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  • One Day in my Life...

    The milk was off, so I threw away the cup of tea I'd made and headed for a cafe where I bought a latte and a bacon butty.  Mildly irritating.

    I went walking around Muckhart with two dozen others and had a great time tramping through mud and puddles, with some drizzle but mostly dry.  Devoted attention to protecting my 'at risk' arm from midges and had a great time despite the efforts of Tam O'Xifen to boil and to drown...

    A lovely tea and a pleasant car ride home.

    The cat had peed in the hall - I was mad!  She wasn't trapped unable to get to her litter, just lazy or naughty.  I told her off.  I mopped up and disinfected the floor.  It still smells!

    I switched on the laptop to check emails.

    An email from a bc friend, my own age, diagnosed only about 6 weeks ago, to say she'd seen the oncologist and her cancer had metastitised; she has been given 'stripes' (time).  Speechless.

    And I no longer fretted over a bit of cat pee

    And the polite declining of a few nuts before a tea when I then ate two pieces of cake seemed very silly

    And why not enjoy breakfast out once in a while?

    My day was not spoiled, but it did give me pause... still need to train the cat (who of course has been forgiven and is curled up next to me as I type), still need to buy some milk, but in the scheme of things do they matter...

    One day in my life.

  • Corrected and ready to Publish

    Hurrah!  Sent of my corrected thesis on Wednesday evening, got back the confirmatory email today that it's now fine.  Just waiting for the portal to open for final-final submission and all will be done.

  • Scousers doing what Scousers do...

    Among the heartwarming stories of communities responding positively in the light of events over the last few days is this from Phil Jump, who was, when I lived in the North West of England 'my' Regional Minister.  I know similar stories are being told across the nation, and Christians are not the only people of faith getting stuck in, but it's good to read - and a powerful apologetic for the appropriate wearing of clerical collars!

  • Prove Reeding

    Last night I was 'making corrections' to my MPhil thesis - well, actually I was writing an extra 300 words to satisfy the desires of the examiners.  What made me smile was that I spotted a glaring spelling error on the first page that no-one had noticed - despite five people other than me having carefully read it and noted other typing errors.

    Just so you know, the University of Manchester seemingly has a department that embraces 'humanties'

    I have corrected the typo and emailed my new version to the examiner for approval....

  • News and Views

    Lots of people are making comments on events in the news and lots of opinions are being expressed.

    In amongst all the stuff I've seen, nothing has spoken into the situation more clearly or more profoundly than this from Annie

    Just over a week ago I was preaching on Luke's parables about wealthy people - the son who squandered his wealth, the manager who feared his loss of status, the nameless wealthy man who chose not to see what was on his doorstep.  As part of that sermon I commented that even people on job seekers allowance are among the top 20% in the world for wealth - even before we allow from free education, free at the point of delivery health care and welfare benefits.  I'm not naive enough to pretend all is well in the UK - I know there are people who go to bed hungry, but at least they have a bed to go to; I know there are people who live with little opportunity to achieve their dreams, but at least they can be reasonably assured of living beyond childhood.

    What has been striking, amidst all the mindless violence and looting, has been the response of local communities - people coming together to clean up the mess, to guard small business premises, to speak for the majority of people who just want to get on with their lives.  I am saddened to see places I know and love featured on television for all the wrong reasons but I guess being saddened isn't going to change anything.

    A lot of the blame is being put in government spending cuts, which is an easy and lazy response.  Past generations lived through worse hardship without resorting to violence, it is not inevitable.  But those of us who claim to be Christians have to ask ourselves, where is the church and what is it doing?  I know for a fact that in some of these troubled areas churches (and synagogues and temples and mosques) quietly get on with being 'salt' or 'kingdom yeast' (Sunday's parables) to transform them for good.  But sometimes we are more worried about graffiti on our walls, mud on the carpets and smashed mugs or light bulbs than doing what we know we are called to do. 

    The Gathering Place is set in a mixed residential and commercial area, wealth and poverty live cheek by jowl, it is slightly shabby, and it is well used by some of the 'least of these' in our area.  When I look at the scenes from London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Bristol, Nottingham, I am forced to say, 'there but for the grace of God, go we.'  If there is a wake-up call from any of this, it is for people of faith/faiths to ask ourselves what we can do locally and globally to work for good.

    Two hymns/songs comes to mind as I ponder...

    Jesus Christ is waiting,
    waiting in the streets;
    no one is his neighbour,
    all alone he eats.
    Listen, Lord Jesus,
    I am lonely too.
    Make me, friend or stranger,
    fit to wait on you.

    Jesus Christ is raging,
    raging in the streets, 
    where injustice spirals
    and real hope retreats.
    Listen, Lord Jesus
    I am angry too.
    In the Kingdom's causes 
    let me rage with you.

    Jesus Christ is healing,
    healing in the streets;
    curing those who suffer,
    touching those he greets.
    Listen, Lord Jesus,
    I have pity too.
    Let my care be active,
    healing, just like you.

    Jesus Christ is dancing,
    dancing in the streets,
    where each sign of hatred
    he, with love, defeats.
    Listen, Lord Jesus  
    I should triumph too.
    On suspicion's graveyard
    let me dance with you.

    Jesus Christ is calling,
    calling in the streets,
    'Who will join my journey?
    I will guide their feet.'
    Listen, Lord Jesus,
    let my fears be few.
    Walk one step before me;
    I will follow you.

    John L Bell (born 1949) and Graham Maule (born 1958) © 1988 WGRG, Iona Community

    And this one, especially the first half of verse three:

    Lord, thy church on earth is seeking
    thy renewal from above;
    teach us all the art of speaking
    with the accent of thy love.
    We would heed thy great commission:
    go ye into every place-
    preach, baptise, fulfil my mission,
    serve with love and share my grace.

    Freedom give to those in bondage,
    lift the burdens caused by sin.
    Give new hope, new strength and courage,
    grant release from fears within:
    light for darkness; joy for sorrow;
    love for hatred; peace for strife.
    These and countless blessings follow
    as the Spirit gives new life.

    In the streets of every city
    where the bruised and lonely dwell,
    let us show the Saviour's pity,
    let us of his mercy tell.
    In all lands and with all races
    let us serve, and seek to bring
    all the world to render praises,
    Christ, to thee, Redeemer, King.

    Hugh Sherlock (1905-1998) © Successor to Hugh Sherlock/administered by The Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes