Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blog List

Blog list has been updated!

A couple of very new bloggers have made it to the top purely because they are very new! Matt White cheated by having splitting one true blog post up into many on numerous occasions, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt!

Real blog coming soon, I promise!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I've been tagged!

Ok, I have been tagged, (thanks Graeme) I wouldn't usually use my blog for such things, but since Dawn (www.anotherdayinthesnow.blogspot.com) has been blogging my way recently, I thought I would try something a bit different. (It wont last long - I have too much to blog about!)

My tag: "To announce Christ to others a man must first know him himself". From William Barclays The Daily Study Bible, The letter to the Romans.

(Ok, maybe it was more like one of my blogs than I thought it would be. My family bookcase is too religious!)

Here's is what this is about - the rules:
  1. Grab the book closest to you
  2. Turn to page 161
  3. Print the 5th complete sentence on your blog
  4. Tag 5 others.

I tag; Dawn, Liz, Sarah, Ann and Claire.

Why the tags? I deliberated long and hard. In the end, I couldn't decide, so I picked 10 people most likely to actually do it, and then picked the 5 from out of a hat. Sorry to those of you not one of my 'tagged' but I am sure you will get a turn if this 5 do it right!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Minor Injustices

Ok, I admit it, I watch the Joseph show! And I love it. But tonight, I hate it! An injustice was done. Sorry if you don't watch it and you don't know what I am talking about, but basically, tonight, the voting public, and Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to eliminate a star. Daniel was miles better than Lewis, and Daniel could easily have been Joseph in the West End. Daniel and Lee outshine the rest of them without question. And yet here we are, and Daniel is gone. (Before you ask, no I didn't vote, and now feel very bad about it!)

So why has this inspired a blog? There are a few times today where I have become frustrated at minor injustices. The fact that the ball was clearly over the line in the FA cup final and yet the referee didn't seem to notice was one. Another, (also in the football match), was a really, really minor one, where a throw in was given to Chelsea which should easily have been United's.

It got me wondering three things. The first one is this; I wonder which players referees would highlight as being the most trustworthy, in terms of their integrity in a match. If a player claims that they scored, or won a throw in, or were pushed down in the box, would a ref be more likely to believe some players than others? I know their judgement shouldn't be coloured by the players at all, but I just wonder if, when someone claims on the pitch that an injustice has been done, the ref may sometimes doubt his decision, especially if that player tends to be rather trustworthy! This thought entered my head because I realised today, that I really trust in Ryan Gigg's integrity, and tend to believe him, and yet with players like Drogba or Ronaldo, I would be more likely to ignore their cries of injustice.

Second, what is it inside of us that just needs to burst out in prostest when we see these minor injustices? There are times when it is right to remain calm and not even mention it, like Daniel today. It wouldn't have been appropriate for him to stand up there and say, I don't accept it, you're wrong, I am one of the best two in this contest. It also wouldn't have been right for any of the panel to complain at that moment either. Perhaps we British are better at this than most. Remaining polite and swallowing our frustrations, and just getting on with it. And yet it can't be denied that there is something within that just wants to cry out, 'nooooooo!' (I have to admit - I did, when Daniel was kicked out!)

Third, if there is something within us causing us to do that when we see such a minor injustice, why is it that it can remain so silent when the injustice is much bigger? I know that many many people these days are dealing with this much better; are noticing big injustices and trying to do something about them (not least the Salvation Army) and its superb. Yet we actually have to work to make ourselves feel that strongly about it, but it is so natural with smaller things. (Is it just me?) I wonder if this is to do with how easily we allow ourselves to become personally affected by things. What made me cross today? Daniel being sent home, and Man U not winning. Why was it those things? Because I am a fan of Man U and have been all my life, and therefore have chosen to be loyal to them and care about them winning; and because I like theatre, and will most likely want to go and see Joseph when it comes out, I would like to see someone performing who will be good at it, and will help to make me feel part of the story. I allowed myself to imagine watching Daniel, (and Lee) on the west end stage, 'being Joseph'. That image has now been shattered.

I allowed myself to become, 'personally involved'. I allowed myself to care. Worldwide, if we allow ourselves to care, the strength of the sense of injustice may become too much for us to bear, so it is easier for us, less painful for us, to distance ourselves from it. As I said, I think we are doing this less and less these days, as a country, but I still think there is a long way to go.

In addition to all that, there are things closer to home which I know I could get more involved in. If a friend of mine is hurting, a collegue is involved in a difficult situation, a family member is struggling, a man lives on a street I walk down every week, people in my home town who I haven't got to know yet are addicted to drugs, or gambling, there are people in my neighbourhood who are so disillusioned that all they know how to do is drown their sorrows with alcohol, do I get involved personally? Do I allow myself to care? To care to the point where it hurts me?

Is that even right? I was talking to someone on Thursday about the fact that I need to learn how to care about people and situations without also feeling responsible for them. I have noticed recently that I have a tendancy to become burdened by a sense of responsibility to 'make things better', so much so that it overwhelms me, and then I haven't got anything left in me to simply care about them or it. Something happens and I am immediately consumed with the burden of it all, the responsibility I have in it all, and I can't think straight enough to do anything or even to care. How do you draw the line. If I could learn how to not let things overwhelm me so much then maybe I would be able to shout 'noooo' when a girl goes missing, or when one of my collegues says that the Bible should just stick to being a good source of moral guidance and nothing more, as easily as I shout it when the wrong person is kicked out of 'Joseph school'!

Sorry its so personal.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Others - post Roots!

What do you say? How can you even begin? I considered not even blogging about Roots, because there was so much to say, but nothing I could say now could add to the experience. Nothing can sum it up, or challenge and inspire beyond that already received this weekend. So what do you say?

Roots, for those of you who don't know, is a big Salvation Army conference which happens once a year. At Roots, we receive a lot of teaching, but beyond that, we are called into action. That is a pretty rubbish summary, so I will try to expand a bit. Basically, it is kind of like Spring Harvest, (or I guess Keswick - although I have never been), except it is different! What makes it different mainly is that, being a Salvation Army conference - (although others are always welcome), we are often taught about things on an 'organisational level' as well as on a personal level. We are usually reminded about what being part of the Salvation Army means. We are inspired by those who teach about the 'roots' of the Salvation Army -the reason for its existence. I guess I wanted to say that because I feel it is important to highlight that Roots is not just about a personal spiritual high once a year. (At least - I hope not). Yes, it is personal, but it is also much more than that. It is an exploration into what it means to be a follower of Jesus - what it means to be a disciple, but also what it means to be a part of a church that was designed to fight against injustice, and more importantly to fight for the Salvation of the lost, (albeit peacefully!). It is also a call to look honestly at ourselves - personally, as a church, and as a whole 'organisation' and question whether we really are meeting our calling.

The theme - as I mentioned in my last post was 'others'. It was very, very inspiring, and I know loads of people from Romford got a lot out of it. I think it is really important that rather than keeping our 'lessons' to ourselves - we make sure we share them, so that we can be accountable to acting on what we heard. So I guess this blog is my chance to do that.

Before I went this weekend I was massively frustrated, (in case nobody had guessed!!!!!). I was frustrated with life being so routine, with the apparent lack of passion for all things God related in my small area, with myself for wanting so much more yet doing so little, and with God for seemingly being so inactive. I guess as far as I could see my area of the world was just plodding along. There were people caught in war, and disease and famine and trafficking, there were people closer to home who were involved in gang wars, drugs, alcohol abuse, shootings and stabbings, and there were people who didn't know God and didn't care about finding out about Him. And we were going to church on a Sunday, getting a nice feeling, going home, going to work, going to church on Sunday, getting a nice feeling, going home...

What do I want? I want us to break out of this cycle. I want us to be differnt, I want us to change things, I want us to be so dedicted to doing this that our whole lives are given to the cause. Notice the deliberate use of the word 'us'. This was my passion, but I didn't want to do it alone. I wanted someone else to lead the way, someone else to break out of the cycle, and I would be there right behind them.

So what has Roots taught me? Well - it didn't answer all my questions. It hasn't sorted everything out, but it has done a few things:

  1. It has shown me that I am not the only one with this kind of passion. I am not alone in this. Other people want it too, and other people have ideas, and visions. I was so blessed by the fact that people from Romford corps were willing to stand together at the front in a response and pray together that we would follow God's will in this. We are together in this. If we go out, make a stand, break out from the monotony of routine life in order to be God's soldiers in this world, fighting for the Salvation of the world, then we do it together, as a body of God's people.

  2. It has shown me that God may well not be as inactive as I thought, as He seems to have been stirring up people's hearts. Whether this is truly God inspired, or just 'Roots good feelings', or 'emotional high's' remains to be seen - but it has opened up the possibility that maybe, just maybe, God is behind all of this, and is working before us. I wait to discover the truth on this one. I hope and pray that it is actually God, else nothing will change.

  3. It has shown me that there is no point in me being passionate about this, and moaning about the apparent lack of involvement of God, when I have not been on my knees every day, crying out for God to act and to be involved. That there is no point recoiling into myself and getting defeatist and negative and yes, maybe even a little bit depressed, because that wont achieve anything. Instead, I need to be crying out to God. Refusing to let Him rest. Knocking on the door of Heaven repeatedly until He gets so fed up that He will come and do something and change our little area of the world, just to shut me up.

I hope others will join me in this kind of devoted prayer. Lets not let God rest. Lets make Him hear us, and show Him how much we care and want Him to act. Lets show Him that we will be willing to do what He asks of us if only He will show us what that is.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Today, I am fed up! I have had the most terrible day at work - (not emotionally - but literally - with work). I have been working so hard recently and today, everything went wrong. Do you ever have those days where literally everything you touch seems to fall apart? I wont go into it all (as it would likely bore you), but suffice it to say that by 10:00am I was ready to go home! And I like my job! Ok - maybe I will explain it - I am in the flow now! It was really silly things that kept getting in the way of what I really needed to do, but that had to be done. Making one change - the tiniest change ever known to man, (I am prone to exaggeration!) resulted in some ridiculously massive - the most massive ever known to man, (see!) consequence, which then took up a big portion of the rest of the day. Alongside this I had to attend a team meeting, and have a man come and install something on my computer - who then promtly managed to delete all my printers. To top it off, my train was delayed on the way home, and a car crashed into the bus I was on just as I got off. (Don't worry - no biggy, just a small amount of damage to the bus and car, and no-one was hurt!)

Anyway - all this is beside the point! On the train, (that was delayed), on the way home I had to stand, (which is quite normal). A girl with a massive rucksack on her back came and stood quite close to me - but had her back turned to me, and so her rucksack kept hitting me in the face. (I am short - she was tallish!) This frustrated me a little - especially since the train was not really very busy - there was loads and loads of standing space. To be honest, I think she was just completely oblivious to the fact that she kept backing into me. It got me thinking about the things that wind me up that other people do. (I seriously had a bad day! I don't honestly do that often!) I decided to list them:
  • Obliviousness - like the girl on the train, or people walking three in a row, really slowly, right in front of you when you are in a rush, or people in supermarkets when they leave their trolley in the middle of the asile so nobody can pass and then spend half an hour trying to decide which type of cheese to get!
  • People that spit - I think it is a disgusting habbit.
  • People that talk really loudly on the phone when they are on the train so that everyone can hear, 'how drunk they got last night', when all we really want to do is sleep or read!
  • People who will stubbornly never see anyone elses perspective even when they cannot justify their own beliefs or behaviour, (although I am the worlds BIGGEST culprit!)
  • Laziness.
  • Disloyalty, broken promises.
  • Rudeness, and a faliure to accept discipline or recognise authority.

After thinking about this, I began to look at the people round me on the train. (They may have thought I was a bit odd!) But I thought to myself - I am thinking about these people only in terms of what the do to annoy me. Each one of them is an actual person, with an actual life. It caused me to stop and think for a moment about the people I know, and the friends I have.

I realsied that I never ever notice any of these sorts of characteristics in my friends. Is that because they are not there? Well maybe, but in general it takes a lot for me to get wound up by people I actually have spent a decent amount of time with. Why? Not necessarily because they are 'better people', but more becasue I understand them that much better. I know that their intention is not to hurt me or to get on my nerves, because I know them and talk to them. This may seem a bit 'idealistic', and those that know me well will know that it is not that simple. I worry way way too much about what other people think of me. But today my perspective was from a new angle - not what do they think of me, but more, why do I think so highly of them?!

I do think highly of most people that I know well, if not all, and that is usually because I know them well, so I know they deserve my admiration. They are all wonderful people. Are the people on the train 'different' somehow? Probably not - I just don't know them. They are likely to be wonderful people too. Tomorrow, if the girl with the rucksack came to work for TFL, I would most likely make friends with her. So next time someones rucksack hits me in the face on the train, instead of being frustrated by it, I am going to try to think, 'who is this person - I wonder who they are on the inside'. Who knows - maybe one day I will be confident enough to actually ask them!

I realise that ROOTS is tomorrow, so it is not likely that many people will read this till Tuesday, but I find it funny that the theme for roots is 'others'. I wondered about waiting till I got back to blog it, but thought the momentum might have gone. Plus, it may well be enlightening! Who knows, maybe it will need a 'before' and 'after' blog!!!

To all those who have decided not to go to roots this year, I will be thinking of you, and am sad I will not see you there. I hope you enjoy your weekend wherever you are. To those who don't even know what roots is, don't worry, I am sure my blog will explain it sometime after we get back. I will most likely get tons of blogging material from it.