks in a tent an enjoyable experience. its quite hot out here, but the main probl;em is that it is quite sticky.
we spent a little time looking at souveniers and i'm tring to find stuff for you lot, should be fun! i have been ill once, a breif bit of diahorrea and i threw up once, which meant i didn't get to go up a peak, but i have walked on a glacier. looking foward to coming home, buit i still like it here, i'm glad the insects dont like me!
makes me want to go to greece again! it is so cheap here. the most annoyiong thiong, apart from havce tocrap under rocks, and haveing to share a single shower with a hotel full of people is that we can't drink the water, we have to iodine it, but it wont put me off the place.
hope everything is great
love you all

Thanks, everyone that's been praying for him.