Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Bishop and the Orchestra

Off to meet the new Bishop of Oxford - Bishop John - for the first time this morning. And this evening I'm off to Bristol to see The Cinematic Orchestra (+ Bonobo in support) live at the Colston Hall with Jim and Brother Ian from mayBe.

Should be a good day!

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

Friday, October 26, 2007

Goodbye Martin Jol

So Martin Jol, manager of 'my' football team Tottenham Hotspur, finally got the sack last night. It had been coming for a long time.

Whilst it may have been the right decision from a footballing point of view - our results have been shocking and I genuinely don't think he was the man to take us into the top four - I really liked him as a man: he had a big heart, loved the club, loved his players. In all honesty he's been treated appallingly by the club and I'm not sure we would be in the position we are in now (in the relegation zone) if they hadn't undermined him like they have.

He should have at least been given the chance to turn things around - we owed him that after the fantastic progress he has made over the last couple of years. I feel sorry for him - he deserved better. Goodbye Martin - thanks for making our club believable in again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

challenges of work 2: be here now

Another challenge of my work-style is one I am becoming more and more aware of. In my line of work - helping and facilitating the birth and growth of a new Christian community - a massive proportion of my time is spent thinking about the future - where are we heading to, how are we going to get there, will there be enough people, money, facilities, do we need to get a property, where, how, etc. etc.????
I am coming to realise that almost all my headspace is crammed with uncertain questions and thinking about the future - and it doesn't help me to be healthy or wise. In fact it very easily leads to stress and anxiety.
I love the phrase 'the sacrament of the present moment' - in other words, the grace that is available to us if we can be here now (rather than shooting off somewhere in our heads - always living in the past or the future). This is a huge challenge to me - to try and redress this balance and live more peacefully in the present.
In this I can learn from my little girl - she has a very limited understanding of past and present. She can get upset and have forgotten about it literally moments later - like it never happened. She knows what she needs now and she lets the future take care of itself.
I once heard a wise old sage say that it is only in the present that we meet with God - God was there in the past and will be there in the future, but those times and places are inaccessible to us and we can only meet with God in the now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

challenges of work 1 : workchums

I spend a lot of my working time alone - often staring at a computer screen writing e mails or other documents. It doesn't particularly flow well with who I am as a person.
So I'm thankful for people that I engage with on a regular basis that help me to work better.
Yesterday, Jim - who, like me often finds himself working alone and it doesn't suit him either - and I met at our local coffee shop (which now, praise God, offers free wi-fi) so we could get on with the things we had to do but at least be with someone else while we did so, rather than sitting alone in our respective houses.
This morning I had what has now become my regular coffee meeting with my brother nu-monastic abbot here in Oxford, Ian from the mayBe community.
Later on today I went to work in the Bodleian library - and unbelievably fantastic place to work - where I'm putting together some material on the Christian mystics (more on that at some point) and I was able to work near to my friend (and Lily-Anna's Godfather) Alan.
I have a growing appreciation for those who I can share my working life with. Bless you brothers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Harvest Service

Really enjoyed our Harvest Service last night - it was the first time we had marked harvest and it felt like a good thing to do.
The first hour of the service was spent engaging with prayer stations - confession (pulling up plants as a symbol of our using of the earth without care or consideration), absolution (replanting the plants in fresh earth as a sign of our reconnection with the land), thanksgiving (bringing food that we were thankful for - I brought a lovely bottle of ale!), offering (bringing symbols of our work to 'hallow' our labour once more to God), texts & response (readings from scripture and the christian mystics on our relationship with creation), intercessions (lighting tapers and placing them into a container of earth as we prayed for the earth using a prayer written by Tess), and then communion.
I managed to get hold of a bale of straw - not an easy thing to do for a city boy! - which we used as an altar for the evening (see pic) and we gathered around it for the peace (which we remembered meant not just peace with each other but also peace with the rest of creation - we passed round daffodil bulbs to symbolise this), celebrated communion with a creation-based eucharistic prayer, and then a final benediction (also written by Tess) before being offered a plant pot and some more earth so we could take our bulbs away with us.
A top night!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

harvest home

tonight the Home community is celebrating harvest - giving thanks for the provision of the land and praying for the healing of humanity's relationship with it. There will be prayer stations for an hour from 5-6pm and communion at 6. I'll blog about it tomorrow and perhaps post some pics.

if you're local do come along.

Friday, October 19, 2007

thanks Nan!

My nan rocks. Many of you will know that the hard disk on my computer died a couple of weeks back. My nan has bought me a new mac which is incredibly generous of her.
So I am the proud owner of a new MacBook - complete with inbuilt camera so I can take zany photos like this one.
Thanks nan!
Hopefully I will be back to better blogging ways soon.

Monday, October 01, 2007

the kind of mistake you only make once

so - last week the hard disk on my laptop failed. I've taken it into the shop and they've told me that it needs replacing - and it's not going to be cheap. In fact it might not make financial sense to do it as the machine is getting a little old now - so it might be time to get a new machine - but they don't come cheap as we know (and if anyone feels moved to make a contribution to the 'replace matt's mac' appeal we would be glad to hear from you!).

The absolute killer though is that on my hard drive were 3 year's worth of photos which weren't backed up AND EVEN WORSE all our photos and movies of Lily-Anna from the last 9 months. Total nightmare.

The guys in the Apple shop said they'd tried 3 or 4 different ways to extract the data, all of which have failed. So our last hope is to send the hard drive off to a specialist data recovery place in London.

I have an external USB hard drive but haven't used it to back up our photos - it's the kind of mistake you only make once in your life.