Wednesday, 31 December 2008


I was contemplating doing a retrospective of the year, and perhaps a few amusing predictions for the next year. And then I realised I didn't care that much about the 'New Year'. I will probably, if I'm bored on the flight, do my best at the above, but right now, my feeling is that of a bit of confusion. I can never quite understand the fuss about the change of date. I suppose if people take comfort from knowing that they can start over with a new year, great. But, at the risk of sounding preachy, we need to start over every day. Maybe I'm just old and cynical, but Old Year's Night/New Year's Eve just seems like a pretty poor excuse to be depressed about the past year, be excessively hopefully about the next, and to get drunk.

It's just another year, isn't it?

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Jacksonville Beach At Night

One of the only good photos to come of a night walk along Jacksonville beach. Much fun to try and take, though...

Thursday, 25 December 2008

First American Thoughts

Arrived here yesterday evening. A few paltry thoughts to share with you: they don't do Christmas decorations on the streets and shops. But then, I realised that they do excessive lights and attention grabbing stuff every day of the year. So, Christmas isn't really necessary.


Wearing my MxPx tshirt last night, and my sister-in law's Mum's cousin's husband started talking about The Ramones, and how they were part of the great British punk scene. I'm not sure I can comment much further on that without being rude. So I shan't.

Monday, 22 December 2008

The first tentative words...?

I've been writing on forgiveness for a week. A pretty much solid week of work, and I've just about come to a point where I can stop at, and be happy with the work I have done. If I tried to do any more, it would feel incomplete, and thus, is probably not that great an idea to start now. January is for more work, methinks.

Over the week I have come to a few, tentative and very vague conclusions. Here they are, probably in slightly less coherent form than in the essay, but my brain is just about fried.

First off - God forgives us first. I know that sounds somewhat daft, and even somewhat obvious, but I had been plunging myself into Jesus' teaching on prayer, where he says 'forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are indebted to us.' The way the sentence reads is as if we are only forgiven if we continue to forgive others. However, when we juxtapose this teaching with his parable of the unmerciful servant, we see that we cannot affect God's forgiveness of us, but as we are forgiven, we need to emulate God's character, and forgive others.

Second - it is nigh on impossible to forgive wrongs not done to you. This, as you may well imagine, poses a problem for the situation found in The Sunflower. Forgiveness is a very personal thing, and needs the victim to forgive. Which leads us to the question: is murder unforgivable?

Thursday, 18 December 2008


Excuse the morbidity. Well, actually, don't. Death came up in conversation yesterday with Siobhan, as you would expect when theology and medicine students converge. But death is one of those things that I'm slowly getting tired of. Not, obviously, that I am being plagued by it, but the fear it strikes into the heart of every human. I distinctly remember talking to my Dad once, as we drove through central London, about how I was quite looking forward to death.

But age has made a faithless man of me. Since that child-like declaration, I have become rather attached to life. It has grown on me. I have dreams, aspirations, things to live for. And yet, life is only fleeting, and as if seeing through a glass darkly. I want to hold onto life much more lightly.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Order, thoughts, and Zimbabwe.

Armed with a plethora (yes, I used it) of whiteboard markers, a whiteboard, a mirror, and a rather large window, I have been trying to instill some order into my otherwise chaotic days. Otherwise, as I well know, my grand scheme of writing nigh on 5000 words previous to Christmas will go belly up, and I'll be rather annoyed.

And I actually rather enjoy it. It's amazing what happens when you plan your day previous to you waking up to it. Admittedly, I was dead to the world this morning, but I chugged through what I had planned and have come out the other side feeling rather productive, and quite proud of myself.

I have a feeling that Graham might be onto something with this whole write it down and speak it out lark. Craziness.


Amid the order, there is chaos. My mind is going like the Clangers - no, wait. So many thoughts and feelings assailing me, but I have this quiet assurance it's OK. It may be that the above order has put paid to panic, or it could be the fact that within that order, I'm determined to start my day with Bible reading and prayer. For what's order without the one who instilled it in the first place?


How many deaths does it take to remove a Zimbabwean dictator? Alright, it's not a joke, nor is it funny, but I just get the feeling of a bit of farce going on. Black comedy, if you will. The situation seems so far removed from any semblance of reality. Take, for instance, Mugabe's insistence that a) there is no cholera (much like there is no spoon...) and b) Brown caused the cholera! The West has poisoned the water supply! Biological weapons! Attack! Argh! The contradiction in terms is not dissimilar to the oxymoron that is 'Zimbabwean Government' - ministers that, according to an article I read earlier, are each receiving cars that are rolling off production lines as we speak, just so they have some choice. I'm no expert at running countries, given that all attempts with Civilisation and SimCity failed miserably, but I could at least tell you that in an economy such as Zimbabwe's, cars are not really the order of the day.

But back to this cholera lark. Mugabe insists that it has been arrested, and cholera is no longer affecting his nation. And as it was a pretext for the West to go to war with Zimbabwe, we no longer need to go war, Everything Is Alright, Folks! Just An Accident... etc., etc.. But considering an UN report today suggests an increase of 25% in cholera deaths, I'm thinking either the UN are lying, infiltrated by the West (ha!), to plant evidence as an excuse to go to war, or Mugabe is just rubbish at propaganda. As it is, I still think we need to do something, drastically - it almost feels like we're waiting for something big enough. And to be honest, I don't think we get out of bed for anything less than falsified reports of WMDs. Which leads me believe that no-one really knows who the joke is on...

Monday, 8 December 2008

Please don't forget my name; I've got a lot to lose

What a numpty. Me, I mean. I so easily allow myself to wallow in petty little problems. I discovered today that I hadn't been invited to something I dearly would have loved to go to. When hearing about it, I duly got offended by my non-invitation. Why? What right do I have to be upset by it? I really want to mope and get sympathy, but I'm not entirely sure it's my place to. The most bizarre thing about it is that I may have had to say no anyway, due to other plans.

Why is the grass always greener?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


I am in the library. I am reading and taking notes. I am also very tired, for some reason. I'm considering giving up working, but know I realistically can't do such a thing. Because I have available time now, and I need to use it. But that was obvious.


I'm currently reading Edward H. Flannery's response to The Sunflower. He's a Catholic, but I like the way he thinks. Every contributor up to this point has asked the question, 'is it right to forgive someone who has commited such vile offences?' Flannery, however, has the presence of mind to ask a different question:

‘Is it permitted to refuse forgiveness to a sincerely repentant malefactor?’

Everyone else has read the story with a degree of Jewish or philosophical or even Plain Old World-Weary cynicism. This Karl fellow, they say, were they Oxbridge types, are you sure he's penitent? Is he not just having us on, pulling our leg, feeling a bit sorry for himself? He's still a Nazi, after all. Always used to try and skip rugger, too, they would add.

Of course, we cannot go around handing out forgiveness to every one who says they are sorry. Or can we? Flannery points out the very Jewish way Jesus says '70 times 7', implying a repetitious and continual forgiveness. If someone says they are sorry, should we not forgive them? Whether or not they are truly repentant is God's business, but we should certainly do ours.