Saturday, June 30, 2007


Farm, pub

(backposting) Jo did very well, and slept OK - though it took Moo a long time to get them down: nearly 2 hours. I was sleeping in another room, and did OK: no surprise given how frazzled I was after all the driving (though Moo did over an hour of it). We took the girls (including Jim and Nina's lovely Florence) to a farm place where we'd been before, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Jo's a bit off, though, and still very tired, so things got a bit hysterical from time to time.

In the afternoon, we had a family photograph for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary tomorrow. It was _much_ easier than anyone expected, which was an enormous relief. We'd hoped to have it outside, but it was raining (of course), so inside had to do.

In the evening, Polly, Lee, Jim, Dad and I went to the pub after Jo had gone to sleep (there was no way I was going to be allowed to go until she had - quite rightly!). We had a lovely chat: it's good how we really do get on as a family when we get the chance.


Friday, June 29, 2007


7 hours

(backposting) Down to my parents. The M25 was terrible. In the end, we cut and ran - M40 to Oxford, A420 down to the M4, then across to the M5, south for a while until the Gordano services, and then cross-country via Failand and Barrow Gurney to the A38 and then down to Winscombe. It took 7 hours to the minute, including the rather necessary stops for the girls' and our sanity. Lovely to see everyone, and all, but...

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Thursday, June 28, 2007


How geek am I?

Depressingly less than I thought: - Free Online Dating
139% Geek

Thanks to Sally for this



IT support, sleep, driving, deal...

Not in that order. In fact, sleep's not really in there at all. Jo had nightmares, and had to come in with me. The problem was compounded by her waking a few times, still anxious, and then migrating across the bed several times and waking me up. I didn't get much sleep.

I had to drive up to the East Midlands for a meeting today: interesting, though nothing there right now. On the way up, I rang Kate and Mac (my parents-in-law) because Moo said that they had problems connecting to the Internet. This isn't _always_ their fault, but a quick call suggested that it might be something outside their capability of fixing, and as my meeting finished around 1220, I had time to go there, fix their ADSL router (which had lost some settings), have lunch, and then head home.

At home, there was a letter from ERMC. Not a positive one, and rather depressing when I was so low on sleep. I'm late on some assignments, and although I thought things were under control, they seem to have escalated rather alarmingly, and quickly. In the end, I took Miri and Buster for a walk, and settled things down. I think we're OK, in the end, and I'm going to call them tomorrow.

Last, but not least, we finally got a contract through from a customer I've been working on with a colleague today. It's a biggish one in the long term, and I'm quite proud of how we've closed it.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007



Had a supervision with Keith today. We went to the pub for lunch and had a long discussion. Although term has finished, I was surprised by how much I had to talk about. We had a good meal, and as it was his turn to pay, he did so.

Or he would have done, if he'd had enough money on him. So, to his embarrassment, he had borrow a couple of quid from me. I told him I'd blog this, so I did!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007


EasyJet Ministry

(backposting) Got into Helsinki 10 minutes early at 0125 local, and got to my hotel a little fater 0200. My boss was _well_ impressed to discover that I was phoning him around 2 in the morning local time! Stuff to do, and I was in a taxi with nothing else to do, so why not?

Took a while to get to sleep, and up at 0840 for a breakfast with Harri, a colleague. 3 interesting meetings, and then back on a plane, taking off around 1855, arriving at 1955 local: 3 hours in the plane. I slept for about an hour, and then woke up.

Next to me was David (hi, David!), a photographer. I asked him about his book, he told me about it, and then noticed mine (Tim Gorringe's formidable Furthering Humanity: A Theology of Culture). He asked me about it, and I told him that I'm training for ordination as a priest. What followed was a fascinating discussion, which we dubbed "EasyJet Ministry", although we weren't on an EasyJet flight, and EasyJet would probably dislike the term. But it sums it up: I quite often have discussions about ministry, church and theology on these trips. You have an hour or two tops to discuss where you're coming from, and to talk about your beliefs - both of you.

David's "not a churchgoer", but he has a strong belief in a purposeful creator, and he thanks Him/Her/It pretty much every day for the beauty he sees around him and for the life he lives. He's turned off by churches ("I think 'cold, uncomfortable, unwelcoming'"), and his view of priests is as being out of touch and unlike him. We discussed where I'm coming from, and how I feel strongly that part of my ministry (alongside this kind of interaction) is to be doubting, clear, and honest about my faith to people like me. It was interesting to see how little - but how much - someone from outside the church knew about the Church of England. We discussed doctrine (including justification by faith alone, one of my favourite topics!), Hell (not literal, thanks), the authority of scripture, tradition and experience, and a variety of other topics, including architecture and music. I think that he's now more open to the church as a possibility for him, and I hope he'll be reading this blog. If so, David, please comment from your point of view!

David was very excited to hear about what we're doing in SecondLife, and alternative expressions of mission. Maybe he (and others like him) can be prevailed upon to visit the cathedral we've built, and maybe even attend a service.

Anyway - I felt that I'd been honest, and that being so had at least helped David to realise that the church can be at least a bit relevant to him and people like him (and me). I felt affirmed and strengthened in my ministry. Thanks be to God.

And a baby!

D had a baby today: Lotte. I found out via an MMS once I got off the plane. 5lb, healthy. Hallelujah!

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Monday, June 25, 2007



What have I done today? In no particular order:


Sunday, June 24, 2007


Some more serious stuff

So, some church stuff for a while. Lots going on. First of all, I'd agreed with Ian, my placement supervisor, that I'd visit the Sunday School this Sunday with Jo. It's at 1030 - the same time as the main service - in a separate church down the other end of the main street from the main one, probably about 3/4 of a mile (over a kilometre) away. It's been run for the last 33 years by the same couple, with various helpers. Ian, my incumbent, has never managed to visit, given the timing and where it is. As well as Jo, there were maybe fifteen children, from 4-13. We started with a short service. Well, at nearly 20 minutes, I was impressed with how the children coped, and how well run it was. A bidding prayer led into around 6 hymns/songs, well-chosen, and accompanied on tape. We then had a confession (our "sorry prayer"), followed by the Lord's Prayer (modern version: one of the children turned round to look at me when I started off on the old version!), some intercessions, a final hymn and a dismissal. The children read a number of the prayers (some of which were hand-written on large boards, and all of which the children seemed to know well). After the service, the children split into 3 groups: 4-6, 7-10, 11+. The activities seemed well chosen and enjoyed by the children: I wandered round and spoke to the children and watched what went on. I was impressed. It's not exactly what I'd have expected from a "youth" activity, but it compared very well with the style of Sunday School that I experienced as a child. At the end of the activities, we gathered at the front for a grace, and then headed off. I thanked the adults, who clearly appreciated our visit. It was exactly the sort of activity that it's really important for me to partake in during my placement.

On a different note, Jo did very well indeed. Although the nearest-aged child was 4, she joined in with the youngest group, sat on a little chair, stuck things down, coloured things in, and had a good time: she had no problem with my visiting the other groups. She was also very well looked after by the adult in charge of her group. She's really going to enjoy pre-school when she starts in September.

The rest of the day was taken up with a lovely meal at The King's Head in Gosfield. (our second visit in a couple of months: we'll be back), some time at home (dog poo clearance in the garden, yummy) and swimming at Halstead pool. Supper for Jo, then she went to bed - under five minutes. All very good.

"In my defence..."

... says Moo, "I was breast-feeding and supervising a toddler at the time." Actually, we were both supervising Jo, and she didn't need much help at the time. I told the Jesus-Giapetto joke (look up "Jesus Pinocchio joke" in your favourite search engine). "What?" said Moo, and was really surprised that I'd tell such a joke. It turns out that she doesn't know the Pinocchio story, and just thought that I was suggesting that Jesus lies a lot. And had a big nose. Why would I do that? Why, indeed.


Things are really moving. I've heard that The Ecclesiastical Law Society is interested in SecondLife and what we (the Anglicans in SecondLife) group are doing there. I'm hoping to get involved. And speaking of involvedment, the leader of the group, Arkin Arkantho, has asked me to lead a service for the European timezones in the cathedral. I asked Keith, my supervisor, if he was OK with it, and he is, so we just need to find a time, work on a liturgy, advertise it, and go for it. I'm very pleased.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007


It's all very wrong

You know that you're turning into a bit of an old perv when you start developing lustful thoughts towards the presenters on programmes that your 2 year old daughter watches. Even if the presenter in question is the same age as your wife.

Sarah Jane Honeywell, hello.

she's lovely: Sarah Jane Honeywell on one foot


Friday, June 22, 2007


Travel - lots of it

Next week, Finland (Helsinki). Week after that Canada (Mississauga, near Toronto). Week after that Germany (Munich).

Then there's trips to my parents, to Cornwall, to Cornwall (again), and whatever else turns up.


Thursday, June 21, 2007



I've joined "Inclusive Anglicans", and "Anglicans of Second Life" have just got our 100th member. Yay!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007



"Come on, then, let's go Mrs Madam." Jo talking to one of her dolls, who was supposed to be coming "shopping".

I've discovered that I'm supposed to be doing my assignments a little earlier than I'd expected - for August, rather than September, but that's OK. I do need to get them going, though.

Miri's been difficult for Moo today - very restless - and I feel a bit guilty that she was very good for the hour that I took her and Buster out for a walk. At least Moo had some non-baby time, though she did have to look after a rather awkward Jo.

Lots of travel coming up. Less time with the family, more time for ERMC work. Hmm.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, is another great film from the makers of Shaun of the Dead. We've watched some of the extras, and we're on the first of the commentaries. It's one of those films (like Shaun of the Dead) with lots of references to other films. It's also hilarious - watch it. Lots of (gratuitous) violence and (gratuitous) bad language, and some major, major British actors.


Monday, June 18, 2007



I don't see what the big deal is about making cheese. It's really not difficult. Let me give you some help:
  1. procure some full-fat milk
  2. check that it's organic (preferably)
  3. if it's not organic, don't worry too much
  4. find a child's beaker
  5. make sure that the top to the child's beaker is _not_ a screw-on one
  6. put a fair amount of the milk from your earlier steps into the child's beaker which doesn't have a screw-on top
  7. whether or not it (the milk) is organic
  8. probably a little more than half-full
  9. allow a child to drink some (but not too much) of the milk
  10. leave the milk in the child's bed
  11. for at least 24 hours in the room (must be hot)
  12. wait for beaker to explode
  13. you now have cheese


Sunday, June 17, 2007


Walking, preaching, zooing and training

So, I'm sitting in front of Britain's Got Talent (please, oh, please don't let either of the two children win: and if one of them has to, not the dancing one - why am I in tears, oh _puh-lease_?), after quite a day. Father's Day, for course. Presents: I was preaching at Long Melford (none of you came!), and it went well. I was rather nervous to start with, but it went well. I was preaching on justification by faith, and started with Article XIII:
Of Works before Justification.
Works done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea, rather for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.
People started trying to listen, but by the time you get to "deserve grace of congruity", they've lost it. Which is the point: to make justification by faith scary, and then to make it clear. It went very well, and Ian was very positive, which was pleasing. I administered one of the chalices, and after failing to give the first communicant _any_ wine (until she complained), that went quite well. So, all-in-all, a good experience. The problem is that I get home having left Moo to look after both girls for 3 hours, which is hard.

But we went to have lunch, and then off to the zoo, which Jo enjoyed a lot. Was too scared by the "big train", but did the small one in the "familiar friends" area twice.

Then, as Moo was putting Jo down to bed, I took Miriam and Buster for another walk. Heaven knows that I don't treat my body as a temple, but I love walking. Hard, through the country, preferably with a dog, and a child strapped somewhere about my person. There's something so liberating about the physicality of it which I never would have expected to enjoy. So we thank God.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007


Justification by faith alone

That's what I'm going to be preaching on tomorrow. Anyone reading this is, of course welcome: 1030 at Holy Trinity, Long Melford. I've preached a similar sermon before, and I believe that it's an important thing to preach about, so that's the plan. Preaching is a big responsibility for me, it'll be one of the biggest congregations I've ever preached to, it's my first one on my placement, and it's the first time I'll have preached micced-up.

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Friday, June 15, 2007


Friday five

This is Sally's fault.

1. Fiction what kind, detective novels, historical stuff, thrillers, romance????
Sci-fi. I'm sorry, but we keep getting there. You don't need to suspend disbelief, and there's a certain amount of being allowed to avoid characterisation if you wish. But you get to explore opportunities, and ideas, and thoughts.

2. When you get a really good book do you read it all in one chunk or savour it slowly?
All in one chunk. I read desperately fast, and often need to go back and re-read books or parts of books to get the most from them.

3. Is there a book you keep returning to and why?
A few: Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) and Snowcrash (also Neal Stephenson); Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen); the Harry Potter books (in English, Latin and French, which is a bit sad, of course) (J.K. Rowling); Emily Dickinson's complete works; George Herbert's complete works. And Coverdale's Psalter in the BCP. I went through a phase as a pre-teen to mid-teenager of re-reading the three Lord of the Rings books (J.R.R. Tolkein).

4. Apart from the Bible which non-fiction book has influenced you the most?
Stranger in a Strange Land (R.A. Heinlein). I went through a phase of reading all of his stuff, and it feels rather contrived and dated now, but "Stranger" made me think and be critical in a way I hadn't before.

5. Describe a perfect place to read. (could be anywhere!!!)
Half-way down the stairs in my parents' house in the sun. I just used to get a few steps down, and then stop and read. For hours.




I came up with this topic after a sermon last Sunday. One of the points the preacher made about the service on the Friday was that some people had made flippant remarks about it, and I was one of those people. I hope I made it clear to the people to whom I made remarks that I was joking, but I was disparaging about the tradition, and after the sermon, I felt chastened. It got me thinking, though, which I believe was the point.

I think most Christians would agree that Jesus went out of his way to spend time with, preach to and scandalise others about, the marginalised. And some of these would, quite literally, have been "untouchables" at the time: if you did touch one of these people, you were ritually unclean, and had to go through a variety of rituals before you could interact with other people. Examples? Dead bodies (widow of Nain's son, Lazarus, centurion's child), menstruating women (woman with the issue of blood for 7 years), probably the Samarian woman, gentiles (the centurion), and probably tax-collectors and publicans, too. Certainly prostitutes.

Things are different now: we don't have (in Christianity, at least) the idea of "ritual uncleanness", but what about how others in your congregation would feel about you if they found out you were talking to certain people? Drunks? The homeless? Drug abusers? Beggars? Sun readers? Guardian readers? Abusive atheists? Publicans? (Well, my congregation wouldn't mind my talking to landlords, I think.) Jews? Hindus? Fundamental Evangelicals? Anglo-catholics? Roman Catholics? Gays? Fox-hunters? Pornographers? Pagans? Satanists? People from Kettering? (Just checking, Gary, just checking.) Divorcees? Adulterers? Fornicators? Sabbath-breakers? Abortionists? Animal testers? Animal liberationists? Unmarried families? Murderers? Child abusers?

Some of these groups are pretty safe for most - some for few. But I suspect that for most of us, there are groups there that we would be unhappy talking to. That's fine: that's how we work, as part of safe, happy communities. And we have the excuse of our place in society, or our families, or time, or money, or, well, whatever. But look at the list above. Do you think that there would have been _one_single_ group up there to whom Jesus would not have talked? Who Jesus would not have loved? Who Jesus would not have forgiven? No.

I'm not a fan of the "what would Jesus do?" movement, because who are we to make ourselves Christ? But there are times when we realise that Jesus set us an example. And that to be Christ-like (which I believe is what we need to aspire to, though it is, of course, impossible, being as we're all sinners), we have to try to emulate his example.

This will be hard. But that's the paradox about "his yoke is easy, his burthen is light": there's hard work to do.


Today is a "synchroblog" on the subject of "Untouchables". If you've liked what you read here, or, more particularly, if you didn't, and you'd like to read some other opinions, please visit one of the other participating blogs:

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Thursday, June 14, 2007



Is everything homogenised? Do we walk from one airport to another, from one hotel to another, and see the same everywhere? Well, not today. I was sitting at a bus-stop in a small town in Nyköaut;ping in Sweden, waiting for a bus to the airport. There were three children - two boys and a girl from around 5 to 9 - and we had about two words in common between us. But we talked, and we swapped words, and we drew pictures to explain, and we communicated. Children love learning new things, and I do, too. They laughed, I laughed, and I was sad when my bus came.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007


And Jo pulls one out of the bag

I'm away (in Sweden) and Moo was dreading the evening. But Jo went to sleep in around 10 minutes. What a star.

Our washing machine (which is rented) will be replaced on Saturday. I understand that it had eaten quite a lot of pieces of clothing, and that was what had caused at least part of the problem.

I started doing the reading for the ERMC summer school, and it's hard work, I have to say. Good stuff, but challenging. Hmmm.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Pre-school (and sleep revisited)

Today, along with arranging someone to come round (tomorrow) to fix the washing machine, sorting out kennels for Buster for a time we were unable to manage his normal ones and talking to Rural Retreats about a place we're staying with them, we arranged for us all to look round the local pre-school.

We went around in the afternoon - me, Moo, Mel, Jo and Miri. Jo loved it. She didn't really want to go, so Mel stayed a little longer with her. She'll be starting in September, just one session a week. We liked it, and Mel - who has lots of experience - was impressed, too. The staff were friendly, but firm, the children were busy, but polite to each other and adults, and there was lots to do.

Later, I took Miriam and Buster out for a walk while Moo put Jo to bed. Moo wasn't down by the time I got back, and I took a conference call with Miriam on a sling on my front. She was a star, and it was a while before Moo gave up and came down. It took Jo another 15 minutes to go to sleep: just under an hour and a half. This is a _bad_ precedent. And I'm away tomorrow night: I hope it's better for Moo.

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Monday, June 11, 2007


Nightmare bedtime

(backposting) One and a half hours is a record. And one we're prefer not to be repeating. That's how long it took Jo to go to sleep after being put to bed. We'd made the mistake of changing her bedtime routine, to allow her to watch "In the Night Garden". Bath, then TV. Not sure if that was the problem, but we won't be doing it again.

Oh - the washing machine's on the blink (not great if you have nappies to wash), and we apparently have a leak on our mains water line. Not quite we needed.


Sunday, June 10, 2007



(backposting) At the leavers' service, we had the story of Elijah and the widow's son, and Jesus and the Widow of Nain. In both stories, the protagonist (Elijah and Jesus) make themselves ritually unclean by touching "untouchables" - in both cases, dead bodies.

Our preacher preached on this. The sermon was about how we need to go beyond our comfort zone. The preacher talked about how the Friday service had been difficult, and gone beyond what was expected. The sermon identified the need to "touch the untouchables". The only problem, of course, is that those for whom the service touched their tradition, could see themselves labelled "untouchables". I'm sure that wasn't the intention, but there's the danger.


Saturday, June 09, 2007



(backposting) Most of the day we were working on placements, and verbatims that we'll have to do. It was interesting, and I feel much happier about the whole thing now. In the evening, our group led the service. We based it on Psalm 23, and I started the service off with "The Lord's my Shepherd", sung to the well-known tune Crimond. I also led a Taizé chant in the middle of the service: Ubi Caritas. But it was the whole thing put together that worked: we went through each verse with actions, and it was all based in the garden in the middle of the cloisters. Clive did a great job of it, and we had washing of hands; laying out of food; walking along the path; anointing with oil and quiet reflection to music. And a blackbird joined in. It worked really, really well, and we had lots of positive feedback.

It was odd knowing that from tomorrow, I'm going to be a third year. The next ERMC event is the Summer School, and although some of the tomorrow's "leavers" will be there then, it all kicks off then: I'm in my last year.


Friday, June 08, 2007


To London Colney

(backposting) I got there with a little time to spare, having left a little late, but having enjoyed the cricket on the way down. We had a service based on the Syriac liturgy, which some people found rather difficult, particularly the last hymn, which was to the Virgin Mary. I found that I was able to sing it - doing some pretty quick theological thinking as I sang it - but I also noticed that more than a few found themselves unable to do so.


Thursday, June 07, 2007


ERMC tomorrow

My first for a few months, and the first one I'll have been well for since last year. Looking forward to seeing the usual suspects - very aware that, after this one, I'll be a 3rd year - ordination is only a year away now.

D's doing well, thank God.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Prayers offered, prayers answered

First of all, please pray for Sally, and her son Chris. He's got serious heart problems, and went to the Brompton for tests today. He's got "atrial flutters, which apparently isn't good if you've only got one heart atrium left. So, prayers for them both and all their family and friends.

On a different note, I was just about to be driving past Si and D's house, and thought "Si's away this week - I know, I'll phone D and see how she's doing." So I did, and she told me she really wasn't well. She was waiting for the midwife (who was already running late), but told me she didn't want to come round: she'd be all right. So, I carried on, dropped off some dry cleaning, and decided to ignore her: I popped round. She wasn't well, and I decided to wait round for the midwife. Good thing, too - the midwife wasn't happy. So, I took D into hospital. Picked up Morgan on the way, Terry, his grandfather, picked him up at the hospital.

In the end, she's fine. Lots of prayers answered there. Si's back from Edinburgh (caught an early plane), and all's well. It's what friends do.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007



Nice date. Back from Sweden after a good meeting. Buster a pain in the night. Jo's latest?

"Mummy, if you're nicer, you can ride my bike".


Monday, June 04, 2007



No, not a mis-spelling. This is how you say "broadband" in Swedish. However, it seems that my hotel misunderstood the term, and thought it was "bread-van", because that's about how fast the packets are travelling.

Prayers for Dean, Mel's fiancé - after thinking that he had a bad rib, it appears that he has a collapsed lung, and will be in hospital for a week. This really isn't very nice stuff.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007


Lapsed, and in SecondLife

I couple of days ago someone contacted me about some scripting in SecondLife, and we got together last night. In the end, all the stuff she wanted to do just worked, so there was nothing for me to do, but we got chatting afterwards about what we do in SecondLife. The Christianity thing - and ordination - came up, and we had a fascinating talk. She described herself as "a lapsed Anglican", and we got chatting about why. There were a number of things, including Bush and Blair (who call themselves Christians), the "yes-man" attitude of all the priests she's known, the "safeness" and "utterly unspiritual" nature of church in her experience, and problems reconciling the Old and New Testaments. She felt that doubting, or asking questions, wasn't acceptable, and was surprised by my opposite views: I hold the opinion that we have a responsibility (to God) to ask questions and to delve into the mysteries of the world and of theology. We had a good discussion, and I hope that, if nothing else, she feels that the church isn't as anodyne and hypocritical as she previously thought.

If you're reading this, I hope this is a fair description: I'll see you in SL...

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Maybe TV will calm me down

We _all_ went to church today. There's an 0930 family service on the first Sunday of every month at Long Melford, and as it was Trinity Sunday, and it's Holy Trinity Long Melford, well, the theme was the Trinity. Ian did a great address, using the three hares window as the exemplar. And three cuddly rabbit toys. It was great to have the whole family in church, and it was a really friendly service and congregation, too.

In the afternoon, I took Jo with her bike to Clare Country Park, where she cycled all the way round with very little help before playing on the swings, etc. Of course, she didn't want to go back to the car at the end, so there were tears and mild hysterics (we've had quite a lot of those recently, as she's very tired), and so out came the line "maybe TV would calm me down". It made me laugh so much that she caught it, too, and her hysterics turned to laughter. Then we had "I want some ice-cream". "We're about to have lunch." "Maybe after lunch. We'll see. Probably after lunch." Indeed: we'll see.

Lovely walk with Miriam and Buster while Moo put Jo to bed.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007



No, not our waking up time (I was awake around 0430, Jo at 0500, Moo and Miri at 0545), but when Jo came into the spare room with me, we spent an hour negotiating (mainly my telling her that it wasn't morning time yet) and half asleep for some of that. But we were having a cuddle at 0600, and Jo said to me "can I see your watch?" I showed it to her, and she said "look at the little hand: it's pointing at the number six. It's six o'clock". We've been working on this, but wow!

So, lots of marks to her. After some time with Moo and Miri, they went downstairs, and I got another hour and a half's sleep, which really helped. Then Jo and Buster and I went for a nice long walk again, and Jo came back filthy (she'd got her boots stuck in some mud, and fallen down more than once). A quick bath, and then out to Hartest (where we nearly bought a house once) for a lovely meal, then shopping, then home to let the dog have some quality time.

After that, we headed off to Long Melford. On the way to Hartest (which we'd reached via a circuitous route aimed at keeping Jo asleep for as long as possible), we'd noticed that there was a fair on the Green. So, we thought we'd take Jo there.

I "won" a cuddly tigger, Jo refused to spend more than a minute in a bouncy air-filled thingy, and then to go on anything else, but had a lovely time. She just seemed to like wandering around the fair (four times?), and eating a hot dog, so all was well.

We got home later, had some ice cream and jelly, and then put Jo to bed. Another walk with Buster, and then Grease is the Word on TV.

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Friday, June 01, 2007


A smiley, chattering monster, Sweden ... and substitutionary atonement

Miri's lots and lots of fun at the moment. She'll spent half and hour or more on my knee or on my tummy, chat, chat, chatting, smiling, looking into my eyes, being lovely, and generally posseting everywhere. It's what being a dad's about, IMHO.

Being a dad is less about having to go to Sweden overnight again next week, unless you count "earning an honest crush" as being part of a dad's role, which you might, I suppose. I'm going to somewhere spelt Linköping, but pronounced "Lingchirping", as close as I can gather. It is ridiculous how foreigners can't even spell their own placenames properly sometimes. I'm not usually prone to luggage-lust (unlike Catherine) but there's a piece of Samsonite luggage which I'm very keen on which I thought I'd have loads of chances to buy before I next went away. Not to be, unluckily.

"But what about substitutionary atonement?" I hear you cry. Well, Keith and I had agreed to meet to have a chat about a piece by Tom Wright in the Church Times a couple of months ago where he rather attacked Jeffry John for being too soft on the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. This is the doctrine that says that Jesus, when he died, took all of our sins on his shoulders, and took the punishment for all of mankind, thereby redeeming us. I've simplified it, and there are different shades to interpretation, but I think that pretty much sums it up. Wright felt that a broadcast by Jeffrey John downplayed significantly the importance of the doctrine, and although I don't have real problems with that view, some of the expressions of the doctrine in Wright's defense went a little too far for me. Keith and I talked over this issue - and atonement in general - in some detail, and strayed into other areas such as spiritual warfare, "Jesus-followers" (a danger, in my view, of the "Exemplar" view of atonement), and the personification of evil. It was great for both of us to do some theology, and also to ground it in our experience, and I'm glad we took the time.

To round things off, my penultimate year report came through from ERMC. This is the very important report which goes to the DDO and the bishop and either recommends that I go through to ordination, or says that I shouldn't. I'm pleased to say that it recommends that I should, and gave what I thought was a very honest view of me, my theology, my spirituality and my personality. It identified some areas that need work, but I knew about those, and was happy to sign it off.

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