Showing posts from May, 2011

Dangerous Worship Aids

The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley is a blog that makes me laugh most times I visit. (Yes, it's meant to be funny.)

They were very excited about their 'Flag and Maracas Service' this morning.

'Archdruid Eileen' announced that they'd
"never had two such dangerous worship aids in one service before - or, at least, not since Marston's "Gunpowder and Itching Powder" service, and in retrospect that was just plain stupid." This got me thinking about 'dangerous worship aids' I've experienced.
MARACAS. I'm thinking home-made variety. Who would buy a maraca when you can make one with a recycled washing up liquid bottle, some things to put inside to shake and strong tape to seal the somethings in? This is dangerous if you have children who worship with all their minds and strength. Unlike adults who struggle with child-proof containers, a child will easily break the maraca's seal. If this is done by over vigorous shaking the drie…

God and one woman make a majority

Josephine Butler (1828 - 1906) was one of the great reformers in 19th century England and one of the women I most admire.

She was an active feminist, campaigning for higher education for women. She is perhaps best known for her concern for the welfare of prostitutes, recognising them as victims of male oppression. She was highly critical of the double standards of Victorian sexual morality. She led the campaign for the repeal of the notorious Contagious Diseases Acts. She was also active in the campaign against child prostitution which led to the raising of the age of consent in the United Kingdom from 13 to 16 years.

She was a Christian, married to a clergyman. She once said that 
'God and one woman make a majority'.Perhaps that was the secret of her determination to work tirelessly for reform.

There's a brief biography of Josephine Butler here.

Today is her commemoration day in the Church of England.

God of compassion and love, by whose grace your servant Josephine Butler foll…

Humans Welcome by Appointment Only

Do you notice curious signs? I do. It's one of the delights of travel and days out exploring.

I spotted this sign on a cold February day last year, while looking for lunch in an unfamiliar place. It was outside a pub near the quay in Orford, Suffolk, England. 

We had no appointment or reservation and didn't think we qualified as children, dogs, parrots or horses. So after reading the sign my husband and I were pleasantly surprised to be given an excellent meal here.

The most disturbing thing about this sign is that while the pub welcomes children, it seems they don't consider children to be human.

It turned out to be a welcoming place though and the views near by were superb, even on a dull winter day. A happy memory on this dull and drizzly Bank Holiday Monday.

Photos: my own

Saturday Six

These six doughnuts (or 'donuts' if you prefer) is the best illustration I can come up with for this collection of other people's goodies, otherwise known as a 'round-up'. What follows for Saturday are links to six posts I've enjoyed or found helpful this last week. None of them have anything to do with doughnuts, but you might find one or two morsels to enjoy or make you think.

A Benedictine nun is not the first person you might think of for advice on digital communication, but Digitalnun is as 'tech savvy' as most of us need to be. Her post Minimial Geekdom: Blogging by Request summarises for the ordinary person the 'must-haves' and the dreamland 'nice to haves'. I like the way she writes about skills as the essentials e.g. you don't have to own a computer (go to a library or internet cafe) but you do need to learn how to use one.

Good in Parts has a beautiful story about a crying child in Crying for Love.

In 'Gay Bishops, angry …

British Weather Anglican Style

My husband thinks I'm obsessed by the weather forecast. This is not true. I simply like to make sure I'm suitably dressed for the weather, which in the UK is normally changeable. All the same, I do like this vintage weather forecast (1966) sung by the Master Singers, in the style of a traditional Anglican chant.

What we British really mean

"NOT HOW ODD BUT HOW INTERESTING" is an unforgettable phrase from my schooldays. It was used by the head teacher at the end of most summer terms. Well that's how I remember it, but I've discovered I may be the odd one here. As many of us were departing for far-flung places, the head wanted to encourage taking a genuine and respectful interest in different peoples and cultures. We were forbidden to say (or even think) 'HOW ODD' when faced with unusal new experiences. We were allowed to say (or think) 'HOW INTERESTING'.

Secretly, at the time, my friends and I used to laugh at this advice and the manner in which it was delivered, especially the word "IN-TER-EST-ING" pronounced slowly and with great enthusiasm. I now see it as useful advice in lots of situations. At some point in their growing up I must have passed this on to my children, who now know that if I say "HOW IN-TER-EST-ING" that what I probably really mean is HOW ODD. But so…

Good Shepherd Sunday

Risen Christ, when you ask us, as you asked your disciples: "Who am I for you?" we would like to answer: you are the One who never abandons us.
Prayer by Brother Roger of Taize

Putting Words in Our Mouths for 400 Years

2011 is the 400th anniversary of the translation of the Holy Bible known as the Authorized Version (AV) or more commonly the King James Bible (KJB). Some months into 2011 I thought it was about time a published a HAPPY BIRTHDAY post.

For regularly reading, study and understanding I prefer to use more modern and more accurate translations. But for sheer beauty of the sound of its language when read aloud the King James Bible is hard to beat. One of the translators' intentions was that its phrases should sound well when read aloud in church. And they do. This book has greatly enriched our language both in literature and the spoken word.

Some of its words and idioms are completely unintelligible to anyone not brought up on 16th/17th century English. But many phrases in common use now in everyday English originate from the King James Bible. If you want examples of such phrases, have a quick listen to Glen Scrivener's cleverly contrived 3 minute poem in which he uses 100 of them. …

Friday Five

Here's a list of links to stuff worth reading in relation to reaction this week to Osama bin Laden's killing.

Love your Enemies, a post on the blog of 'The Rev and a Dog' has helpful quotes from Martin Luther King on why we should love our enemies and from the Vatican spokesperson a call to reflect on the "serious responsibilities of each person before God and men".

Simon Barrow's blog on 'Ekklesia' has a thoughtful post 'Rejoice? Bin Laden and the Cycle of Violence'

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave a succint answer to a question about whether the killing of Osama Bin Laden was justice for 9/11 and other attacks.

Krish Kandiah, in a post entitled 'Bin Laden is dead: how should we feel?' gave his early reactions under the headings: weep? celebrate? pray? work?

Yesterday, Mark Mardell, from the BBC asked 'Bin Laden Death: Can the Us find closure over 9/11?'

PS. This is really number 6, but my first reaction was  '…


According to Timothy Garton Ash, in an article in today's Guardian newspaper
"In the current parliament a staggering 433 out of the total of 650 MPs were elected on a minority of the votes cast in their constituencies. Sixty years ago, for comparison, just 39 out of 625 were elected on a minority vote."

I find this truly shocking. We, in the UK, have a system no longer fit for purpose. No wonder there is such widespread apathy among British voters, when a situation persists where people feel their votes don't count. This is particularly the case in constituencies with so-called 'safe seats'. The current electoral system for MPs for the House of Commons works best where there are only 2 dominant political parties.  That has not been the case in the UK for a long time. We have 3 and many more smaller ones. The system is that whoever gets the most votes wins (First Past the Post) even if that person has a minority of the total votes cast. How can that be fair and…

2nd Anniversary

2 years ago yesterday I dipped a tentative toe into the blogosphere, created this blog and published a first brief and rather boring post, THE BLOG BEGINS. I had no idea what I was doing but intended to learn on the hoof as it were. I actually hoped no-one would read it until I'd at least mastered floating, if not swimming in this strange new world.

3 people are to be thanked (or blamed) for unwittingly encouraging me to start a blog: my husband's brother, my sister's daughter-in-law and my bishop. I think I thought - if they can do it, so can I - and so it began. And - surprise, surprise, more and more people seem to be reading it, or at least visiting it. Where it's going next still remains to be seen, but it's starting to feel like a calling (or an addiction?) Am I paddling, floating or swimming here now? Anyway, that's all I want to say today, except - belated happy 2nd anniversary SEEKER.

Can you kill ideas?

I awoke this morning to the breaking news that Osama bin Laden has died as a result of a United States of America targeted security forces operation in Pakistan. The BBC were showing scenes of jubilation in front of the White House.

This event has enormous symbolism world-wide. Exactly what the significance will be only future history will show. It feels like a landmark, but a landmark on the road to what?

I'm wondering why I feel so uneasy, particularly about statements and reactions coming from the USA.

I think my unease centres around 3 areas:
JUSTICEObama made a reference to justice having been done. To me, justice in relation to a crime involves apprehending the alleged criminal, giving them a fair trial, weighing the evidence followed by a judicial decision about guilt and punishment. In this case the alleged criminal, who may well have been guilty of being behind apalling murderous crimes, has now been killed, but without trial. So, is this justice? Or does this reinforce …