Sunday 31 May 2009

I'm just about to lend someone my number 1.

I've had this guitar since November 1989.

It was bought originally because I was playing in a 'Make way for Christmas' musical production and needed a guitar that was softer, smoother, more knopfleresque in delivery than the one I'd used for years before. There was one song in particular that really demanded that out of phase Dire Straits tone that is only available from a strat.

So I went to Rockbottom in Croydon, which at that time was a huge place with hundreds of guitars (how the mighty have fallen) and spent many hours trying all the strats I could afford (and some I couldn't). My eyes wanted a pink paisley 70s reissue (and I still wish I had one) but it was let down by being a true replica and the V shaped neck wasn't great, plus the tone wasn't really there.

I must have played 25 different strats - just worked my way through a wall full - they were stacked in 2 rows, one above the other along one wall, and there were so many that they were all hung edge-on. There were 2 that stood out: an electric blue one with rosewood fingerboard and a red one with maple fingerboard.

I went back and forth between the 2 for ages, trying to decide. I loved the electric blue - quite an unusual colour for a strat, and I have only ever seen 1 like it since - and the red. In the end the red won out - it had THE tone, just played acoustically it was and still is head and shoulders above any strat I've played. The maple neck is a little chunkier than most, but it fits like it was made for my hands, and one it was set up properly and I'd got used to it music just flowed.

This is THE fattest, sweetest, smoothest toned strat you'll ever hear. And this is it's drawback too. Clean arpeggios are beautiful, strummed chords with a dash of chorus, yum. Fat lead lines with compression and delay could make you weep. It'll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end played the right way. But show it some overdrive and it turns to squidge, plus the neck isn't *that* fast for hard rock playing. And I guess this is why I keep looking at other guitars at the same time - it just doesn't do the drive thing and different pickups don't help either.

So like I said, she's about to go on loan and for the first time we'll be apart. Hope he'll treat her right.

Friday 29 May 2009

I alone am God, and you'll surrender to my will.


It's all about me, Jesus, for my glory and my fame. It's not about you, as if I should do things your way. I alone am God and you'll surrender to my ways.

I've been struggling over the rising tide of 'ME' songs recently, and wondering a number of things - maybe we can discuss them?

First off - WHY? Why do people write ME songs? I don't think they are necessarily *wrong* as in actually sinful, but when there is the limitless majesty of heaven to write about, why do we persist in telling God what He's done for me and what he's going to do for me? Some of the songs I've sung recently have made me think of a quote I read "well I've said enough about myself. Tell me, what do you think of me?"

Do they write these songs because, from a post modern perspective everything is relative and therefore it is all related to ME and my perceptions? Is it because they've been through something traumatic and are just so amazed at what God has just brought them through (what, so many people writing so many songs, all the time???!). Is it that they've just found a format (like Godfrey Birtill and his songs of lists) and can't break out of it? Is it (as the cynic in me suspects) that worship is such big business that these songs sell because everyone can relate to a ME song?

And why are they almost all such mediocre, tuneless wonders? As Mikey Mo pointed out in a post on his blog, Amazing Grace is a ME song. But it uncovers the riches of heaven, the joy of release, the wonders of His grace (to borrow a line). Having a catchy tune doesn't do it any harm either. Some ME songs are genuinely useful, and they certainly help some people relate to God and enter worship in a way that God-focused worship songs don't. But these should be sprinkled carefully through our songlists, rather than making up the majority, surely?

I have no desire whatsoever to go back solely to hymns (God forbid we should use the dreadful pop music of the last 300 years: our own is bad enough). But I do want decent theology and the right focus in worship, stirred in with a little musicality.

So tell me, do you like ME songs, and if so, why. Why do you think they're OK - or do you agree we me, that any song with I or ME in it should be scrutinised ruthlessly to ensure it actually adds something to worship before being permitted on the list?


Hey Mike - I know you like a lot of 'me' songs, because so many of your SOTWs have this focus. I'd love a comment as to why they worked for you.

Still sweaty hour after finishing my ride this evening.

Summer is, apparently, here at last and very welcome too.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

To expand on the leaving party thing

Chris and I have talked a little and 'de-briefed' each other a bit after last night. Our conclusion is that it's not *so* difficult to leave people you love, so much as to leave people that love YOU very deeply and selflessly.

For me, it IS a new experience. This is different from leaving one's parents at marriage, despite them loving (at least in our cases) so deeply and sacrificially, simply because it is surrounded by ceremony and one is transitioning to the next stage in progression of one's adult life.

When we left our previous church in London (in 1990) although we had many friends there, some of whom we were quite close, there was nothing like the bond of love that has joined us with our family in BCC. There is a sense of family that we've known that goes beyond the natural bond one usually feels with people that one lives and grows with. I think we've been really privileged to have known these people, been part of their lives and have them as part of ours.

We've laughed with them, wept with them, prayed and fasted with them and partied with them. We've washed up, made up, sung, played, child-minded, taught, learned, angered, forgiven, dug and planted. Good heavens - this is starting to read like a Godfrey Birtill song!

And so, from here on, apart from being prayed out on June 9th we're part of HPC. Pray for us - grace for them with us and us with them. And maybe that we'd help others to know what it is to be part of a family.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

We said 'goodbye' tonight.

And they threw a party for us, as tonight was our last housegroup night.

They even managed to arrange things in a way that PERFECTLY reflects my sense of humour.


Thursday 21 May 2009

Thank you to everyone

who sent us cards and wishes, prayed for us and remembered.

We really appreciate it.

I may have found a 'must have' product.

The TC Helicon Voicetone Correct.

Singing has never been my strong suit. I wonder if this could actually make it possible for me to sing bearably? Since I couldn't carry a tune in a paper bag, somehow it may not be quite enough, but I live in hope.

Early birthday pressy anyone ;-)

Wednesday 20 May 2009

May God bless you with discomfort.

“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart."

A reminder from Fern's blog.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

How good it is

When brothers live in harmony. And especially when they get the air clear.

Suddenly there is life and a way forward again.

Saturday 16 May 2009

Well I've finally............

..........put the Triumph up for sale.

It's up on Ebay now, but if anyone on this side of the pond is interested then let me know.


Or not.

Wow. Sold within 2 hours of hitting the 'bay. Guess the BIN was right in combination with a Saturday evening. Much gratitude here for the easy sale.

Friday 15 May 2009

Who needs to be logical about things?

I have become aware over the last couple of days how much I really wanted to ditch facebook as a site I use, and to try to reduce my net usage. It was also a place where I became wound up by things I read and by the sheer volume of detritus on there. There were nuggets of reality, but in the end I'd prefer to interact directly.

So deactivating the account may not be the most logical thing to do, but now it's done I'm quite happy with it. If you want to know about me then read my blog - or talk to me. There's just one thing I do find disappointing - that those who have arrived here within the last 12 months have not commented or fed back directly in any way.

Looking back

I posted this on 3rd Sept last year

Deep changes are in progress in every area of my life, except possibly our marriage, and while I'm at peace over them - I'm sure it's all from God - the things going on still cause a reaction inside.

I'm trying to navigate situations I can't yet see while floating on a sea of unknown.

Already this evening God's whispered about some of the things in the future, and that's great, but they are FUTURE things, and the present situation is NOT there yet.

And some of the things He HASN'T whispered about yet.

There are too many 'coincidences' for me to believe it's not all been planned. But rather like an Indiana Jones movie, there may be a lot of struggle, uncomfortable discovery and plain difficult obstacles to work our way through before we find the treasure at the end.

Nothing has changed apart from the fact that I'm not at peace about it any more. I recognise these feelings from a few previous occasions in my life, and they were not particularly good times to walk through. Failure is not really an option. I liked Fern's Yoda quote "Do or not do: there is no try".

Thursday 14 May 2009

Decisions, oh how we love them.

I have a decision to make that's very big for me over the next short while. It has major implications for me over what I do in terms of ministry in the near future, and I must be sure I hear right. There's an area that's generating far more heat than light, and I need to know whether I should buckle down, shut up and put up or if the heat is there because it's time to let it go and move on. There seems to be a complete absence of grace in there right now, and that's a sure sign that something's substantially not right.

So pray for me: for wisdom, insight, grace and quite a lot of mercy. I don't want to blunder from one mistake to the next, but insead walk to fulfil my calling. If that means laying down things that have been precious then much better to let them go than be continuously frustrated, never quite right and never quite fitting.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Y'know, sometimes you just run out of it all.

Chris is watching 'In Pursuit Of Happyness".

Chris (Will Smith) just 'talked' about how he had such a good feeling when he did well at something when he was young and imagined all the things he was going to be. And he never managed to achieve any of them.

Sometimes we feel like the windscreen and sometimes the fly. Guess I feel a bit insect-like right now.

C'est la vie.

Guess it's sometimes a good thing to be at the end of oneself.

Monday 11 May 2009

Lunchtime speculation will cause trouble.

The screensaver on the Mac will put up a series of images in a slide show as the screen saver, and the folder I've pointed it at includes a lot of pics from Lesvos, where we went last year. I've just been on the web, checking flights and prices, and have found at Agean will do a flight via Athens at a sensible price and a sensible time of day.

Now I'd like to be THERE instead of HERE.

Saturday 9 May 2009

Friday 8 May 2009

What's in a translation.

The bible is in many different versions, and there are many translations. Are they all the same?

I came across an interesting take on a scripture I know very well last weekend:

Genesis 3:16 (New Living Translation)

16 Then he said to the woman,

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.

Mistranslation or fascinating insight into the fall and it's consequences? If correct, it makes clear why certain scriptures are the way they are, and that they are not cultural alone.

I'd love to know.

And if what I'm talking about is not clear then ask me in church.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Pics from Jon and Angie's wedding.

It's taken a rather long time, but they're here at last!

Congrats again to Jon and Angie.

Friday 1 May 2009