Monday, 30 April 2012

Me Me Me

Came across two fabulous blog postings today, both of which make the point that (apparently) the world doesn't revolve around me.  Or you (alone) for that matter.

Andy Shudall posts this great article about a virus that I think I knew I had but I tend to try to pretend that I don't.

Tony Watkins points me to a great ten minute talk by a psychological researcher which shows the best way to spend money so that you can be happy.  It'll even improve your dodge ball teams effectiveness, apparently.  One for me to show the kids at Youth Club sometime.

Two people that I am privileged to have worked with, both still doing the business.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Rain, rain, go away

 Here we are, officially in a drought and with a hosepipe ban looming and it's now the wettest April for something like 260 years. 

Back along, in March - yes March, I sat in shorts and tee shirt taking pictures of Somerset's warm up game against Surrey.  Today, the whole County Championship is washed out.  Seems a long time ago already.... 

Jonathan Lewis is a Surrey strip.  An odd things to see after so many years at Gloucestershire but good luck to him, he doesn't owe us anything.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Save me from myself!

Enjoying the chance to read whilst on sabbatical and find myself enjoying Alain de Botton's latest book, Religion for Atheists.  Starts from the viewpoint, "there's obviously no God", but then spends the rest of the time asking how can we be atheist and still have some of the great things that religion provides?  It's a very interesting book, he has some interesting insights as well as some frankly odd ideas.  Loved this quote from the book: 

“...we face temptations which we revile in those interludes when we can attain a sufficient distance from them, but which we lack any encouragement to resist, much to our eventual self-disgust and disappointment. The mature sides of us watch in despair as the infantile aspects of us trample upon our more elevated principles and ignore what we most fervently revere. Our deepest wish may be that someone would come along and save us from ourselves.”
Religion for Atheists, page 77. Alain de Botton

Which is interesting. 

Asked by a friend what this means.  I think it's pretty much what Paul writes in Romans 7:

 "21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being... I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" 
I am sure to be levering this into a sermon sometime soon after my return in the summer. 

Enjoying Barenaked Ladies

Yes, I know it sounds as if I've had a serious derailing during sabbatical, but I really haven't.  A curiousity that stems from the Big Bang Theory theme tune led me to order the Barenaked Ladies Best of 1991-2001 and it's great!  Upon playing it I realised I knew "One Week" but that was it.  But it's a great album.  Part Housemartins, part REM, part Mental as Anything, part They Might Be Giants - what's not to like? 

This is funny - "If I had a Million Dollars":

The album is a bargain at £3.99 on Amazon at the moment.

Just be very careful how you Google them. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Have you ever played Brazil?

I understand about three words of this but this was on a football show aired in Brazil and watched by millions this month, all about the time Exeter City played Brazil on a South American tour.  That was back in 1914 and the club are exploring whether it is possible to set up a 100 year anniversary game. 

The link is here, I include it for the amusement of the two Portuguese speaking followers of this blog.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Exeter City 4 Walsall 2

Oh, it's the hope that kills you!  A fortnight ago it looked odds on that Exeter City would be down.  It still does, but they aren't yet.  Two weeks ago they were wonderful, beating Orient 3-0, today they win 4-2 having been pretty ordinary in the first half before putting Walsall to the sword.   In between they lost 3-2 at Rochdale, conceding three goals in the last 11 minutes.  You have to love being a football fan, don't you?  If only...

The event started bizarrely for me.  At the gate outside I am asked if I am interested in considering fostering by a man brandishing a leaflet.  Within 30 seconds I am inside the ground and being frisked, something that has never happened to me before at any football ground, let alone at Exeter City.  I am sitting in the family stand, there with my wife and daughter and a middle aged man - a soft target?  Not that there is a lot of trouble anywhere in the ground at Exeter, it is all a little disturbing and feels a bit unnecessary.   

The game leaves Exeter needing to win their last two games and for other results to go their way.  Still a long shot.  On Saturday Exeter have a local derby against Carlisle away (a mere 700 mile round trip).  Win that and it's Sheffield United at home on the last day of the season, the same day as the FA Cup final.  Even my Liverpool supporting favourite parishioner is torn over that one. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Made it - just

Long time no posts, probably my longest absence since I started to blog.  Ironically, the effect of this has been to see the hits on the blog go through the roof.  Seems the less I write, the more people like it. 

Truth is I've been pretty done in.  Getting to sabbatical (which started Easter Monday) was a struggle and was probably only made possible by time at New Word Alive the week before, which, once again, proved to be a refuelling post along the way.  The rest of the time was spent in frantic activity trying to get everything done before I started sabbatical.  I got most of it done, handed on the rest and have probably forgotten a bunch of things. 

Came back feeling much more positive from NWA, encouraged by good solid, encouraging and challenging talks.  And some difficult feedback to face on returning but Easter weekend was good, people responding to the cross and all that it achieved, I had the pleasure of praying with one person who wanted to recommit their life to Christ, which puts any setbacks into perspective. 

But the exhaustion I felt has been the reason for the silence my end.  Sabbatical is now well under way and I am slowly being recalibrated.  My first goal is to start adopting a normal sleep pattern, achieved just twice so far.  Unwinding is a slow and rather uncomfortable experience but I need to go through it. 

Listened to a Tim Keller sermon on Elijah yesterday that points out that when Elijah was feeling like he was done in and he just wanted to die, God feed him and gave him sleep, as well as offering him renewed relationship and spiritual food.  We are physical, relational, and spiritual beings and we need to be healthy on each level - and probably lots of others too.  His application is that sometimes we don't need prayer or to listen to a sermon but a good meal and a B&B by the seaside, to listen to great music and to read a good novel.  Sounds good to me.  Watch this space...