Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy new year everyone least, I hope it is.

Less than 2 hours to go.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Dad, can you help me?

I never usually mind him asking, although I'd prefer it not to be 2.30am.

A little car-hedge interface needed separating, courtesy of icy roads and insufficient caution. No harm was done apart from the permanent severing of sleep continuity for both Chris and me. But being awake in loving company is better than being awake alone, and does have it's compensations. Sleep did eventually reclaim us, and today has been good so far.

I even managed to rack off the sloe gin. Funny how much the bottles varied: one was really quite a pale pink while most were ruby-dark. They're settling now, awaiting second sediment removal and then storage for drinking. Almost 3L, and from the little I tried it should be a good year this time round.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Plans are those things you make

.....before life comes along and decides what you're going to do.

Unfortunately my mum isn't well enough to come over tonight, so we have a (already oversized) piece of sheep that is simply huge for 3 people to eat. I like a challenge, but this is beyond even the wildest optimism of my meatetarian desires. Looks like cold meats are the way to go for the next few days.

Roast lamb with rosemary and garlic - yum.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Be careful people

Very cold ground coupled with temps a couple of degrees above freezing makes for a layer of ice lubricated with liquid water. Calling it a skating rink doesn't cover the half of it, particularly on roads that *look* clear and safe.

Adapted from a facebook post

At Christmas time we eat, drink and make merry.
Carry on too long and you'll be round as a berry.

This morning I mention to Chris that I'd trimmed again (beard that is) and she said that she didn't want me any smaller. I then commented that if we carried on eating like this I'd be quite a lot larger. Right now the idea of fasting early next year seems quite a good one.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The weather is odd today.

Came downstairs at around 7.30 (already shaved, showered and dressed) and the outside temp was -3.4'C. By 7.50am it was -3.9'C and still dropping.


I suspect there's a mild breeze, and it's blowing cooler air from the garden under our porch where the sensor lives. Everything is a pretty white outside right now, and the air has finally dried down so although indoor everything is full of static, outside the cold doesn't bite so hard as it did a few days ago when it was less cold.

An odd winter in England.

8.25am - down to -4.3'C.

One thing we noticed last night was that, as happens very occasionally, a pocket of 'warm' air was trapped below a blanket of colder air, so that as we drove out of the valley the temperature went from -2'C to -5'C. Maybe the bubble 'burst' and all that cold air is now filling the valley.

It's pretty much daylight now, and it does look lovely. Hope the roads aren't too exciting: we're driving to Cheltenham this afternoon to see another of our God children.

8.50am, temperature showing as -4.9'C. The car thermometer read -8'C, which is pretty chilly, and probably the lowest I've seen round here for about 10 years. The house is 'just right' at the moment, and I'm grateful we aren't having to chop and dry logs like we did when we first moved up here.

Monday, 21 December 2009


It's snowing hard enough to settle on the road.

I got home about 5.25ish and it was fine. Chris was back at 6.10 and had found it slippery. We're debating whether to attempt to drive to circuit training at Upper Heyford so that we qualify for the Christmas social at Katriona's (the trainer's) afterward.

I've a feeling that mulled wine stiffens resolve in an anticipative sense.

How devious is the heart and mind.

I had a facebook friend request today from someone I know from round here. Now those of you with functioning memories and the experience will remember that I'd mostly backed out of facebook friendships with effectively everyone local, and was reserving it for those who I'd not normally contact through other means. This means that some good friends who I might otherwise have linked are not part of that network, including a certain Dr. Tim who some will know.

So the friend request that arrived came from one of the most lovely women I know (that's no exaggeration - she's quite stunning to look at and both very kind and clever too - pretty sure she doesn't read this blog!). And so *of course* I moved toward the 'confirm' button, when Tim's eye caught mine, looking out from his image on the friends request page.

How devious is the heart and Mind.

It's an interesting experience, seeing how one reacts to certain things when you're not watched. I'm under no illusions as to whether I'm 'safe' and 'strong' - not that being 'facebook friends' is in any way wrong, but it was very revealing in how I can justify certain things without thinking carefully first.

In response to a comment about prefering traditional Christmas.

I keep oscillating between tolerating and disliking 'christmas'. Traditional has an appeal, but in an 'it's all about me, as if i should do things your way' manner. I've found carols become much more bearable through a fine haze of alcohol too - it stops me thinking about the words.

Bah, and indeed, humbug. ;-)

But I also don't want to become another one that decries 'crimbo' and sucks the Christ out of Christmas. Tricky balance, and one that's never likely to be quite right for me.

Yesterday Chris and I discussed the heresy of not having a tree next year. For the last few years it's made me very grouchy (and a bit sad sometimes remembering those we won't see) and although this year was better, the desire to put it all up is missing.

Maybe later I'll get an image up.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it sn......

Oh, it seems to have stopped.

Temperature a little below freezing, at least it won't melt for a couple of hours.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Feeling old this morning.

Did circuit training last night - felt OK to begin with, went for it, didn't make it.

How I miss being 30.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Sorry things have been lean round here the last couple of weeks.

They'll probably get leaner though: I'm just not wanting to blog right now.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

We have a mystery

A mystery card, that is.

Reddish orange image of the '3 kings' in silhouette, tall thin card from the leprosy mission. It was sent to Toni, Chris and Ben Ertl.

It has no writing inside.

We'd like to know who else out there loves us enough to send a nice card.


Monday, 30 November 2009

Do you ever question the 'received knowledge'?

I know Marc has mentioned on his blog, about how we accept other people's theology without really questioning it: that our understanding often comes from others without us really learning it for ourselves. In the past I've certainly questioned ideas that form part of church tradition with no biblical basis, and I'm sure it'll happen again after this.

I was reading in Luke this evening about the events surrounding Jesus birth and the period shortly afterward. It's an interesting section because of the stories surrounding that time, as the actual birth is simply recorded as happening at Bethlehem, almost as though it's a side issue. The story of the shepherds and angels is also well known, and much is made of that in Sunday school plays round the world.

But there's 2 interesting stories that are effectively ignored, possibly because they are less susceptible to cuteness or commercial application: Simeon and Anna. They MUST have been included because they carried meaning for Luke, and they're a little like looking through a keyhole for me, seeing there's a 'world' beyond the door that I'm getting little glimpses of.

The bit of received knowledge that these stories break down for me is the idea that between the last book of the bible (Malachi) and the coming of Jesus there was a period of 400 years when God did not speak to Israel. I don't know exactly where I got this from: it may be baptist tradition, orthodox theology or just something peculiar to the church I grew up in, but I've heard it talked about by others. Yet here are 2 people, Anna and Simeon who are both clearly hearing God speak in an accurate and direct way, both full of the Spirit. Anna is even described as a prophetess.

Now it would be true that Israel didn't have a prophet/judge character to lead them like Moses or Samuel in this period, but both these characters were OLD, and were clearly not novices in hearing God and speaking about Him. In fact Anna is described as telling everyone who was withing range about who Jesus was and what He was going to do: not the typical actions of an 84 year old lady.

This makes me think back to when I read the Apocrypha a couple of summers back. The books were pulled together from materials produced during the intervening years, and bits of it have the ring of biblical truth to them, while other parts feel like religious mythology. Now I'm not interested in material from this period, other than from a purely historical perspective - I certainly don't believe there are mysteries tucked away or significant truths to be discovered, just like the other 'gospels' are of no value outside historical interest. But it seems entirely likely that *some* of this was genuine prophesy, given to Israel for those years, and no longer carrying authority like the words we currently recognise as scripture. just like prophetic words now do not carry the same authority as the bible, but instead need to be checked that they line up with it.

If you read this far - well done!

And the good news

Christopher seems to be (relatively) OK and is in the Horton.

It's been a highly eventful weekend.

For one thing, I've spent nearly 2 hours removing blood (not ours) from the livingroom carpet, mostly successfully. Pray for Christopher, please, to get well soon.

Saturday we spent at Portsmouth with Daring Dan and the Lovely Kita.

Naturally I took a camera, and managed to grab a few shots. Kita is quite serious and good at photography, so inspired by her example I decided to try something different, post-processing wise for some of them. Pics here and an example below.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

What is the direct opposite of google's Chrome OS?

Opera unite.

It's been a long time since I saw something on the web that seemed fresh and a good idea, but this seems like a GREAT thing to do. Sure there are downsides: not least is the likely impact on local bandwidth if every person connected to the net (well, the odd couple of % who are already Opera users - maybe not such a big deal after all) all start making content available directly off their own PCs instead of some 3rd party servers. And you'll have to have a server running 24/7 to maintain availability of content.

I'm going to look into this very seriously over the next few weeks with a view to migrating all my images across to a spare box at home running Opera Unite (probably under Linux). I also feel like a broadband upgrade (same connection speed for the last 5 years at a medium cost) could be happening shortly. Ben will be pleased about that!


I wondered idly this morning whether Matt 17 v20 was Jesus explanation of the placebo effect?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

God keeps pulling me back to Matthew

Matthew 12, that is.

There's an awful lot in there. I can see/imagine applications for almost all of it, but tonight was the second evening in a row I've felt told to go read that passage. Wonder what He's really trying to say that I'm not hearing clearly, because I certainly didn't feel like I heard clearly tonight or last night? And is it teaching/learning or prophetic (or both)?

Last night I had a car crash

Nothing serious, all quite low speed stuff, probably my fault. Made a mess of the pug drivers door, left me shaky but there were no other effects and this morning I didn't feel any lasting side effects.

Today tell the insurance people, admit liability, give the details etc. Hopefully the repair service people will come for the car tomorrow.

Straight after the crash when we'd got out of the cars to talk & exchange contact info the other driver saw the Alpha sticker in the back of my car and exclaimed about doing Alpha in London. He'd not done the full course, just 3 or 4 meetings, but he'd come away with a positive experience. So we talked a little about it, while I could feel myself starting to shake a bit. Exchanged phone numbers, went separate ways amicably.

Lord, next time you want me to talk about Alpha with someone, couldn't I just meet them in the street?


Somewhat dis-chuffed with the other driver & GF. I spoke with him the morning after and specifically asked "are you OK?" to which I was told "yes". This morning I have a claim from his people telling me he has all kinds of back injuries and whiplash. This is not cool.

How do you know when something is different?

About yourself, that is?

Not that I'm given to introspection (it's a damn silly practice most of the time anyway) but something has changed: I don't seem to be getting depressed any more. I can trace back to pretty much when it changed too. It was a couple or 3 days after I posted 'it's not enough to say I hate it'. I can't give you a day, but I can tell you to within that time frame.

What's changed? I've had flu and been quite unwell over the last 3 weeks, and in fact that almost perfectly coincides with when I hit rock-bottom health wise, 3 weeks ago. But getting ill is no reason to stop being depressed.

There's 2 things that stand out from that time.

One was that I determined (with a rather thick, fuzzy head) that I was just going to do my best to play whatever songs I had to play, just to help out. The other was that I started playing guitar 'properly' again.

When I was younger I can remember going stir-crazy on 2 week holidays with Chris, not being able to play, because normally I was playing so (relatively) much at home. My hands would almost convulse, and I'd hold approx guitar neck-sized objects and just finger chord shapes or lead lines sometimes. But that was 25 years ago, and I've changed a lot since then, play much less, don't really have withdrawal symptoms any more.

So I'd hate to think that's what has caused it, not least because I don't want to be dependent on anything like that these days, but the possibility lurks at the back of my mind.

Maybe it's time to make that non-church worship band I've been pondering so long a reality? Rachel - if you're reading, we should talk.


There's something else that's different: the church is changing. In the past I've quite seriously wondered whether I were having some of the issues I did in a prophetic sense (might have even posted about it). A week last Sunday we got together and fasted for a day with continuous prayer going on out of obedience to what we felt God was saying through a number of different people. Now that IS different. There's other stuff coming through too, but I quite seriously wonder if this is the real key.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

It's different for... people.

Read this today on Linea's blog.

"A Hasidic story tells of a rabbi’s son who used to wander in the woods. The rabbi asked his son, "I wonder why each day you walk in the woods?" The boy replied, "I go there to find God." "That’s very good, son. But, don't you know that God is the same everywhere?" "Yes," the boy answered, "but I’m not.""

I have to remember this, both for other people and for myself. I am inclined not to recognise places and times as special, when they mean something to other people. I may also be affected by times and places but not realise that I have been.

Monday, 23 November 2009

What's wrong with my discs?

My Macbook resolutely refuses to recognise the Memorex 52X 700Mb CD-Rs that I've been using successfully in every other computer with a CD drive for the last 3 years. I've just had to do the credit card trick again, as it simply refuses to recognise the presence of a disc in the drive, even to the point where holding down eject while starting up does nothing (and startup seems to take forever these days).

Burned a DVD-R fine. Weird.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Out of the Linux installs

....that I've done in the last couple of weeks: Fedora 12, Ubuntu Studio and Sabayon, as an OS I'd want to use on a daily basis, I'm still a fan of Sabayon.

Unfortunately when it installed GRUB onto the bootable drive that already contained Fedora it failed to recognise Fedora being there, and has prevented me booting that OS too. Dual-booters beware - it doesn't seem to have an auto-detect mode, which is a little odd.

One of the slightly more bizarre things, presumably because it's free (as in non-proprietary): Fedora didn't recognise my Nvidia graphics card and therefore didn't install drivers. Having said that, Fedora fonts were a long was ahead of Ubuntu fonts for clarity, even if they are a little odd, but was still less good than Sabayon. It also told me that it didn't recognise my sound card, which is bizzare, since it's a vanilla Soundblaster PCI card.

Fedora and Sabayon were quite fast too: not blazing quick, but not much slower than XP on this machine. However the real test was DVD playback. I never had the chance to test it with Fedora, but with Sabayon it was as good as a winbox. The dragon player is a bit sparse on controls, but it also comes with VLC loaded, so theoretically there's no reason not to use that if it's your preferred player.

In the hope of getting Ubuntu studio up and running today I ran the various tests available, including 90min worth of memory tests (boy, does that RAM get hot when it's being worked hard). Verified the disc - all fine. Everything passed, so I went on to try another install - to no avail - it's failing toward the end of installing packages. Installation is also REALLY slow - at least 1 hour, compared to around 40min Fedora and 35min Sabayon (S is a fair bit smaller) - and because it requires input several times during install it's not a walk-away job. I may resort to 8.04, just to give it a spin.

So if you have a machine that's a couple of years old and fancy a change, I'd certainly recommend Sabayon 5 as an interesting alternative to M$ and Apple.

Imelda Marcos visits Somerton.

That may be a little obscure for some.

We recently changed beds: been using the last one more than 10 years, and it was pre-owned before we got it. The one before that was our very first, and we've been married 28 years now. Our reason for changing was that we'd both been getting pains in various parts, probably due to nerves in our necks and shoulders getting upset.


We stored a lot of stuff in the old bed, including shoes. Chris just reminded me that I'd not blogged about it - she had 52 pairs! In justification, they were collected over a very long period, the oldest being 22 years old (she had trouble trying them on, as she was heavily pregnant with Ben at the time).

I had a mere 15 pairs, the oldest of which I bought when I was 15, and were my first pair of real cycling shoes. Another pair I also remember buying for a friend's wedding - when they came back from honeymoon we told them about Chris being pregnant with Ben.

Maybe we do hoard a bit. Dixie - looks like we need some of your ruthlessness!

To Chris this morning:

"I'm a worship guitarist - why do I keep wanting to play Thin Lizzie riffs?"

Her answer

"Because they're more fun than the worship songs".

I wonder whether we should have worship music that you actually want to play and listen to because it's fun or great, rather than just because it's worship? I can feel a real tension. The problem with having great tunes for worship is that you could end up playing them because you want to, rather than because you want to worship.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 issues

Looks like I'm not the only one with problems trying to install Ubuntu 9.10. Maybe I should try studio 8.04?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Sabayon 5.0

Can the spankiest, sharpest Linux distro have got any sharper?

On a related note, I'm starting to wonder why everyone appears to be copying M$/Apple when it comes to OS interfaces. Makes me wonder very much if Google's Chrome might actually be innovative, or whether it'll simply try to move all the things we do locally into 'the cloud' to make users dependent on and locked into Google?

One of the things that makes the current OSs so powerful for users is that none of them truly lock users in: all the data is there, on your hard drive, often in (increasingly these days) non-proprietary formats that can be moved from one app to another. Install the latest thunderbird, for example, and it will ask if you want to import emails from outlook. Moving cross platform is trickier, but not impossible, especially if you're willing to buy apps that will help. I'm hoping to move my thunderbird emails across from a winbox to Linux at some stage in the near future too.

But what if your data is 'in the cloud?

We're used to that to a certain extent, with gmail, hotmail etc (none of which I use) but it always brings to mind the comment from Microsoft "all your data are belong to us". But what if all your documents, images, audio files, movies and emails are held on some nameless server in the cloud and for some reason, legal or mechanical, you cannot access them?

To me, that's a really scary prospect. If Peter Mandelson does manage to push through the laws that he has been 'encouraged' to support (for non-Brits, after having enjoyed media tycoon hospitality PM wants 'downloaders' to have their net connections disconnected) where will that leave people who have allowed their content to exist online only? Not because I'm worried about the prospect of being caught downloading, but because mistakes are, shall we say, not exactly unknown in the IT and legal industries, while the pace of rectification is often glacial.

There was an interesting cartoon I found not long ago that suggests both M$ and Apple should be very scared as Google was not only planning to give the OS & apps away, but that people also trust Google where they very much don't trust either M$ or apple. I wonder how long it will be before they learn that Google is just another large company with US corporation ethics. Of course if they work in the publishing industry they will already be aware of that.

The good news is........

I seem to be getting better. Thinking is difficult but possible, and I got out of bed this morning without feeling like I wanted to crawl straight back in again. Still lacking energy and endurance, but time and exercise should build those up again.

I'm grateful.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

I wonder if this will land for anyone?

Back from the doctor.

I'd love to insert a little clip of Michael Schenker in there, to play automatically.

Apparently I really have flu. I'd have just said it was a nasty cold, but hey ho. Estimated time for clearance, up to 6 weeks. Come back in a couple of weeks if the cough isn't getting better.

There's a certain sense of deja vu, but I hope that's wrong.

To quote Raymond Briggs

"What has the night to do with sleep?"

Fungus has a lot to answer for.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Back to work today.

I feel like I should be doing something, anything, to keep the business ticking over, and things ache much less than they did, so I'm going to go back.

NOT a resounding success - <1 hour later, I'm home again.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Calling Mikey Mo

How do you like Ubuntu studio - still using it? I'm about to rebuild my livingroom machine, and want to go Microsoft free (no more XP licenses available).

Also, does it play back DVDs OK, or do I need to install some guerrilla ware?

*note the title edit*
Proof if you needed it that my brain wasn't working right last night!

My head has been distinctly off this afternoon again

....but I've spent some time wandering through a fascinating Russian blog. There are lots of pages that could be posted, but these seem the most interesting (don't follow up the ads for Russian brides, models or hookers!).

Old russian traditions as observed by an Englishman.

Inside the Kremlin.

The Aral sea.

Russian appetisers.

Jesus Monopoly.

Lake Baikal (warning - lots of pics. I'd forgotten how lovely colours are in Kodachrome or equivalent).

Russian Orthodox priests.

Ionospheric communication network.

The String Train. This completely reflects the expectations we had for technological development as children in the 1960s.

Enjoy/be mystified as appropriate.

Monday, 9 November 2009

We could all do with something breath-taking occasionally

And by that I don't mean a cold.

Image from the University of Arizona High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.

Being home is both good and bad.

If you're my mum, it's good. She came out of hospital on Saturday, and seems less bad right now, which is nice.

If you're me, well, it provides time to complete the build on the work PC for Chris.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

If any of you

were praying for me yesterday about the music, thank you. I think it was possible for me to make a positive contribution and not be pulled down by it.

And today - I am full of cold. :-(

Don't expect rational arguments, concise words or thoughtful statements today then!


Tonight I'm a bit pants. Shivering, slightly dizzy and wheezing like my mother after I've walked upstairs. Hoping the Cold & flu medication might kick in soon. Work tomorrow is just speculation right now.

Early this evening, having collapsed hard on the settee all afternoon, I started putting together a small business PC for Chris. If you want a small, cheap case without PSU then I'd recommend one of these from ebuyer. Sides & front have tooless removal, and overall it's nice looking even though there are some shortcomings. It's quite slim, and I'm hoping because it puts the PSU down low at the front it will be reasonably quiet. So far I've got the PSU and MoBo in the case, but had to stop to cook dinner. Now I'm just bushed, flopped on the settee again. It can wait for further building.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

It's not enough to say I hate it.

Last night I posted about music for the pop-idol X factor generation as a response to music I’d needed to listen to for a local event. That post was a highly moderation version of the anguish I’d felt as a result of listening, and I spent a night of restlessness, discomfort and turmoil afterward. The songs together produce a quite literal desire to go and hang myself, almost certainly as a result of the hopelessness and desperation pent up in them.

Unlike some, I don’t seem to have grace/good sense to always push into God when I feel like that, but I wonder if God is trying to talk to me out of it.

I think God is trying to show me the misery and sheer hopelessness felt by the current generation: if that was the case, I caught the full impact. The music I had as a teen was a mixture, some arising from fear, some from depression, some from fun, some from lust, but always a mixture that usually left you with a measure of energy or a grin. This music (with a couple of exceptions) is the music of a generation that has lost a sense of musicality in music, a sense of purpose and a joy in life. It’s about desperation and isolation and the awful quality of vocals and emotions really express the depth of that.

It’s easy, having been very selective about the music I listen to and the inputs I receive to keep all that desperation at arms length. I recognise it and know it for what it is, but will not usually receive it. This delivered a blow full force, and even now, due to meet potential clients/employers in 10 min, I can still feel the effects.

No wonder the world is a mess (not to mention the Christians dabbling in it) if they are continually taking this on board. Sure, they’ll get toughened to it, but at what emotional and moral price.

I need to keep remembering why I’m doing what I’m doing (obedience) and the hopeful outcome. I just hope I can do it in a good spirit and with a right heart.

(Written about 10.50 am, getting ready to go discuss working for another company).

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Ever do something that leaves you grumpy?

Like being under pressure to order stuff.

Like not checking ALL the details of the item for the Nth time.

Like not noticing that the MoBo you ordered required DDR3 memory.

Like not being able to re-use the perfectly good DDR2 memory you had lots of.

That leaves me grumpy. And a little lighter in the pocket.

Gives me hope

Not the .com site, but the outcome of a meeting last night.

It appears God has been talking to a number of us at HPC, all about the same things* using similar passages of scripture. On top of that, when we came together to talk about it there was agreement about the direction the church needs to go in and the things it needs to do.

Hearing God speak and being part of the process makes other issues fade in importance, and though they don't go away, they become much less of a problem. But we also need to communicate what God is saying really clearly, so that others can buy in too and not just follow along either blindly or grudgingly. This is more than just passing information: I hope spirits are stirred as well as minds and minds as well as spirits.

*Joel 2, including the difficult bits.

Our home email seems to be down

So if you've sent stuff, we're not ignoring you so much as unable to read it.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Post for marc (very long).

Last week Marc posed a question about what I'd written regarding pastors. I didn't have the time to answer properly, so I ducked the question, intending to come back later. Now is later. Below is my attempt to answer some of what was asked.

Marc wrote:
I'm curious to know what Biblical leadership looks like in your view.

Who is eligible for leadership? Who appoints them? Or should it arise naturally? Where are 'lay' people in all this--are they those who are not "gifted" in any leadership capacity?

More importantly, what does leadership and authority actually look like within the church--how does it play out? Leadership by definition seems to imply some who are set apart from others for that particular "assignment" (a term I got somewhere in my seminary reading, which I like).

Who is eligible for leadership – everyone that is given gifting to be a leader and will walk in it in faith. Rom 12 v3-8 covers it well, where it talks about having different giftings and the need to exercise faith in them, including leadership. Is leadership a matter of training and expectation or a gift from God? This passage implies it’s gifting – not that training is not important, but training and ability aren’t the reason someone is a leader in the church.

Who appoints them? Or should it arise naturally? Both. I would expect that someone with a gifting & calling for leadership to be living that out in the way the operate in church, before they are recognised formally in a leadership capacity. If someone is called to be an elder then I would expect them to not only fit the various scriptural qualifications, but also that people will seek them out for leadership. They will have demonstrated Godly wisdom and insight and been able to teach and guide in the things they say and the way they live their lives.

When the individual is demonstrating their calling through the way they function in the church I would expect that to be recognised by the existing leadership. They would formally recognise that calling in front of the church, laying hands on the individual that they would receive more of the grace and gifting required to walk in the role to which they have been called.

Where are 'lay' people in all this – They are all ‘lay people’. Each should be functioning in the gifting they have received, operating up to the limits of the grace and faith given them. There is no special class of people who are different from everyone else, who have a right to perform certain duties, rites or sacraments. It is also important to realise that this kind of church grows out of relationship, rather than rule, and that everyone is church together, rather than there being a separate trained and appointed ruling class.

More importantly, what does leadership and authority actually look like within the church--how does it play out?

This is where it becomes more complex, partly because I think we (the church) is still working out a right theology of church leadership.

As I understand it, a local church would be overseen by elders, although in small fellowships there may be a single elder with a team around him of those who can advise, administrate, act prophetically, have demonstrated maturity and Godly wisdom etc. There may well be a single elder that acts as community head - an equivalent may be seen in James at the church in Jerusalem – but it’s not a case of having ‘rank’ so much as function and recognition. It is also important that this is not seen in terms of politics, with the elders jostling for popularity and a higher degree of recognition. They might well bring some leadership and guidance to the eldership team, but would not dominate or control it.

How do they know what God’s will is? Collectively, God’s people often do hear God quite clearly, and although a mis-understanding of this has lead to the idea of democracy and church meetings with voting, it does not detract from the principle. People would be expected to feed back the things they feel they are hearing from God to the leadership team, who would prayerfully consider it. The leadership team won’t particularly want people’s opinions, but they will want to hear what God’s saying to them

This team of people would bring direction to the church, having tried to discern the mind of Christ through what He is saying to the church.

When it comes to authority, the model here is entirely that of the shepherd. The people follow because they trust, respect and know the leaders and recognise their gifting. They are not driven or ordered because that is not shepherding (and has lead to the abuses often referred to as heavy shepherding).

In New Testament times there would have been a single church in each place, so there would have been a single eldership, where as now we have multiple churches of various flavours. Something we are starting to see here are the leaders from various churches in a locality getting together regularly, almost acting as an area eldership team. Now certainly some of those are going back to entirely traditional backgrounds, but that does not detract from the model.

Connecting these churches in different localities together would be those with apostolic calling: those who are sent, like Paul, Barnabus, Silas etc. There’s nowhere in the west that a man like Paul could go now and say he’s building from scratch, because there will always be another man’s foundation, so the original model of an apostle planting a church that he then visited from time to time can’t happen. Instead these days churches often recognise that they are not an island, and will become part of a larger organisation with apostolic individuals. You might know examples, but to me, both New Frontiers and Salt & Light spring to mind, where churches ask to become part of the group, so they can receive input.

What about the ‘setting apart’ you mention? It’s easy to interpret setting apart through our present understanding of priesthood as worked out in the Roman, Anglican and Eastern church traditions. In the example of Paul and Barnabus, I think it meant being released from their local eldership duties and being commissioned to travel as apostles, planting new churches and spreading the gospel. I do not believe it meant that they became some new class of Christian, to found a church hierarchy structure that was separate from a laity.

I have deliberately kept this ‘scripture-light’ because it would have taken 3 times as long to write and been much more cluttered. Sorry if that’s disappointing.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Well, it's been a busy weekend, despite the lurgy.

Friends to dinner Saturday night, friends to dinner Sunday night, very good friends who are almost parents tonight. To make up for it, we're out to dinner tomorrow night.

Wish we were both well, pain-free and with clear heads.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

It's been a curious weekend.

Both of us have been afflicted in varying degrees with a variety of Ben's lurgy.

TBH it stuffed up Friday night's whiskey tasting, and although I really enjoyed trying all the different varieties, my mouth was over-sensitive, taste buds not behaving normally didn't help. On top of that, whiskey reflux is distinctly painful, as it burns the lower reaches of the oesophagus. Not cool, especially when it stops you really appreciating whiskey at £65 a bottle.

Since saturday we've really been up and down health wise, at time struggling to move, while at others being practically normal. Saturday afternoon a few guys got together to try a few songs for a local music project for the Heyford park area. We did U2's One, Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars and the Blues Brothers everybody. High point was the blues brother's tune, as it fits the kind of music I enjoy and can really make people want to get up and dance.

Saturday evening we had some friends from the village round, and that was great, but I really ran out of stream by 10.30, at the same time not wanting them to have to leave.

Today was a real mix too. This morning we both really didn't want to get up, and had rough throats, aches etc. I was praying in church this morning (it gets pre-arranged) and I really felt God tell me to pray out of Joel 2 - all of it, rather than the well known bit everyone quotes. This fitted the message really well, and I feel God confirmed it was the right thing to do. God also gave someone else who doesn't know about the struggles I've had a picture, and he was kind enough to share it and pray with me, and for that I'm grateful.

This afternoon we enjoyed the company of a young family who've bravely uprooted from Chicago to come and work with the youth in Heyford park. They're good guys, and I'm not saying this just in case you find my blog, Heidi ;-). I hope we'll get to know them a bit better in the coming months, talk about their calling and how they came to be here a bit more.

And this evening we're just plain tired. I've got a pain that is, I'm sure, nerve-based in my left leg, and it's making sitting on the settee 'interesting'. Wonder if I'll make it to work tomorrow? Hope we can both sleep OK.

Friday, 30 October 2009

More geekery - a question for those who know.

Looks like I'll need to replace the MoBo, as I mentioned further down. Current OS plans are to stick with XP (as it's really solid until something does the equivalent of putting caltraps across the road).

Now I really dislike the idea of incremental upgrading of PCs because it's so inefficient, cashwise. However there are no cheaper MoBos (nFrorce 6100 chipset or equivalent) with enough RAM slots to just do a straight swap, so I'll HAVE to buy a modern board or go back to 2Mb RAM.

So this then begs the question, is it worth upgrading with a new processor at the same time? The original isn't slow (Athlon II 3800 X2 Windsor) but it was a good low-budget buy 2+ years ago, and things have moved on, particularly in terms of internal bus speeds and cache since then. An AM3 250 should bring a nice speed increase. I guess the question is, would there be an advantage in using a faster processor (multi-core, therefore requiring multi-threading software) running XP and office 2003? The original system (even with a 2 year old build) was certainly competitive against the Macbook (although it's younger it's burdened with a more bloated OS).

In a way it would be nice to grab a board with decent integrated graphics (to cut noise from the fan on the Nvidia 7900 card) quicker processor and slap that in the tiny dell case also laying around for a low-noise, low volume, high efficiency system. At the same time I wonder if I'm just being silly and should grab a cheap MoBo, cut the cost of repair in half and just do the proper full upgrade thing in another 2 years time.

Title is tricky

I'm going whiskey tasting tonight (courtesy of my mother generously wishing to indulge me) at a local off licence/wine shop. A few years back at a conference in Glasgow I enjoyed something similar as part of the soire that evening, however most of the guests didn't like whiskey, and I was grateful to a colleague pointing out that *now was a good time to stop. This is unlikely to re-occur as everyone will wish to keep hold of their samples, rather than offering them to everyone else.

But when thinking about this blogpost there were lots of titles that swam across my brain, all ditched for various (obvious) reasons.

*Now being when one can still talk and walk normally (this was a conference, after all). The whiskey was good, disappearing with minimal resistance, and it would have been easy to continue until walking would have required a lot of optimism.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Nose is dripping freely

head muzzy and unfocussed, no aches yet though. Looks like I have a variation of Ben's lurgy.



Someone told me to go away a little wile ago, as they didn't want a cold!

Looks like it's probably the MoBo after all.

But why, I've no idea.

Seems Ben can read my 'dead' Seagate drive on his machine, so we should recover the data soon. In the mean time I'm seriously wondering about replacing this motherboard 'just in case'. The issue with that is that everything's moved on, so why not spend a little more, re-use some components and add a faster processor etc too.

Shakes head gently.

It is tempting to go for a board with onboard graphics, since I don't game now anyway, slip it in the little dell mini-case I have for a near silent micro system. Re-use the bits from this machine to create a system that doesn't matter if it falls over, running Linux.

Nuts. We already have an older box upstairs for watching DVDs that doesn't get used.


What do we do when the denomination has it wrong?

You may have thought that this was going to be a post whinging about the Anglican church, but that's far from the case.

I've been re-reading a book by Charles Simpson 'The Challenge To care' (not in print but plenty used on Amazon). There are many interesting and good things he says, but a fundamental tenet of his view is that pastors lead churches and the elders are subject to them.

This is not a biblical model of leadership at all.

For example in 1 Timothy, Paul is instructing Timothy (as apostolic oversight in that church) about the elders who oversee the church. He refers to some specifically that teach and preach as being worthy of honour (5v6) but does not mention the pastor in charge once.

The title is a real question: what do we do when our denomination has it wrong: hope it doesn't matter too much, go with the flow, try not to notice, ignore it? Do we even try to match a picture of biblical church practice to the way church is operated now?

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Marc Vandersluys want's it all.

Well, maybe not ALL, but he put up a great post and quote here about acquisition. If it doesn't make you stop and question yourself, you're probably a Republican Evangelical. ;-)

Interesting when God decides to move.

Late last night I was preparing for a worship time this coming Thursday. I just felt God speak to me out of the words of some of the songs - pretty much all of the songs actually - words of restoration, encouragement, peace, forgiveness, love, acceptance. I went to bed with feelings of thanksgiving instead of doubt, happiness instead of distress. Sometimes words just swim in front of the eyes like alphabetti spaghetti, and sometimes they have power and reach out and take hold of us.

I have the sense that this is more an emergency airtank that can help me keep going upward than having arrived back at the surface, but I'll take whatever I can get of God. It does also make me wonder about callings.

I also seem to be THE computer crasher right now. Last night I'd virtually finished the song list using the HPC display software/laptop when it locked up, requiring multiple restarts and several sets of database repair before it recovered and would run OK. I finished the song list and went to bed just before midnight. At least I feel like I've learned more about the software and how to (hopefully) make the songs display in a way that is easy to read.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Nearly done on the rebuild.

Goodness - I could almost twatter that.

Mind over matter?

Very odd. I wasn't feeling great at work, with some of Ben's symptoms, so I came home this afternoon. However after lunch I roused myself and started work rebuilding the main house PC, and noqw many of the aches and some of the fuzzy headedness has cleared.

Great, but what's going on?

Is it paranoia if they really are out to get you?

There's a sound I am coming to loathe:

DvvvvvvvTT (click)
DvvvvvvvTT (click)
DvvvvvvvTT (click)
DvvvvvvvTT (click)
DvvvvvvvTT (click)
DvvvvvvvTT (click)
DvvvvvvvTT (click)
DvvvvvvvTT (click)
DvvvvvvvTT (click)

The sound of a failing hard drive.

This is not helped by your beloved telling you that she's not been backing up her data onto the memory stick she asked for because she wanted to ask a question about how to do something first.

If the worst comes to the unlikely worst, I'll have probably lost everything done between July/August and last week, which is enough to be annoying, but not insurmountable. Ironically, the other SATA HDD that I thought was dead (I left it in the case, disconnected) appears to work fine, although I'm not sure I dare trust it now.

To cap it all off this morning, I brought the Mac home for the weekend, and when I got in this morning I plugged it in and it wouldn't recognise the external hard drive I use for backup or the mouse.

Not cool. Not cool at all.

It has now begun working, after plugging in directly and not through the hub (where it was always fine before) but I'm not a happy bunny. Like I said before, USB implementation in the macbook just stinks, and they didn't even provide firewire in this iteration.

On a different, though related, note: Ben has been at home for a few days last week with a nasty infection. Head and neck aches, sore throat, sickness and dizziness. I've a feeling Chris and I have had a mild version of what he's been through, and that has made me less robust and more down than usual, hence my outburst about the Macbook on Friday. This doesn't remove anything from the facts I described, but it does leave me able to cope with it's shortcomings better. Also, although I wasn't consciously worried, because of my mother being back in hospital again (myasthenia this time, quite a nasty bout) my subconscious may ave been getting grumpy at me and the world in general.

Anyway, they say 'where there's life there's hope', which goes to show how easy it is to make up glib mottos and catch phrases.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

It's funny sometimes.

You go to church, come away feeling down like something's badly wrong, yet you can't put your finger on why. Then reading a book during lunch you just feel God talk to you, kind of stand you up, dust you off and tell you to get on with it.

I don't know how I can keep going like this really, but I need to. Not leastly it makes me ask the question "if I'm meeting God outside church more than I am inside, why am I still going?" The reason is because I've been told to, and I'm having to cling to that with white knuckles like a man on a rock in a heavy sea.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Armageddon it.

To all our friends in Canada

Saw this and though of you.....

Hope the winter isn't too bad this year.

I also found this - looks old:

I'm getting to the point with the Mac where I want to chuck it through a window.

There was an update a day or so ago that was supposed to fix an issue some users had with stalled hard discs. Well, I don't know what else it's supposed to do, but my external hard drive seems to go to 'sleep' more frequently and takes longer to wake now (cue frozen computer for several seconds before the beachball eventually drags it's lazy butt onto the screen as the disc starts to spin up). Also moving 'word' windows around on screen has become jerky, with a second delay between dragging the window and it moving. And finally, I plugged in an external memory card reader yesterday and now the right mouse button doesn't work! I have become used to mouse settings being reset whenever other USB devices are plugged in (mouse suddenly becomes incredibly slow) but all the usual tricks like unplugging or restarting hasn't fixed it.

And the usual stuff still doesn't work: like clamshell mode with external monitor and keyboard, refusing to recognise the external monitor 2 boots out of 3, key strokes frequently failing to register and boot times getting ridiculously long for a 10 month old machine. The smudgy font display is an absolute nightmare when working with large spreadsheets and small fonts, and has resulted in eye strain and headaches. And windows management is simply lousy, and it's not just a case of unfamiliarity. I have become quite deft with the credit card, wedging CDs when the 'superdrive' fails to read them and having to reboot while jamming the disc so that it will spit out a perfectly good disc that I can use in any other drive. Maybe I could take another half day and go visit the apple shop in Milton keynes so that someone in the genius bar can tell me my Mac doesn't work and it will have to go away for another week or 2 to be fixed. Applecare can go where the sun don't shine, sideways.

I think I've reached the point where if I could get back £900 (original cost >£1200) for this thing then I'd be very pleased to let the damn thing go. Buying a Mac was a stupid, rose tinted spectacles mistake and entirely my own fault for being suckered by the pretty case and great trackpad.

My mood isn't helped by the main home PC suffering some kind of progressive hardware failure, resulting in increasingly frequent lock ups. Why am I not ranting about this? Because it was cheap, I can fix it myself, and it's been great to work with for the previous 2 years - until the hard drive failure earlier this year, every time I started it up it made me feel pleased about how smoothly, quickly and easily it ran. No amount of swooshy animated graphics and bouncing icons can compete with that feeling.

I never thought it would happen - I've firmly joined the Mac-hater camp.

Now I've got that off my chest I can go do something useful for the rest of the day.

I've just removed the mouse from the USB hub and plugged it directly into the spare UBS port (apple generously provide a whole 2) and voila - right clicking works again. I wonder if USB implementation is any better in Snow Leopard, because it is put to shame in 10.5 by XP.

*edit 2*
I'm slightly tempted to resort to bootcamp and XP or even system 7, if it wasn't that I think the Macbook hardware's not that great overall.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

I won't buy Levi's!

And while mooching the Times this morning I came across another interesting article: the worst highstreet retailers for exploiting their workers.

Listed first are Levi's. I remember having a conversation with someone on a forum about responsibility and purchasing, and they spouted almost exactly the line given about markets and prices finding their own level. For shame.

I will also now reconsider shopping at Clark's for shoes and Sainsbury's (who are relatively expensive as a UK supermarket - oh the irony). Matalan sell tat, at least in men's wear, so I'll continue not to buy there too. The rest I don't use, but will encourage others not to do so too.


Further on the maigration of Anglicans to the Roman Catholic church

It would seem I'm not the only one who's spotted that things may not completely ideal for those that migrate. Libby Purves has an editorial in todays Time that covers it quite well.

One comment I've read suggests this is a political and power-based move, both to bolster the Roman Catholic church and take the heat off over the pedophile problems seen in Ireland. These are times when the course of various parts of the church world wide is being shifted a bit, and it may not be in an entirely healthy direction. It also concerns me that, as was suggested today, with various clergy moving across would go both congregations and property as a matter of course. This does make me concerned about the reasons for welcoming these groups, and that it may not be wholly from a desire to support brothers in Christ who find themselves in a difficult place.

One good thing - I understand the fellowship of confessing Anglicans is not to transfer. At least there will remain an orthodox voice within the CoE.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

And todays dilemma - migrate from Anglican to Roman Catholic church?

Yesterday the RC church announced a route for Anglican priests to become recognised and accepted into the Roman Catholic church. Here's a partially informative article in the Times newspaper.

My personal feeling is that this is a mixed blessing for the CoE, rather than the complete disaster that it's being portrayed as in the papers. The bad side is that it is likely to absorb those with strong orthodox theological convictions, allowing the CoE to slip further into the liberal mire. The good side is that it's likely to absorb some of those whose faith is built on tradition and religious practice rather than life in the Spirit.

I also wonder if many realise what they are joining themselves to? I'm no Dan Brown, but the RC church in it's European character is very different from the Anglican church. We'll have to see how things progress.

What this does tell me is that there is going to be an even larger gap in the market for church as the body of Jesus, rather than as a drafty building with guys in funny clothes and odd religious practices. I don't want to talk about white fields, but post-Christian Britain is a great place for the church to be active right now.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Anyone ever thought Job was fun as well as interesting?

The book in the bible that is.

In London we used to get milk from Job's dairies, but that has NOTHING to do with this post.

I was reading Job 20 & 21 this morning. In the context, Job has lost everything: his property has been stolen or destroyed, his children were killed in an accident and he's acquired a skin disease so unpleasant that he scraped the pus and gunge off himself with a piece of broken pottery. His wife, being a pragmatic kind of woman, has suggested he 'curse God and die' since God has allowed all this to happen.

Now Job is recognised as being 'righteous' in that his heart was always earnestly seeking to honour God. The reason for his loss is that Satan has suggested the only reason Job loves God is because God has blessed him with health, wealth and a large and happy family: so Satan is allowed to take away everything Job has except his life in order to demonstrate that Job's love for God is more than wealth-deep, and Satan being himself does it in a way which is astonishing and cruel.

Job has some friends who, having heard the tragedy, come over to visit and comfort him, but when they see him they are so completely dismayed that they can't speak at first. They Knew Job to be a good man, and yet the recent events of his life really don't match the expectations of their religion: God protects the righteous, but those who are wicked suffer disaster, don't they? So their 'speeches' progressively chew away at the apparent dilemma until they eventually come to the conclusion that Job must be wicked after all, and that God has brought this about because Job needed to be punished.

Job becomes increasingly exasperated as each of them speaks until he's had enough, and in Ch21 v5 tells them to "Look at me and be astonished; clap your hand over your mouth."

The rest of Ch 21 then talks about the reality of life, rather than the religious platitudes of who God will bless and curse. He describes how the wicked do prosper, live in peace, have large and successful families and die in ripe old age. But it also talks about how they are at the mercy of circumstances and although they think otherwise, their lives are not in their own control. This looked and sounded so much like the things we've seen in the last 2 years with world financial systems sliding down the pan, and so many people apparently in control suddenly finding their own behaviour has undermined themselves.

V30 is particularly interesting "that the evil man is spared from the day of calamity, that he is delivered from the day of wrath?" Do we see bankers again getting large bonuses? Have there been swathing job cuts in the city? I must admit, there's a side of me that stands astonished at the outcome, 1 year on, of the crisis. And yet God has allowed men to operate this way for many thousands of years: that line of permitting free will that He is so unwilling to cross.

At the end of the chapter Job sums up masterfully. "So how can you console me with your nonsense?
Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!" Such is the value of the 'religious' view - it's just a bunch of wishful thinking and platitudes, and of no comfort whatsoever.

There's a great earthy humanity to Job despite the slightly funny language. Lot's of "you're no help at all" and "I wish you'd just shut up" in the face of accusations. Real people with real struggles, and not a stained glass window in sight.

All quotes from the NIV via

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Just popped into the cave du vin*.

Grabbed our last litre bottle of vintage sloe gin in order to take some to our friends this evening. The bottle is unmarked (an old Taylors port bottle) and I wanted to make sure I had the right stuff.

Cork out - not much aroma, as the liqueur is cool.

Tip a little into a glass - yup, no mistaking that colour.

But I can't put it back in the bottle. Have a little sip. My GOODNESS. I'd forgotten/not realised how fragrant sloe gin can be when it's 7 or 8 years old - this stuff is scented nectar! Incredibly smooth, and yet warming in a way that comes up gently from under your rib cage and rises silkily up to your nose. Amazing, it's good enough to make you exclaim out loud.

I'm about to give 1/5th of it away. These had better be good friends.

*The wine rack in the loo upstairs.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

It looks like we're having to get a new bed.

As I'm sure the old one has been round the clock a couple of times now.

We were given this one (just like our last bed - which was our first, when we got married) by my mother. My folks bought it with an extra firm mattress because my father had a damaged back. My father died in '91.

Chris has been finding that increasingly the bed was not her friend (it hasn't been my friend for at least 10 years) and that when she wakes up her shoulders ache and knees & hips hurt. So we went out trying new mattresses etc this morning, and have settled on something suitably forgiving that, hopefully, we'll both be a bit more comfortable.

Lets hope it's good.

Friday, 16 October 2009

On the Sloe Gin front

We have about 3L now on the go (should that be goe?). The berries have been very ripe and softer than I remember in previous years, and I hope that will add up to a wonderfully fragrant liqueur instead of the somewhat astringent stuff that 2007 yielded.

Opera does odd things with the blog controls.

In Firefox, after posting, if I click on 'View post' it takes me back to the blog main page.

In Opera, if I click on 'View Post' I see the post alone on the template page only, with the left hand text spread across underneath, if the post is short. I have to hit 'View Blog' to see the post at the top of the blog with other posts underneath.


FWIW I've begun using Opera almost exclusively now at work, and FF only about half the time at home.

And on a further topic, having rebuilt the home PC just a few months ago, it looks like I shall have to do it again soon. I installed something I wasn't sure would work, and it seemed to, but since then things have become increasingly unreliable. Stepping back doesn't work (the process fails, not that it doesn't fix things) so the only solution is initially an install over the top, and ultimately a wipe and reinstall.

Ben made the observation that as XP is being progressively updated it's becoming less software-bug resistant. I guess that's a bit like putting iffy petrol in an older car, where the filters have become less efficient. It's not the car's fault it stopped working, but a newer one might have coped a little better. Maybe I'll look out for a flood of cheap Vista discs on the 'bay once 7 is launched. If one of the better Linux distros could run microsoft office then I'd seriously consider migrating to that. It would be no more painful than the migration to Mac, and enormously better value for money.

Chris had a really good description

..... that she used to describe herself (applies to me too) at church. "Like a violin in a brass band".

We don't fit, and we can see as well as feel that we don't fit. We aren't like anyone else there, we don't relate to others with the same easy relationships and culturally speaking we seem worlds apart. Even those with whom we initially seemed to mesh, we now find are actually deeply and fundamentally different in their world view and attitudes. There's a danger that we are going to become increasingly isolated and isolationist, serving the practical needs, but withdrawing our hearts and personalities out of preservation.

What's the way forward?

A part of me can see a role. There those we might work with who also don't fit the present model but rub along in it with varying degrees of comfort. We might be more pro-active in developing those relationships that might work instead of wondering why those that don't haven't really worked out. I think we're feeling tired with it all, bruised a bit and struggling with our desire to get out of the stream of cold water that's chilling our bodies. But I also feel a check on the proactive side, because it's not our way to push ourselves forward, to work in a way that's a little political, to take leads (rather than be given them).

I think we're still wondering what we're doing here.

We can both see the church is changing and has grown, and I do believe that we've been a part of that; not all by any means, but I certainly think we've made a difference, tipped a balance. But there's this think of being fiddles in a brass band still there. The obvious thing would be to surround ourselves with people who are like us, build a community within a community, but that's been done here in the past, is still happening now, and is part of the problem rather than part of the answer.

For me, the last couple of weeks have been better on the depression front. I've been getting up early to pray, to push back into God and try to humble myself, and

And what? I stopped to think "and what"? On one level nothing is changed, we're not getting fed like we weren't getting fed before, all the relationship issues are still there, but I seem to be coping with them better than I was. There's nothing *wrong* - we can just live our lives like anyone else away from the church, just go along for meetings, smile and do the How Are You/Good/And You thing. But that's not what church means for us.

And at the bottom of it all, I hate being powerless, tossed around by other people's wishes, thoughts, moods, decisions, choices, wants and wishes. It's very difficult to take a stand and say "I am trusting that you will work things out for me, Lord, in YOUR church" when you hear people say "this is mine".

Obviously we are not the robust people I'd fooled myself into thinking we were. I also think God IS doing something deep inside. Whether I'll be grateful for it happening like this is another matter, as I'm not one of those people who are grateful for the pain of beating their head on a brick wall, all to experience the joy of stopping. But like we said after Sarah died, we need lots of good things to come out of this. Likewise, if we're going to have a miserable time (and God knows, it has been miserable) then I really hope lots of good stuff is going to come out.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

It is my full intention

.... to pick sloes for more sloe gin this evening on the way home. So far we've got a couple of litres going, but even with Chris getting a second lot on Monday we were still short, and have about 800ml of gin still to use up. Not far from here is a place where she found plenty of berries on Monday, and hopefully I can do the same tonight. We probably won't drink it all at once, but it's nice to 'make hay' etc.

BTW since I'm sat doing data organisation for another company I put headphones on with the MP3 player to ease the boredom. It's playing songs in alphabetical order (haven't managed to turn that feature off yet :-/ ) and so I've had a pastiche of worship songs, hymny stuff Fleetwood Mac and Johnny Winter wandering across my aural space. (note - on the hymny album they have a Sophie Bextor-Ellis disco style arrangement that's sonically sore-thumbing - even more so after Johnny Winter that's just come on. Oh yick - it's just gone into a mock-gaelic violin solo). Back to Johnny Winter JW FTW.

In other news, it seems amps are like London busses - nothing interesting for ages, the 3 wander across my path. I wasn't especially hunting for one, but 3 really interesting and very well priced (the word unmissable wouldn't be inappropriate) models have just appeared. I've been selling of other random guitar-related stuff that would help pay for ONE of them. Choices are a Vox Cambridge, Frenzel 5E3 type and Tech 21 trademark 60. I'm heading toward the trademark, because it's a highly versatile SS pro-featured amp with all sorts of features like headphone and DI outputs that I wouldn't design into my own valve based gear. The Frenzel is interesting because I've long fancied a Deluxe-style amp (I really prefer Fender cleans over Marshall or Vox). The vox is interesting because it's small, light and attractive (and cheap) plus when it dies I can gut it and build another valve amp.

I Played a Trademark 60 about 6 or 7 years ago when looking for a new amp, and rather liked it, although it was quite a bit of cash used even then. It should take effects and the processor well too, and would probably give me a few more years using the processor before I feel obliged to retire it and go fully over to pedals.

We'll see. I did go to look at an interesting guitar last night (Fender Esquire GT if you care) but there was too much structural damage around the headstock to take a gamble on it. If I can walk away from a guitar I don't need I can do the same with an amp, even if there's nothing wrong with it.

But darn, Johnny Winter's tone makes me fancy that 5E3 clone.

Back to work.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Made about 1 litre of sloe gin today

well, started it off anyway. Need more sloes now, to use up the extra gin I bought.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

First frost of the season

And bloomin' cold it is too!

The radio operated thermometer outside our front door says it's 3'C there, but that's close to the house. The cars were white at 7.30am and the grass was crunchy.

Time to go pick sloes, and nice to do it properly. They should not be picked before the first frost, and I'm sure it's partly so they reach maturity, partly the so action of being frozen releases some of the flavours. Last year's sloe gin wasn't great - we need to make better stuff this time!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Hope deferred makes the heart sick

We went to see a very good friend and his wife get set aside for eldership this evening. We've walked with these people a long time, seen their struggles, weaknesses, tragedies, joys, happiness and laughter. Steve Thomas, who is also a good friend (though I know him considerably less well than I should like) brought the word tonight, and in amongst it all (and there were lots of good things in the 'all') was this scripture (Prov. 13v12).

This landed very squarely for me.

A little while back I was being prayed for by a couple and one of them said to me "your heart is hard" to which I replied "is it?" knowing in all humility that it wasn't, and that I was trying so hard to submit I was practically laying on my back with my legs in the air. I think what was intended was this: that my heart was growing heavy with disappointment at expectations unfulfilled and hopes seeming increasingly distant.

The key part of this for me was the need to return to Jesus to have my heart refilled and hope restored. Instead I've been focussing on the issues of where we are and the issues around that, rather than finding ways to worship and express my love and thankfulness to God. If we were chained up in jail, God's grace would be there for us. When we just feel chained up in a place we're not happy about theres a great deal less grace available - seems maybe we do still have quite a bit to learn. It doesn't make the situation any more satisfactory, but it does make it theoretically possible for us to walk through this time with better hearts.

And I must remember this for those times when I am much less aware of God speaking and His Spirit moving.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

About now 28 years ago.

We were sat in what was really quite a grotty hall (we didn't care or even notice at the time) in Croydon having food and speeches and all the rest of that guff, wishing we could get on with the really important business of being married. And we did, managing to sneak off around 9.30 or 10pm-ish. The start of our young, free and married days.

Now we're quite a bit less slim, less energetic and more wrinkly. But we've completed 28 years practice at being married, and I think we've got it down pretty darn well. And whatever you might have thought I meant - well that's pretty good still too.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The invention of lying

is a new film by Ricky Gervaise, set in a world where everyone tells the whole truth, exactly as they saw it, and no-one (except Gervaise) has ever considered lying. If you thought the French were blunt but honest then you should catch the trailer, as I did on the radio last night. I'm not a gervaise fan (the little I saw of 'The Office' would make me want to change channels) though I might try to catch this one.

But anyway.

I was wondering how long our relationships would last if we all spoke the truth *as we saw it* to each other.

I'm tempted to post a scenario, but even that might get me in trouble.

I am in the situation at the moment where I frequently do not present my true thoughts and feelings on the outside, and frankly, I hate it. Being open and honest (with a little care: just blundering away with whatever's in your head can destroy people) has been a way of life for a long time, and is a good 'habit' that's bad to lose. Yet at the same time the wheels of relationship need lubrication, and expressing all my thoughts would be like adding sand to a gearbox. There are times I've sat with my hand literally over my mouth to prevent the wrong words coming out: say what is necessary, no more.

This is probably also why the blog is so quiet.

And the mind is a battlefield. I seem to be 'enjoying' a substantial amount of warfare, winning some skirmishes, losing others. I trust there's a purpose to this, and eventually I shall emerge stronger, more robust and less vulnerable.

Monday, 28 September 2009


I managed to get the latest amp build up and raucously running. It's a pre-amp design that's completely new to me, and it needs a bit of sorting. So far there's no tone controls, the 'jangle' is quite stinging and it's a bit farty, so there's room for improvement. Lots of potential though, and it sounds like no amp I've owned before (this is a plus, as novelty is often good but hard to generate).

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Is ethnic cleansing ever acceptable?

Chris and I have often talked about the old testament era when Israel occupied Canaan, mostly by a process of ethnic cleansing, although in some cases making the indigenous people slaves instead. It was a nasty episode in a nasty era, and we really have little idea of just how foul and unpleasant people could be. It was God's judgement on a group of peoples whose way of life needed to be stopped.

One of the debates we've had is whether there is a similarity between what was done then and what happened to Monteczuma and the Aztecs. Hugh Thomson has an interesting piece in the times about how the actions of Cortez were beneficial to Mexico, and just how deeply unpleasant this particular kingdom was.

Now whether one evil regime was replaced with another even worse or not is open to considerable debate, but it does make me wonder about the appropriateness sometimes of old-testament style judgement in a new testament era. I don't know why, but God seems more offended by massed shedding of blood for religious purposes than for war or even greed. I wonder if the sheer calculated religious evil of this people is what brought relatively swift judgement upon them?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Better than Viagra!

It would seem that Dick is back!

Worth bearing in mind that the change came about after they received abusive letters. The message is clear that writing politely is ineffective. ;-)

Do you ever feel like you're surrounded?

It's a feeling that I get from time to time about certain issues. I have the feeling God's spoken, but people or situations come up and tell me that what I've heard isn't true or God can't bring the situation round to what is right.

I was reading in II Chronicles this morning about a Jewish King, Hezekiah, being faced with an army that had invaded his land and were threatening to besiege and capture Jerusalem. Messengers were sent to tell both him and the people in Jerusalem that none of the other gods of the nations the invaders had already beaten were able to save their peoples, and that hezekiah's god would be the same. The outcome is, of course, that God deals with the invaders in His own way, and the city is saved without Hezekiah having to deal with the invaders.

There's a subtle touch too. Hezekiah diverted water from a certain spring and built a long tunnel (>1000 feet through solid rock - V hard work) in order to ensure there was a supply of water in the city, so that whatever went on outside the walls, they would never run out of fresh water.

I felt like God spoke to me out of this. That whatever people seem to be doing around me, He'll deal with it His way and I should look to Him for saving/vindication and not try to engineer it myself. There was also a need to go deep, to dig down and have long roots to find fresh water through difficult places. I just wish I didn't struggle with wanting to see it happen and be in some semblance of control - it's so difficult to trust God when He seems to have given everyone free will and they appear to be enthusiastic to exercise it!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

My head feels like it's swelling up.

I'm doing some work for another local 'science' company, putting together information for their website database. This afternoon I worked on the data from a company that makes specialised kinds of particles in a multitude of sizes, colours and affinities. The issue is really that there are an awful lots of extremely similar products in slightly different pack sizes, and they all need to be assigned their own unique catalogue number and description.

In the cosmic scheme of things it's small fry, but for me, it's a real faceache.

Monday, 21 September 2009

A question to my visitors from the US

Do you think this article from the BCC is reasonably accurate? Thanks.

I'd really like another day this weekend, please.

It's a long time since I've been this tired and dozy on a Monday morning. Legs of lead on the bike, and the chilly air this morning (8'C when I left home) creating a temperature gradient from extremities to trunk that makes me feel like I've been shaken by a giant once I stop riding. Might give up cycling for the winter.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Chris just picked up one of the cats.

She held it belly-up in her arms and we saw fully "the face of evil does not wear a bonnet*" expression.

*If you've never seen Cats and Dogs and have children over 8 then I wouldn't bother, but this is probably the best part of the whole film.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Look before you speak.

Last night at church I asked someone if they'd be willing to help on the PA team. He's a musician and song writer, and I never gave it a thought that there might be issues.

As we started talking, just after making the request and wondering why he looked at me a bit funny, I noticed something fleshy-coloured in his ear. Then he turned his head and I saw that there was a similar thing in the other one.

How wise would it be to ask a man who needs hearing aids and has significant hearing issues to run sound?

I really liked Alan Knox's post

.... about attendees or ministers. This reflects the way I've been considering church activity over the last couple of decades or so, and was also reflected in the 'Traditional Church' post a made last week.

The thing is, many church structures are set up to prevent participation by the people:

Worship - by a leader, sometimes with musicians taking the people through a series of songs (ancient or modern) and the odd prayer.

Housegroups - run by a leader who provides the entertainment: the ice breaker, the subjects for prayer, the bible study and the closing prayer. Wife (and occasionally husband) makes tea and provides biscuits.

I could go on, but why don't YOU think of examples. ;-)

A key part of a healthy church is body ministry, and it's about more than just the odd experienced 'lay-couple' praying for people after the meeting. In a healthy body all the members have their function. When you smile, how many groups of muscles get involved? Think about how many when you're walking - almost the entire body participates, and certainly not the legs alone. I don't want to stretch the analogy too far, but You can see the application clearly enough. It's relatively easy and certainly safe to lock people down in the way we 'do' church, rather than pushing them forward to find Jesus for themselves in what they're doing. No-one will get out of control, mistakes won't happen (who are we fooling?) and trained people will remain in charge. It also requires the people to have an expectation that they need to find Him too - otherwise they'll just sit there dumbly waiting to be lead or driven.

But seeing effective body ministry taking place is so rewarding, the effort is absolutely worth it.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

openSUSE 11.1

Well I burned it to a CD yesterday (took 2 blank CDs - Mac 'superdrives' simply aren't and required the credit-card trick to remove the CD) at work.

I have to say that I'm impressed once again.

Although the fonts aren't quite up to windows standards, they are very crisp and quite easy to look at. In fact, the display is really quite excellently sharp all round, with clean edges to graphics and smooth colours. Firefox did not need IPV settings configuring, and it's all working rather smoothly, especially considering it's running off a live CD.

I'd say Linux may actually be coming of age at last: or maybe it's just my Mac experience that has made me less demanding. Whatever, it seems pretty good at first look.

Wonder how long it would take before it broke?

Now what I'd like to do is play a 'shoot-em-up type game into the small hours. What I NEED to do is go to bed.

Better make it bed then.

There's a sweet irony

That those responsible for surgical breast enhancement in this country belong to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, otherwise known as BAAPS.

A little piece for the more advanced musician?

Breathtaking stupidity.

Here's an article from the beeb about the Mafia sinking ships loaded with radioactive waste in order to make money by disposing of it. How is it possible that anyone would need to explain why this is a bad idea for them personally?

Monday, 14 September 2009

Just having a quick look at a couple of new OSs.

Fedora 11 nice backgrounds and much better fonts than before (seems at last Linux is mostly puting it's house in order in that area) but it still feels clunky after Sabayon 3.5. And wonder of wonders, for the first time in a long time I didn't have to change the ipv settings in Firefox.

The BGs are so nice I've saved one for use at work in place of the Backlund guitar image I had.

Now for openSUSE 11.2

Feedback, anyone - prophetic content ahead.

Before I get into that, I just want to mention that I love J.K.Rowling's sense of humour. The newspaper in Harry Potter's universe is called 'The Daily Prophet' and I think I read somewhere the strapline 'bringing you tomorrows news today'. This is funny because, of course, in the Potterian world 'prophesy' is a gift almost unheard of and the one who actually DOES predict the future is unable to predict the future of their own volition, and continually pretends while being quite transparent in her failure.

Back to reality.

In Bible times, those who were prophetic very often experienced the effects of their prophetic messages in their own bodies and minds. Ezekiel had to act out life in a seige and cope with his wife's death without mourning. Hosea had to marry a prostitute to demonstrate Israel's unfaithfulness. Another nameless 'son of the prophets' had to be wounded with a sword in order to deliver a message to Ahab appropriately. Being an OT prophet was not all swanning round in a fancy robe casting thunderbolts and anointing people.

I seriously wonder if I've been through something like this recently. I've had a sense of things being distinctly not quite right that I just couldn't shake. Depression is not too strong a word, and I've alluded to it before. After a particular meeting where many were encouraged it felt like clouds of blackness descended. Yet one day later I received an email that had obviously been sent after someone had reached and moved on from a fork in the road and I felt a lightness and a sense of peace that I've not had for months. I seriously wonder if this has been a bit of a barometer for where the church is going, and the mood swing a reflection of the course it's followed. This is not 'me' at all, and as many can tell you, I've usually very stable and cheerful even under pressure.

It's important not to get all whacky and either superstitious or super-spiritual about this. At the same time God sometimes speaks to people and sometimes it takes a while for them to recognise that it's a) God's voice and b) understand what He's saying. I need to know more and try to understand what's going on. If I AM becoming a fruitcake then it's important to deal with that as well, or we'll all end up in a sticky mess.

There you go - a little window into my head.

Who would be willing to kiss the coal?

Quite early on in the book of Isaiah thew prophet realises his shortcomings and you can almost hear a wail of despair "What can I do - I say wrong things and I've grown up with everyone else around me doing it too" (paraphrase mine).

Last night we had an interesting time at Heyford Park, where it really seemed God turned up, both to speak and to act. There were just a few of us, but He was very much there to bring change, healing, direction and release.

What's that got to do with saying things and kissing Coals?

For more detail you'll need to read (or know) about Isaiah, but I had been about to post something about a particular group of people that was neither pleasant nor really necessary, and only emphasised my feelings to ward them. Recently God has been dealing with the things that transfer themselves from the disappointments in my heart to the front of my thoughts before they slip through my lips. There as also been an issue with those things that get whispered into the sub-conscious that make us say things that are hurtful (though frequently true, therefore all the more so) that need to be caught and killed. Anyone who's had much involvement with church over a prolonged period will recognise what I mean.

So I'm hoping, me with all my imperfections, desires and weaknesses, will have lips that pass fresh water only and not brackish that leaves a bitter taste and greater thirst than before.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The rest of the images from Kita and Dan's wedding

are now uploaded here. Mix of Chris's and mine. Annoyingly they seem to be in reverse order, but I'm trying to fix that.

The extreme low-angle sunlight and high colour temperature required a lot of careful correction before they were tolerable. I should really have used fill-flash for all the outdoor shots, but I doubt the camera flash would have been powerful enough, so bright was the sun!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Pix from Dan and Kita's wedding.

For various reasons I didn't get any good 'standard' shots, but here are a few atypical images. I still need to download and sort Chris's images.

Wedding of the year.

Today, Dan and Kita, our God children get married.

We're leaving in 5 min for the wedding, which is at Islip (for those who know Oxfordshire or care for google).

I've carefully not thought too much about this - I want all the emotions unclouded, and I hope it can be the same for Chris.

Pics tonight I hope!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Tonight I went to a gig.

It was slightly curious, as these things often are, since it was a 'christian' gig with a band covering a bunch of 'worship' songs from Hillsongs, Israel Houghton, Matt Redman etc.

What was curious about it?

Apart from the technical issues with sound that I'll not go into here, this was a bunch of musicians organised by one very good one (ex-cure or Cult - I can't remember - bass player) who were frequently playing stuff that didn't come naturally to them. There was also a presentation of 'the gospel' in the middle and worship done in concert, rather than participation format.

It was also curious because although the arrangements were quite clever and interesting, at times some of the songs just plain got in the way of the feel, cutting awkwardly across the natural feel that had been developed. It was almost like 2 songs in different keys had been overlapped in one particular arrangement, and where they separated it jarred. This is quite common on CDs though, where the limitation of the song style gets disregarded in order to make it sound 'good'. But hey, that's the nature of forcing the wrong musical feel onto a song that was never written to work like that. (As an aside, it got me thinking about how the original could be re-arranged to make it fit, which WAS good exercise for my head).

But there were a few songs that they did get into their groove together on, and sound issues aside, on these they did sound really good. Shackles (Mary Mary) got repeated as an encore, and the sax player really went for it second time round and pretty much made the evening with his work. The bass player/leader's son was off to one side playing electric, and was let loose on some rhythm work for the last 4 songs. This was great, because he was playing naturally and it delivered an energy and cohesion to the songs that was mostly lacking. He was introduced as being the loud aspect of worship but frankly was barely audible - at least he had a bit of crunchy overdrive on, and when he could be heard, sounded good.

The one person I felt really sorry for was the older guitar player at the back. The sound guy had just crapped all over his tone (and he knew it) and on top of that he was mostly having to play some lousy lines as intros that sounded like they were keyboard specific (the keyboard didn't fare much better a couple of times either, though he got a much longer straw). But he manfully stuck it out, so big props to him. It brought all sorts of memories back to doing church concerts, having to play stuff that just didn't work for me and hearing my timing going to hell in a hangbasket as a result. He got his moment of glory (twice) doing the intro to Shackles, and I hope it made up for the rest of the time.

They were obviously a good bunch of musicians, mostly doing stuff that really didn't work for them. I cannot say how grateful I am that for the 10 years of freedom leading the worship team at BCC. Not being forced into musical straitjackets by un-fitting arrangements or having to sing bad songs was just so wonderful, and even if it didn't make me develop as a player it did bring a peace and happiness in playing I'd not known was possible.

Regarding 'Holiday post 1' below

I believe something has changed, and suddenly where there seemed no hope, I now have hope. I can't really go into details here, but to those of you that prayed for us, thank you. We're by no means out of the woods, but there is a good likelihood that we can start on the path soon.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Radio 4 has some of the most interesting guests.

There was a chap on this morning who was born in Iran but grew up in America, talking about the Iranian determination to continue their nuclear program. The interesting side of the conversation was about how the west fails to understand Iranian thinking and how sanctions along with the attitude of the Bush administration had made them so much more determined to develop a nuclear capability. He was underlining how it wasn't a case of Ahmedinajad 'bad' and the reformers 'good' in this area, rather they were universally united in their desire to continue their program BECAUSE of the west's (and particularly America's) attitude to them.

It's interesting because over here, although we're ostensibly on the same side, special relationship and all that, I certainly see America as a threat to the independence and sovereignty of the UK, so how much more must they! If positions were reversed, and the UK was being threatened by a coalition of Russia and middle eastern nations how much would we want to do everything we could to be independent? It is very easy to imagine how they must view America in the way we viewed Russia when they annexed much of eastern Europe, with the military presence in Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq.

By KNOWING that we are 'right' we are in serious danger of misunderstanding or even ignoring what drives these people and why they are opposed to the west. Just simply viewing them as Islamic extremists and sponsors of terror out to kill the infidels may be the fatal mistake of our time.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Tonight I actually

......enjoyed playing guitar. It's becoming a rarity.

Traditional church.

A very good friend of mine and a spiritual father told me a few weeks back that he never wanted to be part of a traditional church. He then explained that by 'traditional' he didn't mean the meeting format, but the tradition of church being a disconnected collection of believers, rather than a family connected through loving relationships.

Food for thought.

And in this context I like yesterday's post by Alan Knox.

Our holiday II

We drove approx 1540 miles at an average speed of 53mph and a consumption level of 47.8mpg. The fuel consumption was just over 50mpg on the way down, but French diesel seems to be a lower quality fuel, delivering higher consumption and rough-running from the engine.

After our first fill-up and subsequent long journey to Strasbourg I was actually worried that something might have gone wrong with the car, as the engine was clearly vibrating more than it should. After the second refueling it ran much better for the journey home, although still a little rough. I've since almost completely drained and refilled with fresh Tesco diesel, and added injector cleaner. It seems smoother and hopefully will be fine.

Our holiday seems so long ago.

After being back just 5 days, I've already slept badly 4 1/2 of them. Going back to church has left me feeling quite depressed, and it's only God having spoken so clearly that made me come back - Sunday morning in the car I just really wanted to drive right on by.

For a variety of reasons I'm certain this is spiritual in origin, even though it's playing on some aspects of reality. We've (me especially) been through a time of pruning that's left me feeling raw and bleeding, and we've gone from being part of a family back to (mostly) meeting-based relationships. But this just comes on at the right times to make me either ineffective or full of mistrust and doubts, and it's far too predictable to be anything but co-incidence.

So what to do?

Sometimes God just breaks in for me, and sometimes I just have to push through. There are times when I'd much rather hide, so I'll do stuff like clean up or put things away - stuff I can do without actually having to face anyone but Chris. I don't trust myself to speak to other people at times like this, and also have to be careful not to blog.

We're really looking for ways we can be effective. I have no doubt about our calling here, and our general purpose, but it's how to work out the daily stuff I struggle with. It's difficult to step back and strategically plan how to serve and build people up, rather than simply going along and doing meetings.

This is funny - it's not at all what I'd planned to post. Ho hum.

I've just begun using Opera 10

And it really is quite slick. This is the best iteration yet, and with a suitably minimal skin selected it's really nice the way it only helps handle web pages without intruding. Nice and quick on both Mac and PC too.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Uploading photos now.

I've trimmed, cropped, tweaked and generally hacked my way through 280 images to drop it down to just over 100. they're uploading now to the 'Lorraine 2009' album in my photobucket account, although it may take some time, since most are around 300K. I'll try to link later when the upload has finished.


The link to the album is here.

Do not forget.

When saving images after editing them, especially when using .jpg format, to check the quality settings. It'd probably the first time since the install I've been through editing and saving pictures in quantity since the recent rebuild.

Image quality was set on 60 out of 100.

Well that's an hour wasted then. A few are tolerable, but most are not due to artifacts. Here's a quick taster in case it takes forever to redo them:

This is Elizabeth, Ben's girlfriend.

Well they may have dropped TNIV.....

According to Marc. But it seems there is a new translation of the bible to take it's place.

Someone known as Padowan Hobbit on the BM formerlies forum has suggested this should be called the Catolick version.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Back from a week in France

Which is why the blog has been especially quiet. Pix later when I have a chance to sort them.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Ish culcher, innit?

While we were away we visited a little book shop in Hastings called 'Bookmans Halt'. I found a translation of 3 of Aristophanes plays: The Wasps, The poet And The Women and The Frogs. The author had produced a long and quite detailed forward explaining the circumstances surrounding the writing of the plays, rules relating to Greek comedies and competitions, costumes, stages, various kinds of actors etc. Some of it was intensely dull and some really very interesting, enabling a 'minds eye' stance when reading.

So far I've just got through a couple of acts of The Wasps. It's a play full of political comment, featuring an elderly father with an addiction for acting as a juror and his son, who is trying to keep him at home. While it's a little odd, it *feels* like an ancient Greek version of 'one foot in the grave', and I can just imagine Victor Meldrew expressing his desire to place his voting marble in the urn while condemning the defendant.

Culture was seldom so... common.

Oh, BTW I am convinced running the bookshop is what Snape really did when he finished filming for Harry Potter (and not being killed by Voldemort). The guy running it looks so much like an older version of Alan Rickman's character.

I've not really blogged about it yet because I'm not sure what to blog.

We went to the Salt & Light bible week for just Sunday and Monday this week. It was great to be there, see so many many friends, get inspired, encouraged, see where our other family are heading.

It took a while to settle into the worship, despite really wanting to participate. At first I found myself doing it, singing along but with nothing stirring inside. Later this seemed to be less of an issue and it began to feel like I meant it instead of just repeating the words. It feels like a long time since I was able to relax in a worship time and just take part, though even then there was a little bit that still wonders what the guitar players are doing etc.

The second evening we were there Phatfish led the worship time, and mostly it seemed pretty good. Everyone was really going for it and after the second or third song the congregation went off singing in the Spirit. CLANG! One keychange and a new song later and we were back following the setlist again, instead of the Spirit. Sure we followed the new direction, but after that some of the heart had gone out of it.

After the 'meeting' part had finished the band came back for a concert. We had to leave that evening to drive the 140 miles back, but wanted to stick around and hear them. At the end of the second song Chris turned to me and said "I'm not really enjoying this". Since this mirrored my thoughts exactly we left for home. I'm not exactly sure why they didn't work for us. Good musicianship, sure, but they were neither a worship band nor a rock band at that stage and the sound was far from great too. I could hear some great rhythms at times, but it was all buried in this wall of too many people playing at the same time.

The good bits WERE good for us though. Very much appreciated Steve Thomas word (between Phatfish gigs) although right NOW I can remember very little: and that's no reflection on what he said. A lot resonated with the previous evening's speaker - Francois van Niekirk from Hatfield church in Pretoria. One of the things particularly was the need to be pruned to be more fruitful: not using energy up in certain directions which may have produced some fruit in order to produce a lot more fruit in a key direction. Chris very much felt we had already been through that pruning process over the last year, and I can certainly testify it's been a time of setting aside some things that were important, as well as feeling cut up and quite desperate at times. It's been a period of having to trust that God is at work, even when people didn't stuff for what appeared to be human reasons. This has not been fun.

And it was good to hear Mark Mumford covering the 2020 strategy on the Sunday morning. I still want to plant a church at some stage, and consider our present experiences part of the training for that. Wish I could get over the desire to whinge about the stuff I didn't like and to retain a Godly perspective on it all.

Essay over.