Fake weddings scam..

What joy, I have read the paper 3 times this week. will wonders never cease?! anyway today I was rather annoyed by this little number…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jul/29/vicar-convicted-fake-weddings

Several times recently I have had conversations with people (mostly friends) about the church and they have all raised negative points about ‘The Church’ at large. Frankly the church doesn’t need to do anything to get a bad name, it has had one for centuries in some circles and any little thing like this simply adds fuel to the argument that all churches are money pits, priests are child-molesters and those who believe are naive and stupid. And it irritates the crap out of me. When will the church wise up and get a new image? I don’t feel it is my place to stand up for the church, frankly I can’t anyway, how can you defend it from all the stuff we read in the press. All I can do is defend my faith as I see it and thats is very different. Shouldn’t the church reflect the love and attitutdes that Jesus showed? I mean that seems like quite a basic assumption, right? So why does it so often not reflect that?

I guess than it is down to the individuals in question. This Vicar seems to have been particularly stupid. The number of weddings at his church has increased 30 fold (having done just 13 weddings in the preceeding 4 years). 30 fold – thats not just a little increase, that is fairly noticeable. Not only that but the couples often didn’t speak the same language and in some cases met just before the wedding. Err…. something seem a bit fishy to you?

The bible is clear that being in ministry is a high calling, and one where people will be judged more harshly than others. So why does this kind of thing happen? Being stupid is one thing, but being dishonest is another, and bringing not only the church, but with it Christ,into disrepute? Well I wouldn’t want to be in those shoes at the pearly gates…

time remaining…

You know when you do anything vaguely interesting on your PC you get a window a bit like this one above (and I apologise for nicking this image from someone elses blog, it was the only one I could find!). And the ‘time remaining’ changes, totally unrelated to the ‘actual’ time. It usually starts at about 10 seconds, with the green bar almost to the end, then the time goes up, to a minute, 10 minutes, 30 minutes and so on, as the computer realises the size of the task you are asking it to do. As it does so, the green bar sneaks back to the beginning of the window, so you realise that having thought the operation was going to take a very short time, it is now going to take a very long time. Does this happen to anyone else or is it just my crappy laptop? Well, anyway I’m feeling a bit like that little bar about my faith.I know that’s a very weird explanation but it’s the only way I can think of to describe how I’m feeling today. It’s like a few months back, I suddenly ‘got’ faith, the bar shot up to almost the end, I was elated (still am), but now the bar is heading back down as I realise the scope of my jounrey. It’s not the enthusiasm that is waning, don’t get me wrong, it is that the journey, or the view if you like, is getting bigger and while I get a handle on something, or read about one particular area, the bits I am not looking at keep increasing. Does that make sense? I’m not overwhelmed at all, in fact I am relishing the prospect of taking steps in whichever direction into this ‘view’, that God leads me. I guess it’s just a kind of realisation.

No f**ker puts marzipan in a swiss roll

Ok, so far I have resisted commenting on ‘Rev’ (admittedly partly because I missed the first few due to forgetting to set the sky+…) because I have found it a bit average. A bit funy, a bit moving, a bit tongue in cheek, but just a bit of everything.
This week however (I finally got to watch it tonight) was a classic line, that made me laugh… a lot:

‘I made you a swiss roll once’
‘with marzipan. no fucker puts marzipan in a swiss roll’…

ok, so I take it back, swearing is funny…. ;)

Gold dust?

Ok so I am putting myself at the risk of everyone thinking I am nuts here, but this blog is about my journey and if I miss out bits of that journey then it is not real. So I am going to tell you about something that happened to me last week.

Last Sunday I went to an evening service at a new church with a friend. It was great, lovely service, something really touched my friend, but nothing amazing, no lightening or anything (Beautiful stained glass in the early evening sunlight though!). The friend came back for dinner afterwards and we spent some time taking about God, faith etc, and praying. After this I noticed something sparkly on my hands. All over both palms. I did think of the gold dust phenomenon but being a skeptical person I thought I had smudged some of my eye make up onto my hands. Then we noticed that both my husband and my friend had sparkles too. So we then went round he kitchen looking for things that we could all have touched. It had to be something substantial as there were a lot of sparkly bits! Couldn’t find anything but I think we were all still rather doubtful.
This Friday just gone we had another friend to dinner (for those that have read my testimony it was out builder friend who brought us back to faith). We hadn’t seen him in a while and again we talked about God stuff and prayed a bit too. That’s when I noticed I had sparkly hands again! and again the
guys both did too. So this was more than a coincidence but I was still sceptical. I mean its a phenomenon that has been much debated, it is not biblical and can’t be proved. It also seems more than a bit extreme and to be honest, unbelieveable. However it has happened twice now and believe me I have been round my house with a fine tooth comb, rubbing my hands on anything vaguely sparkly to see if it rubs off on my hands.
So then I got a text this morning from my friend who was here on Friday, to say that him and his wife were praying last night and they got sparkles during praying too. So that makes it seem a bit more real to me. If it has happened to them in their home, it would have to be a huge coincidence for them to have something sparkly that can rub off onto ones skin, as well as here (which we didn’t find evidence of anyway). And being that there were a few days in between him leaving here and going home, it is unlikely that he transferred anything back with him (unless it was in the banoffee pie he took with him…)
So I am confused. I would love to believe that this is from God, in fact I almost believe it, its just that sceptical part of me that says, ‘but really?’
Actually it doesn’t make a difference to my faith, as my husband has just said ‘Gods amazing either way, whether it is from him or not’. And both times we weren’t praying for anything particularly specific or special, if we had I might have felt it was more of a sign.
Thing is, I have always viewed talk of this kind of occurrence with scepticism but at the same time thought wouldn’t it be great if it happened to me, and yet now it has I am still sceptical!! That probably says more about me and my faith than God though.
Has anyone else seen this before? I’d really like to know if I am quietly going insane or whether I should believe it!!

Super temple in Sao Paulo

So today I read the paper for the first time in a while. I remember now why I don’t do it that often, as I always get enraged by something… I do like reading the paper but I find once every few weeks is enough for me. Too much doom and gloom, too much political point scoring, too much crap frankly… Today I noticed this small snippet which I couldn’t help but comment on:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/21/solomon-temple-brazil-christ-redeemer

Does anyone else wonder what on earth these people think they are doing? I mean I don’t imagine Jesus, were he to turn up today, would be saying, ‘oh how wonderful you’ve got so much faith you have built me a gigantic temple’ would he?

Apparently this temple is going to cost some $200 million. Ok, so I know that Sao Paulo is certainly not the city it was 20 years ago, or even 10, but it is still the Brazilian city with the highest number of people living in slums. Perhaps the church in their infinite wisdom might think that using some of this $200 million would be better used to help some of their poor? I mean it’s just an idea, perhaps knock the builder down a few quid and buy them some food or clothes or I don’t know? maybe a half decent home…

Just one more thing, which I can’t leave out: the church’s founder and leader owns a private jet, which according to the Guardian cost $45million… need I say more?

Frankly, it ‘staggers the imagination’ as my Dad would say.

“Why don’t friends with kids have time?”

I came across this article via a friends facebook page. Caroline Hax is a writer with the Washington Post, who has a column called ‘Tell me about it’ where people write in and she answers (modern day agony aunt kind of thing). Not really my kind of thing but I read this on my friends page and it did make me think about our lack of understanding of others in general.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/22/AR2007052201554.html

In this article the questioner raises the age old irritant of ‘what do stay at home mums (or in old fashioned speak: housewife) do all day?’. This is probably something that most SAHMs feel condmemned by at some point. Often its them condemning themselves, women put so much pressure on themselves these days to be perfect. Its crazy. If you’ve been at home with a crying baby all day and haven’t even been able to sit down with a cup of tea, by the end of the day you are just about rung out. How many women, having been in that situation, will still be thinking, ‘I need to get the dinner ready…’? Somtimes we need to recognise its ok to say, actually I am having an awful day, could you come round and help? or ‘darling I’m sorry theres’no dinner, why don’t we get a takeaway?’ (ok no remarks on maybe him cooking the dinner, thats not the point :) )

The thing is, it is almost impossible to understand what being a parent is like, mum or dad, unless you are one. You can explain to people, you can show them the state of your house, you can cry off engagements due to kids illness (or your own exhaustion!) but they won’t get it until they are there in that situation. And actually I am ok with that. It’s not a red rag to a bull for me. It’s a bit like faith… (ok you knew that had to come in somewhere, didn;t you ;) ) You cannot really come to grips with faith unless you have it. You can explain to friends what you believe and why, but they won’t understand truly until they are there. Oh yes they can be knowledgable on the bible, even be a theologian, but thats the ‘head’ stuff not the heart, (that make sense?). Same with kids. I have a friend who moved to Australia when she was 7 months Pregnant with her first child. She knew no one out there and her husband was going to be working very long hours. I told her she was nuts. Not because I wanted to hurt her but because I would have been a bad friend if I had said, ‘oh how wonderful, you’ll have a great time. baby? no problem…’ So I didnt. It was bloody hard for her but at least she had some warning. She had read baby books by the shed load, done ante-natal classes etc she had the knoweldge, but not the actual baby yet. How could she possibly know what it was going to be like?

The best comment in the article really was the last one:

‘Either make a sincere effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself. ‘

If we all made more of a sincere effort to understand each others position, life would be a lot more pleasant.

Musical Interlude II

I’ve not come across this band before but my lovely hubby sent me this link. Despite the deliberately tear-jerking images, which I am not usually a fan of, the song is beautiful and poignant.

bad day

So today I will be mostly falling apart. I am frankly exhausted. I am too busy, and that’s not a boast, I am just too busy, it can’t go on like this. I am so tired I have even developed a twitchy eye (can’t tell you how annnoying it is!), which I discovered via the wonders of google is usually due to ‘extreme tiredness’. great, so now its official (in google terms anyway), I am extremely tired. I could have told you that, oh, yes I did already…

I am stuck between 2 worlds. the one I chose, pre-faith, that I can’t quite get out of yet and the one where God is leading me. Having made ‘the’ decision is great, but I can’t actually do anything about it yet. but I can’t give up those thigns that God is guiding me to either. Those are the things I want to be doing. the rest is just what I am committed to, for now at least. On top of everything else I am having real trouble sleeping, which I haven’t suffered with for a while and needless to say it is not really helping the situation.
So where do I draw the line? I need to step back somewhow before I fall down, but I can’t give anything up. I want to give more time to God, and I have recognised that I can’t do that yet. in time, his time I will be able to. But I just cant, or won’t, give up those few times that I do have with him, seeking him, studying him. So I’m in a quandry as to what to do.
Today I have one of those days where there simply aren’t enough hours. There are things that must be done today and meetings to be had, and yet here I am writing my blog. Classic avoidance technique I’m sure…! I would love to run away from it all and go and hide in a cave for a week (well, perhaps not a cave, a nice B&B somewhere, or stuff that, a luxury spa). yes that’s what I need – a week in a luxury spa. wonder if the hubby/kids/business partner/colleagues would go for that…?

ok well enough moaning, guess I just needed to feel sorry for myself for a few mins, so I will go and get on with the stuff I am supposed to be doing, then I will fall over…. ;)

Wake me Up by Martyn Joseph

I have been a fan of Martyn Joseph for a long time. I love the passion he puts into his songs. I’ve seen him in tears on stage, the amount of emiotion he puts into them. Amazing songwriter. This song is one of my faves, this is where I was before, ‘my soul was asleep’. love the lyrics. I like that many of his songs have Christian content but in a subtle way. We’ve taken so many friends along to see him gig, and regardless of their faith they all love the music. This is not the best recording but it is the only one I could find online.

What the press say about him:
Strong, burnished vocals, passionate and reflective songs about love, personal and political activism, and questions of faith in a troubled world set to intimate, acoustic-based accompaniment.

that just about says it all…

Comments on being a Vicars spouse

Ok so this topic has been covered a lot this week, thanks to BBCs latest religion inspired sitcom ‘Rev’. Sadly I have failed to watch it yet, despite the fact that I ringed it in the paper weeks before it began and left myself notes to sky+ it. I still forgot. Twice in fact. One week is bad enough but to do it again is just rubbish. And I realise that I haven’t put it on the planner for next week – must go do that actually.

Several people have posted on the joys (or not) of being married to a Vicar. Being someone that is half thinking of/maybe considering/wondering if God wants it/really not sure/ok in complete denial about this choice of career, I have found them interesting and at times hilarious. (although I have felt a strong need to keep my husband away from all such posts!!)
My faves are Lesley’s lists (think there are 3 now!) and the comments, and The Vicars wife. All of which I recommend!
These are a few of the points that made ma laugh:
– people come round to talk about their problems, you say “It’s our day off”, they say “Oh good, I’ll stay for a coffee.
– You sometimes have to have the bishop around for tea.
– Nobody tells you their dirty jokes anymore…
– You can’t misbehave outrageously in public.
– People judge you on whether your house is clean and tidy
– You were not “called” to be a bloody vicar’s wife (husband) and you don’t get paid for it.
– You feel you have to give a reasonable amount of your (very limited) income to the church if you are going to ask parishioners to do likewise – you sometimes resent this when one of them tells you about their third holiday that year…
– (posted by The Vicars wife): He has to chop logs outside my kitchen window to get the fuel we need to heat our Vicarage. This is a very good view when I am washing up.
– And finally, as told in a seminar on a Vicar’s wives conference once: ‘The advantages of midweek daytime sex cannot be overstated’.
So its not all bad then… ;) when can I start?!