Monday 31 January 2005


I've been wandering around on some of the blogs I've viewed in the past, this lunchtime.

Now I know life often goes in cycles, but I can't help wonder if that isn't the answer to what I've observed. I've never made a secret of my belief that post modern thinking is inherently anti-Christian, and the christian forms that have been spun out of it carry an inherent 'wrongness' to me.

So I was intrigued to read a bunch of stuff that all sounds a little desperate to my ears. A couple of articles from Andrew Jones, a Leonard Sweet quote on Randall's blog, an article on 'the ooze'. I don't know, but they all had a feeling of slight desperation to them. Kind of trying to reassure people - all those others have got it wrong - WE are at the front of what God's doing.

I don't know. I hope in some ways that I've got it wrong, because some people will get hurt, but I think there will be some serious fall-out over then next couple of years as foundations get shaken.

Or maybe I just don't get it, and I'm all wrong. As unlikely as that might seem ;-)

Saturday 29 January 2005

Blessing (when you don't expect or look for it)

We've had quite a bit of expense recently - not just Christmas (as usual, well contained) but one of our cars needed a lot of work doing + taxing. On top of that we had a celebration on Oxford a couple of weeks back, and I really felt called to give generously. Chris was a little concerned because of recent cash burn, but went with it.

Anyway, cut a long story short, we didn't get a Christmas bonus this year (not that I expect it particularly, but it's nice when it happens). I'm grateful for the job I have and that I do earn well. However yesterday The MD told me that there should be 'a little extra this month to say thankyou' on my payslip. It was exactly 10 times what we'd given in the offering. God not only has a sense of humour, but he also can release resources when we don't expect it.


Friday 28 January 2005

God has a sense of humour?

I was reading Mark 6 this morning, about where Jesus goes up the mountain to pray (after sending the crowds away) then at about 4 in the morning, walks across the lake to get to the other side.

It always puzzled me - why would Jesus walk on the water? Despite popular portrail, walking on water isn't a sign of holiness. There are accounts of people being caught up in the Spirit and transported elsewhere in an instant, so it wasn't that Jesus needed to walk that way. So how does one account for walking on water?

I wonder if this was omne of those occasions when that 'small, still voice' whispered "now I want you to do something different". Jesus couldn't have known that things would pan out like they did, and from the way Mark reads, he was fully expecting to walk on by. I might be way off beam here, but I reckon this was God's sense of humour, arranging circumstances to teach the disciples, and maybe even to tease theologians down through the ages.

Monday 24 January 2005

Playing out.

I've talked here before about how the church I'm part of has heard God speak quite clearly about the need for simple, corporate worship, with everyone taking part rather than a full band of 'entertainers' playing at the front.

Well, as the person responsible for the worship team this has caused something of a roller-coaster of feelings. I recognise that this direction IS from God, and therefore I don't have a problem buying into it with my head - however the heart doesn't always follow. The stage I'm at now is that I have been playing in a reduced worship setting for so long that I'm forgetting how to play all kinds of stuff. And while I'm grateful for the other musicians, I also feel like I've been carrying everyone else musically, which in truth, I have been.

Why post this? Because I feel the need to get with a proper band again and rawk a bit. I KNOW this will benefit my worship playing too, just like running regularly helps stop you getting out of breath if you go for a long walk. I'd kind of hoped to get involved with the area youth bands, but there isn't really an opportunity there. What's left? A christian band would be great, but there's always the tension of "are we a worship band (no) are we an evangelistic band (no) so what do we play for then"? At the same time I don't really want to play in a nonnie-based band, with all the potential compromises about evil music and mixed messages that can go with that.

I'm still turning this one over - there must be a reasonable solution. I guess it doesn't really matter in the cosmic scale of things if I just sit around and get frustrated a bit more - certainly irrelevant compared to what Randall's just had to deal with. But then compared to life-or-death situations, most of what we do is pretty irrelevant.

I'm OK - just feeling a little disappointed.

Peculiar weather this morning.

Somewhat windy, no frost on the cars, yet a really BITING cold. However the oddest thing could be observed driving in to work this morning. Puddles on one side of the road were liquid - the other side were frozen, for about a mile on the road all along the top of the valley.


Guess it would feel like a summer's day to my Canadian friends :-/

Friday 21 January 2005

Reverend Albert Baldwin Fox

Not a name many will recognise. I've just come back from his funeral.

Chris has been in contact with an elderly couple in the village for the last couple of years. Turned out that they were Christians, and had a strong and well developed faith. Albert was quite a bit older than Rita, and his health failed over the last year or so, with him finally dying last week.

The funeral was held in the Anglican church in Somerton, although Albert had been a congregational minister. There was something strikingly English about the service: Norman stone church, lots of old guys in suits with runny noses, The vicar wereing robes, watery sunlight filtering through showing everyone's breath steaming. Then there were the hymns.

Albert served God in his generation.

Thursday 20 January 2005

Loneliness, solitude and people

Randall posted this thread about loneliness and solitude from Nouwen. My initial reaction was "that's not how it is" but I had to dig harder for the WHY?

To me, loneliness isn't an internal factor to be fought - much more it's something induced by outside factors. I can be 'alone' and enjoy the company. I can be in a room full of people, all talking eagerly, yet feel isolated and bored. Feelings of loneliness are not natural to me, but instead, rather like a poor man in suburbia, it feels like I need a big house and shiny car. Where there are people around me, all talking together I can feel quite cut off. I'd much rather be home alone with myself, or meeting people this way, on a web forum. Loneliness isn't a product of being alone - it's a product to having a door of friendship shut in my face. Apparent rejection is the key.

There are some subtle reasons. I don't hear well, thus situations where there is much background noise, I can barely catch a word. It also seems that my ability to handle different pronunciations isn't very good, and it can take a few moments for my head to work through to the intended meaning. But mostly I just find it difficult to talk where things are really noisy, and that often means that traditional situations to enjoy company - clubs, bars, parties - all become stressful and depressing.

Soooo.... You're welcome to come over for a chat. Provided I can understand you ;-)

Tuesday 18 January 2005


Yesterday was Ben's 17th Birthday. He doesn't read this, so I didn't make a big fuss over it.

Another year and he'll probably leave home to go to Uni. I an still remember, not exactly as yesterday, but certainly like it was last year, the blood and pain that brought him forth. Now he's fractionally taller than me, although still only 2/3 the weight. I've watched him grow, and I have to say that I'm generally pleased with what I see. God's grace has been at work for us.

And in a couple of months I think he'll be baptised.

There's also a pic I just have to publish:

She's only playing an A chord, but you can just see those hands moving into a fret-shredding blur at any moment. I took this yesterday evening. It's amazing how taking the time to show her a few chords created a lot of pleasure and bonding for both of us.

I also posted this up on Harmony-central. Bear in mind that Sarah is 15, she's already virtually had a marriage proposal, LOL. Can't wait to get her playing in worship with me (and Ben too, but he seems much less fussed about it).

Saturday 15 January 2005

Don't eat them!

I was given some Mattehez 'Fine French Fancy Truffles' as the tin describes them, for Christmas. They look good and taste lovely.

They also contain serious amounts of cocoa, to which Chris is sensitive.

We didn't think.

She had 2.

This morning was not good. Raging migraine, sickness, shivering and just total unwell feelings :( I think she's getting better now, and is sleeping it off in a darkened room. We first noticed this about 2 years ago with 'Green and Black' chocolate, made with 70% cocoa solids, where a single square the night before would produce a moderate migraine the following day. This is logarithmically worse. I don't think we'll be having much chocolate round here in future.

Edit - Chris is much better today. There's a certain wariness, but basically she's alright now.

Friday 14 January 2005

Just eaten a serious meal.


We had a rather delayed Christmas lunch (actually 2 years worth) at Le Manoir. It's not a restaurant so much as an experience. Most astonishing is how the portions of food (with long breaks between) are so apparently tiny, yet you feel as though you've eaten so much. This is my second visit, and I doubt I will ever eat anywhere better in my lifetime.

Now home to frozen and oven cooked 'kievs' (chopped and shaped chicken surrounding some kind of artificial garlic sauce) and floppy pasta.


What does revival mean to you?

I posted this question on a christian forum last night. Those from the United States of America were under the impression it was a series of meetings designed to gee up the people. The rest of the world (that's Fern - see blogroll) had a slightly different take, that might have involved God.

That's not to say the guys from the US aren't born again. However I think the culture there mitigates strongly against the idea that God might move strongly and in a manner that they can't control.

Thursday 13 January 2005

Some times you wonder about the nonnies.....

That they may have been watching too many hammer house of horror films.

There is a group in Oxford that are investigating the link between 'religion' and reduced perception of pain. So the idea is that we look at a crucifix and suddenly it hurts less? Did someone ever fail to understand the connection between faith and the power of God?

Wednesday 12 January 2005

Boozing and the bible.

I've been discussing a number of things over at the Christian musician's forum, and one of the issues that seems to have caused the most arguements since the US election is the consumption of alcohol by christians. As a teenager (below the legal drinking age!) I can remember being convicted to give up alcohol, however once I was over 18 it became a non-issue, and I felt released to enjoy a drink.

However, since it's a big deal to many of these guys, and not wishing to be insensitive to the Holy spirit (if He's using them to make me re-think) I've been reading around the area. On CMF one of the guys posted a link to this page. I felt free to disregard it because both the science and theology seemed to have been carefully sourced and re-interpreted to match an opinion. So out with the concordance.

Basically working through all the references to 'wine' this morning in my NIV study bible, the whole emphasis was that over-indulgence was a problem. Wine gets mentioned a number of times in a positive context that acknowledged the effects of alcohol. The most curious of these is at the end of Proverbs (a proverb of Lemuel) where kings are forbidden to have wine (so they don't forget they need to uphold the law) but the poor and those in distress should be GIVEN wine to forget their circumstances!

It seemed to me that to suggest wine was expressly forbidden would be to interpret these scriptures through a specific position, rather than trying to see what they really meant then and might mean for us now. If I had time and inclination I'd write it up in a bible study. But frankly, I don't see the point, and life is too short.....

BTW I have to say that the attitude of those that posted condemning alcohol was so rude and at times petty and childish that it was very difficult to even consider their opinions might even be valid. Mind you, I may have been guilty of similar bad behaviour on forums at times :( It does strike me as odd that someone should try to persuade another Christian of something you feel deeply by abusing them. But hey ho, different cultures.

Any thoughts?

Monday 10 January 2005

What some people must have been thinking?

I'm getting VERY fed up with blogger. I just wrote a post, and it just lost the lot changing page views.

I had been writing about a bizarre new musical that's arriving in Oxford shortly: Debbie does Dallas. There is an obvious transition between pron movie and stage musical, isn't there?

Wednesday 5 January 2005

I've just added

A couple of extra links. You may or may not wish to follow them.

Saturday 1 January 2005

So...... Where's the party?

Here, that's where it was.

I'd planned to do a webcam thing like Randall, but ended up having to go back to work for a few hours (and later today too) because my cells had grown way too fast, and would die if they were left.

A few days ago I spent a evening ringing through the entire church phone directory plus a few friends, and about half of them came. This was both nice and fortunate: nice because it's great when the body gets together and fortunate because our house bordered on the 'sardine' side. I'm sure it's no smaller than it used to be, but I also seem to remember getting a lot more bods in here 10 years ago.

Still, cozy is good. Most people seemed to enjoy themselves and we saw the new year in together. I'm pretty bushed now: Chris was tired so I sent her to bed, then cleared up (mostly). I wonder whether I've found all the hidden glasses and cans that people hide, expecting to come back for them? They usually appear over the next week or so after things like this, as furniture gets moved.

Sooooo. Happy new year to you all.