Thursday, 30 October 2008

Forgiveness might be the death of me

I have just had a meeting with my tutor regarding my project. He slated some of it, and praised other parts. He recommended I read Jewish Holocaust literature, as my project is focussed on a Jew during the war, it would be good to look at other, contemporary responses.

I haven't read anything yet. I have merely looked up books. I have occasionally glanced at their contents pages. And I feel sick. I have this feeling of being on the edge of something, and the moment I read that first book, there will be no going back. There will be no twee, 'we must forgive' type answer. I feel like I could lose my faith. The enormity of the horror of the Holocaust has never struck me properly, and I want to read, and understand, but mostly, hold onto my faith. I don't mind if it's shaken, but I will not accept it being taken from me.

So, friends, if you happen to be reading this, whoever you may be from the small number that do: uphold me. I want to hang onto Biblical truth, but I want to engage with the feelings and tragedies of the Holocaust. I am about to walk out into the unknown, without a light or a map, and only a vague memory of something good to keep me going. Help me.

Sunday, 19 October 2008


Should one pay £15.50 to go to a worship service?


No, I don't think so.

Last night, I went to see Tree63 and Delirious play at the IndigO² (not one for product placement, but there's not really much else one can do when it's incorporated into the name...). They were both very good, excellent musically, the performance was highly enjoyable, and so on and so forth. However, I paid £15.50 to go see them. Not that I complain at such a price - it's reasonable for a gig. But would someone pay that amount of money to go to church? I highly doubt it. I raise this question because the totality of both sets were 'worship songs'. I have nothing intrinsically against 'worship', don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure it's right to charge people to go and see it. If a band is going to simply entertain me, then I think it's fair that I pay them for their services. But 'worship songs'?

I say all this, and as I say it, I realise my folly. My concept of worship is askew, I suppose - if worship is a life of godliness, then it doesn't matter if it's 'entertainment' or 'worship', does it? I've gone and got myself confused. Come back to me on this one...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Just experienced a Deeper meeting that was a brilliant expression - for me - of community. I was sat at the back, and at one point stopped singing, just so I could hear everyone else. As I watched and listened I thought about specific individuals, and how we relate together as a community. We can be horribly superficial, we can be mundane, we can be crude and silly, but when it comes to the crux of the matter, we all love Jesus. I know some Christians would be fairly unimpressed with the way we act sometimes, but underneath the superficial, the mundane, the crude and the silly, we'd lay our lives on the line for someone who laid his life on the line for us. When college feels like everything is going wrong; we don't fit in; we're self-conscience about everything, I really hope we remember why we're here, and what it is that brings us together.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Facebook Etiquette...

I wanted to post this yesterday, but didn't want to get too carried away with the blog posts, and then run out of things to say. I was obviously feeling very verbose.

So, Facebook etiquette, eh? A fresher has added me. I do not have a problem with this at all. In fact, I welcome the opportunity to get to know them a little better. However, what's the deal with adding friends? I mean, should I add freshers because they're freshers, or wait until I get to hang out with them, adding them one by one as the socialising dictates? Harking back to when I was a fresher, adding second or third years seemed like I was punching well above my weight, and I got quite excited when one of them had the good grace to add me. But now, I feel the freshers might be offended if a third year they have barely talked to added them on Facebook. I'm thoroughly confused, and don't really know how one goes about this whole process.

So, I vote that someone writes a book of Facebook etiquette - write it all down and sort this mess out once and for all. It'd be so much easier. Then I wouldn't even have to talk to people...

Monday, 13 October 2008

The end of the world as we know it... and we'll be fine.

I hope.

I thought my missives had lacked a distinct note of financial despair over the last few weeks, and now seemed like a good a time as any to thrash out my thoughts regarding the current economic climate.

First off, how bizarre is it that this 'crash' has no apparent ramifications for the 'real world'? I put those concepts in inverted commas because it would seem that the financial world, money markets and stock exchanges inhabit a different reality to the one within which we live. When we start talking about billions of monetary units, we're no longer talking of hard cash, but numbers which governments feel they can justifiably materialise from nowhere to steady the market. The actual outworking of these crashes will be felt perhaps in a few months, as long as the situation doesn't worsen, but currently, I have felt no realistic worry about my money, or the future of the world.

Perhaps this is due to my being a student, not currently owning a house, nor a car, nothing that will drastically depreciate or that I have a loan out on. Perhaps I am just being naive, and missing the point entirely, wandering about happily in my own world, about to shocked something silly.

But what is our theological response to this? We are told that we will soon be feeling the pinch, but I believe in a God who supplies all my needs. I'm not sure that Christians should be worried; concerned, yes - because we are seeing the potential shift in power from the banks to an unspecified 'other', but worried about money? No. God promises to provide all our needs. We should be more reliant on what he says he will do, as opposed to what the banks threaten to do.


I have recently discovered the iTunes visualiser. This is amazing. Midway through this post, I was mesmerised by the visualisation of a Sigur Ros song... this could be fun.


We were challenged this evening at church to think about tithing. Not of the normal, 10%-of-your income type tithing, but of your time. My time. The figure quoted was 10% of hours in the day, meaning two hours and twenty-four minutes. I want to do this. I want to sacrifice the time I spend online, writing on my blog that hardly anyone reads, purposelessly Facebooking, or whatever other pointless japes I spend my time doing. And yet, 2 hours and twenty-four minutes is a large chunk of my day. I want to instigate this kind of routine in my life, especially now I'm back at college, but with so many other demands on my time, such as academic work, or socialising, I struggle to figure out where it will fit. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

To Pastor, Or...

I am about to indulge in a little selfish theorising, and for that, I ask forgiveness.

But I am torn. It has been my aspiration, since the age of 11 or 12, to study theology and work in a pastoral setting immediately afterwards. However, increasingly it seems, I have had a few people mention the possibility of going into secular work of some kind, office work, perhaps temping for a year or two previous to finding church employment. I can see the logic of this: working in a non-Christian environment, earning some cash before going into one of the worst paid jobs in society, and escaping the Christian bubble, albeit briefly. However, God's call in my life is to go and work in the church. This said, I have no definitive time frame, and temping would not close the door to finding church work swiftly afterwards. This, my friends, is why I am torn, and ever so slightly confused. I want to do the right thing, and I have no clue what that might be.

Monday, 6 October 2008


So, here we are. College is about to kick in, in earnest, and I have solely myself to blame if it all goes wrong. I am looking forward to this year, to getting into the rhythm of lectures and library and work and rest. But I know, as a third year, I've got to motivate myself. I can't be sitting around hoping good things might happen; I've got to go and do it. Not my forte, but I'm still hopeful. Living in college is so much more productive than living out. The library will be my second home, and I have no qualms about working over socialising. Yet.

I do, however, need to get a good balance of all the things I'm working on. I need to look at project material soon, but I'm currently reading up on my lectures. I don't want my project to go on the back burner for too long, or I will fall too far behind. All these things, all these infuriating little things - burdens, frustrations and concerns - they plague me, but I hope in doing so, they spur me onto higher and greater.

Friday, 3 October 2008

More on that there race and other stories

I recently logged onto The Times website, being the good middle-class boy that I am, and saw the words 'How Sarah Palin lost...' with the subtitle 'And how Obama is unstoppable.' Now, I do not profess to be an expert on Americans, nor American politics in general, but my meagre observations have discovered a few things in relation to English-American differences.

First of all, the entirety of the English media seems very much against the Republican side, and seems to assume, due to his dynamic style and liberalism, Obama has it in the bag. I would disagree with this entirely. Never underestimate the Right when it comes to America. Putting aside the dubious Florida results, the Republican win in 2000 was preceded by the Guardian asking their loyal readership to send letters to their American counterparts to vote Democrat. The support for Al Gore was strong over here. But as Briana wisely said: 'I don't care what British people think. They don't have a vote.'

Secondly, if we took Obama and McCain, with Biden and Palin as their deputies, and transported the electoral process to the UK, political spectrum staying vaguely in place, the Left would win outright. Partly because the UK is a more secular culture than the States, and the Right's policies would abhor most over here, but the major moneywinner would be Barack Obama's ability to look like he's cool, calm and collected in all situations. We value that over real politics, which is a concerning indictment on the British state of play.

Obama and the Democrats have not won outright. They do seem to have the lead in the polls, but it is in no way a foregone conclusion. Watch this space.


I have moved into college, and I'm currently typing this from my desk in my room, observing the courtyard - where nothing happens - and trying not to stare at the lecturer's offices across the way. It has been exciting, and yet very tiring. I look forward to this weekend, and the possibility of getting to sleep in for a considerable amount of time.

I am also currently aware of how bizarre relationships, and the process by which they are formed, are. Getting to know 60 odd new people is something of a challenge. You want to retreat to the safety of known friends, and you want to make the new people feel welcome. It's a very odd experience, being so torn. I only hope I might be getting it right, somehow.