Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It comes, it goes...

So for a bit there I was back in the blogging seems to have gone a little awol of late.
I have half written a post but I can't quite finish it...which actually is relevant to what the post is about...keeping secrets. So you see, the post is quite hard to write!
Anyway, I'm ticking along. I'm off to Spring Harvest next week. I'm looking forward to it but I'm also a little nervous, I always am for some reason, many reasons I expect.
We had a nice weekend last weekend with Husbink's parents. It was VERY relaxed. So relaxed as to be lots of sleeping and not very much else.
Husbink is on nights again tonight and I am off ot home group. I would rather be sleeping but I'm sure it'll be good for me.
Anyhoo, just to check in really. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009


There are times when you simply have to be proud to be human, proud to belong to the people that you do. One such time for me was last night watching Comic Relief.
I get a lot of whiners at work. People who complain about everything, especially money. Last week seemed to be full of them. They only see the bad and they are so unbelievably selfish as well. Our shop is not cheap, people who shop with us are pretty well off, not just in the grand global scheme of things but in the UK scheme of things too. And yet they whine and whine and whine. So I start to think the worst of people.
Then you see that Comic Relief raised a record breaking amount of money. £57million on the night, up to £59million now. People aren't all bad. People are prepared to reach into their pockets to help other people. This was a good thing to be reminded of!
The other thing that I really enjoyed about it was the whole celebrities prepared to make prats of themselves thing, like teachers at the end of term or leaders on the last night of a holiday club... It somehow makes you feel part of something, which is also a very good thing. And something, as I think I've mentioned before that is seriously lacking in our communities these days. I feel more part of a radio show audience than I do part of my street. If that makes sense.
Anyway, all round, it was an uplifting thing. An uplift I need to take with me over the next few days.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why does it make a difference?

I was coming to post about something else but an email I've found on the way has changed the topic!
This email was from a friend and it was a forward from a friend of theirs regarding blood/bone marrow donation as a general need and specifically for their daughter (the friend of a friend's daughter. Keeping up?!) I am not a blood donor because I can't be - I had two blood transfusions (following my two jaw operations) in the "bad" window when bloods were not properly screened and there was BSE and so on. So I can't donate blood now or ever. That's a slight tangent.
With this email was a flyer highlighting the family's campaign. I was thinking along the lines of "oh, that's sad, poor them, hope it works out" before opening the flyer. Then I opened it and the girl affected is just gorgeous. About eight years old, beautiful smile, really bright looking, her hair in cute bunches and so on. So now the story is devastating, desperately sad, wish I could donate (but see above, I can't - though maybe bone marrow? I don't know.)
Why does the fact that she is cute make any difference at all? Obviously there have been studies into things like maternal instincts and that cuter children (bigger eyes, whatever it is) do bring out more of the natural desire to protect but still...
I can't ever know if the reaction would have been the same on opening the flyer - maybe it was just having a face to the problem that was the trigger and how she looked didn't really have anything to do with it but I think we've probably seen this on bigger scales anyway to know that it isn't just me and that the story and just a face does not produce the same interest as a story and a pretty face. Thoughts?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Being Me

A bit of a break from the last post for something more lighthearted!

On Friday, Husbink got home from the night shift and wasn't completely exhausted. It was a beautiful day so I suggested he didn't sleep and we went out somewhere. We went to an RSPB reserve on wetlands east of Goole. It was very beautiful. There were lots of birds. (I love wigeons, they are so cute - pictures another time). We also saw stoats. Or weasels. We aren't quite sure which but they performed very well. (I quick Google search confirms our opinion that they probably were stoats. The fact that a few of the same images came up for stoats and weasels though makes me not completely confident...) And we saw rats. But they were out in the country so they were cute too! (Actually, they were quite interesting as my immediate reaction to them was "gosh, I've never seen an unstressed rat before!" they were just chilled, nibbling food, sunbathing...)
Then we Ikea'd (I think it is a verb, no?) and acquired new furniture so Saturday was spent rearranging the house. And buying lots of seeds so that I can grow patio vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas, tomatoes, peppers and another go at spring onions but I'm not holding my breath there.)
We played poker on Saturday night with friends in Leeds.
Sunday was chilled other than a strenuous gym session and a challenging sermon in the evening. I had some pain so I was pretty grumpy and a bit wiped out. I still have some pain today so I'm still a bit wiped out. Though that is partly due to the personal training session too.

ANYWAY. That was all preamble to the point really. The point was, that I had a really good weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed all the things we did but I also realised that I've been having a bit of a tendency to behave how I think other people are expecting me to behave at the moment. With our new cell group or the knitter natter group or whatever, I've been taking the lead from the people already there rather than just being myself. If they don't like me when I'm being me, well, at least they know what's not to like!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A personal debate in public

I thought I'd expand one of the paragraphs in the previous post a bit since I've received a few offline comments about it and writing things down helps order thoughts and people's opinions are very important in such things too. Opinions? Perhaps not the right word - people's wisdom is better I think.


  1. I think it is important (and in many instances explicitly scriptural) for Christians to meet together because...Fellowship is good. Spending time with people on the same journey, though at many different points, is a seriously necessary thing to do. Some of that time can be formal (corporate worship, bible studies etc) but some (most?) needs to be relational. It needs to be about getting to know people and having genuine relationships with them that lead to accountability, honesty, true support...
  2. People need to worship together. Le Welsh will know who I'm talking of when I mention a chap who once said "sometimes it takes me a full half hour after I wake up in the morning before I start truly worshipping God" (or something along those lines). Well, sometimes it takes me the whole day. And the next day. And the next. If I did not have times of corporate worship giving me a good kick up the backside (yes, sometimes they can give a bad kick up the backside too) I might quickly lose all ability to worship God. Except perhaps those glorious moments of blue skies/trees/mountains/birdsong/rivers...I think and hope that I would always feel drawn to my creator and saviour in those contexts.
  3. We need to learn. Yes, there is an abundance of Christian material (not least the bible!) out there from which we can gain knowledge and understanding of God in private but I do not think we can take away what comes from learning together, discussing with others, hearing directly from people wiser than ourselves. We need to come together to be taught. On our own we can pick and choose too much and start creating the God we want to exist rather than continuing to be created by the God that does exist.
  4. Communion. I think perhaps in contemporary times this is not as obvious as it would have been thirty or forty years ago. Because we are in a major backlash against tradition and formality and ritual (some of which is good) we may have lost sight of the fact that communion is scriptural - it is just some of the trappings of it that perhaps are not. Communion can certainly be part of a meal with friends. It can certainly be taken out of "the church" but it does require Christians together to do it.

Next come the things that I think are vital to our Christian lives but don't necessarily have to be done together.

  1. Love. Kind of like point one above but not so much about the growing/discipling fellowship above, more about the outward looking, how we treat the world aspect. It is impossible to sustain that love with God and how we keep ourselves "fuelled" or "topped up" or "on track" with God may indeed bring us back to point one above.
  2. Justice/Social Action/Call it what you may. An offshoot of love but a more active one. We're all different. For some this will be a serious money challenge, for others a serious prayer challenge, for others a serious get off your backside and be my hands challenge.
  3. Stewardship. More of the same in a way. Taking good care of what we have in the widest possible context. Environmental issues are utterly mainstream now but they are utterly Christian too.

I know there are many shapes of church now. There are traditional (in the broadest sense - to encompass all that meet in a building on a Sunday morning and have something more or less akin to the hymn sandwich style of my childhood) churches. There are mainstream non-traditional (like our local Vineyard that meet not on a Sunday and structure things differently but are part of a fairly well known, fairly widespread organisation). There are new style house churches. There are churches that meet in pubs, clubs, shoe shops (that is possibly the best of the ones I've read about). There are groups of friends that meet up to encourage their faith.
The thing is, with any of these "new" styles of church (by coincidence, I've just taken a break from writing and popped over to Simon's blog which contains thoughts on newness.) when they become successful or popular, they are going to find that they need a bigger building or a purpose built building or that in fact Sundays really are the most convenient time to meet... They are going to find that they do and say the same thing every week, creating liturgy all over again. They may find that they go on loving and acting in the world in a more upfront out there sort of way than their predecessors but they are going to start looking awfully similar.
Because of that, I have always felt it better to try to change the churches that already exist and help people (myself at the top of the list of people to help) change their habits, change what they desire from church, change their outlook, rather than dash off and create a new church from scratch that is going to hit all the same problems in a year, five years, ten years, twenty years. As someone put it recently about the church I'm currently affiliated with "They were all young twenty years ago and doing amazing things. Now they're all writing books about the things they did then." The church is relatively new despite being in one of the oldest buildings in an old city. They've gone from big ideals and newness to big ideals and familiarity. This is not a criticism, it is what happens. But I'm bored of it. Is this just my problem? Do I need to face a time of discipline to get through it and come out the other side? Do I need to fight along the way and use my dissatisfaction to create change? Do I need to depart all together and try one of these new fangled systems of church?
I've just deleted a whole other paragraph because I think that is enough thoughts for one day. I could go on for a long while with related thoughts and ideas but I'll stop here for now. I would love to hear what you have to say, by comment, by email, by phone, face to face... When I've thought some more (and maybe had some feedback), I'll perhaps post round two! In the mean time, I'm going to do something that I've been considering for a while and email Traidcraft to ask about fairtrade wool...