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  • Things Children Say...

    This morning I received one of those emails with things children allegedly wrote in exams.  This one made me smile...


    Q: What is a mosque?

    A: A mosque is a church with a doomed roof


    We have one of those!  Does that make it a Baptist mosque?!

  • Fantasy Come Dine with Me... A Parable?

    Imagine that you can give a dinner party or a banquet for as many people as you would like to, money is no object 'cos some TV company is paying.  Who would you invite?  This is fantasy so they can be living or dead, real or fictitious and the venue is big enough for as many as you might want to ask.  What menu would you serve?  Be adventurous, the wherewithall is there, and help if you need it.  What entertainment would you offer?

    Now imagine the big days comes but instead of guests come emails, phone calls and texts to say that absolutely no one is coming.  Everyone, it seems has a better offer.  But the camera crew is here and the feast must happen.  Who is on your 'B' list?  Who just might come now, at the last minute?

    Now imagine they either come or don't, but embarrassingly the venue looks bare, empty tables groaning under food.  The film director takes you aside, this is not going to look good, surely you can fill this venue.  So who is left to ask?  Who is it that would never make your Christmas card list, who might embrrass you by slobbering over their food or getting drunk?  Who is it who smells a bit wiffy or dresses unconventionally?  Who is speaks out of turn, lives a lifestyle that offends?  Who can be dragged in at the last to fill the hall and save your face?

    And what will the end result look like?  How will you be portrayed once the editting has been completed?  How do you feel?


    Now go and read Luke 14: 15 - 35.

    Thanks to IBRA notes for sparking this idea

  • Isaiah(s)

    For Advent 2 I am using four readings from Isaiah, the book of, two from "Proto Isaiah" and one each from "Deutero Isaiah" and "Trito Isaiah".  I have chosen the readings for what they say, not which hypothetical prophet wrote them, but am fascinated how the commentaters I have to hand seem almost more obssessed with how many Isaiahs there were than what they/he said.

    A lot of preachers I know say that sermons boil down to 'what kind of God' and 'so what'.  In regard to Isaiahs, one or "at least a dozen" as one commentater scathingly critiques the multiple view, I am left thinking 'so what?'  In relation to what kind of God and what kind of message, now that's a whole different matter and one I will devote time to.

    If anyone wants to share their pet theories on the number of Isaiahs, rather than the alignment of the prophet's eyes (one higher than the other), feel free to comment. 

  • Composite Fairtrade Teetotal Vegetarian & Vegan Christmas Puddings!

    Wow, what a hassle trying to find workable recipes for this - every one I looked at had different proportions and there was no generic model.  So, here's my composite endeavour, serves 24-30 and can be adjusted easily enough to accommodate degrees of need.  The grand plan is we'll make vegan ones as there are one or two vegans on our radar, and will use lots of Fairtrade ingredients such as sugar, fruit, spices and juice.  Hopefully it'll work out OK and if they're horrid, well blame me.

    All Together Christmas Puddings –Fairtrade TTVV – may contain nuts!

    Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    To make roughly 24 – 30 individual (quarter pint) puddings

    Simply take an approximation to...

    About 60 oz of dried vine fruits (currants, sultanas, raisins), soaked overnight in orange juice

    About 16 oz of dried fruit and peel including apricots, cherries and mixed peel, according to taste

    About 8 oz of ground almonds plus/minus about 2 oz chopped almonds (optional)

    3 lemons zested and juiced

    1 orange zested and juiced

    1 large carrot, grated

    1 large cooking apple or a couple of granny smith type eating apples, grated

    8 oz fresh white or wholemeal breadcrumbs

    8 oz flour – type seems variable!

    16 oz vegetable suet

    16 oz dark brown sugar

    1 tsp mixed spice

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 tsp ginger

    1 tsp nutmeg

    Pinch of salt if desired.

    Half pint soya milk, cow milk or rice milk according to preference

    Large dollop of black treacle (add to the 'milk' and mix to an emulsion, it's easier!)

    4 large eggs beaten or 4 tbsps vegetable oil or half a pack of tofu or some kind of egg substitute!

    Lashings of laughter

    Lots of love



    Gather a large crowd of people – 24 to 30 seems good – and allocate each of them some ingredients.

    In a very large bowl – a new, clean washing up bowl might be good – place all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly together.

    Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly – add more milk or fruit juice if needed to bind the mixture.

    Spoon in to ¼ pint plastic basins (Lakeland sell in packs of six or save from supermarket puds).  It is probably good to grease the basins lightly first.

    Leave a gap of about ½ inch or 1 cm at the top for expansion. 


    Take home and steam for a couple of hours

    To reheat, either steam for 20 minutes or microwave for 1 minute on full power.

    Enjoy with custard, cream, boozy butter, ice cream or whatever your favourite is.


    Serving suggestion – with friends, neighbours or strangers

  • A Flash Mob for Advent

    Just saw this on Bishop Nick Baines' blog.  It's great!  Look out for the guy with the 'wet floor' sign.

    I am intrigued by the flash mob phenomenon, how it captivates people fleetingly before they just pick up as if nothing had happened.  Someone asked me if they lip-synch or sing, and I haven't a clue, but either is very clever.  Anyway, this seems to capture somehting of what Advent is about - surprise and disruption that delights.  Enjoy.