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Archive for February, 2008

Poem.

I discovered this on an old tape the other day. Stewart Henderson is a genius poet, you’ll have discovered his way with words if you’ve listened to any Martyn Joseph stuff. He’s best at stabbing into the heart with truth, here’s such an example:

“The Bible that I read interprets poverty as sin
I’d like to prove this now but I’m not sure what part it’s in.
So if you’re in a death camp finding things a little tough,
The reason that you’re there is cos your faith is not enough.

I don’t use words like failure cos everything’s so super
I know that God can heal, and if he can’t there’s always Bupa.
And here I am so famous with a worldwide ministry,
Having scrapped the bleeding Jesus for a prosperous trinity

Marketable, confidence and public platform charm
A rages to riches testimony, a talent to disarm.
And then the big finale with the tax free loud hard sell
No need to trouble acolytes with rumours of a hell.

Now all you people unemployed, no need to feel condemned,
It’s true that you’re all losers, but here’s how to make amends.
Remove the truth of suffering and other dangerous parts,
Encourage self obsession in the Rolls Royce of your hearts.”

(Stewart Henderson.)

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Jump on the bandwagon

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Ok, so everyone* is noticing it, and blogging about it, and being amused by it. But it’s so deliciously fun. I always knew the West Wing was real. 🙂 One day it would be fun to write an thesis on the nature of being human as reflected by the West Wing. For now enjoy the overly talked about similarity between series 7 and the current US elections.

*’Everyone’ being a pejorative term, and only really including West Wing geeks like myself.

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Supervision Day

Thursday is Relay Day. Here they are:

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And here’s what we did today. Prizes for which bit of the Bible this represents:

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It’s four weeks until Easter week.

This week saw the move of Neighbours to Channel 5. I haven’t watched the fair programme for a while now but I am delighted that finally after all the petitioning, Channel 5 have seen sense and you can now watch the Neighbours omnibus on a Saturday. Woop.

Tonight I baked a cake and used my lovely bread maker for the first time in about 3 years. Tomorrow morning we will awake to the smell of fresh bread. Mmm.

Things the English take for granted really aren’t that simple. For example, tonight my Danish housemate asked me about the Prince of Wales. Who is he? Why is he the Prince of Wales? Why not the Prince of England or Britain? Things got a bit more confusing when I revealed that his wife was the Duchess of Cornwall and the Queen’s husband the Duke of Edinburgh. To which she quite rightly responded, “and the Queen? What is she?”. My reply: “Just the Queen really.” If I was Stephen Fry and headed up a quite interesting quiz show I’d be able to furnish her with the answers. As it is I may ask my parents tomorrow.

Tomorrow my parents visit. This is another thing I like. Hugs, walks on the beach and the delights of people who really know me and, somewhat bizarrely, still love me. Hoorah.

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Sitting

This week has been a strange one in the world of Hoveactually. Illness has bound me to the sofa, memories of this time a year ago have made me muse, and the constant sunshine has made me smile and think that something might be ok after all.

Things of note this week:

It’s been a year since the lovely James Meagher went Home. Quite apart from the strangeness of the passing of time, it’s weird that it’s been a year. We wonder how we cope with life, how people manage to keep walking through the pain of this world. And there is no quick answer, sometimes it’s like walking through the rain on a windy day, head down, face set and just the effort of putting one foot in front of the other. This life has many of those moments in it. Thankfully they are tempered by the times when the sun shines through the clouds, or even when the rain eases up a little.

I always turn to Martyn Joesph at these times:

“Sometimes I’m tired of the struggle, sometimes I’m tired of this face.
We shall overcome, just like the man said.
We’re walking on , we are walking. We’re walking on, just like the man said.”
“And though the bleak sky is burdened, I’ll pray anyway,
And though irony’s drained me, I’ll now try sincere,
And whoever it was that brought me here, will have to take me home.”

I’ve therefore been pondering the resurrection a whole lot more this week. It’s the one thing to hold onto. I have so many questions, so many things I don’t understand about this world and faith in it’s Maker. But I do know that He lived, died and rose. And that makes all the difference in this crazy world. Eternity is out there. Now we walk through valleys of shadows, one day we’ll be home.

Being ill is fairly rubbish, even for a little while, but when you wake up and your head is clear, your body has stopped aching and the sun is shining, the relief is wonderful. Times that by a million billion and you’ll not even come close to the sense of relief when we stand on the new earth, sun streaming on our faces, and the sure knowledge that we have come home.

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Here some advice I’m giving at an evangelism training day tomorrow.

Don’t pray.
Don’t talk about Jesus.
Don’t love people, have chats with them purely to win arguments and not cos you care for them.
Don’t enjoy it, it’s rubbish news.
Don’t live it out, get drunk down the bar each night so that people can see it doesn’t really make any difference to your life.
Give up
Hide away for the next two weeks
Feel guilty and rubbish, God doesn’t really love you and thinks you are a rubbish person, why would he want to use you anyway?
Think that it all depends on you.
Get fed up when everyone you talk to doesn’t get converted the second you start talking about Jesus.
Don’t listen to people, answer the questions you can answer, loudly, force your opinions on them.
Don’t bother inviting your mates to anything, they think you are weird as it is.
Don’t bother making friends with people you meet this week. They’re all a bit odd anyway.
Do things on your own, be a lone ranger, don’t encourage anyone, what use will that be?
Complain A LOT. About everything. Moan moan moan about the CU, about the committee, about how rubbish life is.
Complain some more, especially behind peoples backs.
Did I mention?, don’t pray, it doesn’t work anyway.
God doesn’t really want people to come to know him does he?
Be confident in yourself, you are great aren’t you? And certainly not weak and foolish, of course you can convert the world.
Think the message is stupid. Tell people something they want to hear. Tell them becoming a Christian will make them happy, healthy and rich.
Of course it’s not true for everyone, as long as people are happy, that’s what counts.
Stop praying, I thought I told you before. A waste of time in this random fate driven world.

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Lent.

Today marks the start of Lent. Which depending on your background might leave you feeling guilty that you haven’t even managed to give up chocolate for today let alone 40 days, for others it’s a general shrug of the shoulder at those Pharisaical Anglicans. At somepoint in the history of the church (if I cared more I’d look it up and tell you) it was deemed a Good Idea to create a Christian Calender to mark important occasions down each year so we’d remember Jesus a whole lot more than we do. Thus Easter, Christmas, Lent, Advent and a whole host of other days that are too numerous to put here.

Lent is one of those occasions in which the real meaning has been taken over others. Either by self help gurus to help us improve ourselves by being thinner (who decided thin was good and fat was bad in the moral code of life anyway?). Or it’s one of those things that smug people like to deride in a I’m so free I don’t need to be disciplined for 40 days kind of a way. Both approaches have little merit. Feel free to ignore Lent by all means, but try not to be smug about it. And feel free to observe Lent but please do more than give up chocolate. At least find a good reason for giving up chocolate. Maggi Dawn explains all this far more eloquently than I ever could.

“Lent is not about giving up luxuries, not about losing weight or gaining other benefits, not about food per se, not about de-cluttering or Feng Shui or about ay other kind of feel-good, de-toxifying exercise. In the end, it’s about denying yourself some of the essentials of everday life in order to focus on the reality that we depend upon God for life itself; about re-aligning ourselves with God and his purposes in our world; about reminding ourselves that all we have is a gift from God in any case.

And neither is Lent about achievement. We cannot earn God’s love, nor save ourselves. If our Lenten Fast is understood well, it will relieve us of the need to try harder, achieve more, feel worthy. It will ground us in the firm and unshakeable knowledge that we are human – we are but dust, and to dust we shall return – but that to be human is enough, under the loving gaze of God.”

So, if you give up chocolate do it because Jesus is sweeter and we need him in our lives. Find it hard and feel your need of God. But here’s 5 things that might be better than giving up chocolate this Lent and feeling fairly smug about it.

1. Turn off the TV for half an hour a day. Read through the gospels in that time.

2. Feast on chocolate each weekend and remember the Good Provider of it all.

3. Use your time in a different way, do something nobody sees or notices that really helps someone. Don’t tell anyone about it.

4. Actually fast for one day a week. Let it remind you of how much we need God.

5. Wake up each morning and remember that you are a dearly loved child of God. Enjoy that for a bit. Smile. Tell someone else who they are.

Really, do anything that reminds you that you are a creature in the hands of a quite brilliant creator.

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