Tuesday, January 31, 2006
How bad am I though that I was really tempted to take a photo of it for the blog!? I resisted the urge just in case there were some squeamish types out there in the blogosphere.
Apparently, according to the doctor, I was very brave and I should get someone else to carry plates and do the washing up in future!
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Went to see King Kong last night (at last). My favourite scenes had to be Kong have a toddler-like tantrum when Anne wouldn't play anymore and then later, towards the end, skidding around on the ice and laughing at himself!
However it wasn't all delightful!
Now I know I'm a bit of a wuss really but the isalnd natives were SCARY - really nasty sudden attacks and the whole ritualistic sacrifice business - and the creatures on the island were MANKY. Big wormy things and bugs various being particularly nasty.
However in addition to demonstrating my wuss-like tendencies, I also demonstrated two other characteristics.
Firstly, my inner geek came out when I saw that Andy Serkis (of Gollum fame) was not only playing the hero (Kong) but also the chef on board the boat.
Secondly I demonstrated my VERY soppy side by totally blubbing over the tragic hero's demise. Yes I know I should have been prepared for the ending but it was SO sad. A gentle character that demonstrated great loyalty, an appreciation of beautiful sunsets and a wonderfully fun side ends up being viewed as a monster merely because of his size and strength. How often do we misperceive people because of their appearance and take their gruffness and social ineptitude as anger. Ok so most people aren't 25ft gorillas ... so that should make it easier maybe? I think not!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Well tonight my best beloved is coming round and preparing Haggis, neeps and tatties (early, as I have a meeting tonight). This is traditionally accompanied by some poet from the great man himself and though I am normally inclined to go for a bit of The mouse, I think the following is rather more appropriate:
Love for Love
Ithers seek they ken na what,
Features, carriage, and a' that;
Gie me love in her I court,
Love to love maks a' the sport.
Let love sparkle in her e'e;
Let her lo'e nae man but me;
That's the tocher-gude I prize,
There the luver's treasure lies.
Monday, January 23, 2006
So currently I have been changing this ...
And unfortunately, in the process, turning my cooker to THIS!
"I have a question..."
Before we got to that I had been asked by the parent of an 11 year old who isn't due to join the group until September (it's a group for year 7 and above and this young person is in year 6) if the young person could join sooner. I told the parent that I would have to ask the group and, even though the group is currently quite young - years 7-9 rather than older as it has been before - the young people still felt they wouldn't want to discuss some things or ask some questions if younger people were in th group. Therefore we will be staying as we are and taking secondary school only people.
So what was the question...?
"What do you think about sex before marriage?"
It led to a really good discussion. Interestingly Ian is about to run some training on this on 7th February and I reflected when I saw that a few weeks ago that I've always been pretty secure in tackling this subject when it arises but not so good at PLANNING to discuss it. It made me ponder... should we PLAN to discuss these things with young people or wait for them to ask?
After our sex before marriage discussion one of the others asked another question...
"Is heaven a physical place or a spiritual place?"
With only five minutes left to discuss that one I think we might just focus on it for next week's session!
Saturday, January 21, 2006
We started with some spoken prayer and concluded with a celtic blessing but otherwise the time was spent learning how to draw some celtic knots. I had hoped we'd get through two of them but in fact we only managed one, the Solomon knot as a symbol of our unity with God and the unity of the world and heaven joined together.
Music included some celtic stuff from Enya as well as some more "modern celtic" from a band from Northern Ireland called Dubrovnik. They haven't got a website yet but I'm told that one is coming soon. Keep an eye out for them; there are some really cool tracks for the alt worship scene.
Here's what we did:
This week is the week of prayer for Christian Unity and the theme is “When two or three are gathered together”… taken from
"Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them."Matthew 18.19-20
This evening we’re going to focus on unity and coming together using celtic knotwork.
First we need to sort a few things out with God
So find some stillness and sit quietly
Lord we come to worship you this evening with our creative minds, our creative hearts, our creative hands.
We offer these to you and ask that you will use them to your service.
God gives us so much our life, our freedom of will
(hand out paper)
and yet we make mistakes that get in the way of our relationship with God.
Lord before we can hear you, we must give you all those things that will stand between us and you this night. And ask you to take them away. You give us all these things.
You give us the chance to confess
(hand out pencils)
On your piece of paper (lightly) write all those things from this week or today or this moment which you want to say sorry for; all those things of which you’re not proud, which you regret, which you know God did not or does not want you to do. Write down all the thoughts that are distracting you now from God.
Isaiah says…Yes, he'll banish death forever. And God will wipe the tears from every face. He'll remove every sign of disgrace from his people, wherever they are. Yes! God says so!Isaiah 25:8
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God's dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. Then the One seated on the throne said, "Look! I am making everything new."Revelation 21:1-8
(hand out erasers)
So rub those things out with the eraser as we listen to this next song.
(Jesus be the centre)
As we still our minds, Lord be in our stillness
As we learn something new, Lord may we learn more of you
As we create tonight, may we be reminded that we are created ourselves, in the image of You our Creator God.
In each pen that we hold may we be holding on to you.
In each line that we draw, draw us closer to you
In each connection we make, connect us to you.
Celtic knots demonstrate that heavenly life and earthly life are linked and form a unified whole..
Celtic Knot drawing session
May the road rise to meet us,
may the wind be always at our backs,
may the sun shine warm upon our faces,
may the rains fall soft upon our fields,
and until we meet again
may God hold us in the palm of his hands.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Jack: Actually, I was found.So there I am walking along with a little baby arm poking out from my handbag and sniggering and grinning to myself - it's a miracle I wasn't taken in somewhere!!!
Lady Bracknell: Found?
Jack: Uh, yes, I was in... a handbag.
Lady Bracknell: A handbag? (Act III, Part Two)
Hmmmm The Importance of Being Earnest...
...didn't that have Colin Firth in it? Oh yes ! Hurrah!
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
I look ahead to mine quite a long way in advance. I read the readings and let them marinade with each other for a long time. I have already started looking at my sermons for Sunday morning of 5th February and Sunday evening of 12th February. These will be for two rather different groups. The morning will include a large group of girls visiting from our local boarding school for girls as well as people of all ages numbering around 200 or so in total. The evening one will be for a much smaller group of no more than 20 made up mostly of people aged over 50.
This even I am in the mulling over stage for both of them. I am letting the readings settle with me and working out not "what am I going to say?" but rather "what am I NOT going to say?"
For one of them, which I have already been pondering for a while I am even at the point of working out the shape of what I am going to say; what is my main theme? Where do I start so that I get there and very importantly how do I finish?
Now I tend to vary how I ponder these things. I always make sure I have the readings wiht me or at least in my mind as I'm wandering and, as the Christmas song goes, "I wonder as I wander". I tend to chat about the passages with people (me being an extrovert I guess) and reflect on them during slightly more idle moments. This evening I might well be mulling it over in the bath. Tomorrow the mulling process will continue...
No, instead, The Third Province is another example of my evangeblogation - I have another convert to blogging! This time it is my soon to be blushing lovely boyfriend!!! (Yes he REALLY doesn't like me being soppy but, there you go it's MY blog so there!)
"The most important thing to learn is that one has to know roughly what the rules are beforeone can disregard them"
These were the words of Elizabeth David which concluded a positively mouth-watering drama celebrating her life and the impact she had on English cuisine. They encapsulate her approach to cookery and her approach to life!
Nowadays the idea of dishes from France, Italy or Spain is nothing new or even vaguely extraordinary but that is only thanks to this incredible woman who's cookery books have long sat on my shelves for far too occasional inspiration. Long before Jamie Oliver argued for healthy food for our children, this woman opposed pre-packaged foods and argued for eating this "in due season"
Of course I don't advocate a lifestyle such as hers of affairs with married men and, when she was married herself with men not her husband nor indeed her massive intake of alcohol. Yet the drama in many ways did not advocate the way she lived. It showed the troubles of her life because she lived outside the rules. However without her we might still have to buy olive oil from the chemist not from the supermarket and pasta would be available in tins in tomato sauce and in no other form! For all these things, Elizabeth, we thank you!
What Elizabeth David demonstrated was a great passion for GOOD food, for EXCELLENCE and flavour and quality. It is this kind of passion that surely we should all seek in all that we do.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Today is the feast of St Antony, the founder of monasticism (yes he did pretty much get there before Benedict!) and also the man whose life inspired some bloggers!
Andrew Jones mentioned the Vita Antoni in his session at Greenbelt 05.
Here is some of what we heard of the great man this morning:
when you have heard, apart from your admiration of the man, will be wishful to emulate his determination; seeing that for monks the life of Antony is a sufficient pattern of discipline... Antony you must know was by descent an Egyptian: his parents were of good family and possessed considerable wealth, and as they were Christians he also was reared in the same Faith. In infancy he was brought up with his parents, knowing nought else but them and his home. But when he was grown and arrived at boyhood, and was advancing in years, he could not endure to learn letters, not caring to associate with other boys; but all his desire was, as it is written of Jacob, to live a plain man at home. With his parents he used to attend the Lord's House, and neither as a child was he idle nor when older did he despise them; but was both obedient to his father and mother and attentive to what was read, keeping in his heart what was profitable in what he heard. And though as a child brought up in moderate affluence, he did not trouble his parents for varied or luxurious fare, nor was this a source of pleasure to him; but was content simply with what he found nor sought anything further.After the death of his father and mother he was left alone with one little sister: his age was about eighteen or twenty, and on him the care both of home and sister rested. Now it was not six months after the death of his parents, and going according to custom into the Lord's House, he communed with himself and reflected as he walked how the Apostles left all and followed the Saviour; and how they in the Acts sold their possessions and brought and laid them at the Apostles' feet for distribution to then eedy, and what and how great a hope was laid up for them in heaven. Pondering over these things he entered the church, and it happened the Gospel was being read, and he heard the Lord saying to the rich man, 'If thou wouldest be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor; and come follow Me and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.' Antony, as though God had put him in mind of the Saints, and the passage had been read on his account, went out immediately from the church, and gave the possessions of his forefathers to the villagers--they were three hundred acres, productive and very fair --that they should be no more a clog upon himself and his sister. And all the rest that was movable he sold, and having got together much money he gave it to the poor, reserving a little however for his sister's sake.
And again as he went into the church, hearing the Lord say in the Gospel, ' be not anxious for the morrow,' he could stay no longer, but went out and gave those things also to the poor. Having committed his sister to known and faithful virgins, and put her into a convent to be brought up, he henceforth devoted himself outside his house to discipline, taking heed to himself and training himself with patience. For there were not yet so many monasteries in Egypt, and no monk at all knew of the distant desert; but all who wished to give heed to themselves practised the discipline in solitude near their own village. Now there was then in the next village an old man who had lived the life of a hermit from his youth up. Antony, after he had seen this man, imitated him in piety. And at first he began to abide in places out side the village: then if he heard of a good man anywhere, like the prudent bee, he went forth and sought him, nor turned back to his own palace until he had seen him; and he returned, having got from the good man as it were supplies for his journey in the way of virtue. So dwelling there at first, he confirmed his purpose not to return to the abode of his fathers nor to the remembrance of his kinsfolk; but to keep all his desire and energy for perfecting his discipline. He worked, however. with his hands, having heard, 'he who is idle let him not eat,' and part he spent on bread and part he gave to the needy. And he was constant in prayer, knowing that a man ought to pray in secret unceasingly. For he had given such heed to what was read that none of the things that were written fell from him to the ground, but he remembered all, and afterwards his memory served him for books.
Thus conducting himself, Antony was beloved by all. He subjected himself in sincerity to the good men whom he visited, and learned thoroughly where each surpassed him in zeal and discipline. He observed the graciousness of one; the unceasing prayer of another; he took knowledge of another's freedom from anger and another's loving-kindness; he gave heed to one as he watched, to another as he studied; one he admired for his endurance, another for his fasting and sleeping on the ground; the meekness of one and the long-suffering of another he watched with care, while he took note of the piety towards Christ and the mutual love which animated all. Thus filled, he returned to his own place of discipline, and henceforth would strive to unite the qualities of each, and was eager to show in himself the virtues of all. With others of the same age he had no rivalry; save this only, that he should not be second to them in higher things. And this he did so as to hurt the feelings of nobody, but made them rejoice over him. So all they of that village and the good men in whose intimacy he was, when they saw that he was a man of this sort, used to call him God-beloved. And some welcomed him as a son, others as a brother.
So I think the warning must be:
CHURCH - it's a dangerous place full of challenging texts... You might just hear something you need to hear!
I mean he is THE Dave Walker from the Church Times.
He is THE Dave Walker who did that thing about the Windsor report.
He is THE Dave Walker responsible for Yoofwork resources.
He is THE Dave Walker who did the Guide to Greenbelt
He is THE Dave Walker who got mentioned (not by me but by a colleague who hasn't met THE Dave Walker) at the All Saints' Core Leadership meeting because of his cartoon on rotas.
Obviously as being on page one of the Sarah Hamiltons on Google (as I've mentioned before) I only feel it's fair to raise the profile of someone MUCH more worthy than me, namely THE DAVE WALKER, cartoonist, Christian and, oh darn it, just an all round nice guy!!!
Monday, January 16, 2006
Er... Graham...? IMMACULATE CONCEPTION actually NOT the entire basis of the Christian faith that would be THE VIRGIN BIRTH you were thinking of and it is entirely possible NOT to believe it and still be a Christian. Brilliantly this is NOT a mistake the BBC itself makes as it has it very clearly laid out.
I'm sure I was unjustifiably annoyed about this common confusion being aired on TV and I'm sure I'm turning into an old Mary Whitehouse type lady.
What should we do to prevent such misunderstandings? I think they matter. Do other people think so?
Tune in or listen later on line.
Friday, January 13, 2006
The reading set from the church fathers for morning prayer this morning was one by Hilary himself from his work, De Trinitate (On the Trinity). It was wonderful to read the freshness of the recognition of God as Trinity in those days of the formation of the Nicene Creed when this concept was slowly being realised by the church and set down as a founding principle. Have a look at this as a taster of the full thing:
I believe that men, prompted by nature herself, have raised themselves through teaching and practice to the virtues which we name patience and temperance and forbearance, under the conviction that right living means right action and right thought, and that Immortal God has not given life only to end in death; for none can believe that the Giver of good has bestowed the pleasant sense of life in order that it may be overcast by the gloomy fear of dying.
And yet, though I could not tax with folly and uselessness this counsel of theirs to keep the soul free from blame, and evade by foresight or elude by skill or endure with patience the troubles of life, still I could not regard these men as guides competent to lead me to the good and happy Life. Their precepts were platitudes, on the mere level of human impulse; animal instinct could not fail to comprehend them, and he who understood but disobeyed would have fallen into an insanity baser than animal unreason. Moreover, my soul was eager not merely to do the things, neglect of which brings shame and suffering, but to know the God and Father Who had given this great gift, to Whom, it felt, it owed its whole self, Whose service was its true honour, on Whom all its hopes were fixed, in Whose lovingkindness, as in a safe home and haven, it could rest amid all the troubles of this anxious life. It was inflamed with a passionate desire to apprehend Him or to know Him.
Some of these teachers brought forward large households of dubious deities, and under the persuasion that there is a sexual activity in divine beings narrated births and lineages from god to god. Others asserted that there were gods greater and less, of distinction proportionate to their power. Some denied the existence of any gods whatever, and confined their reverence to a nature which, in their opinion owes its being to chance-led vibrations and collisions. On the other hand, many followed the common belief in asserting the existence of a God, but proclaimed Him heedless and indifferent to the affairs of men. Again, some worshipped in the elements of earth and air the actual bodily and visible forms of created things; and, finally, some made their gods dwell within images of men or of beasts, tame or wild, of birds or of snakes, and confined the Lord of the universe and Father of infinity within these narrow prisons of metal or stone or wood. These I was sure, could be no exponents of truth, for though they were at one in the absurdity, the foulness, the impiety of their observances, they were at variance concerning the essential articles of their senseless belief. My soul was distracted amid all these claims, yet still it pressed along that profitable road which leads inevitably to the true knowledge of God. It could not hold that neglect of a world created by Himself was worthily to be attributed to God, or that deities endowed with sex, and lines of begetters and begotten, were compatible with the pure and mighty nature of the Godhead. Nay, rather, it was sure that that which is Divine and eternal must be one without distinction of sex, for that which is self-existent cannot have left outside itself anything superior to itself. Hence omnipotence and eternity are the possession of One only, for omnipotence is incapable of degrees of strength or weakness, and eternity of priority or succession. In God we must worship absolute eternity and absolute power.
While my mind was dwelling on these and on many like thoughts, I chauced upon the books which, according to the tradition of the Hebrew faith, were written by Moses and the prophets, and found in these words spoken by God the Creator testifying of Himself 'I AM THAT I AM, and again, He THAT IS hath sent me unto you.' I confess that I was amazed to find in them an indication concerning God so exact that it expressed in the terms best adapted to human understanding an unattainable insight into the mystery of the Divine nature. For no property of God which the mind can grasp is more characteristic of Him than existence, since existence, in the absolute sense, cannot be predicated of that which shall come to an end, or of that which has had a beginning, and He who now joins continuity of being with the possession of perfect felicity could not in the past, nor can in the future, be non-existent; for whatsoever is Divine can neither be originated nor destroyed. Wherefore, since God's eternity is inseparable from Himself, it was worthy of Him to reveal this one thing, that He is, as the assurance of His absolute eternity.For such an indication of God's infinity the words 'I AM THAT I AM' were clearly adequate; but, in addition, we needed to apprehend the operation of His majesty and power. For while absolute existence is peculiar to Him Who, abiding eternally, had no beginning in a past however remote.
Yet my soul was weighed down with fear both for itself and for the body. It retained a firm conviction, and a devout loyalty to the true faith concerning God, but had come to harbour a deep anxiety concerning itself and the bodily dwelling which must, it thought, share its destruction. While in this state, in addition to its knowledge of the teaching of the Law and Prophets, it learned the truths taught by the Apostle in the Gospel;--In the beginning was rite Ward, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made. That which was made in Him is life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for wiiness, that he might bear witness of the light. That was the true light, which lighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own things, and they that were His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him He gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Here the soul makes an advance beyond the attainment of its natural capacities, is taught more than it had dreamed concerning God. For it learns that its Creator is God of God; it hears that the Word is God and was with God in the beginning. It comes to understand that the Light of the world was abiding in the world and that the world knew Him not; that He came to His own possession and that they that were His own received Him not; but that they who do receive Him by virtue of their faith advance to be sons of God, being born not of the embrace of the flesh nor of the conception of the blood nor of bodily desire, but of God; finally, it learns that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and that His glory was seen, which, as of the Only-begotten from the Father, is perfect through grace and truth.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
To let ourselves be refreshed by living water welling up inside us, it is good to go off for a few days in silence and peace. Long ago Elijah, the believer, set out in search of a place where he could listen to God. He climbed a mountain in the wilderness. A hurricane arose, the earth began to shake, a conflagration broke out. Elijah knew that God was not in these outbursts of nature. God is never the author of earthquakes or natural disasters. Then everything became quiet and there was the murmur of a gentle breeze. Elijah covered his face. He had come to the realization that God's voice also made itself understood in a breath of silence.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Other than "my friend Jo" I have NO idea of its origins. Anyone got any ideas?
Monday, January 09, 2006
I know I'm kinda late in linking to this great site but it has some great tests and features. There are videos made by young people about their experiences of education and there are also some quizzes which help you discover your learning style.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
I'm currently in the midst of the annual report which is always a mixed blessing - partly fun to remember all of the things we've done which were such fun but partly a LONG thing to write with lots of sections and tables which need tweaking and things!
First reflection in reverse order ... Wayne's World at the Christmas Eve party...
With the 12-14 year olds it went down REALLY WELL... they were in hysterics (really can't believe it's a PG with some of THOSE jokes!)
With the 15-17 year olds... well... the comment was "Sarah, that was lame!"
Just think... there's a certain window for liking a certain kind of film. I mean we adults of certain generations LOVE it because it is KITSCH and cool and reminds us of cracking up at it when we were teenagers. If you don't watch something at the right age, you might NEVER appreciate it, even if it might be JUST the kind of thing you'd like. Scary biscuits!
Anyway mixed blessing of annual report awaits!
Monday, January 02, 2006
My best beloved and I had a wonderful wander around Durham just after Christmas.
I'd never been before and I have to say it is a city that I really loved. It's one of those intimate cities which blends grandeur and culture whilst maintaining a personal feel. It reminded me a lot of places like Sienna because of that... However the snow made it rather clear that we weren't in the sunny climes of Tuscany.