Monday, March 31, 2008



(backposting) Someone went to the doctor today, and should start getting better soon. Well done...

Had a good chat with Mark today, who's working with me on SecondLife. We're part of a working group within what could be broadly be described as the Anglican Establishment (the capital "E" makes it seem more imposting, doesn't it?) that's looking at some of the legal and theological issues that arise. We don't often talk - the fact that he's in New Zealand make it difficult - but we overlapped for a while today, which was useful. We're preparing for a mini-conference, and wanted to coordinate, so I've got to send him some stuff, and now that I've talked to another member of the working group, to give him some info, too. Useful conversation.

Anglican Priest looking like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix

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Sunday, March 30, 2008


Moo's ill

(backposting) So ill, in fact, that she's agreed to go to the doctor. Seems like her tonsils have a nasty infection: tonsilitis. It's not fun seeing her grimace every time she needs to swallow. Hope she's better soon.

Took Jo and Miri to St Andrew's, Colne Engaine, for the team Holy Communion Service, which was good. The girls did pretty well, and it was good to attend a service with Clifford presiding. John and Geoff were there, too, and it was nice to meet Mary, Geoff's wife. We started the service with "Christ is Risen", to which the congregation responds "He is risen indeed: Alleluia!". Miri let rip with a loud shout just after the "Alleluia", clearly in response to it, and got some appreciative laughs from around the assembled throng, which was pretty large.

It's fascinating to note that kids of Jo's age have no concept of race or skin colour: I asked Jo if she'd noticed anything about Clifford (who's originally from the West Indies, and black), and other than agreeing that he was wearing priest's clothes, and was quite old (he's retired, so I guess this is OK), she didn't volunteer anything at all, so I didn't mention it. The longer such continues, the better. There was a Tweenies episode later on that we were watching which brought up people being nasty about people because they looked different, and referenced skin colour, but I don't think she noticed, and I turned it off before she could pick up on it.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008



I'm not going to be preaching it until at least the beginning of July, but I'm beginning to worry, already, about my first sermon as a deacon. This is silly, I realise, but that's just running round my head. Do you preach to the lectionary (something I'm not overly given to), or to the season, or to recent events, or speak about myself, or curacy, or the diaconate? I literally have no idea. And it's obviously, obviously too early to think about it.

I'm currently going through the "why isn't everybody else so enthusiastic about the Gospel, then?" phase. This, I'm given understand, is typical of nearly-deaconed ordinands. Expecting to enthuse everybody else is a dangerous fallacy, and I'm glad, at least, that I've seen it. And enthusiasm is good. But needs watching.

Now Moo's not well. Hope she gets better soon. I've done a part dog-poo clearance, and 90% of the ironing (ran out of coat-hangers), and cooked supper. And spent around an hour getting Jo to sleep. But I hate it when Moo's ill. Particularly as it's partly due to overwork.

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Friday, March 28, 2008



Beginning to try to get some ducks in a row to arrange some theologians to help discuss issues around online religion, SecondLife, etc.. I've now got some good ones to try to track down... If you know of good theologians in this area, please let me know!

Jo not vomiting anymore, but running a temperature, has a rash, emotional, etc.. No sign of anything with Miri, luckily.

Poor Moo's very tired at the moment: she spends every spare hour at a project in Southend-on-Sea, where they're trying to recruit some management. Hopefully when that's done, things should calm down somewhat.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Jo still not well

Jo was ill during the night, and throughout the day. I had a meeting in London, but managed to make it to the doctors with her: she's just got a viral infection (which also explains the rash). Poor Moo had to leave at 0600 for a meeting in Birmingham, so kept in touch via the phone, but it made her rather sad to be away from the girls when one of them was ill.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008


One poor sick girl

Jo was very, very tired when she came back from pre-school, and cold, too, and I put her to bed, where she slept for an hour with a hot water bottle. She woke up much better, and went out to a playground. Got home, threw up in Mel's car. Not well. She threw up again later, but hopefully will sleep well tonight.

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Monday, March 24, 2008


Walking - and a cat

At around 0200 this morning, Miri woke up, and we got her out of the cot and took her into the bed. We were in Kate and Mac's bed, because that's the only room (other than the one that Jen and Jake and Mouse were sleeping in) that we could get a travel cot into. About 15 minutes later, Mac came in, making cat noises. The thoughts that ran through my head, in approximate order, were:
  1. he's completely lost his mind, finally;
  2. he's sleep-walking;
  3. this is a really contrived way to see if you daughter and her husband are enjoying conjugal relations in your bed in the depths of the night;
  4. oh, he really is chasing the cat.
Mac left (with the cat ("Gertie, you bugger!")) and I ended up heading downstairs to finish the night on the sofa-bed, as Miri wasn't settling. I then went back upstairs around 0630 when the girls came downstairs, and I got some more sleep.

I came down to discover that Miri can now work on her own. Yay!


Sunday, March 23, 2008


Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

I attended Eucharist with my mother-in-law (Kate), Jojo and my niece Turtle. There was a bit for kids before the main sermon, and I was angered/saddened by the fact that the officiating priest just let the two kids stand in front of her, holding hands, just _waiting_ to be included, while talking to the children to the left, who were clearly known, and talking over the two little ones. They just stood there, hoping to be part of it, and were talked over. Literally.

What a message to send to two under 5s, and what a message to send to a congregation. I was fuming by the end, which really isn't how I like to finish an Easter service.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008


Holy Saturday

(backposting) Holy Saturday is never as bleak as I really feel it ought to be. We went with my parents to Wells, and it was pretty bleak, but certainly not as unremittingly dark and uncentred as I'd kind of like it to be. This is partly a result of having kids, of course. And that the outside world doesn't play.


Friday, March 21, 2008


Good Friday

Windy, cold, wet. But not God-forsaken.


Thursday, March 20, 2008



Is it just me, or has it been rather rainy today? I know that this isn't of great theological import, but it does seem to have been the main point of the day. Oh, and Miri went to her 6-9 month check-up today, at just over 11 months. She's still over the 100th centile for weight (even measured against the 11 month numbers!) and 91th centile for height.

Can't think where she gets those from.

Jo's being lovely and thoughtful and polite at the moment: it's just gorgeous. She's also started noting that her other friends aren't...

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Being pastoral

Sometimes you get the chance to take a phonecall and listen. And maybe give some advice or solace. That's being pastoral, and it's a great privilege.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Walking - almost

Miri's so nearly there. The most she's managed is four little steps towards me, before making it into my arms. She _can_ do it: she just needs to believe.

I read Jo the Passion and Resurrection narratives (simplified) from her little Bible today. She asked "Who's God?" after a chat about Jesus. I explained about Jesus being God, and about God the Father (the Mother aspect was going to be too much!), and, in the interests of good Trinitarian theology, I felt I'd better mention the Holy Spirit. Not sure it helped matters particularly...

I was in London today, meeting a possible customer. Went well - oh, and stopped off at Hatfield Galleria, bought a pair of work shoes and a new shirt. My life's so interesting.

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Monday, March 17, 2008



Thought I was going to end up flying out to deepest, darkest Denmark tomorrow, but it turns out that it'll wait till after Easter. I'm also looking at 2 trips to Canada in the next couple of months. I don't mind particularly, except that one of them may be over a Bank Holiday weekend, which I do object to.

Lunch with Keith, and a lovely walk with Jo and Buster after the girls' supper.



Communion - twice

(backposting) I went to communion at the 0800 service in Great Yeldham this morning, as I wanted to take the girls to the Palm Sunday benefice service at Toppesfield at 1100. Quiet service, got home, made waffles, got ready, and then went out again.

Having to the girls out of the car, I put Miri in the pushchair and walked with Jo along the street to where we were starting the procession with Pebbles the donkey (which is why I thought I'd take them along). After 10 minutes, about 40 of us, including a (robed) choir (with their coats over their robes) walked the 250 metres to the church, singing in the driving rain. I couldn't stop smiling: it was so English, and so Christian. I kept being reminded of what St Paul had to say about the foolishness of the world. It turned out to be another Communion service - if I'd known, I wouldn't have gone to the 0800 as well - but I decided to receive Communion again, as I didn't want to confuse Jo, who would have been expecting me to take it.

A really boring service for the girls, but they were brilliant, and in the afternoon we went swimming, partly as a reward for Jo. We'd bought her some swimming goggles yesterday at Freeport, and it really helped her. She was putting her face completely underwater, doing some actual swimming, and even managing to float on her back unaided by the end. The lessons are paying off.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008


Religious awareness

After a trip to Freeport this morning (our old teapot had fallen apart from overuse), and lunch, Simon, one of Jo's godparents, came round and he, she, Miri and I went to Clare Country Park with her bike. We had a lovely time, and Jo clicked really quickly with Simon this time, which was great for both of them.

When we came back, we were chatting with Moo in the kitchen, and à propos of nothing, Jo suddenly declaimed to Simon: "At Nana's, we're going to have an Easter Egg hunt. And we'll be happy, because Jesus will be alive!".

I have to say that I'm rather pleased with this. She connected the two, got the important one exactly right, and got a big hug from me. Just over 3 years old: go, girl!

Oh - the other day, we were going through the Wippell's catalogue which I'd picked up at the last ERMC weekend. Jo did things like identify that the chalices and patens were for the bread and the wine, and we were deciding which of the chalices on a particular page she would like (the gold one), when she came out with: "when I'm a bit older, I can be a priest, and we can buy a chalice". Babe: when you're a bit older, you can be an archbishop...

Last of all, on Thursday, I had the following discussion with her:

me: I'm going for lunch with a priest today
Jo: is it a nice person?
note - good marks for gender awareness
me: she is very nice: she's called Viv.
Jo: will she be wearing clothes?
Mel (who was there) and I lost it at this point
me: do you mean priest clothes?
Jo: yes
me: I don't know...
Viv, for the record, was very amused. Oh, and was wearing clothes.

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Friday, March 14, 2008


Prayers for Sally today

That's all.


Thursday, March 13, 2008


Synchroblog - Anchorites for the modern world

An anchor - or an anchorite or anchoress - was a type of hermit, but typically one attached to a religious community: of it, but not in it, maybe. It's a little-used term these days, but the life of an anchorite had its attractions, particularly for a woman in the early middle ages, and many of them were highly revered. Two of the best known in the UK, at least, were Julian of Norwich and Christina of Markyate. There was even a manual written for them, known either as the Ancrene Riwle (Rule(s) for Anchorites) or Ancrene Wisse (Knowledge of/for Anchorites), which is a fascinating book, written in English, rather than the usual clerical Latin, as many of those for whom it were written only spoke or read (if they were lucky) the former.

But what of this today? We hear so much about how we don't engage with each other, how our sense of community is gone, how our lives are ruled by time. And these are always viewed as negatives. In many - most - cases they are, of course. But it occurred to me that there are people who are in situations where this is the way that they have to live their lives, or even may wish to live their lives. Are we to condemn them in all cases? I'm on a bit of a counter-cultural tide at the moment - as earlier posts this month may show - and I'm very interested in how we can value the little-valued, particularly when the people doing the devaluing are ourselves. So, what positives can we pull out of these livings, these lives?

Well, there are times when one is in a storm when that storm can itself impart a moment of calm, a little like the "eye of the hurricane". Sometimes, you can just poke your head out of the maelstrom, for a moment, and that eye-blink of tranquility can be all the more, because it is taken in such a way. I find, sometimes, that at the end of a hard day of travelling and meetings, for instance, that saying Evening Prayer means more to me, by a long chalk, than it normally would. And there are times when not engaging with society gives us a chance to see it, and ourselves, from a different perspective. And when being ruled by time may mean giving ourselves up to it, refusing to fight, and allowing ourselves to be carried along in God's hands.

It's not always easy to do these things. It's not always easy to find God in the day-to-day, the humdrum, the flurry, the hardship. But sometimes, just sometimes, S/He will show Godself.

And, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall be changed.


Synchroblog Today is a "synchroblog" on the subject of "monasticism". 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:


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Off sick and Moo's birthday

Still recovering. Well enough that Moo didn't need to look after me and the girls - Mel still ill, so I've been on child duty.

Doughnut at 1430 or so, and things started looking up. By 1730, we were all eating waffles from Moo's new waffle maker (a present from the girls and me).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Not well

(backposting) Around 1710, I came downstairs from my office to ask Mel if she might be able to stay late tonight, as I was beginning to feel pretty ill. Unluckily, it soon transpired that she was feeling even worse than me, so I sent her home. Moo didn't make it back till 1830 or so, which meant over an hour of trying to look after the two girls and avoid throwing up. Managed it in the end, and though I spent most of the night on the loo until about 0400.


Monday, March 10, 2008


We shall be changed

I'm not sure what I'm blogging on today. It's been quite a long day: I'm not quite sure why. Took the dog out for a walk, got soaked and cold, despite wearing moleskins. We signed a major deal today, which is excellent. We're working on another one. I spent some time trying to find some clerical shirts (I don't intend to spend £55.00 per shirt, as one provider was asking). And booked a dentist's appointment. And done lots of reading for a tutorial on eschatology,

But I just keep coming back to the phrase "And we shall changed."

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Sunday, March 09, 2008


SecondLife - a paper

In November, I had to write an essay on fresh expressions of Church, and chose to do it on the Anglican Cathedral in SecondLife. I got the essay back this weekend, and as it was pretty well received, I've decided to publish the second part - in a somewhat edited format - as a contribution to discussions about SecondLife and online religion.

It is entitled The Anglican Cathedral in SecondLife: is it a successful "fresh expression of Church"?, and I welcome comments.

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ERMC day 3 - "And we shall be changed. We _shall_ be changed"

We had one session yesterday on ministry in schools by on of the people on the course, who's an expert in this field, and we had two more today. Managed to stay awake: they were very interesting, and I know that I'm going to be doing at least one in the next month or two, so paying attention was a good plan.

A good service, in the charismatic tradition - the quote (which, in that form, is from Handel's Messiah) was my response to the weekend. Some good songs/choruses (I'm learning not to refer to them as "hymns"), and I was administering one of the chalices today. This was fantastic: it can be good administering the chalice anyway, but it was such a privilege today, when I know those receiving well, and know that they are staff or ordinands like me. It was just very special.

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ERMC day 2 - Resurrection and Ascension

A very enjoyable day, with three sessions on Resurrection (Christ's and ours) and Ascension (Christ's). Really got me thinking, and firming up exactly what I believe. Might get round to discussing this at some point, but I ended up being more orthodox than Gary had expected!

Stayed up rather late (0300) discussing many things. Must remember these books for the essay I discussed yesterday:

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Friday, March 07, 2008


ERMC day 1

Got there in the afternoon, had a good session on preparation for essays a number of us need to write on Christian Belief and Ethics. I've got a pretty good idea of what I want to write about: it's a reaction to Edelman's No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive, which I've mentioned before, in terms of eschatology. Only just getting my head round it, but we'll get there.

A hint for anyone planning to walk into a nun's bedroom in the middle of the night, assuming it's the bathroom because you've not bothered to check, and you're looking at a copy of Thomas à Kempis' "De imitatione Christi": make sure she doesn't wake up, and get out very quickly.

Picked up a free copy of Thomas à Kempis' "De imitatione Christi" today.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008



ERMC weekend, that is. Done some prep work. Need to do more, I guess.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008



Not me. Jo. She started around 2230 last night, and carried on till around 0330 this morning, according to Moo. I helped until around 2330, when I thought things had calmed down, and Miri joined me around 0350, and took an hour or so to settle. So, all-in-all, not a great day.

I took Moo out for lunch in Clare, and she accompanied Jo to pre-school for the first time, which Jo was so excited about. We'd been in two minds about letting her (Jo) go, as she'd been ill last night, but she was eating by the morning, and slept for an hour, so we risked it.

Got Moo's phone (a Nokia 6500) receiving and sending emails from her work today, with some help from them. I'm hopeful that this will reduce the time she needs to be spending doing stuff in the evenings, when she should really be relaxing.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Too early

We'd just started getting used to getting a little more sleep, and for a while you just feel worse. And then, this morning, Miri was up a 0440, and Jo at 0520. This didn't help.

Finished drafts for the Korean articles.

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Monday, March 03, 2008


Korean magazine

I'm currently writing an article - or series of 3 articles - for a Korean magazine. Luckily they're happy with it in English.


Sunday, March 02, 2008


Mother's day

Got Moo to church today, for a Mother's Day service at Kedington Church. This is in the benefice which Si and D have just joined, and where they were going for a Mother's Day service, so we joined them. A truly family-focused service, with lots of families there: mothers, children and fathers. The priest took an informal but reverent communion service, told the story of Moses in the bulrushes to a bunch of children (and me!) sitting on the floor in the nave (with adult participation). Jo, Miri and I went up for communion (Si was very impressed that the priest blessed Charlotte, their youngest, as "Boo"!), and Jo managed to get herself blessed twice: she moved from one side of me to the other as Miri was being blessed.

Moo really liked the informality of it, and how everyone was involved, which I'm very pleased about.

Fry-up for brunch, some tidying and then a walk with Victoria, Grenville, Charles and Sennen. Back to theirs for tea and drop scones. Yum. They're good friends, and it's always good to see them.

And interesting blog entry from Sally. which is definitely worth a read.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008


Miri, talking and walking

Miri's now walking very quickly if you just hold one hand, and loves it. It could be a good month or so before she's walking unaided, but she certainly gets the whole one foot after the other thing, and seems very keen.

Miri's "cat" and "dog" (or "'at", "ca'" and "do'" or "'og") are getting more convincing, and today, she started to use them to refer to pictures in books or china ornaments (we were in a shop). Very impressive.

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