Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Together for the Gospel?

I sometimes despair about my church. Not my local congregation - which, for all its faults is a great group of people who are trying to live faithfully to the teaching and example of Jesus and make a positive difference in their communities and workplaces.

No, I mean the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion. At a time when churches the world over are beginning to work together more constructively than ever to bring the reality of God's kingdom of peace, justice and grace to a world torn asunder by war, injustice and ungraciousness, the Anglican Communion is tearing itself apart over the issue of whether or not ordain gay priests.

Not that the issue does not matter, but how did we get so easily diverted by such a side issue? What about poverty, war, AIDS, the injustices in world trade and the negative aspects of globalisation, the erosion of family life, and the increasing spiritual poverty in the West that we are so rapidly exporting around the world? What about the Good News that Jesus brought? Why is that not our number one priority?

The answer seems to be not in the Anglican Communion, but rather among the Catholics, Pentecostals and other protestant groups, who all seem to be less readily diverted. I give God thanks that there are plenty of people (including Anglicans at the grass roots) who are not getting bogged down in political disputes that divert us from the Great Commission. Those are the people I want to be working with.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I'm a Dad .... again

Here she is, pickle number three. Safely delivered, and at home by some good friends (who also happen to be professional midwives). There is something really special having the baby at home, and having friends and family involved. The baby was born in the living room, with the children in their bedroom right next door (they claim not to have heard a thing!), surrounded by people who we knew, loved and trusted.

It contrasts to our first two who were born in hospital with significant medical intervention. Not that the care was bad; far from it, and not that the interventions were not necessary (neither of my other two kids nor my wife would be probably be with us now if there had not been those interventions). However, the experience of a normal, everyday but hugely significant life event in your own home is something special.

One of my favourite books of all time (Marrying & Burying: Rites of Passage in a Man's Life) explores how the rituals with which we surround ourselves help give meaning to life events like birth, marriage, coming of age, death, and dinner. Around all of these life events (major and mundane), however much we may not realise it in our post-industrial world, we are steeped in a huge variety of big and little rituals. The one we went through yesterday evening was the ritual of modern birth - attended by professionals with their notes and equipment, the ritual checks of the baby and mother, etc. Today I participated in the modern ritual of announcing the birth to friends and family - in the past done my letter or word of mouth, now done by email and blog spots. The instant nature of the modern ritual means this post-industrial father got one of the new baby's names wrong, and had to apologise on line!!

We have lost some of the deeper meanings of all of these events. My father-in-law brought us back in to focus today by simply praying over the child and making the sign of the cross on her forehead as she slept. One of her names is Grace, a reminder that she is a gift to us out of God's grace - the abundant, selfless, unearned blessings He pours out on all Creation.

Little rituals connect us back with deep truths.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


No sign of the baby yet, but boy did it snow (and still is snowing - see left taken five minutes back). About three inches.

Now in Scotland, Siberia and Saskatchewan that may sound like a light dusting, but down here it brings the whole country to a halt. But I don't care today, because it's SNOWING!! and I got to take two very excited children to school and pre-school in it. Darling wife wanted to get out in it too, but grumpily conceded that she did not want to fall over on her bum in the snow, as her centre of gravity currently sits about three inches in front of her actual body, and so balancing on ice is hard, hard work. Bless. But it also might bring on labour!

Now, less of the silly displacement activity and childish excitedness at snow, and back to some real work.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tum Te Tum Te Tum

Tiddley pom, nobody knows how cold my toes are growing, tiddley pom. It is real brass monkey weather, bright, sunny, frosty, and with 2 - 7 inches of snow forecast for tonight, looks like it is only going to get colder. Even with thermal socks, my feet are like ice blocks on the cold kitchen floor and this study is like a freezer, even with the heating on!

Meanwhile, my darling wife is in the protracted early stages of labour, I am off work to help, and we are cooling our heals waiting for junior No 3 to show his/her face as soon as possible (in the midst of one of the most fraught times at work, as well!) - our kids are always late. The first two were induced and born at 12 and 13 days overdue respectively, so we are really hoping this one bucks the trend. But you never can tell.

At lest I won't have to fight my way into the office tomorrow when the train system inevitably grinds to a halt tonight!

Meanwhile, more media madness - Celebrity Big Brother and the racist bullying row, Tony Blair and No 10 staff still being questioned over an alleged cover up of cash for peerages corruption, the video of US pilots shooting up a British convoy and killing one serviceman, and all the other bits and pieces of the last month. All of this is serious stuff, despite initial appearances, but as ever distracts from the bigger picture.

But lets not go there again!

I anticipate I will be blogging more for the next few days, before once again a madly busy work schedule and increasingly busy family life take over. Meanwhile lets get some food down me to keep my blood warm!


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