By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

- Page 7

  • Counting Words

    Having had almost a week off from essay writing my head is a little clearer and last night I managed to reduce my incomplete draft (three sections still to go!) to below the total word limit by pruning out almost a thousand words - that's not all that helpful because I'll undoubtedly write another 3000 plus before I'm done.

    As I prune away, try to sharpen up sentences without them getting too terse and ponder whether this or that paragraph is really essential, I find myself wondering about the whole word limit thing.

    Back in my undergrad days when we had a +/- 10% allowance on word limit, people fell in to two camps.  There were some who, with a 3k limit would say, right that means 2700 and others who would say that means 3300.  No guesses which camp I was in!  Even then it struck me that what could be said in 2700 words was an awful lot less than in 3300.  By the time it got to 6000 word level 3 essays, the difference was huge.  I guess there some people who, without a word limit, would write precious little and others who would never stop writing, and it's probably as difficult whichever one you are.  My mother tells the tale of an English exam which had the question 'would you rather be Titania or Puck?' to which one candidate simply wrote 'neither' and passed.  How times have changed.

    I do understand why we need word limits, even if I dislike them passionately (had you noticed?!) and I know that with my tendency verbosity and non-essential detail they are a good thing, but I do wonder about the fact that I often spend as much time pruning as writing - especially when it gets to the point where I am only about 10 words over!  With no leeway on this piece (though I don't think I have to declare the word count) I predict a week of nightmarish editting prior to submission.

    I wonder what the Bible might have been like with a word limit on each book?!

  • COMPASS - Speaking About Faith

    Ah yes, SAF, the good old LKH acronym for 'speaking about faith' which was 'apologetics' in lay-speak.

    Tonight, in the absence of any other speaker being booked, it is me who becomes the tame face of Church for COMPASS and my theme is 'faith and the workplace.'  Not mega thrilling but the only non-Church thing I can offer since I don't play in a band, paint pictures, play football for England or anything else 'sexy.'

    So, I think I have three strands to work with...

    • Faith and choosing where to work
    • Faith and behaving at work
    • Faith and learning from the world of work

    The first two are kind of ethical things, I guess. 

    In the first one I want to open up the reality of complexity of selecting an employer/field in which to work.  Is there such a thing as 'truly ethical employment?' (no! not in my view).  How does a person of faith make a choice?  Can people of faith come to different conclusions? (yes!)

    In the second I want to pick up the fact that you are paid to work - teach/clean/program/dispense/build/whatever not proselytise; you should be the best teacher/cleaner/etc you can be.  I want to stress that actions speak louder than words and that attitudes matter - the values we adopt at work should not differ from those we have in church (you'd be amazed how many of my deacons tell me they behave with different values at work.  Or perhaps you wouldn't, maybe I'm naive).  By stories of former colleagues, I want to suggest we should avoid legalism (the one I knew  who timed his staff's lunch breaks to the minute!) and laziness (the one who was saved so what he did now didn't matter!). Instead by being human, hardworking (but not workaholics) and humourous (a Roman Catholic colleague I really admired for this) we can be good witnesses.

    Lastly I want to stress that we can bring into church things from the work place - good practices, new skills and ideas, openness to change and so on.  The sacred/secular divide is not helpful we should see the whole of life a just that, a whole.

    In 20 mintues this will be a tall order but I'll give it a try.  Then I'll let you know how it goes...

  • Farewell to Dennis

    Just occasionally you read a sloppy poem in an obit notice and feel it's right.  I saw one for Dennis, one of our lunch club members, whose funeral is today at the same time as we sit down to eat.  It spoke of a special smile, and it was right.  Dennis was always smiling.  He was an uncomplicated chap who told me my explanation of Easter last year was the first time he'd ever understood it.  He had a lot of pain and failing health but he was always gracious and smiling.  I will miss saving him a seat at the front of the coach today; we will all miss his smile.  At least now he is pain free, and I pray, at peace.

  • "Favourite Hymns" Service

    Sunday 17th June is one of my 'let the peeple choose the hymns' Sundays.  Secretly, I relish the challenge of making a coherent act of worship from the things people pick.  This time it's a bit diffenret - D+1 and D are together; intriguingly, and perhaps because it's only a couple of month's since D last had the opportunity for this, most of the choices are from D+1.  As expected (and I'm almost ready to say, 'come back These are The Days, most is forgiven' but only almost) Dibley's own 'glowing spirits' hymn has been picked.  Ah well.

    So, what hymns await us...

    • Tis sweet, O Lord, to sing Thy praise til all our spirits glow 
    • My God, I thank Thee, who hast made the earth so bright
    • Dear Lord and Father of us all ('mankind' in original)
    • How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord
    • Blessed Assurance
    • I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus
    • Let me have my way among you, do not strive
    • Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah

    I've had to pick a couple of other things to begin and end the service (as Guide Me, which is a great 'ender' is being used for Communion) and fitting in a 'thought for the day' will be 'interesting' but overall, even if not all would necessarily be my choice, the hymns are, 'melting hearts' excepted, pretty good.  What's mildly amusing, and probably a bit of a shame (with the obvious exception: have you worked out I can't stand this song yet?!) is that a good proportion of English Baptists aged under 40 won't know any of them! 

  • Back-Handed Compliments!

    Just spoke to someone from church and asked how yesterday's service went.

    "It was just an old fashioned service.  Some of your services are a bit strange, but having an old fashioned service seemed rather boring."

    I think that's a compliment! 

    I'm also mildy bemused because liturgically (in its proper meaning) you don't get much more traditional than my services.  Ah well, strange it is then.

    It's a funny thing you can't get used to, as my mother would say.