Wednesday, 28 January 2009

John Updike

Ben Myers offers an obituary of John Updike that is so beautifully written I will be taking Updike novels and Barth's commentary on the Romans on holiday with me.

Richard over at Connexions pointed Ben's article out - thanks Richard.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Auntie Beeb's knickers in a twist

I wonder if the clever people at the BBC have deliberately got themselves into their current pickle because they know that the DEC appeal for funds to provide aid in Gaza will get a lot more attention if there is an almighty row attached to it?

Time and again the DEC have issued appeals with one aim in mind, to aid humanity and reduce suffering. The very point of the DEC is that it is a group of highly respected agencies who work together to meet extreme need. 

See today's Ekklesia Bulletin report for more on Mark Thompson's apparent need to dig an ever bigger hole underneath himself.

For details of how to donate to the appeal visit the DEC's website.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Lent Courses

In just a few weeks time we will be making that very difficult decision - will it be savoury (e.g. Tuna and Cheese), traditional (Lemon and Sugar) or wickedly indulgent (tinned pairs, rich dark chocolate sauce and very good vanilla ice cream)? Or perhaps one of each! Yes Lent is just around the corner - at least it is for those of us who have to plan 2 or 3 courses in our own churches or ecumenical groups.

So for me a prior decision to what to have in my pancake on Shrove Tuesday, is 'what Lent course/resource' should I use?

An appeal.... any ideas folks? What have you used and in what context?

Looking forward to your responses (and any off-the-wall pancake filling ideas also acceptable!).

Monday, 12 January 2009

Thinking about stuff

Well Sunday came and went - it was great to be doing my 3rd Covenant service, I'd almost got the sermon crafted by the final time of delivery! Of course the atheist bus ad was a gift to any preacher considering what God might require of us. I might tentatively suggest that enjoying ourselves is something we can do because God probably (or certainly...) does exist. So considering 'What shall I render to my God' in terms of Covenant renewal was okay.

I managed via Iplayer to catch up with the last episode of Ann Frank. I knew where it was going of course but that did not make it less moving. It was good to see how involved my kids became in the story - another generation will know something of the struggle and horror that is born of hatred and insane prejudice. It was also interesting to watch the series in the context of what is going on in Palestine/Israel.

For me though the best thing about the adaptation was that Ann was portrayed as a rounded person - a teenager with all the questions, idealism, anger, love, romanticism that should be in a 13 - 14 year old - especially one as intelligent as she was. She was not a saint - I felt I knew her better than in previous portrayals and felt so much for her mother, played wonderfully by Tamsin Greig.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Post Chrimble Slump

Not a comment on the financial state of the world, but a reflection of the kind of week I've had! There are a quantity of Christmas baubles and tinsel on the lounge floor waiting for the tallest person in the house (not me - I have two strapping guys at 6'3" and 5'11" to fit that bill - and one is still growing) to get the boxes down from the loft. My bedroom looks like a disaster in a clothing factory, the kitchen floor.... well it's best to wear shoes in there if you want to get across it without sticking and so it goes on. The pile of good intentions that sits upon my desk has grown in an inverse proportion to the amount of enthusiasm I have for tackling any of it.

I attended a meeting last night where the most energetic part of the whole thing was around whether the carols in the Carol Service had been traditional enough (not one was less than 100 years old - ye gads). Apparently, people 'come a long way to sing their favourite carols' and there's me thinking that we gathered to worship God and re-tell the story of the incarnation of Christ. I think I'm probably being a bit prickly about this because I was so very ill before Christmas and had to plan and deliver services when I just wanted to curl up and die in a blaze of Night Nurse and hot toddy glory. In a moment of inspired democracy I suggested that people list their favourite carols for me, so that we might form a group and work together to plan next Christmas's services. I think I may have gone too far when someone said we hadn't sung enough carols in early  December and I pointed out that 'Advent is not Christmas' .

Is church about comfort and 'our favourite things'? I think there is a place for the familiar (there was a lot of it at Christmas - nothing at all radical I'm ashamed to confess) but what about mission, about change, growth....? The incarnation is hardly comfortable.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Gadgets for God

I love the Ship of Fools 'Gadgets for God' pages. If you need to have a side splitting belly laugh at how low Christian taste can sink (if the price is right...) visit this site. If you find something in the list you like, don't tell anyone they will not want to be your friend anymore. Mmmm Footballing Jesus - I'm sure it would look nice on our mantelpiece.... HELP.

Take Action

Christian Aid are providing a way of joining in a petition to urge the UK Government to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. As the message says, 'Military action is no solution to this crisis. Only dialogue between all parties can achieve lasting peace and a viable solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike.' 

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Rachel Weeps For Her Children

Preaching at a Methodist Covenant service is an interesting and painful challenge this year - to use the Jeremiah passages about good news for people in exile should be a helpful strand, but the readings about the old covenant talk again and again about peace for Isreal and how she will overcome her enemies. As the world watches Israel again sends tanks and bombs against communities that are struggling for water, food, decent hospital care and where people cannot work because their jobs are on the other side of the walls and blockades built (as throughout history) in the 'name of peace and security'. Hamas is not right in the way it is striving for what it wants, there are other more appropriate groups in Palestine. But as the British Government did on Bloody Sunday in Ireland, the Israeli Government is creating a whole new generation of 'freedom fighters' and suicide bombers. And in Gaza Rachel cries for her children, because they are no more.

Blogging Again

I'm back in the world of blogging! My old blog 'Singing colours' sits sadly in the blogosphere - unloved and unattended. Why? Cos the email address that allowed me to alter it died when my old job did!

So here, for the world to see (or the one or two folk who visit) is my new blog!!! Hurray. I don't promise to add something every day but look forward to endless hours of making a fuss about things most people don't give a fig about.

Visit again soon for exciting meanderings.