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  • Good News

    The inspection by the Cat Home is now complete and passed (phew!).  Now as soon as the papers are sorted out and the foster carers get in touch I can meet my two girls.  How good that sounds!  "my" girls.

    Watch this space for updates... will quiet for a few days as I have to travel south to farewell a good friend and former chemo buddy.  But that's the rhythm of life - birth and death, or at least adoption and death in this case.

    Feels like Good News for Crazy-Cat-Lady-kind

  • A Poem for Today

    This afternoon I have begun some serious preparation for our, now five weeks, of mindfulness based reflection/worship, which has involved listening to almost a whole CD (though I did skip a couple of tracks as it was self-evident what they would contain) which culminated in a reading of this poem.  I've a feeling mindfulness won't teach me new ideas, but instead will help me establish forgotten practices... and I think it has been worth delaying the start of our series by a week to the time and space for me to get into an appropriate head space after a totally manic few weeks!


    Hokusai says

    Hokusai says look carefully.
    He says pay attention, notice.
    He says keep looking, stay curious.
    He says there is no end to seeing

    He says look forward to getting old.
    He says keep changing,
    you just get more who you really are.
    He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
    yourself as long as it is interesting.

    He says keep doing what you love.

    He says keep praying.

    He says every one of us is a child,
    every one of us is ancient
    every one of us has a body.
    He says every one of us is frightened.
    He says every one of us has to find
    a way to live with fear.

    He says everything is alive-
    shells, buildings, people, fish,
    mountains, trees, wood is alive.
    Water is alive.

    Everything has its own life.

    Everything lives inside us.

    He says live with the world inside you.

    He says it doesn't matter ifyou draw,
    or write books. It doesn't matter
    if you saw wood, or catch fish.
    It doesn't matter if you sit at home
    and stare at the ants on your veranda
    or the shadows of the trees
    and grasses in your garden.
    It matters that you care.

    It matters that you feel.

    It matters that you notice.

    It matters that life lives through you.

    Contentment is life living through you.
    Joy is life living through you.
    Satisfaction and strength
    is life living through you.

    He says don't be afraid.
    Don't be afraid.

    Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

    Let life live through you.

    - Roger Keyes

  • Read, Mark, Learn...

    This is the title I'm using for a six week preaching series looking at the first couple of chapters of the Gospel of Mark.

    When I looked through the lectionary readings for the period from Holy Innocents to Easter, I was struck by how confusing a chronology it portrays (e.g. the innocents are slain before the magi arrive) and how it repeats readings in pretty short order (Baptism and temptation of Jesus) so I decided to side step it for a bit, using the same (or a very similar) division of the text, but running it sequentially and then doing something else (not quite sure what yet, though have an idea) for Lent.

    Yesterday I spent a happy couple of hours reading commentaries and finding some ideas for the first sermon, "The Beginning of the Good News".  I hadn't imagined that there would be quite so much written about just this first phrase that would intrigue me, and set my creative juices flowing, but there you go!

    After a slightly crazy couple of weeks, life is settling back into a more even pattern and tonight the Cat Inspector calls to see if I am fit to be trusted with rescue kitties... so later on the hoover will come out and the newly washed cat beds put on prominent display!  I am feeling optimisitc about 2015 - even if I know I need to pace myself.

  • "More Light and Truth" and other Dissenting Ideas!

    It's been a busy day, and now I am bunking the evening service after morning worship and two lots of visiting.  All of it has been good, but I am tired, and need to rest (yes, I am FINALLY learning :-) )

    After some serious wrangling, this morning's sermon came together pretty well, and seemed to engage people - just as well as it ended up being a tad on the long side.  A sermon - or more properly reflection - on reading the Bible, on the place for diversity of interpretation and difference of opinion, on the inherently partial and contextual nature of Bible reading, a bit of a plea for more group Bible study and some cheeky references to assorted bits of popular theology.

    I chose the hymns carefully, with one exception coming from dissenting traditions, and expressing ideas that seem important.  So we had Caryl Micklem's "Give to me, Lord, a thankful heart", Bonhoeffer's "By Gracious Powers", George Rawson's "We Limit not the truth of God", Doddridge's "great God we sing your guiding hand" and Sydney Carter's "One more step"... but not in that order!

    All in all, it seems to have been a good day.  And, just in case anyone is daft enough to read it, here is the first bit of the sermon, before it morphed into pure prose...


    Before the beginning, God:


    Before Wisdom,

    Before the Word.


    In the beginning, into chaos, darkness and void

    God's Wisdom came forth from the mouth of God

    God's Word announced, "let there be light…"


    God's Spirit hovering over the yet formless creation

    God's Christ proclaiming eternal truth before time began


    The Word became flesh and lived among us

    The Word:

    The source of all life, bearing light into the continuing chaos, darkness and emptiness of creation

    The inextinguishable Light, penetrating, dispersing, absorbing the darkness

    Bringing enlightenment and lightness, order, meaning and purpose



    Scripture is rich in metaphor and symbol, human writers inspired by the very wisdom of which they speak employ inadequate human words to express mystery beyond comprehension, sometimes in parable and prose, sometimes in poetry and prophecy; always attuned to listen for the word of the God, always aspiring to express the inexpressible, to fathom the unfathomable and to share the story of the God who is love..


    The Bible:

    A library of wonder

    A treasure trove of stories

    A window into things beyond


    Sometimes viewed as an example of ancient literature

    To be dissected and analysed

    Critiqued and commented upon

    An interesting but ultimately largely irrelevant enterprise


    Oftentimes reduced to little more than a text book

    A rule book

    An instruction manual for those heaven-bound

    (Who has not heard the contrived, late C20 'acronym' Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)


    Among believers, a sacred text,

    Exalted above all others

    Used, misused, abused


    Deemed infallible by some

    Source of proof-text to prohibit or permit

    Silences employed inconsistently

    To prohibit "that which scripture does not explicitly permit" or

    To permit "that which scripture does not explicitly prohibit"

    Or any variant upon this theme


    Other believers recognise

    Internal errors (incorrect references to Hebrew scriptures from the New Testament)

    Discrepancies, inconsistencies and contradictions

    Seeking not for detailed rules and precise instructions

    But searching for principles and patterns


    So many ways to approach it

    So many alternative readings and understandings

    None intrinsically definitive

    Even if some are clearly wrong-headed

    Most, if not all, sincere

    In their quest for truth and light



    The Bible is a wonderful, complicated, easily ridiculed, and aggressively critiqued set of writings…


    And yet…


    And yet for half the world's population this quirky, bewildering, frustrating collection of ancient religious writing continues to be regarded as a source of truth; that contained within it is something that will help dispel the darkness, and order the chaos.  That here may be found wise words, helpful principles, comforting and encouraging thoughts.  That there is still "more light and truth" to be released from this book of books which enables us to seek the word of God as, guided by God's wisdom, we read, reflect, study, discuss its contents.

  • A definite maybe...

    Having 'lurked' on the Cats' Home website and seen how quickly house-cats are snapped up, when I spotted a Mum and Daughter pair today, I knew I had to act... so I have sent them a message via their email thingy and plan to phone them in the morning if they haven't replied.

    At present their given names translate from Greek and Polish to "Wisdom" and "Stranger" which makes for an interesting combination!  If I am lucky enough to be chosen by these cats, we will discuss names... can't have one that shares a name with my niece and another that sounds like a thug!!