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  • Pause for Thought...


    No, not the five minute (or less) slot on the radio, just something that's good to do now and then.


    Today I have a 'free Sunday' which, typically would allow a long weekend break before returning to work on Tuesday. In fact I have two 'free Sundays' back to back, which was meant to give me a whole week off after a very busy summer in which to gather my thoughts before the autumn session gets into full swing.


    Then came the dates for a training course for a role I am privileged to have been invited to undertake within the BUS, so I felt that ought to over-ride time away and I deferred setting off south to see friends and family until after that takes place on Tuesday.


    Then, last week came some very sad, if not unexpected, news that someone with a life-limiting, terminal condition had died. It has always been my policy that pastoral crises and funerals trump pretty much anything, so it was a no-brainer to enure that this was accommodated. Tomorrow we will be saying our farewells to a woman in her forties who travelled a very courageous and gracious journey with an especially cruel degenerative disease. Visiting her was always uplifting - she exemplified so much that is good, gracious and Godly (and she'd laugh if she could read that now).


    Those I will be visiting whilst away all bear their own scars of 'life in all its fulness', illness, bereavement, depression, abandonment and more. Each of them has a story that could have generated bitterness and resentment towards some, if not many, others. Each of them continues to live their lives, guided by their own religious or moral 'compass'.


    So my nearly-week mostly-off will be a time to relax, to laugh, to eat, to read novels on trains, to learn, to love, to share. Recent events affecting friends and church folk have been a firm reminder of the frailty of life. They have also remidned me of its beauty, tenderness and wonder.


    Quiet here for a while as I won't be taking my laptop with me - but will be back soon with more reflections on everyday life.

  • Reviewing Books - 2

    I forgot to say....




    Thought it was 200 to 250, then found it was 500 and now have too many words!

  • Reviewing Books

    This morning I've been working on a review of a book for a Baptist publication.  Sometimes I wonder why I set myself up for this - invariably I get reqeusts to review books by people I know about subjects that are (a) close to my heart (b) emotive and (c) complex.

    There's the review I'd like to write, and the one that I need to write - and there is often a huge gulf between them!  A gulf of emphasis and adjectives I guess.  A book can be 'important' and worth commending to others and still be 'dull' 'repetitive' and even 'annoying in places'.

    Of course I won't mention the dull, repetitive, annoying bits, but I also won't say this was a right rivetting read that got to the nub of a topic.  I guess what isn't said is as significant as what is!

    The other book is a tad easier to review in many ways - don't know the author, like his approach and can simply stick to facts about it.

    Maybe the world of book reviewers is just too small - and I sure am glad I don't have any whole books out there!

  • Stuff

    Not a neat reflection, just some stuff going round my head.

    Today's PAYG was the parable of the person who was let off a huge debt they could not pay and then demanded with menance the paymnet of a titchy debt they were owed (Matt 18:21 - 19:1).  And it got me thinking about how what tends to happen is that Christians look at other people's 'sins' or 'debts' as huge whilst seeing their own as small.  The tendency to equate our unthinking, selective legalism with righteousness; the tendency to assign greater sinfulness to some aspects of life than others; the tendency to place oursleves in the role of God.

    Social media is busy with reports 'shares' and 'retweets' of Vicky Beeching's decision to 'come out' as a lesbian (here).

    BMS are launching a new inititative in relation to gender-based violence, focusing on that against women and girls, whilst acknowledging it also happens against men and boys (here and here).

    I guess what strikes me is that, overall, we give far more Christian time and energy to the sleeping arrangements of consenting adults in committed relationships than we do to the violation of those who are powerless to act...


    Kyrie Eleison,

    Christe Eleison,

    Kyrie Eleison

  • Language!

    Back in the dark ages of the early 1980s, I wrote an essay as an entry in a competition to win a scholarship to an international conference in Geneva.  My entry was successful - even if the conference was largely rather dull, not least as my employer had dictated which sessions I must attend.  Having drafted my essay - which was something about the role of the engineer I think - I passed it to my training manager, a gruff man in his late fifties.  His one comment was that I had referred to engineers only as 'male' and he said, "you should use the feminine".  At the time I didn't really 'get' it; inclusive language was unknown and 'the male includes the female'.

    Today I was reading a document written by someone I respect greatly that referred to ministers exclusively as male, and I saw red!  If an organisation claims to affirm women ministers (and this one does, albeit belatedly) then it can't simply refer to ministers as he.  I absolutely would not wish to replace all male language with all female language, two wrongs don't make a right, but surely to goodness we could have 'his/her' 'she/he' 's/he' or even 'their'... it's not rocket science, but words are powerful and so long as ministers are referred to only in the masculine nothing will change.

    Here endeth the rant!