25 October 2006

One day in my history

You may know that the History Matters website is encouraging people to contribute to "One Day In History". We are all asked to post our own accounts of one day - Tuesday 17 October - to provide a kind of electronic time capsule for future generations.

Well, you might know that I couldn't resist adding my 650 words - though even on an "ordinary" day I had difficulty keeping within the word limit. That shouldn't really surprise anyone either ...! ;-)

So, here is my contribution ...

Today has been a fairly ordinary, uneventful day! My wife and I have a wonderful 14-year-old son. She is a parish priest in the Church of England. I suppose women clergy are a new historic trend in the CofE. I am a Reader – effectively a volunteer worker for the Church.

My day begins at 7.25 am. Start negotiations with our son about him getting up. Kettle on – cup of tea essential! Make breakfast and packed lunch for son, then cereal for me. My wife joins me in front of Breakfast TV – I have my daily moan about how little real news there is on it any more.

Son finally up and out to school. I shower and shave. Got to write a talk for the service at church tomorrow, so now begins the desperate search for anything else to do, rather than knuckle down to work! The Internet – always good for prevarication!

Read my emails, some related to my role as a Governor of our local Primary School. Governors’ Meeting last night – for me two overriding impressions remain. Firstly, the continual need to raise academic standards; and secondly, I don’t know how our Head-teacher copes. Heads these days have such demanding jobs! I must admit to feeling gloomy about the whole thing – and I am only on the very fringes!

Since I am feeling down, it occurs to me that I ought to pray! Need to get some perspective on things – and God might even have something he wants me to say about St Luke – it’s his day in the Church’s calendar tomorrow, and I still haven’t thought of anything. Conclude in a better frame of mind, but without inspiration on the subject of Luke!

Then, just as I almost get down to work – the phone rings! My brother ringing from his home in France. Our Dad died only a few months agoMum died 13 years ago – and we are trying to keep in touch. I feel strangely “out on my own” without our parents there to provide the “glue” holding us together. Now we really must make an effort to keep in contact, especially since we can hardly pop round for a chat. On the history theme, both Mum and Dad were involved in World War 2: Dad was captured at Dunkirk and a prisoner of war; Mum in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force – a wireless operator. What a remarkable generation – we have so much to be grateful to them for.

After the phone call, I declare an early lunch. My wife is “in” today, so we can eat together – a real benefit of her working from home. When we both went out to work, it was always difficult to make our lunch hours coincide.

The afternoon is spent reading, reflecting and writing about St Luke – see, I finally got round to it! Only one interruption: when our son gets home from school I take him to our doctors’ in the town for a booster inoculation. This is a multiple “jab”: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella. He faces the jab in his arm like a man; I have to look away – I know I get queasy about such things, so no point trying to impress anyone! We both survive OK! We take our healthcare for granted, but any one of those diseases would have been a threat not many years ago.

I’ve almost run out of words for my ordinary day – don’t worry, I don’t go on like this in church! Cooked dinner, then watched a film on DVD with my wife – unusually she wasn’t working this evening. Our son spends his evening upstairs on his computer. Then off to bed. Finished the day with a few pages from ex-President Bill Clinton’s autobiography – I love my modern history. Now President Clinton would never have been lost for words, even on St Luke!

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"Locked-in vicar rings for help"

My wife saw this on the Daily Telegraph web site - you can see why she would have spotted it.

There but for the grace of God go we! (Note especially the role of the son ... ours doesn't play the drums, but our vicarage is a bit further away from the church).

(Telegraph link here)

Locked-in vicar rings for help
By Nigel Bunyan
Last Updated: 1:52am BST 20/10/2006

A vicar who inadvertently locked himself and his wife into his church used the bell to send out a "morse code" distress call to his parishioners. The Rev Steve Rathbone, 45, spent 20 minutes pulling on the rope before neighbours in Rainbow, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, realised something was amiss.

Mr Rathbone and his wife, Jo, might have been freed earlier had their son, Jake, 16, who was in the vicarage next door, not been playing on his drum kit.

They became trapped after a coffee morning when a helper left the building and locked it, unaware anyone was inside.

Mr Rathbone, who has been the parish vicar of Rainbow for three years, said: "People said they didn't know for sure that it was an SOS, but they could tell it was an unusual rhythm for a church bell.

"They came to investigate, realised we were trapped and let us out – for which we were truly thankful".


"Now I have ..."

Of course, some of us can quite naturally turn good news into bad news ...

Peter Graystone in the Church Times wrote this week that blogging is a good thing. However he recommends blogging every day for 15 minutes.

Is it Rex in Toy Story who says:

"Now I have guilt!" ?

So much to be guilty about, and so little time ;-)


13 October 2006

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

An interesting perspective on the "news" from our 14-year-old son. We were watching a BBC report on the Health Service which proclaimed, (as the web version does here) that "Half of NHS trusts 'must improve'". Our son, ever the mathematician, shot back:

"But that means that half of them are doing OK!"

It seems that for the BBC, the glass is always half-empty!

Meanwhile on the same day, the Corporation reported on the "failure" of the scheme allowing early release from prison in the UK in conjunction with electronic tagging - "Tagged offenders went on to kill."

Of course murder and violent crime is always truly dreadful, but you would have to read or listen very carefully indeed to glean that, in fact, re-offending rates for those released under the tagging scheme are considerably better than those released directly. I'm guessing that many of those released untagged also went on to kill.

The BBC is required to report in a balanced way - perhaps the balance is askew? Why give us the good news, when it can be presented as bad?

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12 October 2006

How about an MA in Robin Hood studies?

Did you see this latest offering from my old University?

Robin Hood is a scholarly subject (BBC)

From Sherwood Forest to University Park (Univ of Nottingham)

As a former resident of Nottinghamshire - indeed of Robin Hood's Village - now living in Yorkshire, how could I miss this story?

11 October 2006

Made in the image of God – marriage, right relationships and growing in community.

Here is a remarkable commentary on Mark 10 2-9 – a passage on divorce which is daunting (to say the least!) for the preacher! It comes from the Lectionary Blog of Sarah Dylan Breuer of The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I shouldn’t even begin to try and summarise it – you have to read the whole piece! It deals with marriage and human sexuality, as well as relationships (in the particular and more general sense.) It is a glorious affirmation of the truth that all people are made in God’s image!

Here are some highlights which particularly struck me:

"'It is not good that the human should be alone'(Genesis 2:18).

God creates us for community. To become more fully who we are, who God made us to be, we need to walk alongside another who will be with us for the long haul, who sees us at our best and our worst and will tell us the truth about both, who knows us deeply and loves us unconditionally."

"With people made in God's image and created for self-giving love, that's an amazing experience of God's glory, God's creativity, and God's goodness."

"A relationship between two people that helps both live more fully in the world their identity and vocation as human beings made in God's image is blessed by God."

Sarah characterises this passage of Scripture as a profoundly liberating and challenging word from Jesus. She explains that it challenges our culture’s idolatry of romance and sexual attraction, pairing up and parenthood. It is a call to affirm singleness, as well as marriage.

She says that to take up the challenges of Jesus releases the potential to set us free for authentic right relationship with one another – each loved uniquely as God's child, each challenged and supported to grow in community.

Wow!! Go on – read the whole commentary here!


Certainty and humility in the Anglican Communion

Here is a very interesting post from the blog of Father Rick Lord, World of Your Making, which recounts an evening spent with Abp Rowan and Jane Williams. The Archbishop's comments are illuminating - as you would expect! The full post is here

I was particularly struck by this:

"[The Archbishop] reminded us that there are those who affirm the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Christ expressed through Scripture, but who do not share the same certainty as some of their brothers and sisters on the current issues so vigorously debated in the Communion today."

A little less certainty and a little more humility would go a long way.

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04 October 2006

David Beckham and Darren Clarke

I was touched by this from golfer Darren Clarke's website

(You probably know that Darren's wife, Heather, recently died of cancer).

3 October 2006
Beckham Puts His Shirt 0n Clarkes

Darren Clarke writes …

I’ve never met David Beckham; I’ve no idea if he plays golf and, to be honest, I’d no idea he had any idea who I was.

Well now I do know because last week I received a parcel which proved to me what a scholar and gentleman the former England football captain is.

I was on the putting green at The Grove during last week’s American Express WGC event when somebody came over with a parcel addressed to me. Inside were three Real Madrid shirts all signed by David with personalised notes for myself and the two boys Tyrone and Conor.

It was a wonderful gesture particularly as it came from somebody I didn’t know personally. When I gave the shirts to the boys you should have seen their faces – they were beaming.

Full article: http://www.darrenclarke.com/ism/sites/clarke/clarke_article.shtml

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