Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A bit and a bob

Yesterday we went to see 'The Second Best Marigold Hotel'. In truth, we had turned up expecting to watch 'The Theory of Everything' but discovered we were a day early and I had misread the website. The administrative cross I bear :) The film had some lovely bits and I enjoyed the Tennyson moment and Maggie Smith's thoughts at the the conclusion. Dame Judy is as stupendous as ever.

We were all rather surprised that the Kentucky Fried Chicken Ad at the start brought a tear all our eyes. That's a first.

I preached a lively message on Sunday from Psalm 73. I quoted this from Donald Miller. 

“Humans, as a species, are constantly, and in every way, comparing themselves to one another, which, given the brief nature of their existence, seems an oddity and, for that matter, a waste. Nevertheless, this is the driving influence behind every human's social development, their emotional health and sense of joy, and, sadly, their greatest tragedies. It is as though something that helped them function and live well has gone missing, and they are pining for that missing thing in all sorts of odd methods, none of which are working. The greater tragedy is that very few people understand they have the disease. This seems strange as well because it is obvious. To be sure, it is killing them, and yet, sustaining their social and economic systems. They are an entirely beautiful people with a terrible problem.” 

I chatted to someone who has started writing a book about their recent spiritual journey and recommended Blue like Jazz' to them. It's a fantastic read. 

I've started reading 'The Longview'

I am trying to make time to read the Bishop's pastoral letter 'Who is my neighbour?' A neighbouring parish were challenged recently in a sermon to read the letter and to at least consider voting differently from the way they normally vote or differently from your default political leaning. 

I've been wondering what we are left with in the Bible if we take the Dean of St Paul's advice on Scripture. 

It reminded me of the section in 'The Reason for God' about creating a 'Stepford Wives' God:

“If you don’t trust the Bible enough to let it challenge and correct your thinking, how could you ever have a personal relationship with God? In any truly personal relationship, the other person has to be able to contradict you.
“For example, if a wife is not allowed to contradict her husband, they won’t have an intimate relationship. Remember the (two!) movies The Stepford Wives? The husbands of Stepford, Connecticut, decide to have their wives turned into robots who never cross the wills of their husbands. A Stepford wife was wonderfully compliant and beautiful, but no one would describe such a marriage as intimate or personal.
“Now, what happens if you eliminate anything from the Bible that offends your sensibility and crosses your will? If you pick and choose what you want to believe and reject the rest, how will you ever have a God who can contradict you? You won’t! You’ll have a Stepford God! A God, essentially, of your own making, and not a God with whom you can have a relationship and genuine interaction.
“Only if your God can say things that outrage you and make you struggle (as in a real friendship or marriage!) will you know that you have gotten hold of a real God and not a figment of your imagination.
“So an authoritative Bible is not the enemy of a personal relationship with God. It is the precondition for it.”
– Tim Keller, The Reason for God, pages 113-114
We are watching an episode or two of 'Lie to me' which is really rather interesting on deception and lies. 
I cooked Kedgeree over the weekend and also made my mothers delicious spicy sweet curry sauce with it.  I enjoyed watching Tony Singh on India and Indian food recently. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Fiery Blaze

Mrs C and I discussed these words from Eugene Peterson in today's BiOY notes. We are now reading Leviticus:

‘God cannot fit into our plans, we must fit into his,’ writes Eugene Peterson. ‘We can’t use God – God is not a tool or appliance or credit card. Holy is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfilment fantasies or our utopian schemes for making our mark in the world. Holy means that God is alive on God’s terms, alive in a way that exceeds our experience and imagination. Holy refers to life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself.’

The Hebrew word ‘holy’ (qadosh) probably originally meant ‘separate’ or ‘set apart’. It came to be used to describe the ‘otherness’ of God, and how his character and nature are so much greater and more wonderful than any other person or thing. For something else to be ‘holy’ simply means for it to be dedicated to God. You are holy to the extent that your life is devoted to him and your actions reflect his character. 

..."‘First’, he writes, ‘every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God.’ We are called to holiness in every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Holiness and wholeness are closely related, and God wants the whole of our lives. Second, Eugene Peterson continues, ‘God provides a way (the sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy.’

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday musings

Lots going on so I've been rather off the blog and blogging.

You once had a dream but...... and then I watched this and it made me think about dreams.

I really enjoyed reading the chapter in Andrew Wilson's book 'If God then what?' entitled 'The Redemption of London'

The 'Inside the commons' episode about Rebels has plenty of parallels with the Church of England.

Who didn't feel for Natalie Bennett who sank on LBC?

Is Evangelism on the rocks?

Oliver Sack's piece in the NY Times was a very moving bit of writing.

This paella recipe is perfect for a cold winters night. Comfort food Mediterranean style.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Seven thoughts for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday:

1. Not your typical Ash Wednesday is worth a read

2. Once again 40 Acts has produced a number of good and encouraging things to do during Lent. You can ask yourself the gratitude questions in your journal.

3. I am re-reading 'A Resilient Life' as my Lent read.

4. Sometimes it's good to take something up. Mine is walking, which is being facilitated by a new gadget a chappy in our church recommended.

5. Tonight I am cooking a fish curry for some new friends. Fish is always linked with things Catholic as they seem to eat it on a Friday for some reason. Is Ash Wednesday a non-fish or a fish day I wonder?

6. The C of E's Election Pastoral letter had the LBC phone lines abuzz as I drove back from my weekly early prayers with a group of local pastors. The front page of the Times told me Mr Cameron is very ticked off with the Bishops.

7. Pat preached up a storm on Psalm 51. We're in a series that I've called 'Praying the Psalms' and reflecting on sin was sobering for us all as Lent approached.