Photo credits

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

Thursday, January 30

Setback, again

Well, the setback I alluded to in a previous post is back again, but not in its full fury.

My ordination quest will be delayed for at least twelve months, and after that it is still not a certainty that it will proceed at all.

If God has called me, who can stand against me?  Moses was 80 before he was finally let loose into leadership, and even then he only got there by the skin of his teeth.  (Or should I say by the skin of his son's bits?  Exodus 4:24-46).  So, set backs happen, but God is not thwarted.

Wednesday, January 29

Vortex equation wrong

Learning up on how to design a vortex drop in a sewer network.

Found something in the text book which I just couldn't make work in the spreadsheet.  Eventually told my colleague the text book must be wrong.

Later consulted my boss.  'Why can't I get this to work?' I ask.  'The text book is wrong' he says.

So it's gratifying to be right for once and not a complete idiot.

But don't worry; it's not a major error in the book; just the expression that gives you the range of validity for the main equation, and it gives answers that are obviously wrong so no one will have designed a vortex drop with it.

Which is a good thing, given that my current project is just £18 million preparatory work for the main £30 million project to be done on the next five years.

Tuesday, January 28

Wondering how to spend inheritance in a godly way.

Well the obvious thing would be to pay off a chunk of mortgage, but the inheritance isn't really enough to make much difference there.

So we could use it to get a new kitchen and new bathrooms.  But we don't intend to stay here forever.  We want to continue seeing the benefit of the money and it world not raise the value of the house by as much as we spend.

So we want to invest it.

In fact we want to invest it in a way that serves the kingdom of god.

We are looking at things like a holiday flat or caravan, which could be let out to provide some income but which could also be used to help deprived families to have a free holiday.  Hopefully it could also be used by us for our own holidays, and also as a retreat when we need space.  Or we could lend it to others needing a spiritual retreat.

Not sure if any of this will ever come to pass, but that's how we're thinking.

Recurrent dreams

I quite frequently find that during early afternoon meetings I fall asleep enough to have dreams, and them wake up.  Fortunately, only occasionally have I woken up to find the meeting asking me a question.

Yesterday was an exceptionally dull meeting in which I head very little contribution. During this meeting I woke up from dreams 14 times before I stopped counting.

So today, although I am hypersensitive to caffeine which makes me lie awake at night shaking, I am starting the day with a normal caffeine-ridden coffee.

Wednesday, January 22

Feeling small

In my memories of past events I always seem to be small.  I seem to be a minor character in the story.  I seem to be astonishingly naive.  I don't have the basic knowledge that I should have had.  I am a complete klutz in relationships.  I seem like someone drifting through on the current together than someone who is in control of life.  That's in my memories.

Of course now I have everything sorted and I am doing ok.

Or so I think.

In the future will my memories of today remember me as someone small, clueless, incompetent, drifting uselessly by?

And will that be an accurate reflection of what I am, or will it just be that I will inevitably have grown as a person, which is why my past self seems small?

Tuesday, January 21

As a man thinks, so he is.

My post title is, I am sure, a Bible quote, but I can't find it.

.... Ah, there we go ... Proverbs 23:7 but only in older versions (KJV) so probably doubtful.

anyway, linking this to philipians 4:8, which advises us to think on constructive things, presumably if end think about bad things it is not good.

Jesus says that in looking at a woman lustfully we commit adultery.  So if you think about murder in a computer game (GTA) are we guilty of murder?

And, getting silly now, since a frequent male fantasy is about lesbians doing what they do, does that mean that the men are also lesbian?

This is clearly an over-literal interpretation.  The point is that we can't judge ourselves to be righteous purely on the basis of actions; it's also about the secret stuff we think is hidden away in the darkest corners of our minds.

Which in my case is pretty sordid and means that I am exceedingly grateful that I am under God's grace, and that through the blood of Christ am not eternally judged on the basis of my thoughts. 
But we can't rest with the status quo.  To believe in Jesus but continue in our sins is not faith - even demons do this.  The evidence of faith is repentance, turning away from sin to a new life.  Thus, Paul urges us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

So some of those thought patterns will have to go.  And I am not good at this, so would value prayers.  I am quite good at postponing mental sins, it's the permanent nature of the required abstinence that never seems to succeed.

Monday, January 13

Caffeine shakes

I have become more sensitive over the years and now normally drink decaff.  But she has also made me more inclined to sleep at the wheel.  So taking my son to college, I had a bottle of coca cola in the car.  And a coffee at the break.  And a coffee with the meal.  And another coffee on the stop on the way back.  so I lost all ability to sleep and was still shaking at 4am.

My latest sermon

Went well.  much more interactive than I am used to so it was quite scary.  Most of the youth I had in mind were away at another event so I only had 25 people.  But those that where there seemed to appreciate it, especially the vicar.

Thursday, January 9

The covenant prayer

I like this at intentional christian community.


Setback back set?

I reported back on 18 December that I had had a setback in my quest for ordination.

After extended correspondence with the Bishop, it seems we have managed to clear up most of the misunderstanding.  I will have to met the archdeacon for further clarification, but at least I no longer have a definite 'no' hanging over me.

And this has all lead to some deep conversations with mrs., who now understand s me better than ever.  although last night she also misunderstood a word, do things are so bit tense today.  But the news should help in that area.

Monday, January 6

Seasonal summary

Back to normal week plan now.

The holiday highlights:

Christmas eve meal with extended family.
Kids tobogganing and tubing at a ski slope
Saw the musical 'cats'
Sat nav took me down a single track lane ending at a closed field gate at 10:45 pm - not the hotel I was looking for!
Christmas market
Theme park with fireworks
Various meals with wife

Not so bad, then!

Friday, January 3

January blues (I hope)

As focused in my previous post I am having doubts about faith.  And I am also going through a self pity phrase focussing on how I feel that my whole life comprises doing things for other people to the extent that I feel that I don't even know who I am anymore; I have just bern subsumed into an extra limb for someone else.

With these things together I have been contemplating suicide: what method I would use and what my  note would say.  Of course I never would because it would be unfair on the family; which of course reinforces the feeling that I am only living for other people.

Hopefully just january blues, though it has been like this on and off in varying degrees for years.

Is this clinical depression, or do I just need a good kicking?


Saint Thomas is famous for having doubts.

I think he gets an unfairly bad pass press.  I wonder if it wasn't so much doubts about God as doubts about his friends' reliability as witnesses.

I find myself in a similar position.  In my heart I believe in God.  It's just the testimony about him that makes me wonder.

In my latest crisis of doubt, I am losing faith in the reliability of scripture.  This stems from my wifes theology course and its assertion that Daniels lions den was a literary device rather than a historical event.  Then more recently I have read of doubts that jesus was born in Bethlehem - again it was a literary device to attach Jesus to prophecy.

This kind of thing does not bother my wife at all.  But from my perspective, if Jesus was not born there, then the prophecy was not fulfilled and the record is a lie: the gospel (small g) is a lie, and thus the Gospel (capital g) is a lie.  I don't see that you can truly on the scriptures (for a revelation of God and salvation) if they are unreliable (for history).

Now Mrs points out to me that even I don't think genesis requires belief in a literal seven days.  And she thinks I am inconsistent to be happy with that but not with the stuff academics now say about other books of the Bible.   But to me that is different because I get that from the text itself - the sun was not made til several days in so the previous mornings and evenings were not sunrises and sunsets.  Similarly I am happy for Job to be a fictional parable because it does not anchor itself to a particular period and had only vague references to a cultural or political milieu.  But Daniel does anchor itself to specific kings and the dates within their reigns.  And the gospels too, acknowledging that they are 'bios' not a modern diary, are anchored to kings and dates and places known to the readers.

So if it turns out that these are not historical, then for me they are not true.   And if he was not born in Bethlehem, why should I also believe he rose?  If one part is fabrication, then it is fabrication, period.  And I feel lied to.

Now I have always said that faith needs to hold it's doctrines like the springs of a trampoline so that if one breaks you still have a trampoline.  But my trampoline is getting to the stage where it has insufficient springs for bouncing.

I am not committing apostasy, but I am committing Thomas-sy.  I am struggling with the witness of the disciples, and I need to be reassured of the veracity of the gospel.  I need to put my finger in his wounds. 

So please give Thomas (and me) a break.