Saturday, April 28, 2007

Birthday bonus

...And to top it off - Spurs won away AND it's the Inspector Morse weekend on ITV3 (sad I know but I'm a big fan)!
sent on the move from my Blackberry.....


Well, today is my birthday. I'm 38 today. I'm writing this while sitting on the terrace overlooking the river at The Trout - a famous pub round these parts - whilst enjoying a pint in the late afternoon sun. I met with lovely friends for a posh breakfast at a hotel in town and then - after a pleasant bit of vinyl browsing the girls and I headed home for a spot of lunch before heading out again for a family swim - my first with Lily Anna. it's been a good day!
sent on the move from my Blackberry.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Songs of Praise - with a twist

Oh this is good! Side-splittingly good! Thanks to Paul Roberts for the tip off.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Whatever happened to the resurrection in our missiology?

I love this Easter season in the lectionary - spending time in the post-resurrection narratives.

One thing I have noticed and been surprised by - particularly in the readings in Acts - is that the first generation of apostles/disciples understood themselves primarily to be witnesses to the resurrection rather than the cross (or more precisely, expounding a theology of the cross). Obviously the cross was important but the main emphasis is on witnessing to the fact that God raised Christ from the dead. That was what had changed everything. I have been reflecting on how different that is from our modern emphasis on the cross over the resurrection.

Giles Fraser in the Church Times a couple of weeks ago complained that evangelicals have a very under-developed theology of the resurrection. For them all the action happens on Good Friday and Easter Sunday is almost a bit of an afterthought.

What would it look like if in our mission we 'led' with the resurrection rather than the cross? Not that it would be right to play one off against the other but just in terms of regaining a balance. What would that look like?

Stations of the Cross Photos

Mel, from the the hOME community, who is a really good photographer, has some good photos of our Good Friday Stations of the Cross service here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

easter catch up

It was a good easter at hOME although I am still slightly bemused by the fact that easter seems to have ceased to be the time when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ in Christian community and instead has become a time to go away and visit family (definitely not a bad thing to do but where has this idea come from?!) because after all it's a bank holiday weekend. Consequently our Easter Sunday service is normally one of our lowest attended services instead of our highest attended one!

That said there were some special moments. Our Good Friday Stations of the Cross installation/eucharist was memorable. Really good to get people from beyond the hOME community involved and to have some 'special guests'.

On Holy Saturday we had our second annual Service of Vows at Dorchester Abbey with Bishop Colin Fletcher. We all renewed our baptismal vows and then some people who made 'monastic' vows a year ago were ending their time in Chapter, some - like myself- were renewing vows for the year to come, and some were making vows for the first time. Here's a pic of this year's Chapter -

On Easter Sunday we had our regular small gathering for breakfast at our house with a simple eucharist.

birthday wish list

my birthday's coming up in a couple of weeks and I guess everyone reading this will be anxious to get me a present (ahem...). With that in mind I point you in the direction of my amazon wish list which can be found here (best viewed in order of priority).

Alternatively, if someone wanted to get me a vintage Fender Rhodes stage piano (see pic below) go ahead and make my year! And there's one on ebay here (or if your dad has one under the stairs left over from the 1970's that he wants to find a good home for do let me know).

Can You Feel the Silence?

This was a question that Van Morrison asked us repeatedly in his 'mystical' phase. Well - I'm disappointed to have to tell you that I couldn't really feel it on Friday night. Don't get me wrong - a night out to a Van Morrison gig is, in my opinion, never a wasted evening. But I think the reason that is the case is almost because we see 'through' what is presented to our senses in the here and now back to the glory days of 25-30 years ago (and beyond - Astral Weeks was 1968). What we see now is a fat, grumpy man in a black coat, dark glasses and a trilby (delta bluesman stylee - that's how Van sees himself now) playing swing and skiffle, but in our minds we see the shamanic Van - the Van of 'Ballerina' or 'When the healing has begun' - who was able to take us on a mystical journey of musical ecstacy.

It was a packed out gig. My heart sank somewhat when his elderly band came on before him and did a track on their own - a really predictable, pedestrian blues song. But then Van came on and launched into 'Enlightenment' - not exactly a classic but certainly a song that is more representative of the mystic Van.

More blues followed (yawn) and then there was a lovely moment of confusion where there was some debate onstage as to what came next on the set-list. Seizing the opportunity the audience started shouting out all their favourite Van songs - and what was interesting was that they were all the old stuff - the stuff he doesn't play anymore. At this point Van spoke (a very rare occurrence) saying "that was fun - does anyone else have any suggestions" - before ignoring us all and plodding on with some more blues.

It left me wondering why he's walked away from what I would consider his best stuff. He hardly did any slow songs and even the classics that he did do he reworked to take the soul out of them (I mean he even took a song like 'Have I told you lately that I love you' and did it in a big band, swing style!). Pippa thinks he just can't handle the intensity of it anymore especially in front of big audiences - it's too intimate, too vulnerable.

Anyway, the 90 minute set ended with an encore (another rarity for Van) of 'Gloria' and he nailed it - spot on. He had the whole crowd on their feet (yes it was one of those grown-up, sit down gigs), clapping and punching the air and he did it like we knew it. He had us in the palm of his hand and he could have taken us on from there and probably really enjoyed it himself. But he exited stage left as the band played the outro.

Being the saddos that we are we went round the back of the theatre to the stage door to see him leave. We waited with about 20 or so others of the faithful and then out he came - wearing a woolly hat and scarf which was quite a contrast to his stage persona - had a bit of trouble opening the door of his BMW and then his driver whisked him away into the night.

So seeing Van these days is always a bittersweet experience. We reflected on this some more over a nightcap in the Randolph Hotel and then his band came in through the front door. We wondered whether they might be staying there. No sign of Van himself though.

Where has he gone?

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Van Morrison review to be posted when I get a few minutes to write it (tomorrow hopefully).

Meanwhile, in other news...My wife has had her haircut and I think it looks great!

sent on the move from my Blackberry.....

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm still a believer

Been trying to take some time off this week after a busy easter.

Off to see Van Morrison in concert tonight at the New Theatre in Oxford. Can't wait. Of course, the big question is - which Van Morrison will turn up?

Van the mystic? (or 'The Mystic Fatty' as my friend Simon calls him)


Van the swing-band leader.

I've got to say that, unfortunately, the latter is more likely than the former. And he ain't what he was for sure. But I'm still a believer. We will see glimpses of the old mystic poking through I am sure of it.

A review of sorts tomorrow no doubt.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


sitting at home with a streaming cold. It had to happen this week - Holy Week - didn't it?! I haven't had a cold for a couple of years and it comes along when I'm up to my eyes in preparation for easter and business meetings to do with the cafe project. So thought I would use my blog to have a moan at the world!