Friday, 27 August 2010

An exile, a soujouner, a citizen of some other place

I feel the need to write something meaningful and poignant.

However, as my writing rarely ever achieves such high and lofty aims, you'll get a hodge podge of thoughts from my last week.


Y'know that thing where you give advice to someone, with the best intentions, and scriptual back up, and with their complete undivided attention? And then you go and completely ignore your own advice, to the detriment of relationships, your sanity and faith?

Well, imagine, just imagine, that the exact same thing had happened to me, except the advice I gave, completely hypothetically, was in a sermon to 45 people.

And when you think back over the past week since you (allegedly) preached that sermon, you realise that you have contravened what you said, not once, not twice, but numerous times.

Sucks to be me.

I preached on Naaman on Sunday (2 Kings 5:1-17). I didn't have long, and I wasn't really sure what to bring out of the text. But one thing that really struck me when I was reading it was that Naaman went a very convoluted route to experience God. We don't have to do that. We have direct access to God through Christ. And so, I encouraged everyone to first turn to God, before we pick up the 'phone to talk to friends, or we go to the doctor, or we spew at the nearest person.

Good advice, no? I thought so. I then lay in bed last night and counted the number of people I had shared a problem with, even before I told God what was going on. Now, don't get me wrong, I shared it with some very wise and godly people who I have no doubt God works in and through. But they are not God, nor are they a good substitute for Him.

Please pray that I pray more.

I just got home from the Electric Ballroom in Camden - one of the coldest gig venues I have ever have the privilege of being at - and just experienced what I shall simply describe as one of the best gigs I have ever been to. Thrice are a band that seem to transcend genre, and just do what comes naturally. If you have a moment, and fancy being inspired, go check them out. They also get plus points for referencing G.K. Chesterton to a room full of crazed teenagers and twenty-somethings.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Why, yes I am Mainly because I'm not Mrs Marriott, nor have I signed up for I was fairly sure that your purpose was to un/dis/deconfuse people.

You have failed.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

My wonderful friend Scott pointed me to this picture. It raised a rueful smile.

Monday, 23 August 2010


This was posted by a 14 year old. They have a point. But some ironies are just too sweet to point out.

Oh, wait. I think I just did.

You are having me on!

I just watched the mst recent episode of Would I Lie To You? with Ronnie Corbett. I recommend you watch this clip, and then go and check iPlayer. I hurt from laughing.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Thank you

So, exciting news - people currently residing in Hawaii have read this blog. Two of them. On separate islands! (I checked.)

Anyway, a brief thank you to everyone who got involved in the blog this week - it's been a real blessing to come on and see people have read and commented and got stuck in.

Also, to real life, to all those who have texted/Facebooked/called/spent time with me in this last week: thank you. I have had such a good week, and you have all made it what it is. So, thanks.

Finally: I got a free cookie from Subway yesterday. For, and I quote, 'being poor and working for the church'. Maybe there is a God...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Nevermind who, you have failed to reach it...

So I was on a teenager's summer camp last week. It was an amazing Experience. One moment that particularly peturbed me went a little like this:

During mealtimes, there would always be music playing in the background. It was always Christian, invariably "worship", and often mediocre. One of the first meals we had together, however, someone decided to put on DC Talk. An inspired decision, if there ever was one. And, so it goes, the intro riff to Jesus Freak strummed its way out of the speakers, and I got a little excited. The teenagers, unsurprisingly, had never heard of DC Talk before, let alone Jesus Freak. I thought I would help them with a little popular culture reference, by explaining that Jesus Freak by DC Talk was a bit like the Christian version of Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, for it's anthemic nature, singalongability, and general endurability. I got a chorus of blank stares, and then a question from a 14 year old girl:
"Who are Nirvana?"
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. What do they teach them in schools these days?!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010 Mosque be joking?!

There is an Islamic centre wanting to be built in New York. Nothing too amiss there. There are lots of Muslims in New York, and a lot of them want to worship. The problem arises when you realise that the Muslims wanting to build it are planning a site two and a half blocks from Ground Zero.

The majority of Republicans - as I understand it, and I understand little - are up in arms. Sarah Palin waded in a few weeks ago with a tweet (because THAT would have made sense 3 years ago...):
"Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing,"
Which is an interesting stance to take. In some ways, and this rarely happens, I agree with Mrs. Palin. Within 140 characters, she has managed to avoid racist/religious slurs and state why exactly she opposes it. However, what seems to be missing is a certain subjectivity. What I feel would have carried the message better is:
"Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque [feels/seems/looks like] UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing,"
I cannot imagine that Muslims planning this Islamic centre are gleefully rubbing their hands together, thinking of all the offense they can cause with this building - they are merely building an Islamic centre, which, as a small part of it, contains a mosque.

So things die down a little, but come the beginning of Ramadan, President Obama gets involved. He claims that America's commitment to religious freedom must be "unshakeable":
"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community centre on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,"
But now we are being introduced to the idea of rights, not ethics, which is a whole new ball game. If we are contending the right of this Islamic centre to be built, we have no leg to stand on. A FOX News poll (and that sentence can always end badly) found that 61% of participants said yes, the Muslims do have a right to build this centre.

However, the question asked previously in the poll was whether the mosque was appropriate: 64% said it was not.

A fascinating window into the American psyche - rights are inalienable, as long as they don't offend someone else. And in saying that, I think I almost agree with them.

Pitch in; get involved.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

So I'm pootling around the office, sorting out a few things, and the 'phone rings:
"Hi, my name's [unintelligible Scottish accent] and I work for BBC London. I was just looking through the local papers to find some human interest stories to pad out silly season, because there's no real news happening, and wondered if you were still doing your Holiday at Home event?'*

"Er, no, it's already happened."

"Oh. Well, send us an email next year, maybe, and we'll see what we can do."
Oh, the life of a church worker. The glamour and fame of... BBC London.

*sentence may have paraphrased from her actual spiel.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


Today's lesson...

...for me: do not test the church fire alarm without first being absolutely sure of how to turn it off without having to embarrassingly call up the fire alarm maintenance people and ask if they know how to silence the wretched thing.


...for you: toddle along to this place of beauty and wonder. Miriam is a delightful girl, friend and artist. And she's starting to sell her really rather awesome prints. Go see. And buy.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Rubbish Evangelical

Some friends (some very wise friends, I must add) and I were recently discussing evangelicalism, and what makes us evangelical. A lot of people describe themselves as evangelical, yet don't seem to pay much heed to the basic tenets of evangelicalism. Is that just the Church being educationally poor, or us being plain ol' ignorant?

In the conversation, the thought struck me - do I really love the Bible? Am I really desperate to read it and share it? I'm not sure I am, but I'm even less sure I want to stay like this.

Oh, to fall in love over and over again.