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- Page 6

  • Mission in Many Modes

    Today we concluded our short series looking at mission, with a reflection on / summary of David Bosch's 'mission in many modes' paradigm.  For the all age bit I used one of these:

    rubik cross.JPG

    I forgot to take a photo of the one I used, and gave away all of those I had bought to the children, so I nicked this image from the web.  Rubik 'snakes' can be twisted and turned into all sorts of interesting shapes, but the essence remains the same.  Not every conceivable shape can be made without breaking the snake, but the diversity of what is achievable is incredible, especially if you have the imagination of a child.

    So I offer it as a metaphor, play with it and see what you make of it!

  • Something Funny for Money?

    Friday was Red Nose Day, something of a British insitution these days, and a charity that has a its time raised a seemingly colossal amount of money for the causes it supports, both at home and overseas.  This years "Red Noses Night" was the first since I succumbed to the vice that is social media, and it was interesting (and enlightening) to see the comments being posted by friends of all sorts of religious and political persuasions.  Many commented that it just wasn't funny.  A lot (a count myself among them) were uncomfortable with the extensive use of sexualised language long before the watershed.  God may not be offended by the use of the word "shag" (duck? carpet pile?) but it was hardly appropriate for the under 12s watch the programme as early evening family entertainment.

    I was uncomfortable with the portrayal of Peter Kaye's "wife" in purda, not entirely sure about the Simon Cowell marriage sketch, and thought that the Archbish sketch fell short of what the trailers had promised. As for Ricky Gervais... just plain disappointing.

    I have yet to work out why someone shaving their hair off is "funny", and in common with many of my friends (though not all) who have been through chemotherapy could not have watched that bit had it actually been shown live (as advertised)... I physically cringed when Lenny Henry cut the first lock of hair.  That doesn't mean it should not have happened, but I do think there is something ghoulish about televising women having their heads shaved (or men having their legs waxed for that matter).  Funny it is not.

    For me there were a few funny sketches... the Dibley explanation of the failure of the vote to allow women bishops (predictable as soon as you knew who was going to do the voting, but even so) and the horse-meat ready meals.  I also like the One Born Every Minute/Call the Midwife sketch, though the best bits had already been seen in the trailers.

    I think that some interesting and useful conversations have been started among those prepared to move beyond either knee-jerk reactions either to bad language or to other people's reactions to bad language.  Tony Campolo has been quoted a few times (if you're more worried about the language than the issue something is wrong) but actually this isn't a binary thing, but very complex, and no easy answers or quick fixes.

    There are lots of more entertaining, more thoughtful and more erudite responses floating about the ether, via blogs and other media such as...

    Archdruid Eileen here

    Tea & Cake here

    Psephizo here

  • Fifth Sunday in Lent

    In some traditions, today is known as Passion Sunday, marking a distinctive shift in emphasis from the penitential recollection of the desert towards the atoning, redeeming events of the passion.  On this day we may focus on Jesus 'setting his face towards Jerusalem', consciously deciding/deducing that his destiny is now to go there and face the inevitable.  Or we may focus on him standing at some elevated location, able to look at the cityscape below, and weeping over it.

    In other traditions Passion Sunday is the name reserved for next Sunday, the last one in Lent, a reminder that even amidst the jubilation of celebration the spectre of doom is abroad.  On the brightest morning, shadows still fall.

    So, which hymn from BPW today then?  I have opted for one that is the greater part of a thousand years old, because to have survived for half the life of Christianity, it must have something important to say...

    Alone now going forth, O Lord,
    in sacrifice to die;
    is all your sorrow naught to us
    who pass unheeding by?

    Our sins, not yours, you bear, dear Lord;
    make us your sorrow feel,
    till through our pity and our shame
    love answers love's appeal.

    This is earth's darkest hour, but you
    can light and life restore;
    then let all praise be given to you
    who lives for evermore.

    Grant us to suffer with you, Lord,
    that, as we share this hour,
    your cross may bring us to your joy
    and resurrection power.

    Peter Abelard (1079-1142), tr Francis Bland Tucker (1895-1984) alt. © Church Publishing Inc

  • Count Your Blessings: Days 32 & 33


    While Christian Aid partners delivered life-saving food aid in Ethiopia during the drought of 2011, for many people the most pressing need was to save their livestock, which are their livelihoods.

    Hereg Dane had already lost half her animals, but Christian Aid partner Agri Service enclosed a piece of land so her community could grow fodder without it being destroyed by wild animals or livestock. Thanks to this vital enclosure, Hereg has been able to save the rest of her herd.

    Give 20p for each pet you’ve had that you could easily care for without worrying about food shortages.


    Around 100 million people in the world are homeless, and over 40 million people have been forced to leave their homes because it wasn’t safe there. Draw a picture of your home, and give 5p for each room in your house.

    How fortunate we are in the wealthy weat that we can keep animals simply for the pleasure of their company or entertainment value.

    So, pets I (we?) have had.  Well OK...


    Tinker and Tiddles - short-haired black and white

    Tig and Tag - short haired tabbies

    Sailor, her daughter Smudge, her daughter Whitey and her daughter Kizzy... strays adopted by our neighbours and us, who never quite got neutered in time!  Sailor outlived all her off-spring

    Dusty - my first cat, a short-haired black-tabby who oived fourteen years and died of mammary cancer.

    Holly - long-haired black and white who shares my home.


    Benny - a pedigree golden Labrador; a failed army dog who had to be rehomed again as he failed to settle

    Lassie - a rough collie, also a rescue dog, whose nbame cam ewith her, and who lived to a ripe old age and brought much joy to my parents



    Twinkle - a black and white dutch, second hand, and eventaully rehomed

    Hazel - named after the Watership Down character, again second hand and re-homed elsewhere


    Guinea Pigs

    To my shame I have not a clue what our second hand guinea pigs were called; all I do recall is that when me moved house, they died a day apart, within the week we arrived there.


    I am choosing not to inlcude hens my dad kept for eggs, the mice or goldfish my sister kept, nor the budgie who belonged to my brother... though maybe I ought to count Tommy the frog I grew from a tadpole (Tommy Tadpole) when I was six...

    However I count it, that's a lot of animals!  Seventeen (inlcuding Tommy) if my arithmetic is correct!  So that comes to £3.40 at 20p a go.


    My Pledge

    Today - £3.40

    Total - £29.25, six prayers, one rant, one memory and one e-petition signed

  • Count Your Blessings: Day 31


    More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers,
    lakes and coastal areas.

    Give thanks that we don’t have to worry about what happens when we flush the toilet

    Children (should have been yesterday but fits better today)

    It might not seem like much of a luxury to have a toilet but there are 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have anywhere clean or private to go to the toilet. In very poor neighbourhoods in Kenya, people have to use ‘flying toilets’ where they have no choice but to go to the toilet in a plastic bag and then throw it away. This is dirty and can cause diseases to spread. 12-year-old Jeremiah who lives in Matopeni, Kenya, says: ‘It’s dirty and we get sick… it smells bad.’

    Give 10p for every time you used a clean, flushing toilet today!

    Among my earliest recollection's is the "fairy at the bottom of the garden"... an outside toilet at the far side of the backyard of the cottage we lived until I was five.  I can, if I concentrate, recall the smell, not of anything nasty, just the damp mortar or bricks, and the cold air.  Moving to a house with a bathroom with hot water on tap, and no more need for my mother to boil saucepans of water for us to wash... pure luxury!  More than four decades on I am very privileged, with an en-suite shower room, meaning I can roll out of bed and attend to the necessary; if I have guests they can have exclusive use of the bathroom.


    Caution, you may find this prayer a bit irreverent

    God of small things, of insignificant things,

    We recall that somewhere in scriptures you laid out rules for lavatorial hygiene.

    You claimed to find poo offensive, saying it msut be done outside the camp

    And we, with our scientific heads, interpret that as a 'good idea'

    Keeping sources of disease out


    But now, we in the west give no heed

    To how our excrement is processed

    Carried away in sewers or drained from septic tanks

    Treated to remove debris and other nasties

    And safely dispensed, we know what where.


    Thank you

    For those who had the foresight to dig out sewers and build treatment plants

    (Complete with their unique, seasonal pong)

    For the water companies

    For the people who fix burst water mains and replace worn sewers

    For the people who repair or replace out broken loos

    For the manufacturers of toilet rolls and toiler fresheners

    Bleach, loo brushes and plungers

    For the 'green toilets' and 'grey toilets' in country parks

    And portaloos at public events and permanent public conveniences


    Thank you that we not only pee in private

    But do so without giving it a second thought



    Today - one prayer

    Total -  £25.85, six prayers, one rant, one memory and one e-petition signed