Thursday, December 29, 2005

12 steps

Many years ago, I became interested in the 12 steps followed by recovering alcoholics. I saw similarities with my religious beliefs - some of the ideas seemed to correspond. It's a strange experience to be reading Leo Booth's "When God Becomes a Drug", as he adapts the 12 steps to fit the situation of a religious addict. The argument becomes circular, because admitting that I am powerless to cope with my addiction sounds so much like acknowledging my sin, and that I cannot by myself drag myself out of it. I come again to the sense that Father Leo's understanding of people, and their problems, is exemplary, but his theology isn't too strong. He doesn't seem to be aware of how he is echoing the very pronouncements of the religious 'addicts' he is putting in the wrong. In a sense, he is right - I guess that at least one of the people who significantly influenced my religious development (or lack of it) was probably an addict - most likely someone who had replaced his alcoholism with something else. But was God still working?

It is hard to discern the rightness or otherwise of religiously motivated behaviour. There are so many issues, of authority, of belief, of commitment. It would be nice to be able to stand back - but where can I stand? If I remove myself entirely, then I have to become an atheist.

As it happened ...

... I quite liked the plastic Peter, and he came with a rather nice unfolding backdrop, complete with a unicorn to sit on. And we enjoyed "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Son is watching a video of a cartoon version, rather older. Then we go to Musselburgh, to shop!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas, or Xmas

I'm sure that it was CS Lewis who argued that there were two festivals - Christmas (literally, Christ Mass), and Xmas. I think that he would have identified Xmas with the orgy of buying which tends to happen hereabouts at this time of year. I'm just trying to work out just what he would have thought of plastic representations of his characters being included in Happy Meals.

Radio 3 be thanked - JS Bach also seems to have had a 'high' view of Christmas.

And congratulations to our youth worker, who this morning tried to fashion a sermon out of references to the presents received by congregational children - I think that our influence was fairly positive - a Baby Born, and a Power Rangers Dino Thunder morpher. Not so warm feelings towards Channel 4, who in Christmas Eve broadcast "A Christmas Carol", but then announced that on Christmas Day they were going to ask "Where was God" when the tsunami struck. What I don't understand is how, in the States, it can be decided that God wasn't responsible for biodiversity, but, somehow, he is to be blamed for the tsunami.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Next year

Some time ago, I signed up on a website for people making pledges (I forget what it was called). Somebody was challenging a certain number of people to read through the New Testament. I have done this once already (in 1976 - 1977, using the J B Phillips translation). I was willing to do it again, to encourage the person who had proposed the idea. But not enough people signed up, so the pledge was off.

Our rector wants us to read through the whole bible (Old and New Testaments) in 2006. He wants us to use Hodder's NIV Bible in One Year. But, at this moment, I don't know when the books will arrive. It may be on the 1st January. We shall be visiting my mother for New Year, so shall not be in church to collect the book. I have emailed Hodder to ask them to send me a list of the first few readings, so that I can get started, but as yet they haven't replied.

On the other hand, Tyndale's One Year Bible appears to be well supported on the web, and is available in eReader format. So, I intend to go with this.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Marks and Spencer

We're going to do our pre-Christmas food shop in Marks and Spencer. It may be busy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


There are different kinds of traveller. There are those who travel in groups, companionable; and there are those who travel alone. Perhaps, as the year's turning approaches, I need to acknowledge that I belong in the latter category. Maybe it has to do with the way that I relate to people - always trying to help, not good at accepting help - in a group I always seem to be the loser.

Well, say something, then

Don't know if I'm all that excited about flock. It feels a lot like FireFox, with a few extras - like this blog editor - which is nice. Wish it had a 'source' view, though.

To-day is my last working day before Christmas. The children finish school to-day, so I get to take Thursday and Friday off (wife will take two days off in January under a similar pretext). So I really, really want to finish off smoothly. No crises, please.


I'm using Flock to post this entry.

Monday, December 19, 2005

200th post

I wish that I could quote verbatim what somebody wrote in Woman Alive (I may do in a future posting). Roughly, it was that perhaps one's eternal future doesn't depend entirely upon whether or not one has signed up at the back of an evangelistic booklet. Turning it upon its head, perhaps it isn't entirely fair for the authors of books exhorting one to evangelise everyone in earshot to suggest that if we don't, these people are destined for a Christless eternity. Maybe God is able to exercise some common sense.

What led me to a similar viewpoint was the following observation. The most vociferous proponents of aggressive evangelisation - what happens when someone close to them dies. Do they say "tough, my dad's gone to Hell". No, strangely, God speaks to them, to say that somehow, their dad (or son) is going to be OK. My father died, about 8 years ago. He was a churchgoer, but not a believer. According to what I've been taught, he is lost. Yet, he had integrity; I would even say goodness. I have had no special word from God to say that he's OK. Instead, I am going to revise my view of the world, and throw out what I was taught, and say that "yes, he is OK". And many, many more are going to be OK. Not because they've been persuaded to sign up to an evangelical manifesto. But, dare I say, because God loves them. As they are.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

One Year Bible

Son has a temperature. So, to continue from a previous entry - The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley - the CCLASP Christmas Party will be attended (from this family) by just wife and daughter. Indeed, father and son will miss church (quite glad not to have to cross the picket line again). No update, then, on the rector's plan to get members of the congregation to read through the bible in a year - following Hodder's Bible in a Year, rather than Tyndale's One Year Bible, unfortunately. I say, unfortunately, because there are more additional resources for the latter, such as versions for the Palm. I must admit to mixed feelings about the project - to read through the whole bible in one year, one has to devour too much (in my opinion) in each day - a recipe for spritiual indigestion. So it's difficult to find the 100% enthusiasm required.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Going nowhere

And this is what they want to bring back! Posted by Picasa

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie, no more

A mouse, probably a fieldmouse, or possibly a vole, had the temerity to nibble some chocolates which wife had stashed in the garage; a trap was duly set last night, and by this morning had claimed its victim.

A word, by the way, on chronology: the entry previous to this one belongs properly earlier in the sequence - the immediate response to a difficult time getting the children to bed.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Trying to get the children to sleep - tonight's order (son's story, SnapShots, daughter's story) wasn't a success. Suggest next time start with SnapShots.

Foam swords

Are better than real ones ... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Was wanting to document our staff Christmas lunch, but all of the photographs are of other people (because I took them). So here's a picture of the decoration atop one of my computers. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No advertising

So Nick Robinson at the BBC has a weblog. But with a reference in the text to "the kind of software employed by millions of weblogs around the world", it would have been courteous surely to have placed a "powered by" link somewhere. But I had to download the RSS .xml file to find that it had been generated by TypePad (not surprisingly).

Monday, December 05, 2005

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Having to decide ...

... which blog/s to update. This one seems perpetually on the back-burner.

Our heating seems to be OK. Thinking that I should write a letter to Scottish Gas to say how much we appreciate the work of their engineers. A setback yesterday morning, when the radiators were still cold-ish - turning the heating off and on brought them to life.

Christmas shopping this evening ...