Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Friday, March 30

Most hated family

See "America's_most_hated_family" from BBC news website.

Preach your religious views on homosexuality in church - OK

Preach your religious views on homosexuality in a private or public debate - OK

Preach your religious views on homosexuality with placards, and campaign against cruising - OK

Picket an AIDS victims funeral - not OK. Very Bad.

Picket soldier's funerals - not OK. English has insufficent words to describe this badness. Jesus would turn in his grave (if he were in it).

Being Wrong

What is worse, making public mistakes, or getting other people’s secret mistakes publicly attributed to you?

(This relates to a modulating weir penstock that my boss told me to use, but which would be useless owing to turbulence upstream. I told him so, but now everyone thinks it was my idea)

Tuesday, March 27


Today’s pregnancy test – negative.

Today’s emotional state – very low

Today’s level of faith – low

Today’s self-image – “foolish and deluded”.

Monday, March 26

Sexual Orientation Regulations - God's comfort

I meant to say this earlier.

I have been losing a lot of sleep lately. This is mostly because I have been drinking too much caffeine. Once I have been disturbed in the night - especially if its about 2:30 - I just can't get back to sleep again. I toss and turn and fret about things, and becasue I am tired and not thinking straight, everything asumes a greater magnitude than it deserves. Recently, the topic that has vexed me is the imposition of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which force people to act against their beliefs. In the night I work myself into such a state of frustration and rage that it is no longer clear of it is the caffeine or my feelings that is keeping me awake.

When this happens, I go downstairs for a cup of tea and some toast, and watch some TV to change the course of my thoughts. Sometimes I end up thinking "Stupid cats - can't they tell its not feeding time and I'm too tired to cope?". The actual TV itself is really poor at night - you would think I would fall asleep through sheer boredom. (At 10pm, during my favourite programme I do fall asleep!"

On Saturday night I decided on a different approach. Instead of the TV, I picked up the Bible, and prayed for some word of comfort that would enable me to get over my frustration at the unjust laws and sleep in the future. I opened the Bible and read the first sentance that I cast my eye on - "Woe to those who make unjust laws" (Isaiah 10 v1). And so, with God's comiseration, I have felt much more relaxed ever since. he has taken the burden from me, and will ensure justice is done in the end.


Well, she should be having her period today. So far nothing. This may be the very good news we hope for, or it may be another teasing, tantalising, raising of false hope.

It will be a true miracle if we do actually end up with the twin girls that we have the vision for.

But at our previous church there was a lady (let’s call her Lucy Winegold) who believed passionately that God had told her that her pregnancy was twin girls, and told every so, notwithstanding that the scan showing a single boy. Of course she gave birth to a single boy. So my wife and I hope for twin girls; believe that we will have twin girls; but keep saying that we don’t want to have “Lucy Winegold Syndrome”.

Work around for the Catholic Church

What the church should now do is to tell the state that they will arrange gay adoptions if required. But, privately, they should not ask their own staff to do what they have so publicly objected to themselves. Therefore, they would develop agreements with secular freelance social workers who would be brought in to handle those cases. Thus the church will comply with law without compromising its own conscience. And so, if a gay civil union does request an adoption through a catholic agency, the response would be “Yes, our agency will manage your case” But the work would be done by someone outside of the Catholic Church


[See Edit 26 August 2008 below]

Well, i have found out more about this subject. (see previous post.) Firstly, that I was misspelling it, hence no luck on google. Clealy I am not the first person to ask this question, see here, and following the threads I concluded as follows:

Etymologically it links "arsenos" = male and "koitai" = bed/marital relations.

This seems like a fairly clear definition and seems to include homosexual acts within 'loving' relationships sanctioned by law. It also seems to follow on from the Septuagint wording of Leviticus.

Some of the threads seem to talk about it as male aggresive sexuality in bed regardless of who the partner is, in contrast to "malakai" which would be the receptive partner. I need to look this up again at home tonight.

Other threads warn that the meaning of a word cannot always be detremined by its etymology, and say thta the word in day-to-day use meant using children for your sexual satisfaction. OK - I'm sure that aspect is included!!! but even if that meaning is there for me it doesn't exclude the 'male bed/marital' meaning.

So, i'm still learning, but so far this has had the effect of consolidating my views rather than changing them.

I'd like to be changed becasue it might be more socially convenient. But we have to find out what God intends, and not be like Eve who made moral judgements based on the limits of her knowledge rather than trusting God's word.

[Edit 26 August 2008 - since writing the above, my biews have substantially changed - see later posts with the 'homosexuality' tag, in particular this one . Arsenokoitai is a word coined by Paul, quoting from the septuagint version of Leviticus. I'm no Greek expert, but taking off the glasses of preconceived ideas and looking at it afresh; from the order of the words in that context it looks to me more as though 'arsenokoitai' means 'men who sleep with gunaikos ie female temple prostitutes'. I am not writing this as a woolly liberal, but as a conservative evangelical who cares about the letter of the law. We have to ensure that our application of the law is correct, not a serious misunderstanding. I can no longer condemn homosexuals on the basis (which I initially mistyped as 'bias') of 'arsenokoitai'. However, the doctrine of 'one flesh' still seems to be heterosexual].

[Edit 07 June 2012 - 'One flesh' requires 'complementarity'.  All people, both male and female, exhibit some traits that would normally be associated with the opposite gender, and in fact I think nobody is 100% male or female.  God created us in his image, male and female.  I suggest we are in his image both collectively and individually.  So if in the collective it requires both genders to be the image of God, then individually we must also have aspects of both genders to be in his image.   A same-sex relationship will therefore still reflect both genders and satisfy complementarity, although both the male and female characteristics would be distributed more or less evenly across the two individuals rather than being collected primarly in one or the other.  It's not the most reliable line of argument, but it's something!]

Friday, March 23

Various threads of life have come together.

A lady from church has been struggling to find a new home, since the lease on her home has expired. The landlord wants to sell the property since there is a lot of work to do on it. However, the Landlord is he church, and the house is the former curatage, and so I, as a member of the PCC, am in effect evicting a struggling single Mum. This is far from ideal. But now, after much prayer, she has an almost certain offer of another home. Praise God!

Now, it gets complicated, because my wife found herself arriving at the school gate too early, and ended up sitting in a car with another Mum, also a member of the church. This Lady brought the news that another church member who owns several houses as a business, has offered to buy the curatage so that its tenant won’t have to move out.

So my wife friend said “Its funny how you pray for ages for something, and then two come at once. And you will have twins!”

So was this prophetic, that God knows we want twins and sent us that message that he will answer our prayers, or are we still in fantasy land? Watch this space!

But the conversation went on, and it emerged that the friend is having serious marital problems owing to her husband’s involvement with pornography. And so my wife was then able to use her experience (and regreatbaly my name) to support this other woman.

Plus I should have mentioned that the tenant was my cell group leader that I have been complaining bout in my previous more selfish posts after our miscarriage. And so I am better placed to understand why she didn’t ‘perform’ at that time, and this has given opportunities for improved communication with her.

Also, the cell group finally got its act together and sent us a card, so even my wife has accepted that we must forgive.

Thursday, March 22

Pregnancy hopes

The bleeding seems to have stopped, so we are that dangerous stage of daring to hope. the more we hope, the more it will hurt when she comes out in a full blown period next week.

Sexual Orientation Regulations

If I want to buy Tesco-branded goods I don't go to Asda. Similarly if I go to a "Catholic Adoption" agency, I expect to get a "Catholic Adoption". Yet now, the anti-religious discriminatory Sexual Orientation Regulations compel these "Catholic" branded agencies to offer the competition's products.

I still cannot understand why we cannot come up with a system where the gay minority does their thing in their patch and the christians do their thing in their patch, without either party forcing its views on the other.

In the secopnd world war the Jews were persecuted by the Nazis, but now they have become the persecutors of the palestinians. Similarly, the formerly persecuted gays are not satisfied with freedom, they have to take the next step and persecute others instead.

Take for example the words of Elton John - "Organised religion should be banned" - are they the words of someoone who believes in democracy and freedom?

In fact, bizarrely Elton John and Robert Mugabe are together in their opposition of the church.

It seems to me that there is a big difference between preventing religions from hurting others, and in compelling them into acts against their belief.

THis may sound like an anti gay tirade, but I'm quite happy for gays to be free and to adopt and do their thing. I am just angry that I might be forced to act against my religion. Its not their freedom I object to - I object that my freedom has been taken away under the fasle illusion that this will help them.

Tuesday, March 20

Sexual Orientation Regulations

The legislation was passed hurriedly through the house of commons last night. A group opf tories tried to demand a proper debate, but this was voted down. There is a chance that the House of Lords will reject it, and say you can't alter the fundamental balance of rights without a proper debate, but I can't see that happening.

And so, with out ceremony, the fundamental core of democratic values (religious tolerance) has been swept away. Despite all this, and even though I am losing sleep worrying about it every night, I still feel a strange sense of God-given peace about it all. It is not the first time the church has been persecuted, and a little opposition might cause us to get our act together a bit better.

And also, I can see the point of the regulations.

The church has always been a product of its society, and so in past generations where there was intolerance of gays, the church has reflected this and done so without showing the love of God. We have therefore brought this on ourselves. If we had expressed Christ's love for homosexuals properly before, rather than imprisoning them, and trying to enforce our own beliefs onto secular society, then there might not be this backlash.

So what can the church do?

Well, as I said, in every generation the church is a product of society. And so, as we see in the Episcopal church in America, some churches will adopt the modern values.

And yet, sin is an offense against an unchanging God. If it was a sin in the time of the New Testament, then it is still sin now. Sin is not negotiable or determined by a vote.

If we go back to the Garden of Eden, we see how Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was pleasing to the eye and good for food. Her logic told her that the instrcutions from God must be wrong. She couldn't understand why God should forbid such an obviously good thing. And I think homosexual acts are much the same. They are pleasing to the eye and good for relationships. Why should God forbid such a good thing? And so, just as Eve decided to make up her own mind about it rather han relying on God, so we too, take exactly the same steps and decide that we know better.

In the same way, the church has warned against extra marital sex. Society has ignored it - and know we have massive rates of teenage pregnancy, massive rates of sexual desease, massive abortyion rates, and a culture that no longer knows how to sustain the bonds of relationship. And while the gays are demanding the right to marry, heterosexuals are runing in the opposite direction and demanding equal rights for unmarried couples. And as families break down, we now have a housing shortage because we now live as individuals instead of couples, doublig our housing needs.

The church has also preached agianst abortion. Society has ignored this. We now have very low birth rates, and a workforce that is too small to sustain the social security system we thought we could rely on.

Now the church [most of it] preaches against homosexual acts. Society ignores it. If it follows the above pattern, I fear for what the consequences will be!

But the whole issue is makeing me reconsider my own position on homosexuality. I have come a long way since the times when I was subjected to sexual abuse by other boys at school. Where some of the church insists that homosexuality is NOT inherited, I believe that it is. Most gay people know that they are gay while still at primary school. If you do an autopsy on a transgender person who felt like a woman trapped in a man's body, you do find that the brain was a female brain. Some behaviours are learned, but many are congenital.

So if gays are born that way, why should the church condemn? Jesus said of the man born blind "Who sinned, his man or his parents, that he was born blind?" and the answer was neither. It is not a sin to be born in a particular way, and we must not condemn. But Jesus went on to change the blind man, and make him see. And that is where I am at present - I do not condemn, but I do seek to bring people to Jesus so that he can heal anything that needs healing.

So what about Leviticus? Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament law on our behalf. It remains as light on God's character, but is not there for us to follow each letter. However, we need to distinguish between laws associated with ceremonial cleanliness (eg not having sex during a woman's period) and moral laws about who we can and can't have sex with - the former have spiritual meanings that we learn from, while the moral laws are nearly all repeated in some form explicitly or implicitly in the New Testament.

So what about Corinthians? " Let no one be decieved ...[list of sinner types]...will not inherit the kingdom of God, and some of you were such". The word generally translated as 'homosexual offender' is arsenokoitoi. I don't know what an arsenokoitoi is. Bishop Ingham, quoted in the Church of England newspaper thinks that St Pauls would never have encountered romantic homosexual love, only pederasty. What nonsense! Gay relationships are not a new phenomenon and to suggest they were not in existance in Corinth beggars belief. But the Corinthians passage makes it clear you can stop being an arsenokoitoi, and I don't think you can stop being a homosexual. So I don't think an arsenokoitoi is a homosexual. But you can stop doing homosexual acts, and so it could refer to that. Yet that is a big thing to ask of anybody, to cease their sex life. And yet that is what we expect and demand of pedophiles and people into animal sex. We also say it to sexually promiscuous heterosexuals, and standing as a virgin the day before I met my wife I had accepted that I might never marry and have sex. So we are asking something big, but not impossible, not different to other people, not different to the standards that I had expected to live by myself.

What I have writen here tries to be open and honest about how I see things today. Tomorrow I may have thought more and moved.

I don't want to condemn what God has blessed.
I don't want to bless what God has condemned.

I welcome your comments, particularly from gay christians. Give me Biblical Theology, medical science, a correct definition of arsenokoitoi, and your experinces of good and bad practice in the church.

I seek the truth!


Well, the bleeding seems to be subsiding a bit, and still too early for a period. So we still really don't know if its uncoordinated menstrual or implantation bleeding, or a sign of something worse.

Monday, March 19

Praise exposes injustice, and a woman's woes

The feedback from my first attempt at ‘leading worship seems to have gone down OK. In fact, putting false modesty aside, the Vicar seemed very pleased. This was despite his attempts to sabotage me – as is his custom – by leaving it until very late before giving me instructions so that my earlier preparation is wasted. I must get into the habit of pre-emptively asking what he wants.

I am also still being praised for my sermon two weeks ago.

And I have just had my photo taken at work for the in-house magazine article on my upcoming licensing.

But the praise heaped on me serves only to emphasise how little appreciation my wife has been given for her equally good contributions to services in previous years. Which is why she gave up on church, and tried fostering, which was unsuccessful, and is at the root of our current efforts to conceive.

So perhaps this root of bitterness is why we still fail to conceive, even though I do believe it is God’s will to have another baby.

And even as I write, she is at home, neither pregnant nor not pregnant – feeling implantation sensations but bleeding: Awkward bleeding that is too strong for implantation but not strong enough (and too early) for a period. So we just don’t know, and continually ride the rollercoaster of not knowing but hoping, only to have hopes raised and dashed. Since Christmas she has spent more time bleeding than not bleeding. And wouldn’t you be fed up with that on its own, regardless of the emotional and spiritual rollercoaster?.

Friday, March 16

Leading Worship 9:30 service on 18th

I have to lead the 9:30 service on Sunday. I'm not too worried about leading it in general terms, but it is my first time leading at this church and its not my normal service and so there is always the worry that I will do something tahat upsets one of the regulars. Plus, it is mothers' day and there will be an extra bit to give flowers to all the ladies, and ladies will be asked to do some of the bits to make it a more feminine oriented service. All good stuff, except that i am of the testosterone variety.

I like the way the role is called "Leading Worship" ... so often people think this just means playing the guitar during the songs or running the music group, but really it should be the whole service that is 'worship'.

Same old questions

So we have blood spots. Month after month the same questions – is this implantation or an out-of-synch period as the body settles down after the miscarriage?

Since it has gone on a bit too long, does this mean it really is a period, or does it mean that her protracted ovulation sensations meant that she released two eggs on two days(being out-of-synch after the miscarriage) and hence two implanatations on two days?

There is a very narrow boundary between faith for miracles and pure fantasy, and I suspect we cross to the wrong side too frequently.

Thursday, March 15

Work today

My posts are too long. I must break them up into individual bits covering different subject areas.
This one is work. Today I have posted off all the details for my new limited company to start on 6 April 2007. Exciting...... scary!

But today, I can't get my hydraulic model to balance and I have been staring at a screen like this...

not knowing what to do to sort it out.

Monday, March 12

Feeling uplifted at last

Another Monday.

I have been surveying at a wastewater treatment works this morning. It is nice to get out of the office for once – even if it is a bit smelly. Today’s discovery – not only was the measurement flume installed so badly that they had to give up and use a measurement weir instead: the weir is also substandard. And so when I go into the control room and it tells me the flow, I have no real way of knowing of that is the correct flow. I think my project report may include a phrase along the lines of “rip it out and start again”.

I am feeling much more uplifted this week.

This is partly because trying for another pregnancy involves certain activities which are actually rather fun, even if I am getting a bit old to perform as frequently as requested.

But also, I felt much more comfortable at church. I felt that I have got over the grieving and stopped being angry at God, and started to worship again. And I was able to sing “I love you” without gritting my teeth.

After the service, someone went out of his way to come and tell me how well my son had done in a competition in the children’s work the previous Sunday. While he was talking to me, his wife spoke to mine and encouraged her very much. Then a potentially difficult conversation with our cell group leader went very smoothly. People are still coming to me with positive feedback from my sermon last week – so if they can remember that far back it must have made some kind of impact!

In the evening service, we had a homeless man come in – one of our regulars – reeking of alcohol. He sat at the back, after he had noisily moved a chair. He sat down to read the Bible that he pulled out of his bag, and lifted his head every few minutes to swear loudly at the congregation in general and the pulpit in particular. Then he saw one of the people from the homelessness project and went to sit near her. There he found one of the flags we use in worship, and was waving it half-heartedly but surprisingly well for his drunken first time, vaguely in time with the music, and it was beginning to look good, marred only by him pausing to point the flag angrily at random people and swearing at them. Later he drifted across the front of the church and sat on the front row. Another homelessness worker sat with him and calmed him down, and later when the man stomped out followed him and chatted in the foyer. Apparently his main frustration was that while he was trying to read his Bible the person leading the service had carried on talking.

We (the church) are reading a book by Paul Scanlon in which he points out that a church where it is safe to leave your handbag under the seat while you go off to chat to someone is clearly not reaching the lost.

After the service I managed to avoid Archie {name changed} who has learning difficulties – always wants me to come to his home for a tea and I’m really not up to it yet. Someone asked me to put my name forward for election as a warden in the next annual parish meeting. I’m flattered, but lack the essential skills (e.g. knowing what day of the week it is). I failed to avoid Jane {name changed} a young lady who always wants me to escort her home through the sometimes dangerous streets. Jane is deaf, and so publicly shouts an opinionated, limited and repetitive conversation at me as we walk home. Normally she is telling me off for having too many children, or complaining that the Vicar is not as good as our former Curate. This time it was about a friend getting an arranged marriage, which she thinks is ‘a bit odd’ even though he is from India.

On another subject, I am trying to re-arrange our mortgage to raise funds to fix the [slightly] damp basement walls where my sons sleep. This means loads of form filling and frustration. I have to include a photocopy of my driving license, which I obtained a new copy of recently having lost my old one. So while searching for another document, I found a driving license. “Ah, I’ve found my old driving license. I will have to send it back, now that I have a new one. But I am too busy to send it yet, so to stop me getting it confused with my new one, I will write ‘superseded’ in black ink across this one”. Fantastic – I am getting organised for once….oh, dear, that IS the new one, which I have just ruined with black ink! AAARRRRGGHH!

Monday, March 5

Sermon went well.

Well, people seemed to appreciate my sermon on Sunday. There was quite a lot of positive feedback afterwards, and the Vicar and Curate both said that it was my best so far.

So what is a good sermon? I can’t think that I did either more or less preparation than previous times, or that I did it either more or less spiritually. If I could put my finger on it, then I can do it again next time.

Of course, there was at least one person who took issue with the content. (It was the camel and the eye of the needle – he took the view that it refers to the gates of Jerusalem, and whereas I explained that view and its merits, I expressed the opinion that really it’s Jesus’ sense of humour wrapped around a punchy message. It just fits the text so much better.) the only other criticism – constructive – was that I talk too fast for the elderly. (I was cramming my 16.5 minute talk into the 15 minute slot).

The people that praised me went on to tell my wife that I had done well too, when she arrived for the next service. (Her illness prevents her getting to the first one). They meant this kindly, but of course it emphasises the gulf between my success and her failure.

And even though it was only her second time back at church since the miscarriage, no-one talked to her about it.

We went to Pizza Hut for number 2’s 15th birthday, got totally stuffed and out of routine, I then forgot to do my warden duty at the evening service, and stayed at home to help put the little one’s to bed since I owe the family some attention after weeks of sermon preparation. So if I was popular at church in the morning, I’m probably not popular anymore!