Showing posts from January, 2011

I will Bless the Lord

A responsive Psalm we're using at worship in DMC this morning, based (very roughly) on Psalm 34.

I will bless the LORD every chance I get;
his praise will always pour from my lips.
My soul will boast about what the LORD has done
Let those who face troubles hear me and rejoice.
Glorify God with me:
let us lift up his name together.
I looked for the LORD, and he didn’t let me down;
he freed me from all that I feared.
Those who seek him will smile in the end;
All sense of shame will be removed from their faces.
The helpless and hopeless call on him, and the LORD hears their cry;
he saves them from their troubles.
Taste and see! The LORD is good;
Happy are those who hide themselves in him.
Turn from evil and do what is right;
seek peace and pursue it.
The LORD looks out for the righteous
his ears are attentive to their cry;
The LORD is close to the broken-hearted
He saves those who are crushed in spirit.
So let us glorify God our refuge:
let us lift up his name together. From Psalms 34 Selah

Any Human Heart?

I didn't watch the dramatisation of this book on TV recently nor is it a book I would have purchased for many reasons, but it was a Christmas gift and I felt I should give it a go. One the whole I was glad I did... the colour of the characterisations, the narrative drive and overall quality of the writing was excellent, and it offers an interesting snapshot of the 20th century through the eratic, and at times erotic, journal entries of Logan Gonzago Mountstuart, a single lifeline woven through significant political and artistic events of that timeframe... without the whimsical, saccharine coated faux folk wisdom of a Forrest Gump or Benjamin Button...
The diary format is well used... There is a sense of a slightly different voice as the years go by... the format of the entries also changes, and I suppose it was interestiing to read this book which purports to be the private thoughts of a lesser known public figure, while I've been ruminating about the "public journal"…

To Blog or Not to Blog...

Well, it's been a while... Haven't been blogging much for a combination of reasons... First I was quite busy last week in a way I haven't been for months. Then, this week, I have been feeling a bit down again and just haven't had the mental energy for much more than crawling out of bed (just call me yoyo man). And finally, I've been doing a bit of thinking about the motivations for, wisdom and etiquette of blogging, prompted by a couple of events and conversations...
First, a friend of a friend found herself seriously burned by the print media because of a blog she had been writing... no names, as I don't want to play by the same appalling sensationalist rules the papers do... Essentially she'd been writing a blog based on her life against the background of the current economic ills. It had recieved a little attention in the Sunday Times business section last November, but last week the Guardian/Telegraph/Mail and Express (and probably a few others that I ha…

Everyone Needs Compassion (except myself)

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Ben Fielding/Reuben Morgan © 2006 Hillsong Publishing

I need help with my homework… I’ve been set a challenge by the person helping me to work through the mess in my head, to do a Biblical exegesis on compassion and, more specifically, self-compassion, in scripture… And the thing is, it’s not going well…
I’m enjoying the challenge… and there’s plenty of really good stuff to be drawn from it, particularly on the compassion of Jesus… (Congregation beware, I feel a sermon or two coming on). In the Old Testament compassion is seen as a synonymous term for mercy or pity, and it can be a human or divine attribute, although at times God's compassion can seem a little arbitrary eg. Exodus 33: 19 “I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”. Paul tends to use the more commonplace Greek word for compassion/pity/mercy which equates fairly well with the Old Testament concept, but the Greek word which is mo…

Not So Blue Monday...

This post actually started out as a facebook status update... But it got so ridiculously long that I thought I'd write it up here instead...
According to those who know about such things (like producers of daytime chatshows on TV and radio) this is "blue Monday"... the unhappiest day of the year, thanks to weather, bills from Christmas, family tensions that have been boiling up over the holiday incarceration with the family etc. According to Ben Goldacre, the author of Bad Science, back in 2006, it's all a piece of spurious maths prompted by Sky Travel, but the story still keeps rolling out year after year regardless.
I, however, am quite happy to buck the supposed trend towards doom, misery, hopelessness and despair today... Despite some sad news from a friend yesterday, this is the best day of the year so far for me... After weeks of physical ailments, including a chest infection and more recently food poisoning, I'm feeling relatively healthy this morning (despi…

The University of Animated Characters

Followers of my wife on facebook may have noted a few days ago (epiphany to be exact for reasons that will become obvious) a comment concerning the sources of information drawn on by our youngest son and a question as to whether she should be encouraged or despairing... What happened was that we were having a discussion about the 12 Days of Christmas, Twelfth Night and Epiphany, whilst taking down the Christmas decorations (we often have such high-brow conversations in our house). Our 15 year old son asked "What's Epiphany mean?" to which Ciaran, our 10 year old said "Epiphany - a sudden realisation..."
"Where did you learn that Ciaran?" I asked, only to be told "The Simpsons Movie."

On Saturday we had a second episode - I came into the kitchen to find him discussing Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's 5 Stages of Grief with his mum... The source of this bizarre conversation - a section in his "Spiderman Handbook" entitled "How to Dea…

Treasure in Jars of Clay

Just thinking about what I want to say at a service tomorrow night regarding human weakness, and remembered a short poem/pensee I wrote years ago II Corinthians 4: 7. Its a reblog...

Cracked, clay pot
containing hard cold earth
beneath the surface
sits a seed-stored life



Partly prompted by the thoughts of Will Grady reblogged on Connexions, what follows is a brief excerpt from the New Irish Arts show "I Witness" that I wrote a few years ago... They're the words of Mary, Jesus' mother, as she thinks back on her first-born's early years...

He who was there when the universe was formed, took form inside my womb… He who is the source of all good gifts suckled at my breast… He who walked in the Garden of Eden, I taught to walk as a toddler… He who carved the commandments on tablets of stone with his finger, learned them from me at the kitchen table… He who inspired the psalmists, learned their songs on my knee… It was amazing… I saw the son of God grow into a man…
I know every mother thinks that their child is perfect… Particularly their first… But my son was…

Total Church

Before I turn to the actual review of this book, let me put this on record... What follows is the material that originally sat in the sidebar of this blog, and I'm merely doing what I said I would do after Christmas, ie. thinning out some of the longer reviews and posting them in the main body rather than clogging up the sidebar. When I first posted this I was surprised to find it picked up and quoted by Tim Chester on his own website, not in a negative way, but simply as a matter of record... I've previously noted this and would recommend that if you want to learn more about the Crowded House/Total Church idea, that you don't simply look at this book but go to Tim's blog, it actually, gives a better idea of what it is all about... But, here's the original review, unadulterated or adorned...

This is a book in which the authors write as if they have just invented fire, or rather recieved it express delivery from heaven... they completely disregard historic, and conte…

New Year, New Sense of Perspective...

Happy new year...
At least I hope it is for you!
I began the New Year with a stinking cold that has crept down into my chest and "maketh much mucus..." However, it is only a cold (not that disparaging ailment "man flu")... and my moans and groan were put into perspective by news on new year's day of a friend being in intensive care with swine flu... She seems to be slowly improving, but isn't entirely out of the woods yet...
Christmas brought another set of contrasts... We were due to have another friend and her mother from America with us for Christmas dinner, but a few days beforehand, that friend ended up in hospital with diverticulitis and a perforated intestine. She was in great pain... and what is worse, our Christmas day plans were thrown up in the air! But at least she was in a hospital being treated (without cost to herself)... Just after we got home from visiting her in hospital on Christmas Day I got a phone call from a colleague telling me that his…