Tuesday, May 30, 2006

scout camp

Apologies for not blogging in a few days. This weekend I went on Scout Camp. I went last year, but this year was more fun. This was mainly due to the fact that the lads were better behaved.

I help at our local Scouts most weeks. Its generally good fun, though often a bit manic.

Camp was good fun. I learned that I'm quite good at shooting. I've done very little shooting in my life, with proper guns (air rifles) that is - I don't think that the guns at lazer quest count. But I actually quite enjoyed it. Twas just about being calm, and being patient - not attributes I display all the time, especially not when driving. I'd quite like to do it some more.

The weather was good, except for the rain on the last day, when we still had the biggest tent to take down. grrrr.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

da vinci disappointment

Yesterday I went to watch the much-hyped Da Vinci Code.

I was disappointed.

For me, the page-turning excitment of the book just didn't come across in the film. Now I accept that this might be because I'd read the book, only once mind you, and so I knew what was going to happen. But there are other films (Bourne Identity + Bourne Supermacy being just two examples), where I can watch them time and again, knowing exaclty what is going to happen next, and still feel excited.

As has been said in the press and on the radio, Paul Bettany was very good in his role as self-mutilating albino monk Silas. I can see what people mean when they say Tom Hanks was a bit wooden, possibly mis-cast, but for me that wasn't what let the film down. It simply didn't excite me.

Having said all this, I am glad I went to see it. The film refreshed my mind of certain parts of the book. All in all it is a good film, but as has also been said in other places, the film is possibly a victim of its own hype.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


This morning I went to a small exhibition in town, entitled 'Glory'.

I found out about the exhibition on the Showroom cinema's regular email. I didn't know who was putting on the exhibition, or who was exhibiting, but was intrigued, so went along anyway.

The participating artists had simply been given that one word as their brief. It turned out that a considerable number of the artists involved were evidently influenced by a Christian understanding of the word glory, with a few quoting Biblical texts in the comments accompanying some of the pictures....

Psalm 130:6 "My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen waiting for the morning, more than watchmen waiting for the morning" accompanied a couple of paintings of women waiting for glory.

2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" accompanied a painting of a face being uncovered.

One of my favourite paintings (which was too dark to photograph well with my mobile phone) was accompanied by the following words:

"For me true glory is reflected in the small, the humble and the seemingly insignificant, the smouldering wick that is not snuffed out, the saviour kneeling down to wash his friends feet. This world that gives glory to and exalts the rich, the powerful and the glamorous so often misses the small thing, the faint glimmer of light. We don’t realise it is there each moment of the day in the unlikeliest of places."
Richard Stott (the artist)
Another piece I liked was made up of lots of small photographs of incredibly mundane things, which when put together created this image:

For me it resonates with the comment by Richard Stott, that there is glory in the small, mundane things, that there is glory in everyone who is created in the image of God, that is, all of us. I guess this also ties into the 2 Corinthians 3:18 passage as well.

On the same theme but with a different take was this image:

It was created by someone who's sister had been serving overseas in the armed forces. She descibed how she struggled with idea of saying that soldiers 'died for their country', when in fact they had been 'killed'.

(Apologies for the quality of the photos. When taking the photos I was trying to avoid any glare from the lighting in the gallery, as well as the hideous reflections from the windows.)

worship and evangelism......in a church?

We had our PCC meeting on Tuesday....it was ok. I guess.

During the 'correspondence' item on the agenda, we were informed of a questionnaire which had been sent to us by some university researcher or other. They were looking into the way in which volunteers play their part in various organisations.

One of the criteria for determining what can be included in this piece of research, was that none of the voluntary work could be anything to do with 'worship or evangelism'.

Right....so that rules out just about our entire lives then.....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

red independent

Alerted to this via Jonny Baker's blog, thought it might be a good idea to go to a shop and pick up a copy.

On the front cover, along with the headline "NO NEWS TODAY - Just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease. (HIV/Aids)", there is also a Bible reference - Genesis 1.27.....

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

This particular bit of the Bible has been on my mind quite a bit recently. A few weeks back I went to Spring Harvest where during (at least) one of the sessions this verse was explored. What does it actually mean that we are all, every single human being, created in the image of God? What does it mean in terms of the way we value human life, in our families, in our communities, in this country and around the world? Do we, do I, really treat people as if they are made in the image of God? I think not.

But I/we should.

We've since looked at this idea with one of my youth groups. I think we may do again.

It's also Christian Aid Week. So when your envelope comes through your letter box, put lots of money in it or go set up a standing order and give them lots of money throughout the year.


Yesterday evening, before going to the cinema, I had dinner with a friend I used to go to school with. We'd caught up at another school-friend's wedding a couple of weeks ago, and on realising that we were living kinda close decided meeting up again would not be beyond the realms of possibility.

During our conversation, when we were talking about our respective jobs, she said words to the effect of 'you must find it very fulfilling'. I laughed at this, explaining why I found these repeatedly uttered words something of a cliché. Perhaps I shouldn't have done.

But later on in the evening it got me thinking. Is it fulfilling me? Do other people's jobs fulfill them?

I think I do feel a certain sense of fulfillment in what I do. I enjoy it. I'm doing something which is not just about a 9-5 commitment. I'm doing something which I believe in. But then surely lots of other people feel this way about their work as well? Do they? I think I need to carry on this conversation....

Monday, May 15, 2006


Well having not been to the cinema in ages, I've now been twice in a week. Tonight I went to see Brick.

I've got to be honest, I'm not entirely sure I followed everything that happened in the film, and I'm not quite sure I could really tell you what happened, or what the 'point' of the film was. But I quite enjoyed it. It was nicely shot, quirky at times you could say. But good.

One thing it certainly did demonstrate was the 'screwed-up-ness' of the world....the bad choices young people make.....as I write this I can here the repeated thud of wheelie bins being knocked over one at a time as some kids go up the road.

Here's what The Guardian has to say about the film, in a far more eloquent way than I ever could. Well. Certainly not at this time of night.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

16 blocks

For ths first time in what felt like absolutely ages, I went to the cinema last night. I went to see 16 Blocks (though we were torn between watching that and Mission Impossible 3 - MI:III).

I really enjoyed the film, and if you felt so inclined there are all number of threads you could reflect on, especially with young people (it's a 12A - which is good), subjects such as doing the right thing, truth, whether or not people can really change, it's a good film.

The film stars Bruce Willis (who is definitely getting older), and Mos Def (who put in a brilliant performance imho). Bruce is an ageing detective, and Mos Def is a petty criminal who has an inability to stop talking. Yes it is an action film, with a fair bit of shooting and chasing, but I thought it was pretty well thought out, with some interesting characters in there. If you don't go to see it at the cinema, it's definitely worth renting when it becomes available.

a few more pictures

Here are a few more pictures (hurriedly taken on my phone), from the weekend...

On Saturday afternoon some of us went down to Whitby and walked out to the end of the pier (I guess that answers your question Pete). The weather wasn't too bad, relatively speaking, but I can imagine it being horrible out there at times. Right at the end of the pier we climbed down a rather rusty ladder onto the lower level, where it was a little more sheltered, and I took this photo.

This is a view of Whitby, taken from the end of the pier. You can just about make out Whitby Abbey on top of the cliffs on the left hand side of the picture.

And here's another picture of the Abbey. Although it's ruined now, there's still quite a feel to the place.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Not quite back into the pattern of blogging regularly. Sorry.

I'm currently enjoying a day off today. It's great. I've done very little.

This weekend was our church weekend away. We went to a conference centre called Sneaton Castle, near Whitby. It's a very nice place. As well as being a conference centre type place, it is also home to a community of nuns.

Yesterday afternoon, before driving home, I went into Whitby to go and have a look at Whitby Abbey. Having had fairly good weather the previous couple of days, Sunday was really quite grim. It was damp and horrible, quite misty.....

Even so, it was cool to go for a wander round. It's perched right on the cliff top, and must have been a really bleak place to be in the winter, and most of the rest of the year.