Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New Link: Stanley Hauerwas Blog

I have stumbled on Stanley Hauerwas's blog, worth looking at.:



When you are studying and life is so full of demands it is easy to lose perspective and to centre your life around yourself.  I am guilty of this on numerous occasions my little brain reaches its critical mass of information, which isn't quite as large a mass as I think it is, and lack of sleep which seems impossible to catch up on, I then feel that I cannot cope with any meaningful social interaction (though I am normally an ENFP see Myers Briggs). This means I project this to all around me a little black cloud following me around:

Yet though I may have to juggle all those bills on a lower income than I have had previously I am not living on the streets. Though I am tired I am not exhausted from trying to till unproductive land so my family have enough to survive. I am not faced with overwhelming circumstances but choices and the need to be inwardly renewed each day (2 Cor 4.8).

Nearer to home I have had heartbreaking news where I want to scream at God for what has happened to friends I care about yet feel hopelessly equipped to say anything?

This isn't a guilt trip, it is a reminder to me that I continually need to be renewed and refreshed each day and continually centred on Jesus Christ, as an Anglican ordinand the daily office is so important and each time it involves confession yet I can say the words and not really understand the consequences. So I turn again to the Jesus Prayer:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

And the miracle is he does!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Social Networking the Solution to bad memory?

I had to laugh a little at myself this week, when I realised that those I interact with on social media are less likely for me to have one of my blank moments (I have dyspraxia which sometimes means I cannot connect names and faces including really close friends) the name usually pops into my head at some point after the person has gone, so trying to learn the names of everyone in the congregation at my placement church has been interesting, but those who are on facebook I have had less trouble recalling first time.

Another example is my prayer triplet, I see them everyday at college, I can recall what they have asked me to pray for in a week, yet at times I struggle to remember the names of  their children. I had my support assessment this week and it was recommended that I steer clear from a paper diary (1. I can't read it.  2. I lose it. 3. I don't always have it with me & 4. It is not big enough to hold all the info I need) So having lost my phone I was given a blackberry (thanks Lesley)  and have spent the last 3 days sorting out the calender and contacts so they sync with each other.

It might actually work for me...we shall see... maybe I could take photos of people when I first meet them and label them? Not sure if social etiquette will allow for that! Still I got a CD from the book sale at college entitled: A great memory which only needs a few minutes a day, by the end of it I should have a great memory. Now where did I put it?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Stanley Hauerwas

Just listened to Stanley Hauerwas on BBC radio 3. (a recording form good Friday). It was a great interview, so I have added the link to the Third Way website and the interview they had with him.

Once I have had a second listen I will add some highlights to another post, I have got a couple of books to read too so I think this may be a fruitful post (ps he is a Bonhoeffer fan so extra brownie points).


Worth checking out...

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Metro 2033

When I was at school I used to read a lot of sci-fi, Arthur C. Clarke, Issac Asimov etc. but I haven't really read much in the last 10 years. So when I read the review for the Xbox 360 game metro 2033 I decided that I would have a read of the book which inspired it (I didn't get round to playing the game, maybe something to do with children).

The premise of the book is nothing new, a nuclear apocalypse. Something pretty popular in games like Stalker and in plenty of recent films like the road or the book of Eli. What makes this so much more interesting though is how the suspense slowly builds as more is revealed of the horror which is lurking.

I was fascinated by the perspective that a Russian writer would have on a post apocalyptic world. It is a neat concept to take the Moscow underground and some of the overground as the setting for the story (he knows it well he lives in Moscow), Taking something familiar and then letting it morph as the story progresses.

There are two stand out parts to this book, the first is the commentary on the way people react to high stress and the disintegration of society, people huddle together and people who once were neighbors now form various factions, some are peaceful some aggressive but all are fighting for survival...

The second standout point is to do with the place of humanity, human conduct doesn't really seem to be the peak of the evolutionary chain, in fact his book asks questions of our conduct when resources are much scarce than they are now, maybe not quite so apocalyptic in that sense.

The pace of the book is like a good film and has some great moments of suspense and a great twist.

Have a read

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New links

I have added two more links:

Nomad (A Nottingham based podcast) Which asks questions of community mission and the future of the church). I have been listening to it for a long time and wanted to add it:


And the blog of Kevin Potter a guy who works with Oasis in LA:


Monday, 20 June 2011

Children & Theology 3- Just a thought

“When a child receives the Lord they do not get a junior size holy spirit a Jesus action figure, they are fully blessed by the Spirit of God and marry that to a child like faith and they can be a potent agent for the kingdom”(Neil Cole, Nomad podcast 24).

Sunday, 12 June 2011

New links

I have added the link to the Bonhoeffer Issue of Christianity Today (Issue 32). I have had it in my book marks on firefox but I am trying to migrate useful links to the bottom of the blog.

I have also added Baptism Integrity- a website with an Anglican perspective on baptism with some good articles about all aspects of baptism.

Have a look through them...

Esther- The Book of Comedy


Wish I had seen this when I wrote my sermon! It reminds me of Haman and the king, assumption is bad for you (in Haman's case more disastrous than Dilbert's).

As it hasn't been handed in yet I don't think I can post the sermon outline but once it has been assessed I will.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Drops Like Stars & Nooma Rain.

As sleep is hard to come by tonight[I pulled the post as it made no sense this is the edited and slightly more sensical version], I might as well do this review that I have been meaning to do since Lent...

...while I was on my chaplaincy placement I read a few books on suffering one of them was the grove booklet below:

which was a good introduction as well as Trystan's book which I have already reviewed which I think is great (see finding hope and meaning in suffering).

Then I turned to Rob Bell (I still intend to read some CS Lewis but this is when I can find time between assignments, placements and Dissertation research)
Rob Bell's book is a great discussion starter (I bet you never thought I'd say that). If you grew up in a christian home like me then you probably will have read plenty of apologetic(trying to make sense of faith) material, explaining that suffering is either a result of the fallen nature of the world, or disobedience and human selfishness, Jesus said that while we were in the world we would suffer, and that in the end it will be different... but when you are in the midst of suffering don't you just want to know that someone cares?

Bell doesn't try and justify why suffering occurs, or give pat answers to someone who is suffering instead he asks the question "What now?"

***I don't think this is a spoiler alert for CSI series 11 but just in case*********

In the current series of CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) two individuals with the same gene have taken two separate paths one a mass murderer the other a CSI. Two people with the same gene take two totally different paths and so too with suffering two people can both suffer but one finds creativity the other a pit of despair (probably an oversimplification).

For Bell suffering doesn't fit into our neat packaged boxes, but this presents an opportunity creativity can come out of suffering (reminds me a little of honey from the lion). I desperately want to take sometime to blog the keynote from the Bonhoeffer conference on disability..

he affirms that God is not some voyeur looking down on our suffering, additionally that we may never understand here on earth why it has happened...that some things are just left hanging (the story of the prodigal) but he suggests that it is the moments when we are suffering which can be creative.

Couple this with the Nooma resource Rain and they are an alternate look at suffering, not as something which is the instrument of a wrathful and vengeful God, instead suffering is part of living in this broken and fallen world...
by watching the nooma video rain you get some further understanding that God is a loving father who doesn't want us to suffer that he is right there with us in the midst of suffering.

The book is short, you can read it in half an hour, some of the illustrations work really well, others are lost in translation (I am English after all). I would recommend this book to explore and ask questions, use it as a discussion starter in church... I know it is more risky starting with questions but that is where most people are, as a Christian I believe we have something vital to share with others that God is not some far and distant God, irrelevant and fictitious, but is present right here right now:

Saviour of the world-

Jesus, Saviour of the world,
come to us in your mercy: •
we look to you to save and help us.

By your cross and your life laid down,
you set your people free: •
we look to you to save and help us.

When they were ready to perish, you saved your disciples: •
we look to you to come to our help.

In the greatness of your mercy, loose us from our chains, •
forgive the sins of all your people.

Make yourself known as our Saviour and mighty deliverer; •
save and help us that we may praise you.

Come now and dwell with us, Lord Christ Jesus: •
hear our prayer and be with us always.

And when you come in your glory: •
make us to be one with you
and to share the life of your kingdom.

(Canticle from: Common Worship, p.801)

May God richly bless you in whatever circumstances you find yourself today...


Saturday, 4 June 2011


Fatigue has finally kicked in, I feel wiped out my brain has stopped working so I thought I would take my mind off Baptism and Exegesis/preaching on Esther by reflecting on a film!

Yesterday night I watched Surrogates, it's a Bruce Willis film so you know what to expect, but I really liked the concept. People living through their surrogates, no need to be real with anybody, fed up of being a bald middle aged man (I am neither bald or middle aged) then be a woman. Anything you want...shiny happy people!

************Spoiler alert*************

The plot starts with the invention of surrogates and then the eventual spread to 99% of the population using them, I guess that most people don't want to be real. It takes the idea of masquerade and takes it to the whole new level. Never knowing who you really are dealing with...people can live a real life but who wants to, you are not the image that everyone is telling you, that you should be.

Some people lived through a surrogate as they were too fearful to go outside, others because they want to live a totally different existence...how far from reality is that?

I won't spoil the rest of the film but it asks in a hackneyed kind of way why do we need to live real life?

It reminds me of a friends blog post about clothes that we are obsessed with the outside but it also reminds me about Jesus' words:

Matt 15.17-20 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.

True life is not about living a projection of yourself but living life and life in its fullness (John 10.10). With my spiritual director I have been asking the question how real am I with people? The answer is that at times I say what I think people want to hear, and if I have been misunderstood rather than being awkward I let it go...maybe that is the Englishman in me! Yet I cannot shake this sense that if I can actually be myself in Christ then it would take a lot of the pressure off me. Not having to perform to everyone's expectations.

I am convinced it is the best way to live, a freedom to live life that has been hard one by Jesus Christ...

Dying you destroyed our death,
rising you restored our life.

Jesus, come in glory,
Jesus, come in glory,
Lord Jesus, come in glory.

Feel free to let me know what you think...