Showing posts from June, 2011

Lost in Translation

This is a follow-up to my previous post "Naughty Ladies Fingers and Farmers Fried Up".

I have to say the farmers round here (in the Austrian Tyrol) have been looking extremely warm, working from dawn to dusk scything and raking hay on the steep meadows before the next rain.

Just another quote from our holiday hotel's newsletter:
"PRECIOUSNESS OF THE ALPSOver centuries the Edelweiss of large poplarity has itself pleased with the result that it was threatened by becoming extinct already 1878. On an international conference agreed Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Italy to pretect the Edelweiss. Up to then it was usual custom that young men the rock clamber, in order to pick as proof of love a noble white bunch for their chosen one. Edelweiss was used as tea and herb infusion for the fight of most diverse diseases, from bronchitis and container problems to tuberculosis and Diptherie."It was the "container problems" that caught my eye. So that's how to s…

Naughty Ladies Fingers and Farmers Fried Up

One of the joys of travel is the unintentional mirth created by translations into English of menus etc.

My all time favourite (seen in a Belgrade restaurant) was "naughty ladies fingers" which I just had to order. It turned out to be spiced okra.

In Greece I enjoyed "curded cow" and "curded sheep" (yoghurt from cows' and sheep' milk). In Slovenia the family enjoyed "roast lion" (lamb's loin) and "Serbian Ditch"  (Serbian stew).

My husband and I couldn't bring ourselves to order "Farmers Fried Up" which was offered for dinner at the hotel where we are currently staying in Austria, even though it was clear from the German that it would be a mixed grill.

As usual we're enjoying the hotel's daily newsletter for guests, helpfully provided in appropriate languages. Notice of the village's regular "GUEST SHOOTING COMPETITION" produces varying degrees of alarm or hilarity in English-speaking guests.…

Overheard in the coffee shop

Do you enjoy eavesdropping on other people's conversations? In crowded places it's impossible not to notice what's being said right next to you.

Here's a conversation I overheard from the next table in a coffee shop. 2 young women were having a heart to heart. The conversation went like this:

Woman A:
"I had to get up at 5 this morning to iron HIS shirt."

(I am thinking, why didn't he do it himself?)

Woman B:
"Why didn't you do it yesterday evening?"

(I am thinking, is this really 2011 or is it the 1950s).

Woman A:
"Because I got home from work late and by the time I'd cooked dinner, cleared up and sorted the washing I was too tired to stand for hours at the ironing board ironing all his shirts. And I hate ironing."

I resisted the temptation to join the conversation and wondered whether HE couldn't iron his shirts because he was too busy cleaning the toilet etc. or perhaps not he was also too tired after work. Or perhaps he hates ir…


Looking forward to worshipping here again today at the parish church of St George, in Neustift-im-Stubaital, Tirol, Austria.

Happy Sunday to you all.

Photos: my own

Walking with God: Reflection on Vocation

This photo of my old and comfortable walking boots are here because today I shall enjoy walking in the mountains.

Now that Trinity Sunday is past, we are in what the church calls 'ordinary time'. I like ordinary - just plodding on, putting one foot in front of the other in familiar rhythm, but not always knowing where I'm going.

During a prayer time for people exploring their vocation in the Church of England I placed these boots in the centre of the circle of 'explorers' and gave a reflection roughly as follows:

I invite you to look at my walking boots. These remind me of days of sheer joy and peace, walking in sunshine. I also remember, stormy weather, getting tired, taking the obvious path that turned out to be the wrong way, getting lost, even feeling afraid - and longing for home.

The picture of walking is repeated throughout the Bible. It’s often use to describe a relationship with God. Those who live as if God doesn’t exist or who ignore God’s Way, are said to …

Trinity Sunday

A Prayer for Trinity Sunday

O God,your name is veiled in mystery,yet we dare to call you Father;your Son was begotten before all ages,yet is born among us in time;your Holy Spirit fills the whole creation,yet is poured forth now into our hearts.Because you have made us and loved usand called us by name,draw us more deeply into your divine life,that we may glorify you rightly, through your Son,in the unity of the Holy Spirit,now and for ever and ever.
From 'Opening Prayers: The ICEL Collects'

Digital Immigrant

I'm definitely not a fan of the media magnate Rupert Murdoch, but I rather like this quote and the way that it's illustrated in this image by Lynette. Those of us old enough to be born before home PCs, mobile phones, social networking et al are not digital natives in the way our children and grandchildren are. I became a digital immigrant about 20 years ago and have been desparately trying to catch up ever since. I think I've begun to assimilate, but as soon as I think I have the culture and technology  moves on. That's life. On the other hand the problem with too much emphasis on assimilation is loss of diversity, the homogenization of culture. (Rupert Murdoch's empire telling us what to think?)

One excellent example (and there are many more) of maintaining a distinct identiy in the virtual world is the blog of a Benedictine community in the UK. To find nuns, who largely inhabit a world of silent prayer, regularly blogging (and also not posting when there's not…

Holy Fire at Pentecost

Holy Spirit,
sent by the Father,
ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children with the gift of faith,
revive your church with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.C. of E. Additional Collect Pentecost Sunday
For another post for Pentecost Sunday see 'The Spark that Ignites'

Image Credit: Max Fulcher, Flickr, CC License

What difference can one person make?

Some people are natural encouragers. Barnabas, a Jewish Christian from Cyprus was one of those people. He is remembered mostly for the way he encouraged others - people like St Paul and John Mark. 'Encourager' is what his nickname Barnabas means. His real name was Joseph (or Joses in Greek). Take a look at the short fun video which introduces Barnabas and asks what difference one person can make.

Be a Barnabas from Chris Kinsley on Vimeo.

Today 11 June is the commemoration of St Barnabas. What if he hadn't done what he did? Who have been the key encouragers in your life? Are you an encourager?

Bountiful God, giver of all gifts,who poured your Spirit upon your servant Barnabasand gave him grace to encourage others:help us, by his example,to be generous in our judgementsand unselfish in our service;through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,who is alive and reigns with you,in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, now and for ever.
Church of England Collect for Barnabas, Apostle.

How to Strengthen Your Faith

A question asked by @biblesociety in a recent tweet was:

"Someone's recently put a question on our wall: 'what can I do to strengthen my faith?' How would you reply?"

As @Seeking1st I tweeted an instant answer as follows:
"To strengthen your body you feed and exercise it. To strengthen your faith you do the same. Both are needed. So is rest."I thought that at least for my own benefit I should expand on what I mean in a blog post.

There is a paradox in the idea of wanting to strengthen faith. Faith is a gift of God, so if my faith is weak, is that God's fault? I think that like any gift, to be any use, faith has to be received and used. Or in other words has to be fed and exercised. But just as the body would become ill if deprived of sleep and constantly fed and exercised, so faith needs rest.

How do you feed faith?

I think a basic diet to strengthen Christian faith includes prayer, Bible reading (or listening) and corporate worship (including Holy Comm…

Shared Needs, Hopes and Real Generosity?

'The Government needs to know how afraid people are' is the headline of today's leader written by Archbishop Rowan Williams in today's New Statesman.

The Guardian and the Telegraph seem to have interpreted this as a savage attack on the present UK Coalition governent. They quote selectively from it as newspapers (and bloggers) do and I'm about to do the same. But if you read the full text of Rowan's original piece you'll discover it's far more measured and even-handed than other headlines might lead you to think. He seems to be writing about the way current political debate in this country is stuck in stale ideas. He criticises both the Government and the opposition and says,

" seems worth encouraging the present government to clarify what it is aiming for in two or three key areas, in the hope of sparking a livelier debate about where we are going - and perhaps even todiscover what the left's big idea currently is."

He notes how severa…

Friday Five

On the Leeds-Liverpool canal at Bingley, Yorkshire, England, is a staircase of 5 consecutive locks. The photo is here to illustrate my selection of:

5 blog posts worth a visit this week:

Dave Perry reflects on the rogation-tide custom of 'beating the bounds' in relation to his faith and role as a Methodist minister. Take a look at 'Beating the bounds of faith: longing to be found and desperate to find'. I love the lake district photos and story of the ewe and lamb seeking and finding each other.Thinking Anglicans provides links today to last week's Church Times guide to women bishops. These articles from the special feature are temporarily available to non-subscribers.In the last of a candid and moving series of posts on living with the scars caused by abuse, Lesley Fellows writes about 'Recovering from abuse - freedom'.Bishop Alan is 'Doing God in Dresden' and wonders why it's OK for the President of the Federal Republic of Germany to participate…

Ascension Day

Today, 40 days after Easter Sunday, is Ascension Day. This oil painting (1958) by Salvador Dali imagines the ascension from the disciples' view point as they gazed upwards after a cloud took Jesus out of their sight. The focus is the feet and this has all sorts of resonances. It especially reminds me of what Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the power of God:

"God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all thins for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."Ephesians 1: 20-22

The feet also remind me of the cross of Christ, upon which he was raised high to die. Anyone standing at the foot of the cross and looking up would have seen the underside of C…