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  • Proofing...

    ... is a slow process!  Still at it but getting there.  Surprisingly I am quite enjoying reading my stuff and concluding I'm cleverer than I thought!  Have excised around 500 redundant words (in one passage) so far and have identifed one bit of similar length for a possible rewrite... but overall its 'no bad'!

  • Lent Listening

    If you have (or sign up for) access to audiopot you can hear this year's short reflections for Lent produced by GRF based on the C of E Lent material Exploring God's Mercy (also here). 

    A combination of words and music - not too many words and lots of reflective space with the music.  Titles to date are...

    Lost and Finding the Way

    Trapped and Set Free

    Sick in Soul and Healed

    Storm Tossed and Comforted.

    One more still to come...

    C of E study title: Living the Fruitful Life

    More busy Gatherers (and a few other readers) at work, so I guess this is a kind of advert!

    (I did wonder about the inavertent (?) pun in the third title though... soul and healed.... sole and heeled?!)

  • The Poverty Truth Commission

    Some Gatherers are directly involved with this and sent me a press release type thingy.  If you in/around Glasgow you may be interested...

    Poverty Truth Commission (16th April 2011)

    ‘Nothing about Us without Us is for Us’

     You are invited to the Closing Gathering of Scotland’s first Poverty Truth Commission which will take place in Glasgow City Chambers (George Square, Glasgow) on the 16th April from 2 – 4pm (doors open at 1.15pm).  

    For the last two years, Scotland’s first Poverty Truth Commission has brought together two groups of people: people who exercise power and influence in Scottish society and people who live every day with the struggle against poverty.

    On the 16th April, members of the Poverty Truth Commission will share what we have learnt together and what we believe needs to happen now.

    It will be an inspiring and challenging afternoon. We will communicate through drama, film, music and the spoken word. We will share what we have learnt from one another. We will present our challenges to all parts of Scottish society.

    To register, please contact the Commission on info@povertytruthcommission.org or 0141 248 2905. Pre-registration is important as places are limited. You can find out more about the Commission and its members at www.povertytruthcommission.org.

  • Spring Awakening

    There is something almost poetic that my hospital treatment draws to its close in the spring - my final 'nuking day' is mid-May by which time the trees will be green and we will have already enjoyed rhodedenrons and cherry blossom.

    I am now almost eight weeks post surgery and pretty much back to normal energy and strength levels.  My concentration has recovered (phew!) and I spent most of yesterday working on the faffy parts of finalising my MPhil submission (yes, I know, it's dragged on interminably but I have a good excuse!).  I actually enjoyed writing the extra, administrative, pages and proof-reading my paper (well the part I got through) and concluded I was quite clever once upon a time.

    I was intrigued by the 'six week' recovery that was - and usually is - cited for major surgery, thinking it seemed a rather arbitrary figure.  At about two weeks I could not imagine being anywhere near fit at six weeks, but the truth is that I pretty much was... arm movement almost normal, energy levels good, concentration recovered.  All of which makes weeks 7 and 8 - the gap before nuking starts - all the more precious and special.  A bit of gallivanting (or gadding about, whichever expression you prefer); a bit of thinking and editting of an academic paper; a bit of pausing to admire the view.

    There is a sense of spring awakening after winter... I will soon have to start combing my hair (shock horror!) as it grows back steadily... I am walking further and exercising more determinedly... I am longing to get back to work as my mind is filling with ideas...

    I am fortunate, in a perverse way, that my 'journey' has largely paralleled the seasons and by summer I will be free to enjoy the sunshine (albeit with lots of sunscreen and long sleeves ever after).

  • Contrasting Words from Jesus

    This morning as I listened to PAYG the reading was from Matthew 15:

    Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat."
    He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
    For God said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.'  But you say that whoever tells father or mother, 'Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,' then that person need not honor the father.  So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God.  You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.'"
    Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles."

    Matthew 15: 1 - 11 NRSV

    I first found myself pondering these words in the light of Sunday coming being Mothering Sunday/Mother's Day and the fact that for me church has so often supplanted time/energy for family.  But then I recalled other things Jesus said about families, choosing to remain with Matthew as a 'coherent' writing rather than gospel hopping.  Thus we have...

    For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's foes will be members of one's own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;  and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

    Matthew 10: 35 - 38 NRSV

    While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him.  Someone told him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."
    But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"  And pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

    Matthew 12: 46 - 50 NRSV

    And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.

    Matthew 19: 29

    So, whilst the Pharisees are criticised for a tradition that leads to people not supporting their parents becuase they've given their time/energy/money to God (I guess that has an implicit 'allegedly'), Jesus expects himself to be placed higher in priority than parents or siblings.  It certainly seems that Jesus' relationship with his own family was "interesting".  I am fairly sure the words addressed to the Pharisees refer to practices that were about appearance not intent, but, at face value anyway, the commands are pretty similar... give to me the time/energy/money you might otherwise have given to your family.

    Often times ministers and missionaries find themselves torn between the demands of family and of church (or, nominally anyway, of Christ) and I'm not too sure these passages help much.

    Nothing new in what I'm saying here and a lot more thinking could, I'm sure, resolve some of the confusion.  Perhaps as Mothering Sunday nears we could spare a thought for those whose discipleship takes them geographically far from their families - especially missionaries - and for whom this tension always lurks in the shadows.