Thursday, 28 July 2011

new life, new lifestyle

Wonderful picture of what the Bible means by repentance in the recent case of a Bradford couple. Yesterday's headline for this in the Halifax Courier says it all: "We found God ... and left the BNP"

John Stott

Sad news that John Stott died yesterday, not sad for him but sad for others. Such an influential figure in the evangelical world, his work and his person will be an influence for many a long year in the future.

I did meet him once. We were eating lunch at All Souls when we were in a meeting there as part of a UCCF team. He came over to talk to the table and shake each of us by the hand. In my ignorance I barely knew who he was, but we came across as gentle and humble and interesting in what we were doing.

Found out in his biography that he went to school in the same town as me too, though mine was the comprehensive, his was the prep school. Less than a mile apart but miles apart.

A good man, he is reported to have died while listening to Handel's Messiah. What a way to go!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

It's Oh So Quiet

I am on a short break to read and be quiet and get back to being a little more grounded for a few days. This involves taking myself away for some time and means that I hardly speak to a soul all day. Other than calling my family today, my only significant conversation was about how I wanted my fish and chips at lunchtime. I know, hardly suffering, but it's not something I relish.

Yesterday was my first day of this and I hated it and felt like coming home. But today was easier and I won't be jumping into the car at the first opportunity in the morning - though I am due home tomorrow.

I think it is probably good for me, slowing down and photographing the roses, and that fact that it doesn't come naturally doesn't mean it is a bad thing for me to do. While I have been here I have been reading about sabbatical and whilst the promise of this wonderful oasis is shimmering over the horizon next year for me, I need to think about how to practice sabbath each week and even for a short time every day. That needs to start now.

Question is, how to rearrange my time to do this?

More from Fish Town

Glorious weather today and I spent a few hours out with camera and book in warm sunshine - a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. The lighthouse picture is from last night, the other one that was shot at dusk was taken from the bedroom window a few minutes ago. It's a wonder that I do any reading in such beautiful surroundings.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Fish Town

Sky Atlantic have just started showing a ten part documentary on Brixham, entitled Fish Town, and I have the good fortune to be spending a few days down there at the moment. They are still filming and the town seem to be quite excited by it.

Lovely evening and because I have my copy of PSE on a different laptop, these are all without any PP. Took these pictures on the breakwater this evening.

As I was saying...

Yesterday was my last preaching engagement for four weeks and, I have to say, I am probably even more pleased than the congregation. It has been a bit of a struggle to make it over the finishing line but now I have a week's study leave to read, walk and try to catch up on my sleep, and then three weeks holiday - can't wait.

Yesterday my text was the last section of Ephesians 3 where Paul prays for the church not in terms of their physical needs but that they might be strengthened in their inner being. So I talked a lot about how the inside is much more important than the outside and how we should be focussed on that.

Three lots of feedback. One that someone was glad I had shaved off the beard I had been growing and two people who tell me that I have put on weight. Mmmm.... the irony.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Only at Exeter City.....

Exeter City usually only play pre-season games in the south west and, as per usual, this year sees them in such exotic places as Dorchester, Clevedon, Mangotsfield United (only one Man. Utd, hey?). But in a break with tradition this year they also played three games abroad, touring Norway. There is - honestly - a branch of Norwegian Grecians who make regular trips to Exeter to watch their team. Damned glory hunters!

Pre-season are never terribly serious games, more about getting back to match fitness and fitting in new players. This year the third game of the tour took "relaxed" to new levels!

With the score at 1-1 after 70 minutes, both Exeter City and Follese made 11 substitutions each. Exeter included manager Paul Tisdale and coach Rob Edwards in their new line up. Follese, in a tremendous gesture between the two clubs, withdrew their footballers in order to play the last twenty minutes with a combination of Norwegian supporters of Exeter City and some of the fans that had travelled from England to follow their team on the tour.

At Exeter the fans are proud to chant "We own our football club." The bond between club and fans could hardly be better illustrated. I suspect that no other club would do this. Only at Exeter City...

Thanks to Mike Blackstone for bringing this to my attention through his blog.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

They Might Be Giants - Live in London

Great to see them back in Blighty, again playing to a partisan crowd. There is something rather lovely as a fan to be with a crowd of people who sing along to the words when most friends will say, "Who?" when TMBG come up in casual conversation - as they frequently seem to. Reference to "Birdhouse in Your Soul" ususally rings a distant bell but that is usually as far as it goes. People - there is so much more to know!

KOKO (the former Camden Palace) was packed last night. Reference was made by the band to the huge numbers on the manager's guest list and I do wonder if the capacity of 1410 was stretched - it certainly felt very full. Or perhaps middle aged men take up more space, the crowd was mostly guys my age.

They started with "Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head", followed with "Particle Man" and we were away. As energetic as you'd expect. The new stuff sounds good. They are running an offer on the website to download the new album for $9.99. The relase date is Monday but by pre-ordering you get four advance tracks so the real nerds sang along anyway. Guilty m'lud. A personal favourite was "Turn Around" which I suspect isn't always on the live set.

Had to leave just before the end to catch the last train west but, overall, great dad/daughter bonding time. We tried photos with little success but also tried to film with slightly better results. We have a couple of songs but the files are too big for here. TMBG play Latitude in Suffolk today - albeit criminally low down on the bill. Sky Arts are covering the festival though the best we can probably hope for is a quick "Birdhouse" in the highlights programme.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Jim nearly fixed it for me

On Sunday I came so close to the kind of experience that only normally comes along courtesy of Jim'll Fix It. A football website I follow was asking if a keen photographer wanted to go to Exeter City to photograph players and fans at the unveiling of the new kit. The regular club photographer was taking advantage of the brief close season to go on holiday and he was even offering a day with him at a home match in return for helping him out.

Commented on this to family saying it was a shame I couldn't do it to which they asked me, why not? And I worked out that I could just about do it with some careful planning and a slightly earlier than usual departure from church after the morning service. The announcement said to just make yourself known on the day but as it is a 100 mile round trip I didn't want to get there to find they already had someone, so I emailed the guy in question. I also prayed that if this was a silly idea then it wouldn't happen.

Long story short, it didn't happen. Sent email does not equal read email and the guy opened it too late. Was probably for the best as nerves and camera shake don't go together well. It would be a dream to sit with the others on the sidelines and snap away but best not think about giving up the day job!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Great church day trips of our time

Bit of fun today with the church day trip to Bournemouth clashing with the annual gay pride party just yards from where the coach dropped us off. Astonishingly, I'm not sure some people even noticed. Maybe they were in shock and I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow.

There was another pride event going on in the town too, various painted lions around the place, in the same way that they are doing gorillas at the moment in Bristol and I think they did sheep (or was it pigs?) in Bath one time. We saw a few, my favourite being one painted to resemble the album cover for Aladdin Sane in HMV's window.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

"Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles". Isaiah 40:31

Really had no time for time out today. In an ironic move I was nominated, as the least reflective person gathered there, to lead some thoughts on on a day of reflection for some local ministers. It is all very low key, involving some coffee, cake, reflection and prayer, spending a couple of hours alone, the food at the pub, followed by coffee, cake, and a bit more reflection and prayer. Not terribly taxing fare, it has to be said.

Yet something I do so little of. To the extent that I was actually nervous of spending the time out of the usual routine - if indeed you could call it a routine.

Came away with a better attitude and a quieter spirit. And a couple of nice pictures and some things to ponder. I should do this more often.

But I remember telling myself that last year too.

PS - Have no idea if the bird in the picture is an eagle or not but caught it with a 55mm lens as it circled around.

Fame - of sorts

I am Pastor Steve Burnham. Apparently. That's the label I've got from the Leprosy Mission website, where they have posted some of my pictures of Natalie's walk.

Actually, I've always wanted a stage name and this one isn't bad.

By the way, the Town Crier of Poole is as mad as a squirrel.

Friday, 1 July 2011

South West Coast Path - 630 Miles - She did it!

Back in May I blogged about the great day that I spent with Natalie Husk and my friend Brian walking a leg of the South West Coast Path. Natalie was walking the 630 miles in the small matter of 53 days with the odd rest day thrown in. I cannot imagine doing that kind of distance, according to the AA routeplanner this would be the equivalent of me setting off today from Somerset and finishing in Frankfurt. She did it to raise money and awareness of the work of the Leprosy Mission. What a woman!

And yesterday she finished! It was a pleasure to walk the final 8 miles from Swanage to Poole with her and a band of supporters yesterday and to take some pictures along the way.

No PP done on any of the pictures yet, just wanted to whack them up here.

Start of the last leg with her support crew.

The last temptation of Natalie? Inviting looking deckchairs on Swanage beach.

Striding out

Natalie walked alone for 9 days of the challenge.

For the last leg a dozen others joined her for the full eight miles.

The final few steps of a two mile finish across the sand of Studland beach.

Relief, elation, joy, who knows?

Natalie with the walkers who walked the final miles with her.

Now it's time for her and Toby the dog to get a well earned rest!