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  • Silence in Blogland for about Half a Month

    (If you're going to plagiarise, you might as well plagiarise the world's all time best seller!).

    There will, indeed, be silence in this corner of Blogland for about half a month - next week I have to fit five days' work into three (so nothing new there) in order to be able to go to Manchester for three days to be introduced to the Doctorate of Practical Theology that will occupy my spare time and eat my remaining savings for the next six years.  I am very much looking forward to this, it has an element of 'pioneering' about it and it will be good to have some more formal exercise for my brain.  Then, after a detour to Sheffield for an ordination service and a service back in Dibley on the theme of 'Living Stones' it's back to the North West to begin my little stroll from Liverpool to Hull.  Sponsorship to date is around £600 and still a few more offers trickling in.  I am looking forward to the walk, to two weeks away from Dibley doing something utterly different - and to dipping my toes in the North Sea at the end of it!

    So, one way and another there will be no blogging for a bit.  I may revert to real journalling of some sort whilst walking - though paper adds mass to my pack - and there will undoubtedly be plenty to reflect on when I get back.

    I often wonder what silence in heaven for around 30 minutes would be like - no endless Alleluia's by the heavenly creatures, all those walled gardens for different denominations devoid of hand-raising, incense, organ music, Wesley, Kendrick, or whatever their thing is, lest the others might hear and realise they are not, afterall, alone...  would there be a sense of foreboding as perhaps Revelation implies?  Alas studying Revelation at undergraduate level served only to confirm one thing: it is a confusing book that I do not understand any more than I did beforehand (though I understand my confusion a little better!). 

    By contrast this half a month of silence is something I am looking forward to, whatever may follow on afterwards.

  • Summer Reading

    medium_bees_book.jpgI have just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, as illustrated.

    According to Amazon it's women's fiction, so maybe not of great appeal to many people who pass by this place - since statistically it seems that blokes blog and girls journal (and I like corny alliteration, even if it's only almost).

    Anyway, it was quite refreshingly different from a lot of stuff I read and without too tidy an ending.  For those who are interested in finding novels that show hints of spirituality or theology, one of the central icons of the whole story is a black madonna around which/whom a small group of southern American black women have developed their own cult (used in its theological not pejorative meaning).  The central character is a white teenage runaway seeking to understand and resolve issues in her past.  The bees and honeymaking form the backdrop to the story which is quite simple and at times gently profound.  Being around 350 pages and with an undemanding style, it's about the right for holiday reading - enjoy!

  • Quotable Quotes

    The old grey matter has been churning around and spitting out quotes, some of which I have forgotten the true origins of but which, in their own way, have influenced my thinking

    1981, Jim Stewart, Nuclear Engineering student (year above me) & member of college C.U. 'which heresy do you follow?'

    2004, speaker with forgotten name, Christian Praise, Leicester 'suddenly I realised that God might not like my theology'

    2003, in a Stanley Hauerwaus book and possibly quoting someone else 'if nothing's worth dying for, in the end you die for nothing.'

    Many of the C.U. members considered I was too liberal to be admitted to membership, but Jim seemed to be onto something important.  Whilst my theology is honestly held and open to review, there are parts where it would actually be nice to think that God disagreed!  I have many strong opinions, but would I die for them...?  It all lends a helpful perspective to the things we get het up about and squabble over.