Couldn't have said it better myself...



"We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are."

Anais Nin




Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Passing it On

A simple sketch that I wrote some time ago and have used in a variety of settings. It looks at our responsibility to pass on the good news that has been passed on to us...
2 actors in track bottoms, running shoes and sweat shirts stand on stage looking at an 8 inch aluminium baton.
A: What is it?
B: I’m telling you I don’t know... I can’t even remember where I got it from...
A: Maybe its for looking through... a telescope that’s lost its lenses..?
B: Or how about a hi-tech truncheon... for keeping the peasants in order?
A: Or an objet d’art... an artistic curiosity...
B: Yes... A nominee for the Turner Prize
A: Just look at the clean lines,
B: The unpretentious unity of form
A: Summing up the three-dimensional linearity of life
A & B: No....
B: A reject from a boomerang factory... (throws baton off stage)
Sorry Missus... (A goes to get it & comes back pretending to be a dog holding the baton in mouth)
A: (Taking it out of his mouth) A stick for a higher class of dog to fetch...
B: A dog from Cherryvalley you mean?
A: You’ve got the idea...
B: Or how about Paul Rankin’s rolling pin...
A: Brushed aluminium is hot in the kitchen this year...
B: Or the inside of an industrial strength toilet roll...
A: For really big jobs...
B: No let’s not go there...
A: Well what are you going to do with it?
B: I don’t know... probably throw it in a corner and forget about it...
Meanwhile two other actors enter, one from each side dressed in running shoes, shorts and vests, one with a number-like sign saying “The Saints of Ages Past” and the other saying the “Those of Years to Come”
C: What are you two doing?
A & B: Pardon?
D: I’ve been waiting for that for ages...
A & B: What?
C: And here we find you playing with it...
A: We were trying to work out what its for...
B: Where it came from...
D: I’ll tell you what it’s for... Its made for passing on...
C: (to A) I gave it to you to pass on...
A: Oh... Sorry. I forgot...
D: You were supposed to give it to him/her... (pointing to B)
C: (to B) And you were supposed to give it to him/her... (pointing to D)
A: Oh, its a game...
B: I like games...
D: Its not just a game...
C: Its life and death...
D: Come on, get ready, there’s still time to get back on track
C: Yes... the race isn’t over yet...
A & B: OK then...
A & B take off their track bottoms and sweat shirts while a disembodied voice reads this paraphrase of Hebrews 12: 1
We are surrounded by a huge crowd cheering us on, so let us take off anything that hinders us, any sin that might trip us up, and let us run the leg of the race marked out us.
Copyright © David A. Campton 28/10/99
ps. Paul Rankin is a Northern Irish "celebrity chef" and Cherryvalley is an affluent area of East Belfast. Feel free to substitute appropriate local references if you choose to use this sketch.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Gold Coast

Over recent years North Down has been regularly referred to as the “Gold Coast” because of it’s relative affluence in comparison to the rest of Northern Ireland, leading some to say that the only social division in the area is between the "haves and have-yachts". But now it seems as if the term “the Gold Coast” may have some basis in fact, due to the results of an unparalleled geological survey revealing that the area has the conditions which suggests that there may be seams of gold in the local bedrock.
Local residents seem divided over whether this is a good thing, but Nigel Dodds, the local minister for enterprise, trade and investment, is unsurprisingly, very upbeat about the possibilities this raises for the local economy… perhaps more so now that the signature project at the so-called Titanic Quarter has failed to gain the 25 million pounds lottery funding it was angling for under the “Living Landmarks Programme.” It remains to be seen as to whether this rejection will prove to be the euphemistic iceberg that sinks this Titanic idea.
But the question is, how many people may ultimately benefit from either of these schemes. The environmental and social impact of any concerted search for gold on the County Down coast would be massive. But only a relatively few are likely to significantly prosper from it.
And as for the Titanic Quarter, and it’s signature project, well, I do wonder at times how many of the descendents of those who built the original Titanic will be living in the shadow, not of shipyard cranes, but whatever is finally erected in that area?
Personal happiness and social prosperity is rarely achieved solely by the pursuit of gold or glitzy development programmes. For individuals or societies to find real abiding happiness and stability there needs to be a radical reorganization of priorities. As Jesus said:
Put God’s rule first and what is right in his eyes, and everything else that you need shall be given to you as well.
How high up God’s priorities is digging for gold in Helen’s Bay?


Written for Downtown Radio’s Dawn Reflections Sunday 21st October, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lost

With apologies to John Bell and Graham Maule of the Iona Community's Wild Goose Worship Group, who devised this Jesus/Peter format, this is a dialogue I wrote to go along with the third part of the "Lost for Words" course on faith sharing, by CPAS.

Jesus:
Peter...?
Peter: Yes, Jesus?
Jesus: Is there something wrong?
Peter: I’m just thinking about those stories you told us...
Jesus: Which ones Peter? There are quite a few…
Peter: You know… those ones about the foolish shepherd and the careless housewife…
Jesus: The what? I don’t remember those ones Peter…
Peter: You know, the ones where they managed to lose a sheep and a coin and then had to spend ages looking for them...
Jesus: Trust you to look at it that way...
Peter: Well, my Dad taught me to look after my things so I wouldn’t lose them… So I like to know where things are… I can’t stand carelessness…
Jesus: And that’s good… Wouldn’t want you misplacing the keys to heaven…
Peter: What?
Jesus: Never mind...
Peter: Anyway, I can’t understand what you were on about… It’s always the same with these paradiddles you keep telling us… Why can’t you just tell us things straight instead of using all these stories…
Jesus: You’d like me to make it simple and straightforward for you?
Peter: Yes… A nice simple A-Z of the Kingdom of God…
Jesus: Tried that before but it didn’t make any difference...
Peter: What do you mean?
Jesus: What do you think the 10 Commandments and the other Laws were? But people don’t pay much attention to those, do they?
Peter: I suppose you’re right…
Jesus: Thanks, Peter… that’s a ringing endorsement!
Peter: But why are the stories so difficult to understand?
Jesus: Are they?
Peter: Well, what about those ones I was talking about?
Jesus: The foolish shepherd and the careless housewife?
Peter: Yes…
Jesus: Well, what’s so difficult to understand about that...
Peter: Well, are you saying that God is like them?
Jesus: What do you think?
Peter: Well, surely God wouldn’t be as foolish as either of them… He wouldn’t lose anything important…
Jesus: The point isn’t that the shepherd and the housewife lost the things in the first place, but that they didn’t stop looking until they found what they had lost…
Peter: But the shepherd could have ended up losing the rest of his sheep abandoning the other 99 while he went after the lost one…
Jesus: That’s the risk he took for the sheep that was lost… His priority wasn’t those who were within the flock but the one that was lost and alone…
Peter: Foolishness… The sheep had brought it on itself… Just like that lad in the other story you told…
Jesus: What one?
Peter: The one about the Father who was a sucker…
Jesus: The what!?!
Peter: You know… the one where the younger son suckers his dad into giving him his part of the will before he died and then welcomes the rat-bag back when he has used up all the loot on fast women and slow camels…
Jesus: Again, an interesting take on the whole story…
Peter: Aye… I was on the side of the big brother in that one… How dare that wee worm come crawling back? And how dare his father waste more of his inheritance on throwing a party for him? I tell you, if Andrew had behaved like that, our Dad Jonah would have used him for fishbait… If I didn’t throttle him first…
Jesus: But my Dad isn’t like that…
Peter: Then he’s a fool…
Jesus: If he’s a fool, he’s a fool who loves people very much… A fool who is not just waiting for his lost children to find their way home… But who has sent his son to seek them out... Like the very best kind of shepherd, or a diligent housewife… And when he brings them home he’ll run out to meet them on the road, ready to welcome them home…
Peter: Has he no sense of dignity?
Jesus: When it comes to seeking out the lost, absolutely none… He would go to any lengths to find them…
Peter: Any lengths?
Jesus: Any lengths!
Peter: Any risks?
Jesus: Any lengths, any risks!
Peter: Even at the risk of his own life?
Jesus: Even at the risk of his own life…
Peter: That’s how much he loves the lost?
Jesus: This is how much he loves the lost… (Holds out his arms)
© David Campton October 2007

Starting Over

Once upon a time there was a man with no sense of personal discipline who started a blog on a social networking site... But it was a useless site (just take a look at the URL at the bottom of this page to see why) and due to lack energy to sort it out he gave up on it... But now he's decided to start again on a different site and be a bit more disciplined this time...
Sorry about the third person stuff there... a bit of a Caesar complex... Anyway this blog will be an online archive of stuff I have written elsewhere for various reasons, bits and pieces that have inspired me and occasional rants about various things... The material will include sketches, monologues, songs, articles, essays, mostly on theological issues, but occasionally straying into other fields too. If anything is of use to you, feel free to use it liberally, though please do acknowledge the source... Anything that I quote on this blog will be suitably cited, if possible, so that the appropriate person or persons can get the credit.
Why am I a virtual Methodist? Well, the Methodist Church pays my stipend... and I suppose I lean towards Methodist/Arminian theology more that most other streams... But in all honesty, it seemed like a name people might remember... Whether it is worth remembering is another matter...