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  • Credit Where It's Due

    A while back I posted that I had ordered the USB stick recording of all the main sessions at the BUGB/BMS Baptist Assembly.  A little over a week ago it arrived, and I eagerly plugged it into my computer.  Some automatic software ran as I did so (not, so far as I have ascertained anything to do with my laptop) and I found I had a blank data stick.  Disappointed I contacted Essential Christian who were very helpful, sent me a new USB and undertook to investigate the problem.

    Today my new USB stick arrived and I very tentatively plugged it into the same computer.  Immediately something started to run so I yanked it out again quickly, double checked all the settings on my machine, and then plugged it in again.  Some auto software ran but this time I discovered a full set of audio files - which I have now copied onto to my machine so they are safe.  Phew.

    So, thanks to the nice people at Essential Christian for dealing with this in a professional and gracious manner without it all feeling too much like a trip to the proverbial Christian Bookshop.

    I was a tad surprised that the USB wasn't read-only or protected, but at least I now have a functional version and can listen to all those speakers I've been wating to hear.

  • Not So Young!

    Today I nipped into a supermarket near the Gathering Place to buy strawberries and cream (and alternatives) for our student picnic for tomorrow lunchtime. I handed my cotton bag to the young man at the till for him to pack my boxes of strawberries (is 2kilos enough? I hope so!) and tubs of cream and observed 'it's a bit like the Krypton Factor isn't it.' He looked bemused, so I said, I guess that's before your time... Oh dear, I was a mere 14 years old when it began in the ninteeen seventies. No wonder a lad in his late teens or early twenties didn't know what it was. Still now I have strawberries and two out of the three cream/substitutes I was after... will have to go to the Supermarket nearest home for the vegan alternative as those near church doesn't seem to sell it.

  • More Normality

    I am typing this post sitting at my (well, the church's) shiny new computer in my office/vestry.  I spent yesterday afternoon doing the basic set-up stuff and now have a nearly up-to-date machine (why is it they preload computers with software that needed updating about a year ago?!).

    Better than the new machine, lovely as it is, is the normality it brings with it: a restoration of the separation of home and work that has, for good reason, been missing these last few months.  I have to retrain myself not to feel obliged to answer church-related emails when I'm at home and not to start planning the next sermon series when I'm surfing the web for fun.

    Small things please small minds, but it was lovely to stroll in to work for a 9 o'clock start (late by my standards!) in glorious sunshine.  Great to chat to the guys in the coffee shop.  Great to chat to the people who have just moved into one of our office spaces.  Great to be .... NORMAL!

  • An Ecclesiology for Grown-ups?

    A little teaser for Sunday's service. 

    As I have been preparing the sermon it struck me that Baptist ecclesiology, properly understood, is very grown-up. 

    It says to the local church, you have the wherewithall to discern the mind of Christ and the responsibility to seek it. 

    It says, you don't need us to tell you, you are capable of working it out for yourselves.

    It says Christians don't always agree on everything and that's alright.

    It says, being church is hard work that will demand your energy and emotions.

    But it also says, we will stand by you in your explorations, in your mistakes as well as your successes, when we agree and when we don't, because we covenant to walk together, with God, wherever we are led.

    (I also note the complication of ministers being under the dicipline of the union in a way churches are not, but that's another issue!)

  • Ascension Day


    Salvador Dali, Ascension


    Ascension Day.

    Not a day many proddy nonconformists mark.

    Today there will be, if tradition prevails, a Churches Together Communion service for Ascension in Dibley.

    This time last year I had it in mind to do something for Ascension this time around.  Events overtook that.  Maybe next year...

    Anyway, I have already been sent Ascension Day greetings today... and this is mine to you!

    "When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.  While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.  Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.  And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24:50-53 NIV)