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- Page 7

  • Animal Ethics for Christians?

    We are planning what is technically termed an 'animally' theme at church for part of the summer into early autumn and whilst I have some ideas on where I'd like to go within that very broad remit (some animal images/metaphors used to speak of God; some of the fish-y stories in the gopsels, and so on) I feel there does need to be something looking at ethics.  There is a bit of creation care stuff on the BMS website and some decidely cranky (in most meanings of the word) stuff on the web but I'm not entirely sure where to find something useful.  Any ideas anyone?

    There are so many 'animally' stories in the Bible that this is potentially a very exciting strand to explore... but I'm not planning on a pet blessing service, not least as the thought of little Johnnie's gerbil being eaten by Maisie's cat does not bear thinking about...!!  So, to those who thought I had finally really become the Vicar of Dibley, sorry, but no.

  • The Church is Like...

    Whilst trying to find the music for Fred Kaan's hymn 'The Church is like a Table' (I've now ordered a copy of a book with it in) I stumbled across this alternative version thereof:

    “The church is like a table,

    a table that is round.”

    Its sides defy detection

    yet many feel rejection;

    the signs of imperfection

    are all too clearly found.


    The church is like a table

    a table sadly square;

    with diners often chiding

    at who should be presiding,

    dogmatically dividing

    the one Lord who is there.


    The church is like a sideboard,

    a sideboard that is stocked

    with promises long broken,

    apologies unspoken

    and souls too long un-woken.

    Alas that past is locked.


    The church is like a sofa,

    a sofa that is old,

    with corners holding treasure

    discovered at your leisure;

    despite these signs of pleasure

    there was no age of gold.


    The church is like a freezer

    attempting to preserve

    the memory of years when

    the aisles were full of chairs then;

    but now they muster scarce ten

    with little in reserve.


    The church is really people

    most probably appalled

    at all this gentle slander -

    but semper reformanda

    we glimpse the vision’s grandeur,

    to God’s tomorrow called.

    (c) Peter Brain, 2004:


    So, what would you add as your verse?


  • Gaining Perspective

    Events in Cumbria this week have given a lot of people pause for thought.  Behind the headlines, the speculations, the accusations and the anger are a lot of grieving people, people who need love and support and space.  For the rest of us there is a reminder both of the fragility of life and the fragility of what is generally termed sanity... but for the grace of God any one of us could be at either end of a lethal weapon, pushed beyond what we can bear, fearing for our lives...

    Twice, in as many days, I have travelled through Cumbria by train, enjoying the rolling hills beneath azure blue skies, noting the tiny white dots of sheep and the wiggly lines of dry-stone walls.  Despite the tragedy, it is still a beautiful area in which people live quiet lives in reasonable harmony one with another.

    As I sat on a train today, mulling over these events and my time away, I found myself recalling a moment a couple of years back when I was doing some hopsital visiting in Leicester.  Two older men were nearing the end of their lives, and I had spent some time with each offering, as best I could, support and comfort to the families.  Walking back through the long corridors, I passed a young woman clutching a scan photograph in one hand as she talked excitedly about the new life growing inside her.  Joy and sorrow, hope and fear, life and death, always cheek by jowl.  Perspective or somesuch, not a ying-yang balance as if one cancels out the other, because it doesn't, just a reality that extremes and in betweens will always co-exist.

    Whenever I visit someone who is sick - especially if the prognosis is poor - and whenever I conduct a funeral I am reminded of my own vulnerability and mortality.  Whenever I see excited children wishing a train journey over so the adventure can begin I am reminded both of life and vitality (is that tautology? probably) and of the cavalier way we treat life (how many times were all of us told off for wishing our lives away when we were younger?).  For the person who wants the day over with, there is always someone who'd love just a few moments more.  I chatted to a few folk on the trains I travelled on, some were on their way back to resume an extended holiday after attending a funeral, others were visiting family, others were returning from work; conversations I overheard ranged from the trivial to the profound... life in all its fullness was, I suspect, on the 08:56 ex-Northampton and the 11:20 ex-Birmingham.

    It's corny in extremis to say 'life is a gift, that's what it's called the present' but actually all we do have is 'now' and it does me no harm to reflect on that.


  • A Link Worth Following

    David Kerrigan of BMS here.  I think he's slightly rephrased what he said in Plymouth.. or maybe re rephrased what he'd already written when he said it... a useful commnet on, and reminder of, Baptistness I think.

  • Darn Sarf

    Northampton Town Hall.jpg

    One of my favourite buildings - Northampton Guildhall.  Photo from Britannica site - credit just says G-man.

    As children we called it Trumpton town hall, and if you recall the programme you will appreciate why.

    I will almost certainly pass by tomorrow afternoon.