Saturday, December 16, 2006

Welcome Mary & Joseph

Today I would like to welcome Mary & Joseph to my blog. They are on an iJourney to Bethlehem using a Blogposada. Therefore lets start with an explanation of what a Posoda is: A posada is a journey undertaken by a representation of the holy couple in the run up to Christmas. This usualy is a journey undertaken by figurines but this is the internet so a picture it shall be! Having recieved the couple into the online home a reflection is given and then they are passed to the next house. The couple were with the cartoon blog"> yesterday and shall depart off for Sue Wallace As I write this I am awaiting news from a pregnant friend of mine, waiting to find out if she has given birth and if so to check all is well with them all. This, of course, is an exciting time and each day now brings a renewed sense of anticipation, will today be the moment when a new life comes into the world. Yet for all the joy this brings there is a darker side to this advent. 3 people close to me have all heard of a death of a friend. 3 different people, 3 different deaths, all the same pain. Whilst the circumstances of each death is different is has brought a cloud over this advent. How can I get excited about the beginning of new life when all I seem to see is the effects of others ending. The darkness within the picture presents a challenge to the more clean, clinical pictures of Christmas we are presented with. This couple is long into pregnancy and tired, yet still they are heading onward because they have no choice as the laws of biology and the land were dictating where they had to go. So then, how do we plough on through the hard , searching, questioning times to reach that moment of joy, excitement, realisation or even just internal contentment. To be honest, I can't give the answer because not only have I not got it but its different for each and everyone one of us. This is what makes Christmas quiet so unique, the birth of this child has a different meaning for each and every one of us - the impact of our personal faith as we continue to travel and explore the message we get will always change, alter and challenge us. Enough thinking, a wee prayer now ------------------------------- Father God Questioning, Challenging Uplifting, Hurting Crying, Laughing Close, Far Ups, Downs Whatever our Journey Stay With Us Amen ------------------------------- (For those with an interest in art, this is a good time to flag up the Methodist Art Collection which has a brilliant collection of classical and modern art, the pictures travel the country, are owened by the Methodist Church (therefore by all Methodist People) and have really enhanced recent books as the pictures are integrated. For those of you who have read "Called By Name" look at the pictures and you'll see most are reference to the collection. Take Care Y'All John * Sun 3rd Dec Andii * Mon 04 Dec Chris Munroe aka Desert Pastor * Tue 05 Dec Jem Clines * Wed 06 Dec Alistair * Thu 07 Dec Lydia * Fri 08 Dec Jennie Swanson * Sat 09 Dec Psalmist * Sun 10 Dec Dr Platypus * Mon 11 Dec Sally Coleman * Tue 12 Dec Jim Palmer * Wed 13 Dec Anne Gogh * Thu 14 Dec Weekend Fisher * Fri 15 Dec Dave Walker * Sat 16 Dec John Cooper - That is here! * Sun 17 Dec Sue Wallace at Abbess of Visions * Mon 18 Dec Lucas * Tue 19 Dec Joanna at Keeping Feet * Wed 20 Dec Adrian at Emerging Church info * Thu 21 Dec Ian Mobsy at Mootblog * Fri 22 Dec Bob Carlton * Sat 23 Dec Chelley at Chelley’s Teapot * Sun 24 Dec Abbey Nous

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Prayers for Ipswich

This last week, in the Uk, has seen a rather grusome story hit the headlines. The murder of 5 prostitutes in the Ipswich area has shocked and appaled most people. For once the shock was not that there are prostitutes but that someone was out killing. Beneath is a prayer for the situation that was posted on the Methodist Church website and worth reproducing
"My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the Lord looks down from the heaven and sees. What I see brings grief to my soul because of all the women of my city" (Lamentations 3:49-51) LORD, we pray for the families of all the young women who have been murdered in Ipswich.. We pray that you would hold them in the palm of your hand. We pray that they would know your comfort in the midst of their agony and grief. LORD, we pray for the streets of Ipswich that your peace will surround the women there. We pray for the community that they would know your comfort in the midst of this. " Written by the National Christian Alliance on Prostitution
Take Care Y'All John

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Return of UNCLE

At every family celebration there is one stereotype, the embarrassing uncle. Often this takes the form of some embarrassingly funky dancing. This year it appears that Britain's embarrassing uncle award has to go to Cliff Richard for his chronic "Christmas" single. Why is it chronic? I reproduce the lyrics beneath and all I'll say is looks great on paper but in reality would be sh*te. The underlying point is about how Christians connect with the world around, in particular on an institutional or organised level. Lets just say popping a whole load of buzzwords together doesn't help. Seriously, to prove my point (and for those who can't stomach watching him sing);
The satellite’s trackin’ Santa We text our Christmas list And leave our mobile numbers To help out ole’ Saint Nick. Sometimes we stop and a-wonder Has that ole’ bubble burst? Or will this Christmas morning be like the first? And tonight we still thank Bethlehem And bless the Lord for love again Bring peace on earth goodwill to men It’s the future not the past We’ll have a: First night Star bright Child of light So right 21st century Christmas Magic morn Tree adorn (?) Child is born Safe and warm 21st century Christmas Yeah….wow….. We'll microwave some popcorn Put on a DVD (??) Tim a thank you For blessing you and me Sometimes we watch and wonder Has Christmas lost its touch? Can a world beyond the money Be worth that much? But tonight as we thank Bethlehem And bless the Lord for love again Bring peace on earth, goodwill to men The future is the past Let’s have a: First night Star bright Child of light So right 21st century Christmas We got a: Magic morn Tree adorn (?) Child is born Safe and warm 21st century Christmas Yeah….yeah….oh…oh…… The satellite’s trackin’ Santa He’s got our Christmas list We left our mobile numbers To help out ole’ Saint Nick Sometimes we stop and (a-) wonder, Has that ole’ bubble burst? Or will this Christmas morning be like the first? And tonight as we thank Bethlehem And bless the Lord for love again Bring peace on earth goodwill to men The future is the past Let’s have a: First night Star bright Child of light So right 21st century Christmas We got a: Magic morn Tree adorn (?) Child is born Safe and warm 21st century Christmas Wait for snow Mistletoe Eyes aglow Ho, ho, ho, ho… Special wish Loving list (?) Hug and kiss All of this 21st century Christmas The satellite’s trackin’ Santa Got him for you and me I hope his flight is right on time He’s got my Christmas tree The microwave’s (full) of popcorn Put on a DVD And pray for peace on earth tonight It’s all we really need It’s all we really need It’s all we really need…3x and fade.... (Lyrics taken from only-lyrics.com)
To celebrate surving this overdose of dross I shall give you two wee amusing nuggets. Looking at Methodist Church reports one often ends up using shortened versions of the title, either words or initials... and I dare to tell you that satire is dead after reading these! Nature of Oversight ( a monolith of a tome that explains the nature of episcopacy, how it could feature within the current UK Methodist setup as well as all the practical, theological and historical background to the current setup) It's shortened name becomes, as it features in papers, "Noo" Future Use and Configuration of Training Institutes (A paper which re-wrote the support (withdrawing much financial support in its current form for studens) and style of pre-ordination and leadership training within the Methodist church - it includes the withdrawral of central support for some insitutions(which some claim could lead to the death of those instutions)) Its shortened name becomes, go on say it, "Fucti" Take Care Y'All John

Monday, December 11, 2006

Who Satires What?

Tonight I have been working hard to try and finish some essays. I have been editing and taking some time of to do some ironing. When ironing I have tuned into the 30 greatest political comedies on More4. It has been truly cronic so far, with "Chas (Charlie Kennedy) and Mike (Michael Howard), the self styled Ant and Dec of More4" hosting using some abysmaly scripted "comedy" moments. That said the comedies they have been are great fun and the shocking thing is how ripe the tories appear for satire compared to any other party. Anyone I thought I'd post a clip of somethign I'd forgotten about - a rather close to the bone satire on election night, courtesy of Monty Python. Take Care Y'all John

One Bladdered Bishop!

Today a surf around the news sites brings up the story of the Bishop who was mugged last week. Only the police are saying a differing story- did a Bladdered Bishop take a tumble? I couldn't possibly speculate... (the below is the news story from the BBC News Website)
Bishop incident was 'not mugging' Police have said they are not treating an incident involving the Bishop of Southwark as a mugging. The Right Reverend Tom Butler suffered head injuries and lost his mobile phone and briefcase after a drinks reception at the Irish embassy on 5 December. He reported the matter to police thinking he been robbed near his home in Streatham, south London. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said it was not being treated as a mugging but as a case of missing property. In The Guardian newspaper the bishop is reported as saying: "The problem is, I don't remember anything. This has been a difficulty from the start. A supposition "I told the police I arrived home without my briefcase and with bruising on my face and a gash on the back of my head. "I went to the doctor the next day and was told my injuries were consistent with a blow to the head, so I assumed I had been mugged, but that's a supposition. I am hoping the police will be able to be clearer." Last week, a spokesman for the bishop said the prelate was so bruised in the attack he was not able to wear his mitre the following day. On Monday, a spokesman for Mr Butler said: "The Bishop of Southwark attended a reception in Belgravia on Tuesday evening. He left the reception to travel home by public transport. "When he arrived home he was without his briefcase and mobile phone and had several fresh head wounds. He reported the matter to the police and sought medical attention." The police spokesman said: "Our inquiries are continuing into the incident, which is not being treated as a street robbery but as a case of missing property."
So watch out after your Christmas parties! Take Care Y'All John

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sweet Revenge

This week has had a unique sense of Deja-Vue about it. Norman Kember (dude who was held hostage in Iraq) was joined by his two other (surviving) hostages for a press conference (click (here for the subsequent press release containing their statement). In it the "reason for the season" was mooted and it has provided some exciting exploration. Their key message was that of forgiveness, as they were out there to bring peace to start with. This idea of being peacemakers was coupled with their approach to This may all sound like liberal namby-pambyism but it fits will with a piece of Radio 4 radio this week. Off the Page (click here to listen again)explored concepts and experiences of revenge and not only what is revenge but it explores differing levels of revenge and both violent and non-violent forms of it. I though that it provides a good balance and provocation to the grey matter. This is because the underlying message from it is that revenge is not only good but needed but you shouldn't always consider violent revenge. This was illustrated by a brilliant tale within where the child of a person killed in the Israel/Palestine conflict lived incognito with her father's killers and only revealed her true identity after a year and a half. The reaction of the people showed a true indentification of the human impact of the story, this was a version of the Impact statement now being used in the UK courts. Both these examples have provided a form of release and non-violent confrontation/revenge for those who feel wronged by what has gone on. This interlinked with the Norman Kember story as much revoltion to, or suggestion of , revenge to their captors was based upon the implication of the need for violence (even if it is legal violence through a possible death penalty) and so what would our thoughts be if it wasn't violent revenge. Therefore if non-violent revenge can sometimes seem more palatable then does that make it any better? Of course not, revenge is revenge but it can take many forms and take us all by surprise by either the lust for it or when we fall for it. Happy Thinking! Take Care Y'All John