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  • Truth from Fiction

    One evening last week, I watched a short BBC2 documentary about a project to encourage teenagers to read.  The book they were invited to read (and some of them did, eventually) was 'One' by Sarah Crossan, a teen fiction story told from the viewpoint of a conjoined twin.  I was intrigued, downloaded it onto my Kindle and started to read whilst watching the programme.  I was soon hooked! 

    It's an easy read, from a mechanical point of view, and I found it to be engaging, powerful and moving, even if, ultimately predictable (and the documentary includes a huge spoiler!).

    So as a 'day off' treat this morning, I lay in bed and read the reast of the book - in total it took me a couple of hours I think.

    Rather than chapters, the book is set out as a series of titled 'reflections', and this one struck me as especially meaningful and powerful (and has an implicit spoiler)


    No Run-throughs

    In English class we were encouraged to write

    drafts and make edits

    until our words were as clear

    as filtered water.

    In math we were warned to

    review our workings,

    ensure the figure at the end

    was correct.

    And in music we rehearsed

    songs a hundred times,

    trying out a glut of harmonies

    before Mr Hunt was satisfied.


    Yet when it matters

    when it's a life-and-death decision,

    like whether to slice ourselves

    apart or not

    we have no way to perfect the path we're taking

    and only have

    one choice


    one chance

    to get it right.


    Sounds like an astute reflection on the stark reality that life is not 'a dress rehearsal', that 'you only live once' (YOLO) and that you have 'one life, live it' (OLLI).

    A novel worth reading, exploring some ideas around identity and prejudice and the challenge of choices between a rock and a hard place.  Worth a read - though you may need a few tissues.

  • Bookcases and counting!

    Yesterday afternoon I took a bus out to our local Swedish furniture (etc.) store in order to select and order new bookcases for my home-office ready for when my books are shifted from church in (eek!) less than two weeks' time.

    It's been a strange thing, identifying what I need, what I would like, what will fit, and what my budget will permit.  I have been very humbled by a generous financial gift from another minister that allowed me to have "what I would like" (because it matches my desk!) rather than what I could afford (which doesn't).

    It has also involved me in counting - or at least estimating - the number of books I have, which, it has to be admitted, comes to a rather scary total.  Somewhere in the region to 2000 - 2500 I think.  At some stage there will need to be a book cull - weed out the duplicates, pass on or sell those I'll never open again (or even open for the first time), review why I keep those that are purely sentimental (whether that's a Hayne's manual for an Austin metro, Enid Blyton school stories, or a book of Bible quizzes from yester year).  But for now, it's more a matter of getting the room ready to receive the bookcases (hopefully freecycling some furniture I no longer need) and counting my many blessings...

    • The blessing of books
    • The blessing of the ability to read
    • The blessing of choice
    • The blessing of a safe, warm, dry place to work
    • The blessing of generous friends
    • The blessing of education
    • The blessing of counting

    Surely, I can count myself richly blessed.

  • Endlessly Varied...

    The life of a minister is never dull, and mine is certainly very full at the moment.  It's also endlessly varied.  Today I have exchanged emails on such diverse topics as disposal of chairs, and getting married in Scotland if you live in England!  I have hunted out resources for an 'All Souls' service and been interviewed on the rationale underlying the way I conduct Communion.  I've been at a small meeting about practical matters and had a telephone conversation about an upcoming visit, in an official capacity, to hear someone preach.  I've half pondered a few ideas for next Sunday's sermon and I've had a conversation about archive materials.

    In the days when my time had to be allocated to 'charging numbers' I'd have struggled today - some of it just didn't fit under any neat heading.  But that's the nature of ministry - endlessly varied, often unexpected and sometimes delightfully surprising.

    Not sure I have any 'normal' days this week, but I do have lots of interesting things lined up.