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- Page 4

  • A House called Peace

    Yesterday I went to visit the Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial centre in Nottinghamshire.  Finding it is not trivial - there are exactly two brown signs for it, right at the entrance.  Maybe it is appropriate that, located in the sticks, you have to know where it is to find it... the friend I went with had been three times before and we still got lost!

    The place is very quiet, and has beautiful gardens with rose bushes planted in memory of survivors and victims of the Sho'ah, along with a massive pebble cairn to remember the child victims of this, and other, genocides - Rwanda, Kosova, Cambodia...

    Having visited many other exhibitions on this theme, and having researched it as part of my undergraduate work on political theology and Biblical studies (as one does!) there was no shock value.  Indeed, to be fair, the exhibition does work in that way, most of it is understated - a single recovered shoe is more poignant than enormous cases of them in other exhibitions.

    The Journey is a wonderful interactive exhibition on Kindertransport, complete with the 'aroma' of chicken soup in the fanily dining room.  A fascinating means of engaging with history using fictive characters alongside genuine artefacts and oral history.  It was interesting to compare the experiences of the kindertransport children to those of (at least some) English wartime refugees (this isn't done in the exhibition, rather in my mind).

    An important resource for Jews and Minims (honourable/righteous or otherwise) alike.  Well worth a visit if you're in the area

  • The Power of the Editor...

    Today my copy of the book to which I contributed arrived, and I looked up my bit... which had been completely re-written!  A salutary lesson methinks.  The title and list of further reading matched, and most of what it said I agreed with... but it had changed dramatically since it left my computer a year ago, if you put the two side by side you'll see what I mean.  Overall I am still chuffed the entry is in, and think it's positive to have the entry attributed to me...

    So, you can check out the authorised version in the book, or read the Q-equivalent here!

    For the record, in case anyone wonders, whilst 'applied theology' is a form of 'practical theology' the two are not, in my view, entirely synonymous.

  • Among the Great and the Good!

    I just discovered, via Andy Goodliff's Baptist history and thought website, that my entry on Practical Theology has been included in the new Dictionary of European Baptist Life and Thought ed. John Briggs, published by Paternoster (Authentic) price £24.99.  Finding my humble name among those of the great and good was a powerful ego-boost!  At this rate I'll soon have to join those with little lists of publications on the side of their blogs... or not!  Somehow listing my contributions to the world of reliability of safety critical hardware and software or maintenance optimisation schemes for power stations alongside those on the ordination of woman, small church life and practical theology just sounds too nutty for words! Fun, but nutty.

    Suffice to say I have now ordered a copy of the book to grace my shelves and make me feel important!!!

  • Trussing Up

    My early morning alarm call today came courtesy of a large crane manoeuvring itself onto the site next door.  It has arrived to lift the roof trusses onto the first of the new houses, a process that is fascinating to watch (well I  think it is!).  Once the first one was in place - a process that took quite a bit of time to achieve - it seems to be more-or-less plain sailing with successive trusses being lifted and located in a couple of minutes.

    This little pair of semis will have, by the looks of things, around 20 roof trusses spanning them, compared with the 5 that served the enormous barn that was the chapel.  Victorians are usually credited with over-engineering - think of the bridges they built that have few problems with contemporary traffic, compared with those built in the 50's and 60's - but not it seems on church roof structures.

    As I have watched the process, I found myself wondering how they got the trusses onto the old chapel - no crane, no hydraulics, and massive spans to be bridged.  It serves to add to the wonder of ancient cathedrals that they were built without the kind of equipment we now take for granted... and it makes me wonder how many people were killed or permanently maimed in their construction.

    It's good to see the new houses growing quickly, to see future homes taking shape and to see the land preparing to serve its local community in ways our forebears wouldn't have imagined!

  • A Little Light Relief?!

    Yesterday I had a phone call from Ecclesiastical Insurance (the parent company of Baptist Insurance) asking if they could arrange to come and inspect our premises - which they knew were closed.  So I told them they were sold and demolished and that we'd notified the insurers and had a rebate.  'Oh' they said.  This reminded me I needed to contact the insurers to reduce our 'content's cover now that the communion table has been reduced to firewood and the throne rehomed.  'Wow,' the man said, 'that's the second call about this policy in 10 minutes.'  It seems the inspector had been in touch to check up already.  Now whether this means D+1 and D+300 are due for repeat visits in the near future, I don't know... but be warned!

    Today I managed to drown my 8 year-old computer mouse in tea.  It has served me well but this mini-tannin-rich-tsunami was one thing too many.  It recovered enough to scroll left and right but up and down, no way, no how.  So a trip to my local independent computer shop and now I have a shiny new optical mouse sitting proudly on a BMS mousemat (the BUGB one is still trying to dry out from its (affusion) baptism in tea).  As to whether the new mouse will serve me as well as its predecessor, who knows?  And I won't tell the insurers or H&S that I have mugs of tea on my computer table... probably contravenes goodness knows how many directives.