Wednesday, December 29, 2004


This must be the question on every person of faith's lips at this time. As the tsunami death toll rises above 60,000 and looks set to continue to rise, it is impossible to take in the pictures we see on the television. We don't understand.
Either God is in control, in which case how can He have let this happen? or He isn't in control. I'm not sure which thought is scarier.
Yesterday, as we were travelling between in-laws for Christmas visits, we got stuck in the M25 traffic. It was stop-start for miles, and I'd eaten a big lunch before we left. With no warning, I must have nodded off, only to be woken by the crunch of our bumper as it crashed into the car in front. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it was a bit of a shock. As I watched the devestation in SE Asia on the television last night, I couldn't stop the blasphemous thought going through my head - did God fall asleep?
Thanks to steve for posting ways to help.
Lord have mercy, help us to help in real ways, with our prayers, and our pockets.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

My Sentiments Exactly

Haven't commented on the result of the U.S. election yet (ok, I'm a bit slow at commenting on anything at the moment), but I just loved this quote from my favourite bishop :

'Can I add one more thing, conscious that an election has just taken place in America and that many in my country were surprised as well as alarmed by the result?  I take the view that whatever we wanted to happen, even if we think that this is a terrible result, even that puts us in the position of the children of Israel in Babylon commanded to pray for the peace of the city where they were held captive.  More positively, I want to say to George W Bush and those who help him run the world: OK, fine, you have a world empire.  We had one of those and we have spent a century counting the cost of it.  You have a world empire with a strongly Christian flavour in the vote that sustained it.  We had one of those (though not always the same type of Christianity that many in America now embrace, but never mind); and we learned, painfully enough, the deep ambiguities of thinking that in bringing Christ to the world we could ignore the things that were being done in his name.  More to the point, the idea of a Christian empire came to first embodiment under Constantine, whom most Americans (if they’ve heard of him) learn early in life to reject, partly because it reminds them of George III sending bishops to the colonies.  For generations now people have criticized Constantine and his empire. If you now have a Christian Empire, could you perhaps begin to think about how to avoid the mistakes both of Constantine and of Victorian England, and about how to get it right this time?'

good question, Tom

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Psyched Out

Aaagh! Ok, so it's been a while! What can I say? I've been busy. Or perhaps I just haven't had much to say. I 've been reading blogs most days, but haven't been inspired to write. Anyway, now I'm in the middle of trying to write an essay, so it's an ideal time, right?
I'm up to my eyeballs in a ridiculously titled human behaviour essay. I'm somehow trying to give an overview of the psychodynamic (inc. Freud and Jung), behavioural (Pavlov, Skinner etc), and humanistic (Rogers, Maslow) schools of psychology, along with the strengths and weaknesses of each and a 'Christian' appraisal (as if there was any one Christian view on all this stuff), all within 2000 words. Oh dear, I've already written over 2000 words, and I'm less than a third of the way through!

Came across this pretty amazing quote from Calvin :
'Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes, and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts toward God in whom he lives and moves...On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.'
-Institutes of the Christian Religion (1.1.1-2)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Decisions, decisions

Indecision can be a horrible thing, and I've had a summer full of it. At the end of June, I finished 2 years of bible college, coming out with a quite respectable diploma in theology.
I originally embarked upon the course, partly because I found God had put a passion in my heart to study his word and theology, partly because I was starting to get more involved at Coventry Vineyard, doing bits of teaching, leading small groups etc, and partly because I was sick of software engineering and an opportunity to get out of it via a voluntary redundancy package had come up.
I had a fantastic first year, which was very much a survey of the whole bible, along with modules in pastoral theology, missions, evangelism and lots of other fun stuff. Some of it was new to me, some I already knew, and some parts were downright frustrating, but on the whole I enjoyed it and I was hungry for more.
So, I started the second year. This felt like a real privilege. Su was so supportive. I had a bursary from The Jerusalem trust (from one branch of the Sainbury's family), and combined with a house remortgage, I was able to pay the fees. The work was more in depth, and more interesting. I especially enjoyed Pauline theology and anything by the NT lecturer Dr. Moxon. (some of my fellow students found this stuff mind-bogglingly difficult, but I relished every minute)
All the time I had a growing sense of wanting to be able to teach this stuff, and pastor people, helping them to grow as disciples. Dare I possibly believe that God might be calling me into this role? But I had, (and still have) questions : did I really believe in paid ministry? doesn't this perpetuate a clergy/laity divide? aren't we all 'full-time' for the kingdom? do I really want to deal with the pressure and the problems and the people and the pain? if I was to do this stuff 'for a living', when and where will it be? and what job should I do in the mean-time?
The plan was, to finish the second year, get my diploma, get a proper job, see what develops at Coventry Vineyard and await further instructions. It crossed my mind that it might be nice to finish off the degree, but I quickly wrote this off as a purely selfish notion.
Trouble was, towards the end of the second year, some of my lecturers, and in particular the college principal, Dr. Massey, started to suggest that it might be a good idea for me to do the third year. (well, they would say that, wouldn't they?) Dr. Massey even prayed for me and gave me a 'word' about not leaving foundations unfinished. (I managed to discount this fairly quickly too). I talked to him and Dr. Moxon in depth, voicing my objections. How could I possibly expect Su to support me for another year? How could we afford it? Shouldn't I get a 'real' job and support my wife like a good husband? What about our plans to start a family in the not too distant future?
But it was too late. The seed had been sown. My quandary had begun. All summer I have prayed and thought and weighed up the pros and cons: I might never get this opportunity again, but what's it leading to? it's what God has given me a passion to do, but am I not being selfish? How can I put Su through the pressure of exams and essays again (when, believe me I'm not a nice person to be around), what on earth would su's dad say? what is God saying? SHOULDN'T I JUST GET A PROPER JOB? and on and on it went.
I applied for jobs that sounded interesting, where I would be expressing my pastoral heart and hopefully doing some good - the probation service, the Cyrenians (a homelessness organisation in Coventry), the refugee centre, but nothing came back. I didn't even qualify for dole!
I feel I have had a taste of what it must be like to be unemployed. I have felt depressed and useless. The indecision has been killing me. I was waiting for a clear 'Go for it!' or 'Don't do it!' from God, and nothing seemed to be clear.
Most people I talked to, reflected back to me that they thought it was in my heart to go back. It seemed the main objections were financial, and wanting to know that Su was happy with it.
To cut a long story short, I have decided to go back and finish off the degree. I don't know where the money's going to come from, but we're looking at it as an adventure in trusting God, we need to learn how to live on less money anyway. Having made the decision, I feel at peace, and I'm really excited about going back. Su has been amazing. As I tell her often, she is the best wife in the world, ever!

Lord, I thank you for helping me through this tricky time. I thank you for my wife and the way she supports me and puts up with me. I pray you'd help me to make the most of this year and that you'd reveal more of yourself to me. Make me wise,keep me humble, help me to pass on what I learn and guide me into the vocation you have for me, your grateful servant. Amen.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Time for a change

Had to pick a new template, 'cos it seems blogger have changed the way they store the archive files. Not entirely satisfied with it but it will give me a chance to try and get my head round css. I'm sure after playing about with it a bit it will look ok.

Oh dear, it seems to have lost my old comments. Anyone know how you can edit the archive template?

Thursday, September 16, 2004


This year we spent our summer holiday in France, camping. For the last 5 years or so we have been down to Cornwall or Devon, which is probably my favourite part of the country. I love the rugged coastline, the waves crashing on the rocks, the surfing and the pasties + cream teas. However, it must be admitted, that the weather is somewhat changeable to say the least. So, in the hope of some sunshine, and for a bit of a change, we decided to head over to France.
After taking the ferry over to Calais, we took a 10 hour drive down to Royan, on the West Coast. The campsite we stayed at was really cool. We had a huge pitch, amongst the trees, and although it was definitely a family site, it wasn't too noisy.

It took me a while to wind down, and for the first few days I was in a totally foul mood (sorry su), but after a few cycle rides, some barbeques, some beach days and plenty of good French wine I was a bit more chilled. I loved the French attitude to food. Every meal is an occasion. At first it annoyed me that it was impossible even to get a simple lunch in under 2 hours, but when I got used to it, it was really nice to take time out and chat or just watch the world go by. In France, (at least where we were), everyone stops for lunch for at least 2 hours, even the lifeguards on the beach announced that they were off for lunch at 12, so could everyone be careful in the sea until 2.30! Once Su and I were cycling through a forest, in the middle of nowwhere, and we saw several couple and families sat eating lunch at the side of the path. They were sat up to tables with table cloths, full crockery and of course the obligatory bottle of wine.
I enjoyed cycling out in the mornings to get bread, croissants or pain chocolat with fresh orange juice for breakfast. Definitely a good way to start the day.

Cycling was fun. They're definitely more set up for it over there. Lots more cycle lanes, and the drivers are definitely more curteous towards cyclists than in England. To overtake they would often indicate and move out to the opposite lane. Several times when we were waiting at the side of the road, drivers slowed to a standstill to allow us to cross.

The other thing we did a lot of was wandering around old churches. From vast gothic cathedrals at Chartres and Orleans, to little 11th century Romanesque village churches and even one monolithic church entirely carved out of a rock by monks at a medieval town called St. Emilion. Fascinating stuff (well I thought so).

The surf wasn't up to much, so I'm still craving some waves, but other than that it was a great week. Lots of time to think and chat through the decision about college next year. Didn't actually decide until we got back, but that's for another blog.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Long Time No Blog

Well it's been about a month since I last blogged. Never been the most consistent of journal writers. I guess I haven't had much to say. I read quite a few blogs these days, and I'm constantly amazed at some people's ability to write thoughtful and interesting pieces on a regular basis. Of course there is a fair amount of people just linking to cool stuff that other people have linked to as well. Then there's the really open and honest personal reflections that some people write. I guess I've never really decided what I would like my blog to be centred on or why I write it.
I think it's mainly for my own benefit. As I don't really keep any other kind of diary, (I would like to, but have never been self disciplined enough), at the very least this blog is a very loose record of some of the stuff that's been going on in my life. I would like it to be an expression of some of the stuff I've been into, a mixture of the trivial and the profound. I don't really mind if anyone else reads it or not. Of course, it's always nice when a comment pops up and a bit of interaction takes place, but I don't want to fall into the trap of keeping a 'hit-count' or keeping a close eye on who's reading the blog.
I received some rather bizarre e-mails recently, which if I was being unkind seemed rather spam-like. They kind of said 'hey, really loved your blog. thanks for sharing your resources with the public. I've linked to you, would you like to to link back to me?'. Just seemed weird to me. Is this the way it works?
Anyway, here are some things I intend to blog about from the last month, if I get round to it - holiday in France, no longer sitting on the fence, diy and self-esteem, and a wet weekend in the lakes.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

split personality

Read about these enneagram personality tests over at Jason Clarke's blog and thought I'd give it a go. I did the free trial one, and it came up with a joint top score.
Type Two
The Helper
The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others. more here
Type Nine
The Peacemaker
The easy-going, self-effacing type. Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts. more here

Seems scarily accurate from only 36 questions! I may have to do the full thing

Psalm 95

'Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song'

As one of the 'worship leaders' in Coventry Vineyard I spend quite a lot of time thinking about the nature of worship. In Coventry Vineyard one of our main aims is to 'Encourage people to worship God in their everyday lives'. We try and emphasise that everything we do in life can and should be an act of worship. As Graham Buxton says in his book Dancing in the Dark which I have been reading :
'The Christian life centres on relationship with God, from which flows all worship. In its most general sense, worship describes the whole of life. The word derives from the Anglo-Saxon word weorthscipe, which has to do with worthiness or respect.' So we want to live our lives in a way which ascribes worth to God our creator and redeemer. I absolutely believe this.

I do think there is a real problem when the word worship has become synonymous with the music and singing variety - as in 'The Best Worship Album in the World Ever'. I now constantly find I'm having to qualify what I'm talking about when it comes to worship. Instead of 'I'm a worship leader' it's 'I'm responsible for leading some of the musical forms of worship'. Instead of 'let's worship' (before a time of sung worship) it's 'Let's continue to worship God in the form of singing'.

I can understand how some have got sick of the worship=songfest equation and have given up on sung worship altogether. Perhaps this is necessary for a season, to redress an imbalance, emphasise worship as lifestyle and explore other expressions of worship. I think I would struggle with this in the long term, especially in view of scriptures like Psalm 95 above.
What I do have a problem with is when people say that sung worship is just singing some songs. It is no more just singing than praying is just talking. I also think it's a bit harsh to label Christians who enjoy and look forward to times of corporate sung worship as 'consumers' who are just looking to be entertained. I think this may be grossly unfair in many cases.

So how should we refer to those specific times when the church gathers for communal 'acts' of worship - praying, singing, shouting, dancing, bowing, kneeling, reading scripture, contemplation, liturgy, sacrament? I think I would still call them times of worship, but try and continue to emphasise that they should be a summing up, a bringing together, a celebration (or a lament) of our whole lives before God.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Face Your Fears

This film looks seriously good, if a tad scary! I don't reckon Su will be coming to watch it with me. UK release is August 20th I think.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Sitting on a Fence

Keep getting this Housemartins song running through my head at the moment :

Sitting on a fence is a man who sees no sense in fighting
Sitting on a fence is a man who sees no sense at all
Sitting on a fence is a man who strokes his twenty beards
Sitting on a fence is a man who only drinks real ale

But the real problem with this man
Is he says he can’t when he can
He’d rather not get his hands dirty
He’ll still be there when he’s thirty

I told myself to keep my mouth shut
But I still end up saying if and but
I lied to myself right from the start
And I’ve just worked out that I’m falling apart
Sitting on a fence

Sitting on a fence is a man who looks up to his guardian
Sitting on a fence is a man who swings from poll to poll
Sitting on a fence is a man who sees both sides of both sides
Sitting on a fence is a man who looks down on opinion

But the real problem with this man
Is he says he can’t when he can
He’s rather not get his hands dirty
He’ll still be there when he is thirty

I told myself to keep my mouth shut
But I still end up saying if and but
I lied to myself right from the start
And I’ve just worked out that I’m falling apart
Sitting on a fence

Friday, July 30, 2004


Watched Spiderman 2 the other night. Now I'm not usually one for big blockbuster, franchise type movies, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film, possibly more than the first one, although it does have some really cheesy moments. I know Peter Parker was always meant to be a bit of a dork, but I can't help thinking they overdid it a bit, I mean 'Sort it out, Spidey!'.
I liked the whole thing of being faced with an identity crisis, and losing his powers until he decided what he was supposed to be. He thought he had to choose between fighting justice and getting his dream girl. He tries to go for the dream but can't deny the 'hero' part of him. So he gives up on the dream to pursue his 'calling' and then ends up getting the girl anyway. Aah!
Now, yet again we are waiting for the 3rd film of the trilogy, or will there be more? Is it possible for Hollywood to make a one off movie anymore?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Enjoyed this C.S. Lewis quote that I saw on Dr. Winn's blog so much that I just had to nick it.

“Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you…They all say “the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion.” I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means “the science of God,” and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children: why should you be treated like children?

“Theology is practical. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today, are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected. To believe in the popular religion of modern England (or America) is retrogression—like believing the earth is flat” Mere Christianity, 135-136).

I often hear Christians question the validity of theology, 'but what's the point?, what's the application of that?' as if something that does not appear to have an immediate practical application is not worth knowing. Obviously there can be a danger of theologians sitting in their ivory towers inventing irrelevent problems for themselves to solve, but this is no excuse for not doing theology. I think it's Dallas Willard who says that one of the key requirements of leaders in the church is profundity or depth of insight. This can only come from serious thought on who God is and what he's called us to do.
I believe that the best theology should lead to worship - doxology, like when Paul says 'Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord?..... For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen'

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

wedding, church, walk, pub, Tozer, books, blah

Had a great time at Pete and Hayley's wedding on Saturday. I love the way everybody mucks in and helps to make everything come together. It was a privilege to be part of. On Sunday I visited Holy Trinity church for a change. Always nice to worship with a different congregation. In the afternoon we went walking in the Cotswolds, around Broadway, with Tom and Angie. Is there a more pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon? (Finished off with pub grub and a pint of course).

I've been reading some classic Tozer, The Pursuit of God which is always good after I've spent so much time with the academic books. That guy was a prophet, he was saying some of the things Dallas Willard is saying, only 50 odd years ago. Always fresh, challenging, inspiring. Here's one of his prayers I liked :

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name. Amen

Bought some books last week, for the first time since college, which I 've been working my way through. Post-Christendom by Stuart Murray, which is fascinating, although all the way through I've been acutely aware that it is obviously from an Anabaptist viewpoint. I would like to read a review of this book by Tom Wright. The Journey of Desire by John Eldredge, I haven't got very far with this yet, althought it seems quite similar to his 'Wild at Heart' which I've read, all about being a passionate man, who does what's in his heart, what makes him come alive etc. This is all very nice, and quite inspiring, but I can't help agreeing with the Amazon reviewer who wrote 'The question naturally arises as to the "wayward" desire that lies within us and how it is to be controlled let alone differentiated from our true desires. While the answer isn't clear...." Maybe he will address this later in the book. One called With The Grain of the Universe by Stanley Hauerwas, which is pretty much inpenetrable so far, way over my head. May have to come back to this, and lastly At The Corner of East and Now by Frederica Mathewes-Green, which I thought might be a nice introduction to Eastern Orthodoxy, which I know virtually nothing about, but would like to.

Thursday, July 22, 2004


Todd Hunter has reentered the world of blog. I think this is great news as I really respect him as a very wise bloke. Lets see if he sticks to his plan to post several times a week, I know I can't.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

More essays online

I have put nearly all my college essays online now. They are in pdf format. I found I could simply create the pdfs through the print option on Word without using any extra software, which was a lot easier than faffing with the html.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Visiting family

Spent most of the weekend visiting friends and family. Saturday we went to see Karl, Rachel and James. Baby James has chickenpox :(, but he's still smiling :), he's such a chilled out kid, it's amazing. Saturday evening we spent with Steve and Jo in Warwick. Steve and I got beat again by the girls at pictionary. This has got to stop, it's getting embarrasing. Trivial Pursuits next time I think, then we'll show them.

Yesterday was Aiden Randall's dedication up at South Liverpool Vineyard. It was such a good day. There is always a real sense of family when we go and spend time with those guys (Dave & Lorna et al). I love the way they are so open with their home and family. We learn a lot about life from them. When the church were praying for baby Aiden there was such a strong sense of God's presence and his favour, and there was also a deep love evident in the friends and family who were there.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Truffle Shuffle

This animated gif which I found via Eric Keck over at Allelon made me laugh out loud :

truffle shuffle

The Goonies! what a film.

Friday, July 09, 2004

We had a top weekend up in the Lake District to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Did loads of walking (bagged 8 peaks over the three days), and the weather was beautiful (for the most part). Just what I needed to clear my head a bit and get some perspective.
Had my 'graduation' ceremony last Thursday, which was kinda nice but a bit strange. Lots of people saying I should go back and finish the degree. Lots of praying still to do on this one.
Spending my days looking for jobs, sorting our house out a bit and waging full scale war on the ants which have decided to take up residence in our kitchen and bathroom

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Essays online

I've started to put my college essays online. It's been taking ages 'cos msword seems to produce the crappiest, most bloated html ever, and it takes a bit of sorting out. Any feedback/comments greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Got my college results yesterday. I managed to get a 72.7% average over the year which obviously I'm really pleased about. In the exams which I was really stressed about I got 71% in Pauline theology, 72% in Christ and the Spirit and 67% in Joshua/Kings. Everyone else seemed to know that I would do well, but I wasn't so sure. The college principal Dr. Massey has been trying to get me to go back next year to complete the degree. (He says it would be a shame for someone of my calibre not to see it through). Whilst part of me would like to do this, I feel the need to get established in a job before we think about having kids. I originally only signed up for a year, so this year has been a bit of a bonus really. If I was to do another year it would have to be a God thing. (so you better shout Lord, 'cos I'm pretty hard of hearing).
I have a love/hate relationship with study. I love the reading, the research and the learning. I hate completing the essays (which usually happens in the early hours of the day they have to be in), I love the sense of satisfaction when they are handed in. I love getting my essays back and receiving feedback on them. I hate preparing for exams, but I actually enjoy sitting them (after the initial panic is over).
I feel the need to do some 'real' work though. I don't think it's healthy for me to spend too long 'in my own head'. I also need to take more opportunities to 'give out' the stuff I've taken in. And I need to learn to stop thinking sometimes.

Monday, June 14, 2004


Had a great weekend, the first one for a while in which I have been able to relax properly. Went on a 36 mile bikeride on Saturday to a place called Draycote water near Rugby, which was good, but I was ready to come home after about 25. Must be out of practise. Went out for a friend's birthday meal on Saturday night at a place called Inspire in Coventry (It is actually in a spire). Sat next to someone called Ray who had an amazing ability to tell a funny story containing any 5 random words you gave him (eg balloon, Rolls Royce, pigeon, custard), quite a gift.
Yesterday afternoon, we went to the Godiva festival at the memorial park for a picnic and some servant outreach. We gave away several hundred drinks and chocolate bars in about 10 minutes flat, which was good fun while it lasted.
As for the football last night, well the less said about that the better I think :(

Jason Clarke has posted an interview he did with Todd Hunter about his move to Alpha USA which is quite interesting. I always thought that people who equated Alpha with old-school, bullet point presentations of the gospel (say this prayer, so that you go to heaven when you die), had either not done an Alpha course, or must have seen a really badly run one.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Faithfulness of God

'Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King, His love endures forever'. We sang these words at church this morning, as we were looking at the whole idea of faithfulness. I love it when I can take my eyes off my own shaky, wobbly life and circumstances and focus on the absolutely unshakeable love and faithfulness of God.
Tom Wright argues that the major theme in the book of Romans is 'The righteousness of God'. He defines this righteousness as God's faithfulness to his covenant promises. These promises were made to Abraham in order to set the world to rights. Although Israel failed in the covenant task, God is faithful to the covenant plan. How has this covenant faithfulness, this righteousness of God, been revealed? Romans 3:21,22 says,
'But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah.'
Although this has not been the traditional translation of this famous passage, it is a perfectly valid one, and perhaps the more likely. The 'climax of the covenant', God's plan to set the world to rights, has taken place in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. He is the faithful one. Forever. I do believe, Lord help me overcome my unbelief.

Friday, June 11, 2004

I is back! Ok so it's been a while. I've finished all my essays and exams now and I promised myself I'd start blogging again when they finished. I think the exams went ok, but I was quite unprepared for how nervous I would get, and how this would affect the rest of my life. The brain does funny things. I've found myself lying awake at night worrying about stuff - church, what job I'll get, everything, and all because of some stupid exams! I'm sure I've been a nightmare to live with (sorry su). I'm feeling a lot better now. I feel like the rest of my life can begin again.
As part of my preparation for my Pauline theology exam, I was dipping into Tom Wright's commentary on Roman's. It's awesome stuff. I was thinking of putting up little snippets from the 'reflections' sections but then I realised it would be a flagrant breach of copyright! Oh well, here is a recent interview he did for Christianity Today.
On a completely different subject this is very exciting.

Monday, February 02, 2004

And here is the little man himself - Mr. James John Sturtridge!

Too cute for words

baby james

Aah lurve him sooo much!! (Raising Arizona)

Saturday, January 31, 2004

wow, what an eventful few days I've had. As I cycled into college on Wednesday morning, the predicted severe weather decided to turn up. I cycled along the canal towpath to Selly Oak in a blizzard. Managed to avoid falling off this time, but turned up to college looking like a snowman, and with an 'ice-cream' headache. As I sat trying to do my Hebrew test I couldn't help but stare out the window as the world turned white. Wow, this was proper snow, we never get proper snow these days. I was already kind of excited 'cos Rachel had phoned first thing in the morning to let us know her 'waters' had broken during the night, whatever they are, I'm sure she could get some new ones. Anyway, she seemed excited, so I was as well.
Su texted me 'cos she was worried I'd try and cycle back in the snow (as if!), so after college I decided to go round to Rachel's and wait for Su to come and pick me up after work.
Rachel had been having mild contractions on and off all morning but wasn't ready to go in yet. The snow stopped and started to melt pretty quickly. We spent the afternoon watching movies and listening to music. Later in the afternoon, it started to snow again, heavily. Rachel's contractions were getting stronger, but no more regular. By the evening she was getting really fed up and a bit teary. When was baby James going to arrive? It was difficult to see her in pain and so frustrated, we felt so helpless. But we prayed and waited, and Karl was a pillar of strength. Meanwhile poor old Su had got stuck in the now gridlocked Birmingham traffic. Dad was trying to get over from Coventry, and after being stuck on the Aston Expressway for 3 hours, decided to give up and turn round. Trust Rachel to go into labour on the worst traffic day in Birmingham's history. Su finally got to Rachel's by 10 o'clock, having left the office at 6.00. We all went to bed, but at 1 am Karl took Rachel into hospital with irregular but painful contractions.
The next morning I woke up with a migraine. Tried to go to lectures, but couldn't cope and had to leave early to go and lie down. Finally at 2.30pm we got the phonecall from Karl to say that baby James had arrived, both him and Rach were fine, although obviously knackered (and somewhat drugged up!). At around 4, we all went in to see them. James is amazing, at 8lbs13, he has quite a long body, perfect skin, punky hair and cute features. He has none of the new-born mankyness that I've seen with other babies, and he looks very tranquil and at peace with the world. Talk about joy coming out of pain!
It turns out that 5 women had babies in their cars stuck in traffic on the way to hospital! So in the end I guess James knew what he was doing by staying in as long as he did. God bless them all!

Monday, January 26, 2004

OK, so I'm supposed to have been keeping a weekly prayer journal type thing for one of my courses at college. In my ineptitude and crapness I think I've managed one entry so far this year. So I thought I'd maybe try and blog at least once a week and try and count that for my prayer journal. The course is called 'theology in action', but it is basically a discussion group where we are supposed to try and pull together all the different strands from the courses and apply them to our lives. I think its meant to be a sort of safety valve to make sure our heads aren't being screwed up by all the 'high filutin' theology we are studying.
For the discussions we are reading a book called 'To the Usual Suspects' by John Goldingay, each week we read a chapter which has a one word title on a different subject. This week was joy. As I reflected on the chapter, I realised that for the most part, I have been blessed with the gift of joy. I also realised that I quite often feel guilty for feeling joyful because I am aware of many people, some near to me, some not, who are in great pain and suffering. Somehow it is possible to experience joy and sorrow almost simultaneously. We are told to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, and unless we don't know many people, these things must overlap. So I pray that God would continue to keep me joyful but make me sensitive enough to express compassion in practical ways to those who are suffering.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

One of the highlights of 'The Story We Find Ourselves In' for me was this creedal poem - We Believe :

We believe that You created all things
In all their beauty and mystery.
We believe we broke the boundaries You gave
To keep this world in harmony.
We believe You called a family,
Blessing them to bless all families.
We believe You spoke and listened through sage
And prophet, priest and poet.
We believe.
We believe You walked among us in
Human flesh, to share our history.
We believe You reconciled us,
Upon a cross, brought hope from agony.
We believe You raised Jesus
From death to life, for our salvation.
We believe You send us out with saving love
For all creation.
We believe.
We believe Your Spirit dwells in us now
With power for life and mission.
We believe Your Spirit makes us one
In purpose, hope, and vision.
We believe You'll banish evil and fill the earth
With holy glory.
We believe You call all people to life
Forever in Your story.
We believe.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Well, that wasnt very soon was it? A 3 month blog gap. Like so many diaries I have attempted to start over the years and then given up before the end of January. To be honest I haven't had the time or the inclination. But as I've got a new toy I thought I'd have another bash.

Yes, I've seen the light and gone Apple, and so far I'm loving it. Spent about a week putting my entire CD collection onto the iBook and now I'm compiling playlists to my hearts content, a bedroom DJ's dream. (although I can't help feeling I've betrayed my vinyl collection).

College has been going well, although far too quickly. I have posted some of my essays in my iDisk, although it's only on a 60 day trial on .Mac so then I'll have to think again.

What else? Oh yeah, I got my new bike stolen from outside college on Tuesday afternoon which was a bit gutting, but thankfully it was covered under our house insurance. They have replaced the bike and all the fittings and it was delivered yesterday -2 days after the theft! amazing. I take back everything I ever said about insurance companies.

My sister Rachel is about to pop! She is due anyday now, and then I'll be Uncle Jon. Can't wait!