Sunday, 31 January 2010

A thing of beauty

There was a moment of sheer football beauty last week. It was in the 70th minute of the Man Utd v Man City game. The ball came out to Wayne Rooney on the half way line, just to the left of the centre circle. Within about a second, he turned with perfect balance, looked up, and swung a delicate right foot, a sublime pass, lifted just high enough to drift over the head of the frantically back-pedalling defender, low enough to keep the right speed on the ball to keep the momentum of the attack, direction spot on, to land right at the feet of the advancing Ryan Giggs about 40 yards ahead. Giggs didn't score -Carrick did a few moments later. But it was the pass itself that was the thing of delight. It's rare to see something so difficult performed at speed with such ease and perfection. You'd hardly call Rooney himself a thing of beauty, but when you see something like that, it fills you with wonder and sheer admiration, just for the pure delicate joy of it.

God and the Haiti Earthquake - 3

Three weeks on, the Haiti earthquake has begun to drop out of the news. the UN is beginning to get its act together and aid is starting to get through. A litle distance also gives the opportunity to think further with a bit of perspective.

The first thing is to put the event into some kind of context. Despite the tragedy, this is no unique event unheard of before, but just one of many natural disasters which occur with some regularity.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

God and the Haiti Earthquake 2

Events like the Haiti earthquake raise another question - if God can intervene to perform miracles sometimes, why doesn't he do it more often? If he can answer specific prayers, why can't he intervene to stop disasters like this? This is more than an academic question - it can be heartbreaking to pray for something for ages and it doesn't happen, or to to watch someone suffer while you pray desperately for healing that doesn't come, while God seems to happily find parking spaces for other people or answer seemingly trivial prayers. As always on here, only time for a brief answer, but here goes...

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Luther on Prayer

Some of those who came to the HTB / SPTC 'School of Prayer' today (or anyone else who wants to learn how to pray, for that matter), might want to read the work of Luther on Prayer that I spoke about. It's called 'A Simple Way to Pray', was written in 1535 and contains some simple yet brilliant insights into prayer and how Luther himself prayed. You can find it here - A Simple Way to Pray.

If you want to be part of HTB's growing prayer movement, you might try looking at the Prayerforce site.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

God and the Haiti Earthquake

The Haiti earthquke is a tragedy on any account. Natural disaster meets human disorganisation. As always on these occasions, the question soon appears on the horizon of where God is in it all. Various things have been given by good church leaders, but a couple of people have said to me over the last weeek that they've all been a bit unsatisfactory. So I thought I'd have a go.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Why we should get rid of 'Faith Groups'

In our multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society, a new phrase has entered our vocabulary: Faith Groups. Its way of describing religious groupings, those who apparently have a ‘faith’ that influences the way they view the world and motivates what they do – it includes Christians (like me), Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists (kind of), Sikhs etc. Sometimes they are called ‘faith communities’ but the idea is the same, and it is common government-speak including the report on “Faith Groups in the Community - Working Together: Co-operation between Government and Faith Communities” in February 2004.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A new blog site

I've moved to this new site - gives a few more options. I have still resisted facebook, twitter and everything else (OK I do have a facebook page but hardly ever use it). I don't think the world really needs to know when I'm hungry or bored. Don't thinkI want to know when I'm hungry or bored. So this will try to remain reasonably untrivial (apart from the occasional reference to Bristol City - not that thst is at all trivial, you understand...)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A Pagan Christmas?

There were a few stories going around before Christmas about the revival of paganism, the winter solstice, with druids dancing around Stonehenge and uttering long-lost pagan oaths. It brought up the old stories of Christmas being a pale Christian version of good old pagan revelry in the depths and darkness of winter. Yet there was a good reason why Europeans gave up on paganism.

Thoughts on Hope in Grenfell

In our community over the past few days we have been through a range of emotions that we rarely experience so close together. Even now ...