29 January 2009

Packer People

I spent some time this afternoon doing something I could never have imagined not so many years ago. “Back in the day …”, that is when I was a lot younger than I am now, speaking to someone “abroad” on the telephone was difficult and expensive! The lines were often poor and, all in all, there was just too much cost and effort involved. Yet today – through the wonders of Skype – I’ve been chatting to a guy from Dubuque, Iowa, who is actually a very familiar voice – Ross Janes.

Ross and his friend Wes produce an excellent podcast called Packershow – and many of us Packer fans listen every week to their extremely informed, sometimes controversial, always entertaining views about the Green Bay Packers. Ross and Wes are always keen to involve their listeners in the show – one of them, Patrick Castleberg, produces a regular comment piece every week – and so Ross is exploring ways of recording interviews with the Packershow faithful. Hence our conversation today.

Whether my interview comes to anything is by the by. The real joy was talking to Ross about some of the things we share: the Packers, of course, but also our faith and our families and our different, but related lives. In short, Ross is a real class act, and it was a privilege to get to know him a little better! (Ross' blog is
here, by the way.)

The Packershow community is growing – you can find out more at
http://packershow.com/ The shows are available every week during the season, and on other key occasions in the off-season, like before the NFL draft. You can get them from the site, or subscribe using iTunes.

The guys have promised a discussion soon of the impending defensive changes for the Pack, so if (like me) you really need to learn more about the 3-4 defense and who Dom Capers is – tune in to Packershow! Or if you just want to hear some enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans talking about their favourite (favorite!) team - go to

When he was appointed as Head Coach of the Packers, Mike McCarthy talked of his wish to attract to the team not just good players, but “Packer People”. Ross and Wes and Patrick - and so many more new friends – are truly Packer People!

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27 January 2009

Glass half-full, after all?

As you will see, I intended to publish this last December (!). Now, with the season of Advent long-gone (and my positive mood with it!) I needed to re-read my thoughts ...

4 December 2008

Reading a series of entries from Kathryn’s blog (
Good In Parts) in which she is chronicling a clearly manically busy but thoroughly blessed Advent, (see here) I realise that her attitude and mine are diametrically opposed!

I should say, “I realise again”, as I know I am prone to falling into a rather negative attitude. Particularly at this time of year, there is so much to do – or at least the impression that there is so much to do seems to loom over me and blight everything. I often think, as Advent proceeds and Christmas approaches, that
Scrooge was a much misunderstood man!

And yet … part of Advent must be looking for the Lord’s coming – whether in the Christmas or in the Kingdom sense. And part of it must be anticipation. Jesus came to inaugurate the “now and not yet” Kingdom – so where are the signs that he has been here? Where are the signs that he is active in the world (in my world) by his Holy Spirit?

There are joys and there are positive things even in a world of injustice and need, even in a life which is often busy and demanding. God’s Kingdom has not yet fully and finally come, but it does break in – and it breaks in more often and in more varied and wonderful ways than I am often able to see or prepared to admit!

Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,

to you be praise and glory for ever.

In your tender compassion

the dawn from on high is breaking upon us

to dispel the lingering shadows of night.

As we look for your coming among us this day,

open our eyes to behold your presence

and strengthen our hands to do your will,

that the world may rejoice and give you praise.

Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Blessed be God for ever.

(From Common Worship Morning Prayer for Advent)

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