Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Decades and so on

Anyone else notices that the phrase 'Noughties' to describe the decade we are currently in and soon to leave was first mentioned around the turn of the century and has been dutifully avoided and replaced with the phrase, 'er... The Decade We Are Currently In' until the last few weeks when it has been become 'necessary' to use it in cheap hack pieces about the last 10 years?

Also, the decade doesn't technically end until we become 2011. So... that's put paid to that.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Upon arrival, please leave your sanity at the door...

So I have arrived in the land of smells and heat and people looking at you funny. It feels like coming home, in an odd way. There's so much I love about this country. However, before I eulogise, a few whimsical observations.

--

As we taxied around Chhatrapati Shivaji airport, to our stand, a man across the aisle from me was fiddling with his mobile. I figured that he was changing the time in flight safe mode, something I had done previously. Nothing untoward there, I supposed. Sat in front of him were the two attendants for our cabin, waiting to be able to get up and do that Doors to Manual & Cross Check thing. Then he received a text. How do I know this, you might ask? His phone, at the loudest possible volume, beeped out SMS in morse code.

If you going to be a bit of a numpty, do it subtly, at least.

--

I was standing in the line for passport control, and, as is the wont of Indians, there wasn't really a line. It was about three abreast, with a wheelchair or two thrown in for good measure. There was an elderly looking Indian gentleman behind me, with his wife vying for my place in the queue. Now, had they asked, I probably would have let them go - I'm a genial kind of chap. However, the intention was clearly not to ask, but to jostle. Thankfully, the inspector beckoned me first. I felt I had the moral victory. But really, the question has to be asked - the British spent far too many years here, presuming that our imperial rule was justified by our generous sharing of architecture and engineering. And in all that time we, the British, didn't teach them how to queue?

A trick missed, I feel.

--

There are a few other things which I noticed/found amusing. But then, I'm here two weeks. I'll leave you dangling.

Monday, 28 December 2009

There are so many things...

I just don't know what to say. And as this is a blog, that becomes worthy of note. I'm not sure why, though.

--

Just cut myself opening a present that my friend got me for Christmas. I cut myself on that stupidly tough plastic that surrounds, well, everything now. However, there is a certain irony in the whole thing, in that the present was as penknife.

Monday, 21 December 2009

It is snowing. I love it. I never want it to stop. It's one of my favourite sensations in the world, and I am always disappointed when it comes to an end. So, snow, just don't stop.

"If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"

Oh, Peter. I wish I was you.

--

I'm swiftly approaching my 200th post. Any suggestions for this milestone-like undertaking? All will be read, and most will be dismissed, so make it good.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

I've just gone through all those blogs that I haven't read in a couple of days. And, due to the fact that all my friends are brilliant, I feel about as creative as a inert bit of slime. However, as I am very aware that this is a completely selfish ploy of my brain, and a bizarre lack of self-confidence, I'm going to find a photo that I took and post it. Maybe two. Then I'll feel better, because I entirely rely on doing things and feeling good about them, as opposed to understanding that my God has got my back.

Urgh.

--The Southwell WI choir practice, taken from the loft above the Nave. I reckon it's a good 30-40 metre drop. I enjoyed the challenge. Thanks to Lizzie for getting me up there.

--
This is my church, where I work, in the snow and sun this morning. I like.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Well, d'uh...

Brilliant piece of design and engineering. It's a wonder no-one thought of that before.

--

I was pleased to see that, for some unknown reason, I have a reader in Hanoi. I hope you enjoyed your brief foray on my blog, whoever you are.

Whatever I can do for East-West relations.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Culmination

This blog is basically some thoughts I've had over the last week and, a bit like a volcanoe erupting, I shall now spew forth. Although, there will be considerably less lava, and a few more words. Otherwise, the comparison is pretty much ideal.

--

I was sitting in a well known train station eating slowly cooling food from a well known artery blocking establishment and reading the Evening Standard. I had a lot of time on my hands, so I pretty much read every article in there, and came across these delightful collection of words:
Mr Balls [Minister for Education] and wife Yvette Cooper [Minster for Don'tknowanddon'tcare] are the first married couple to serve as Cabinet ministers. He went on: “I think marriage is important."
Question for you, Mr Balls. Does your wife agree with your views on marriage, and is that why she took your name?

--

Same paper, another article. I wonder that if I make a habit of reading the Standard and finding humour in it, I might just have things to write about far more regularly.

The article was about the 'failing' state of the capital's primary schools. It set out some of the standards the children were supposed to reach at different levels. Children who reach Level 4, for instance, 'can “read between the lines”, use commas to break up long sentences, and “get the point” of a story or poem.'

Out of those things, "getting to the point" seems quite key. General comprehension of stories and poems is fairly essentially if you're going to read stories and poems. And then, they drop this bombshell, which I think I will let do it's own legwork:
London schools minister Diana Johnson said children who fall short of Level 4 were not “lost” and could still read “and enjoy” Harry Potter books, for example.
Boom. Take that, Ms. Rowling.

--

From the ridiculous to the more ridiculous without a hint of sublime at all. In fact, the downright worrying would be more appropriate. I read yesterday of an initiative by a northern Italian town called 'White Christmas'. A suitably apt title for a seasonal event, you may think. However, the seasonal event in question is officials from the right-wing local government 'to identify and expel as many non-Europeans as possible.'

Not only is this worrying in the first instance, but for the precedents it might set. However, worst of all, the defence of such a move from Claudio Abiendi, the xenophobe apparently in charge of security in the town, follows thus:
"For me Christmas isn't the holiday of hospitality, but rather that of the Christian tradition and of our identity."
I'm tempted to go into the finer points of just how wrong that is, but all I think I shall do is mention the cold, winter night where a heavily pregnant teenager turned up in a town where there may have been no room, but they certainly found some. How's that for 'Christian tradition', Mr Abiendi?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

It's a bit like 'S*** My Dad Says', but less funny

My Dad 'phoned me last night. We had a lovely conversation. We generally do. But at the end, he said possibly one of the most hilariously politically incorrect things I have ever heard him say. But before this, you must understand that my father is one of the most genial people you will ever meet. I've never seen him get angry (aside from one bird-flipping incident to another driver, which now I think about it, is also hilarious), hardly ever heard him raise his voice, and never heard him be rude to or about someone.

So we were discussing going out for a meal on Friday, which I'm looking forward to considerably. We were trying to work out somewhere that's easier enough for me to get to by public transport, and him to get to by car. We struck upon a Chinese buffet in West London. As we closed the conversation, Dad came out with this little gem:
'So, do you know the way from the Tube station to the chinky place?'
Now, in my Dad's defence, he thought that the word 'chinky' was a suitable slang term for a Chinese restaurant but never for a Chinese person.

I suppose it just goes to show the culture I was brought up in - almost every potentially offensive term has been eradicated from my vocabulary, because someone, somewhere has taken offense to it. I shan't go off on an anti-PC rant, because I think, at least for this, it's probably best.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A lovely young lady came into the building today to see the hall for a potential hire. I however, was in the toilet when she came in. I heard the door, hurriedly washed my hands and intercepted her in the corridor. We'd had a conversation yesterday, and so our meeting in person went something like this:
"Hello, I'm Gemma. You must be David. Lovely to meet you."

She sticks out a hand, which I decline to shake, with the words

"I won't shake your hand, I've just been to the toilet."
An entirely true fact, but what if she thought I hadn't bothered to wash my hands? What if she thought I'm just a lazy, germ-laden animal? Will she have thought that I was actually doing her a courtesy, in not introducing the slightly soggy handshake to a burgeoning relationship, or that I was in fact just a very rude young man?

Have I, in fact, overthought this?

So many questions, so little time.

Christmas, weather and stealing. No, really.

Today is the 25th of November, realised through the mundanity of writing a cheque, so Christmas is a month away. I'm guessing a whole host of people will get excited by this, possibly female, possibly teenage, possibly shouldn't care as much as they do.

--

Monday was St. Clement's day, according to the church calendar, but contrary to our custom, we didn't read anything about him in our morning prayers. We realised this on Tuesday morning, just after we had been discussing how bad the weather was on Monday. Quick as Usain Bolt on performance enhancing drugs in a fast moving vehicle, I quipped:
"Must have been because it was so inclement yesterday..."
Yeah, I was proud of it. I don't mind you being ashamed.

--

Yesterday, in what was like Christmas come early, I managed to pilfer various books - I say pilfer, I mean, 'got given' - that I intend to read and review. However, I am very aware that I said I'd read and review The Secret Message of Jesus, and I've hardly had a chance to read it. So, when I have some time, you might get some intellecktual stuff.

Oo, er.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

I do recommend you go here. Not only is she funny, she has lovely pictures. Yes.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Further Adventures

I didn't think there would be a sequel, but it would seem I would be wrong. Yesterday, Phil came into the office again to ask me something. I said that the request would go on my to-do list.

And it almost came as an apology. As he walked of the room, he said
"You have a to-do list. That's part way to being in the real world."
How very kind and gracious of you to allow me that privilege. Well, part way is better than not at all, I suppose.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Things & Stuff

Just got back from Northwood, the place that makes me tick. I spent an evening with lovely people, listening to good music at open mic night, and received the question 'are you playing tonight?' as many times as I had conversations.

--

The bus from Willesden Green was possibly the slowest bus I have ever been on. It was 11:15, open roads, and the driver seemed reticent to actually go anywhere near the speed limit, let alone break it. Not sure if this blog-worthy, but it frustrated me, so you get to know about.

--

I saw a woman working in a kebab shop. No, really. Does this strike anyone else as odd?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Real World

Various people come into the church to use it from time to time, hiring it for various events and so on. Every week, a nice man called Phil uses one of the smaller rooms to tutor Maths and English. He came into the office today to ask me about something, and as etiquette dictates, asked me how I was.

I made the crucial mistake of answering honestly, saying that I wasn't too bad, but the jump from university to the real world was something of a big one.

He paused, looked around the office, and said:
Well, this isn't exactly the real world, is it?
Well, Mr. Phil, nice as you may be, you're oh-so-wrong, as well. This week the church and myself have gone through various things; Remembrance Day, a funeral, loneliness, baptism visits, a dear old lady having a fall, prayer, tears, and a whole host of other incredibly real things.

What I do is very real, and the God I serve is even more so. I hope that, someday, you see that too.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Hallowe'en

I have grown up thinking that Christians shouldn't get involved in Hallowe'en. It's evil, it's bad, it's a slippery slope towards the occult.

I'm not so sure I believe the above any longer. Hear me out; I still think it's stupid to dress up as ghosts and ghouls, or witches and wizards. But then, I also think the same thing of Christmas, and people dressing up as elves, or whatever irrelevant Christmas imagery they choose to wear.

But to say that people dressing up and having a good time (a subjective concept, but who am I to judge?) leads towards occult practices is a little obscure. People dressing up as Father Christmas do not move towards a Catholic spirituality circa the 4th century, and hope for sainthood after death.

However, the above is flippant and could be argued back and forth. The biggest frustration is the proof-texting and bad hermeneutic used by Christians particularly in this country: arguing that those who associate with witchcraft are clearly condemned in the Bible, and as such, we should have nothing to do with Hallowe'en.

In response to that:
a) Yes, the Bible does say that, and I agree that witchcraft and the occult are in opposition to the Bible. However, one cannot use that verse, or verses to dismiss the occult, and yet still ignore the whole pork/shellfish/nylon laws which we happily go against.
b) Hallowe'en, for the most part, is not about the occult. Just as those using Christmas as a holiday to celebrate with their family are not on a slippery slope towards Christianity, Hallowe'en is just another holiday to the majority. An excuse to dress up silly and, again, 'have a good time'.

I suppose what I'm really trying to say is that we should indeed be careful. But let's not presuppose that dressing up as a zombie, or whatever other tenuous link has been made to the 'holiday', means that it's inherently evil.

And as a Mouse I know said: whatever you do at this time of year - make it fun.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Down's Syndrome

I read this article today, which contains these sentences in the middle of the article:

"Despite the higher number of Down's pregnancies, the number of Down's syndrome babies has fallen by 1%, from 752 to 743.

This is because improved antenatal screening means more Down's pregnancies are being spotted and more abortions are taking place.Without the improved screening, the number of babies born with Down's would have risen by 48%, according to the study."

Chilling.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Infamy

This week, Anthony Gormley's One & Other using the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square ended.

Nearly every piece of journalism, be it radio, television or newspaper that I heard used a comparison with Andy Warhol's now famous quote, something along the lines of:

'Andy Warhol once said that everyone would get 15 minutes of fame. These 2,400 artists, however, had an hour each. Anthony Gormley's art project, blah, blah, blah...'

Every single report I came across. That's just lazy journalism. Sort it out.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Doing

I'm well aware I'm going to get responses like 'welcome to the church,' or some such twaddle, but I've found myself increasingly annoyed with the time and effort dedicated to planning in the church, and so much less effort to actually doing.

Yes, practical issues do have a rein on the more exuberant amongst us, but to get excited about something and then say that we're not going to do it for 6 months is just frustrating.

I am aware that my youth and naivete show through considerably here. I don't mind.

I just want to do.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Odds and Ends

Last night, I was at the gathering signalling the departure of Dave Hallissy from these shores to go and learn to fly. It was an odd experience. Partly because I got to see a large proportion of those lovely people that I studied with over the last three years. I had seen some of them only a month ago. I hadn't seen some of them for three months. It was brilliant to see everyone, catch up, answer the infuriatingly obvious 'how's work?' question, and take some photos, the fruits of which I will soon post here and Facebook.

But knowing that this is the beginning of something new, where one by one, people will no longer be around the suburbs of north-west London, easily within reach. We're all heading off in different directions. It's wonderful, 'cause God's in it, and they're going to do some amazing things. But they shall be missed, terribly.

The other odd element of it was the amount of referencing of my blog in conversations. You guys actually read this thing. Perhaps only when I shove it in your face, but you do. Weirdos. Well, this one is for you, for Hallissy, for us all as we slowly go our separate ways. Please know you're loved, appreciated and missed.

--

Had a 'phone call from the vicar this afternoon, asking I could come round to look at Outlook Express. I was a bit reticent, but I dutifully toddled round to see if it was anything I could fix. I had sort of assumed that he had done all he could to try and rectify it himself. I got there, and we soon discovered the computer was in Safe Mode.

I asked if he had rebooted it. He said no, and asked if he should. I suggested it might be a good idea.

The moral of this story? Well, there isn't one. But, to my utmost surprise, I have actually found a male of the species who doesn't just turn it off, and turn it back on again to fix it.

Weird. Who does(n't do) that?!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Oh, the English...

It's a truth universally acknowledged that the English invented football, rugby, cricket, and a host of other sports. It's also a truth universally acknowledged that we are generally rubbish at these things on an epic scale. Occasional successes, but nothing to write home about, as it were.

A conversation this morning regarding the church in Africa also showed this trend. We may have invented Anglicanism, but have managed to become rubbish at it on an epic scale. The number of Anglicans in the country roughly numbers one million, whereas the Nigerian Anglican church is full to bursting at 20 million, and the Ugandans at 10 million.

What a sad state of play. I think we should just give up pioneering things, and settle for persuing mediocrity. We might actually achieve that.

--

The front door to the church was steamed up today. With the weather being so inclement, I suppose it's not that much of a surprise. However, the condensation was on the outside, as the church building is actually colder than the air temperature outside. Yes, folks...

The church is colder than a rainy day.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

With Gladness In My Heart

Yesterday, when posting the Christmas related picture, I came very close to mocking the Americans. It may have been implicit in the whole process, but I stopped short of actually saying it. And at about half past 5 yesterday, I became very glad of this. Why?

Because I walked into Tesco, and they have a seasonal aisle. An aisle, ladies and gentlemen. A whole aisle dedicated to all things Christmas. In September.

So, I'm sorry America. It's not just you. You may have been perhaps the architect, and original perpetrator, but we're just as ridiculous.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I found some...

...happy thoughts. A bit like Peter Pan. But without the flying, or the tights. Last night, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to Joy, Dave and Tash, who were all lovely in their individual way, and were so appreciated.

--

The first, I owe thanks to my brother for living in a ridiculous country. I apologise for the quality of the photo - I can only blame trans-Atlantic mangling. But in case you weren't aware of how long it was until you were supposed to overspend on your credit card and get yourself into a stupid amount of debt, World, here it is:

Edit: After posting this the first time, I took a look at my blog. I noticed the flamingo.

A flamingo?!

Why, capitalism... why?
--

The second comes from my lunchtime perusal of The Week, the, er, weekly magazine pertaining to the news. I was reading the global news, and this little nugget caught my eye. The editors must have known what they were doing, right? Right?!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Busy

This is just a brief note to the diehard among you - I apologise profusely for the lack of blogs this past week. I've been crazy busy, quite tired, fairly tearful, and rather unfunny. I didn't want impose this upon you.

If you have a belief system that engenders communication with your deity, I'd appreciate any brief conversations that have me in mind. I'm struggling with me, and that's not a pretty place to be.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Nothing Special

I briefly met up with Dave while in London, and struggled a great deal not to tell him these things. Sometimes I wonder if I should just forget the theology or Christian element of this blog and go for 'some things that amused me'.

--

I was on the Tube earlier, going into London, and there were two ladies standing in front of me. One of them was reading a novel, a fairly large tome, in Spanish. Perhaps a native or Spain, or even a Latino. Irrespective, she was reading a large book. In Spanish. On the Tube.

The second lady took her book out of her bag with a bit of a flourish, and a proceeded to read it with a great sense of importance and occasion. The title?

'Five Get Into Trouble'.

--

Yesterday, after morning prayers, I was singing the chorus to Facedown, by Matt Redman. For those of you unaware of the song, the words are 'And I'll fall face down, as your glory shines around.'

I then tripped up.

You couldn't write this stuff.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Silly Me

I preached the for the first time this morning. It went well. I'm not sure the vicar was expecting it to go so well, in fact. Which was a real pleasure to be able to stand up there and surprise the congregation by being able to speak. Almost immediately after my sermon was the Peace, at which the vicar said well done, and that I could preach again. I then, in a moment of idiocy, decided it would be a good idea to say:

'I told you I could preach.'

Urgh. Why do I do these things to myself?! The vicar wasn't offended, and I apologised later. But still: what bizarre sceptre of humour caught me and convinced me of that being a good idea?!

Oh well. I'm glad it went well, and that glory was given to God. That's all I can ask, really.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

So, funny things...

Last night, I was walking home past the park, and overheard a snippet of a clearly stoned conversation that tickled me:

'Hitler, man, like, he was the biggest killer of white people, like, in history. People chat about his white supremacist thing, but he was actually the biggest killer of white people, like, ever. It's just, like, hypocritical'.

In retrospect, knowing what we know about Hitler, I'm not sure that hypocrisy was his biggest fault.

--

I managed to get two Spinal Tap references into conversation last night around the dinner table. I'm pretty happy with that. I was hoping to crowbar one into my thank you speech, but it was unnecessary.

--

The Bishop of London's opening address was fun. He used words that I don't know, which was wonderfully unnecessary, and verbose. (That's to you). However, in his opening prayer, he thanked God for the opportunity for food, friendship, and conviviality of the evening. That scored highly in my book.

--

And finally, from the sublime to the ridiculous: I have to spend my day today, cutting out bits of paper, sticking them to a larger bit of paper. I also have to fold lots of bits of paper.

I think it would be true to say God knows how to keep me humble. Not that I was feeling particularly proud of myself, but keeping me in check probably isn't a bad thing.

Friday, 18 September 2009

The Christian Blog Awards

Now, I'm painfully aware of how careful I have to be in writing this, as all sorts of people could now read this. This dulls the sense of being able to write what the heck I want.

However, the night went thus: upon arrival, we realised we were incredibly underdressed. That is, we weren't dressed up enough, not that Dave and I turned up in slinky little revealing numbers. Although, that may have enlivened proceedings. Anyway, sat down next to Mr. & Mrs. Church Mouse - who, by the way, are absolutely lovely people - and Mr. Adrian Warnock - a passionate and interesting character.

We were served food, which was lovely, if a little weird. I was impressed that the Christians managed to avoid quiche, and all other stereotypes. Also we had free alcohol, which never hurts.

And to the awards. Various people, none of whom were on our table - with the honourable exception of The Church Mouse - won an award. I lost out to the guy who won last year, the guy who hasn't written much on his blog, and the 14 year old Catholic girl. Out of the four nominations, I was not mentioned. Which, urgh, I don't know... it was just plain gutting, really. I like to think I'm a good loser, but tonight has made me think to the contrary. The moment I didn't win anything, I wanted to go home. As my darling friend Miriam put it: 'it's like someone comes along and get your hopes up with out you asking for it, and then lets you down' And this award ceremony, with the very purpose of encouraging people to blog, let me down because it did exactly the opposite.

Which, I must hasten to add, is stupid. I blog for my own enjoyment. I blog because I enjoy writing. I love prose. I can do things with words. I can convey thoughts and feelings. I enjoy the turn of phrase, the language that I can play with. I didn't even start out to write for anyone else, aside from to keep people updated on my dissertation. So, in slightly unorthodox style, screw you, Christian Blog Awards. Not because what you do is a bad thing, nor because I lost, but because you made me question why I blog.

And I blog for myself, and hopefully to give glory to God. And if I entertain other people in the process, and perhaps encourage them, great.

I perhaps feel I have typed too much, without saying enough. Sorry if I've been incoherent. But then again, I don't really care about you. Because I enjoyed writing that.

Christian Blog Awards

Tonight I waltz into the world of the Christian Blog Awards, up for the Best Under-25s blog. I shouldn't be nervous, because I don't have high hopes. Well, I say that. I swing between confidence in the writing ability God has given me, and, well... the opposite of that.

However it turns out, I hope people are greatly encouraged, and a good night is had by all.

I wonder if there'll be alcohol....

Monday, 14 September 2009

Peace, and other stories

Sharing the peace is an Anglican institution, one that I think I can get used to. It's purpose is well written about by the wonderful Phil. But recently, our friend Rowan and his cronies - I can say these things now, I hang with the cool kids - have decided that due to this faff about some pigs with influenza, no-one can actually shake hands or hug.

If you've read Phil's blog, which I shall link again, because it's quite important to the premise of this piece, you'll see that the 'contact sport' of Anglicanism is almost counted null and void with these new guidelines.

Which is a shame. Of all the Anglican things including in the rather alien service, I could really appreciate a hug.

--

I'm reading War & Peace (still). I love it. It's a beautiful epic book, covering everything, love, politics, family, fashion, society, and unsurprisingly, war, and peace. One of my favourite ideas that is so well described by Tolstoy is the adoration given the Tsar by the army of Russia. He goes into pages of detail about how simply seeing the Tsar can inspire an entire division, rouse the army to emotion, bring about a desire to fight and defend Russia.

One young character, Nikolay, is describing is painstaking detail as to his love and adoration for his monarch, the one he fights to defend. He is eager, willing and most of all, in love with the Tsar, despite not having a relationship with him, or even being spoken to by him.

Last night at church we sang Majesty, by Delirious. A lovely tune, an easy one to belt out and enjoy. And then it became apparent to me that in reading War & Peace, I have a better understanding of royalty and all that comes with it. Don't get me wrong, I'm a bit of a Royalist when it comes down to it, but Prince Charles will never inspire me to fight for him.

But I sat there thinking about how Jesus is described as King and so on, which, in our mostly post-royal age is a poorly understood definition. But I think I'm coming to grips with it. Jesus is someone who can inspire an army, just by the mere sight of him. He can rouse a heart to emotion before unseen. The sound of his voice can lift spirits when the going is hard, the road is boggy and the war ahead seems endless.

And the best bit of it? He's not a distant monarch. He doesn't demand allegiance and send you off to war. He's there. In the thick of battle, with you. He doesn't merely survey a procession of troops and give approval to the whole army. He stops and speaks to every soldier, encouraging them, urging them to press on... and rides at the head, the first one to go into the front line.

Urgh. Amazing.

--

This post was written over two days, with lots of disparate thoughts going through my head. It's not as clear, nor does it express the constant astonishment I feel about Jesus, as I would like it. I will tidy it up, and hopefully write something more eloquent. Look forward to that.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

A busy week

A few things, the import of which have been pressed home to me this week:

Rest.
Prayer.

No, that's it. I really hope I can position those suitably around the hard work to make the hard work work, as it were.

--

In other news, I went to this station today. It pleased me. I hope it amuses you too.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Search and you will find...

this. Apparently.

Lijit tells me a few things. Such as, how many people are reading this, and where they are in the world. It also tells me what people have searched previous to coming across my blog. In the last few days these include:

1) Finchley.
2) Alternative blog.
3) Soul Survivor theology.

I just want to sincerely apologise to the above people who searched for meaningful, insightful, helpful words and came across me. However, it provided a smile on a Monday morning, so... that's good, right?

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sunday

So, almost four o'clock on a Sunday afternoon. Were this in my previous life - as I think I will take to calling pre-church work days - I would be lounging about, not dissimilarly to now, perhaps thinking as to how I get to church this evening, wondering why Sunday afternoons are so short, contemplating the fact that church used to be at half 6, before moving earlier for us young whippersnappers and never changed back. All these little idiosyncrasies that I know and love and repeat in my brain far too often, they're all gone. Well, not gone. But unnecessary.

--

This morning, I was commissioned. An older lady asked me, during the question and answer session that we had, whether I was hoping that my younger face would attract more young people to the church. I was a little stumped. Not that I hadn't considered it, but that I don't really consider it my forte to attract younger people, let alone to work with them. But am I perhaps a product of my culture that says youth workers work with youth? That says vicars work with older people? That says mothers and old ladies work with children?

Perhaps I just need to be the best Jesus to these people that I can be - whether old, young, or somewhere in between. If I do that, I hope that the right people will be attracted to this here establishment. And not because of the establishment, either, but because it points to God. If we do that, I reckon we're heading down the right path.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Well...

I apologise for the lack of updates. It's slightly tough when the normal process is come online, open up blogger, and just splurge. This falls down, of course, because having no internet at home, the times I can justifiably do this are times when other matters press. Such as, doing the work I'm paid for.

So now I sit at home in Hillingdon, having stalked off back here for a few hours, thinking back over the last few days. The notable moments are being called 'the new bod' by the vicar, - any guesses to how and where he was educated?! - meeting the most middle class of residential societies, where they discussed the necessity of a constitution for their society, as well as the weed-killing properties of bicarbonate of soda and the limescale removing advantages of white vinegar, and finally, meeting an elderly blind lady last night.

I have to say, of all the people I have met thus far, Margaret was my favourite. Not only was she welcoming and very engaging, you also got the sense that underneath the calm, friendly, jovial exterior, she was also the most astonishing woman. In face of significant adversity - for as well as blindness, she is also extremely diabetic, to the point that the doctors assumed she wouldn't live beyond her 20s - she has overcome, worked as a well-loved and respected medical secretary, and still gives the glory to God. It was an incredibly humbling experience for this woman who has 'seen' it all, as she would put it, to be excited about my arrival and the possibilities surrounding it. Margaret is also a house group leader, despite all the above, and being almost 75. She was simply a joy to be with. I hope that over this next year I get to spend more time with Margaret. She's one of those people that exudes the joy of life, as well as the love of Jesus.

I hope I'm one of those people, in years to come.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

First Day Thus Far

So, I went to bed at half ten last night, and awoke at 8. So... that was pleasant. I may make a habit of this. No waking early in a strange place, which I enjoyed. And when I did wake in the night, I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

My days starts at 9:15, so I may get in slightly earlier to check emails and so on. We have our morning prayers at 9:15, and they end... well, when they end. I'm not sure there is a set time.

And then, to real work. Real, helpful, responsible, paid, church work. My first task? To go and buy milk. My second? To make the tea. It seems there has been some mix up between 'Lay Assistant' and 'lackey'. Not to worry. Not really doing too much today, so enjoying this freedom, and, well, blogging.

Tonight is meeting with a group of neighbours, to introduce myself, and so on. Should be an interesting experience. I am, by the way, working on the alternative blog, but wondering the viability and morality involved. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you all for your prayers. They are greatly appreciated. You are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Move

So, I sit in my room, for probably not the last time, but most certainly one of the most significant. I'm soon to pack up the car and trundle along the A40, grab some breakfast with mother at Ikea, then head round the North Circular to my new home, Finchley, N3.

There is not much else I can say. I am tired, excited, apprehensive and intrigued. But, as some very wise people have taught me, feelings are notoriously unreliable. Not to say they do not matter, but that in the grand scheme of God's word, and his calling upon my life, I think they can take second place.

So, I will soon finish writing, publish this post, close my laptop lid, and start packing. It's a whole new thing. Please pray for me.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

A summation of my feelings at the moment

Oh, my good Lord, I'm moving on Tuesday and starting work and going to be in a strange place and I don't know what to take and I don't know what I need and I don't want to go and I want to be comfortable and be with my friends and drink cider and take photographs and snuggle and love and cry and be Well Within My Comfort Zone, Thank You Very Much.

Urgh. God help me.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Moving on

I desperately want to move on from that post being the first thing I see when I open my blog. So, a few things:

I'm soon going to a barbecue to celebrate the birthday of a Mr. David Hallissy. He is such a delight, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing him, and other wonderful people from college. Today has been a downer, but I'm hoping that remembering my community, just a taste of where I belonged best will remind me of my hope of things yet to come.

Tomorrow morning I journey north with some of my best friends to witness the wedding ceremony of Dan and Jenn. It will be a couple of days of frolics and fun, lots of beautiful photographs, and another reminder of the good things that God has provided for us. I hope I come back refreshed.

And then, cue dramatic music, I start work next week. Exhilarating, exciting, apprehensive, and hopefully, trusting. It's thrilling, but also quite nerve-wracking to be a part of something so big and responsiblity-laden as the church. I'm glad God is bigger than any of my fears.

This is all, for now. Please keep me in your prayers. You are greatly appreciated.

A Public Apology

I have previously written some things, now deleted, about the summer camp that I am a part of that need to be rectified.

a) There was information about the children at the camp that probably have never been on such a public forum.

b) There was phrasing about incidents at camp that didn't reflect the true nature of what happened.

I had thought that I had skated over the issues enough for this not to be a problem. Turns out I didn't skate enough for a), and too much for b). I am genuinely sorry to those I have hurt by this. The last thing this blog is meant to do is cause divisions, nor misrepresent people. I feel stupid for doing so. Forgive me.

--

A quick edit later: I'm also equally sorry to those that have read anything I have written about camp, and come away with a bad impression. It's an astonishing place, where lives are changed and God is glorified. I've never meant to put the good name of the camp down, and I will defend it to the hilt. It's a place I love, and cherish, since going there as a camper - and receiving my call to theology and churchwork - and more recently being part of the leadership team. I cannot stress highly enough that I would never intend to besmirch the name of the children, the leaders, or the camp.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

On a completely jovial and unrelated note to... well, anything, I have been introduced to this fantastic website by the darling Miriam: please enjoy me.

Monday, 24 August 2009

One of the toughest questions

Something I have been toiling with over the last year and a bit is the subject of homosexuality, and how it works within the church. The common stance on homosexuality is taken by my friend Sam, here. The less common, but equally valid side is expounded here, written by an anonymous lady, but posted by my friend Phil.

I struggle. I agree with Sam to an extent, but am utterly ashamed of how he deals with the issue. But upon reading the heartfelt words of Phil's friend, I find it difficult to find a leg to stand on.

I want to love. That's what I want to do. And I think, I think, that if I'm to do that, I need to change my ideas. All I feel I can do is to pray and ask the good Lord above to love like he loves. I hope that if I love like Him, I will be closer to the right answer than to the wrong one.

I do hope that anything I have said hasn't opened any wounds, nor burnt any bridges. I know there are people that will read this who will be hurt by Sam's words, or offended by what was posted on Phil's blog. I pray that as a church communal, we praise God for each others' differences, and learn how to live with each other.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Beautiful

Spending a week at Soul Survivor has made me dislike this song (for which I can't find the music, but here are the lyrics). The verses, as you will see, despite the first one being slightly pantheistic, are generally sound. However, the chorus trails off into '...you're Beautiful'. Which, I cannot deny being true. There is no doubting the beautiful nature of God, Psalm 27 proclaims it. But aside from that one reference, I'm a little unsure of how much modern worship songs should be focusing on it.

Interestingly, Jesus' physical appearance is described as, well... average. He was nothing to look at. And while what has been done for us inspires us to all sorts of praise, I'm a little overwhelmed by the plethora of lovey-dovey, Jesus-is-my-girlfriend (to steal a phrase from an angry Scottish man) type songs. There's a time and a place for adoration, don't get me wrong - but we can't seriously be wondering why there are a lack of men in the church if we consistently churn out this bile.

Bekah and I have decided to take this song to town, and perhaps re-record it. If we can, it'll still contain the encouraging and uplifting lyrics. However, the chorus might be changed to acknowledge some of the different aspects of the Godhead, such as: '...you're masculine.'

Here's hoping. Thoughts and opinions welcomed. I just might not agree with you.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Thursday Evening

The evening meeting was fun. The guy who did the talk was from New Zealand, and he gave a very heartfelt talk about how we should, as Christians, love everyone. It was largely based upon his experience with a junkie who he had taken in, and how one goes about loving the unloveable.

A few things he mentioned really struck home. In talking about loving, he touched upon the servant nature that should inhabit Christendom. Everyone wants to be a somebody, he said, but Jesus would much rather use a tentful of nobodies. I'd quite like to be a nobody if it lets Jesus become somebody to others.

Just as he was closing, he mentioned the oft-quoted defence of those who don't want to anything about the last, the lost, the least: 'Jesus said: the poor will always be amongst you.' He pointed out that because of our comfortable, rich, Western churches, the poor are often not with us. In fact, to say they are always with us is a complete untruth.

I pray that we do something about changing the state of play. But there's no point praying it if I don't do anything. So, if you and I are in the street together, and we see a homeless person, remind me to help them out.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

You

Just taken advantage of this wonderful little toy, and I'm now aware who is reading my blog, and where from. As such, I feel obligated to blog, because I know have the awareness of people actually reading this little corner of the internet.

--

I'm in the finals for the Christian Blog Awards, which amuses me, for my lack of Christian output. But I'll take the compliment, and I shan't get my hopes up too much, so as not to be disappointed when I don't win. And I promise if I do win, I won't get above my station. Which is quite hard considering how low down the pecking order I am in the general state of things.

--

Secondly, an interesting phenomenon occurred: I regretted not going to the evening meeting, because of what I might have missed. If I was there, I would probably simply be analytical about the whole affair. But as I wasn't, it became the most interesting thing that I didn't do. Instead, Bekah (the greatest ever), Scott and I sat outside our tent discussing Soul Survivor/LST/pranks played over the last few years. Good to be community, how briefly, however negative, however cold. It was the greatest, yes it was! Tampon galore!!!*




*I would like the take the opportunity to mention that Bekah commandeered my computer ever so briefly to write the slightly bizarre comments above. I take no responsibility for any distress caused, I have merely left the information in for realistic purposes.

My view


For the whole week. It's fun. It really is.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Second Evening Meeting

Oh dear. A little hype, a little clapping, a little conga. A lesson in group manipulation.

That God works through? Yes, yes, definitely.

Forgive my cynicism, Lord.

Soul Survivor II

So, day two of Soul Survivor. I have experienced the first evening meeting (fun), first Toolshed experience (funner), and food bought for us by LST (funnest).

The meeting last night was good – thousands of people worshiping together in a big tent, experiencing a little bit of heaven. It’s easy to be cynical about Soul Survivor (me), and it’s just as easy to get caught up in the wave of emotion and excitement and, dare I say it, hype (everyone under 18). Somewhere in the middle there needs to be a balance of enjoying the experience of Soul Survivor, and acknowledging it’s bad points.

For instance – it’s fantastic that hundreds of kids make a commitment to follow Jesus. However, where do these kids go? It’s easy for Soul Survivor to provide someone to pray with them, but is the assumption that the youth groups automatically take on these kids that have ‘become Christians’?

Despite that, and a few other quibbles, there’s a genuine sense of worship here – this is church, just as camp was church, just as Scott and I sitting outside our tent wondering if the Temple cultus can be compared to somewhere like Soul Survivor, and asking if it would make a good PhD, is church.

God’s not limited by numbers, nor is he limited by me. And thankfully, nor is he limited by Soul Survivor

Monday, 17 August 2009

Soul Survivor

Arrived in Shepton Mallet, set up tent, weather is gorgeous, using free wifi in the Toolshed, the exhibition space. I'm fairly sure this week is going to be amazing, as Scott and I are going to have a wonderful time together, we're going to eating like kings, courtesy of LST, and generally enjoy ourselves.

I will toddle along to a few meetings, and hopefully blog any thoughts, feelings, or notions.

But first things first - how do I convince young people to go to Bible college? Hmm, hmm, hmm.

Answers on a postcard.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Britishness

Unsurprisingly, I'm not going to write about being British in exhaustive detail, but something has become painfully obvious to me throughout this whole NHS debate: we don't like other countries demeaning our heritage. Be it our Royal family, the NHS, our government, our food, whatever, the moment another country feels it can poke holes in British institutions, our backs are up. We will defend the above to the hilt, especially if the criticism comes from across the Atlantic, or the Channel.

Why is this? It's because WE'RE the only ones that can criticise our institutions. If there's any good criticising of the Royal family, we'll do it, thank you very much. We're well aware of the excess and the unnecessary nature of them all. We've talked about it many times between ourselves, and have come to the conclusion... oh, we'll sort it out sometime in the future. But don't you be saying anything against the Queen, God bless 'er.

And the NHS. Well, if in the last 12 years of Labour government I have griping and moaning, it's over the NHS. It's a hobbyhorse that those who don't have any other problems can fall back on. But wait - American criticism?! The NHS is the best thing that's ever happened to this country! How dare you?!

Over the last 4 or 5 months we've seen our government take a huge battering from all sides, but I could nearly guarantee that if any Johnny Foreigner takes a dislike to H.R.H's Government, we'll merely point at every other country in the world, and their corrupt authority systems in defence of our quaintly misguided MPs. If you're going to do corruption, think on a scale of sleeping with models and making them MEPs, on a scale of having an election and not counting the results (and then blaming Britain?!), on a scale of quashing pro-democracy marches and arresting leaders who encourage freedom speech. Not on a scale of claiming for bath plugs, duck houses and moat cleaning.

See? The self-righteous among us would point to other countries and perhaps tell them to take the plank out of their own eye first. The more honest among us would just admit that British people don't take to criticism of British things very well.

So, we don't mind arguments over the viability or necessity of our British institutions, but... let's just keep it in-house.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Persistance

That is, persistance in letting myself and my good friends down. Last night, after publishing the post about community and church and belonging, I then got into an argument with a friend which culminated in me mocking him for no real reason but that I wanted the upperhand.

Yesterday, I slipped easily into humble, penitent, look-at-me-I-can-write-blogs-that-show-me-to-be-intelligent-yet-willing-to-learn-from-lesser-mortals mode, but when it came to a conversation, and not a one man show of self-importance, I collapsed.

So, to the friend affected - not that you'll ever read this for reasons expounded in our argument - and those who saw it; basically, to those I let down in failing to be that little bit of church, I apologise.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Recovery

We've just about recovered from camp. I don't know why I pluralised myself that, but I'll take it.

So, camp was tough. The first few days especially.

And yet, on the Tuesday of camp - incidently, the day my talks became good again, but that's another blog for another day - I talked about church. Quite a lot of the kids we had on camp were unchurched. They had little or no concept of church. Those kids and leaders that do have some idea have probably been let down or hurt by the church. The ideal, the thing that Jesus set out to do in instituting Peter has been somewhat distorted by us religious folk, and those that want to find Jesus sometimes find a church door in their way. Now, I'm not claiming I know the right way to do church - we're all endeavouring to find our own way closer to a God who loves us. But that night, I asked those people, gathered in that hall, if we could be church.

Because when I asked these 8-11 year olds the question 'What is church?' I fully expected answers of 'a building,' perhaps even 'a place where you worship God,' stretching even to 'the people in a church'. Those were not the answers I got. Fellowship. Community. Together. These kids, some with no experience of church whatsoever, have got church down far better than we who suppose to know the answer.

So I asked them if we could be church that week. To be that fellowship, that community, that 'together'. And we managed it. It's not to say it was easy. A lot of the incidents mentioned above happened after this talk. But to give these people, both kids and leaders, somewhere to be, to belong, to become, was a joy to behold.

And I think it's how we got through the week. Because church is what holds us together, in this inexplicable, rather infuriating, wonderful way.

--

This blog started out about camp, and ended up about church. Easily confused? I think so.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Largely unimpressed with Twitter right now, as it won't update for me. Which, seeing as that's it's sole purpose, it seems to be defeating itself into a self-perpetuating downwards spiral.

In other news, I'm back from camp, and my lower legs are extremely itchy. I suddenly seem to have developed a reaction to my own shower water. Which, as you can imagine, is problematic.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Today and Tomorrow

So, I go off to camp tomorrow, to impart wisdom to 60 8-11 year olds. This scares me, as I'm actually not prepared. And today is so ridiculously busy, I'm not sure I'll get any time to finish any prep. Might be a mad dashing about on camp, then... yes, yes, why not stress myself out further?

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Today has been incredible.

Rach came over, we went through her China photos, played card games, and she fell asleep.

This evening, I went out to my friends' house. They cooked an amazing braai, and four hours later, I'm still full. Such lovely company.

I've spent since 10 online, just talking to people, and enjoying company.

I love my friends. I really underappreciate them, but I have an amazing bunch of people around me who I have the good fortune to hear moan and bitch and still not get tired of.

Added to this, I have added a few photographs here. I enjoy my photography so much. I get immense pleasure from not even people's response to a beautiful photo. Just the photo itself can be enough. One of my favourites that I uploaded tonight was this:

Thursday, 23 July 2009

So, I received a friend request on Facebook this evening. All well and good, I go to check out who it is, excited that I could have another friend where it really counts. Oddly enough, I see my own name staring back at me with these words:

'Crazy, we have the same name and both schooled in theology!'

Not entirely sure if this is 'crazy' enough to justify adding someone I don't know, to never talk beyond a 'oh, wow, we have the same name,' type post on their wall, and then delete them in a few months time. However, what about about the Kelly Hildebrandts' and their situation, I hear you so fervently cry. Yes, well, neither of us are cute girls, so that's a no go from the start, isn't it?

It does, however, raise the question: what is crazy enough for me to think, 'hmm, our names are the same, and despite not knowing you, and only garnering a vague understanding of what you do through a profile that may or may not be entirely true, I want to become 'friends' with you, in the loosest sense of the term.'*

While pondering this age-old question that has bothered ethicists and other such people since the dawn of time/Facebook etiquette, and typing it out, I realised it was nothing to do with craziness. It was merely that they would have to be female for me even to consider it. And any female with the name David Marriott is just unfortunate, so it might even be out of pity.



*Not loosest in morals, you understand. In definition. Any other way would just be wrong. You lot disgust me.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

A few things: I'm back, with a new keyboard, and few things to sort out.

But most importantly, my LST email has been quashed. As that well-known and loved wireless programme might suggest, the email address of time marches towards the network administrator of fate, and they remove the email address and all it represents over three years of studying at theological college, hard graft, fun times, and beautiful people with one click of the mouse... of fate.
Ah well, I suppose one has to move on eventually. A little stuck as to what to have as my home page now. Is having the intranet of a college you no longer go to as your homepage weird?

Hmm, thought so.

Friday, 17 July 2009

L|ast \blog.

In t\his \il\k, \anyw\ay.\ I \am \50\ \metres away from\ \\\\my\ Mac bei\ng\ fixed. I \\cherish this thought. |h, \backslashes, \I \\will m\iss you. \Sort \of.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Late night + blogging = errors of judgement

I've now editted the below post, in order to render the genuine expression of me actually wanting the job. To distract you, here is my favourite picture from the third years' recent trip to Wales. I call it Community.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

At Request

I have \been r\equested \to \blog. \This i\s \going t\o \be \tricky, \because \of \keyboard \issues. \A \lot o\f de\let\ing \will take pla\ce, \so \you c\an read \it more e\asily.

--

Today I had my induction. This was essentially an information overload, in order to forget it all, before I pick it up again in September. I'm not sure I really need to know where the candles are at this point in time, nor do I need to retain the information of which coloured fob is on which key that leads to which door. Write it down, and give it to me when I start working there.

--

I've been given some books to read prior to me starting. 'Hope For The Church: contemporary strategies for growth.' 'The Road To Growth: towards a thriving church'. 'The Healthy Churches' Handbook.' I'm sure they're good, and I'm sure there is a reason why the vicar has asked me to read them. I just can't fathom it yet. Anyone read them, and have any thoughts?

--

I'm writing this so I remember at a later date. Remind me to blog about McLaren's 'The Secret Message of Jesus.' Spoiler: it's pretty bad.

--

I want to have a secret blog that I write about next year and work and church and Anglicanism. However, I want to tell everyone about it. This is problematic. Also, I'm not sure what I can do with this. Do I still want a personal blog? Oh, all these damned questions.

What I do know, however, is that I'll probably go to Wordpress. It's so much cooler, and I have have pretty pictures, and everything. Perhaps.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Sorry...

I apo\logise \for \the \lack of \blogs, \but as \you can\ \see, my \computer \is n\ot \\\\\\quite \agreeing \with \me a\t \the \moment. \|So, \when \I \get \it \fixed, \which \is \p\erhap\s \today, I'll start writing \about \this \w\onderful \here \holiday \that |I'm \on\. \H|owever, \until \that \po\int, I've \p\retty \much g\iven u\p\ o\n \\writing. \Boo.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Teacher's comments

In clearing out my room, I found this beauty of a comment from my old English teacher on a page long essay:

'I feel that it would be encouraging your over-conciseness to this short a reply with a high mark, but inconveniently, you interpret correctly. Nevertheless, further analysis is needed.'

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

My Graduation Testimony

No, this is not me SIMPLY being egotistic, as some people have asked to see it. However, it is MOSTLY egotistic, 'cause I enjoyed myself.

--

(I have been asked to say a few words regarding how LST has formed me. It seems, unfortunately, that word has got around that I actually like the place).

What is LST? What makes up the London School of Theology?

To start, it is a small collection of aging buildings on the edge of London, some more aging than others. It is a world-known institution, having some of the best lecturers in the business, (if theology paid anything). But above all that, it's a community of people that live, breath, sleep, eat, worry, love, and with the express permission of our esteemed Principal, kiss.

I asked someone what I was like when I came here, fresh-faced, naive, and just out of school. They told me I was an odd mix of confidence and insecurity: being willing to shout my mouth off about numerous issues, but not actually having anything to back it up. Now, the cynical among us may giggle behind their hands and perhaps suggest that I have just described perfectly an LST graduate.

But I would want to disagree with that. LST has taught me the highest academic standard, training me how to think critically, how to shout my mouth off, and most importantly, how to footnote that shouting in a way that is academically appropriate.

Not only has it taught me academically, but spiritually as well. Many different elements of what LST teaches come together to help form and fill its students, to prepare them for life after LST in the best way possible.

But how is this all done? It's not through the slightly aging set of buildings we have. It's not through the syllabus, although that is an element of it.

It is through this community that I have learnt. Where's my theology at eight in the morning and they've run out Coco Pops? Where's my theology when someone puts in a crunching tackle on the football pitch? Where's my theology when I graduate and I have to deal with real people, God forbid?

And therein lies the answer. LST has taught me to take the theology we learn, and make it work in the real world. And for that, to LST, I'm truly thankful.

--

And here is the video:
video

Check this bad boy out.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Music

I played at Aldis Stock last night, our end of year concert. Played a fairly wide variety of songs, and enjoyed myself. Amusingly, had a lot of people come up to me afterwards and say that they didn't even know I played the guitar and sang, and saying that I had done well to keep it hidden.

Well, no, not really. I've never hidden it, just never been given the chance to use it. Which is quite sad, really.

--

I have created a playlist of those songs that make me want to air drum/make the hairs on the back of the neck stand on end. (The two things are roughly equivalent). The problem with this is that it is very difficult to stop the playlist - you can't wait for a bad song to come on, because they never do.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

My Day

I was writing a post about the entirety of my day. It got boring. But I shall bring out the main points:

- I got a 2:1.
- I struggle when I find friends are in new relationships. Knowing that I shan't see much of either of them, and that I shall have to work extra hard at the friendships is difficult.
- I'm not very social after sport. Both football and athletics leave me drained and wanting time alone, which never seems to help.
- I like taking photos.
- I like spending time with people that just allow me to be. These precious people are few and far between, and I cherish them dearly.
- I am astounded, wiped out, and incredibly blessed by my Lord and Saviour. Deeper this evening was incredible, and I wonder to myself why I don't make effort like that normally. Silly me.
- I want to make all my friends happy, and I regularly fail at doing that, and this makes me sad. To any of you that are reading this, know that you are being thought of.

Apologies for the fact that every sentence starts with 'I'. This is bad. Sometime, I will write on things that are interesting.

Good photos?

So people keep asking me if I've 'got any good photos' while I'm wandering round taking pictures. I don't know quite why this question annoys me so much, it's a perfectly reasonable question to ask, I suppose. However, as I never look at the photos properly until they're uploaded, I end up answering with a surly and slightly arrogant 'I don't know, yet' which annoys me further. Silly me.

Monday, 22 June 2009

I need your help...

Yes, you, honoured and unfortunate reader of this blog.

From the first of September, I shall be the Lay Assistant at St. Paul's Finchley. Now, I have this blog, which with its current title, suggests studentdom. Now, technically, I will always be a theological student. However, I will no longer be a student as such. So, I propose changing the name of this blog to That Lay Assistant.

Any opinions, or does it really not matter?

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Oh, me.

Lots of little thoughts, and not much time. I shall try to keep it short.

--

I got arsey yesterday 'cause things didn't go as I wanted. I can't believe I was so willing to throw a silent tantrum because of such small things. Well, I suppose I can believe it, and I don't like it, at all.

--

Got into Idlewild recently - I say recent, I mean in the last two days. They write catchy, meaningful rock tunes, always with edgy guitar riffs. Wonder why I took so long.

--

This graduation/moving on lark is getting to me. I honestly have no idea what to expect of myself. Excitement at a new life, or moroseness at my little niche in college whipped from under my feet?

--

I have realised in the last couple of days that we give our government far too hard a time. While there is certainly a place for criticism when they get things wrong, as a Christian, I should be praying for them, not shooting them down. Even when they're completely inept, we're supposed to respect those in authority. Not sure we do a great job.

--

Wales, beach, holidays, photos, playing lots of sport, enjoying nothing, &c. Maybe another blog is necessary at some other point.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Done. Fin. Owned.

I have finished my degree. I have not another word to write for it.

--

I shall send you in this direction. Although, a disclaimer; it won't be funny or enjoyable if you don't care for football.

--

Yesterday, having finished the last exam of my academic career, I was considerably tired and wiped out, having run on adrenaline for the last however many weeks. I had to play the drums at a half-night of praise and prayer, which meant carting myself into Uxbridge on inept buses that don't run when they should, and turning up at the church for a sound check at 5.

Being tired and out of it, my drumming probably wasn't fantastic, and during the practice I must have looked worse for wear as Carol, one of the wisest people I know, asked how I was. I responded saying that I really couldn't be bothered. She looked at me for a moment, and then said the sentence that got me through the night, and shall remain with me for a long time, I hope:

'Remember, He's still worth it.'

Friday, 29 May 2009

A few realisations...

I am a product of my culture.

There, I said it.

I am a postmodern, relativistic, liberal, tolerant, individualistic person.

There, I said that, too.

And I'm not sure I like it. Whilst some of those things are viewed in society as good, even noble, I'm becoming increasingly aware of my individualistic stance, and my poor understanding of communion. For instance, I hate crowds. I hate being at a gig, knowing that others there know the band or the songs just as well or better than me. I want to be different, to stand out, to justifiably think I'm better than everyone else. Why? Because my culture dictates that I have to be an individual, to be able to stand alone, because to be part of a crowd is not to think for myself.

In reading a book yesterday for revision, I read, and hopefully understood, that we can only truly 'be' when we're in communion. We are are defined by those around us, that I already knew. Yet I think it's high time that I stopped assuming that definition was necessarily a bad one, and started embracing communion.

--

A wonderful, if rather simple truth occurred to me, yesterday. I was revising the Systematics of Edward Irving, and came across this fact, as written by our very own Graham:

'Jesus had to have exactly the same kind of humanity as ours if he were to save it and make it possible for us to change. His, like ours, was fallen. It had no inherent perfection. On its own it was destined for corruption.'

In other words, Jesus was sinful, and sinless. Astonishing.

--

Was perusing the BBC News website, as one does, and came across this article, which was of note for two reasons:

a) The official who gave the press statement claimed that '[the bombers] were hired by America and the agents of arrogance.' Either he's using alliteration as a rhetorical effect, or a little known hair metal band from the 80's are funding political and religious warfare.*
b) The article did what I just did, and hyperlinked/crowbarred another article in with the purpose of you clicking on it. It's commonly used on blogs the world over, but on the biggest and best news site on the internet? I'm unsure of how I feel? Empowered to read further on the issue, or raped of my own news sourcing.

Or maybe I just shouldn't care that much.

--

I was walking through the woods during my two hour walk this morning to find one of my favourite spots, a copse of trees with very little vegetation on the ground around them. The leaves form a lovely brown carpet, and when the sun is shining, the light falls in a very particular and beautiful way through the trees.

In trying to find this spot, I wandered through the woods for quite some time, and while I did, the clouds covered the sun. Inevitably, I was disappointed. After some meandering, I found the right path, and the moment I emerged into the clearing, the sun came out. Brilliant light hit the trees, and shadows danced on the floor through the canopy.

I think I might have laughed.

It's the small things.

--

*Disclaimer: Not entirely true. In fact, it's mostly made up. Like, the bit about the band, and the warfare. Don't know about America. Wouldn't want to embroiled in a lawsuit.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

So, my club virginity was stolen last night

I say 'stolen', like it was whisked away from me in something of a frenzied attack. Whereas, in fact, I voluntarily walked into this club in London, apparently renowned for the large number of sexual assaults that occur there, and is under threat of closing down due to the above fact.

So, you walk in a fairly inconspicuous looking door, and find yourself in a well-lit vault. You walk further, and find you are not - you then have to walk about 200 metres down a corridor of vaults that have little or no lighting, and explain fairly well the above reasons for closure. You are then ushered round to the right, arriving in what I can only describe as a hippy cafe set in the vaults under London Bridge with pounding music - chairs, tables, all mismatched, and tankards with tealights.

There was an art installation to the right which had a screen projecting a set of images, which took about a minutes to scroll through, and infront of that screen were balloons filled with helium, with bits of card attached, printed on them were those short adverts that read like this, or similar: 'You were the girl with the blonde hair and pink scarf. We smiled at each other at Cockfosters tube station. I'm fairly sure you fancy me. Drink sometime?'

Other art installations included a guy who was giving people a chance to talk about their grandparents, and then writing it down, in what he called The Grandparent Archive. Oh, and offering them absinthe, as well. In another place, there was a girl being paid to lie in a coffin all night with the European Union flag draped over it, while in front of the coffin were photographic portraits of all the dictators of the last 150 years. There was a scary looking man just at the entrance to this exhibition, and I couldn't quite work out whether he was a diehard communist, or a diehard facist. So difficult to discern in a club environment.

I was overwhelmingly surprised at the drinks, where I paid only £1 for a half pint of lemonade, which, by London terms, in astonishing. Although, slight confusion when buying my first drink. The lady behind the bar had an accent, and there was loud music, so when I asked for a lemonade, she asked if I wanted vodka and lime. I didn't understand her, so just left it, and she proceeded to put vodka in. I swiftly corrected the error, and all was well. She was a little perplexed at the non-alcoholic nature of the request, but oh well.

We spent the majority of the night laughing at people who were playing with the shadows on the back projection of the aforementioned art installation. Drunk people and shadows an interesting mix, make.

So, in sum, a nice 'club', as long as you're not after dancing/pulling, and you are into bizarre art, political statements and scary underground vaults with no signal on your mobile.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Had my last two scheduled lectures this morning, after which I filled in a feedback form, regarding this year, and then the overall three years. I still feel like a fresher, completely unprepared, scared to put my hand up, unsure of what people will think of me.

And yet, significantly, I'm not. I just underappreciate the skills that I have been provided with, and what people think of me, and the confidence God has placed in me. All I ask is that I rely on him more than I do myself.

--

This faff over expenses: it amuses me. While yes, I'm disappointed that our elected leaders (not my elected leaders, mind - missed out on the election by a matter of months, still a young'un) have fiddled, fixed and fabricated their expenses, it doesn't surprise me whatsoever. The most frustrating element is the fact that there will be 'big reforms'. Lead by who, you ask? The same MPs that claimed expenses. In the long term, I imagine that parliament will settle down into exactly the same rhythm under a different name, and no-one will be any the wiser.

My most sincere concern is that the large proportion of MPs that did claim their expenses are now going to hide behind the resignation of Michael Martin - if they can convince the public that he was to blame for the entire culture, then they've got off lightly. He, aside from being one of many who made claims, was not to blame for the way that the expenses were doled out, nor in the way that MPs claimed for them. However, I worry that his resignation will be brandished as a prophetic sign of movement, or change, or reform. It's not. It's the bullies pushing the most vunerable bully to the front of the crowd to take the proverbial slipper, in the hope that if he takes the hit, others will not have to.

One thing to bear in mind, however, is the complete and utter legality of the expenses system. In most ways, it was not the MPs fault that they could claim such ridiculous expenses. However, the fact that its faults were rarely pointed out does indict them, and as such, reform should take place.

--

Keen on buying a whole set of Biblical commentaries. Have just discovered that this could be upwards of £700 pounds. Less keen, now.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Yeah... and what?

The internet has lost its lustre. I come online. I check the intranet and my emails. I check the BBC News website. I check my blog/others in my blog roll. I check Twitter. I sometimes look at Facebook. But it's such a nothingness. It's so vacuous. Keeping in contact with people is great. But this endless dance of communication, keeping up with one another on a permanent basis - it just holds no enjoyment any longer. Perhaps it never did, but the novelty still endeared me to it all.

This doesn't mean I'll be giving it up, mind. Which, in itself, is even more frustrating. It's not to say I have nothing else to do, but more that the internet is no longer a new thing. Being permanently connected is not as fun as we once thought.

The irony of all this, of course, is that I'm telling you all (all being my 15 followers, and I shan't hold out hope that you'll all read it) via my blog, via the internet, keeping you up to date with my thoughts, just so you know what I think.

We're kinda stuck, and it'd be nice to get out.

Friday, 8 May 2009

This week

So, swine flu never really materialised, did it? I bet the Mail was gutted - less to panic about than they would have liked. I often wonder, after reading whatever ridiculous figures and comparisons tabloids came up with as to how many people might die in such a pandemic, that readers of them don't think, 'Hang on, a week ago I read an article that claimed up to 400,000 Britons could die. None have. Does this mean that the Mail is full of crap, and I should stop reading it?'

The media annoys me beyond belief. But without them, we're completely scuppered.

--

The other annoying piece of news this week is the whole farce about the Gurkhas. Why are we so willing to borrow our way out of an economic crisis of our own making, but - and at the risk of sounding Very Tabloidy - when it comes to our soldiers, do we not provide for them?

I cannot wait for the General Election.

--

In me news, this week has been pretty dire. A funeral, a dissertation, a lost football match, and revision looming. However, I soon will get my head out of my arse and consider others. Meanwhile, I feel horrible. Sorry.

Monday, 4 May 2009



Frisbee has become the order of the summer. Which is always good. I've run out of creative things ideas to write about, so I thought I'd share some photos, instead.

Monday, 27 April 2009

I think, maybe, possibly, perhaps...

If you hark back to the origins of this blog, you might discover one of the reasons for it was to keep people updated on the wonders of my project - thoughts and feelings on forgiveness, and so on. As we draw the project to a close, I feel it would only be fair to share my conclusions with you.

Forgiveness, then, is a good thing. Not only for your health, mental and physical, and for your relationships, but negates the need for retribution, and the potential cycle of violence. It allows you to move on with your life, and allows the offender to move on, as well.

What then, do we do with the Nazi officer who asks for forgiveness after being truly penitent for his sins? My conclusion is not to forgive him. I cannot forgive, and thus will not offer forgiveness to this man.

However, I shall assure him of his forgiveness. How can I say that, after denying him my forgiveness? The problem is that I cannot forgive something that is not done to me. Thus, I cannot forgive him. However, in the wrongs he committed, he offended God. And God has already forgiven him, in what Jesus did on the cross. His repentance is his acceptance that he is wrong, and needs that forgiveness. If you like, his repentance is his receiving the gift of forgiveness, proffered to him by God.

Thus, he is forgiven. Just not by me. And thus concludes a year long search in answer to that haunting question: 'What would you have done?' And yet, it's not the end. Oh, not by a long shot.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Just read this from Rob Bell, a man on whom I am quite undecided:

'I also happen to live in 2009, in a Western hyper-churched, over-churched culture, where the flag and the cross have held hands in such a way that you have a waning Christendom at the heart of the empire.'

Over-churched? The West? I assume, Mr. Bell, you are talking of America, because I'm not sure that's the case anywhere else in 'the West'. Although, it does bring up an interesting point about church and state - I'm not entirely sure they're compatible. Not in today's culture anyway. The state demands too much for the church to comply with, and yet we seem to hold onto those vestiges of power we have left, and like a middle aged man wearing leg warmers, we are desperately hoping that we might come back into fashion one day,

Marriage

Had a wonderful little discussion in Jules' class earlier on singleness and marriage. He comes from India, where marriage is assumed and arranged, although not always. It's got me to thinking - does marriage have to be borne out of love? Does it work better if it's romantic or not? Is a marriage of convenience - here I talk of marriage where perhaps people's needs are met in a way they could not be when single - any less legitimate than one that gives people butterflies? I don't rightly know. Discuss.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Torture

So, torture works, apparently. So does death. What's your point?

Friday, 17 April 2009

Earthquakes

Awoke this morning to read of this tragedy in Afghanistan. Thankfully, the earthquake seemed to be a in remote area, and the damages/deaths are limited. My problem, however, is the coverage given to it. OK, it's a 'moderate' earthquake - according to the BBC - at a Richter scale of 5.5. Compare this with the Italian earthquake of last week, of which estimates vary between 5.8 and 6.8, which is described as 'powerful,' and causing 'devastation.' And yet, the similarity is size of the tremors is ignored, while the human element is amplified. Perhaps we should have two scales for earthquakes - one for the scientific size of the seismic activity, and another for the perceived devastation of the area. And perhaps even a third: how awful it is, in reference to how close the aftermath is to the West's heart.

I can see the obvious differences in effect. The earthquake in L'Aquila had much more dramatic and terrible consequences, or so it would seem. But the reporting of the Italian earthquake was immediate, dramatic, and sensational, gaining the top story on the BBC for at least 24 hours, if not longer, with touching scrolling pictures, personal stories, and 'the science bit'. This earthquake in Afghanistan has received second billing, next to an Obama statement. Admittedly, because the earthquake is so remote, it's difficult to get to, and thus, the same tone cannot be taken immediately.

But surely, if you're going to have drama about one, you should at least attempt drama about the other? The report on the Afghan earthquake reads quite jovially, almost as if nothing had happened. If the same disaster had struck in Switzerland, or America, for instance, even if it was remote, the reporting of it would be much more keen.

I sincerely hope the people in Afghanistan recover from this. Most of the villages affected would have been levelled. As I hope that the people in central Italy are swiftly rehoused and recover. All I want is a little parity in reporting. Please?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

I was going...

To write things about the new term. The impending graduation. My project. My friends. Laughable and sad things in the news. Charlie Brooker's Newswipe, of which the most recent contained an excellent short film about how the news is presented, and the rise of 'ohdearism'. Other theological thoughts, seeing as I hadn't done it in a while.

And yet, I'm not going to, because I've lost the belief that I'm interesting. Which is sad, but probably good in the long run. I have this scary feeling that the internet is turning me into an automaton convinced that my view is important, and my sense of worth is directly correlated to comments/replies/any self-involved affirmation I can get.

Sorry.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Continuing the theme of communists

Communist propaganda makes me laugh, and winds me up all at the same time. The last paragraph is somewhat sadmaking, as well.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Hmm, communism and forgiveness...

If you haven't seen this already, look what I found on one of the books I was using for my project on forgiveness, second review up from the bottom.

Clicky.

Praise

Came across this poem by Harry Smart in one of the books on forgiveness currently spread about me in attempt at work:

Praise be to God who pities wankers
and has mercy on miserable bastards.
Praise be to God who pours his blessing
on reactionary warheads and racists.

For he knows what he is doing; the healthy
have no need of a doctor, the sinless
have no need of forgiveness. But, you say,
They do not deserve it. That is the point;

That is the point. When you try to wade
across the estuary at low tide, but misjudge
the distance, the currents, the soft ground
and are caught by the flood in deep schtuck,.

then perhaps you will realise that God
is to be praised for delivering dickheads
from troubles they have made for themselves.
Praise be to God, who forgives sinners.

Let him who is without sin throw the first
headline. Let him who is without sin
build the gallows, prepare the noose,
say farewell to the convict with a kiss.

--

I like. There but for the grace of God, and all that.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

It wasn't this big previously. I didn't think it was, anyway. How annoying. Serve me right for messing.

--

Sorted. Not as think as you stupid I am.

Monday, 6 April 2009

I arrived home last night from a wonderful weekend up in March. The lights on some of the corridors were left on. I went to turn them off. The irony of it all: the male toilet lights were left on. I laughed, and I now stand humbled.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Chocolate

Further the discovery of the brutal behaviour that Penguins bring about in English people, Dan has pointed out that it is in fact impossible to describe a Twirl without referencing a Flake. Our entire frame of references relies on the person you are describing it to having experienced one or the other. What a conundrum. It's a self-defeating paradox. We're stuck in a never-ending spiral of ambiguity and ignorance, doomed to live out our days in such a terrible vacuum of knowledge.

I bet Cadbury's never thought of that when they created them...

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Amazing April Fools.
I gave my NI number, bank account details, and signature to my new employers. Have I just been suckered by a well-worked con, or have I been watching too much Hustle?

--

Got sent a letter by my doctor's the other day regarding my need to take a chlamydia test. Now, initially, having read the first paragraph, I laughed it off, having no need to take a test. I read to the end of the letter, half-distracted by the pointlessness of the letter being sent to me. And then I saw it: a 'reward' of a £10 HMV voucher for a chlamydia test. Let's re-iterate that: £10 of free stuff at HMV for a jar of my urine. My waste fluids. £10. Awesome.

[The rest of this post is deleted due to my inability to be funny without being judgmental. Apologies.]

--

If you have a chance/good enough internet connection, check out Charlie Brooker's Newswipe. It's an amusing, but very serious indictment on the news. Some of it's rude, but you don't expect much more from Brooker. Enjoy.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

100

My 100th post. I'm wondering what percentage of my posts actually contain something useful or entertaining. If someone has too much time on their hands...

--

Have been listening to The Bugle podcast, which is two crazy men talking of the goings on of the week, political and otherwise. I have found my spiritual podcast home. Only disappointed that I couldn't download all 74 episodes. If you're into such frolics, go check it out.

--

And finally, many hours are to be wasted here. Although, not too many, or you end up thinking humanity has failed in its entirety.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A wonderful, if slightly bizarre, story.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Why?

Why are females so loathe to turn off the lights of ladies toilets? Someone suggested that it's because they are reticent to go into a darkened room, even with the light switch next to the door. If this is the case, for the small minority of ladies reading this: please change this habit. It frustrates me. A lot.

Clarification

When I said I got a job, what I actually meant is that they offered me it. I still haven't accepted. But, by this afternoon, I shall probably have done so. This, as they say, is where the poop hits the fast rotating metal blades. Which is just a messy analogy. I'm scared. Genuinely feeling a little fear creep into my gut. But I know, ultimately, God is in control.

Gah. Platitudes.

--

I heard rumours on the wind of the possibility of the IPL coming to England. I'm terribly, terribly excited if it does. Just think, moseying on down to Lords to watch the Knight Riders vs. the Royals. Don't know how much tickets will be, but I'm SO there.

--

A frustrating piece of news: just because she's married to a murdering, selfish, arrogant thug, it would seem that Grace Mugabe can get away with it as well. Ridiculous law. She needs to be punished, as anyone would be when they attack someone with a weapon. Utterly annoying.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

My weekend

In short - because I can't be much arsed to write out the whole thing - I went to Finchley, I saw Finchley, I got a job in Finchley. Very Anglican, should be very amusing. I SO look forward to blogging about it. May start up a new blog, perhaps, thatlayassistant? Who knows. Quite liturgical, and full of old people. So, a challenge, to say the least.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Day 1 in the LST... umm, house?

I post mainly because I know that if I don't, that picture will remain at the top of my blog. And we just don't want that now, do we?

--

Was just flicking through the paper to see an article in T2 with the question: 'Is skiing safe?' Not only is it fairly inappropriate to ask the question so soon after Natasha Richardson's death, it's also a stupid question to ask. Paul and I, oh, how we laughed from our safe leather thrones about the fickleness and ridiculousness nature of the media. He then reminded me that, statistically, more people die in bed than anywhere else. Fact.

--

Also, I think I should work... but y'know... why do that to myself?

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I apologise for the inconvenience...


My profile picture has had to be changed, due to a errant second year, who has stolen my play-doh. One of the tasks was to take a picture in Watford trying on a wig, and post it on my blog. Here are the results....

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

I have an exam

An exam! One of those things of dread and fear. But I shan't do either of those things, because it closes the synapses and doesn't allow my brain to work as well as it could. Or something.

It's very final. As in, it's my Finals. This mark will be a significant - somewhere between 5 and 10%, I can't do the maths - chunk of my degree mark. Which means my degree is almost over. Which is sad.