Monday, 30 April 2012

If you can't beat em'

Let me join the world in congratulating Paul Fiddes on his 65th Birthday.

Some might think he's stolen my birthday-thunder, but I prefer to take this as evidence that all the best people are born on the 30th of April.

Hope you have a great day Paul.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Big Smoke - Small World

I'm excited to be heading off to London on placement in a couple of weeks time, and will be staying with a family who have very kindly offered to host me.

In exchanging introductory emails they said "We've just been looking at a few pictures of you on facebook so we feel we are getting to know you already."

Oh dear! I dread to think what impression Fb might give! Dressing as a male boxer-come-murder for the all-girl murder mystery night is a particular worry!

This comes hot on the heels of several incidents, though thankfully all within the Baptist fold, which is a small world in a way.

I was at a regional meeting about a month ago where someone instantly said
"Oh yes, I know who you are from Facebook. You interact with...."

At the BUGB Assembly, just a few days later, we were instructed to turn around and introduce ourselves to a random person. Mine said almost exaclty the same thing (I still have no idea who he was!). Then a couple of weeks later I was meeting a prospective tutor at my interviews for NBLC who knew of me in a similar manner.

At times like these I think I need to stop using social media, but then that would rather put the kibosh on my MA, which I propose to be (roughly) on Imago Dei, Church community, and the way the internet is changing things for better and worse!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Someone said to me yesterday
"Oh, and G said he knows who you are from blogging"

It seems my attempts to remain vaguely incognito (I'm not nearly secretive enough for total anonymity!) have failed. Oh well, at least I've not said anything controversial like suggesting God has a sense of humour, or we Christians should be loving and defend everyone, including Muslims.

Oh wait...

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Music 4: Easter Sunday!

Easter Day, and I'm listening to Morrisey's 'You Have Killed Me'

Christ has risen! The tomb is empty, and Jesus is out and about meeting people!

"As I live and breathe, you have killed me... yet I walk around, somehow"

(Try not to be put off by the strange 70's Italian TV pastiche video)

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Easter Music 3: Saturday

Easter Saturday, and I'm listening to Damien Rice's 'Cold Water'.

For his followers it was a time of confusion, lostness and questioning. Christ was dead - what now? What did it all mean? They didn't realise that Sunday was coming....

"Lord, can you hear me now?"
The response: (not clear on this recording)
"Don’t you know I love you/And I always have/ Hallelujah/ Will yo
u come with me?"

Friday, 22 April 2011

Easter Music 2: Good Friday

Good Friday, and I'm listening to Duke Special's 'Song of the Hours', which he wrote for a character in Brecht's play 'Mother Courage and her Children'.

Today Christians remember Jesus' death on the cross, and this song is a simple but powerful exploration of that day:

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Easter Music 1: Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday, and I'm listening to Eagle Eye Cherry's 'Save Tonight'.

Today Chri
stians remember Jesus sharing a final meal with his friends, reminding them that he was going to suffer, and sharing bread & wine, explaining they were symbols of his body and blood. Then he prayed in the garden and knew he had to go on, though he wished it weren't so...

Hear the track here:

Saturday, 5 February 2011

On a serious note...

The prime minister has said:

"Let's properly judge these organisations: Do they believe in universal human rights - including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separatism? These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations"

Oh dear - the Church is in big trouble.

As we know it today, the Church is far from being universally equal in its treatment of the genders. Despite Paul's theme of radical equality between all kinds of Christian, perhaps best epitomised in Galatians 3:28 (but laced throughout his work), we persist in using a couple of passages, out of context, to deny all else that Paul teaches on the issue. Of course we conveniently forget the radical inclusivity with which Jesus treated people too, because we don’t have a documented account of a statement of doctrinal position.

Equally, how welcoming have many Christian people been of people of other faiths? How many people have we heard say "this is supposed/used to be a Christian country!". Even in a city like Cardiff, which has been multicultural since its inception, I hear that kind of attitude regularly. Perhaps we didn’t mind so much when people kept to their own areas, and didn’t live next door to us? “Do [we] encourage integration or separatism?”

Speaking of ‘groups that get public money but do little to tackle extremism’, the BBC reports that the Prime Minister said “Ministers should refuse to share platforms or engage with such groups, which should be denied access to public funds and barred from spreading their message in universities and prisons.

Is there extremism the Christian faith? How does it look to a watching world when American Pastor Terry Jones stirs up hatred? How about Christians in Uganda who want to kill those accused of homosexuality, those who offer a public service but refuse it to gay couples, protests against musicals, hundreds of years of violence...

So what have we done to tackle extremism within the Church recently? Hmmm... maybe we should be giving the building grant money back? I’d better not go and help out the prison’s Christian fellowship again, and should certainly keep my mouth shut in Uni.

Well, Cameron was talking about Muslim groups but, clearly, who are we to point the finger? It upsets me that the language of extremism and division is being used to foster just that. As a Baptist, I feel it’s my duty and heritage to oppose such "anti-extremism"-extremism. Early Baptists didn’t campaign for their own freedom of conscience when they were still an illegal group (see Thomas Helwys), but argued for religious freedom for all.

How easy it would be to sit back and tolerate, nay approve of, the oppression of Muslims, in the name of ‘freedom’. But what happens when Christians fall out of fashion? What happens when we get comfortable and stop caring about politics, and our opinions become worthless when we don’t vote. Or what about when our rights begin to be restricted too? When we stand and declare “Freedom of conscience!”, who will stand with us, when we look such hypocrites?

Next time we sing "I will speak out for those who have no voices, I will stand up for the rights of all the oppressed" let's remember what we're singing.

And if for no other reason:

“First they came for the communists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

- Pastor Martin Niemoller

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Table runners

Inspired by SkinnyFairtradeLatte's post, I spotted this in the cupboard at College today. Isn't it wonderful that now, even salt is allowed to participate in Parkour?!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


The new College year has officially begun, and we continuing students have been delighted to receive the newbies. We have tried to set the ethos as a welcoming and open College community, and hope that the new folks will pick-up on this.

I decided to experiment with gingerbread the night before and, albeit a little burned, seemed to be enjoyed by all... repeatedly... before
eventually being eaten.

You see, having left the biscuits in college overnight, I found that someone had been playing 'anagrams' with them by the time I arrived in the morning! Then, by the time we were released from our first lecture, there was a second configuration, that cou
ld only have been done by a member of staff!

This tutorial example became a part of ethos-setting which was eagerly embraced, and as many as could reach the gingerbread attempted to form further words.

"You need to make more vowels!" someone crie
d accusingly. Do I look like Carol blooming Vorderman?! So I ate an "O" to make my point!

With half the teaching staff retiring at the end of this academic year, there is more than a little feeli
ng of demob-happy about the place!