Sunday, October 31

It's Official (I've gone theological)

I have decided to officially name the Episcopalian Church Idol worship debacle ...

Raisin-gate

Saw "Alfie" at the cinema this evening. Haven't seen the original so I can't compare, but a very sad story about a man so obsessed with his own sexual gratification that he manages to mess up the lives of countless women as well as his best friend. And in the way that only Hollywood can do, there was no direct clear message suggesting that this kind of lifestyle might be ... you know ... wrong ... (Considering all the damage to so many relationships that was clearly done by him.) It seems Hollywood is quite willing to ask the difficult questions, but never quite bold enough to give the difficult answers ... the ones that people won't necessarily like!

Talking of which, a new film is on its way called "Saved". Set in a 'Christian' school, one of the main characters is a female student who gets pregnant and because of this she gets judged by all the nasty Christians ... but wait a minute she then falls in with all the school's 'mis-fits' who tell her that true Christianity and spirituality is all about love, justice and acceptance, not judging. Now, this is not to say that this is not partly true, but Christian love, acceptance and justice does not mean actively condoning a sinful course of action and effectively saying "It doesn't matter!" because the Bible makes it clear that sin does matter to God - it hurts him, it grieves him deeply. And of course there is the offer of complete forgiveness when we do all inevitably mess up - but to be forgiven we have to first admit we have done wrong and that we have hurt God and be willing to repent and to allow the Holy Spirit to change us into the people God wants us to be.

God accepts us regardless of who we are - yes! But that's because we cannot change ourselves into the people that God wants us to be ... If God only chose those who were already worthy, he wouldn't choose anyone, but in his grace and mercy he chooses normal people despite their sin. Does this mean he accepts them as they are? No - he accepts them regardless of who they are, but he accepts them to change them. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

Anyway ... before I turn into a total Amateur theologian!

Badgers, beavers and raisins to you all

Mmmm ... Raisin Cakes

I know it's not often that I promote other people's blogs, but here's one definitely worth reading, if for no other reason than to see exactly what is going on in the C of E at the moment ...

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/143/21.0.html

All I can say is, What in God's Holy name do they think they are doing?

Until next time, I will be enjoying some rather tasty and non-idolatry raisin cakes and thanking my Father God for them. After all, I don't think there's anything inherently evil about raisin cakes ... Is there?

PS It should be noted that in the course of running a spell check on this blog post, the spell check identified "blogs" as an inaccurately spelt word. I couldn't help but be amused by the irony of this!

Monday, October 25

Lyme, Curry, Pizza, Chilli

I'm sorry that the rate of updates has slowed to once a week, but I do have a job, you know!

Had a really nice weekend with my parents who came to visit me. We spent Saturday at Lyme Park which is on the edge of Cheshire/Derbyshire and I understand it was used for some scenes in the BBC's recent production of Pride and Prejudice ... I've never watched this and never really cared that much, but some people might find it impressive. Allegedly the lake where Colin Firth's Darcy takes his "legendary dip" and the house exterior was filmed at the rather grand 'Lyme Hall'. But again this is only what I've been told ... I neither really know nor really care!

Anyway, the main point is that I had a really nice day with the folks at an old haunt of my childhood ... and the parents thoughtfully reminded me of the various tantrums I'd thrown around Lyme Park in protest of "another family walk!"

In the evening we ventured out onto Rusholme's legendary curry mile (which I live very close to!!!) and to another favourite venue, the Sangam restaurant. I hadn't been for 4 years but the food was still just as exquisite and the service excellent (very efficient, friendly and yet very patient staff! Amazing that they maintained the level of service when the place was heaving!) I had Tandoori chicken Korma with Egg Pilau rice - delicious! The complimentary poppadums and various accompanying sauces made for a great starter and we had a large jug of Mango lassi - a really nice sweet yoghurt drink! Great stuff ...

Mum & Dad then came to The Plant's Sunday@11 meeting the next day which was nice ... Good to have them there and I think nice for them to see the context I'm working in. Then we had pizza for lunch. Then we did our Food Hygiene Certificate exams to make sure we won't poison people whilst catering for meals for The Plant.

Today (Monday) I had a severe haircut, did a load of washing and hung it all up to dry, e-mailed some people, did some other stuff, had a surprise visit from my godparents and then went to the Monday@7 meeting of The Plant ... We had a few new people come which was cool, but a few regulars missing, so usual numbers! Oh and we had Chilli con carne for our meal (hence the title of this post!) I did a couple of songs on the guitar and we had a good talk from Hebrews 3:1-6 on how we must consider Jesus, and consider him above all else ... Challenging stuff!

And now I hope your insatiable appetite for news of my incredible life (?!) is satisfied and so until next time ...

Beware the herring. You know not what it has smoked.

Sunday, October 17

Attack of the ManFlu

"So how's everything with you?" Joe chirped happily into the phone receiver.
It was early Saturday evening and the weekly phone call from the parents was in full progress. It was a good week to report; not a lot had happened but that meant nothing bad had happened and so Joe was in fairly good spirits and this was easily conveyed.

It started up the stairs; it had been lurking in the house for a couple of days and had already claimed one victim. The second victim was perfect prey; currently distracted by a phone call - the inconsequential exchange of news and pleasantries and so caught up in his own present happiness to notice the onset of anything. With no interruptions, it reached the top of the stairs and turned onto the landing, creeping ever closer to the latest victim.

Suddenly another human came bounding out of the room straight ahead ... it ducked in a door way to avoid him. Having not assessed his current health, it was far too dangerous to strike for fear of being repelled. No, it must continue with the original plan.

It crept into the room silently and invisibly, as only a vicious infection can, and observed the victim squatting on the bed, back to the door. Perfect! And for pure irony it attacked at the very moment that the victim was caught in a moment of complete comic ecstasy - caused by some idiotic pun or cheeky remark. It would be a full hour before he felt the first tickle in the throat, two hours before the coughing really got underway and a full day before the latest victim began to feel incredibly rough. It sighed in relief; his evil work here was done - another pathetic human victim of the Evil ManFlu. Now where was that other house mate?


Yes, for the last week, I have been down with the ManFlu - a unique strain present among the student population of Manchester and passed on to those who work with them (like Church Student Workers!) It wasn't great but it wasn't too bad - certainly not as dramatic as the above makes it out to be! Anyway, I'm over it now ... pretty much and this is by way of explaining that there's really no news to report from the last week ... except that I had the ManFlu.

Badgers, beavers, stoats and weasels to the lot of you!

Monday, October 4

Finally ...

Hurrah! A new post!

And just when you thought this blog was going in the same direction as all the others ...

Well, we've just had our 3rd round of The Plant's meetings, with some more new faces and some that are now becoming more regular. With a student based church, it's inevitable that attendance figures and the people are going to vary from week to week, especially in the first term as people explore different places before settling down somewhere. Hopefully some people will choose us! As I said, we have had a few people who have come for 2 or more weeks now so it seems as though we're beginning to build a regular congregation ... which is nice.

This evening we had an amazing Hotpot with sausages, bacon, carrots, onion, potatoes and topped with Mozarella cheese (Yum yum) before moving on to continue our series looking at Hebrews 2:1-4 and having a really good discussion afterwards! We only had one song but it was a really good one - Stuart Townend's "How deep the Father's love for us" ... a beautiful song to play and sing with some absolutely fantastic words and a great reminder of God's great gift of salvation!

No major news other than that, really ... I was a bit ill over the weekend, but nothing too much. I did finally get round to producing a chorus and thus a provisionally final version of a re-write of "These are the days of Elijah" (a Christian praise song). It's something I'd been working on for a while and had some help from my friend Matthew, but I'd always stumbled when it came to the chorus; partly cos the original chorus is pretty good and it still fitted with the new verses we'd written. However, I wanted to have a stab at writing a new chorus, to try and tie the whole thing up neatly; it's quite satisfying to finish a long-standing personal project like that!

Now I just need to turn my attention to some of my original material and get it down on manuscript before it gets published on Crossring.com (the Christian Community site) as part of the brand new Music section which is all very exciting! For more info - keep your eyes on www.crossring.com ... although I'll probably have more stuff on it here as well.

Once more I say, and most solemnly;

Badgers to you all.