Monday, 29 August 2016

T'Internet Thinking

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
1 Corinthians 13

I have, as you may have noticed been a bit taken aback by the Internet. Ah, the Internet. Where would we be without the Internet? There is a compelling argument that we would be doing very nicely thank you very much but we can’t deny that life is very different under the influence of the Internet. I love the Internet for lots of things – I love watching the telly at night and as I grope though my failing faculties and find I really can’t remember where I have seen that actress before, it really is great to be able to just slam her name into a search engine and get my sanity back. I love Social Media (mostly) I have friends and family all over the place and being able to see what they are up to is a great blessing for the vast majority of the time. (Sometimes I would rather not know to be honest but that is probably as a result of my own extensive capacity to worry and I need to get over it.)

Do you know what I hate on the Internet? All the pontificating. Do you know what I hate even more on the Internet? Christian Pontificating. Nothing makes my heart sink faster than someone I have never heard of, asking to follow me or popping up in my Inbox, and then reading on their bio “Amy/ Adam is a modern day prophet who speaks wisdom into YOUR life” Oh Good. Looking forward to it. Why are they picking on me? The Internet is full of people who have at last found the platform they were waiting for. They have a place at last to tell everyone how they think it should be done and they are going to do it. Now there is a place for wisdom and sharing of that wisdom. There is a place for those who have studied and developed their thinking to share that what they have found with us. In the olden days that used to be called preaching. I also know that some of the great minds have sat together and reasoned and come away with deep insights into the Word of God that they have passed on and these have cooled our struggling souls. That used to be called writing a book.

I can get very intimidated by the opinion formers and the wise (these are not necessarily the same people). They shout loudly, they obviously know stuff, they certainly know more than me, although that’s a low bar to be honest. Some of these people though define themselves by the fact that they can teach us. They find their security in their superiority. They forget sometimes to remind us that it isn’t about that camp or this camp. You don’t always need to choose a banner to march under. There are people out there that need someone to love them and ask questions afterwards.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

As my old mother would say ...

I am an old person now, I will not try to deny it. But have you ever looked at something and thought "What is that?" Katie Hopkins' Tweet about the young men who lost their lives on Camber Sands has probably had too much publicity already but I just can't make it compute in my head. What was it meant to achieve? Clicks? Notoriety? There are five families and many more friends grieving for sons who won't come home after a day trip to the beach. This is a real thing - not an Internet thing, not an opinion piece. I assume Katie Price loves her children. I would have thought she would have some empathy for these people. What on earth is behind it? Then I thought about it and a phrase my often bewildered Aged Parent uses "What is it all coming to? It's wicked isn't it?" Wicked - "evil or morally bad in principle or practice". It's not a word I use very often, but here it seems to fit well. "Wicked" - wicked to poke fun at the grieving and wicked to use their sorrow to advance your own faintly dubious career. It's a strong word but it fits I think.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A Day and a Life

You never know with a book do you? If anyone had told me how much I would mourn the passing of a series if books about a 15th century monastery and the people who live in and around it, I would have struggled to believe it. Yet here it is - the last in the Hawk and the Dove series by Pen Wilcock and I for one will certainly miss it. 
The monks are not there as an excuse to talk about ideas. They are presented as fully rounded human beings - with all the faults and lovely things that humans have, examined in equal measure. Father Peregrine - initially misunderstood but eventually adored is a personal favourite.  First and foremost, these are great stories where lots of things happen to people you really care about. Then you start to see how life has shaped these people and continues to do so. Their faith in God is often tested but God is also is their bedrock. 
In this final instalment, a novice goes missing. His absence affects everyone as they worry and pray for him. However, life goes on and the various members of the monastery continue to fulfil their very necessary responsibilities in the group.
In some ways this quite a courageous way to finish a series. An awful lot of stuff happens in the previous books. In this - not so much. You get to read about disciplines and individuals and their place in the community. If you are interested in these books, I would suggest that you don't start here. (Why would you? It's the last one in the series!) I would start with the first one (unsurprisingly) and I really do recommend the life affirming people of St Alcuin to you. 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

It's not a voice I recognise

So "Christian Voice" tweeted this. I hesitated to give this any publicity but I think I need to let anyone with a passing interest know that how stupid I think this is.

Where to start?

  • What part of that sentence can you ever, ever imagine Jesus Tweeting?
  • "Turning Gay"? Seriously? Who writes your tweets? Queen Victoria?
  • When did positioning yourself as a "Christian Lobby group" give anyone the right to become an Internet troll - because that is what this is.
  • You ain't lobbying for me mate. Not in my name. I'd be grateful if you could find another word than Christian to put in your title. You have brought the name into disrepute.
  • How is this Christian? To grubbily rejoice in someone's failure?
  • It's not even logical - apart from there being lots of gay medal winners in Team GB - why, for instance would God punish Tom Daley but reward Nicola Adams or the Richardson-Walshes in the Women's Hockey Team? It's just embarrassing.
  • Tom Daley had a bad day and the correct Christian response is that of the Samaritan who bears up and heals wounds. 
Your sir or madam are a buffoon and should be issuing a profuse apology.  *Blogger smacks Tweeter on each cheek with kid glove and turns on her heels in disgust*

Friday, 19 August 2016

Hoots Mon!

There's a moose loose aboot this hoose!

For readers of a younger disposition - no one needs to write to Nicola Sturgeon and complain about any anti-Scottish casual racism. It's an old song by Lord Rockingham's XI and if you are that bothered you can Google it. I am getting off the subject which is that there is - a moose - loose - in this house. We have a fireplace in our bedroom. We never use it but the chimney is open and we were in bed reading when we heard a noise in the chimney. I thought it might be soot but I looked right to see something small and brown scurrying from the fireplace under the wardrobe. Arrrgh!

It had obviously fallen down the chimney. It's not so much the mouse itself - it's the unexpected skittering that does your head in. HOH was dispatched to find it while I did an excellent impression of the maid from the Tom and Jerry cartoons - refusing to move from the bed.

HOH   "What do I do if I find it?"
Me      "No idea - your problem."

I am then dispatched to kitchen to bring back something "Useful". I return with a brush, a torch and Morecambe - our Jack Russell. The torch proves to be by far the most useful. The brush only provokes "Brilliant - just what we need - something to do a little light sweeping" sarcasm. The dog is excited at being invited upstairs at night and promptly settles down on my pillow. He doesn't seem to be picking up any mouse vibes. HOH uses the torch to look at the back of the wardrobe and sees a tiny little mouse with his head down seemingly waiting for a hammer to fall. HOH is immediately in love with small creature, replaces wardrobe carefully and announces that he is going to bed. Dog is returned to his cage and is not happy about it. Only option that I am left with is to go to bed - especially as HOH has turned off the light and I am left standing on the bed in total darkness. 
So the tiny, tiny mouse is still wild and free somewhere. It looked like an outside mouse to us so I am hoping it has succumbed to the call of the wild and gone back outside. 
As for our resident humane mouse catcher. He, as you can see, remains unconcerned.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


I'm not entirely sure how I have the nerve to just turn up here and start talking again. If you have all gone away to pastures new, I really would understand. It's not as if I have a terrific excuse. No deaths or sinister diseases. No great life changes. I was just exhausted. Not from blogging - it's hardly the most exacting thing in the world - at least the way I do it, it isn't. Just life seemed to catch up with me in lots of different ways and I sincerely couldn't think of one single bright or even not completely dim thing to say to you. So I didn't. Didn't say anything. So sorry about that. Now, however, I am well into a much needed staycation and am feeling much better. Just not going anywhere has done me a power of good. (Well, we went to London and I will chat about that at a later date)

I have tidied the blog up a bit and updated some photos. I really couldn't expect everyone to keep staring at that photo from my brother's civil ceremony which is now very old indeed. However, when you only take a flattering photo once every ten years - you like to stick with what you have. I have been writing a bit away from the blog and am putting some more work into that. I have lots of things on my mental plate at the moment. I don't ever want to feel that tired again and am looking at how to slow down - physically, mentally, spiritually. I am also doing some of your actual musing on my spiritual life  - who I am as a Christian, where my church fits in - indeed where I fit in, in my church. We are neither of us encumbered by needing to attend a church with a good youth group anymore and I am not sure if I need somewhere else. We have made no decisions - we are praying. Nothing exciting may happen.

I have been particularly struck by a post by Pen Wilcock about a retreat she was leading. I couldn't attend it unfortunately - work made the weekend just un-doable but the subject matter had been buzzing round my head. She talked about women of a certain age. I suppose mid-fifties or so. we may have raised our kids, have an elderly parent to er...parent but are still working and don't feel as if it is done for us at all. Yet - what is there to do? What if you get to that age and still aren't sure you have found your place? Is it too late? I'm sure it can't be. Sometimes, I am excited by endless optimism about God's plans and my possibilities. At other times I feel he has moved on to a younger model - one who is a bit more obedient and doesn't ask stupid questions. So this is where I am - a bit. I cannot possibly take up any more of your time. I shall return - probably sooner than you would prefer - but until then I leave you with the photo of a ten year old me above. That is the smile of someone who was choosing to value hope over expectation and I will be working tirelessly to return to that way of thinking ASAP
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