Showing posts from June, 2012


It's been a bit quiet here lately.

When I've had things to say there's been no time to say it.

When I've had nothing to say it's best to keep quiet. 

If you've missed me, have patience.

It will get noisier here soon.

Image: Photo by elycefeliz on Flickr: CC Licence

When the excrement hits the fan

When the s*** hits the proverbial fan what helps you? Often the most significant help is given by a person, preferably someone who is there for you in whatever mucky situation has blown your way, someone who knows how to encourage in difficult circumstances.

And I don't mean the person who says, 'there, there, it's alright' when it obviously isn't. A real encourager is tough enough to face the dirt and pain with you, costly though it may be.

Somebody the church remembers today as an encourager is Barnabas, who worked alongside St Paul in the 1st century AD. You can read more about him in Acts 11: 19 - 30.

About 16 years ago the Vicar who encouraged me to offer for ordained ministry advised keeping a 'Barnabas file'. This is a collection of encouragements received in the form of cards, letters etc. - something to turn to, as my mentor put it,
"when the s*** hits the fan"as it does sometimes and you feel everything you do is useless.

I still keep a Barna…

Are you afraid of the dentist?

Exploring my Alexander family tree has produced many surprises, the most recent being the discovery that I'm a blood relative of at least 4 dentists. Why do I find this so disconcerting? Normally I have as little to do with dentists as possible. I have nothing against the people who do the job, it's the job they do that frightens me.

2 days ago I went for a 6-monthly check-up. All was well, no treatment needed apart from a scale and polish. I can relax again until December.

One of my earliest blog posts, back in May 2009 was called Dentist Phobia. Nothing has changed since then, apart from several more uneventful and perfectly OK visits to the dentist for check-ups. Here's some of what I wrote then, in answer to 'what is it about a dental appointment that makes me so anxious?':
"The problem is in the anticipation, especially in the waiting room. My fear started in childhood with a dentist who told me that my tongue was too big for my mouth and told my mother that…

Diversity without enmity in gay marriage debate

Every now and again I read a post on someone else's blog that I wish I'd written myself.

Dave Faulkner's post on Big Circumstance today is one of those.

In 'An Appeal to Both Sides of the Christian Debate about Gay Marriage' he appeals for the exercise of Christian love and respect between those of opposing opinions. He cites several areas where Christians need to listen to each other:
petitionsBiblescienceepistemologyethicsLike him I have been appalled by some of the sloppy thinking and wrong facts in certain petitions. Like him my views on the sexuality debate have changed from ten years ago, but are still rather confused, so I too need to work hard on studying and listening more.
It was James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool who (quoting the Dean of Liverpool?) used the phrase 'diversity without enmity' in a 2010 address. He said that diversity without enmity  "provides a safe and a spiritually and emotionally healthy place for Christians of differing conv…

60 years Dedication - a Diamond Jubilee round-up

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee long weekend is over. Life has returned to normal. Although I suspect many people in the UK spent the weekend as they usually spend weekends. Not all were caught up in Jubilee fever.

But it was a wonderful excuse to party - Her Majesty's 60 years of dedicated service to God and to others. This post is a round-up of some posts and links that caught my attention over the weekend.

John Elliott's post on Sunday about how Britain celebrates the Queen's 60 years - in the rain  describes the cold wet river pageant, wonders if the weekend events showed a country in denial given the economic realities and inequalities and writes in praise of royalty rather than 'fixed' presidents. 

An illustration of the inequalities of our society is the situation of the Unemployed bussed in to steward river pageant who worked unpaid and had to spend the night before sleeping under London Bridge. Sometimes there's a fine line between voluntary work experien…

WATCH and House of Bishops Amendments

The Committee of WATCH (Women and the Church) spent yesterday discussing how to respond to the House of Bishops' amendments to the proposed legislation about women bishops. I am not a member but do support its campaign to
"see women take their place alongside men as bishops and at every level in the Church of England."WATCH had urged the House of Bishops not to make any amendments to the draft legislation. 

Now that the House of Bishops have made amendments the response from WATCH will be among many important contributions to the ongoing debate about not 'if' but 'how' women can be bishops in the C. of E. (The 'if' question was settled a long time ago). A detailed statement is being prepared, which I await with bated breath. Meanwhile, a short initial status update has appeared on their Facebook Page as follows:
"Firstly, thank you to everyone who sent us their responses, both many members and other interested groups. WATCH spent today discussin…