There's no finer female voice in the world...sends shivers down the spine.
The one and only
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
For almost all of my life most of the social groupings I’ve found myself in – Church, school, work, friends, and family – have enjoyed a healthy degree of diversity. Sometimes it’s been immediately apparent, and other times it just takes a little bit of awareness to appreciate it.
It doesn’t take a very deep scratch under the surface of society in much of the Western world to get to a rich tapestry of ethnicities, cultural & social backgrounds….a mixed marriage here, time spent living in another culture there…we are all a kaleidoscopic mash up…and I like that! We are the richer for it.
Some time ago I wrote about the particular mix in my place of work, and if I were to list the nationalities today, it will have shifted again. It’s a dynamic organic thing, and I love it.
So, this excellent post from Eric Bryant goes some way to explaining some of the reasons why I find a tribe like the perfectly named Mosaic so captivating. This community of Jesus followers have dealt with this diversity with such grace and wisdom…it’s inspirational.
Eric’s closing point says it so well…
“Diversity reveals God’s heart. Our world is more and more diverse. In fact, people are more diverse themselves. Rather than just a mixture of European cultures, Americans are a blend of Latino, African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and European – sometimes all in one person. The path to diversity begins with the mission of Jesus.
When we choose to reach out and love all of those around us, we will experience a glimpse of heaven on earth.”
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It’s a very fine line between sheer bravery and abject stupidity and I’m tending towards the latter at the moment, having being persuaded to take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon here in London in October.
Those who know me best know that I’m not at all athletic, not especially disciplined when it comes to active pursuits, hardly in the best shape of my life, just plain old and occasionally have a tendency to be all mouth and no trousers! (I hope that translates well for anyone reading this from outside of the UK)
What tipped the scales for me was the chance to do something practical to show my support for my old buddy Andy who is battling hard with the Big C and the inspiration of fitter, stronger, younger mates like Stu who’ve done the same.
Check out Andy’s initial response to the news – complete with Anglo Saxon language - to the news here.
Andy’s blog - Grumpy Old Git - is a gritty and authentic reminder of the complete life change a person goes through when they and their loved ones are hit by this terrible disease. Anyhow, Andy’s a fighter and is taking it full on with a vengeance, so don’t his expect the blog posts to be all sweetness and light!
So, the time will come before too long when I start badgering you for money.
Now I know that’s a big ask at this point in time, and I also realise that Social Networking has made it easier and easier for more and more people to ask you for money, but you’re going to have to bear with me as I make my own particular pitch for your cash.
So, to share a little bit of an e-mail conversation I had with Andy…
• Did my longest run* in months yesterday! Felt fine….very very slow, though.
• Bought my copy of Runners World as per your recommendation!
• Printed off a Training schedule
• Watched bits of the London 10k on telly..
• It’s going well!
…I may have peaked! ;-)
* Which for me probably means about 3 miles at a guess?
Stay tuned and go here!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Like many Salvationists, I sometimes struggle when we involve marketing folks with our mission.
There’s always the danger that the public perception of The Salvation Army as a huge global social service agency outshadows our primary calling as a people who are followers of Jesus
However, I can’t argue with the creativity of this latest campaign from Portland, Maine.
Check it out here
HT to SavationArmyDonate and Via Marketing for the image
Friday, May 15, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Having devoured Erwin McManus’ fabulous book, The Barbarian Way a couple of years back it was so cool to go and hear Erwin speak at Kerith Community Church in Bracknell this weekend.
It was such a good day…inspirational on all kinds of levels.
Erwin is such a dynamic, engaging and challenging speaker; it’s hard not to be motivated by what he says. A special word too for the beautifully produced short films which acted as bookends to each session. Each was a poignant and thought provoking film which made you really think. Amazing stuff.
There was so much to compute…so much good stuff to take on board that I’ve not had time to put my thoughts down. I’m still processing it all. I’m kinda hoping there’s someone better and brighter than me who was there, who is going to commit their thoughts on the day to the blogosphere! Hopefully, though, as the days go on I can actually manage to get some of my response down on paper.
Most significantly I was glad that through all the teaching, Erwin constantly brought us back to Jesus.
Also, it was fascinating to hear something of the story of Erwin’s tribe - Mosaic in LA and the rich diversity of the community there. One phrase that jumped out to me
…”we like people who are not like us”.I love it!
It was great too to hook up with Neil Nakamoto from Mosaic, one of I think eight guys who’ve been travelling with Erwin on this European trip. A kinder and more gracious guy you’ll struggle to find. Knowing that Neil, Eric Bryant and Adrian Kohler are on staff at Mosaic with Erwin must mean those guys alone make up part of a rocking team!
…wonderful too to finally meet Sam and Rachel Radford from Mosaic in Sheffield, all the guys from The Salvation Army in Histon and fellow Twitterer Ben Pocock
Anyhow…an awesome day...I bought my copy of another Erwin book, “Wide Awake” – looking forward to reading it.
If you know nothing about Erwin or Mosaic, the stuff online is really worth checking out.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Those of us who read Scripture often assume this passage from Romans talks about the “culture” outside of our faith community…our ekklesia…our Corps. I wonder how much it can also be applied to the very culture of our tribe.
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking... The Message
• This son of the regiment is becoming increasingly troubled by our excessive use of Christianese and the tendency to retreat into our Salvationist culture bubble.
• This CSM is finding it hard to cope with our love of the acronym…IHQ, THQ, DHQ, ISB, YPSM….and occasionally toys with the idea that some of those letters represent anachronism as much as acronym. Why do we have to talk in riddles?
• This uniform wearing Salvationist is struggling with the weekly donning of the blue serge..
I don’t have a problem with being visually identified with The Salvation Army. In fact, I’m glad to be so, but I’m not a great fan of the particular FORM of uniform we’ve worn since the early ‘70s or thereabouts.
I’m no longer convinced that the uniform in it’s present form is broadly recognized by society at large....
Many folks seem not to be able to distinguish it – particularly when we are wearing white shirts- from any number of similar uniforms. Security staff, Airline or Parking attendants etc.
White shirts aren’t always that slimming!
I find serge heavy & uncomfortable
Sundays are the only day of the week I have to wear a tie
Somehow our buttoned-down starched uniforms don’t speak to me of this radical Army of Salvation
I’m a big fan of The Salvation Army’s Red Shield logo, and would rather see that employed more readily as part of our uniform
Yet…..I am a Salvationist…probably to the core…inspired by the words of William Booth when he said “I’ll Fight”…but first, and most importantly I’m trying hard to be a follower of The Way of Jesus.
Love God, Love Others
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Hat tip to Stewart Cutler for pointing me in the direction of elegant little Abbotsford Parish Church site, and in particular Mucky Paws, described by their Rev Roddy Hamilton as “A collection of contemporary liturgies and creative moments from the last month in Abbotsford.”
There’s a simple beauty which seems to come out through everything done at Abbotsford. Check the Photo Albums for a glimpse of that beauty.
If you want some wonderful original liturgies, just bounce Roddy Hamilton an e-mail through the site, and he’ll kindly oblige
One of the liturgies I received is just beautiful:
The Jesus we miss
When we’ve finished with the theological discussion and the denominational differences
may we discover you, O Jesus, laughing at our debates
When we’ve repeated all our creeds and affirmed all our doctrines
may we discover you, O Jesus, looking for hand to feed the hungry
When we’ve preach all the sermons and established all our church credentials
may we discover you, O Jesus, drinking tea with the left-outs
and human friend
prince of peace
and heavenly rebel
wisdom to the wise
and comforter to the lost
Lord of glory
and companion on the road
We come to meet you
the Jesus we miss
who explains all of heaven
in the squeezing of our hand
30th January 2009
Jesus, everyday, seeing