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


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:


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


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


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


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.