Monthly Archives: January 2006

The Long & Winding Road

After announcing the 50th Anniversary Survey at the end of November we finally received the first set of responses on Sunday. So far, from a pool of 30 people who took surveys, I’ve received 7. Of these 7, 6 come from only 2 families.

We had also planned an “away day” for the first Saturday in March but we’ve had to put this back, due to the poor response and trouble in securing the venue.

Having read the first batch I’ve decided that I’ll analyse the results before letting others see them. I have an indication from some responses who wrote them and feel that this not the purpose. The whole idea was that responses were to be kept confidential. I don’t want people being put under pressure to do things or explain their views.

Everyone sees that we need growth and more young families. Yet the biggest problem we face is the lack of resources available due to the age, and health, of our congregation. Another problem we have is that some members don’t feel that they are being assised in their personal growth. To me that is a very big complaint on our current work. One service a week is not meeting the needs of our members.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is the feeling that some of our present work is not reaping any concrete results. We have a weekly night for the 5-7’s. The idea was for it to be a way to bring new children and families into the church but we have had very little success so far. Now some people see this as a glorified childminding service for the parents.

I could get disheartened but know that this is an exercise we need to complete in order to progress. We need to have a vision that can be embraced by the membership and thus move onwards united.

Whoever thought a Church leadership role would be easy would definitely have their eyes opened. I also feel that we as deacons are not doing enough to lead.

(We Don’t Need This) Facist Groove Thing

So Hamas have predictably won the election in Palestine. Why everyone, including Hamas, were so surprised I don’t know.

Though they are famous for being a primarily Islamic terrorist organisation they have evolved to become more than that since the creation of the Palestinian Homeland. Where Fatah, the political wing of the PLO, have been seen to be corrupt and to have let down the Palestinian people, the reverese is true of Hamas.

Yes, they do organise suicide bombings and armed attacks on Israel. Yes, they do want the destruction of the Israeli state. They do not deny either of these things.

What they have going for them is the way they have been able to organise social and educational projects among the ordinary Palestinian people. They have helped to ease the pressures forced on the Palestinian people by Hamas and Uslamic Jihad’s continued campaign against Israel. What people are not to aware of is that Hamas have instigated a voluntary cessation of attacks over the last 12 months.

The Palestinian people have seen the way that Fatah have been corrupt and self concerned during their term in power. Nothing they have done has brought peace and prosperity to these proud people. The lack of progress for peace has been caused by many of Hamas’ past actions, so they must take some of the blame.

Yet, because they have control of the mosques, Hamas have managed to get their message over to the Palestinian population. They have shown through their faith that they are above the corruption of Fatah. They have shown that they can deliver their own social programmes directly to the people, something Fatah have largely failed at.

Now we have a paradox to deal with.

Hamas are a terrorist organisation intent on the destruction of the Israeli state. Not the Jewish people as a whole but their current political state.

In addition, Hamas are now a demcratically elected entity in their own right. The people have chosen Hamas to rule over them and to represent them to the international world outside.

How are the western world going to deal with them? Are we going to stop aid, without which the Palestinian people will suffer even more? In doing so we’d just restart, and intensify, the cycle of violence.

(We Don’t Need This) Facist Groove Thing

So Hamas have predictably won the election in Palestine. Why everyone, including Hamas, were so surprised I don’t know.

Though they are famous for being a primarily Islamic terrorist organisation they have evolved to become more than that since the creation of the Palestinian Homeland. Where Fatah, the political wing of the PLO, have been seen to be corrupt and to have let down the Palestinian people, the reverese is true of Hamas.

Yes, they do organise suicide bombings and armed attacks on Israel. Yes, they do want the destruction of the Israeli state. They do not deny either of these things.

What they have going for them is the way they have been able to organise social and educational projects among the ordinary Palestinian people. They have helped to ease the pressures forced on the Palestinian people by Hamas and Uslamic Jihad’s continued campaign against Israel. What people are not to aware of is that Hamas have instigated a voluntary cessation of attacks over the last 12 months.

The Palestinian people have seen the way that Fatah have been corrupt and self concerned during their term in power. Nothing they have done has brought peace and prosperity to these proud people. The lack of progress for peace has been caused by many of Hamas’ past actions, so they must take some of the blame.

Yet, because they have control of the mosques, Hamas have managed to get their message over to the Palestinian population. They have shown through their faith that they are above the corruption of Fatah. They have shown that they can deliver their own social programmes directly to the people, something Fatah have largely failed at.

Now we have a paradox to deal with.

Hamas are a terrorist organisation intent on the destruction of the Israeli state. Not the Jewish people as a whole but their current political state.

In addition, Hamas are now a demcratically elected entity in their own right. The people have chosen Hamas to rule over them and to represent them to the international world outside.

How are the western world going to deal with them? Are we going to stop aid, without which the Palestinian people will suffer even more? In doing so we’d just restart, and intensify, the cycle of violence.

Ich Will

This morning I have begun a study into the environmental habitats of the duck and lobster. With my wife having a degree in Zoology I felt that I should begin to broaden my intellect into a more scientific area.

Therefore I have spent an hour this morning observing the living habits of a family of 3 ducks and a lobster. Some may say that lobsters are more at home in seawater but this specimen seems quite happy in its freshwater habitat. It merrily follows the ducks around from one end of its home to the other. It seems to have a very high regard for the 2 baby ducks and likes to play with them.

I did notice that it has a odd list to the side and requires frequent rests from its bursts of energy. Then off it goes, happily chugging around.

The wife is very pleased that they keep me entertained with their antics. She also likes the surprised look on the lobster’s face and its big eyes.

These are the best presents that I’ve had for years. I look forward to logging more of their activities in the years and months to come. I intend taking great care of them to insure years of pleasure and work.

Some people may say that observing rubber ducks and plastic lobsters have no scientific purpose but I tend to disagree. If nothing else, it makes bathtime fun…

For those interested Ich Will is a track from Rammstein. They are a German Industrial Rock group. Very entertaining to watch live. I first came across them performing at the MTV European Music Awards on TV when I was in Berlin in 2001. Definitely not everyone’s taste in music.

Out! In The Fields

So, welcome back George.

It was good to see that your exit from the BB house made the national news. With everything going on in the world you made the second story on the ITN News last night. What an accomplishment for you.

I don’t know what it is but there is definitely something sleazey and opportunistic about this guy. I don’t care whether or not he received money from Iraq during the oil for food era. I don’t care who he sleeps with. What I care about is his duty to the electorate.

He is the worse MP for attendance and voting. He made a great show that he had voted more often in the Commons than the PM. Not anymore though.

This year has seen him tour the US and the UK to talk about himself and his role in world affairs. He has been in the BB House for over 2 weeks. His sole reason for being seems to be the search for publicity. A constant attempt to put himself in a good light and to listen to the plaudits from his followers.

The worst thing is that he seems, from what the news programmes and papers tell us, the support of his constituency. He was elected to represent them in Parliament. To stand up for their problems and to lobby government on their behalf.

As a Christian it is my firm belief that I need to stand up and make my voice heard for the pursuit of good in this world. Where there is evil we should be there to reveal it and fight it.

This is also what a good politician should do. They should be there to take a stand and fight for what their constituents expect and want. They are there to stop government abusing the electorate and to insure a just and equitable society. When they don’t do this they should be hounded out of office.

He was elected on a one stance platform of Iraq. He chose his constituency well and gave them what they wanted to hear. Now he seems to have decided that his profile is more important than his stated belief.

Yes, the Labour party have cleverly used the press and TV to mount a campaign against him. They have mobilised their local party to create a daily protest outside his constituency office.

The greater damage that he has done is too independent political representation. If he does this what would other independents be like?

He told us that he was beginning of a campaign against party politics in the UK. A new alternative. For those who believed him, and there seem to be many around the country, he has let them down.

Maybe, as I always believed, he was only interested in lining George Galloway’s pockets and sustaining his monumental ego.

I Predict A Riot

Well, not literally today but we’ll get a good one going soon.

We have begun preparations for the arrival of Shouty Boy for his first visit to the flat on Saturday. He’s been on at us for months to invite him for tea. Now that we are a little more settled the time has come.

I’ve got some steam train DVDs and a programme recorded on a train journey in Switzerland, where they went on holiday in the summer. However for him the highlight will be the chance to use their new train set for the first time.

We’ve been lucky that both boys have loved trains since they were very little. They don’t care if its steam or diesel. They like to watch them, travel on them or play with them. They don’t mind where they go to, if its only to Crapital City, they love it.

So we’ve begun clearing the boxes from the living room and, when I get home on Thursday, we’ll start moving things around to get more space. I was going to wait until I’d received the baseboard from my friend at work but I don’t think either Troublesome Truck could wait that long.

When I spoke to him on Sunday night he told his mother that he had to take his bag as he was staying over. Thankfully we got this confusion cleared up before he got to disappointed, or FW had a heart attack. Maybe when we’ve got the new sofa bed and settee we’ll think about accomodating them.

Three men walk into a pub.

The first man says, “Three pints and a penguin please mate”

As I write this I’m watching West Ham on the TV. So far we’ve scored 2 goals of otherworldly quality. This is what football is all about, entertainment. Both sides are playing open football. This is what I pay money for, whether at the match or via my satellite subscription.

The second guy says, “Oi, keep the noise down, we’re trying to tell a joke here!!”

Yesterday was youth. They were doing craft, making pretty designs on wall tiles. I was presented with one to keep.

I was greeted to cries of “Heyyyyyy Thingy’s here” and a rendition from Gem of Don’t cha! She later presented me with her tile which is inscribed with:

Tired&Emotional
Don’t cha!

At the next meeting we begin preparations for our service for Fairtrade fortnight. I’ve been promised that they’ll help to take the service, so we need to prepare.

In addition I’ll be promoting Tearfund, as the new church rep. This appeals to me as campaigning is one of my favourite things. As you’ll see from previous posts, to me politics and religion are inseperable. As Christians we have a duty to make our voices heard as we work for a better world.

However, we always need to make sure that, like yesterday afternoon, we still get time to laugh and joke.

Guy three says, “Hang on this ain’t a pub its a wiblog. No wonder we can’t get served!”

BANG!!!!

The three guys just left in disgust at not getting their joke in.

A Bomb In Wardour Street

One of the greatest facing the world in the next 5 decades will be that of dwindling oil and gas supplies and the problem of supplying energy to meet our requirements.

The world we live in is becoming more and more power hungry. As quickly as we find new sources of supply they are eating away. The cost is, and will, continue to escalate as stocks fall lower and lower. One of our biggest problems is that as more countries increase in prosperity their energy requirements increase at a far greater rate.

Increasing global prosperity for all means more factories, in more countries, and more power supplies to feed them. This leads to higher standards of living, eventually, for the people employed and higher energy requirements. We keep inventing newer ways to use energy but fewer ways to provide it.

In certain areas of the world solar power will be a very cheap and efficient alternative to fossil fuels. Wind power can generate some but not enough power. Harnessing the sea could also help but again only in a limited way.

Current dependency on dwindling oil and gas supplies should mean that our governments should be planning now for the future. They should be investing heavily in alternative technologies. They should be trying to find new ways of meeting our energy needs and reducing our dependancy on current forms.

This is happening to a limited extent. GE would not be investing in wind turbines if it didn’t see a profitable future. One thing I know about GE, after 5 years working with them, is that they never miss an emerging trend. If they can see a way of increasing their growth by 20% a year they’ll take it.

The current difficulties between Russia and its neighbours is a taste of things to come. They have supplies that others need and rely on. They have reserves of gas and oil greater than the Middle East combined. Yet they know how to put pressure on others to get a return.

So what do we need to do?

Yes, we need to be more energy efficient in our own lives. Every bit helps. However we also need to look at ourselves and our firmly held beliefs.

One of the difficulties facing wind power is he effect on the visual environment. Yes, we want an alternative source of supply. Then someone proposes a wind farm near us and everyone hates the imahe of vast turbines spoiling the view and creating noise and visual pollution.

We have the nuclear option. This is a working technology but has dangers of its own. Breakdowns could lead to a catastrophic accident, as at Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. What do we do with the waste?

Could we see a resurgence in the coal industry? One Labour MP in South Wales is already advocating this. Do we want to see our valleys return to the environmental disaster areas they used to be? I remember South Wales when every hilltop had its own slag heap and would not like to see that again.

Yet what other alternatives are there?

The government is currently beginning a major review of the UK energy policy for the next 20-30 years. Many are expecting the nuclear option to feature as a major part of this.

We need to sit down and think about what we want for our future and for that of our children. We need to make sure that the government hears the views of the people who elect them. Long after they’ve gone we’ll be dealing with the fallout (hopefully not literally) of their decisions.

This is a major review that will efffect the lives of everyone in the UK, and also elsewhere as all countries will have to deal with the problem.

Places such as Sweden and Brazil are already ahead of us and we need to insure that we begin to find a way to combine our needs with those of our world. What’s the good of listening to MP3 players, watching TV and cooking with gas, if we destroy our world?

Computerisation Equals Progress

Today was a work from home day. This mainly intails me checking e-mails and completing any urgent tasks that emerge. Today was very quiet until about 4 this afternoon. Then all heck broke loose.

My customer needed an urgent shipment sent to India for arrival on Monday morning. No problem there, just a routine task. Except that today was not a great one for homeworking.

I lost my internet connection juust as I began entering the data. Couldn’t find my phone/modem lead that I used to keep at home. Quick trip to PC World – a shop I hate. New lead purchased I drove home and reconnect.

Then followed 4.5 hours of frustration, swearing and banging of blunt instruments. Fortunately FW was out all day, and has gone to visit her mum, otherwise I may have bitten her as well. My connection speeds went from 2mb broadband to 9.4k over the phone.

I finally finished an hour ago. Now I’ve managed to retrieve my broadband connection and am now able to cook my tea.

Who said computerisation was the way of the future?

Romantic Proposition

Having just spoken to First Wife, I was promised that, upon my return from 3 nights away working, she would greet me at the door upon my arrival tomorrow night with a stew.

Now, I know I’m a bit of a Neanderthal, but I’ve never been greeted in this way by anyone before….

Who said romance was dead?