Thursday 27 August 2009

Ish culcher, innit?

While we were away we visited a little book shop in Hastings called 'Bookmans Halt'. I found a translation of 3 of Aristophanes plays: The Wasps, The poet And The Women and The Frogs. The author had produced a long and quite detailed forward explaining the circumstances surrounding the writing of the plays, rules relating to Greek comedies and competitions, costumes, stages, various kinds of actors etc. Some of it was intensely dull and some really very interesting, enabling a 'minds eye' stance when reading.

So far I've just got through a couple of acts of The Wasps. It's a play full of political comment, featuring an elderly father with an addiction for acting as a juror and his son, who is trying to keep him at home. While it's a little odd, it *feels* like an ancient Greek version of 'one foot in the grave', and I can just imagine Victor Meldrew expressing his desire to place his voting marble in the urn while condemning the defendant.

Culture was seldom so... common.

Oh, BTW I am convinced running the bookshop is what Snape really did when he finished filming for Harry Potter (and not being killed by Voldemort). The guy running it looks so much like an older version of Alan Rickman's character.

I've not really blogged about it yet because I'm not sure what to blog.

We went to the Salt & Light bible week for just Sunday and Monday this week. It was great to be there, see so many many friends, get inspired, encouraged, see where our other family are heading.

It took a while to settle into the worship, despite really wanting to participate. At first I found myself doing it, singing along but with nothing stirring inside. Later this seemed to be less of an issue and it began to feel like I meant it instead of just repeating the words. It feels like a long time since I was able to relax in a worship time and just take part, though even then there was a little bit that still wonders what the guitar players are doing etc.

The second evening we were there Phatfish led the worship time, and mostly it seemed pretty good. Everyone was really going for it and after the second or third song the congregation went off singing in the Spirit. CLANG! One keychange and a new song later and we were back following the setlist again, instead of the Spirit. Sure we followed the new direction, but after that some of the heart had gone out of it.

After the 'meeting' part had finished the band came back for a concert. We had to leave that evening to drive the 140 miles back, but wanted to stick around and hear them. At the end of the second song Chris turned to me and said "I'm not really enjoying this". Since this mirrored my thoughts exactly we left for home. I'm not exactly sure why they didn't work for us. Good musicianship, sure, but they were neither a worship band nor a rock band at that stage and the sound was far from great too. I could hear some great rhythms at times, but it was all buried in this wall of too many people playing at the same time.

The good bits WERE good for us though. Very much appreciated Steve Thomas word (between Phatfish gigs) although right NOW I can remember very little: and that's no reflection on what he said. A lot resonated with the previous evening's speaker - Francois van Niekirk from Hatfield church in Pretoria. One of the things particularly was the need to be pruned to be more fruitful: not using energy up in certain directions which may have produced some fruit in order to produce a lot more fruit in a key direction. Chris very much felt we had already been through that pruning process over the last year, and I can certainly testify it's been a time of setting aside some things that were important, as well as feeling cut up and quite desperate at times. It's been a period of having to trust that God is at work, even when people didn't stuff for what appeared to be human reasons. This has not been fun.

And it was good to hear Mark Mumford covering the 2020 strategy on the Sunday morning. I still want to plant a church at some stage, and consider our present experiences part of the training for that. Wish I could get over the desire to whinge about the stuff I didn't like and to retain a Godly perspective on it all.

Essay over.

Do you ever get....

.... the feeling that doing something reasonable is going to get you into lots of trouble?

I want to send an email, but I have this sense of impending doom that what is perfectly reasonable will come back to bite me. I've been around people long enough worry about this kind of thing.

Bit like blogposts really.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

I'd like to quote Bonhoeffer from Alan Knox's blog:

The Church is the Church only when it exists for others. To make a start, it would give away all its property to those in need. The clergy must live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling. The Church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.

It's well worth looking at the full blogpost. I can see a few things I'd adjust slightly but the heart behind this is undeniable in it's call for authenticity in the way we are church to those who are not.

By the grace of God

I have my first order. Now if we could manage one like this per week then it would make the business look do-able.

What's the likelihood

of Libya paying compensation to victims of IRA bombs now?

I wish someone would take out a class action in the US against all those that supported Noraid as sponsors of terrorism too. I can feel far more sympathy for the Libyans struggling against the west than I can for those funding the IRA from America.

Saturday 22 August 2009

Friday 21 August 2009


At work first thing this morning I got a call from someone from St. Georges hospital. They wanted to order some stuff and could only find my mobile number.

My first order!

Fingers are starting to tremble slightly has I scrabble furiously for a pen.

Great - what would you like?

We'd like some XXX kits made by XXX inc.

I'm sorry, You need to call George Xxxxxxxxxx who works for X X inc. Bear with me, I'll give you his number.

Ho hum.

Thursday 20 August 2009

It's really nice to receive cheques from the Inland Revenue.

We registered the company for VAT at the very beginning, and I think that was the right thing to do, since we won't be selling to provate individuals. It has added paperwork, not not a huge amount, but at this stage in our corporate life the VAT rebate (on materials purchased) is enormously helpful. It's just worrying to know that it's only 17.5% (or 15%) of what we've spent on materials etc.

It would be really nice to actually sell something soon though.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Just finished

putting the stuff together for a little Friday night cluster.

Psalm 25 - where God says He wants to teach people about Himself and will talk to those that are willing to listen.

Hope I've not given the game away. ;-)

Monday 17 August 2009

Talking of wacky, there's a song we sing

...... in HPC.

It should be:
Our God is good, Our God is faithful,
Our God is strong, our God is able.

But I can't seem to stop singing (in my head):
Our God is good, Our God is able,
Our God is strong, our God is stable.

I wonder what this is reflecting?

In today's Times newspaper

there was an interesting comment in the TV section - of all places !

They got a bunch of guys together including the archbishop of Canterbury, Chief Rabbi, Head of the RC church in England and Muslim and Buddist equivalents. Sorry, I just can't remember names.

They were asked how they knew God was real.

Now I'm quite prepared to accept that the article was not going to be biased in their favour, but it would seem none of them gave an answer better than 'because they did'. The article did, quite perceptively, point out that had any of them had a 'Damascus road' experience or claim to actually hear from God then they would not be able to hold the positions they did, mostly due to public ridicule and disbelief. Anyone remember George Dubyah Bush?

The reason this is interesting is that we were talking about knowing God in the nut cluster last week. Someone asked the $64,000 question "so how do you know God" and I had to answer truthfully back, that I believed He talked to me sometimes. It was quite funny really, because I preceded my comments with "I'm going to sound like a fruitcake saying this, but...."

So how is one honest about it?

Conversely, if we think God deals with us on a purely intellectual, spiritual (oh yeah, whatever that is - it's a great way of dodging any real answer because it's so mystical, right) or faith level, how DO you know? Actually, what it boils down to is that, if God doesn't interact with us in a way that intrudes into reality how can we know Him at all? If you stand up and say "thus says the Lord..." or if you agree with those that do, how can you not recognise that God interacts directly. And if He doesn't interact directly, why haven't you challenged those that Do stand up and say such things (maybe your church doesn't allow people to do that - we wouldn't want God messing up our order, now would we?)?

I'd adapt the writings of James a little bit. Just as he says "faith without works is dead" I'd also suggest that faith without God's works is struggling to uphold it's claim to life. Now I'm also struggling at this point because I can see both sides of almost every argument and I'm disagreeing with myself a little bit here. So please, take this in the spirit it's intended, not to be dogmatic, but to provoke us to ask why we believe in God and how we know Him for ourselves: if we do? And if we don't, why would it be ridiculous for God, if He were real, to talk to people.

Sunday 16 August 2009

Just heard on Radio 4

They were interviewing a competitive eater.

He was asked "does it (competitive success) drive the women mad for you".

The answer was "we have these crazy 300lb groupies".

At this point I turned the radio off and ran from the car!

Our country garden smells like Camden Market

No really.

The neighbours had a party on Friday night. I can still smell the weed (or something very similar) Sunday Lunchtime.

I would be interested in developing more understanding in the theology and spiritual background of drug/incense use. I've certainly seen the effects of incense sticks, and I believe use of them (at least certain varieties) invites 'unhelpful' spiritual interest. But I'm also sure there's a link between drug use and spirituality. I don't want to get wacky or go all right-wing evangelical over it, but at the same time it doesn't seem innocuous and the effects not merely biochemical.

Anyone have any wisdom?

Friday 14 August 2009

These images just work for me.

And closer to reality:

With all the furore over healthcare in the US

I thought this article from today's Times newspaper was most telling.

Quick summary: 2 women who did not get treated well by the NHS were interviewed, ostensibly for a documentary, but instead have had their interviews misrepresented by those trying to derail Obama's health care reforms. I guess if they were Americans in America they would sue in a multi-million dollar defamation suit.

As one standing back and reading what various Americans are saying about it, I'm reasonably convinced that the US right are a highly unpleasant bunch, however good their worship music and wealthy their churches are. As history has shown before, once again both good and evil seem able to rub shoulders comfortably within the same church, even in the same people. It's almost as if there's a blindness that allows the unthinkable to not be thought about while it's being done. I rather wonder if that's how it is for us when we 'knowingly' sin and just go ahead and do it anyway?

I bet some of the guys on a certain forum are thumping the tub so hard it's a wonder it hasn't split yet, along with posting more picture of Obama as Hitler. Can a spring produce both fresh and salty water? Apparently so.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Went shopping for a swimming cozzie this afternoon.

For Chris, of course.

We went into the first suitable shop (BHS Banbury) selected some likely designs, which she tried, picked the one that obviously worked best, tried it in a smaller (correct) size... and bought it.

Chris was amazed that I could say which was the right one, just like that. She has enjoyed her experience of shopping as men do it, and wants it to be like this more often!

seriously wondering about trying to get a band together.

I've played for 28 years in church with just 2 years out, but right now it feels like that's all just stopped. Kind of wondering about trying to get some kind of band together with a view to gigging etc, as well as having fun.

Current concerns are that my finger joints won't hold up any more, I'm now too out of practice at rocking out (that aspect has been deteriorating for the last 4 or 5 years) and that I'm usurping what God's trying to do with me. But I went to see a band last night, and hearing them it made the 'mountain' of it seem quite mole-hill like.

We'll see.

For the time being

my facebook account is active again.

If you find that you've been de-linked, it's nothing personal, but I am restricting it to those for whom facebook is my only point of contact. Thus if you blog, you've been de-linked. If I meet you face to face or speak on the phone more than a couple of times a year, you've been de-linked. If you live within 35 miles of me, you've been de-linked.

I will definitely not accept friendship requests from people that meet the above criteria.

I am free to bend or break these guidelines at any time: facebook is going to work for me and be useful, rather than a burden or source of concern.

Monday 10 August 2009

Sounds of happy frying in the kitchen - dinner must be nearly ready.


Here I am

Preparing for the pastoral cluster group (we call it the nut cluster group - we're nuts as much as anyone) with a certain sense of deja vu.

It felt right to prepare stuff about God; who He is, aspects of His character etc. Last week I did something I hadn't done before, and it seemed to work well. This week it really felt right to go back to something I prep'd a while back. It's all relevant except one section I wrote.

As Christians we have a natural tendency to major on the closeness, the fatherhood, the familiarity, the graciousness, the love of God. Abba Father. Jesus is my homeboy.

I'm leaving it in as a possible discussion point, but in this church I can't imagine many feeling like this. It's good to recognise the different characters different peoples have, not necessarily wrong, but often a reflection of other things.

I hope it does work out useful and encouraging.

Wednesday 5 August 2009

This is somewhat self-evident.

It seems that a study has found that if you're not very bright then you may not be clever enough to realise. So is this why I'm often over-estimating my abilities?

The last entry I made to search bible gateway.

was to search

for the word



I find that funny.

My mother used to tell me that prunes were like missionaries - they went into the dark interior and did good.

I wonder if she reads this and remembers. :-)

Have you.....

ever deleted a post?

Seriously, I found a funny image on the web, popped it up and linked to it, then followed it back to it's original creator (not the place I found it).

As it turns out, their images posted on the web require that you request permission to use them on a not-for-profit blog. The image is funny, but not funny enough that I bother to wait for his permission to use it, and I'd rather delete than knowingly infringe his copyright. I don't often follow random image sources that I find, but having done so, I can't then filch where permission is specifically not given.

I won't reveal the site, because I won't send traffic his way (the 'fair exchange' of linking images).


Monday 3 August 2009

Stress is like....

being poked in the face.

Ever had something you had to do, but didn't really want to because it wasn't clear what or how EXACTLY to do it? My brain tries to find other things to do, pleasant (r even less pleasant distractions. All of which make it worse, becase yu then haven't do it for yet another day.

I've just completed application for CE mark registration for my products. It's not hard, really, but the forms are extremely open and somewhat ambiguous, at least to me. I get the feeling I'm being fed rope with the opportunity to hang myself, even though if my products should ever fail no-one's life would be at risk.

But it's just.... doing the form thing.

Right, done, posted, home now on the bike, day off tomorrow.

At some stage in the future I may have to do this for France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and various other places too. How's m Swedish doing?


What would you do?

Daily sex helps to reduce sperm DNA damage and improve fertility

I didn't get to attend the ESHRE meeting in Amsterdam this year, but they did send me their 'highlights' including the above. Yes, it's a serious paper, and makes good sense for a couple struggling to have a baby. It is also diametrically opposed to other techniques suggested where a likely cause is poor sperm quality (abstinence to build up numbers) but the logic behind both methods is very clear.

There's also a course on in Budapest at the beginning of December - wonder if it could be combined with a little Christmas marketing? Budapest is a fascinating city, but I bet it's darn cold in December.

What's in a translation II

Some of you may remember my original post "what's in a translation"?

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.

I have been turning this over a lot over the last couple of months: it sounds so right in the light of both human nature and other parts of the bible, yet why would only a single translation have this particular interpretation? This morning I was reading from Genesis 3 and on again, and came across this:

Gen 4v6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

In my NIV study bible the notes observe that the Hebrew word used for desire here is the same word used for the woman's desire for her husband. It would seem this is not a word of love or even lust, but is one of ownership, possession and control.

I do have some thoughts in mind about this, but unusually for me, I want to arrange them carefully instead of just bunging down onto the page whatever appears in my stream of consciousness. You may therefore need to be patient. It is also not necessarily what some will be expecting. Lets hope I can find the energy and enthusiasm for it.