Wednesday, May 31, 2006

not on my VERY LONG to do list

Ok so blogging isn't on the to-do list but I have just finished four tings that were so I think I can sneak a quick one in!

Last night Michael and I listed all the things we HAD done for the wedding to make the seemingly many things we still have to do for it rather more surmountable!

Today I've so far done some fiddly wedding admin things and now am off to the OFFICE to tidy it sufficiently that, as my friends last night helping make our wedding favours said, the youth leaders won't "need to tie a rope around themselves before they go in so someone else can pull them back out!"

It is mostly done but in my whirlwind of SORTING things last week apparently I managed to compose a rota where one leader is there all the time despite me knowing she's in Borneo and another leader only does the first ten minutes then nothing else!!! Easy enough to resolve but still gotta be done.

For those of you who seem to pay rather more attention to this than guys might normally - I was also wearing my wedding shoes rounf the house this morning again!

Ok big day on Saturday - Anyone local is most welcome to the church service at 3.30 - Big church in centre of town. Probably won't manage another blog before then so this may be the last post until we're back from Sweden - blimey that's ages.

In the meantime I'm off to the office and then to do laundry whilst reviewing this book. Should be good.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Another post on Salvation

Michael has some cool thoughts on Superman as saviour...

(yes, yes, I know! Of course I think his thoughts are cool!)

Monday, May 22, 2006


I've been ruminating a lot on what Kenda Creasy Dean was saying last week and I'm putting some more choice quotations up on FeminYM. What I've thought about most is her analysis of the church and the role of Moral Therapeutic Deism (Mothedism for short). Yes it's a big long scary unfamiliar term for some but I thin the concept itself is all too familiar.

MORALISTIC - the church/God is there to tell us what is good and what is bad
THERAPEUTIC - the church/God make us feel better about life because of this
DEISM - God's got something to do with it but in a distant way

All this is encapsulated in the wya most of society views God and I think it's why people don't join church communities. It's why there are so many people who say "Oh well yes I believe in God but I don't go to church often" (for which read hardly ever if at all). There is a prevalent view underpinning society (as the Christian church has been so fundamental to western society for so long) that says there are things which are right and wrong, that "good people" go to heaven, that the church will help your children to grow up into good, useful, law-abiding citizens, that God is there in a crisis but a distant deity.

Before people get offended, I'm not saying that the people who believe in God and have an ACTIVE relationship with God but don't go to church are inherently WRONG. However I think the church has gone wrong somewhere if it can't show people cleary enough that MOTHEDISM is not what we're preaching. God is not the God who promotes Mothedism. God is not distant. God is there wanting a personal relationship with each and every human being.

God is not MORALISTIC. Jesus spent time with those that many "regular church goers" of his time (and maybe also of ours) would have shunned and accused of LACKING in morality. Jesus made it clear that we are not to judge others for their morals. (Judge not lest you be judged... the woman caught in adultery etc.) God is interested in US not in our morality. Yes of course God wants us to act in a way that is loving towards him and towards neighbour but his door is one which is ALWAYS open to us. God is not one who would condemn a sinner but rather go out to find them (lost sheep).

God is not THERAPEUTIC. Yes God's peace can bring an incredible inner calm, a stillness beyond imagining but God also wants us to be challenged, as Jesus said, to take up our cross and follow him. God wants us to be there with Him and to be with us in ALL times not just when it's hard. God is there for the good and the bad. He is a comforter yes but so much more. He rejoices in our joy and spurs us on to face hardship in pursuit of his kingdom.

God is not about DEISM. God is not some distant far off being. God made that clear when he chose to create us. God made that clear when he sent Jesus to sort out the mess we'd made of it all and God makes that clear everyday in his loving presence with us, each of us, individually and personally.

All these things show that God is not about Mothedism yet the church needs to be sure that Mothedism is not it's own real hidden aim. As Kenda said, is our greatest fear that in fact what we truly want IS mothedism. Do we really want to be challenged to take up our crosses? Do we really want our children to be fired up so much with a spirit of evangelism that they face persecution? Or do we really want a nice comfortable environment that makes us feel good about ourselves and about the world?

I know there are probably people of both camps in the church; those who would really rather it was all NICE and those who want greater radicalism and a return to God's GOSPEL as given to us by Jesus. The challenge to that latter group is to show the world that the church is not about Mothedism. That's the difficult part.

I think it can only be done through individuals taking that stand. Being countercultural. Speaking out. Talking about their faith.

That's the only solution I have. It's up to me, to you, to US to make that change. But do we really want to?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dean of Oxford

More notes to be added here anon as again rushing about today but some pretty good notes of the event from Ian (as well as a link to the weirdest reference of the day) . It was a really excellent day of honest reflection on the state of youth ministry as Phil says. Good to finally meet Ricky who will no doubt blog soon if only due to the presure of being linked to by me (and Lev and Simo!)

So first some quick quotations from Kenda:

Kenda proposed that all people are looking for SALVATION whether they know it or not.

Young people can sometimes see the bible as "a strange text they have yet to unpack... that includes us and has clues about where we're at and why we're here."

"The quest for self and for God are interlinked"

Kenda used a scene from Smallville to compare Clark Kent's search for meaning and self as the universal struggle of people, young and old:

"All of us have kryptonite in our lives... that topple us"

Yet the difference as Kenda saw it was that "in the Christian tradition kryptonite holds a purpose" because the "power of God is shown not through God's strenght but... through the weakness] of the cross"

"Love trumps force in the Christian tradition"

The challenge to us is that young people are "more familiar with the salvation through strength as in Superman" and "expect God to act like Superman" as the people of Israel did when Jesus came to them.

The trouble is that "those unable to identify with the church look for salvation outside it"

and "salvation stories outside the church are more compelling than those in the church"

more soon...

School Mural update

Despite some rain yesterday afternoon we made ENORMOUS progress on the mural with the children of years 4, 5 & 6 at the Church of England school. I mainly did the boring, stand on a laddder doing the letters and the sky but I also got to chat to the infants when they came out to play and when the rain sent us indoors to the backup activity it was cool to be back in the dining hall (where I used to be a dinner lady!) and chatting to the children about loads of stuff as they created some more art. I came home absolutely knackered and COVERED in paint but it was so totally worth it!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Fab day yesterday with Kenda Creasy Dean and equally fab but more exhausting day today painting a mural with the school.

More blog soon but rushing off to another meeting - not even had time to read blogs of those there yesterday such as Phil, Ricky, Ian, Simo & Lev. Great to see you guys for first time or again!

More about both days soon...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday = mad-day

So I've got to the point of having a to-do list for my day off now!!

I'm sitting here in my wedding shoes (again!) in the hope that they'll be a bit more comfortable on the day which is now just over two weeks away!

Tonight Michael and I are tackling THE TABLE PLAN. We've been pretty good at putting this off until we've heard from nearly everyone (and the rest we pretty much know are coming but they've not quite managed the repsonding thing!). So this evening we'll be trying to work out how much to mix his n hers and which of our rather eclectic bunch of friends would get on well with the others.

Well I need to get off to do the laundry and read the last two chapters of Practicing Passion. See some of you tomorrow!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Passion revisited

I've just picked up Practicing Passion again as I'm off to hear Kenda speak at CYM in Oxford on Tuesday. I heard the great news a while ago that it means Phil G and I get to meet at last. Anyone else going to be there?

The useful practical bit:
As a regular Oxford visitor I HIGHLY recommend Park and Ride via Thornhill (or Water Eaton) as the bus stops within really easy reach of the place in St Clements and is only £2. Anyone wanting pointers just ask!

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Just back from a lovely day and a half with my bestest down in Bideford for some bridal preparation. Last night we practiced some wedding make-up and hair and then this morning we went for my final fitting at the bridal shop (I love my dress!) combined with selection and purchase of extras and shoes (which I am wearing right now so that I begin to wear them in a bit!). Then we went on to Exeter so Ami could try on the bridesmaid dress (and look like an absolute princess) and so we could choose accessories for her and Kathryn and found some really lovely things on a jewellery craft stall.

So now I'm home [having missed Dr Who unfortunately :o( ] and watching American Beauty and trying not to worry what might be happening to Michael on his stag night! Then tomorrow Dad and I are off to have lunch with the lovely lady who is making the wedding cake for Michael and I and I am taking Michael's ideas/thoughts on his behalf - even the concept of a castle with cavalry making a charge at the gate!

All that aside I am actually kinda excited because tomorrow at our small group I've asked the young people to "bring" three things from the Bible or Christianity which they find hard or disagree with. Daring? Unwise? Well it arose from a throwaway discussion last week when two of the girls said they wanted to be confirmed (yay!) and one of the lads piped up "So do I!" but another said "I don't!"

The "I don't" stemmed from his view that there were too many "things" he disagreed with so I thought we'd have a look at some of those tricky bits.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Windows 98 - a new era in great technology

Sorry but today I am being amused by reinstalling Windows 98 on a very tired old PC and the installation process keeps informing me of "amazing new enhancements" on this new and groundbreaking system. Bless em!

Anyway... apologies for not blogging much of late. I have been hard at it either planning the wedding or doign the other full time job!

Yesterday I had the delights of a Memory, Music and Movement workshop just down the corridor from me. I have discovered that, despite my own cheery disposition, I cannot cope with peopel who can be THAT PERKY for THAT LONG and wear rainbow tops! It was like living on the set of Playaway (or the Wiggles - for the younger audience)

Save the SPCK

save the SPCK

Save the SPCK!

Yes I know I know I'm behind the times by a WHOLE DAY... it's planning a wedding you know it takes time.

I love SPCK shops as they have such a fun mix of serious books, strange wall plaques, smiley bunny cartoons and Cuddley Noah's Ark sets.

I really enjoy wandering around an SPCK when I can get to one but I don't have one nearby and that might be the case for many more people soon so