Thursday, 31 May 2007
Then it was over to the hall for a silent auction. What fun. I've never managed along to one of those. And it was good to get to see members in a different setting. I had to leave before the end for our late night youth service but left my son bidding. It cost me a fortune - but all in a good cause. I feel really tired but its a happy kind of tiredness caused by a good buzz. I love those times just hanging out with folk. Isn't that at the heart of ministry for everyone?
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Tuesday, 29 May 2007
Sunday, 27 May 2007
So the accuser loaned me his wee book on Calvinism. The blurb for the book makes the promise that you will feel a lot worse after you read it. As soon as mirth threatens to bubble up, one should read a few pages of this self help book which will swiftly administer a "potent triple measure of guilt, misery and self-loathing". I can't wait. Presbyterianism is a sober affair. We need to get back to basics and convince folk again of the sin that afflicts them lest they begin to rise above themselves and actually enjoy life. Heaven forbid.
But then, that first Pentecost, didn't the irrepressible Spirit of God cause some unbridled enthusiasm too? I stand convicted.
Saturday, 26 May 2007
As we walked home from our visit to the camp, I found myself reflecting on what massive changes there must have been in Scouting through the ages.
On the way home we decided to go to the local chip shop to pick up supper only to be advised that service would be slow since they were feeding hundreds of scouts. Changed days indeed. Whatever happened to rubbing two sticks together and cooking over an open fire?
I look forward to being involved in the centenary service next weekend. Hopefully by then, the young folks and their leaders will have managed to scrub off most of the mud they were covered in today!
Thursday, 24 May 2007
This week has been a good week for catching up on lots of pastoral visits that have been piling up. Some visits need lots of time so can't be squeezed in just anywhere. This week, there has been the space to fit those in. But I caught myself thinking today how much there is still to do. The barrel is never empty. Fortunately I soon realised that there's no point dwelling on what's left undone for now. Better to celebrate the tasks that have been cleared from the to-do list. And hope that there are more weeks where there is room to manouvre, when more catching up can be done. The barrel is never going to be empty but it is still rolling. That will have to do for now.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
One of my favourite parts in "Leaving Church" was, toward the end, when Barbara Brown Taylor quotes Jesus' words in Luke 14:26: Whoever comes to me and does not hate father, mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.
She interprets this as the get out clause, Jesus' way of discouraging folk from going on to Jerusalem with him. That wasn't where he needed them but back at their normal haunts, serving others. It would have done no good for everyone to follow him to death.
I know that that everyday service is hard enough without heaping on more sacrifice. The thought that this was Jesus' way of telling us it's OK to be human makes a huge difference to all the guilt I carry for things undone or not done so well. Its good to know I don't have to be perfect all the time!!!
Tuesday, 22 May 2007
Sunday, 20 May 2007
Friday, 18 May 2007
Wednesday, 16 May 2007
Another "mystery pic". This is, in fact, simply a shot of the linoleum laid in the hallway of an old plantation house in North Carolina. It fascinated me how it took on a 3-D appearance.
I love looking at those "magic eye" picture books, trying to see the 3-D images through all the squiggles. Its a fact of life that some folk breeze through life on the surface and rarely see the depths. Depths that, with a little bit of effort are there to be plumbed by all of us. Depths that bring meaning and colour.
So go on, stick your tongue out, cross your eyes, and see what image appears!
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
Today has been a beautiful, sunny day. Unfortunately I found myself submerged in preparing funeral services. Its been a busy week on that front. But then someone sent me an email, reminding me what a lovely day we had and exhorting me to go and smell the flowers. So I brewed some coffee and took it into the garden and found that the whole world didn't grind to a halt just because I took a break. A humbling discovery!
This thing that looks like an instrument of torture is actually a sugar cutter, used in past times when sugar came in blocks. How civilised were those days when people really did stop and enjoy afternoon tea.
Monday, 14 May 2007
At the end of the rainbow
Found each other there
Strange, we never thought the colours would fade
Be easy to walk
But it's much harder to stay
Why, oh why, are we reckless today?
You and I
Got to hold on together
Because in this life
Maybe the sun doesn't shine forever
Sunday, 13 May 2007
The spire of First Presbyterian church in Charlotte, NC fits in well with the towers around it in one of the major financial centres in the USA. "For Christ in the heart of Charlotte" is the byline on their notice board.
Although many churches in Scotland are now splendidly isolated because communities have chosen to re-locate, still there are plenty in a unique position at the heart of the community they serve. The community of Inverkip has grown phenomenally in the last few years but the church is still wonderfully placed in the centre of the "village". This is an enviable position that brings myriad opportunity and potential. And, since the church is in the business of caring for hearts, what better place from which to operate than at the heart of the community.
Friday, 11 May 2007
Tuesday, 8 May 2007
On study leave last year, I spent some time in Charlotte, North Carolina, looking at team ministry. Our wonderful hosts were from Sardis Presbyterian church. This sign greeted us when we visited and I vowed it would become a part of my home church philosophy. We Scots are good at putting each other down and of finding reasons why we can't do things rather than ways around perceived obstacles. Some nine months further on there is a glimmer that Inverkip church might be ready to move on, to stop resting on its 800 year history and look to the future with an air of excitement and expectation. If we expect little of God, our prophecies are self fulfilling. If, however we see endless possibility, we can achieve anything. Here's to a future filled with possibilities.
Monday, 7 May 2007
Sunday, 6 May 2007
This is how I believe Sunday afternoons should be spent - on a beach in splendid isolation.
More usually, Sunday afternoons find me hospital visiting, ironing or napping. But there have been enough of these totally decadent Sundays to convince me that this is how it should be and to provide me with good memories when its not possible.
Saturday, 5 May 2007
We have a new bubble "thingy" to play with. It makes huge, tunnel like bubbles that are great fun. Weather conditions were great for bubble play today - not too much sun, a little breeze. I discovered a short time ago that bubbles involve lots of science. Some folk have studied long and hard to get just the right mix and they also insist on the right environmental factors. I'm happy to leave all that science to others and simply have fun. I've always seen great potential in a splash of soapy mix, a puff of wind and a little imagination. There are those who create and perfect and those who simply enjoy. When it comes to bubbles, I'll be one of the enjoyers.
Thursday, 3 May 2007
Tonight I was visiting in the village. I happened to look out of the window of the home I was visiting just as two of my good buddies passed. I thought they were off to our favourite hostelry without me.
I decided I could either wonder why they hadn't asked me to go with them or - I could go and find out. So, when I had finished work, I rushed home for something to eat and then joined them. It turned out that when I saw them pass they were in fact just on their way to the local primary school to cast their vote. (We're having a local election) They hadn't intended stopping off at the hotel but, on the way back, they did succumb. So I hadn't been left out after all. Tonight reminded me that you can't get away with anything in our village!
But things aren't always as they appear.