Wednesday, 30 December 2009


The other day I found myself writing a sermon and wanting to quote the story of the American state which legislated that Pi was 3 on the basis of II Chronicles 4:2, 5. It is a long story, but I was trying to demonstrate Foucault's power/knowledge albeit trivially (probably just digging myself in deeper here!). What I found was that it started as an internet spoof in 1998 (and there was I thinking I had heard of it years ago). However, what I did find was that a law was debated in Illinois which proposed at least 3 different values for Pi! The text of the law is here for real anoraks.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Talented Artist

What do you make of this image? How long do you think they have been painting? The full story can be found in the Guardian. The artist is 7 years old and has been painting for a couple of years. His pictures sell for upwards of £900. How wonderful to have found his talent so early in life.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Biblical Truth?

I am currently reading "A Generous Orthodoxy" and it contains a question about how we see the church reforming.

It suggests that we can reform the Method of communicating the Message and/or the Message itself. This gives four quadrants (as favoured in marketing presentations) to consider where we stand. I was surprised to find McLaren putting himself in the reformed Message and reformed Method quadrant (although less surprised by the reformed method).

This set me thinking about what I think! I had always thought that I was all for changing the method (which is a good job as I promised to preach the Gospel anew to this generation), but that I thought that the message was eternal. However, having been challenged by McLaren on this I can see that perhaps I too am in box 4. It all depends on what you think the eternal message is. For me it is the two great commandments:
He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ Luke 10:27
but I can see McLaren's point that this hasn't always been the case. Of course, I might want to argue that it has always been God's message - but others would have a legitimate argument that this is not the case. If we look at how this has been worked out with regards to slavery and is being worked out with regard to women then if you take the view that the message is what is proclaimed then the message has changed and is changing, and will no doubt change again. After all Jesus said:
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth John 16:12

If you want to explore more about this it is discussed at greater length in this book which McLaren describes as a simple book idea!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Maya Angelou

I get a daily email from Sojourners and today it had this great quote in it

I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at commensurate speed.
- Maya Angelou
from her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Radio Africa

Local Radio is back in Amersham again this year, though only for 48 hours

This year it is raising money for Africa Link, and broadcasting from Cafe Africa on 87.7FM and on the Cafe Africa Web site.

I will be broadcasting from 3pm until 4pm (the pm is necessary, this year it is running 24 hours/day) on Tuesday 22nd with similar mix of music and chat as last year. I plan to have at least one guest studying for ordination, so why not pop along and ask us some questions?

You might ask what the point of things like this is - and I looked back to find my blogged explanation from last year - but it wasn't there! So here goes.

Last year I had no idea where this would lead. After 4 weeks of broadcasting there was a greater sense of community around the whole town. Sure, not everyone joined in, but the age range of those involved must have spanned over 70 years. There were even stories of children listening to the radio together! It also generated a sense of community in the way that any event does - and on top of that it raised money for charity.

Being local radio it even has a really local impact - the first show I had to leave early as I was taking the 8am service. I announced this on the show, and when I got to church one of the congregation said that it was a good job that I had as it meant that they knew they had to leave too!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Yesterday the Daily Express reported that the European Foundation have circulated a list of 100 reasons why humanity has not contributed towards climate change. This was rapidly debunked by the New Scientist but I want to ask why it matters!

We know that Glaciers are shrinking (see The Age of Stupid) and that Bangladesh is suffering severe flooding. Are those who want to argue that we are not the cause of it not worried about what is?

OK, knowing what causes it might help determine what we should do to reverse things, but saying "not our fault" doesn't help with that.

At the Wave Rowan Williams translated Matthew 28:19 as "Go and share the good news with all creation." and Vincent Nicholls said "Only when we are clearly prepared to change the way we live will politicians be able to achieve the change we say we want to see." It was time to "live simply, so that others may simply live".

It strikes me that those who deny our impact on global warming are saying that they are not prepared to make those changes to the way they live.


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