Showing posts from January, 2012

Blessing to end January

For all of you who regularly read my blog and you who happened to stumble on this today, here's a gift for you - a blessing composed by John Rutter and sung by the Cambridge singers with beautiful images uploaded by fromwithintheheart.

Relax, listen, watch and enjoy.

Like a mighty tortoise

A long time ago the Church of England decided that women and men can be bishops. The reason it has not happened yet has to do with how to make generous provision for those who believe that women cannot (or should not) be bishops. So it is still the case that in the Church of England it is illegal for a woman to be a bishop. This is not the case in many other Anglican provinces, including Scotland and Ireland.

"Like a mighty tortoise moves the church of God.
Brothers, we are treading where we've always trod."

"Like a mighty tortoise" the brothers and sisters of the C. of E. are crawling towards a resolution of this issue. 42 of its 44 Dioceses have voted for the draft legislation agreed at the General Synod in 2010 to go forward without amendment. However an amendment suggested (and defeated in 2010) by the Archbishops has to be considered again, for reasons better explained by others. Next week's General Synod has the next step (not the final outcome) in its h…

How to Spell

How good is your spelling? If you struggled learning to read and write in English or if English isn't your first language, you know how difficult it is to spell.

Like its pronunciation, its spelling is inconsistent.

Here's a few examples, but these are only the tip of the iceberg:

There are some rules but these only work for some words, for example the 'i' before 'e' except after 'c' rule only applies to 11 words.Different sounds can be represented by the same letter or combination, for example 'ough' is pronounced at least 6 different ways, try 'cough', 'enough', 'nought', 'plough', borough', 'through'.Many English words are homophones i.e. some words sound the same but have different meanings differentiated by the spelling, e.g. 'tea'/'tee', 'gait'/'gate', 'made'/'made'.There are also many silent letters. For example: the 'k' is not pronounced in &…

Speak Up, Speak Out

27 January Is Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK - a day I have not been able to ignore since visiting the Holocaust Museum at Auschwitz in 2006.  

Today is an opportunity to  to go on learning the lessons from history, not just from the Holocaust and Nazi persecution in World War 2, but also from subsequent genocides in many places in the world, such as Cambodia, Bosnia, Ruanda, Darfur.

This year the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is challenging us to consider what we see and hear around us and to use our voices to speak up against hatred and discrimination. Words are powerful. They can contribute to the common good and built up community. They can also hurt and destroy. Even one voice is powerful. The Speak Up, Speak Out campaign asks us to think about the language we use in person or on line when speaking about other people. Using derogatory terms about another person or group is to dehumanise them. It is a step along a road which at its extreme end leads to genocide. There is a horrifyi…

Persecution and Conversion

There's nothing new about the persecution of Christians.

It began before the followers of Jesus were ever called Christians. They were people of "the Way" and seen as dangerous by political and religious authorities.

In the earliest days of the Christian church, one of its most zealous persecutors was Saul of Tarsus, who positively breathed "threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord". He was given authority to arrest  Christians at Damascus and bring them bound to Jerusalem to be dealt with by the chief priests.

Saul (Paul) had almost reached Damascus when he was stopped in his tracks and fell to the ground. Today 25 January the church celebrates what followed from that event. Today's holy day is The Conversion of Paul. Paul's conversion was dramatic. Luke has 3 accounts of this in Acts. The one read today is Acts  9: 1-22.

Almighty God, who caused the light of the gospel to shine throughout the world through the preaching of your servant Saint Paul…

Saturday Six: A Roundup

Here's my round-up of six blog posts I've enjoyed or found interesting this last week.
A new blog which looks promising is the The Planetwise Blog, the official blog of A Rocha International. This has 3 authors. The first post, by Dave Bookless, is Whose World Is It Anyway? This is about a Biblical perspective on the ownership of the world as God's gift on loan to humanity.I was interested in a post by Gillan Scott about Nadine Dorries' Sex Education Bill which had its 2nd reading in the House of Commons yesterday.  His is a newish blog 'God and Politics in the UK'.  Significant Truths blog has a short post Don't Take Care, Take Risks with interesting links. The post is in admiration of Canon Andrew White and the work he is doing in Baghdad.Leading Spiritually - What I learned from the Business World is the last in Christine Cline's series on 'Leading Spiritually'. I've been following this series and found helpful thoughts in all the posts.If…

Blogs and Working Lives

Should blogs be attentive to the working lives of their readers? This is an impossible question.

To answer it presupposes:

the blog writer knows about the working lives of their readersthe blog writer has things to say relevant to the readers' working lives or the blog writer has things to say relevant to any form of work.the blog reader wants to read stuff relevant to their work or the blog reader 'should' read stuff relevant to their workAs soon as someone uses the word 'should' in a question, it becomes an ethical question. So for someone like me with an MA in Applied Ethics the question is in danger of becoming far too complicated. It all depends on what you mean by 'should'. It could mean so many things, depending on how you dear Reader decide what you 'should' do, for example: Do you decide what you should do according to rules, either rules you have set yourself or imposed by a higher authority such as national or international law, the church, …

Why do people read blogs in working hours?

I've started so I'll finish. The previous post, 'What is Blog-Spirituality?' began  to answer questions posed by the Vernacular Vicar in his post last year (as the Vernacular Curate), that I had just caught up on. (Call me slow if you like.)

I promised a series of posts in response to his questions. Here's the 2nd in the series.

One question he asked was why people read blogs more in 'working hours' than other times, for example weekends or public  holidays? You may know whether or not the premise is true. Assuming it is, here's my 1st thoughts about why people might read blogs more in working hours.

Some Reasons Why People Read Blogs in Working Hours

Some read blogs in working hours because they are paid to do so, it's in their job description, so reading blogs is work.Some read blogs in working hours as part of keeping up with new developments/people in their field, so reading relevant professional blogs is work.Some read blogs in their work-place for…

What is Blog-Spirituality?

Why do people read blogs more in 'working hours' and less at other times? What does this say about the implicit spirituality of blogs? Should blogs be attentive to the working lives of its readers? If more blog readers are women (which may not be true) is blogging an art that has a more female spirituality? What is blog spirituality? All these questions were raised yesterday by The Vernacular Vicar in his post Blogging, Women and Spirituality. (Whoops: just noticed his post was a year ago! Oh well, better late than never.) Rather than a brief comment on his blog post, I plan a fuller response in a series of posts. This one has some first thoughts on his last question, what is blog spirituality?

What is Blog Spirituality? The question needs at least a PhD dissertation to do it justice, so it may be foolish to attempt an answer in a short post, even limiting it to a Christian spirituality of blog-writing by Christians. Firstly - some definitions:
What is a blog? If you are reading t…

John Stott: Service of Thanksgiving

Yes, there was a big sign saying 'No Photography'. I did see it on entering St Paul's Cathedral, yesterday morning for the London 'Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of John R.W. Stott'. But 40 minutes or so before the service started, I couldn't resist taking this photo from my seat. (We'd been asked to be seated at least 20 minutes before the 11.30 am start.) 

As I turned off my camera and mobile the All Souls Orchestra began to tune up and I sat back to enjoy the orchestral and organ music before the service, which was as magnificent as its setting: Handel's Prelude in F Major, Elgar's Nimrod from Enigma Variations and then the Final from Guilmant's Organ Symphony in D Minor. The latter piece rose to a great crescendo of sound from orchestra and organ with all the stops pulled out so you could feel the building itself vibrating with the sound.

The music brought me to tears as did the silence that immediately followed in the completely full ca…

Advisory Group on Human Sexuality

Perhaps I should entitle this post 'Church of England shoots itself in the foot - again!' 

Yesterday I noticed the announcement that the Church of England has appointed a group to advise the House of Bishops on human sexuality. This is part of a process towards a consultation document to be produced by the House of Bishops in 2013. This is intended to propose ways forward following the 'listening process' the church has undertaken since the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution on Human Sexuality.

What I failed to notice yesterday was the composition of the Advisory Group. They are: 

Sir Joseph Pilling (former Permanent Secretary Northern Ireland Office)The Rt Revd Michael Perham (Bishop of Gloucester)The Rt Revd Keith Sinclair (Bishop of Birkenhead)The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker (Bishop of Ebbsfleet)The Rt Revd John Stroyan (Bishop of Warwick)Notice anything about this list? Not even 1 woman, not even a 'token' woman. Maybe that's not possible. Maybe they all had to…

Epiphany Joy

A Prayer For the Feast of the Epiphany

Lord God,
the bright splendour whom the nations seek;
may we who with the wise men
have been drawn by your light
discern the glory of your presence in your Son,
the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Common Worship Post Communion Prayer for The Epiphany)

6 January is the Feast of the Epiphany, the start of the Epiphany season. Today's focus is the wise men who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus. Their story is in Matthew 2: 1-12. Matthew tells us that when these mysterious seekers with their toddler-unfriendly gifts found the house where Jesus was, they were "overwhelmed with joy"

Christine Sine in 'Epiphany - An Invitation to Follow Jesus' suggests moving into the season of Epiphany "with joy and gratitude, savouring each moment God gives us as a precious gift." Has anyone any simple suggestions of ways to do that? 

For previous posts on the Epiphany see

Punching Holes in the Darkness 

Can Assisted Suicide be Right?

Yesterday 2 men found guilty of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 were sentenced at the Old Bailey, London to 'life' imprisonment. This was possible because UK law enshrines the principle of respect for human life and the 6th commandment "You shall no commit murder".

I am thankful that I live in a country that attempts to uphold such principles. I do not want to live in a country where the law attempts to distinguish between those whose lives are considered worth living and those whose lived should be ended, where a so-called 'right to die' could become a 'duty to die' or a duty to assist someone else to commit suicide.

I am totally opposed to any proposal to change the law in order to make assisted suicide legal, however carefully the legally parameters might be constructed. I see assisted suicide as murder, however compassionate the motives may be. I believe life to be a gift of God and it it not our prerogative to terminate that gift prematurely…

9th day of Christmas and No New Year Resolutions

Here are my New Year Resolutions.
You can't see any?
I didn't make any.
So I can't break any.
You didn't need to know that did you?
Not making resolutions doesn't mean I don't need to change.
I do, but the changes needed will take more than a resolution.
But you knew that didn't you?

Happy 9th Day of Christmas! Now where are the 9 ladies dancing? Tied down to a carousel in BC, Columbia and going nowhere poor dears. 

Image of notebook: Creative Commons: 'niznoz'