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  • Because People Ask...

    Among the regular questions I get asked by people are 'so are you cured now?' or, if they understand what remission means, 'are you (still) in the clear?' or even 'so what is your life expectancy now?'

    Because people ask, and because I get tired of explaining remission and NED (No Evidence of Disease) and the strengths and weaknesses of medical stats, and the impact of lifestyle and attitude, and the constant emergence of new research etc., I have added some information to my 'about' page explaining what my stats (drawn from Cancer Research UK) are.  So, if you really want to know, look there.

    At the moment I feel fit, strong and healthy and apart from occasional bouts of paranoia feel very positive about life.  Sometimes, though, it's hard to be smiley and upbeat when someone says 'so are you cured now...?'

  • Keyword Searches

    What brings people to visit this blog, apart from those who are loyal enough to visit regularly or who have the RSS feed set up?  The statistical information this blog platform provides includes some based on keyword searches, and it is interesting and entertaining to see what brings people here.  It varies from month to month, and is often topped by people searching on my name, but common threads seem to be...

    • words of hymns
    • resources for difficult funerals (babies or those with no mourners)
    • Baptist stuff
    • seasonal liturgy/hymns/prayers
    • cancer/chemotherapy

    I get a few for Fairtrade - even for 'fairtrade croissants' on one occasion - which are clearly down to my title more than my content

    Some keywords searches are just weird and mean nothing to me, whilst others are very specific - a line from a hymn, a particular chemotherapy regime, etc.  What I don't know, of course, is if the visitors ever find what they are looking for.  With hymn words probably, with liturgical stuff possibly, but beyond that... I hope whatever they are seeking people find their visit to this bit of blogland mainly positive.

    Whatever brought you here today, a bookmark, an RSS feed, a keyword search, a link from elsewhere, I hope you have a good day and, if you are searching for something specific, that you find or found what you were seeking.

  • Parables Revisited

    I already mentioned I'm doing a short series based around some of the parables of Jesus.  I love revisiting these tales and trying to read them differently from the last time and the time before that - even if as I read them the same images pop into my head as did, erm, around forty years ago.  And this is part of the challenge, I think, to find new insights and ideas without destroying the fragile and beautiful vestiges of youth.

    This week I have been re-reading parts of Stephen Wright's Tales Jesus Told and enjoying the fresh approach he takes to reading some of the narrative parables.  Suffice to say that this week's service will draw on some of what he explores.

    I have also been reminded of a short series I did a couple of years back, not long before I left Dibley for Glasgow, also on some of the parables, in which I asked people to imagine themselves into the story and to hear it from the perspective of various characters... for example, from the viewpoint of the priest or the thieves in the Good Samaritan story (I never quite went as far as the viewpoint of the donkey or, as one set of Bible notes I once had did, the road!).

    This Sunday we are using Luke's banquet parable which most commentators seem to see as a different story from Matthew's.  Again, a couple of years back at a ministers' conference we were invited to work in small groups to enter a Bible story as the characters within it.  The group I was part of landed the Matthew banquet story and I became the person who was ejected for not wearing the wedding clothes ... it was a powerful way of experiencing the tale and I recall my character saying 'if I could have a second chance I'd wear the clothes...'  It made me think a lot about inclusion, exclusion, grace, forgiveness, second chances and culture, none of which is the usual explanation of the story but each of which is valuable.

    And that's the point, isn't it?  The parables aren't neat Victorian style moral tales with one obvious meaning, nor are they folk tales with a happy ever after outcome, they are puzzling and mysterious tales designed to make the hearer/reader think.  I hope we are able to do a little bit of that this summer, starting this week as we hear stories Jesus told about parties.