Photo credits

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

Friday, October 23

Carry each other's burdens

On Sunday night the Vicar was again strongly suggesting I should apply to the middle east. So this week I have completed preparing a middle-east format CV.

I have also been in touch with an agent about a suitible hydraulic modelling job in England, about 220 miles from home.

Weighing these up, personally I would very much prefer the middle east. For example, compare the cost of renting a flat: here you get something small and dingy in a rough neighbourhood for about £400 month, whereas in Abu Dhabi you can get a bigger and much nicer apartment with access to a pool and a gym for about £200 month. But as stated in my last post, it's not just about me. What is best for my family.

So today I am seeking guidance. Should I send in the Middle East format CV or not? And I come onto my blog knowing that it has the verse of the day in the side bar and wondering if God will speak to me through it. And the verse of the day is "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2). So that sounds like staying in the UK rather than leaving my disabled non-driving wife at home with a baby and other kids.

But then again, I am always cautious of using the Bible as a holy horoscope, so I will wait for further confirmation one way or the other.

Saturday, October 17

Afghanistan, here I come!...or not?

On reflection......

If I go off to the Middle East for lengthy periods, looking at it realistically, how will my wife cope alone at home with the baby when she doen't have the strength to carry her up the stairs? And how will she cope without me when she doesn't drive? It really doesn't make practical sense.

But then, if work is available and I say no to it with the above excuses...."if a man will not work neither shall he eat".

But then, if I believe in a loving God, shold I ot wait patiently for his answer rather than forcing my own? (Compare this with Abraham and Sarah, trying to force God's hand resorting to using Hagar to produce the desired child)

My agent has asked me to re-write my CV in a Middle-East-fiendly style. Is it worth the effort?

And should I go along with he Vicar's suggestion in this matter following his ill-fated suggestion that I should seek ordination?

Who knows.

All I know is I am desperate to get a suitable job, preferably local, preferably freelance.

Bug strike II

On reflection, it was probably the ham, not the turkey burgers.

I'm basically OK now but the others are still recovering.

Thursday, October 15

Afghanistan, here I come!

Vicar came round yesterday. Amongst other things, discussed my work position. And, bearing in mind how generous the church has been to us, he more or less instructed me to apply for overseas jobs. This was always part of the plan, but we were going to leave it till the end of the first year.

So today I have applied for something in Abu Dhabi and something in Dubai. And they do keep advertising for engineers in Kandahar!

Bug strike

We blame the turkey burgers. Me, Mrs and second child suffering vomiting - at both ends. Lovely.

Maturity is a measure of one's ability to hit the bowl provided.

Immaturity is of course the reciprocal: a measure of one's inability to hit the bowl provided.

And why is it always Dad - even at the times when he is the worst affected - who has to clean up afterwards?

Tuesday, October 13

Feeling battered


The plan - prayers at 9:30 service, adminster communion at 11:00 service, meet non-christian outraged father of my son's ex girlfriend to hear his concerns.

How it worked out:

9:30 prayers OK, but also, "Simon, as part of our 'giving in grace' series can you give a testimony about your situation?". So OK, I had to give a little talk. Difficult to express it without sounding as if you are asking, even though the worst crisis is now past. But I think I was OK.

11:00 - it's going to be the same sermon, so you've guessed, I have to do the same testimony again. And while I'm there: "Simon you did the prayers very nicely at 9:30, could you do them again now, please?" Fair enough, it's not a big ask. But a bit more planning would be appreciated. Next communion - we're on individual plastic cups owing to swine-flu-phobia, and so every week they invent a new procedure for distibuting and collecting the cups. Normally they atleast tell the administrators what is going to happen, but this week we were just left completely in the lurch, not knowing where we should be or who was doing what. I ended up having a 'discussion' with the warden as to which of us should distribute the bread at our station, each thinkning the other was more qualified, and this in the hearing of people who were beginning to line up. Unacceptable. I think Mr Vicar will be in for some criticism.

Then meeting the dad. He is notoriously strict, and doesn't think his 15 year old daughter should have a boy friend at all at her age, still less have any knowledge about sex. It turns out his outrage was caused by my son mentioning the S word on Facebook (In fact he was saying he does not believe in it before marriage). So the said daughter is now banned from seeing him, or from coming to church at all. And my son feels it is all his fault.

Fortunately, our youth pastor is brilliant and has set him back on track.

Later in the day, I heard that there is actually a lot more in the background - this is the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger alleged problem for which the church will be involving the police - with my son fortunately only as witness but still a very important one. I now think the dad only wanted to see me as a subterfuge to ascertain how much I knew about it all. But my son has been highly stressed by all this. And some of the more shocking revelations (which I can't disclose here) have affected me too.

I need a break!

Friday, October 9

Harvest sleepfest

Apparently you are not supposed to fall asleep during your son's school harvest festival service. You can almost get away with it during the sermon, but if you are the only person that remains seated when everyone stands to sing it gives the game away.

I blame the baby for waking me at 3 am, and caffeine for not letting me drift off again.

Thursday, October 1

Vision team

We have a Vision team at my church. It is a fledgling, embryonic group, still trying to determine it's terms of reference and what it is for. But generally, it is there to listen to God and hearing from him, take the vision to to the PCC for approval and implementation.

Someone foolish nominated me to be on this team, so I foolishly accepted.

The trouble is, I don't really do vision. I do following. Not initiative.

So I was moaning to my wife about this. And she pointed out that I have a heart for the church to be taught the scriptures. Well, I suppose I do in a rather apathetic sort of way. And I pointed out to my wife that if she has to tell me what my vision is, surely that proves in a slightly comical wat the point that I don't really have 'vision'.

Went to the next meeting of the team and as usual got the time wrong and had half an hour to spare. So I spent this time developing the vision for the church my wife told me was my vision for the church, and actually came up with some good stuff.

Then I started to present this to the meeting, and was basically told 'we're not at that stage yet, we're still working out what WE are here for'. So I'm wrong again. So much for 'Vision'!


I'm the only Licensed Reader at my Church. But there is a new and popular preacher. He is easy to listen to, uses excellent visual aides, and rubs where the congregation itches. He's good looking, intelligent, wealthy (being a barrister and part time crown court judge). His initiative has launched the current theme, which will have a major impact on the church. The Vicar has recomended he should go through the Reader training course, but of course he does not have time for it. So he continues to preach, probably in breach of all sorts of rules about such things. And he's also found his way onto the PCC and the 'Vision team'.

Now I could invoke the rules, and grass him up to the Bishop. But would that do any good to anyone? No. The hard fact is: he is a better preacher than me. If he were to stop, the congregation would miss out, and this is bigger than my personal jealousy, my personal feeling of being pushed out, my personal feeling of being overlooked, my personal feeling of "I had to do years of training and he just walks in", etc. And the truth is: if I were asked to do what he does, I couldn't cope. Outclassed and outgunned. So I grit my teeth, smile, and thank God for blessing the church.

But I am surprised at how hurt I feel. I didn't think that jealouy was my thing.