Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Monday, 27 February 2012

One of the saddest things.

I wonder if one of the saddest things is finding that the people you thought you were aligned with, that felt you understood, that seemed to be your friends just because they were - had a rather different set of objectives and responses.

Chris and I cuddled this morning and were grateful to each other that we do both want essentially the same things - we line up with each other. Sure that's 30+ years of being together producing fruit, but so many others don't seem to do that, and I feel really sad for them. It's the same with church family - sometimes it can feel like you're a fish that thought you were swimming in the shoal, only to find some of those closest to you were swimming away.

At times like this it's so important to build friendships, rather than take offence or run away because you can't agree. I hope I'm learning.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Hard reset!

This is a phrase that should cause some trepidation for android phone users (no idea about the iPhone). After the last update this phone started running slow, then the crashes began.


Researches turned up little help other than the only likely fix was either rooting (not great with 1 year of warranty left) or resetting so it loses everything. In the end I just had enough, backed up through Sandisk memoryzone and told it to forget everything.

It didn't disappoint.

I had at least hoped restoring from a backup would recover all my text messages, though I can't complain really since everything else apart from basic layout has been fully recovered. Contrary to my expectation, saving apps to the SD card did not stop them being erased, though the system (presumably Google) did remember I'd bought endomondo pro so it didn't have to be bought again.

So it's been just like any other computer rebuild. Once the OS is working you restore data, reinstall apps and tweak things around to improve the previous set up and try new stuff. I'be used the phone for several hours now, and apart from a bizarre glitch at the start it seems stable and mostly OK.

I hope it continues, because it's a darn nuisance to do all this again.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Please darlin' let me know.....

well should I stay or should I go?

There's been a trend recently within the church, now that change has really arrived, of people being able to give up/put down things they've been doing, and I've been trying to see what this means for me. There are murmurings in the background of some stuff that very nearly did go in my own life, but just as I'd walked away it seemed to get dumped back on me, and rightly or wrong it seemed that I needed to carry it for the time being - and still am, though there's a sense that it's temporary now, and doesn't either sit or fit well any more. But this is a time of transition, so we'll see what happens. I've a feeling that as a result of some of the above there's more things coming along to pick up, rather than put down.

If I stay there will be trouble, but if I go it will be double.

It's an interesting place to be, in this church that is re-defining it's leadership and leaders. God HAS spoken words of encouragement, of moving forwards, of doing good things. The danger is, of course, relying on feelings so that one is up sometimes and down sometimes. The truth is that as a community we are in a place of incredible opportunity, if only we can overcome the mountain of hurts, habits and stuff we've told ourselves that we must conform to because that's how it's always been done. And I'm including myself in this. Several times I've had to stop myself both thinking and writing about the problems and less desirable aspects of legacy and refocus on the way ahead and all the good things that have been built. It's not *really* that hard, but we all like to look back and whine instead of looking ahead and shouldering the load.

So darlin' let me know, should I stay or should I go?

I also have feeling of things that are coming along that need to be taken up. There's already been a clear word about not doing things myself (thanks Liz - if you ever read this) and a sense of what's needed. At the same time there's a certain reluctance on a number of levels, great feelings of inadequacy and a sense of missing/messing up so that God can't use me that way after all. We'll have to see.

It's also important to remember there's a war on.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Heyford Park Chapel again tonight.

And I'm leading the meeting.

Having a very un-spiritual feeling time right now. However the great thing is that it's not about me, and I'm pretty sure God's going to turn up. Now THAT is something to look forward to.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Bloomin' phones.

After the last update just a few weeks ago my HTC desire - which had been running very well - has started doing frequent re-starts of the HTC sense overlay. The phone itself appears fine, but the latest version of sense seems to keep failing and restarting.

It's still in warranty, so I don't really want to root it, but it is annoying. I'd also prefer not to do a full factory reset, as I don't know for certain that everything can be restored from SD card, nor that starting again will fix the issue. Just hoping there'll be another update along soon that will fix it.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sticking one's neck out

Some will be aware that, as part of being licensed to preach, I am also doing a couple of courses organised by the church of England. The present one is about faith and prayer, and has looked at various traditions and practices.

Now, how do I say it? Some of this is whacky.

I'm trying to discern what is unfamiliar but good from what is unfamiliar and bad. Easier said than done in some ways: relying on instincts and trying to sense what the Holy Spirit is saying is difficult because my personal feelings are often quite strong. Also there are some things one has a sense of being off beam, but they can be very hard to identify a specific reason why. At the same time there are good things in there that make lights come on to explain either the reasons certain things work in particular ways, or to explain that it's OK for feelings to follow a particular direction. I've been very much praying to be able to see the good stuff and to hear what God is saying in this.

Many of these things are from the 'rich tradition' of the western church, though as one gradually works back through history it passes through being simply 'the church' and then Rome to finally Jerusalem. This is to be expected. It seems that many of the key formative characters (discussed and otherwise) were all reacting to socio-political and religious situations they found themselves in, very much in the way that later, the Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostal and house/community churches were formed.

But on the way, some of the church practices picked up odd stuff.

So we were taught about contemplation by a chap who also practiced Zen, and mixed both apparently freely (despite stating to the contrary) in his descriptions: the 'prayer form' of apophatic prayer seems to have been largely drawn from what we would perceive to be eastern meditation, and while potentially different, seems to have borrowed wholesale. Some of the christian mystics that were quoted were almost certainly pushing into gnosticism with their secret knowledge that comes from 'un-knowing' - at least at face value.

On one level I can see how the traditions and the clothes and the forms all fit together, but on another, it all seems pretty stinky.

I'm also somewhat perturbed at the tacit acceptance that a bunch of stories about the 'saints' were basically made up to illustrate how good and pure and holy they were. Great, so now we invent stuff that everyone 'on the inside' knows are made up and make the Christian faith a real minefield theologically. Worse, bible stories then get taught like that, again with the tacit acceptance on the inside that they are in fact not true, and the whole thing then crumbles away in disbelief. One evening I got worried looks when discussing that if Jesus didn't do the things He's recorded as doing then how could we actually trust any of the bible was true.

It's like building a house on nice ideas and cobwebs of good feelings, but underneath there's nothing of substance. I can't go to someone hurting, sick, confused and fearful and tell them everything is OK because we can all go into a quiet place, empty our minds and feel at peace by repeating a word over and over again.

Despite my tone, I'm neither angry nor distressed about this - it's more or less what I expected. I just see my roots going back to Paul, Timothy and possibly Luke, rather than James and a bunch of guys who went off to the desert to isolate themselves from the rest of the world.

Paul's words: "we are merely human, just like you". I can go with that.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Monday, 6 February 2012

Day off (mostly)

It was Chris's birthday yesterday, and so today we took some time together and wandered around Oxford, enjoying the mist and damp and occasionally taking pictures. We also winced a bit at the boys from a local school, running through Christchurch park, their bare legs splattered with icy water and mud. Some we fine, but some were red-legged and stiff. Brought back memories of playing rugby and football in frosty weather, where fingers were too stiff and numb to do up shirt buttons even after a hot shower.

Anyway, pictures.