Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Faith Suppers

By now they had arrived at the house of the town official, and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and the neighbours bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Clear out! This girl isn’t dead. She’s sleeping.” They told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. But when Jesus had gotten rid of the crowd, he went in, took the girl’s hand, and pulled her to her feet—alive. The news was soon out, and traveled throughout the region.
Matthew 9 23-26

So this is the Message account of  Jesus raising the Official's Daughter from the dead. And I love it! Not for the super spiritual obvious reason that you might think but because I have seen the way Christians react around tragedy and this is spot on. The way we gather and don't know what to say - because what is there to say? We just want to be there to support and to give something. But what is there to give in a situation like this? Well people need to eat I suppose - so let's cook...a casserole! Everyone loves a casserole. (Practical too because you can freeze it and warm it up) Now I suppose I could be a bit negative and say that instead of people turning to Jesus they messed around with ineffectual things like casseroles and there is some truth in that. But, while we are getting round to coming to our senses and coming to God for help, there's a lot to be said for reaching out to people in a loving practical way. "By their casseroles, ye shall know them" - as the King James Version almost certainly never says.

Sunday, 22 February 2015


Even to your old age and grey hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46 4 

My personal belief, for which I have no evidence other than that of my own eyes, is that God seems to like to give himself elbow room to work with people. Although nano second miracles are possible, he seems to lead people slowly and purposefully to the place they need to be. Answers to prayer can seem to be painfully slow and tortuous. Sometimes you look at where you have arrived and although you are not sure how you got there, you see that God has sustained and rescued - in that order.

We may not be able to get what we want immediately, we may need to actually go though that thing we have asked not to go through. But through those times, God has promised to sustain. I think maybe we need to be careful that we take the temporary sustenance that God gives us and not reject it because it isn't the big deal we were looking for. Once, in a period of financial tightness, (dead skint as we say up north) God sent us money to pay for some stuff that we needed. My attitude was one of panic, hold on to the dosh, don't spend it, who knows what is in the future. HOH said - "You are in danger of not using the manna that God has sent for this." He was annoyingly right.

The sustaining and the carrying come first followed by the rescue. Lots of sustaining, lots of rescues. In the small things, in the big things. All our lives. Until we are old and grey.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

More Hall

So apparently this is leaking viewers like an old leaky thing in a leaky shop. It is up against Midsomer Murders (and I am a bit partial to that sort of thing myself to be honest) but we are still with it - big time. 
Someone at work said it is too slow but I think that's why I like it, being quite a slow person myself. I like the richness and the three-dimensiony (not a word I know) way that it has, It is quite scary too, knowing as we do that it not exactly a Disney-like. Happy endings are hard to come by here. Henry has turned on Anne Boleyn and it is all very tense. Rylance now looks more and more like the Holbein portrait all the time. I am getting a very tight posterior just sitting here.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A Bit Lost

Sorry all. I am not sure quite what happened with the T'Internet. I thought I had put a blog up and then it wasn't there and then some comments flew the nest as well. I am wrestling manfully with a new laptop and losing most of the time so it's probably my fault. Never mind - all seems to be ok now. 

Anyway, just calling in to let you know I am really enjoying The Silkworm from JK Rowling which has just gone into paperback. (Daughter's gap year job at Waterstones bookshop paying off at last - bought this for me half price)  She is a really talented writer of stories I think. All those years writing Harry Potter and it was almost as if it wasn't that difficult because it was a children's story (this is quite obviously rubbish) and here she is proving that she is dead clever by creating a really good detective series for adults as well. Genius. (I never liked her) 

There is nothing on at the pictures except for half term kids films and Fifty Shades of Grey and though I bow to no one in my admiration for Paddington I have seen it already. The less said about 50 Shades the better. Leaving behind all the very deep debates about submissive relationships , it just seems me like whoever is marketing this is having the time of their lives just counting the money. 

We are still talking at Towards Belief every Monday night in Costa Coffee. The idea is to talk about things that have stopped people believing such as religious violence, miracles, abuse in the church etc. Really big deals and it is all very interesting. The more we talk though, the more I get to believe that what is needed most is a work of the Spirit. We can talk till we are blue in the face but I think that it is God that warms the heart. (This is not an advert for Calvinism - it is just me thinking that without God, talking doesn't cut it) Still, am enjoying the company of the people there and I get a free cup of tea as well so Hurrah for evangelism, that's what I say!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


To the pictures to see Selma. Cannot recommend enough. Really cannot. David Oyelowo is outstanding as Martin Luther King. But then everyone is outstanding - Tom Wilkinson as President Johnson, Tim Roth as George Wallace. (Brits playing the 3 pivotal roles funnily enough) There is a lot of guff talked about "important films" but this is very important. It's not always an easy watch, containing as it does the violent attacks on the marches from Selma to Montgomery to demand the vote, but it is a fantastic film. 

There has been some controversy about the lack of Oscar nominations for this movie. I really cannot understand why the Academy has ignored it. On top of it having an outstanding central performance, in a way it was also one of America's finest hours. I don't mean the violence and intimidation against black people but the fact that, in the end, most Americans were so horrfied by the violence that they saw on screen, that the legislation was passed and all blocks removed to black people voting. They didn't ignore what was happening. 
Of course it was complicated and messy and good things came out of polital expediency almost accidentally and no-one got to wear the knight in shinning amour suit but things did change. The references to Ferguson at the end of the film are a reminder of how far everyone still has to go but this is a great film about a great cause. In my humble opinion, you need to go and see it.  


Monday, 9 February 2015

And in other news..

I sometimes think that this is a bit of a boring blog compared to some others I read. I don't have a theme like money-saving or make up, I'm not a pastor or a pastor's wife or anything so I can't show you that lifestyle and I'm not a particularly deep thinker so I can't really challenge you on where my brain has gone today. This means that, sometimes, I do struggle with what to write, so in the absence of any real news this is what has gone on this week.

Great excitement as we attracted our first sparrow to the bird feeder. Unfortunately there is no photo as, as soon as I saw it, I jumped up and down with excitement and it flew away. Am hoping it has gone to tell its friends. (About the abundance of seed - not the madwoman) For those of you who don't have problems getting lots of birds into your garden. This is Plymouth. Most birds round here are seagulls with huge wingspans and more interested in your fish and chips than a few pathetic seeds. My friend is having more joy with his bird feeder - he is putting meat and potato pie on it though.

Have booked tickets for daughter and myself to go to Cardiff to see Caitlin Moran, one of my daughter's favourite authors. For those of you who don't know her she is very funny and very, very potty mouthed. FOW2 is concerned that I will stand up and shout "That is too far young lady!" while pointing at the stage. I almost certainly won't.

Supporting my theory that I will always look like I have been cleaning out caravans when I run into someone I haven't seen for a while, this morning I popped to the Co-op with my hair sticking up like Billy Whizz in the Beano and I ran into someone I hadn't seen for at least five years! No really, I know I am prone to slight exaggeration but I counted and it is probably more than five years. What is that about? Why do I not "just run into"  anyone when I am fragrant and coiffed? Probably because the proportion of time when I am fragant and coiffed is much lower than the proportion of time when I am er... not.

FOW2 has been offered a place at Exeter University from September. She is doing English with Film Studies (one year in France because she is geniunely very keen on French Film) She was very excited to hear that her brother was going to see Breathless - or À bout de souffle to give it its proper name,  at York University's Film Society. Unfortunately she was a bit disappointed when I received a message from him saying "That French Film - 3 words - Emperor's New Clothes. Just Rubbish. I only went because Jack said that there would be loads of good looking girls there and he was lying" Not everyone will share our passions I suppose.

Tonight's Towards Belief meeting is about "Religious Violence" which sounds nice and cheery. Am looking forward to a lot of talk about the Crusades which I refuse to be held responsible for and Northern Ireland which I also barely understand. I do not expect to be much help tonight.

This was the news from Martha Towers. Thank you for reading.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

Courage To Speak


This is in my kitchen - ignore it - couldn't think of a suitable photo.

God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything
Ephesians 4

I think I have always sort of avoided speaking the truth in love. Mainly because, in my limited experience growing up as a Christian, it seemed to be a big excuse for some people to be quite horrible to you and then tag on the end "I'm saying this in love" I am also a bit of a coward who is bad at confrontation so that's another reason I avoid it. However, I got myself in a bit of a pickle this week by not pulling someone up on something they should have been doing (or not doing in this case). This had been going on for a quite a while and I had kept quiet about it (partly because it was a troublesome time for the person in question) and then I kind of lost it a bit resulting in me being pulled up for over-reacting. After I had got over my massive sense of the injustice of it all, I thought a bit about speaking truth in love. Not all of this is positive and scattered with Christian Fairy Dust. 

  • To speak the truth takes courage. Sometimes we try and avoid doing it because it will often cause confrontation. It will need you to gird your loins or loin your girds (I can never remember which)
  • To speak in love does not mean you can say what you want and then tag "I am speaking in love" at the end as if it justifies all the bile you have just dished out. You say what is true as you see it - always thinking of the other person and the effect this is having.
  • It is not a bully's charter.
  • It is not permission for someone to bully you.
  • Sometimes it is essential even though it is unpleasant. It is like spraying spiritual Febreeze into a situation (or opening a window if you live in our house - air freshener makes me cough) It prevents build up of quiet, muttering misunderstandings. It stops silent bad feeling breeding quietly in a dark corner.
  • As Ephesians says - you have to be grown up to know the whole truth. Always be awake to the possibility that your perception of the truth may not be the whole story. This is where the telling it in love comes in. Makes it more balanced and puts the tellee first. 
  • Sometimes it is a very pleasant thing, it is you telling someone something good about themselves motivated by love for them rather than you getting on their good side.
Am feeling bit better about this now - just putting it into practice is the killer. Another weird Christian cliche - "I love you in the Lord" - what's that about? No  - I'm leaving it.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

This Girl Can

This is really good. Don't you think this is really good? I think this is is really good.


Sunday, 1 February 2015


To church on Friday to help with a clothes swap thing. The idea being to raise money to send a team to Nepal so that they can dig a well or buy text books or some other good and life affirming thing that makes me lie on my face in bed and question what I am doing with my life. All went very well I think. Plenty of money raised. Everything was a pound or you could pay more. I ended up paying more for two bags I'm not sure that I like very much. (Although the red one is not as scary as the lighting makes out and the Cath Kidtson still had its label on and is therefore "a bargain") I am now aware that retail is another thing that I cannot do as the following shows.

I am very bad at making small talk with potential customers. I really have no idea if that suits you or not. Look at me - do I show any signs of having any idea of what looks good on a person? 

I have no patience. If I think it unlikely that we have that top in a size 20 - I am unlikely to come with you to have a look. I feel that life is too short.

The clothes are there for people to look at. It is not acceptable for me to want to cry because someone has just shaken that jumper out for the umpteenth time after I have carefully folded it - again.

It is ABSOLUTELY not acceptable to snigger behind the clothes rail with someone because a generous person has brought a basque in. My trouble is I have lived too sheltered a life. I expect someone, somewhere looks really good in it. Hopefully the weather warms up a  bit for you.

Retail is quite tiring I have found. 

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