Saturday, April 30, 2005
It was a very slick film with a decidedly different tone (in fact a different plot in places!) to the radio series and tv series. I rather thought it should have been a little LESS slick and hollywood; it's such a quirky story - it needed a slightly more quirky style and I don't think a big movie can really do quirky. It needed to be a little more British I suppose! Yet it was such a POSITIVE film. I really hope Douglas Adams enjoyed it from "his seat in the gallery" as a fulfillment of the screenplay he had written. I really hope the changes were his. I think it shows an interesting change in his outlook on life if they were. A change for the good. I'm not going to specify... have a look.
Though I can't resist telling you a few little bits!
Marvin the Android was rather bigger than I thought he'd be but Warwick Davies' movements and Alan Rickman's voice made it work! Stephen Fry was perfect (though underused) as the Guide. Bill Nighy was EXCELLENT as Slartibartfast and personally I thought Martin Freeman was great as Arthur Dent (and the appearance of the TV series Arthur in another role was a joy!).
Favourite moment is a tough one though - seriously the film was that good - but I think it's finally a contest between the woolly moment after the improbability drive and the INCREDIBLE sequences about the creation of Earth Mark 2 (the backup). I can see me using that as a discussion starter about God and... u know... Life the universe and everything!
Friday, April 29, 2005
I'm off to see Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy tonight (somewhat in contrast to the ultimate chick flick fest last night of THE WEDDING DATE - very funny but guys, trust me, you don't want to bother!)
Had a nightmare finding a decent enough photograph of me to offer for submission! Not sure I picked the right one but I talk so much that there are rarely photos of me without my mouth open in some strange position! The biography was limited to 20 words as well so that was also a challenge!!
I'm just off to spend the day grinning! Have a good day everyone!
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Russ Parker spoke this morning in the main conference hall where only a coupl of months ago I was listening to Tony Campolo and Russ talked Philippians 3 (a favourite of mine I must say) emphasising Christianity as being TOUGH... "It's not a glamour shoot" you don't become a Christian, get a promotion and a pay rise... All great stuff but SPOOKILY similar to some of the things Tony Campolo said on that VERY spot only a few weeks ago! His mannerisms were similar too so I was nearly as spooked as I was by the Tim Sudworth lookalike I spotted the first night of the conference!!!
He also spoke about the need for people to be in love with Christ and not "people in love with eventfulness - it's not the same thing!"
Russ also had some fantastic things to say this afternoon about the ability to HEAL the effects of the history of places, people and communities. He was talking primarily about the power of listening and again echoed something that Tony Campolo said at the Matrix youth conference. Russ proposed that:
"if we can listen with the ears of Christ we might just get 'the words that will sustain the weary'"
He also had a painfully accurate challenge to those in a preaching/teaching ministry... "What makes you think that people have heard the Gospel just because you've preached it to them?" He was talking about this in reference to the cultural background of people and our need as ministers to listen to histories. It reminded me of some of the things Antony Reddie covered when I visited the Methodist training session. Parker put it in a rather more metaphoric way though which I rather liked. When we preach, "it's got to pass through the window of their personal story" on which they will make their own conclusions.
I'm still distilling a lot of this but it is all resonating with Bob Mayo's take on a narrative model of youth ministry and I really feel that I am crystallising my own model of ministry more and more. Paradoxically though, that crystallisation is of a model of ministry which is itself fluid. I have a strong sense of that need to "flow" in my ministry, to be caught up in what God is wanting me to do rather than drive my own path through not simply in the general direction of my vocation but also in the minutiae of the daily ministry and it really is a liberating experience.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Then also a great St George's Day Service with some brilliant young cubs helping me with a sketch... followed by an excellent session with the confirmation class on the Holy Spirit and Prayer... and finally an interesting evening listening to the local candidates for the general election at a hustings meeting in the church including James Oates, the Liberal Democrat candidate with a blog.
I told him I'd had a look at it and liked his link to some silly doctored photographs and when I mentioned mine he said he might have a look and give me a link. Pretty cool!. Unlike the UKIP candidate who, aside from the usual UKIP strand of bizarre political explanations that ALL problems result from our membership of the EU, had a go at young people by talking about the "problem of young people" presenting themselves to A&E with injuries and the need for activities to "KEEP THEM OUT OF MISCHIEF!" Having just spent A LOT of time with young people, that REALLY riled me and I nearly went up to tell him what I thought but fortunately my friend intervened!!
This problemisation of young people is so ubiquitous and seemingly so acceptable. How do we change that? None of the young people I work with is perfect but then I don't know any perfect adults. In fact I seem to remember there has only ever been one perfect human! The problems that people talk about in relation to young people are problems not of youth but of humanity - when will people understand that?
Anyway, it's too late to continue ranting! More anon on all of this.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
I realised that I hadn’t updated you all on the completion of the Easter to Pentecost labyrinth. Here’s the finished thing in total
And some of the young people using it.
I'll be away for the weekend with a small group of our young people, so I'm sneaking this one in quickly. I'll let you know how it all goes!
Friday, April 22, 2005
As I knew I’d not be GOOD I thought I’d gor for symbolism rather than beauty!
So the entire creation is supposed to be seasonal – recreated St George and the Dragon.
Hopefully you can see
Something vaguely George –like
The flames of the dragon’s fiery breath
And last but not least the Dragon itself
So this is what it should look like as people walk in
Thursday, April 21, 2005
I can’t deny it any longer…
It’s so clear that you just can’t hide it…
I MUST BE A GROWN UP
Today I am going to be … oh it’s too depressing to admit… I’m going to be …
… arranging flowers in church!
That’s it! I have to hang up trainers and start buying sensible shoes. No more smarties cookies; tea and cucumber sandwiches only from now on.
Perhaps I should take up knitting… and basket-weaving… and find a good zimmer frame!
Anyway… my senectitude apart… I’ll try and get a pick of the hideous monstrosity later to show you all. It may be a new dawn in the awfulness of floral art!
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
For the last two AGMs I have convened our Youth Council on the same evening and the young people have met briefly for youth business and then gone on to join the whole church. I think it had quite an impact last year - the regsiter of their presence in the minutes aside - as people seemed less inclined to faff around and ask endless questions. There was some sense of a need to "keep it real" which permeated the meeting. This year, with our new vicar in post, the meeting was more envisioned anyway and the presence of the young people was pretty much expected rather than a surprise.
There was no Annual General Moaning. It was focussed for a large part of the evening on the legal necessities of the synodical system and yet it was also rich in a sense of moving forwards and in seeking after vision. I really feel that All Saints' is living out its mission to be:
A place for our whole community to encounter God.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Benedict XVI is likely to be a highly conservative pope though likely to hold the post for long as he was 78 last Saturday.
As Cardinal Ratzinger, this man was responsible for reaffirming the sole validity of the Roman Catholic church over other Christian churches.
The new pope should be familiar to anyone who has been watching thenews as he presided at the funeral of Pope John Paul II and preached then and at the mass before the start of the conclave this week.
When I heard that white smoke had been seen this afternoon I thought it might well be Ratzinger who had been chosen as he was the most likely to get a clear majority so quickly, in my opinion.
I think it's a shame that this new pope is also European and in fact, from a place not so far from Poland, the birthplace of the last pope, in the grand scheme of things.
There is one thing that is fairly certain; we shall see the election of a new pope again within a decade or so.
I'm sure this will be a fantastic resource for anyone working with young people or in churches that are far from dull!
Check it out.
Talking about CRE - who's going on which day? Am I likely to bump into any bloggers when I'm there on Tuesday 10th May?
I'm not the BBC so I don't have to be impartial but I will look to see if the other parties have done anything similar. Maybe it'll come out that bloggin is a LIBERAL thing to do!!??
I am a STRONG advocate of people using their vote. If you don't vote, you're abdicating responsibility for the way the world is run.
Some people say they don't vote because they don't see the difference between the parties. Well, just for you, the Christian Aid website has a link to a hand website that can help you decide how to vote.
I did the test and my only shock was a slight plus on UKIP - aaagh!
Who should I vote for?
Your expected outcome:Liberal Democrat
Your actual outcome:
|Liberal Democrat 64|
|UK Independence Party 4|
You should vote: Liberal Democrat
The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.
Take the test at Who Should You Vote For
Monday, April 18, 2005
This would usually be the point at which I cut and paste the talk that I gave last night but... trouble is... I worked out the basic idea and theme of what I was going to say last night but I never wrote it down and simply spoke without notes last night.
I was talking about John 10.10-10 and I did use an image which I will share with you which I heard SO long ago that I forget where (and indeed forgot the original concepts!)
I took a large glass vase to symbolise life
and placed some large pebbles in it to symbolise the big things in life like family work food etc and asked people, "is it full" (fortunately I got a few yeses!)
Then I toped it up with gravel which trickled through the pebbles and up to the top to represent the fun stuff in life like friends and sport and music "full?" the response was mixed
Then I took a big jug of sand to represent the little kindnesses and good intentions, the things we tend to squeeze in when we can and thesound of the sand was pretty cool as it slid effortlessthrough the pebbles and gravel - "full?" by this point some people had cottoned on and were saying "No?"
Then I finally took a jug of water and talked about Jesus and the living water. I talked about how we can fill our lives with all kinds of things; things that matter and things that don't and yet no matter how much we fill our lives there is ALWAYS room for the living water. Then I poured the water in and it bubbled and gurgled (fab stuff!)
My message was: You may be living it large but unless you have God in your life, your not living life in all its fullness.
There was a man taking photos so if I get any I'll post them up.
Was anybody there? Any feedback people?
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Dave, I salute you! A masterpiece! I particularly like the late night element of the programme!
Even though Wibsite was recently described as "confusing on your first look" by a review site which cautioned potential readers that it "borders on offensive at times" I think this was a little underserved. The site is, in fact well worth an explore, a titter and a return visit. I get no comission although I should perhaps declare that a Wibsite calendar does adorn our kitchen wall!! Just love those cartoons :oD
Friday, April 15, 2005
The trouble is, having a name like Sarah Hamilton is not especially great for building a prominent internet profile. It's just too common, unfortunately. It reminds me of the Dave Gorman show.
I was at school with another Sarah Hamilton who was in the year ahead of me and when I was working in academia, there was a Sarah Hamilton ahead of me by a couple of years in a similar enough field that a colleague once congratulated me on the good reviews for (not) my new book! Strangest thing was that this other Dr Sarah Hamilton and I seemed to have quite a few academia friends in common though the two of us never actually met.
Having left academia for the greater pleasures of Youth Ministry, I sometimes think of the other Dr Sarah Hamilton leading the life I might have had (though in fact she was FAR more dedicated and scholarly than I was and therefore justificably more successful!).
Yesterday, a friend asked me if I ever miss university life with a "nonne" question (one for my former students there - a question expecting the answer no... a "surely not?") and in part he was right. I generally don't. I love my job so much, even when I have incredibly busy days like today and the prospect of full days ahead. There is occaionally, though, a brief moment when I picture myself sitting in a quiet library surounded by a large stack of Latin dictionaries but this is usually lost in me giggling (at the recollection that I really didn't have the dedication to solitary confinement when I was researching and was far more inclined to plan "fun" things for my Latin classes) and then moving on to plan the next event, buy some new resources, experiment with some craft or write something for my next sermon. Talk about dream job, surely? Well I think it is for me, as long as I get some time when I'm supposed to be a little bit mature sometimes!!!
In looking for the article itself, (which looks at the abandonment of apparent religious affiliation by left wing politicians) I also found various responses on websites.The two most interesting of them describe the authors as conspiracy theorists and "champions of the left" who are writing "as if Oliver Cromwell were in charge again and the public executions will begin tomorrow morning". What a review!
Of course getting criticism like that must mean they're doing something right... or should that be something left? ;oP
Thursday, April 14, 2005
I think I blog better when there's something niggling me slightly. I'm just too content. Sorry everyone!
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
"Isn't it wonderful when things just work"
That is my tag line for tonight. Just ahd a great meeting with my youth leadership team. We really bounced ideas around and went with the vision. It TOTALLY rocked. I'm feeling fab about it all. Even though we have a few challenges ahead like the perennial need for more leaders particularly for our youth residential and finding a way of incorporating the youth leadership team into the leadership of the whole church as it changes its structures.
Tomorrow I have my annual ministerial review with my rector and this is so completely and utterly the best way I could prepare for it.Wow :oD
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
This was a reminder of Jamie’s School Dinners and the connection with the relative value of what we are “feeding” our young people has been on my mind lately and we’re looking to focus less on Turkey Twizzlers and more on the “fruits” in our work with young people at All Saints’. Pete’s point though was very timely for me. If we make our youth ministry too focussed on the wholesome stuff we feed them BRAN which is unpalatable on its own. The question is what IS the balanced diet of youth ministry?
All these metaphorical ponderings about food made me rather peckish so my balanced diet for this evening was a homemade vegetable curry including beetroot, carrot, cauliflower, butter beans and red pepper served with some purple sprouting broccoli in yoghurt and black mustard seeds – wonderful, though I do say so myself!
Friday, April 08, 2005
I had been vaguely looking forward to this film but now I am SO EXCITED...
The cast inlucdes Martin Freeman fromthe Office, Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast, Stephen Fry as the GUIDE, Bill Bailey as the whale and Alan Rickman as Marvin the paranoide android...
...need I say MORE?
Well You have to try the pan galactic gargle blaster on Zaphod's character page AND of course Deep Though in the FUN section.
Today I have been working out what's going in our Easter to Pentecost labyrinth and so I had to buy a bubble machine and some lego. I was also testing out the craft for our youth club tomorrow. How cool is that!?
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
I had Maggie,
Daisy and Jeff
supporting me on the sports' team and some fanTAStic games of poplacrosse, unihoc and footy.
Yesterday was the moving closing ceremony when the young people show their relatives
the memory boxes,
sand jars and candles they've made and talk about what they've been doing. They also show everyone what Peter and Jeanette got them doing with drums and karaoke.
Then finally there's the balloon release. The leaders give each young person a balloon
to which they tie a label with the name of the person who has died and then the balloons are released
and we watch them float away
Right now I'm pretty worn out after two whole days of sport which is rather a lot for this former library dwelling academic!
Sunday, April 03, 2005
It is a thrilling book written with passion and energy (and I've only just finished the introduction!). I'm trying to overcome my slight prejudice that she gets some Latin wrong (saying Passio means "to suffer" the VERB is patior, pati, passus - passio is a later derivation. Ok gown-like anorak off now!) but it's not difficult to get past that because the message of the text is SO good.
One of my favourite bits was the dispelling of the myth:
"Youth ministry is primarily about youth." Untrue. Theologically, youth ministryiis primarily about Jesus Christ and about the church's witness to the self-giving love of God." (p.14)
In fact she points out that young people are people and in many ways their youth is what we focus on not the fact that they are people.
Dean draws a lot from Jurgen Moltmann which might be seen as a little contraversial by some but I find his theological explorations useful (even if they're not always entirely doctrinal!). She seems to be suggesting a real back to basics approach to Youth Ministry; looking at the theological approach. This sounds like something we're looking at here in High Wycombe so I'm looking forward to reading the rest.
There was a bit of an ouch moment today though.
How about this:
"Is it possible that the 'problem' facing youth ministry reflects all too acurately a malaise infecting mainline denominations generally; a flabby theological identity due to an absence of passion? That would be ironice. Most young peoplecome to us brimming with passion. Could it be that, instead of fanning this youthful zeal into holy fire, we have more often doused i, dismissed it, or drowned it in committee meetings?" (p.25)
Yet even if it is a fair cop, let's not become even MORE flabby about it. Instead let's react with passion, with energy, with fire to energise young people and to channel their energies into our churches.
A small start for me today. Crew are planning a Labyrinth for the whole church. Have a look.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
The impact of a deeply prayerful person should not be underestimated. I know many of my Catholic friends who will be deeply distressed at the loss of a man they had found inspiring not for anything he DID necessarily but for the person he was. Pope John Paul II was one of the most world-travelled popes ever and his presence alone was an inspiration to some I have spoken to. He made that presence felt in so many places. How many of us can say that we've achieved anything like that? Right now the world mourns a great man and an inspiration to many. In a few days time it will be watchng and waiting to see who follows him.
It's been a long time since there has been a papal election as Pope John Paul II was one of the longest serving popes in history. It's not outside living memory though. 1978 saw the election of two popes after the death of Pope Paul VI who had served since 1963 and the rather more sudden death of Pope John Paul I who had only served as pope for just over a month.
Even more than that, thanks to Angels and Demons (the prequel to Da Vinci Code) there are probably FAR more people out there nowadays who know how a pope is elected.
The Catholic Encyclopedia has a fascinatingly detailed description of the history of the election of popes.
Any Catholic adult male may be elected as pope... think on guys! Are you papabile?
The last layman to be elected was the rather unfortunate Celestine V who was elected in 1294 and the last pope who had not previously been a cardinal was Urban VI in 1378. There have already been some suggestions about some possible successors.The BBC also has some suggestions.
Pope John Paul II has himself issued a papal bull on the matter of the papal election called UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS.
The cardinals meet in the Sistine chapel in a conclave ( con clave "with a key" – i.e they are locked in) and they vote for the new pope until one man has a two thirds majority. At each vote, the voting papers are burned and the smoke is seen by those watching outside. For an nonconclusive vote, straw is mixed with the ballot papers to make a dark smoke. When a successful vote has taken place, the smoke is white to indicate the election of a new pope. Personally I think that is kinda cool.
Random guy comes to my door on "religious business" and asks me if I think the now inevitable (though lamentable) death of the pope would have any effect on the world outside of the catholic church.
Bless him - as when I suggested that the possible appointment of a more conservative successor such as Cardinal Ratzinger might well have a big impact, he had NO idea who I was talking about.
He was more concerned with the alleged lack of impact Pope John Paul II has had onthe world and the fact that wars have continued during his papalcy (bless him again his word!).
I have to admit that as intriguing as it was, it was at that point that I declined any further discussion of the papacy and told him I was going to close my door and our conversation.
He did however pose a good question.
What impact might a new pope have onthe world?
What impact did the current pope have?
This is not intended to be critical of the servant of the servants of God but an honest admission that I'm not sure I really know what changes Pope John Paul II has made.