Saturday, 19 June 2010


I consider myself to be an armchair sports fan. In reality I'll watch most things - and often get accused of watching the most inane 'rubbish'; although that is just a matter of opinion; and usually it's my wife's (and so often, I guess, in the cold light of day, she's right - just don't tell her!). It comes with the 'benefit' of having Sky and paying a ridiculous amount of money every month to Mr Murdoch. Now we even have HD, so we can throw even more money his way.

There appears to be a world cup on at the moment. I must admit, that I was bored of it even before a ball was kicked in anger. I entertained some clients for the first game of the tournament and actually quite enjoyed it. Perhaps that was due to the wine consumed, company and lack of emotional attachment to any of the team. It also seemed to be quite a good game.

As friends will know, rugby is my first game. You see, I know a little bit about it and played it (to a very poor level) some years ago. As I've got a bit fitter of late, I still see myself playing, but in reality that would be a very bad idea, a bad idea indeed! At my age the body just takes so much longer to recover and I really don't fancy bruised ribs, black eyes etc etc.....

I'm also patriotic, so when the football game was on last night (England vs Algeria), I settled down in front of the television with the family to watch it. Home cinema system blasting the sound, making it feel a little more 'real' and in glorious HD...large glass of wine poured ready to see England show the Algerians how to play football.

As we know, the goals never came and what was served up was, apparently, dross. I say apparently, as I lost interest before half time. So much so that I retreated to the study, with another glass of wine to try to do some studying. I got distracted with music and other stuff, but I had absolutely no interest in the football. Does this reflect badly on me? When my home nation is playing, should I be watching or at least showing an interest?

Today, was a very different kettle of fish. RUGBY....First thing there was New Zealand vs Wales and then Australia vs England. Later on, and after I post this, I will have a little bit of a dilemma; it's Argentina vs Scotland and England vs Canada, the latter in the Churchill Cup Final. I have Scottish roots, in the distant past (grandmother) and have always supported England. However, I suspect that game will be an absolute corker. I will have to record one and watch the other.

I sat captivated watching the rugby of earlier. Now this week, England put in a great performance, much to my surprise. But even last week, when the performance was dire, I watched it all. Watched it, criticised, got involved, emotionally attached, had a go at the referee, the whole nine yards. You see, when it comes to rugby, I will watch the dullest of draws and still find something beautiful about the game, something technical in it that makes it all worthwhile. I just don't get that with football.

So, as long as there is rugby on, my mind will be somewhere else, other than the round-ball antics going on in South Africa. I get chastised at work for not knowing what's going on in the football and strange looks when I say I'm bored with it and really can't be bothered. However, come next year, when the Rugby World Cup is on in New Zealand, I will be excited, be emotionally attached, watch as many games as possible.....and become even more of a rugby bore....

Rugby; proper sport. At it's best.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Exile II

I'm still in placement exile from my home parish and while being so, seem to be getting a bit more organised in respect or Sunday services to attend. However, last Sunday's was a little last minute! We were staying at my parents-in-law and planning to go, on the Sunday, to the 'bigchurchdayout' (see; However, I discovered that this didn't kick off, so to speak until slightly later in the day.

So, we chose to go to Chichester Cathedral for their 11am Eucharist. I took two children with me. It was also a bit of a reccie as a college friend is being ordained there at the end of June and I wanted to check out some of the practical stuff. It was, as expected, a wonderful service both liturgically and musically; the incense was swung liberally and the choir were on top form. But, as with all these sorts of services,  it was one that lacked congregational 'participation'. It was only during the sermon that I actually sat up.

Now, for those not necessary in the know, Chichester Diocese hasn't been known to fully 'embrace' the ordination of Women to the Priesthood. I wasn't going for any debate or discussion on the subject, but, when during the sermon, the Dean talked of listening to the Spirit, and quoted the following from (Benedictine scholar) Sebastian Moore about how the Church's leaders (and those whom they led) were unable..

‘to cope with the scientific revolution when it came, dithered when Darwin discovered
Evolution, and Freud the unconscious, and now resists the feminist movement and the rethinking
of sexuality. It all goes back to a church that understood God and his Son in
legal terms – God authorising the Son and the Son authorising the Church, rather than in
the Spirit, that got relegated to the role of someone you pray to before taking an exam.’

I just didn't expect these things to be said within Chichester Cathedral, but it rang so true that time and time again we seem to get so worked up in what appears to be the language and legality of theology without looking behind it and praying and working through where we believe the Holy Spirit is taking us on our ever changing faith journey. Christianity is now over 2000 years old and, much like we expect children to mature as they grow, so surely God expects and guides the church in change and maturity. There are of course deep rooted questions that do need to be answered and worked through, and there are issues that are guided particularly strongly by scripture. However, we must not forget that when we are considering such matters, first and foremost we do this within a prayerful environment. If we don't, then where is God in our decisions? He is not.

After Eucharist, I took the boys onto thebigchurchdayout ( I wasn't sure what to make of it and must admit to feeling somewhat apprehensive. I wasn't meeting anyone there and the 'tone' of the event was very much evangelical - at the other end of the tradition spectrum to mine. There was a main stage, marquee for the children (with very well organised children's activities), a smaller stage and a tea-tent away from the noise for those who wanted to escape. 

Once I'd orientated myself and felt a little more comfortable, I had a truly wonderful day out. It was a 'big church day out'. The sun shone, there were lots of people and it was a glorious celebration of everything good that is our faith. I experienced some new worship music and was particularly moved by the music of Trent and Tim Hughes. 

The boys had a great time - and the children's activities (organised in to age groups) were fantastic and well organised. An hour of entertainment for them; with some adult participation as well. We weren't able to stay until the end, but left after seeing Tobymac - unfortunately, my desire to be in the main crowd wasn't the boys idea of fun (sound of the speakers resonating on our chests; taking me back to my youth and pop & rock concerts!). 

At the end of the long day, I reflected on what a diversity of worship I had had the privilege of being part of. I was able to worship in both contexts and whilst on one hand I loved the formal liturgy of the cathedral, and still love this form of worship, I was able to worship in an equally later in the day in a much more relaxed, free flowing way. There is a place for all forms of worship as well as a place for a combining of older, traditional liturgy with modern themes, songs, instruments etc etc. We need to take courage in both hands and (as mentioned earlier) in a prayerful environment, take worship out of our (and the established church's) 'comfort' zones and ensure that we enable people today to adequately connect with God. 


Just while I try to gather some inspiration for a slightly longer blog on my experiences a couple of weekends ago, I thought I'd share this song that I heard at bigchurchdayout. Since I've bought Tim Hughes' album. But at the time, the words, simple though they are, hit me.

God in my living 
There in my breathing 
God in my waking 
God in my sleeping 

God in my resting 
There in my working 
God in my thinking 
God in my speaking 

Be my everything 
Be my everything 
Be my everything 
Be my everything 

God in my hoping 
There in my dreaming 
God in my watching 
God in my waiting 

God in my laughing 
There in my weeping 
God in my hurting 
God in my healing 

Christ in me 
Christ in me 
Christ in me the hope of glory 
You are everything 

Christ in me 
Christ in me 
Christ in me the hope of glory 
Be my everything