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- Page 4

  • I AM and Immanence?

    I'm not very good at this 'take a break' stuff am I?  Essay still only 2/3 done and on hold for a day or two.  Midway through writing a 'talk' for this Sunday's outreach service I had a thought I wanted to record.

    The hymns chosen consist of several creation-points-to-creator and a fair few cross-centric offerings.  The readings I'm using are Isaiah 49:16 (engraved on God's hands) as call to worship, parts of Pslam 19 (the heavens declare the glory of God etc) and John 10 (good shepherd).  The main thread of the 'talk' is along the lines that creation is amazing and can point us to God but can also make us feel very insignificant with God far away, but this is only part of the story.  The good shepherd gives a picture of God (or Jesus) who is close at hand, knows us intimately and is active in the very messiness of life - an immanent balance to the transcendent.

    And this made my poor old grey cells go 'ping' and wonder whether the I AM sayings of Jesus are about immanence, a kind of earthing and earthyness of God?  If this is right, then undoubtedly some clever scholar has done it before.  And if it's heresy, well it's my heresy and I'll own it!  The shepherd is a very earthy, practical image; bread is very basic and tangible, as is water.  Granted images such as 'truth' are less tangible, but I quite like this kind of both-and of God (or Jesus as I AM) being utterly commonplace and earthy and mysterious and divine.  A God who is beyond my comprehension and yet at the same time as ordinary as the staples of life strikes me as worth contemplating.  I'm probably not expressing this too well, but it certainly made me go 'wow.'

  • Scale and Polish

    Careful how you pronounce that, now!

    I am sure you have all been deeply concerned for the plight for my fractured molar and have been praying hard for its restoration.  Well, a girl can dream!  Anyway, the answer to this particular maiden's prayer came in the form of a two-handed NHS practice hidden away in a back street staffed by two Polish dentists, and who not only had vacancies but could give me an immediate appointment.

    So, it is quieter in Dibley as the novocaine is still effective, and I now have a repaired 'fang' ready to bite again in 3 hours when the new filling has set.  I was very impressed with this little dental practice... and relieved to have said tooth repaired rather than removed.

  • And we wonder why people aren't interested in church...

    "If Father Quinn did carry out a blessing or some form of religious event, then it was wrong and it has absolutely no validity in the eyes of the Catholic Church and in the eyes of the Lord."  So says Father Ostigoni according to the Daily Record, when referring to the Rooney wedding at a deconsecrated monastery.   I can live with his views with respect to the catholic church or even civil law, afterall under UK law a marriage to be legally recognised has (at the moment) to take place in appropriately licenced premises and be conducted by, or in the presence of, a suitably authorised person.  But, having said that, I recall my horror when the RC priest I worked with recorded martial status of the parents of a baby he was about to baptise as 'unmarried' because they had been married in a registry office.  Maybe it's back to the 'irregular but not invalid' argument?

    What really grates is the claim that God doesn't recognise the marriage.  Without wishing to start up the whole debate of what God does recognise as a marriage, never mind go near the area the Anglicans are embroiled with, I just wish we could all learn to be a little less keen to tell people what God won't like or acknowledge, then just maybe they might feel a little more inclined to give church a chance.  I know it's not easy, and the church should stand up for what it believes to be right, I just can't help feeling a little more humility might be helpful.  Somehow I can't imagine Jesus at Cana checking that the minutiae of local legal niceties had been followed before sending the servants off to fill those enormous water jars...

  • One for the scientists among you...

    Last night I was phoned to help out my 12 year old niece with her science homework, which was an A-Z of terms associated with fuels and energy (allegedly, some of the questions clearly weren't!).  To my shame, I failed on one question which was 'thermal d...'

    As it was read out over the phone, and as I don't know what the topic actually was, and as I don't recall the Year 7 'lie' I can't be sure what the intent was.  But does anyone have a four-letter (polite!) d-word for thermal in their vocabulary?

    I was just quite pleased that I could instantly answer the question 'solvent for chewing gum' beginning with 'x' as xylene - but only because that's the only solvent I could think of beginning with that letter!  And I had to smile that my sister had not sussed that a word beginning with 'y' for a cold, sooty bunsen flame was yellow!  All good fun.

  • Attitudes...

    I am now a third of the way through reworking my essay - not fast progress, but progress, and I have a clearer idea of how to do the next third.  So I am allowed one post as a reward!!!

    Yesterday I bumped into a couple of my folk in the building society in town where we paying money into our respective accounts.  These are good, honest people in fairly lowly paid jobs (he a postie, she a library assistant) who are working lots of overtime to pay off the costs of their daughter's modest wedding last autumn.  Seeing them quietly get on with life, and give to church and to charities, I found it very hard to sympathise with people striking for four days because they want a 13% pay rise.  Not that the people concerned don't work hard, or work long hours or even accept some level of risk to life and limb (so, actually do posties!  Beware postie-eating squirrels), it's just hard to understand how £36k - around 50% above the national average - is not enough to live on.

    In a few minutes I will be walking round to deliver an 18th birthday card for the daughter of one of our church folk, so that it arrives before they all go out for the day to celebrate.  This is a family that has recently taken delivery of a brand new car for the first time ever, and only because one member is now entitled to a mobility allowance because of illness.  It took them many hours of soul-searching to accept this facility, rather simply buying another secondhand vehicle, because they know that, compared to many people, they are quite well off.

    Tomorrow I face the task of trying to find a dentist - any dentist - who can repair or remove a tooth that broke on Friday morning.  Thankfully it is not painful but the rough edges are shredding my tongue!  Despite various attempts over the last four years I have failed to find an NHS dentist with any vacancies, and it seems the God who can turn fillings to gold for charismatics doesn't repair the teeth of HMF funded ministers!  Recently I met someone who is an NHS salaried dentist 'and proud of it', perhaps it is no surpise he is also a committed Christian.  Unfortunately he is over 100 miles away, so I can't call upon his services!!

    All of this makes me think about the difference being a disicple of Jesus makes to attitudes, and how sometimes, when all is just pootling along, I fail to notice the quiet transformation of those among whom I minister.


    PS I don't think God should fix my tooth, it would just be so convenient if God did!