Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jesus Family tomb story?

There's much talk of James Cameron's new film about a tomb (discovered in the 1980s pleas note) which he and so called academics allege to be the tomb of Jesus and his family. It doesn't take great scholarship to see some obvious flaws (e.g. the assertion that a tomb of Jesus son of Joseph and Mary could be one of MANY people with such names. -Much like today finding a gravestone of John son of David really not a rarity) but fortunately Ben Witherington has done even better and put together a very scholarly response.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cute baby Panda?

Look at the lovely peaceful family scene... or is it?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cross-Section @ All Saints

FANTASTIC evening at Cross-Section this evening. We had a fabulous team of volunteers leading a whole host of young people engaging with the creative section, the labyrinth and the talk and a good number of adults "checking it out" who seemed pretty happy in their adult creche. Pictures when I get them - I delegated that to a colleague as I was a little busy panicking!!

UPDATE: some pics here...


Ok so my dad gave me a copy of the local newspaper that has my pictur ein but I have to warn you... I'm kinda tiny ... Well I know I'm not tall but the picture is pretty small too so I've put an enlarged version in too!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Flippin 'eck I'm "famous"

I'm reliably informed that a picture of me in the pancake race appeared in the free local newspaper this week. Unfortunately for me we don't get the free newspaper where we live (just the adverts!) so I've got to wait til my dad brings it round before I can share it with you! I've not found any evidence of it on the web though the story is there but with mention of my colleague and the mascot form the football club but not of me. Well it's a slight distraction from the worry/excitement in expectation of Cross-Section.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Enter through the Narrow Way

For Lent this year (and for our new town wide youth service Cross-Section which starts on Sunday) we've got a Prayer zone (kinda labyrinth like but not quite really) based on the story of the Prodigal Son.

Prodigal son labyrinth

1 Demanding – want wall catalogues – what do you want? make your wish list of all you want in life and take it with you.

2 Dividing the wealth (bowl of mixed “coins” and stones with words on like responsibility loving family WORDS FOR STONES:
Take a cupful from the bowl and pick out the coins and "jewels" to take with you.

3 Living it up – party time. Life can be one non-stop party no responsibilities but is there more? The bubbles don’t last long; once the party popper’s popped all that’s left is something to tidy up.
Hand over your coins and take a balloon – roll up your wish list and place it inside the balloon. Then inflate the balloon as big as you can without bursting it but do not tie it. Hold it as you move on...

4 Party’s over
Sometimes Life’s not all fun. We feel lost and alone. Let go of the balloon and see its useless deflated form Take out your wish list and leave your deflated balloon. If our life is full of party party party it can be fairly empty. Look at yourself in the mirror and turn over the timer. Keep looking at yourself until the sand runs out. think about the things in your life you really need to change. What shoud you do more of? What you should do less of or stop altogether? What should you start doing?

5 In the poo
In the rubbish there are some sweets but they’re hidden among all the rubbish. (or in the sand?) Try to find one (and keep it to eat later if you want to) just like the sweetness of finding God in a dark time in your life.

6 Decision time
It is possible to follow God. God can be found anywhere even when you’re in the poo.
Look at the wish list you made? How much is for yourself and how much is for God and for others. Rip it up and put it in the rubbish bin

7 Coming Clean
Wash your hands and put behind you all your own wants and ask God to show you what you should be doing for him and for other people.

8 Welcome Home
When the son returned to his father the Father ran eagerly to meet him and fed him. Eat the bread and drink the juice. Picture yourself as part of the family of God.

9 Big Brother – The prodigal’s brother wasn’t too happy. He resented the welcome his brother received. Even when we’ve admitted our own mistakes we can resent the attention shown to others…

...How can you show welcome to people who come to faith or who come to your
church for the first time?

...Go out from here and say hello to someone you don’t know and pray for them.

Update: Interestingly Jonny Baker has been using the same Prodigal Son picture at Lee Abbey and I also found a book by Henry Nouwen about the story with the same picture on the cover in a box of books donated to the church library today so that has gone into the area for people wanting to reflect further.

Ask and it shall be given...

I've had two semi-complaints this week along hte lines of I read your log... WHEN you put stuff on it that is. So Mark and Ian, I hope the following post on our Prayer zone for Lent will satisfy you both.

Monday, February 19, 2007

HOT Fuss!

We went to see Hot Fuzz this afternoon as it's my day off and I have to say it was a wonderful bit of light relief in a rather busy time. It also happens to be about someone who lives their jobs rather too much meeting someone who doesn't really DO much towards their job and how they learn from each other. I'm rather feeling too much like the former at the moment. I was talking to friends on Sunday night about that continuing difficulty that there is for me (and other youth workers no doubt) at discerning what NOT to do as there is SO MUCH that I can do for my job and all of it so worthy, God-centred and serving young people and the community. However it's also important to BE there to serve next week and the week after rather than be burnt out (head's up to Ian for the link) Fortunately though I was busy watching the film, resting and not worrying about work so I hardly picked up on this!!!

Seriously I'd say if you liked Shaun of the Dead you'll love this. If you like the Incredibles and can take a little bit of blood spurting, you'll enjoy it. Even if you like Midsomer Murders (in an ironic way) you'll love the rurality!

What was amazing was the level of talent within the cast:
Not only the glorious Simon Pegg and the splendid Nick Frost but also Bill Nighy, Bill Bailey, Jim Broadbent, Edward Woodward, Timothy Dalton, Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan and Billie Whitelaw.

Oh and there's some Latin, a model village and some use of walkie talkies and some great bits about teenagers in hoodies for all you youthworkers out there!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Shouldn't throw stones...or bricks?

Apologies to the person who must have been disappointed to come through to this old post when searching for:
what kind of greenhouse can oyu put on top of a school

I do hope my reminiscences of the airport in Menorca (where I'll be going again in June - hurrah!) gave you something if not quite what you were looking for!

I guess it must be the greenhouse effect... ouch!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Brick Testament?

In response to an earlier post about the proposal that the government should take some financial responsibility for mantaining our church buildings, Phil Rankin said...

"Why should the government pay for this? If the building is no longer economically sustainable then sell it and move on. If the building is historically valuable then the National Trust and/or Heritage will be interested in maintaining it. Why should a government sustain buildings that in most cases a decreasing minority of people are using? When Alton Towers, or Tescos, or Sainsburys, or your local cinema needs repaired should the government be asked to pay for that too?"

Well I began to respond in the comments but it got rather LONG so here it is:

The government funds many things which do not, overtly, serve the whole population. The Church of England is still the established church of this country and as Richard has commented many people believe that the goevernment does fund churches. People often argue against money being spent on seemingly "worthless" things the dome, opera, the arts in general... the church? Well I know there are always going to be people who question spending money on things that over more than the "necessary" (John 12.4-8) and many think honouring God by building and maintaining impressive buildings that draw people to them would be such an unecessary expense.

Our building is enjoyed by MANY people during the week as a place of prayer particularly because it is an old building. I don't think any one them would seek out the cinema, or a supermarket for that quiet prayer time. Our town is currently experiencing a major redevelopment and it made me realise how the church is one of the only buildings in the town centre that isn't there to persuade people to spend money and consume. I think that's something worth saving.

I would agree that there are some buildings which are modern which can have that numenous feel to them but I think it is far more often in the buildings left to us by faithful worshipping Christians over the centuries which resound the prayers of the years gone by.

Why should we abandon that heritage? Why should Christians only meet together in modern buildings?

I think our churches have more than mere HISTORICAL value. I enjoy visiting old houses, castles etc but there is something DIFFERENT about a church that has been a place of Christian worship and witness for centuries.

I'm not saying ALL old churches have such value. Some have passed their usefulness and are not as alive with the spirit as others but there are many which are and the feeling is SO tangible, when you walk through the door, that God is with you that sometimes little else is needed but unfortunately the cost of maintaining some of these places is high.

I know that there is a lot of emphasis in the church on fresh expressions and on young people and I wholeheartedly support it but never at the expense of our heritage or indeed of faithful but elderly members of our churches. Why should old things, people or places, have no value?

To answer one of your specific proposals, Phil, you'll find that the National Trust don't really "do churches" and that English Heritage (which IS funded by the government and by the lottery) would say there is no way they can take on all the historic churches in this country with their current resources. Even if they could, if our churches WERE mainatined by "historical bodies" it would be the end of that place as a place of worship. The priorities of preservation societies are solely about maintaining the building and not its use for worship. Personally I would far rather see our churches be made MORE relevant to our society and used as places of worship than turned into moth-balled old relics of a time when we valued the contribution of those who went before us in honouring God.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Really cool evening at BCUC CU tonight talking with the young adults about the Holy Spirit. We tlked about the Fruits of the Holy Spirit which we can all have in our lives (Galatians 5.22-23) and the GIFTS of the spirit which are given to some and not to others (1 Corinthians 12.1-11). It was excellent to hear their experiences of the Holy Spirit described in so many different ways and the honesty from some to admit they hadn't felt it consciously. I think we can sometimes think the Holy Spirit gives all GIFTS to all and I know Paul's letter to the Corinthians has always reassured me that it is not to ALL that the gift of speaking in tongues, faith, giving sound advice, healing etc. In fact it's because these gifts aren't given to everyone that makes them so special but as Paul points out it doesn't make the person with the gift special - it's the spirit working through them not they themselves:

"All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines."

More than bricks and mortar

I love our ecclesiastical architectural history (loads of big words - ooh!) and I find them incredible places to encounter God. However I find it difficult when churches are forced to spend lots of energy to keep the buildings in good order on the stregth of insufficient funds. Fortunately there's something that could help free some people and energies up to the work of the Gospel.

There's a petition calling on the government to help churches pay for repairs, building work etc rather than the parishes having to do it all. What a good idea, eh?
So pop over here and sign up

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Snow go

Ok so I've not been out far much yet!!! However I do know that the school which was supposed to be visitng All Saints is closed so that's ONE job cancelled. Kinda figuring that the rest of the day will be annual report writing on the laptop at home!!

Oh and also I suppose there must be the admission that we've still got out garden and chairs table out!!

UPDATE: more pic of snowy Wycombe over at my FlickR site and I've updated the ALL SAINTS' NEWS site while I've been sat at home with some more pics and a different layout.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Post Iron-ic revisited

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

In our post-ironic world we really should be post-roning too - especially considering the environment and all that! right? **embarrassed shuffling**

Dave you are a wonderful human being - my trousers looked much like that on Sunday but I wore my creases with pride. In fact I have a confession to make to the world... I've never really "got" ironing. Why? Clothes seem slightly flatter in some places ... until you put them on then they crumple anyway! I think it is still true that my friend Craig has used my iron as many times as I have and he's only been to stay three or four times yet I've lived here four years now!