Friday, 30 July 2010
Several times recently I have had conversations with people (mostly friends) about the church and they have all raised negative points about 'The Church' at large. Frankly the church doesn't need to do anything to get a bad name, it has had one for centuries in some circles and any little thing like this simply adds fuel to the argument that all churches are money pits, priests are child-molesters and those who believe are naive and stupid. And it irritates the crap out of me. When will the church wise up and get a new image? I don't feel it is my place to stand up for the church, frankly I can't anyway, how can you defend it from all the stuff we read in the press. All I can do is defend my faith as I see it and thats is very different. Shouldn't the church reflect the love and attitutdes that Jesus showed? I mean that seems like quite a basic assumption, right? So why does it so often not reflect that?
I guess than it is down to the individuals in question. This Vicar seems to have been particularly stupid. The number of weddings at his church has increased 30 fold (having done just 13 weddings in the preceeding 4 years). 30 fold - thats not just a little increase, that is fairly noticeable. Not only that but the couples often didn't speak the same language and in some cases met just before the wedding. Err.... something seem a bit fishy to you?
The bible is clear that being in ministry is a high calling, and one where people will be judged more harshly than others. So why does this kind of thing happen? Being stupid is one thing, but being dishonest is another, and bringing not only the church, but with it Christ,into disrepute? Well I wouldn't want to be in those shoes at the pearly gates...
Thursday, 29 July 2010
You know when you do anything vaguely interesting on your PC you get a window a bit like this one above (and I apologise for nicking this image from someone elses blog, it was the only one I could find!). And the 'time remaining' changes, totally unrelated to the 'actual' time. It usually starts at about 10 seconds, with the green bar almost to the end, then the time goes up, to a minute, 10 minutes, 30 minutes and so on, as the computer realises the size of the task you are asking it to do. As it does so, the green bar sneaks back to the beginning of the window, so you realise that having thought the operation was going to take a very short time, it is now going to take a very long time. Does this happen to anyone else or is it just my crappy laptop? Well, anyway I'm feeling a bit like that little bar about my faith.
I know that's a very weird explanation but it's the only way I can think of to describe how I'm feeling today. It's like a few months back, I suddenly 'got' faith, the bar shot up to almost the end, I was elated (still am), but now the bar is heading back down as I realise the scope of my jounrey. It's not the enthusiasm that is waning, don't get me wrong, it is that the journey, or the view if you like, is getting bigger and while I get a handle on something, or read about one particular area, the bits I am not looking at keep increasing. Does that make sense? I'm not overwhelmed at all, in fact I am relishing the prospect of taking steps in whichever direction into this 'view', that God leads me.
I guess it's just a kind of realisation.
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
This week however (I finally got to watch it tonight) was a classic line, that made me laugh... a lot:
'I made you a swiss roll once'
'with marzipan. no fucker puts marzipan in a swiss roll'...
ok, so I take it back, swearing is funny.... ;)
Monday, 26 July 2010
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Does anyone else wonder what on earth these people think they are doing? I mean I don't imagine Jesus, were he to turn up today, would be saying, 'oh how wonderful you've got so much faith you have built me a gigantic temple' would he?
Apparently this temple is going to cost some $200 million. Ok, so I know that Sao Paulo is certainly not the city it was 20 years ago, or even 10, but it is still the Brazilian city with the highest number of people living in slums. Perhaps the church in their infinite wisdom might think that using some of this $200 million would be better used to help some of their poor? I mean it's just an idea, perhaps knock the builder down a few quid and buy them some food or clothes or I don't know? maybe a half decent home...
Just one more thing, which I can't leave out: the church's founder and leader owns a private jet, which according to the Guardian cost $45million... need I say more?
Frankly, it 'staggers the imagination' as my Dad would say.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
In this article the questioner raises the age old irritant of 'what do stay at home mums (or in old fashioned speak: housewife) do all day?'. This is probably something that most SAHMs feel condmemned by at some point. Often its them condemning themselves, women put so much pressure on themselves these days to be perfect. Its crazy. If you've been at home with a crying baby all day and haven't even been able to sit down with a cup of tea, by the end of the day you are just about rung out. How many women, having been in that situation, will still be thinking, 'I need to get the dinner ready...'? Somtimes we need to recognise its ok to say, actually I am having an awful day, could you come round and help? or 'darling I'm sorry theres'no dinner, why don't we get a takeaway?' (ok no remarks on maybe him cooking the dinner, thats not the point :) )
The thing is, it is almost impossible to understand what being a parent is like, mum or dad, unless you are one. You can explain to people, you can show them the state of your house, you can cry off engagements due to kids illness (or your own exhaustion!) but they won't get it until they are there in that situation. And actually I am ok with that. It's not a red rag to a bull for me. It's a bit like faith... (ok you knew that had to come in somewhere, didn;t you ;) ) You cannot really come to grips with faith unless you have it. You can explain to friends what you believe and why, but they won't understand truly until they are there. Oh yes they can be knowledgable on the bible, even be a theologian, but thats the 'head' stuff not the heart, (that make sense?). Same with kids. I have a friend who moved to Australia when she was 7 months Pregnant with her first child. She knew no one out there and her husband was going to be working very long hours. I told her she was nuts. Not because I wanted to hurt her but because I would have been a bad friend if I had said, 'oh how wonderful, you'll have a great time. baby? no problem...' So I didnt. It was bloody hard for her but at least she had some warning. She had read baby books by the shed load, done ante-natal classes etc she had the knoweldge, but not the actual baby yet. How could she possibly know what it was going to be like?
The best comment in the article really was the last one:
'Either make a sincere effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself. '
If we all made more of a sincere effort to understand each others position, life would be a lot more pleasant.
Friday, 16 July 2010
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
I am stuck between 2 worlds. the one I chose, pre-faith, that I can't quite get out of yet and the one where God is leading me. Having made 'the' decision is great, but I can't actually do anything about it yet. but I can't give up those thigns that God is guiding me to either. Those are the things I want to be doing. the rest is just what I am committed to, for now at least. On top of everything else I am having real trouble sleeping, which I haven't suffered with for a while and needless to say it is not really helping the situation.
So where do I draw the line? I need to step back somewhow before I fall down, but I can't give anything up. I want to give more time to God, and I have recognised that I can't do that yet. in time, his time I will be able to. But I just cant, or won't, give up those few times that I do have with him, seeking him, studying him. So I'm in a quandry as to what to do.
Today I have one of those days where there simply aren't enough hours. There are things that must be done today and meetings to be had, and yet here I am writing my blog. Classic avoidance technique I'm sure...! I would love to run away from it all and go and hide in a cave for a week (well, perhaps not a cave, a nice B&B somewhere, or stuff that, a luxury spa). yes that's what I need - a week in a luxury spa. wonder if the hubby/kids/business partner/colleagues would go for that...?
ok well enough moaning, guess I just needed to feel sorry for myself for a few mins, so I will go and get on with the stuff I am supposed to be doing, then I will fall over.... ;)
Saturday, 10 July 2010
I have been a fan of Martyn Joseph for a long time. I love the passion he puts into his songs. I've seen him in tears on stage, the amount of emiotion he puts into them. Amazing songwriter. This song is one of my faves, this is where I was before, 'my soul was asleep'. love the lyrics. I like that many of his songs have Christian content but in a subtle way. We've taken so many friends along to see him gig, and regardless of their faith they all love the music. This is not the best recording but it is the only one I could find online.
What the press say about him:
Strong, burnished vocals, passionate and reflective songs about love, personal and political activism, and questions of faith in a troubled world set to intimate, acoustic-based accompaniment.
that just about says it all...
Friday, 9 July 2010
- You sometimes have to have the bishop around for tea.
- People judge you on whether your house is clean and tidy
Thursday, 8 July 2010
Oh my gosh what an emotive issue. I am writing this after reading 'Old Geezers' blog at:
I first read this a week ago but felt so incensed that I needed to calm down before posting on it! Not incensed at Old Geezer I should point out, whose blog I love as it always raising thought provoking questions - you should check it out! But at the responses to his post. The initial question being, in a nut shell, 'should kids sit in church with their parents or go out to Childrens Church?'. Of the comments posted, probably 95% said that kids should sit in church with their parents and be taught to be quiet. I can feel my blood boiling already (ok so reading it again, I didn't calm down..).
My own comment was along the lines of, why do you go to church? is church the place to teach your kids to be quiet?
I mean I go to church to worship God and to learn from the teaching. Should I expect my 14, 6 and 4 year olds to worship and learn on the same level as me? No of course not! I wouldn't expect them to learn on the same level as me in any subject. So why do we expect our kids to in church? Yes I could take them to church and make them listen to the whole thing, but what would that achieve?
1. They would be bored
2. they would distract me- partly because they are bored and partly because I would be worrying about them being bored, or because I have to take them out
3. they would learn that church is somewhere they go to be bored (great advert for church then)
4. they would not understand most of the sermon/preaching, so they would be now confused and bored.
5. what does this teach them about church? that it is somewhere you go to be bored AND confused.
Yes I could teach my children to be quiet for an hour or more, but I don't think Church is the place to learn manners or being quiet. My kids are all well behaved and would probably do this without a problem. But I want them to want to go to church. To want to go because they understand about Jesus, that they want to worship him, they want to learn more about him. And that is what they currently do. If they have to miss church because they have been invited elsewhere they get upset! Even the 4 year old learns something every week. They receive their own teaching in their groups and it is on their level. The teenagers talk about things relevant to their age too, which I think is particularly important at a really difficult age, where any little thing sets them apart from their peers.
At our church we mix it. For the first 20 mins we are all in together for some all age worship - its focussed on the kids but fun for adults, then they go of to their groups (or Sunday School) and we get the adult bit. Good balance and we all get to learn in our own ways...
I accept that in some churches there isn't a choice and it probably depends on the type of church you go to. Even though we split half way in ours, its still very informal and babies are often in the main service so their is some noise, but people don't mind that, they are open enough to recognise that we are all there to worship God, whatever the age or circumstance.
I like to think I can usually see the other side of any discussion, but on this one I am stuck I have to say.
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
- within us Luke 17:21
- near (Mark 1:15)
- can be taken away and give to others (Mathew 21:43)
- difficult to enter if you've got pots of cash (Luke 18:24
- has entry requirements (John 3:5
- is not a matter of talk but of power (1 Corinthians 4:20)