Monday, 27 September 2010

The Kindle: Not For Pianists

I was sat upon a train the other day, and as is the wont of the average London passenger, I was desperately trying to avoid all eye contact for fear of coming across a bearded man with a rucksack, or a pregnant lady, and having to do something about it. Anyhow, my eyes fell upon this image. Normally, we pass over these images, because we're used to them. We accept that this is a picture of a hand holding an electronic device.

But where, may I ask, are the rest of his fingers?!

"Hi, I'm Jim. I advertise handheld electronics because I have a nice palm, and severed fingers. It's a niche market."


OK, it's clearly a divisive subject. Some people are confused by it, some people have no problem. But what about this: WHERE'S HIS LITTLE FINGER?!

"Hi, I'm Jim. I advertise handheld electronics because I have a nice palm and 3 severed fingers.. etc."

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Pope Rarely Smells of Flowers

So, I didn't really have much to say about the Pope's visit. Mainly because he did a bit of good (highlighting Christian principles in a secular society) against a shadow of a lot of bad (completely ignoring those principles over the last however many years), and I'd rather avoid the whole affair. Not to say I don't have an opinion, but I think enough has been said, and not enough done.

What I DO have to say about the Pope is that when someone uses the word 'popery' - as in 'the bells, smells and confession - it all smacks of popery' - I generally think of little bowls of dried perfumed flowers.

Think about it.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Old hat

You've probably seen it before. That doesn't stop it being amazing. Every time I watch it, I have to hold back tears.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Today, the 15th of September, is Battle of Britain day. The day we remember the sacrifices British people made 70 years ago, where the 'so many' began the debt to the 'so few'.

I was reading about it this morning, and came away feeling sad, but proud. If there is one thing I have learnt, it's that we may mock each other, we deride each others accents, we might disparage certain towns and places in Britain, but when our backs are against the wall, you bloody better not mess with us.

God bless those who fought, those who died, and those who continue to live. May we never forget them.


A brief edit, because the above post didn't make my appreciation of those Commonwealth, European and American pilots also involved in the Battle of Britain apparent. So, here's to you.

Whoops, Odeon it again!

Today, I recieved this email. You may not think that strange. Unless, of course you know that I haven't been to the cinema in about 3 years, and I can't afford to see one film, let alone sign up for the 'Odeon Premiere Club'. Then, you realise that it's absolutely bizarre.

Who gets their own email address wrong?! And why do people regularly presume MY email address is THEIR email address?

However, I am quite tempted to keep this one. Who can turn down 'exclusive film offers with the chance to win fantastic prizes'? That'll learn 'em.

Monday, 13 September 2010

My Monday

So, today I went shopping. I say 'shopping', I mean I went to Brent Cross. Which is less like shopping and more like selling your soul to Mammon. And this was a quiet Monday morning. I dread to think what it is like on a Saturday afternoon, or anytime leading up to Christmas. Which, I suppose technically, is now. Oh dear.


I also popped into my local Christian bookshop this afternoon. They're concentrating more on 'gifts' than on books, as books don't sell as well as tat. I'm intrigued to see how this goes down. Also, their music selection leaves a lot to be desired. What self-respecting Christian bookshop doesn't have Stryper and Petra? SRSLY?!


When in Brent Cross earlier, I popped into the Apple store to salivate and lust. Outside the door, across the walkway and snaking round the balcony edge so famed in shopping centres the world over, was a queue. But not just any queue. No, the demographics of this queue was entirely Asian, and almost entirely male. I asked an Apple Store worker why there was a queue. She told us, rather dispassionately, that it was for the iPhone 4. I mistakenly thought that it had been released quite recently. No, no it hadn't. It was brought out three months ago.

Fascinating social phenomena.


I passed the local college on my walk, full of 16 to 18 year olds with misplaced confidence. One was shouting an amusing but considerably rude greeting to a friend or acquiantance. His friend (or acquaintance) responded with 'WTF?!' Literally, he said the letters W, T and F, with a slightly perplexed and questioning intonation. (Then again, I'm not sure you can really say WTF in a monotone. It would lack... virility.) Anyway, the thought struck me that, not only is it weird to say 'WTF?!', it's also longer, due to 'W' having more syllables than 'what'. So, in one of the linguistic joys of the subculture that is 'the internet', shorthand, when spoken, is actually rendered pointless.


And to finish, a little example of the Christian ghetto that amused me:

Me: Oh, so is Charli a Christian?
H: Er... yeah?! She went to Uganda!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

my world vision stops at the sea

You may have heard of this. All the appeals for this to stop seem to be falling on deaf ears.

The church involved is called Dove World Outreach Centre. The irony of the name, and the fact that it claims on the church website that it has been transformed from 'a local church to an apostolic church with a world vision' are hopefully not lost on us. How do you have a 'world vision' and yet be so shortsighted to be unable see that an event such as burning the Qu'ran will incite others to numerous acts of violence.

And another problem. The infamous pastor, Terry Jones, is quoted as saying that he has 'no experience of the Qu'ran, whatsoever'. Yet he still claims it is evil. A rather tenuous, and unfortunate way to go about gaining notoriety.

Monday, 6 September 2010

...Jesus wept.

Disclaimer: this is an angry blog post. It's also confused, slightly broken, questioning and needs people to get involved. I don't need platitudes, nor do I need the Bible quoted at me. I need people to be angry, confused, broken and questioning with me.

Yesterday, I went to a large church in London. I had never been to this church, and it was an enjoyable experience. It has an esteemed history of good expositional preaching, but I couldn't help fundamentally disagreeing with the sermon. The text studied was Hebrews 12:4-11. Here it is, for your delectation:
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Not an easy passage, by any means. I'm glad they did it, and they had the audacity to tackle it. But, in my opinion, they tackled it wrong.

He started by saying that as hard as it may be to fathom, God disciplines us. Good thus far, and I'm hopeful, as it may answer questions I have myself. He then said that we mustn't get discipline and punishment confused, as God doesn't punish us for specific sins. He may humble us, he may remind us who is God, but he will not punish us for particular sins. I agreed in essence with this idea, but it's hard to try and define things that happen to us as punishment, or consequences, or discipline. I still don't know the answer.

Then, unfortunately, he said something that I could not fathom, or agree with: 'God creates suffering or hardship to discipline us'. To take his understanding to an extreme, God caused the earthquake in Haiti, the cancer in a loved ones body, the flooding in Pakistan, the stillbirth of a child, the tsunami in the Pacific Ocean and the death of a teenage girl in a car crash.

I cannot accept this. I literally have no capacity to accept this. I cannot even begin to fathom that God, the creator of this world, would actively take part in those things in order to 'discipline' those he loves.

This morning, I awoke to a text from a very dear friend who split up with her boyfriend of 2 and a half years. A 'minor' event, perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, but her whole world just came crashing down. Just to 'discipline' her? I got another text later on the morning telling me that another friend had multiple cysts on her ovaries, and at the age of 18, is looking at the possibility of not being able to bear children. Because God loves 'disciplining' us?

They're two things that I have experienced today that make me think that what the preacher said last night was more or less hocum.

I'm fairly sure I've communicated myself badly, and I'm fairly sure people are going to shoot me down. Right now, though, I don't care. Help.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Some absolutely awesome photography by a chap called Alexander Augusteijn

Thursday, 2 September 2010

What he said...

We can't medicate man to perfection again,
we can't legislate peace in our hearts.
We can't educate sin from our souls,
it's been there from the start.

Blind lead the blind into bottomless pits,
still we smile and deny that we're cursed.
But of all our iniquities,
ignorance may be the worst.