Duke Special on Jools Holland – No Cover Up

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you know youre getting old when…


1. People who come to your Christmas soiree (and who are younger than you) bring their kids

2. You’ve been out of school (and yes its a pretty awful website) so long that the ‘class of 96’ has their 10 year reunion.

After almost getting the wrong night (another sign of getting old – or just not reading things properly), I rolled up to White’s Tavern last night intrigued as to what would ensue. To be honest I had feared it may be just a chance for people to let everyone know how successful they were, or that after the ‘so where are you living now?’ and ‘what are you up to?’ questions were exhausted it would descend into an awkward silence. I’m glad to say it was a good night – some people i hadn’t seen for 10 years, others I had. Its strange that most people outwardly didn’t seem to have changed that much (well, most of the guys have acquired a bit of later twenties spread) and some of those relationships were pretty easy to pick up again. Be interesting to know how much people really have changed. I know as I look back my time at uni was very significant and shaped a lot of who I am now. The shy geeky Samuel with the sideshade of 1M has become the slightly more opinionated (and still geeky) Sam who thankfully has lost the sideshade! I guess my last 10 years have been shaped by realising that if I believed God was real then I needed to take him seriously. That has meant launching into the journey of following Jesus and trying to figure out what it looks like to follow him. That’s taken in rebellion against the nice easy answer tickbox Christianity I grew up with, trips to Africa and South America have pushed me deeper into understanding how God and justice fit together, its taken me through some tough times of various sorts of broken relationships, and the more recent strand of trying to understand better who God has made me to be so I can figure out how best I can be part of what He is doing. Looking back the last 10 years have been pretty exciting, God has been doing a lot of work on me, bring on the next 10!

Road rage in the Christmas traffic


Sitting in traffic and driving in general can do strange things to us. It can turn the most mild mannered person into a raging psycho. I moved house recently and am spending more time in traffic. I can lack a little patience at times, so sometimes it can be interesting. Today, driving along the inside lane (which at certain times of the day is a bus lane), I started indicating to pull out to avoid a few parked cars. All of a sudden the car on the outside sped up – definately not letting me out. I casually glanced round to see the woman in the passenger seat angrily gesticulating at me. Maybe she didn’t quite get the bus lane is only in operation 8-9.30 and so figured since i was transgressing, no way was her hubbie going to let me out. It had a strange effect on me, overcoming the temptation to gesticulate back, it made me all the more determined to let people out as i drove along. Driving along can be a time when I am so absorbed in my journey and me getting there that i forget about others. Letting people out in front of me is a tiny way i try to teach myself and remind myself to be generous, to show grace to others. Today the example of ungrace or a lack of generosity drove me (sorry – unintentionally bad pun) to be generous in how i treated others on the road. Living generously doesn’t come easy – to me anyway – so its something i need to teach my self to do. I guess today was a start – just the rest of my life to go now…

Its amazing the effects a run can have. Although i like to enjoy those effects in moderation, the need to run off a few sizeable meals kicked in. Running along rediscovering U2′s How to Dismantle an Atomic bomb, wrestling through a few things with ‘the big man’ thrown in for good measure. I’ve been writing a few bible studies on the beatitudes for my day job, and those crazy words from Jesus (that sadly the church tends to ignore, myself included a lot of the time) are starting to seep into my consciousness again.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Would you deny for others what you demand for yourself
You speak of signs and wonders, but i need something other
I would believe if i was able, but i’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

Where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die
Three to a bed
Sister Ann, she said
dignity passes by….

This Tuesday is World Poverty Day. A few years ago governments across the world signed up the millennium development goals
They involve halving extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS. Tuesday is about more than just digging out that white band that was so trendy a while ago, but standing up, getting our fingers out and holding our government to account

Jonah


I’ve been reading Jonah recently – the more I read it the weirder it is. I’ve struggled to get past the sunday school bits, but have really appreciated seeing a fresh perspective. Jonah really is a strange character – the reluctant prophet who despite experiencing God’s grace doesn’t want the people of Ninevah to experience it. He wants to see them judged and destroyed. It seems scandalous to Jonah that the God of the Jews should demean himself by offering his graciousness and forgiveness to pagans. Maybe there is also an element of shame – that a pagan people are quicker to trun to the living God than his own people, the Jews. So many of these things resonate with attitudes in my heart and the christian culture i’ve grown up in. How often are we more interested in pronouncing judgement and wanting to see people experience that, than realise that God created and loves those people as much as us? Are there people I think aren’t as deserving of God’s grace as I am? How many contradictions are there in that question. Do I want to restrict God’s work to people just like me? In my writing off certain groups of christians (often the groups i’ve rebelled against), am I becoming just like them? Exhibiting the very attitudes and lack of grace I rebel against? And then there’s the shame. As we look around this world we live in that God created, at the people made in his image who are suffering, is it shameful to us, the church that secular prophets are the ones calling for justice. Where are God’s people to declare the dignity of people above profits? Where are God’s people who are prepared to stand up and fulfill our mandate to care for creation, fopr the earth ‘which he has given to humankind’ (Psalm 115.16). Oh yeah, they are the people in the church with dodgy theology, they’re not sound, you don’t want to listen to them, stay in the nice safe place that sees things in black and white…

Pink


I’ve just been converted to pink. No, I haven’t just gone and purchased a new wardrobe. The singer. She of the crazy hair. I did think, she’s just into shock value, but then an interview on the Chris Moyles show changed that when ‘Stupid Girls’ was on the go. Art in my understandng is about comment and asking questions. Pink has certainly done that with her last two singles, taking on celebrity culture as personified by Paris Hilton and now asking George W some hard questions. Yes he’s an easy target, and it is trendy to bush-bash, but Pink’s latest song is thoughtful not just about Iraq but raising questions over other policies of the Bush Government. She cares and isn’t afraid to show it and she’s doing something with that. I respect that.
check out this observer article

Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let’s pretend we’re just two people and
You’re not better than me
I’d like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We’re not dumb and we’re not blind
They’re all sitting in your cells
While you pay the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You’ve come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don’t know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
Oh

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You’d never take a walk with me
Would you

musing more than ranting these days

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