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  • Places God meets us...

    This is a definition of a sacrament I heard today and (fanfares from my sacramentalist heretic friends) it is one I can buy - though not necessarily as my very long suffering friend, who shared it understands, it because she would link it to a promise that God meets us, and I haven't got that bit (yet...?).

    Today God met me in Mrs Bridges Tea Rooms * in Leicester where I enjoyed a wonderful smoked salmon, avacado and various other bits baguette washed down with cranberry presse.  So that would make that a sacramental experience (which my friend would own, in theory anyway (it may not have been so for her)) if not a sacrament per se.

    I'd still argue that the two rites Baptists celebrate are ordinances even if they are also in some sense sacramental (ha, I'm not giving in THAT easily!!).  I think the dicipleship. obedience, aspect is too important to dismiss, as is the case in some sacramental theologies.  (Not suggesting you do friend of mine)

    I guess the truth is that its a bit of both and a whole lot of neither - otherwise we have it too neatly stitched up and cease to allow God to be God.

    Anyway, thank you kind and generous friend for food for my body and food for my mind and for giving me a space where God, in you, met me.


      *  Caution though, Mrs Bridges is a wonderful place but you need real old fangled cash as they don't accept cards!! 

  • Leap Year Madness?

    I do wonder what the world is coming to sometimes!  In the last week I've heard two accounts of leap year madness...

    • an assertion that the extra day means people have to work another day and so should be paid overtime for it
    • an assertion that this is a 'free' day and so people don't need to go to work

    In all my 45 years I've never heard any such nonsense before (although I do seem to recall hearing that in Germany when they began daylight savings hotels adjusted bills to reflect the extra/lesser hour).  Is this just greed gone mad?  I always thought the only concession of Leap Year's Day was that women could propose to men - though in our culture maybe that's now just an ancient memory.

    Maybe the March madness will be a little more sane?!

    Right, no more distraction, must get some admin done before lunch time prayers...

  • Top Ten Bible Stories?

    Scripture Union have just published a set of books which tell "the 10 most iconic stories from the Bible'" - the 'Must Know Stories.'   What intrigues me is how they decided which 10 to include - and why.  Some would be in my top 10, others probably wouldn't.  I am intrigued, and more than a tad disappointed, that the cover picture on three of the four features apples and snakes - could we not have had something that expresses God's love and creativity rather than human sin and finitiude (the fourth book, the second aimed at 5-8's has Noah's ark on the cover).

    So here's their top ten - what would you change?

    1. The birth of Jesus
    2. Jesus' death & resurrection
    3. Adam & Eve/creation
    4. The good Samaritan
    5. The 10 Commandments
    6. The prodigal son
    7. Noah's ark
    8. David & Goliath
    9. Daniel in the lion's den
    10. Feeding the 5000

    I hope they don't appear in this order - the Bible is confusing enough anyway but if we begin with Jesus (a good place, I'd agree) and then move all over the place in time then we might be causing as much confusion as we overcome.

    I'm not seeting out to knock the books - I'm sure they are a great resource for people who know how to use them, just not sure these are my top 10 stories or the order I'd tell them.

  • Endless Email Hoaxes

    Another one hit my inbox this morning.  Because of careless forwarding, I now have the email addresses of around 200 people I've never heard of and mine has been sent to a similar number.

    This one, perporting to be a missing child, has been around several months, some have been going around for years.  Such emails are malicious and prey on people of good will who innocently pass them on.  At the same time poeple may be mssing real pleas for help becuase they have grown cynical.

    So, I bcc-ed a reply to the fifty or so people in the tranche of which I was a part asking them to check www.hoax-slayer.com or something similar before they pass emails on, suggesting that they use 'bcc' rather than 'to' and that they strip out addresses before forwarding messages.  Hopefully these people will now think for 2 minutes before they pass on messages rather than wasting 2 minutes forwarding hoaxes...

    Of course, by the time I'd checked and replied, the sender had sent me more spam mail...!  Grrr.

  • A Psalm of Anguish

    Way back when (almost five years ago) after what seemed yet another kick in the teeth during the ministerial settlement process a friend of mine said "make like the Psalmists and shout at God."  So, today when I am feeling the weight of all that is happening in this little corner of the world, here is my Psalm of Anguish, posted not (I hope) from vanity or self pity but because (a) it helps me (catharsis) and (b) I suspect there are others who feel much the same sometimes...


    A Psalm of Anguish


    I don’t know what to do, O God,

    I don’t know what to do!

    In the night I wake with anxious thoughts

    By day I drown under issues and events

    How much more, O God?

    How much more?


    This little church, these folk you love

    (You do love them, don’t you?)

    So battered, so bemused,

    So exhausted, deflated, berated…

    Hold them in your arms

    Shelter them beneath your wings.


    How is it of you, O Lord,

    To allow such pain, such anger?

    How many feet will beat a path to my door

    To weep, to shout, to seek answers?

    “What kind of a God would do this?”

    “Is there even a God?”


    Each broken one for whom Christ died

    Each wounded soul longing for embrace

    And my only answer “I don’t know,

    Yet still I believe, I trust”

    Is that enough, O Lord?

    Is that enough?


    Choose this day blessing or curse –

    To bless and live

    To curse and die

    To walk, be it with bandaged feet,

    To tomorrow

    Or to be bound with bitterness

    In the now


    Lord, I cannot understand,

    It is all too much for me to comprehend.

    Yet I will choose blessing:

    Your servant will refuse discouragement and defeat.

    I will follow you, wherever you lead –

    Even a valley dark as death,

    Even waters that flood over my head,

    Even to a precipice where I stand and tremble.


    God is my refuge and strength

    An ever present help within the struggle,

    Therefore I will defy fear

    Though the ground give way under my feet.


    The steadfast love of God never ceases,

    God's mercies never end

    They are renewed every morning

    So great is God’s faithfulness.


    I am no wiser, O Lord,

    As to why,

    But I choose to trust:

    Choose to believe

    Choose to hope

    Choose to live.