I'm experimenting with advertising via Google Adsense, as this blog costs money to run. My hope is that the ads will pay for the annual cost. We'll see. Perhaps other bloggers running ads could comment on their experience?
Hopefully the ads will be appropriate. The "Antichurch" one gave me a laugh (though it did make me wonder if this blog comes over as being such?!). The "Find sexy friends in Glasgow" one got me very worried indeed. Hopefully the ads won't detract from the overall feel of the blog.
The electors of the diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney meet with the candidates for bishop today. The candidates are the Rev Canon Dr Emsley Nimmo, the Rev Canon Dr Philip Noble and the Very Rev Canon Kevin Pearson.
The electors meet again next Saturday, in order to vote for their preferred person.
I was "tagged" last night by Jamie, which means I am to list "10 things I will never do", then "tag" 10 other bloggers to do the same. Consider yourself tagged if you are in my list of bloggers on the left. Or not, as the case may be.
Anyways, here we go:
1. Buy a Take That album.
2. Watch a "chick flick".
3. Sing in a rock band.
4. Father any more children.
5. Enjoy sushi.
6. Love my amazing wife any more than I do (yuck, just went too far there. Actually, that one can be taken as being not very good, as in, "What if I don't love my wife very much?". Oh dear, I appear to be digging a big hole for myself.....).
7. Vote New Labour ever again.
8. Meet Bono for dinner.
9. Become the Pope (a few obvious disadvantages for me being I'm married and not a Roman Catholic).
Apparently, Christmas is coming, so it's time to get ready. I can think of no better way to start than listening to Sufjan Stevens' "Songs for Christmas" which are streamed in their entirety on his label's website.
The songs are an unusual and delightful mixture of original songs and traditional carols, all done in Mr Stevens' inimitable style. Just listen to "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" on CD2 or "Holy, Holy, Holy" on CD5 - simply wonderful!
Other titles include, "Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)","Come on! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!" and my personal favourite, "Get Behind Me, Santa!"
The EP's appear to be sold out at Amazon, and everywhere else for that matter, so you might have to settle for streaming.
The songs can be downloaded on iTunes, but at the mental price of £24.99. If you really want to download them, try Bleep, where they are priced at a sensible £8.99 for all 42 songs.
Rude word alert at the end of this viral video for Robbie Williams' 'Rudebox' recording (you may be cute, but you certainly aren't clever, so wash your mouth out with soap, young Alfie/Magnus!). Apart from that, this will ring bells for every parent:
For today, I'd planned to go away overnight to stay with a friend on the East coast. This morning, I felt tired and ill (fighting off a bug that's hit the family?). I simply didn't feel like going anywhere, or seeing anyone. It has since developed into a definite case of (man) flu, and women the world over know how serious that is.
Then, in my inbox this afternoon, comes this message from Rick Warren (like I know him personally!):
Why do we find ourselves having to work all the time? The Bible tells us very clearly that if we don't allow space into our schedule, if we just work all the time, we’re foolish. Ecclesiastes 10:15 says, “Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work.”
.........If I really want to last in life, I’ve got to stop and realize there’s a whole journey of life to live. I’ve got to remember it’s not how fast I live that’s important; it’s how well I live.
Pastor, some of us just need someone to give us permission to slow down. Why not consider this your permission?
No heading off on 'Advance' for me then, but it's proved to be a quiet, listening to the Lord, praying, planning and preparing for the coming year, kind of day. In between coughing bouts and telephone calls.
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:25-26
A large group (20+) of St Silasites went round Woodlands last night distributing invitations to our Christmas services, including our Carols by Candlelight Service on the 17th @ 8pm. Another group will go out tonight.
Thank you and well done to everyone who has helped with this. It has been an amazing response this year.
Movies that I'm hoping to see in the next month or so:
Apocalypto - Mel Gibson's gory Central American epic set around the time of the demise of the Mayan civilisation. The dialogue is in a tribal language with subtitles for those whose Mayan is lacking. By all accounts, it's not one for the faint-hearted, as it tells the story of one man as he attempts to outrun his captors, who have a penchant for human sacrifice. These chase scenes are reported to be amongst the finest committed to film.
Flags of our Fathers - Clint Eastwood's WW2 movie about the five marines and navy corpsman whose raising of the U.S. flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, was immortalised in this famous photograph. Three of the flag raisers were killed in action a few days after the photograph was taken. The three survivors were made famous by the photograph and toured the U.S.A. raising funds to help with the war effort. James Bradley, the writer of the book on which the film is based, is the son of one of the survivors.
Into Great Silence - A documentary about life in the Grande Chartreuse, the mother house of the Carthusian Order. From the film's website:
Silence. Repitition. Rhythm. The film is an austere, next to silent meditation on monastic life in a very pure form. No music except the chants in the monastery, no interviews, no commentaries, no extra material.
The following is the work of Maggs and Simon and was used in the service this morning as part of Jenny Cheung's very practical sermon on worship.
5 chairs in semi circle, 1 empty. Rob, Maggs, David and Karen sitting down. Rob is wearing a garish jumper, and possibly an “I love Jesus” sticker. Maggs is in something hippyish and garish. David is smartly dressed. Karen is wearing pale, insignificant colours. All look drained, apart from Rob who is on edge and excited.
Emily: Sorry I’m late everyone, I didn’t know where I was going and I got lost. It’s my first time, I know…
Rob: Never mind, Emma, you’re here now!
Emily: Emily… but thanks.
Rob: Well it’s great to have you Emma. We’ve just done the Bible study, it was on the descendants of Asher in the second census in the book of Numbers.
Emily: (rolls eyes) Oh… that sounds interesting.
Rob: Gee it was fabulous, sorry you missed it! Now, introductions. I’m Rob, and I’m your happy home group leader. Say hello to Emma everyone!
Rob: This is Maggs, she’s our New Testament Greek buff…
Maggs: (something in Greek)
Rob: This is David…
David: Ah yes, you’re the new person from the Alpha Course that just became a Christian. So how are you coping with the realisation of the crippling burden of sin you have been wallowing in?
Emily: Nice to meet you too…
Rob: This is Karen…
Karen: (inaudibly) Hello
Rob: Great, take a seat Emma, make yourself at home. Because this HOMEgroup after all! (laughs loudly at own joke)
Emily: Thank you. And my name’s…
Rob: Now (claps hands) we’re now going to continue worshipping God by moving into a time of… er…. Worship, where we sing our… worship to God. Any suggestions?
David: Anything but that blasted Graham Kendrick again
Maggs: I feel a sense that the Lord is leading me to a song, I have a feeling within the group that there’s a sense of earnestness about communing with our Lord and with one another.
David: You mean it’s the only one you know?
Maggs starts singing Binds Us Together. Everyone holds hands, which makes Emily look uncomfortable. Rob sings very enthusiastically at the top of his voice, and all sing very badly. Except Karen who mouths silently and shyly, and Emily who has an increasing look of fear on her face. Song ends.
Rob: Thank you for the music Lord, thank you for the music, for giving it to us! So how did you enjoy that Emma?
Emily: It’s… oh never mind… I didn’t actually know that one.
Rob: That’s OK, you’ll soon learn it, we sing it every week! Now, let’s finish our time together in prayer as usual. And of course Emma, it’s traditional for the group to find out a little about new people so we can pray for you, obviously.
David: Are there any unconfessed sins you would like to tell us about?
Maggs: Do you feel yet that you’ve been fully baptised by the Holy Spirit?
Rob: Karen, do you have anything you’d like to ask Emma?
Karen: No thank you (quietly)
Rob: Well, time presses on, so let’s get on with the time of open prayer. Now Emma, what we normally do is take it in turns to have two and a half minutes to pray, and then I’ll close things off at the end. Is that OK? Let’s pray, gang!
All lean forward and bow heads.
Rob: (frequently throwing hands in air) Lord, we really just come before you this evening, and we really just want to really just praise you Lord, and just… we… really…. Just love you so much and really just thank you for the privilege to just come before you and be really filled with your presence and to… just… pray for our lives and our world, that it would really be… just. So we really just pray Lord that you would just really bless everyone and everything and we really just commit our prayers this evening to your name. Really. Amen.
Following two prayers both annoyingly punctuated by “yes lord”s and “hallelujahs” from Rob at inappropriate moments
Maggs: Prays in Greek.
David: Oh Lord… we don’t even deserve to come before your presence to confess our multitudinous sins, such is the chasmic gulf between your majesty, grace and wisdom; and our sinfulness, and pathetic worthlessness. We are like worms, we are not even worms, we are like parasites on the worms, such is our insignificant standing before you due to our overwhelming depravity. We are doomed, all doomed. We pray that we might one day fully come to recognise just how sinful and useless and unworthy and ruined and detestable we are. Amen.
There is then a long period of silence in which David (and Emily) occasionally looks up to see if things have finished, and gets increasingly frustrated each time to find that everyone else is deep in prayer, checking his watch, sighing and looking annoyed.
Karen still hasn’t prayed, but as David puts his head down again, looks like she is about to open her mouth…
Rob: Amen! Praise the Lord! Well thank you everyone, that was wonderful.
Maggs: Yes, there was a real feeling of the presence of the Lord this evening!
David: And it’s important to be reminded how sinful and insignificant we are, isn’t it?
Rob: Well, Emma, as the new person would you be willing to lead our bible study next week? It’s on the punishment of the whore of Babylon in the book of Revelation.
Emily: I er… well, I might… I think I’m… going somewhere else next week for some spiritual healing.
Rob: Well I think that went rather well, don't you?