Monthly Archives: June 2006

Skating Away, On The Thin Ice of a New Day

Today started badly. Foreigners are still not my favourite humans on earth. Then again humans are not my favourite living beings, period. The world should be inhabited by wombats, penguins, seals, whales and otters.

Thankfully Sad Sister came to the rescue and sent my Google videos. After watching the Lego Conversion of Saul and Moses the Silent Movie life got better. I smiled. Suddenly all the bad things started to solve themselves. The sun shone, I drove home with the roof down, I took the best line on all the curves and corners, I sped like a Speed King along the clear lanes and roads.

3 miles from home I came to a stand still. It took me 30 minutes to travel a mile and a half. Yet I had Jethro Tull and James Brown to keep me bouncing along. Even some neoighbouring drivers we smiling at a 40 y/o guy, in a convertible, bouncing around obviously enjoying himself.

Its even got me through tonight’s additional e-mail work.

AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!

Today has been a day from hell. From the first pjhone call this morning until now its been a veritable nightmare. Thankfully FW and I managed to cheer each other up a little while ago. Its days like this when you really hate working away from home.

Due to today’s trials I’ve decided that French, American, South African and Irish people are no longer on my list of nice people – well most French people weren’t anyway, with some noticeable exceptions. Today proved to me that many French people are unreliable and arrogant; that many Americans are not as customer orientated as they like to appear – one responded to a request for a quote by asking: "Do you want us to give you a price for this?", 40 minutes later.

The South Africans just haven’t responded for 48 hours. Sorry, I got that wrong. 1 South African replied to my e-mail by sending a blank message with her sign-off. As for the Irish, my most favoured people till today, they just kept agreeing to do things and then changing their mind after the things were put in place.

On top of that a post by Bimble led to a discussion on homosexuality in the church. This with an office full of non-churchgoers. You’d thing that people wouldn’t look over your shoulder at what you’re reading, especially as they don’t work for my company. The upshot is that they can’t understand why Christians tend to get upset over this issue. For my response see my comment on Bimble’s entry.

Now I’m really looking forward to the weekend and working from home on Friday, Monday and Tuesday. The Troublesome Trucks’ Sports Day on Tuesday is looking even more inviting every minute.

Football and Hamas

How many people tend to put these two subjects together?

World Cup fever has gripped the office today. I think it was my comment that England were a bunch of useless, over-hyped cretins that did it. Especially considering I was surrounded by the Day Shift as they were cloking out.

If you want to see if I’m the only one that thinks so see http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulmason/2006/06/if_sven_quit_this_morning.html

There are a lot of good points raised here and many people seem to agree.

In other news…..

There is talk that there has been a major change of thinking by Hamas. They seem to have agreed that there should be a Two State Solution to the Palestine Question. This recognises Israel’s right to exist, something that Hamas’ charter fundamentally opposes.

It remains to be seen if this is an actual breakthrough or not. It wouldn’t be the first time that a Palestinian Organisation has publicly declared one thing but privately does another. The problem is that there are to many other groups that will not accept this. The fear would be that Hamas, like PLO/Fatah, would lose support aong the people.

Hamas is one of those organisations that is both a terrorist group and a social activist group. As well as blowing up Israeli soldiers and civilians it also runs many social assistance projects on the streets of Gaza and the West Bank. With such high unemployment and so many restrictions, Hamas has helped many people to survive with their social programmes.

Unlike PLO/Fatah they are not tainted by the corruption that is endemic in the area. The Hamas leaders are happy to live in the same conditions as the rest of the Palestinian people. Contrary to popular opinion they are also understanding of the Christian Palestinian minority. They are welcoming of Christian organisations that come to help peacefully and remain politically nuetral in the conflict.

Yes, there is plenty of evidence that Islamic Militants are using the opportunity to persecute Christians. The Gaza Bible Society has been set alight, shot at and threatened but is still there. The Bethlehem Bible School is also still working, as are a few Christian care homes.

The biggest obstacle to peace are the people. Not the majority of the Israeli and Palestinian public but the vocal minorities that want to put barriers (literally) in the way of peace. Conflict serves to increase their own feelings of power and extreme religious fundamentalism. Until this is addressed or beaten nothing will change.

Work & Vicarman

Today has been another one spent working hard at the face of our local Pot Noodle Mine – “Its the food of Britain isn’t it!” Some people believe that they don’t exist but they’re on TV so they must do…..

Actually it has been a very hard day. I was due to leave the house at 09:30 for the 100 mile drive to the office. Following various e-mails, and calls for urgent help, I finally left at 12:00. Everytime I tried to get outr of the door the phone would ring and then, upon turning on the computer to answer the questions, there would be additional e-mails to answer. I finally settled down to normality about 30 minutes ago, just in time to talk to FW.

The highlight of the day was arranging to meet one of the other Wibsiters next week, for the first time. We seem to have hit it off so it’ll be great to meet him, shortly before he, and wife, move to Cambridge to study to become a Third Rate Superhero 😉 Well in the get-up he’ll have to wear that’s what he reminds me of.

Coming to an Anglican Church near you – Vicarman (or Vicarwoman). All the powers of an Anglican Priest. He can turn the Eucharist into bread & wine; read from the Common Book of Prayer; become a member of the Establishment; give the same sermon 3 times a day.

Do you need children Christened? Stiffs buried? People married, refereably of opposing sexes? Women turned into bishops?

CALL VICARMAN!!!!!

Alternatively, you could leave a comment on his Wiblog.

* The comments noted above were made with tongue firmly inserted ito cheek, into authorised manner. Any implied criticism of the Anglican church, its members or servants is purely in the mind of the reader and not the views of the non-conformist old git who wrote the post.

God Comes Second To Football

Today has been very weird.

It started with FW actually being ready to leave for church on time. This may not seem odd to any but those who don’t know her. For someone who lived within 2 minutes walk of her previous church she never seemed to make it on time. Well, not when I was there anyway.

Then we had a visit from some former members who moved to the Gold Coast in Oz about 10 years ago. The mother comes back once a year but this was the first time the daughter had come. To think I used to teach her and her brother in my Sunday School class 20 years ago!

This afternoon was Youth. Well, if you count 4 leaders and 2 kids!!! 3 of us watched the England match and 3 mde invitations for our end term meeting in 2 weeks time. Part way through the invitation preparing Chugabug announced to FW that maybe we should add an extra week in, as there were so few there today. No preparation and now warning. No thought of other people having plans.

I Need Sleep, Not Visions

I know! I know! Its 00:30 on a Sunday morning. What does the 0 stand for? O my God its early. Yet I need to write this down or I won’t sleep.

FW and I were lying in bed talking about the obstinacy of some people who do not believe in God, or even A god. Where we see evidence of God’s existence and creative work they see something random and accidental. I’m not knocking their view, after all each to their own.

Then FW came up with this vision, after we’d prayed, about what was on our minds:

A person is running away, being pursued by Truth. It’s like one of those comedy chase scenes from films and cartoons. They look over their shoulder and see Truth behind them. They don’t want to be caught and so they throw whatever comes to hand behind them to slow, or stop, Truth’s pursuit. There’s chairs, stones, tables, animals and small buildings being thrown around. Yet, as we know, Truth can be a persistent little bugger at times.

They keep glancing back but, like a shark, Truth is still there and slowly gaining. No matter what they do Truth circles closer and closer. Filling their vision and taking over their immediate world. No matter how fast they run Truth is quicker and untiring.

Then, eventually, Truth catches them. Pins them to the ground and……………

Tickles them.

Is that not a wonderful image. God doesn’t catch you and hit you or hurt you. He catches you, jumps on you and tickles you remorselessly. Yet it never hurts, like prolonged tickling does but keeps you laughing.

France Win – BOOOOO!!!!!

Today has been a day of work. Not just paid work but at home too.

Regular reader(s) will know that Friday is a work from home day. The amount of work required varies depending upon my customers’ requirements. Today was a mildly busy day workwise. I caught up with some things that had been forgotten and started chasing people for additional information.

We visited Mater & Pater following their successful conquest of the Baltic States. They particularly enjoyed St Petersburg and Gdansk. I was presented with a Russian forage cap festooned with numerous badges and FW was given a new purse. Dad’s still troubled by a sore shoulder that is giving him problems and is having problems with his hip and wrists. Maybe its an age thing but its all arrived at once.

This evening has been spent assembling the new wardrobe. We had a local charity come round this morning to collect some old furniture. To say that they were not the most customer orientated people is understating things by a factor of at least 10.

We didn’t mind that they refused the old chest of drawers, they were rather worn. It was when the guy started bitching about looking at the old wardrobe in the bedroom FW started to get annoyed. “There’s to much stuff in the room for me to look,” said the guy. What do you expect when you’ve emptied the thing of a woman’s clothing?

He looked at the fridge and declared it fine until he tried taking the cover from the back but couldn’t budge it. I thought that the screws holding it on were a dead giveaway! Then he felt underneath and declared that the insulation was gone. What insulation?

I think that he was just unwilling to carry it down the stairs from the flat. The 2 young teenagers/schoolkids he had with him weren’t much help.

So we spent most of this evening erecting the new wardrobe. As I write FW is cramming it full of rubbish. Sorry, her clothes.

Tomorrow we have a visit from the Troublesome Trucks to look forward to. Trainsets and football. Hurray.

Ronaldo Moved!!!!

Well that’s both of my sweepstake teams out of the World Cup. I knew that Togo would get nowhere but expected far more of the Czechs. I’ve now decided to declare war on all things Czech, except for Budvar – the REAL Budweisser – and Prague. Oh! and Smetana’s music. Now, as I write this, those damn Ozzies have gone a goal behind to Croatia. Can’t anyone do anything right?

On the plus side, England, if they beat Ecuador, will, all being well, have to face Germany and/or Brazil. I’m so looking forward to England getting stuffed.

In other news…..

Today has been a total waste. In the 6 hours I was at the office I spent 2 hours playing Championship Manager ’06, 3 hours messing around on the internet, 30 minutes eating and 30 minutes of actually having work to do. Sometimes I really hate my job. Then, when I get home, I have to do another hour’s work to cover things that came in after I left to drive home.

At least its Thursday and I’m home with FW, even those she’s out at the moment. Every silverlining has a cloud 🙂

Things That Make You Go Mmmmmm!!!

This afternoon has been spent putting together the results of our Anniversary Survey. As you’d expect there were far more weaknesses than strengths. The odd thing is that we average about 30-35 people on a Sunday, including kids. We have around 10-12 people engaged in organising/helping with various activities, some doing 2-3 jobs.

Yet we have a perceotion that not enough people help. I think that most churches would be happy if they had 30% of their congregation actively assisting. I think that some people forget that we have people who do the flowers, BMS Birthday Scheme, or act as Clerk of Works. These are people you never see doing their job.

Now I’ve got to work in the results of the away-day and then give the results to the other leaders in a fortnights time. I think that they’ll be shocked at some of the responses, especially relating to prayer, support and pastoral care.

There are also a few people who feel disillusioned with the way the church seems to have stagnated over the post 12-18 months. Much of our early momentum, since Chugabug joined, has gone. We have definitely plateaued in terms of growth. Having said that we do have a few more attendees who are under 65 from 5 years ago.

Now we need to make sure that we begin to address the needs of the congregation before we continue looking for growth. We do not have the foundation of prayer, study and support that is needed to strengthen both existing and new people.

Hope Springs

Today has been fun nd interesting. I had my lesiurely start by driving up to work and arriving late morning. Then my new boss arrived to visit my customer and myself. I must say that he is a marked improvement on the Chocolate Teapot I used to have. It sounds like he’ll be a pleasure to work with.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s match. I’m really hoping that Englnd lose so that they meet Germany in the next match. There’s something about England v Germany that always gets my blood going. I think its the anticipation of the tabloids going into meltdown when England lose….

I’ve also begun initial planning on my fundraising idea for the Chapel. If I can get it to work it could help them raise a slice of the necessary funds. I just need to see if it is feasible and what the costs would be. I think it would be a fundraising scheme in conjunction with another charity and not just for the Chapel – after all how many people would be interested in helping a small, unarchitectually significant building to meet its future needs?

To answer a question:

We do not tithe. I know that Pastor Chugabug would like to do that but I don’t think that many people could afford to. We are a small church on a council estate. The main body is over the age of 65 and several of the wage earners are in low paid jobs or on benefits. We are surprised at how much some are willing to give and somewhat shocked that the best givers were, in fact, 2 of the oldest members.

Therefore I think that much prayer will be called for.