Photo credits

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

Wednesday, April 29

Need a new client XII

Applied for something in the Nuclear industry on Monday. It's local, but unlikley that there will be a skill match.

Yesteday an agency contacted me about two jobs at about 2 .5 hours drive - one permanent with a good salary (but still a lot less than I should be on) and a good skill match, and one contract with some skill match.

This is my most optimsitic contact so far. But I won't know till the middle of next week if anything is to come of it.

Dumped into it again

The Vicar feels the call of God again - to have a day off. This means he has asked me to take over Sunday night's sermon.

This will be the first Sunday of the month and so will be our 'fresh expressions' evening, but the natives are getting restless and want more 'word', (Isn't it terrible when the congregation wants to hear from God?) so he wants me to do a sermon. But in a fresh expressions way. Contradiction or what?

I have been given a blank canvass.

I'm still not quite Anglican enough to have a lectionary to hand as a starting point, but I think I shall convey some of what I have been learning from Tom Wright's 'Justification'.

Monday, April 27

A level studies

My son is preparing a project for his A levels, which has got bogged down in detail and he is making himself stay up late with strong coffee to get the work done, only new problems crop up and he is still stuck.

Today I came down for breakfast, and found he was there before me - a very rare event indeed! The explanation was that he hadn't actually gone to bed at all.

This can't go on!

Ordination quest

I now taking my Vicar's suggestion that I should train for ordination quite seriously. I want to discuss this in a more public blog than this supposedly anonymous one, and so I have started another blog to cover that particular topic.

Now obviously I can't put a link here to that blog, or else this one would cease to by anonymous. However, if my regular readers (all three of you!) seriously want to read it, please let me know and I will give you a link by email.

Wednesday, April 22

The Narnia Code

I meant to do a post about "The Narnia Code" - a programme on the BBC last week. It was really rather good, presenting Lewis' Christian beliefs in a good context and supporting them with some very eminent scientists openly discussing their belief in a creator God. Not your usual BBC fare!

A brief summary:

Lewis was a fan of medieval cosmology (the sun goes round the earth - there are seven 'planets' - sun, moon, mercury, venus, mars, jupiter, Fundamentally, the medieval cosmology was a complex narrative of a created universe. Lewis acknowledged that it does not correspond to reality, but believes it can tell us a lot about God)
The Narnia books work on three levels -
1) a fun children's story
2) a Christian allegory
3) each book is based on the characteristics of one of the planets as seen by the medieval cosmology - hence the books are there primarily for this reason.

Apparently 'the Narnia Code' is also a book. I can only recommend that you get a copy.

Me, a Vicar? II

Today I had my prayer session with my Vicar and assistant minister regarding my employment situation. They did pray, and well, on this topic, but also took the opportunity to press a bit more on the idea of me training for ordination.

I put to them my previous analysis, that on a fair assessment of my skills I don't really have it.

They said nobody has all the skills at the start of the training programme God does sometimes come through the mouth of a man rather than through gooey feelings.

So I agreed to think about it.

Came home to tell Mrs, but found the house empty. She was out on a walk. Pondering and meditating. And quite independantly of my conversation with the vicar this morning, thoughts came into her head that the idea of me as a vicar wasn't quite as daft as she first thought.

So when I told her about my meeting, her mind was very open to the possibility.

So after much talk and weighing of evidence we concluded that we have now heard from God, and we seek confirmation of this by Him now giving me work to keep as afloat financially while the training (if I do go for it) takes place.

This also fits with her own lack of direction over the years and the idea that being a Vicar's wife might give er more of a sense of purpose. We also discussed ideas such as her training for Readership. It's all exciting stuff.

One of the main obstacles to all this in the ast ahs been the children's schooling, but in the timescale we are talking about most of them will be leaving school by the time ordination and posting to some remote parish takes place.

So, watch this space?

Signed Rev SaintSimon????

Citizen's Advice Bureau

Went for my appointment today. Right day for once. Unfortunately I got the trainee volunteer, who had to keep running off to ask her supervisor about my complex situation, and in the end just made a new appointment for me to see the specialist on 14th May.

At face value, this is BAAAD. But through the eyes of faith, it show the Lord does not want me to rush in to in IVA just yet. THe 14th is coincidentally around the time my parent's donation runs out.

Need a new client XI

Still no work.

Applications in for:

Hydroturbines engineer
Underground railway engineer
Rivers and coastal engineer

The latter is permanent, but local. Better than nothing. I have quite a lot of relevant experience but it is still a slightly new field. THe hydroturbines job would need a greater learning curve, and is also permanent and more remote - all not good. The agent will see if they will take me on a contract basis. The railway job is contract and good money, but remote, and I have no significant rail experience so it's not likely to come off.

Tuesday, April 21

Need a new client X

Working Day 14 with no client.

I think every agency in the country now has my CV.

It really is dead out there - no sign of any jobs in my field.

I've started sticking my CV in for rail jobs, whihc I know I won't get, but perhaps a little more optimistically for a hydropower job, where at least I know what a turbine is.

Apart from that, I have an appointment with the Citizens Advice Bureau on Wednesday. (No, it wasn't last Wednesday - that was just me getting the day wrong.) They will help me thorugh the process of negotiating with creditors and setting up an individual voluntary arangement to pay them off. Of course going down that road means having a very low credit score for many years hence. It means not having a normal bank account, and having to do everything with cash. I really don't want to go down that road unless I really have to. But as I have indicated in previous posts - if the leg has gangrene it has to be amputated.

Earlier on the same day I will have a prayer session with the vicar.

Meanwhile, my parent's very generous help is due to run out after the May mortgage payment, so the second week in May is when the 'shit hits the fan' - if you'll pardon the expression.

But it's all been a good reality chek for the family, who now appreciate far more than they did before the value of money. Valuable lessons all round.

Tuesday, April 14


On top of the stress of unemployment, the in-laws are visiting for 4 days. 4 days of misery! They don't like us, we don't like them. They are doing their duty, we are doing ours. Grin and bear it, try not to trigger a massive row. keep your head down. Listen patiently to my wife letting off steam to me at the end of each day. Continue listening for the next month. Hope they don't feel another call to do their duty for another 12 months.

Me, a Vicar?

My good Friday talk went well.

Then we joined other churches for a 'Walk of Witness' (nearly a walk of wetness but the rain held off) into the town centre, for a joint open air service outside the townhall. I was asked to do the Isaiah 53 reading. I tried my best, with natural expression, and it seemed to go down well.

Afterwards, my Vicar called me aside and asked if I had ever considered entering the minsitry (ie become a vicar). "a man with your skills.." he says.

Well if the Church of England wants a 'man of my skills' as a Vicar, then it must be pretty desperate.

Lets see now, how do I score?

  1. Preaching/teaching 5/5
  2. leading services 4/5
  3. faith 3/5
  4. prophetic gifting 2/5
  5. healing gift 0/5
  6. pastoral skills 1/5
  7. polictical savvy 0/5
  8. personal holiness 3/5
  9. strategy and vision 0/5
  10. natural leader 0/5

total 18/50

Which puts me ahead of many, I suppose. But seriously, I don't think I have what it takes. I don't want to do a Saul hiding in the baggage job, small in my own eyes, but on a fair assesment, I don't think its me.

Plus, I can't put the time aside for training, and can't feed a family of 7 kids either during training or on a vicar's stipend.

But if you have a word from the Lord directing me otherwise, let me know.

Need a new client IX

Still no sign of a new client. This is the 8th working day where I have nothing to do. Of course, Mrs has loads of stuff for me to do round the house, babysitting etc, but it doesn't pay the bills.

I have been to the citizens advice bureau, who want me to enter in individual voluntary arrangement with my various creditors. If it comes to it I will have to, but that is to condemn oneself to 6 years minimum financial pain. What I really want is work, to pay my dues accordingly.

Of course, if the leg has gangrene, it must be amputated. And likewise if the Lord wants to separate me from my credit cards that could be a very good thing. But leg amputations and IVAs are both very painful.

Wednesday, April 8

Easter talk

The vicar, being impresed by the bit of writing I rushed off last week, has now asked me to do the meditation for our Good Friday service. One day they will find out how poor my spiritual life really is.


Still no work. No client. No glimmer of a client. If it carries on like this I shall end up having to take on an un suitable,staff position somewhere. Cleaning the streets, maybe.

My wife is full of faith - "God did not give us this house just to take it away again". Great. But I've read Job, and I know God can do what he likes and is under no obligation to sort out the petty details of my finances. He can and probably will, owing to his love and grace, but is under no obligation to do so, and he has bigger national and global plans of which my life is just a small part.

Baby talk

She's 8 months old. Just babbling. But this is what it sounds like...

"teddy bear" <-- while looking at a teddy - not bad!

"Oh, bugger!" <-- with a deep sigh.

"you're not my Dad" <-- as I walk past her cot.

Sunday, April 5

Justification - Tom Wright

Everyone raves about Tom Wright. And I haven't yet read anything by him. So I was just getting round to the idea that I shold, and was going to ask my wife to get me something for my birthday, when I found myself in the Cathedral bookshop, holding Tom Wright's 'Justification' in my hand.

I openined it and read a few lines, and had that same experience that I did when I picked up Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis. "OOOohhh, that's HOT!......and disturbing......I have to read this, but maybe not just will rock the boat and change my theology."

It's always painful handing over cash at the till, but once over that hurdle I brought it home.

I have now finsihed the introduction.

It is indeed as deep and disturbing as I thought, but in a positive sense of building upon wwhat I already believe (as far as I can tell so far). I don't think I will have too much trouble coming round to his way of thinking. It is very good, and I don't see a conflict between this and my Evangelical upbringing - yet.

My problem is that everybody raves about how readable he is, wheras I find him rather turgid. Sentances that go on for 8 lines with five subclauses leave you lost as to what the sentance stareted off with. And he keeps refering to variosu former theologians. THat's great for a scholastic audience, but not really for those as low ranking as me. Rob Bell was grabbed by my son and read avidly. I can't see the same happening with this.

Nevertheless, I shall struggle on, because I think I shall find it worthwhile.

Dismantling the Church of England

Well, some people might think I want to!

I was supposed to be at the PCC away weekend, but had another engagement. I was supposed to be doing a short talk on 'leadership', but since I couldn't go they asked for it in written form instead. Of course I procrastinated this until the last moment, and then rushed it off in a short period in between getting the kids to school in the morning.

So I was surprised when the Vicar phoned me Sunday morning - could he have another copy to use in the morning service? I thought he would pick out one of the key points, but No, he read the whole thing verbatim.

I am of course, flattered.

But my document on 'leadership' was intended for the PCC, not the whole church. I was writing about how leadership is applied in the Brethren and Charismatic churches of my upbringing, and describing those chuches critiscisms of the Anglican hieracrchical system. I didn't really talk anbout the positive aspect of it, because the PCC are all well aware of the good side of Anglicanism. So it seems like a very anti-C of E thing, and it was read out as My work. And now I suspect the congregation thinks I want to pull the whole system down.

Oh Well!


Still no client!

Well, I suppose it's early days - i've only been at home for two normal days so far. I hope that as the new financial year gets underway and people get new budgets new work will come on stream.

But please pray for me to get a new client. I haev a family to feed and house!

Friday, April 3

Top 50

My youngest son recently came in the top 50 of a town-wide cross country event.

Which is putting a positive spin on the fact he was 47th out of 55.

Wednesday, April 1

I'm back

Q - Why have I not been blogging?

A - I have been working very busily at my recent client, with no time for such things. This is how I like to be! Also, my mobile broadband USB doesn't seem to be working.

My preent position is: Not Working!

My recent client extended my contract till 31st March. Great! But I have no new client, and am back to begging off my parents for survival. As a freelancer, I'm not eligible for state unemployment benefits, because I'm not really unemployed in that sense. I'm just between clients.

So please pray for a new client to call on my services, so that I can earn my existence rather than sponging of Mum and Dad at my age.