Mother’s Day Thinking

So here I am celebrating Mother’s Day – sort of. Head of House is working so without him to pile on the guilt,   Mother’s Day is not what you would call a priority here. Still Fruit of Womb One is home from York University so that is nice. Neither of the sprogs are guaranteeing to spend the whole day here – there’s no point being ridiculous about it.
So, left to my own devices, I was musing on Parenthood – the movie not the vocation. It’s one of my favourite films. I love Steve Martin – he is a genius. That is not an invitation to debate. That is a fact. I am unmoved in this opinion despite the strange changes there seem to have been to his face recently. Anyway, there are several key scenes in the film that perfectly capture what it is to be a parent. This is one of those moments. Kevin is an insecure child who hates playing in his baseball team because there’s so much pressure. And when the ball goes towards him, the panic his father feels is only matched by his joy when the ball is caught.
It’s so good because that’s how it is when you are a parent. A great chasm of love opens up that you can do nothing about. Sometimes it’s as painful as it is joyful but that is irrelevant. Parents are completely caught up in their children with no hope of escape. You have probably heard the phrase “I am only as happy as my unhappiest child. ” and I think that is true. (I tried to find out who said it originally but couldn’t find anything. Well I Googled it and it wasn’t in the first three answers.That’s what passes for research as far as I am concerned) There are exceptions to this I know but I am only speaking from experience and it is an extraordinary and powerful experience.
Maybe the most “successful” Christians are those who manage to get hold of how this translates into the Fatherhood of God. Imagine someone completely caught up in you. Sharing your joys, troubles and heartbreak as if it were their own.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

These words from Matthew are some of the first words that Jesus speaks after the resurrection. Look and think about the phrase “my brothers”
I don’t know if you do meditation. It got a bit of a bad press when I was a young Christian – being associated with yogis who were apparently showing the Beatles the path to enlightenment while secretly trying to put their hand on Mia Farrow’s leg.
Put all that behind you though and try to meditate about this phrase and all that I think Jesus is deliberately saying about Christians here.
MY – implies family, belonging, strong connection and intimacy.
BROTHERS – if he is the son and we are his brothers then we too are sons, family and belonging. It’s who were are.
It nothing to do with how we feel. It’s who we are. It’s un-caused, un-earned. It’s how a family is supposed to be.
Have a great week everyone.

PS Head of House is unimpressed by effect the Cloonster getting arrested for very important and heroic stand is having on female members of the family. Head of House knows nothing.

Come let us reason together

Or not.

You may well have been subject to name calling over the last couple of weeks. You may well have not even realised that it was happening. I came across it by default because it happened on Twitter and the Twitter/Lent/Giving Up Thing is just about holding. I’m still not sure why I am doing it – no discernable spiritual effect but I’ve come this far. Anyway, if you have signed up to the petition calling for marriage to remain as a lifetime commitment between one man and one woman you may or may not know that a link went up on Twitter referring to the petition as a “Homophobe List” One word (sort of)

I need to explain my thoughts – few of which will flow in any particularly coherent way and some of which will probably not be file-able under “Christian Heart-Warming Edifying Things” but it’s my blog and I want to say them anyway.
The first thing is that you should not lose too much sleep over this. The link was put up by some of the “right-on” slightly snarky writers who earn their living by proving that they know much more than you could ever possibly hope to. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of reading you as you insult me. I’m very humbled.
When I’m insulted, I usually prefer it to be by someone who knows me from a bar of soap – call me old fashioned. There’s very little I can hold my head up about in this life but anyone who knows my life circumstances knows that a Homophobe I ain’t.
These are very complicated issues. For me, the Christian church has brought a lot of this on itself by a surfeit of superiority when it was in the majority on this issue. I also think that if, as a Christian, anyone can honestly point at me and attach the word “—phobe” to me about anything or anyone, then I have to have a good look at myself. I am in no position to judge anyone.
Some people are referring to this as persecution. I am not so sure. I think if you spent 15 minutes with a Nigerian Christian or an Egyptian Christian you would be able to have a clearer definition of real persecution and would feel like a bit of a soft nelly.
What concerns me is that tolerance seems to be a bit of a one way street. For many people these are deeply held spiritual views (although again – complicated – there is a huge spectrum of opinion in this area within the church) which really transcend some people in the papers writing opinion pieces. But, as the great philosopher Will Young seemed to suggest on Question Time this week – anyone who disagrees with his viewpoint isn’t actually entitled to an opinion, so there. (I don’t think he actually said that he would scweam and scweam until he was sick but the threat was certainly there)
See how mad it’s made me? I will need to go off and eat several scones to calm down.
The worst thing about all this is that it detracts. It detracts from the central truth. That the Son of God, while I had no interest in him whatsoever, came to the earth and died for me so that I could have my life changed and be saved. So that he could call me friend.

Isaiah 1:18

Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. 

La di da

Well the Internet is back, which is nice. I have spent too much time really catching up on reading blogs etc as well as your actual basic being alive stuff so I haven’t really sat down and prayed and thought about what to say really. We are off to church to night as part of a highly scientific experiment to try some different meetings to allow Head of House  to attend more because his shifts make things difficult sometimes. So between then and now, I have to make a chicken cobbler, have a shower (new one fitted yesterday – happy but will miss extra time to do stuff while bath is running)and generally sort stuff for working morning tomorrow. So what I am saying is that I sometimes do this a bit on the hoof. Who knew?
I sometimes wish I was more thoughtful. I don’t mean thoughtful in that I always remember birthdays and ring people up when I hear that their cat has died. (I don’t really – I am rubbish at that sort of stuff. I always think people will think I am poking my nose in so I sit alone and worry about people silently.) No I mean thoughtful in that I think deeply about my faith. Both inside and outside the box as the young people say. I admire people who do this. The blog  Quiet Way is a brilliant example of this. I may not always come to the same conclusions she comes to but I admire the way that she has taken the time to do so.Unfortunately, I am much more of a La Di Da sort of person. If you haven’t seen Annie Hall (and if you haven’t you can’t possibly be my friend so if you love me you will make the effort) you may not know that La Di Da was a phrase that Diane Keaton would use when she kind of ran out of useful things to say or when she didn’t know the answer to something. With her it was endearing. With me – maybe less so. I don’t expect to have the answers to everything – That way madness and at the very least an attempt at world domination lies. But some things I think are important enough to develop a useful opinion on and need thought.
The problem, of course, is time. I would love to spend more time in the garden under a home crocheted blanket, sipping whisky (OK – possibly not if I am trying to think) and coming up with deep spiritual insights but in practice, it rarely happens. The only way is to simplify things and then to actually do quiet time. And while I am at it I might just learn how to teach a pig to fly. Frustrated? You bet your bippy. Giving up on it? Nah. Old story. Old solution. Think I might ask God to help me

Sensitive natured people – look away now. Have spent morning in raucous laughter. Daughter has monkey suit onesie. HOH hung it on washing line this morning. Monkey suit has curly tail. Curly tail on back on onesie is never noticed. Curly tail peeping out between washing has highly pornographic appearance – borderline frightening. Monkey suit taken off line sharpish before visit from local constabulary. Do you think its like this in Billy Graham’s House?

No not Davey Jones as well. Love the Manchester accent here…

Blog Apologies

This is a mini blog because (a) Virgin – in their wisdom have declined the opportunity to provide us with an Internet service this week. Leaves on the cables or something. Am doing this in spare time at work And (b) we have been in York visiting Fruit of Womb One.
Sooo will do proper “thoughts” next time. However, just a conundrum. Did decide to give up Twitter for Lent. This is causing lots of unforeseen problems. Firstly, people are tweeting me and I am ignoring them which is just plain rude and good manners are important to us Northerners. Secondly, when I informed Head of House of my less than momentous decision he gave me incredulous look and following conversation took place.
HOH: But you are a non conformist! You’ll be buying plastic Marys next!
MOI: Extreme. No, I thought it would be a good spiritual discipline.
HOH: You are not supposed to need men to tell you when you need spiritual disciplines.
MOI: Well I just sometimes wonder if Spurgeon would be on Twitter
HOH: Are you joking? You get that Spurgeon quote on your phone every morning. It’s the same thing.
MOI: Er sort of. But I do follow Caitlin Moran,The Queen etc. Not all of it very spiritual.
HOH: Pah! *Leaves room singing 200 year old hymns about Freedom from Tyranny etc. etc.*

So all I have decided is that I haven’t decided if it is a good or a bad thing for me. Understand that it works for many people. Think God would probably have someone who is decisive either way. Onwards and upwards.

Special Subject

…the bloomin’ obvious!

This is our dawg. he’s called Morecambe (after Eric) He’s not called Malcolm. Do you hear me mad man on the park with a carrier bag full of Stellas? Morecambe – not Malcolm! You find him here doing his favourite thing (other than baiting Lucy – our other dog). Sometimes Morecambe is extraordinarily intelligent. If the phone rings when one person is out of the house, Morcs will run to the front door in full on hysterical mode because he is sure that someone will be leaving to taxi the missing person home. (Morcs doesn’t like it when people leave Hargreaves Towers. Actually, he doesn’t like it when people arrive at Hargreaves Towers. He is very much in favour of the status quo) Sometimes though and it pains me to be so rude – he is incredibly stupid. He must know that getting too close to the fire, although very pleasant for a while,  can often be quite painful. As it is a real, living fire with real wood/coal on it, it does bite back occasionally and spit out a red hot ember. This is not really a problem as long as we are in the room to keep an eye on it or as long as you are not a Jack Russell with your big, black cute nose far too close to the fire. then it makes him yelp. Big time. The thing is, it doesn’t seem to matter how many times we warn him, how many times it happens and even the little singe marks he gets on the end of his nose don’t seem to make a difference. When he is in full fire mode, all common sense goes out of the window.
*writer moves almost seamlessly to heavy duty Christian point she wishes to make*

Philippians 4:6-7
The Message
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.

  • Even though I know – not suspect – know that worry makes no difference at all to anything that happens to me. I still insist on taking all my life’s circumstances and chewing them all over until they have eaten away at all logical faith and thought.
  • I have seen enough in my past to know that God listens to and answers prayer – never in my timing and rarely as I expect but I am never ignored.
  • Combining these two facts means that I know that a problem given to God will not be forgotten, God has the capability and the heart to deal with anything that life throws at me and that he is therefore far better positioned to deal with everything I worry about.
  • I am meant to give these things to God leaving me with peace to get on with my life

Yet, like a little dog who refuses to take note of what is good for him, no matter how obvious past experience may make this, I continue to make life more difficult for myself than it needs to be (and Lord knows, it’s difficult enough anyway)

It’s a massive blessing – massive I tell you! Yet will I ever be brave or mature enough to take advantage of it? Is it just me? Seriously, I do my own head in sometimes.

Event of the week. I expect when Catherine Middleton writes that she has stuff like “met Elton John” (obligatory for Royalty it seems) or “Tried on tiara”. My event was – “I fell over.” Big time. I fell on my face and unusually for me, this is not an exaggeration. I would put a photo up but Nightmare on Elm Street probably has the copyright on that face.  Also, hurt shoulder, knees and ruined trousers and just for added value, managed to do it in front of row of ten teenage girls having photo taken before night out. Many were so horrified by my bloody visage that they actually ran away in horror as I staggered to my feet, trying to say comfortingly “I think it looks worse than it is.” (It didn’t) Head of House is threatening to only allow me out if I am carrying banner saying. “I have not been thumped. I fell over. Outside. There are witnesses.” In case anyone cares. It hurt actually. Quite a lot.

This last bit this week isn’t big or clever so if you want to ignore it or are more mature than me, then stop reading now. My friend and yours Prof Dawkins went on the Radio this week to announce that a survey had found that many people who profess to be Christians do not believe in many areas of the Christian faith and some couldn’t even name the first book of the New Testament. (Is this supposed to be news?) Anyway, using that logic, as the country’s leading atheist and evolutionist the Prof would easily be able to remember the full title of Darwin’s Origin of the species wouldn’t he? Rev Giles Fraser called him out on it. Enjoy first then you can be sorry later. If you want to.