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  • Silver Linings?

    A silver lining is not a reason, justification or explanation of something bad, unpleasant or downright awful, rather it is something positive that is discerned or determined within it.  It doesn't make everything right not does it deny the reality which can be, for some people, very, very grim.  Finding silver linings is not playing Pollyanna's 'glad game', it's just seeing things that brighten the darkness, lift the spirits, delight the heart.  Yuk, this sounds like bad poetry written out as prose!  Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that silver linings are good things that might not have been experienced otherwise.

    Today I am singing with the church choir again, something that I very rarely have opportunity to do, and something that I don't think is feasible or appropriate when I'm leading worship.  I am singing alto - which for me is quite brave as I'm not that confident in my ability to read and hold a part that's not the melody (in the hymns I revert to soprano, not hope of singing the 'underneath' of something I've known for 40 years).  It is fun to sing with our choir; people self-select, our MD is endlessly patient and gracious and there is is always an element of the unknown -  just sometimes he will throw the choir something complicated at short notice.

    This evening is a united service with our C of S friends for Palm Sunday and the choirs of the various churches are uniting to lead the music.  I have been learning alto parts on and off all week for some of the material we'll be singing.  It should be fun - and it should help us catch something of the atmosphere as we move into Holy Week.

    This morning's service has been written by our Sunday School and is a dramatised reading of events from Palm Sunday on into Holy Week.  Our Sunday School is small and most of the children very young, so it's not an easy undertaking.  However, I am looking forward to sharing their enjoyment of the moment as we travel in our imaginations to Jerusalem at festival time.

    Next Sunday I'm back up front... not that I'm counting the days or anything!

  • On Baptist Women and Preaching

    My spy across the pond sent me this link to a newly published book on English (sorry Scots/Waleans/Irish readers) Baptist women preachers in the 17th century.  No, that's not a typo, 17th century.  Somewhere along the line English Baptists lost their way over this until the early 20th century when, although they have struggled with it ever since, they rediscovered this heritage.  Here in Caledonia it's a different tale but maybe in four hundred years time (!) someone will tell the stories of M and F who have preached so excellently and authentically at the Gathering Place.

    Alas at $69.95 US plus postage it's too dear to justify buying - but if the BHS would like to send me a copy to review...!

  • No Contest

    Today my exercise class has had to be cancelled as we've been ousted in favour of the Glasgow World Cup Gymnastic Competition.  The room we usually meet in is to be used for the VIP guests - I'm sure they'll love walking up the dingy stairs we climb each week to reach it!  I just hope they appreciate they are standing where I, and the rest of the class, have stood!  If they get bored they can always pedal a few miles on the exercise bikes or practice their 'step' workouts.

    It's good that a prestigious event is taking place here... just hope the fire alarms don't go off!

    Hopefully those who attend will have a really good day.  As for me I guess it's the Wii fit and a decent walk.

  • Music while you Nuke?

    Nothing much to say today, so just a daft post to show I'm still alive and kicking.

    On Wednesday evening at my exercise class I was chatting to one of the other women about the muzak that is on in the background in the nuking chamber - not exactly restful and, although I can't recall what it was, not entirely appropriate either.  She told me an amusing tale of a charity fundraiser she was attending at a big hotel in Glasgow when the fire alarms sounded.  However the alarm was identical to the one used in the nuking chamber when they are about to switch on the beam, so none of the guests moved because the associations were all wrong... siren = keep completely still.

    Anyway, as a 'collector' of inappropriate music such as (actually used) crematorium choices of

    Smoke gets in your eyes

    Relight my fire

    Burn, baby, burn

    Shine Jesus Shine, with its line 'blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire'

    I am just wondering what might be equally suitable for my collection of nuking music!  Ideas?

  • Beautiful or What?

    My good friend Diane has just passed her PhD so big congratulations are in order.

    She was exploring a new way of looking at ageing and older people in our churches and the central thread is that 'old is beautiful'.  Challenging the myth of the body perfect and the quest for perpetual youth, she has become a champion for the older people in her church, and more widely for older people in all churches.  I wouldn't claim to understand half of what she's written, it's far too clever for me, but I am thrilled that she has passed and that her unique and precious contribution to Baptist (and wider Christian) life is recognised.

    My post title echoes the Adrian Snell work of 1993 which explored issues around a child born with disability, a work which I recall as being quite significant in making me think through how we define beauty and worth, success and fulfilment.  Since then I have beocme aware of theologies of, and emerging from, disability.

    My own experiences over the last few months have embodied questions and explorations of beauty, of worth, of meaning - something none of us ever thinks will happen to us.  Apart from discovering I actually looked good with no hair (not that I intend to repeat the experiment!) I learned first hand what it was to be stared at or avoided because I looked 'different'.  I have learned to love my scars, to embrace the brokenness and to understand more fully that beauty has little to do with physical perfection and everything to do with inner perception.  I think I am a little more appreciative of what I am able to do, a little more gentle in my expectations of myself, and far more conscious of the finitude and frailty of human life.  The flip side is I am less tolerant of trivia made large, grudge-bearing and feuding.  Life is beautiful and precious, not to be wasted in bitterness and ugly attitudes or actions.

    I am contemplating calling myself Robyn for the next few weeks due to the effect the radiation is already having on part of my anatomy, but even in that thought is, I guess, a humour that accepts and embraces the changes that are occuring.

    Learning to love ourselves, as we are, in our imperfections, that's part of what Diane is about in her ministry, and I rejoice that she is a Revd Dr.