Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Doesn't time start passing rapidly as you age?

Nearly 2 weeks have gone since my last blog post - so what's happening?

Well, as of the weekend, I have a cold - drippy nose, aches and pains, not sleeping well. Same as it ever was.

I'm still getting stirred about needing to show grace to people, making a positive difference to them.

Still getting stirred about the need for the church to be reaching out, but not evangelising (shudder at that word).

Becoming aware that with increased affluence comes increased responsibility: I have a decent income for the first time in more than 6 years, and it's odd to be able to just buy things if they would be useful once again. But 'buying stuff' needs to not happen because we have a house full of stuff, & we all know what happens when you tear down barns to build bigger (just mis-speled that bugger!) ones. ;)

We're replacing the old Peugeot 307 shortly, and I'm quite looking forward to something different arriving.

Ben managed to drown his phone while wake-boarding in Turkey, so I've picked him up an 8 month old Nokia 1020 32Gb with camera grip-case. It's ideal because he wanted a decent camera in his phone, and this is near the pinnacle of phone cam development with a 41MP sensor that uses those extra pixels to reduce noise. I think it will do well for him, but what surprised me was how nice it was to use, really quick, fluid and responsive, and with a great screen too. And surfing was really slick, unlike the laggy, awkward experience that Android provides normally. I could become a winpho convert.

Looking forward to Transform 2015 next week, though I have some misgivings, not least of which is that OCC and Salt & Light generally have become another 'nice' evangelical movement with a history of some amazing men of God who planted the thing originally. I hope I'm wrong, because this country doesn't need another mediocre evangelical church stream right now. And I guess a major fear is that I'm adding to that mediocrity as I'm getting older - it's almost impossible to believe the many of the traditions were once radically on fire for God.

That will do.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Character is a funny thing

What to say after that??!

Very much aware that my own isn't wonderful, and glad now that I don't have responsibility for leading a church after all. 2 Peter 1 had some interesting things to say about character, and also makes me think that God was aware and warning the early church of the dark ages that were to come, when instead of being persecuted they were empowered and given authority.

A persecuted church seems to thrive and produce men & women of faith. An empowered church with political authority and legal clout seems to produce rules, fear, bitterness and anger and all the other things we get warned about.

I was also saddened recently to hear that some previous friends marriage has come apart. I don't know any real details, but it's never good when that happens, even when separation seems the least bad option.

Yup, character is a funny thing.

Monday, 6 July 2015

The revolving door of the blogosphere.

There's been a minor tweak to the blogrolls, with Futureshapeofchurch being let go due to inactivity and Jazz's blog added to blogs I occasionally read.

Facebook has now superceded blogging as the means of personal communication for most ordinary people.

A little more (or a little less) grace.

So I'm still wading gradually through Philip Yancey's Vanishing Grace. For books that are not gripping, without a professional pressure to read and that I yet feel the need to be educated by, my approach is to read a couple of sections at a time occasionally during dinner.

You're still reading it? Really?

Yup. I'm hesitant to describe this as a book that's life-changing, because that carries entirely the wrong connotations - and as you can tell, it's easy to put down - yet this is also partially true. I'm aware that my approach to those I disagree with is not always gracious, and the book has certainly been causing me to consider ways in which I might be different, just as John Bevere's book on offence made me reconsider how I prayed for those who appeared to want to hurt me.

So there's a learning going on.

I'm also acutely aware that as Christians we need to be reaching out, being Jesus in the places we are, and in those circumstances relying on the Thumper principle isn't enough to look like Christ. How would Jesus encourage people, affirm them, build them up? How would he speak life to someone who was revelling in their sin?

I'm not there yet.

It's been a while.

And I don't feel tremendously inclined to blog much, though I will a little.

We're hunting for a replacement for the Peugeot 307, which now *feels* old and tired, even though it's done less that 120K miles. Bits have been trying to fall off for years, and although it's still amazingly economical, it requires about 2X the residual value spending to make it good. Requirements: personal, that it's more enjoyable todrive than the Pug - practical, that my mother's mobility scooter will easily fit in the boot and it has 5 seats in the back.

Faves, between 2 and 5 years old, are:
Ford Focus estate
BMW 3 series estate
Kia Cee'd estate
Skoda Octavia
Mini Countryman
Fiat 500L (like we had in Canada)

I drove an Octavia Scout with 4WD last week. Handling was brilliant, ride much firmer than the pug, but the cockpit felt claustrophobic, and my head was almost on the ceiling. That's not the end for the Octavia, but I also need to try something else. Will try to arrange a test drive of a Focus shortly: they have a really good reputation for refinement, but there's something about Fords that makes me want to run away (had a Fiesta for a week a couple of years back - not great).

The Beemer makes me nervous, because of the investment and cost of repairs, and they don't have a pristine reputation for reliability either. And there's the snob value, which is both attractive and repellent. The Kia balances that, in that it's almost an anti-snob car, but I keep hearing hints that the performance doesn't measure up to the marketing, and that the 7 year warranty is needed.

Which brings me to the Countryman and 500L.

Both very similar cars in some ways, looking like MPVs that someone shrunk in the wash. The 500L we had a good time with, driving for many hours across Canada, so we know it's comfy and handles OK (not exactly WOW inspiring though) but I'm concerned about a lack of power for a car that's not small. The Countryman OTOH could be everything that the Fiat isn't, with a great rep for handling, decent, enthusiastic engines and even available in 4WD (great for snow round here). The questionmark I have is over size, because the width appears *just* enough to fit the scooter in, and the rear seats come as either 2 or 3 seats.

Cars that have fallen by the wayside are the Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon (heart says YES, but the boot is small with a VERY high lip) and BMW 1 series (ditto). I've also seen a few affordable 2 seater convertibles, but we need something sensible to balance the beetle.