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  • Pope Francis

    The white smoke... the baited breath... the announcement in Latin... the ceremonial robing and first public appearance... the expectations thrust onto the shoulders of this man who can never go back to what he once was...

    There is a really good little blog post here that responds to the news.

    I do not envy Pope Francis his role/task one iota, one jot, one tittle.  To be the figure head for the largest single Christian grouping on the planet, to have to try to shape and lead such a diverse community, and to do so in the public eye.  A very tough call.

    But I do pray for him, that he will be able to maintain his integrity and vision amidst the clamouring voices that will assail him; that he will not become disillusioned or disappointed; that he will be supported and encouraged by those of all theological hues within the Roman Communion, and respected by those outside of it.  Above all, I pray that he will be able to hear clearly what God's Spirit says to him, and have the courage and strength to follow that leading, though it be surprising or risky.

    Because of how my brain works, I realise I said nothing about the appointment of Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury.  My prayers for him match those for Pope Francis.

  • Count Your Blessings: Day 30


    About 20% of the population in the developed nations consume 86% of the world’s goods.

    Give £1 if you replaced an electronic item this year, instead of getting it repaired.


    I could just be quite smug today, as I have not replaced any electronic items in the last twelve months, because none were faulty or broken.  I wonder, if this challenge is aimed not so much at repairing broken things (a lot of electronic stuff is designed so that it can't be repaired) or even about replacing items that are no longer meeting the need (e.g. a very old television to which a digibox could not be attached) as about 'designed obsolescence'?  Most electronic equipment is designed with the expectation that it will be replaced in, maybe, at most, two years.  New generations of mobile technology, new releases of software that are not 'downward' compatible and so on.  And of course these industries are major employers... Oh dear, it's all way more complicated once you start to think about it!

    Just for your amusement, this is the mobile phone I have for work use (and it does everything I need):


    My pledge

    Today - zero, but some thinking!

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

  • Fragile

    This week is proving quite demanding, not overwhelmingly so, but pretty comprehensively.  I realised yesterday that it is now likely that I will be working straight through until Easter Sunday with, at most half a day off.  That's not so unusual for ministers, but it made me think.

    Life is fragile, and life is precious.  There have been many reminders of that in a week that, but for the grace of God, could have been very different.  Tragedy is only ever a few steps away, and it is just as well we have no way of knowing if or when our path will bring us to that place.

    Much of the stuff I am dealing with is not for public consumption, mainly because it is confidential, so you will have to wonder!


    God who has shared the depths of sorrow and despair

    Who has experienced the fragility of human life

    Who has wept at the graveside of a friend

    Who has stared into the abyss

    Who has been through the mystery of death

    Comfort all who weep

    Embrace those who ask 'why?'

    Strengthen all who are numb

    Vulnerable God, hear our prayer.

  • Count Your Blessings: Day 29


    Deforestation in Haiti is a severe problem. In the 1920s, 60% of Haiti was forested, now just 2% of forests remain.

    Give 20p for each local park or green space where you live.


    Glasgow is a green city, that is a city in which avenues of trees abound and verges are set with dafoffils and crocuses.  Manchester, likewise has abundant tree-lined streets, huge tubs of flowers on tarmaced verges.  And so it goes on.  Everywhere I have lived, rural, suburban, urban, inner city, there has been greeness, and plenty of it.  I have never lived more than ten minute's walk from a park or a green space.  As I look out from my living room window I see large expanses of green - the lawn in front of the flats opposite, and a triangle of grass in a road junction with several establiushed trees, and at this time of year, a mass of multi-coloured crocuses (croci?).  So how should I count the parks of spaces?  Oh dear, back to semantics!  I will stick with those I visit regularly or pass in the course of my everyday journeys to/from church...

    Cross Park, Victoria Park, Kelvingrove Park, Glsgow Botanical Gardens

    Athole Gardens (private, no ball games, no running, no smiles.... defiant flowers!

    The triangle at the road junction

    The central reservation on Great Western Rd, with a host of daffodils worthy of a Lakeland poet!

    And the lawn hidden behind my block of flats

    Eight spaces @ 20p... £1.60


    My Pledge

    Today - £1.60

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

  • Count Yours Blessings: Day 28


    2 million deaths every year are a result of exposure to indoor smoke from cooking fuels.

    Give 40p if your oven runs on electricity or gas

    Yesterday in a very brief post I alluded to how different my week could have been.  Today's CYB (Count Your Blessings) comes scarily close to part of that.  A major fire round the corner from my home on Sunday night has left several people temporarily homeless, with some having to be treated for smoke inhalation.  As I read the CYB leaflet I thought "ouch".

    In the UK people use disposable barbecues or camping stoves indoors with, sometimes tragic consequences, either because they are unaware of the risks or because they think it won't happen to them.  Maybe some have been unable to afford electricity or gas so resort in desperation to other means?  And then of course there are faulty appliances and unscrupulous landlords to think about...

    Anyhow, back to the blessing counting... I have an electric oven and will cheerfully pay my 40p

    My pledge

    Today - 40p

    Total - £24.25, five prayers, one rant, one memory and one e-petition signed