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  • "It's so inappropriate it has to be done..."

    When I was on holiday in Tampere, Finland, we visisted the free museum - a really excellent collection, diverse, well curated and lots of fun interactive things!  We started at the top and worked out way down to the exhibition of Tampere 1918, which focussed on the civil war.  I found the exhibits troubling, as they didn't pull their punches (so for example, at one point you were invited to stand in front of a life size phot of advancing soldiers with guns pointing at you (either that or it was firing squad))

    And there in the middle of it all was one of those things you see at the sea-side - a scene with holes cut out for you to poke your head through and take a photo...


    That's just wrong, I thought, just as my friend said "it's so inappropriate for you, it just has to be done..."

    So I went round the back, poked my head through and she snapped this photo...


    When I saw it, it made my blood run cold, indeed, it troubled me for quite a while.  But then I realised its power to make me think... the fact that tacitly and vicariously I am pointing weapons at some perceived 'enemy' simply by being part of a military nation.

    I thought long and hard what to do with the photo - to delete it, to speak about it, to write about it.

    I still find it uncomfortable to see my smiling face behind a gun - and I hope I always will.  Maybe, just maybe, that's the point of the exhibit?  That what can seem like harmless fun has the power to shock us to the core and make us reflect.

    In which case, maybe it's not so inappropriate after all?

  • Remembrance - Images

    As part of our service this morning, I used some photos I'd taken in Auckland, New Zealand (from the War Memorial Museum and the Naval Museum) and a few from Tampere, Finland (relating to the civil war in 1918) set to music.  Unfortunately the file was too big to upload here, so instead I'll just have to share a few selected photos from NZ here ...

    NZ 058.JPG

    NZ 054.JPG

    NZ 060.JPG

    NZ 009.JPG

    The translation of the Maori is:


    Let there be peace

    Let the sea glisten like greenstone

    May the shimmering light forever

    Dance upon your path



  • Sung Worship...

    ... thoughts from Graham Kendrick that are well worth taking six minutes to listen to.  My congregation sing really well, we are blessed with gifted musicians and a lovely choir, a willing congregation and a readiness to try new stuff.  Sometimes when I go to big events the singing ranges from bad to dire... this helps to explain why...

  • Poetry Remembers...

    As I prepared for this Sunday's service, I happened across a recording of one of the poems I want to use produced by Channel 4.  As the video ended on You Tube, as usual, others popped up - it seems there are a whole set of them...

    'Dulce et Deecorum' read by Christopher Eccleston

    'Last Post' read by Vicky McLure

    'Suicide in the Trenches' read by Stephen Graham

    'Attack' read by Gemma Arterton

    'The Soldier' read by Sophie Okonedo

    'The Last Laugh' read by Sean Bean

    'In Times of Peace' read by Noel Clark


    use 'google' to find them - well worth a look



    They are all beautifully read.  I've opted to share this one, which is probably one of the most classic war poems there is...

  • Poetry Remembers

    At the end of the summer, I happened across a poetry anthology called "1914 Poetry Remembers" which I bought, took home and promptly buried under a heap of other papers and forgot about until I was clearing the decks for a house guest!

    It is a wonderful collection of old and new poems (and a small amount of prose), editted by Carol Ann Duffy, which invites the reader to remember and reflect.  A number of top contemporary poets were invited to chose one Great War work and then to write something themselves; the result is this book.

    On Sunday we'll be using a small selection of the poems, some classic (Yeats, Brook) some contemporary (Duffy, Dharker and others) along with some images, video clips and Bible readings.  I hope that this slightly different approach, set alongside a very traditional 'Act of Remembrance' will help us achieve something purposeful, allowing each one to find some "strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow".

    Blog lite at the moment - my weeks are becoming madly busy: mostly good, and much of it the interruptions that make ministry.  If you haven't seen the book, go and look for it... published by Faber & Faber ISBN 978-0-571-30215-4.



    And now... to participate in a Bible study on Wisdom of Solomon !