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Showing posts from June, 2010

New Coin Celebrating Belfast...

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Just got wind today of this new £1 coin celebrating my native city of Belfast. It has elements of the city's coat of arms on it, with a prominent sailing ship reminding us of Belfast's maritime and shipbuilding heritage... Slightly more fitting than the irony-free continual evocation of the Titanic everywhere you go here. I do find it amusing that the coin on the first day cover isn't quite level, suggesting that this sailing ship might head the way of the Titanic as well.
But it did set me thinking what the coin would have looked like had it been designed by locals... or indeed those who only know Belfast from the news headlines. Balaclava clad gunmen? Peace walls? RUC Landrovers? Orange marches? Bonfires?
Thankfully we don't feature in the international headlines quite so often these days and perhaps need to get on with fashioning an identity free of those images. But could I also ask for a moratorium on images of the Titanic, the Somme and George Best... Even C.S. Le…

Through My Eyes

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It's been a while... Lots happening including the Annual Methodist Conference in the real world (on which there was little to comment, unless I was going to comment on the lack of things to comment on - and the consequent time wastage), so not much time to devote to being a Virtual Methodist, but I was asked this morning at church a) Why I hadn't posted anything for a while, to which I answered along the lines above, and
b) Whether I had posted on the blog a song I had played as part of the service?
I came home and checked, and strangely, couldn't find it... until I checked the archive of the old blog site... and there it was...
But for anyone interested, here it is again...

Can you see things through my eyes?
The childless woman cries.
The years of trying, probing, prying...
While across the street a girl is crying
With three little children by three different men
And not a penny from any of them
Can you see things through my eyes?

Can you see things through my eyes?
The jobless fath…

Here Comes the Bride...

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Mitching off the Annual Methodist Conference this afternoon to conduct a wedding... my plea of mitigation is that the wedding was booked 2 years ago and they changed the date of conference some time in the last year.Anyway, I'm looking forward to it, as I usually do with weddings... Although the fact that the bride is coming in behind a piper is something I could do without, given that I have an abiding loathing of getting up close to bagpipes in full voice... I actually had to walk behind a piper leaving my own wedding which amused my family no-end... But it was a tradition in the church I was getting married in, and I am a stickler for tradition as you well know (!?). But the video below could be in no way described as traditional... don't know how I would react if a bride said that this was how she wanted to come in...


But at least this isn't likely to happen...



Clumsy Best Man Ruins Wedding - Watch more Funny Videos



Cheers

Space Invaders Spirituality...

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OK... First day of the Annual Methodist Conference over and I'm not going to moan... But...
Actually I'm NOT going to moan... There are things that need addressed, but this isn't the forum to address them...
However, my reflections today have been dominated by some thoughts shared by Drew Gibson, Presbyterian Professor of Practical Theology at Union College, as part of a communion service in the Ministerial Session of Conference. It was actually, on the whole, quite a helpful, insightful and indeed encouraging address based around Joshua 1 and the command of God to Joshua to "take the land."
He looked at the land in terms of the challenging alien landscape that is the wider western world today... a world of post-modernism, secular humanism, decadent consumerist materialism, violence and virtual reality. But, he claimed, just as God had prepared the promised land for the Israelites under Joshua, so he has prepared the world outside for us in Jesus Christ, and he ha…

Come People of the Risen King

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Its our church anniversary service this coming Sunday and our opening hymn is going to be this one, another of the collaborations between my friends Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend. There won't be as many in the choir or the congregation, indeed there probably won't be as many in the congregation as in the choir in this video... and our choir won't have natty blue gowns, but we'll give it a go all the same.But as I listened to this, a new one to me, even though its a whole 3 years old now, I once again gave thanks for the talents of Keith and Kristyn... God given and God devoted. I've given Keith a fair amount of stick over the years (and will continue to do so) and I don't agree with him (and Stuart) on some of the theology in their hymns (especially when it comes to the atonement), but they are a real blessing on the church in this age. I minister within a church tradition that claims to have been "born in song" indeed the theology of the…

Have you Considered Taking a Group to Israel?

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I was sitting minding my own business this morning when an email arrived asking "Have you considered taking a group to Israel?" Given the events of the past 2 weeks, especially the attempt by the Irish ship MV Rachel Corrie to break the Gaza blockade, I thought it was a joke... but it wasn't. It was another of the invitations I (and every other cleric in world) receives regularly inviting me to a subsidised trip to the "Holy Land" to "walk in the footsteps of Jesus" or "experience the Bible come to life" in the hope that I will then round up another pilgrim band to go back for seconds, thus making the travel company (and the Israeli economy) more money. I have often considered taking advantage of one of these offers, but have never found the appropriate time... And this is certainly not the appropriate time... Not unless the tour is substantially more than a pseudo-spiritual package holiday... Whilst I would love to see the historic remains …

It's Time for Another Football Anthem...

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A few weeks ago, Lord Treismann, the then head of England's bid to become host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup claimed that Spain and Russia were hatching a plot to bribe referees at the upcoming football jamboree in South Africa. Despite his rapid removal from the post, his claims may have done the bid lasting damage, and certainly annoyed rival bidders, Russia. So much so that the head of their bid Alexei Sorokin, last week trotted out the old chestnut that England fans, rather than being the fun-loving bunch that we all know they are, are a bunch of hooligans. After Seb Coe had somewhat hyperbolically described England fans as "the best in the world" Mr Sorokin said:
"I know Lord Coe well. He is a most decent person. But I do not understand what 'the best supporters' mean. Maybe he meant that English football fans are the utmost hooligans. If that’s so, I am ready to agree and hand over supremacy to them."

Given that I actually only read all this in the Dai…

Happy Re-Birthday to Me... or Jesus Wrecked my Life

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Thirty years ago this very day, I made one of the key decisions of my life.
At the last night of the "Alan Walker Crusade to the 80's" in the Grosvenor Hall, Belfast I made the conscious decision to follow Jesus... I was born again... converted... saved... whatever term you want to use for it... It wasn't particularly dramatic (certainly not on a par with that of St. Paul, as depicted here by Michaelangelo, or with many of those who do the circuit of churches and conferences telling the story of their conversions) and actually it was only one waypoint on the routemap of my journey of faith... The issue of what direction I should go had been bubbling within me for almost a year, and was based upon years of attending church... and it was followed by a number of key decisions and changes of direction... But I have no doubt that it was probably the most significant life-changing decision of my life...
Whilst I was probably not as reluctant a convert as C.S. Lewis claims …