Category Archives: General Nonsense

What is Intelligence?

Last night Karl and I enjoyed Britain’s Brightest. It’s a new quiz show which looks at different types of intelligence and gives contestants a variety of tasks to do. It’s like a twenty first century version of the Krypton Factor, but without the assault course.

I found it interesting watching it with Karl because it showed how your understanding of what it means to be bright or clever depends upon your own abilities to some extent.

I watched it as I guess most others did being astounded by the abilities of one of the contestants in particular. Additionally when they did a test which showed how what you hear can differ according to what you see or listen to I found it fascinating as I did hear it differently with my eyes open and closed.

It was fascinating watching it with Karl though. Karl has a high level of ability when it comes to maths particularly, but also relating to logic and grammar. He also has synesthesia and in his case this takes the form of seeing colours and colours having sounds.

In the part of the programme which had the clip showing how what we hear differs he said that when I said what I thought it was, which is what most people would have heard with the visuals, it didn’t seem right because it gave him the wrong colour. What the rest of us heard only when we closed our eyes was what gave him the colour indicating that it was correct.

During the maths bit there were some short cuts shown. Karl managed to get the answers in a shorter time than the contestant we were most amazed with had her answer lit up with a tick. Fair enough his academic area is mathematical physics. What happened in the second round of this task was fascinating though, he stopped shouting out the answer and got that glazed thinking look. I enquired what was going on and he said was thinking of the equation for the short cut given and testing it to make sure it was an absolute rule without exception, apparently it was and it gave him the colour green which he gets for “beautiful maths”. He then went on to say he’d not used the first short cut as he finds it quicker to do it the standard way when there is a possible exception, that doesn’t give the same colours.

Then after I was agreeing with the presenter that the winner had been outstanding Karl asked in pure innocence “isn’t that normal?”. We had a fascinating discussion of the sort we have every so often in which I have to explain that the way he sees the world and the way others do is some what different when it comes to matters of maths and logic problems and that to most of us the ability to do these things is associated with “really clever” or “bright” people.

The discussion moved on to what is intelligence and how it’s measured. We agree there are a range of different forms of intelligence, (as Howard Gardiner outlined in his theory), and that was what the programme was seeking to show, but whilst focusing on a narrower band of intelligences than Gardiner looks at. Culturally some intelligence gets viewed as more impressive than others and it is interesting how those who have that type of intelligence sometimes don’t understand why it is viewed as it is because for them it is simply “normal”.

Cliches to Avoid?

The God’s Politics blog has a post giving a set of Emergent Christian cliches to avoid. They are, certainly in the UK, cliches you’d find in a range of more mainstream and liberal Christian circles too and I have to admit, going a bit red, that yes I have been guilty of several of them.

The first one is something I have not been guilty of because it is something I have strong feelings about and have had a number of arguments with others about. The cliche is ‘We Don’t Use Gender-Exclusive Language for God’.

Whilst I believe that God is beyond gender I refuse to call Him ‘It’. It is my own opinion that seeking to move to gender inclusive language is part of a wider movement of playing about with language that has resulted in many of our great hymns have been slaughtered in recent years. (Rant over before I build up anymore steam as it is something I know is simply a personal opinion and just as bad).

The next one I am very guilty of. ‘Is this (fill in the blank) fair trade/ organic/ locally grown/ humanely raised?’ It’s the fair trade one which I have been almost militant about in the past at church coffee time before I moved to a church which was a ‘fair trade church’, (even though I know that there are issues around the fair trade movement and how much it actually helps the people it is supposed to). I hope it’s something I’ve got a little less (in fact a lot less) sanctimonious about than in the past because thinking back to myself in my early-mid 20’s particularly I was a bit of a nightmare as an ethical consumer.

Christian Piatt who was the writer says: “I think it’s great that part of the ecological and social stewardship at the heart of the emergent Christian movement is to know more about where all of the goods we consume come from, and at what cost. But making a big scene about such values in public serves to draw attention to ourselves more than the cause we value if not done with some discretion. And as the text in Proverbs says, to everything there is a season. There are times to ask where your chicken came from, but probably not when you’re a guest at someone’s dinner table. Trying to make others feel bad because they don’t share your values only serves to buttress the stereotype of Christians as morally superior, arrogant and insensitive.”

‘I’ve kind of moved beyond the whole (fill in the blank) Christian doctrine. ‘ This is one which I will raise my hand on and say “guilty” on but it’s also one which I feel one has to approach with caution as to some extent it is the tone of voice and way it is said which is important. To say I’ve moved on in a way which implies superior knowledge is wrong and should be avoided at all costs. However, to say “I used to believe this but now I’ve moved on beyond the whole (fill in the blank) Christian doctrine” can simply be telling the story of our own spiritual journey and the way you’ve moved from one part of the Christian Church to another. It is this latter spirit that I hope has characterised my posts about my relationship with Evangelicalism over the years.

One I’m not so guilty of, although on a couple of times I have been heard to mutter it is, ‘That is a very colonial/imperial attitude’. Within his what he says on this one Piatt makes a point which is crucial when looking at all of these cliches. He says, ” Yes, Jesus spoke truth, but he did it in love. And if we’re not coming yet from s place of love, it’s probably best not to speak at all.” That’s the lesson I still need to learn at times.

The next one is ‘I love Jesus but not religion/ the Church’. I have been heard to make that comment on more than one occasion but as is pointed out on the God’s Politics post this is at best reductionist and at worst plain stupid. (Ok that paraphrases it, but it is what is being said in slightly more elaborate language).

The last of the main cliches given is, ‘We don’t do traditional worship’. Whilst I might be heard to say things like ‘I’m low church’ which is another cliche which is a tad dodgy particularly if said in a defensive way I don’t think I’ve ever been heard to say that ‘I don’t do traditional worship’. In fact I have been a clear proponent of the view that traditional and contemporary do and must mix and that the dichotomy given between ‘inherited church’ and ‘Fresh Expressions’ and alt worship is wrong.

There is another cliche which the author admits go beyond the Emergent sub-culture and that’s ‘I don’t (insert activity here); I’m a Christian’. The explanation of why this is problematic is something which I think is useful to be reminded of. He says, “It’s fine that you choose to live differently because of your faith. In fact, one’s faith should inform much about their daily life. But by making public announcements about what you do and don’t do because of your religious beliefs, you’re not only implicitly casting judgment on those who think or act differently than you; you’re also exalting yourself, which I’m pretty sure is something Christians aren’t supposed to do. Yes, I know we can find a Biblical basis for “boasting in Christ,” but if what you’re doing makes you look like a self-righteous tool, you’re probably doing more harm than good.”

nef go beyond wtf

So there has been a great deal of nonsense and hot air spouted about “The Big Society” and “New Austerity” from alot of different directions, including this one. The whole current situation gives us lots to think about, particularly if we are Christians who are by definition engaged in the voluntary sector or third sector by the very nature of some the activities churches do and have done. It can be difficult to know where to go to get any serious, useful information on the whole subject. Well my recommendation as a first port of call would be the new economics forum, which has the rather encouraging tag line of “economics as if people and planet mattered“. They have produced a 32 page report entitled “Cutting it: The ‘Big Society’ and the new austerity“, (available as a pdf download on the previous link).

The report raises some serious questions about the approach which is being taken, including whether the move to encourage more commercial involvement will actually take power away from local small organisations who actually know the areas they are working in.

The Faithworks movement has been involved in looking at these issues aswell and has been organising some local conferences.

I have a range of questions to ask though, in relation to churches involvement – which yet again fit in with the stuff I’ve been reading in Ann Morisy’s book Journeying Out :

1) Are we being reflective enough about our motives for engaging in The Big Society? Is it because we think the core aims fit in with our gospel call our is it because we hope this could be part of the answer to the crisis of secularisation? I hope it is the first, but part of me, (quite a big part of me), worries it is the second.

2) Are we being reflective enough about who our congregations are, what the demands upon them are and how their make up is going to change over the next few years? If we are seeking to look at how we deploy and use our volunteers we need to be realistic about who they are and what we are asking them to do. As I put it bluntly in an interview a few months ago, if we were seeing old people being used in any other sector how they’re used in the church we would call it exploitation.

3) Following on from this, whilst being open to the Spirit and the unreasonableness of God and faith (in a totally positive way), are we thinking strategically enough or are we currently being led by reactive practice?

4) Are we being imaginative enough in our approaches and deployment of the staff and resources we have? Or are we becoming defensive on such issues and engaging in damaging debates which are creating cultures of competition and or fear based purely on economic considerations?

5) Are we seeking to use our local knowledge and contacts in a way which benefits our communities or seeks to reassert or develop our own power and influence? Is there a conflict between the two?

Me, I don’t have the answers. I’m engaging in the same soul searching and wrestling as everybody else….but from a relative position of detatchment at the moment where I can pose the awkward questions.

Hope, dispair and questioning

I’m reading Ann Morisy’s book Journeying Out at the moment. I should only be up to chapter two, but have read some way ahead. (Note here, it’s our current reading group book which is why I should only be up to chapter two). It’s a book which is challenging me and disturbing  me as well as encouraging me. The key reason I think it’s having the effect on me it is is because of the contradictions in my own life at the moment where hope, dispair and questioning are interlinking and also forcing me to face up to questions about power and access.

I want to start by hope. Morisy’s book on one level is a book of hope because it tells what ordinary people do and have been doing. In places it talks about “random acts of kindness” but refers to them in relation to “social capital”. It also talks about the transforming power of volunteering and involvement upon the person who’s doing something. This made me think back outside the church again to my encounter with the Dundee LGBT group, which I blogged about recently. They’ve asked me to plug an event they’re doing soon and it gave me hope…emphasising how the acts of individuals in different places are helping change the world.

DLGBT are joining with Dundee Action Palestine to present the Bubble, (see the FB group), and are going to be doing a Skype chat with some people in the area where the film is set afterwards. The reason this gave me hope, and relates to the book is the event is really about story telling. The Skype chat after the film will, I guess, involve some story telling and will allow some stories from Tel Aviv to flow over to Scotland. Stories and storytelling as Morisy points out within her book have a huge power for transformation.

The dispair part of the post comes from some of my own feelings at the moment about life and more specifically about the lives of people who are not as fortunate as I am. I am currently feeling the effects both materially and emotionally of being skint and feeling squeezed. I am currently finding out what it is like to be trained and encouraged in one area but having, for a moment atleast, to take a job which does not use those skills. This is something I know alot of others are also struggling with at the moment. My biggest worry is about those at the bottom, like those single parents with children in junior school who are from today being forced to look for work and change the benefit they are on – see Gingerbread press release. My worry is that if graduates like me are being forced into the lowest sector jobs what are many of those with few or no qualifications (which single parents disproportionately make up) going to do? I am also just starting to get my head around what the spending cuts mean for me and my friends….I am currently more scared, I think than I have been for some time.

In Morisy’s book she talks about the way churches moved more into the “social outreach” and “professional services” sphere during the last recession, and may have inadvertantly secularised themselves. This move showed churches are good at this type of thing…something we already knew. Thus, the government strategy seems dependant on churches increasing this type of work and providing another safety net again. Something, we have shown we do well. However, things have changed. I honestly don’t think we understand how the current uncertainty and cuts are going to impact upon our churches as many of our members become unemployed, face cuts in their income in very real terms  or face huge uncertainty in their jobs, (bearing in mind the number of church members involved in the public services). Also I don’t think that the churches themselves have – in declaring their expertise in this area – been realistic about the effects which secularisation has had upon their membership and the demographic of many of their members. The sad fact is that alot of our church members are rapidly reaching their forth age, (another term Morisy talks about). I am starting to dispair about the reality of the situation we find ourselves in and how utterly unprepared we are for it.

Finally I am questioning the whole issues around power and coming alongside people. In recent weeks I have had to acknowledge I am technically “poor” and am amongst the marginalised on one level in our society. However, at the same time I am through where I am and the opportunities I am being given amongst the most priviledged. There has been help offered to me which I should have taken, but which I couldn’t psychologically allow myself to take – which I may yet need to, and help offered to me which I am taking but am struggling with. The main area I have struggled with is a recognition I have fallen into various “client groups” which I am happy to engage with from the position of helping but which I struggle to be part of.

In the book Morisy engages with both Liberation Theology and Queer Theology to some extent, (although she quotes James Alison more generally on resentment giving no clue to the fact it comes from a book which is doing queer theology….because that might just have to admit to the reader that queer theology goes beyond LGBT people and has something to teach straight people too). Anyway this means she obviously talks about coming alongside people, but she still refers to “the poor” and “marginalised” in terms of “the other” and argues that in churches we take a power position. She also makes the point that the increasing professionalisation of volunteering and engagement with “the other” may be damaging.

Now this has all disturbed me and left me questioning as I say. On one  level I am back in that place which my research stems from….and which I find confuddling…using many of the definitions I am “the other”, “the marginalised” the person who the text speaks of in terms of the church going out to – yet I am very much part of the church. Being openly gay, a single parent and more recently obviously poor I am the apparently under-represented within our churches. However, I know that often I am the unrecognised rather than the absent. The financial situtations of many in our churches is not what it may first appear. There are many closeted gay people or people who operate on the don’t ask, don’t tell principal because they just see their sexual orientation as a small part of what they are and don’t want to get embroiled in the politics. At the same time I am though I am the provider, the teacher and the obviously middle class who wants to go out and do something to help “them” whoever “they are”.

Life at the moment is developing in such a way that I am increasingly moving towards the likelyhood of at some point becoming “a professional” yet…..I know the limitations that gives as well as the opportunities and security. At the moment I am being able to be involved in some incredibly exciting stuff – like launching Maze, like Streetlights, like Greenbelt because I can choose what I volunteer with and get my experience from. If I were paid I would not have this choice.

On one level I am not doing all this for totally alturistic motives. I know I am too old to get an internship, even if they one were available – which it’s not – and so I therefore having to do my own set of networking and cv building for when I finish the research….bearing in mind where I know God has shown he is and is not leading me. I need to be gaining the experience these opportunities are giving me.But they are reinforcing to me that volunteering as a possibility is set up for those who have the luxury of being able to offer their time and resources for little or nothing, it is for those who have the luxury of time between jobs and family, or who are retired…volunteering is something the middle class do to make themselves feel useful.

This conflict and the different feelings I have generated further reinforce to me I have become subject to exactly the issues  Morisy talks about in her second chapter. In order to carry on doing what I love and what is transforming me I am needing to get more professionalised so that I can get paid for it.  Also doing the volunteering keeps me “happily middle class” and stops me falling totally into the pit of dispair marked “marginalised” or “victim” or “scrounger”….all of which are I think unfair terms for those we seek to walk alongside. I know I am not better than those I am seeking to help because I know in reality I am one of those I am seeking to help. Yet, if I acknowledge that equality with the most marginalised in our society I know I lose power….I acknowledge that I have lost choice….I allow myself to become somebody who has to take rather than give and I reinforce the stereotypes.

I know God through Jesus intentionally identified with those who were marginalised….Jesus was a Nazarene and in his early life a refugee. Jesus was an rabbi who spent three years wandering and sent his disciples out with nothing but the gospel message. Yet I know Jesus also was the giver….God is power and it was the power Jesus had and gave which transformed lives. Yet, this power was not status indeed Jesus was often critical of the power that came with status. I am questioning how to engage in discipleship,mission and worship (because I feel the three cannot be removed from each other) in our current culture without getting involved in the issues around “power”. Again this is something which worries me about the effects of the spending review as they come through.

I know some of the attitudes I’ve spoken about here and some of the contridictions and questions highlight where in my own life I need to constantly seek forgiveness and refer to how I need to deal with pride. At the moment I am wrestling with my faith in a way which is useful but hard.

If you are still here at the end of my rambling on …thank you.

The railway

There was a train crash yesterday on the Sudbury to Marks Tey line, which the BBC and others have reported on. It is a train line which runs through the small village of Bures and I have very many happy memories of.

I thought today, as I continue to pray for the injured, I would share a little about the line. Some of the  history of the line can be found on the Sudbury Line website and more is to be added, it appears.

The line itself was opened on 2nd July 1849, going between Marks Tey and Sudbury. Over the years it expanded and joined with other lines, before shrinking back to the original 11 miles again. During the 1860’s a line to Melford and eventually Bury St. Edmunds was opened, and my great, great (think I have got the number right), grandfather was the station master at Melford station. A bit of history can be found on this site, (which looks at interesting lettering in and around Ipswich).

The line goes through some stunning countryside in what is now largely commuter country. The crash happened on the part of the line which goes out past the Stour Valley  water meddows. When I was a child it was under a constant threat of closure, because Beeching had earmarked it but somehow it never quite got chopped and I know my grandparents were amongst those who fought for its retention. In time what happened was that they stopped trains going straight through to Colchester St. Botolphs and instead terminated the service at Marks Tey to connect with trains going to London in one direction and Ipswich or Clacton (both via Colchester) in the other. This site shows some pictures and talks about the axe of the line to Cambridge.

The line goes through  Chappel and Wakes Colne station which houses the East Anglian Railway Museum. Just beyond the station is the viadduct. Looking down onto Chappel from it was always a thrill as a kid as it really was like looking down onto toy town.

Randomness

An art gallery wrapped in a bit of fabric which went through the building seemed to sum up the randomness of life at the moment. The said “installation” was part of the The The Things Is (For 3) exhibition at the Milton Keynes gallery. It was truly the most random exhibition I think I’ve come across and well worth going to see if you’re in the area and like modern art.

Nipping into the gallery was part of my “trip down south” to go to G. & J.’s wedding in Tunbridge Wells, (which was lovely) and help TOH with some flat hunting in the land of the concrete cow. Doing all this as cheaply as possible meant that we ended up in the a lovely but somewhat surreal b&b. The owner was wonderful and I don’t think I’ve ever met somebody so eager to please..Although he was a self proclaimed agnostic his love of hugging and lack of awareness at personal space at times was something only normally experienced in church. Still he was brilliant.

Clarification of My Current Situation

Following on from the comments on the previous post and TOH’s comments on her blog I would like to make the following statement:

I hoped my last post might have been general enough not to have given insight into exactly what was going on. However, thanks to TOH’s comments particularly, aswell as my own inability to make it objective enough the personal and current nature of the issue was obviously clear. I therefore wish to make people aware of the fact that I am not currently “engaged”, however there is a strong likely hood I may be by Greenbelt….although this is all currently out of my hands.

TOH has asked Third Party for permission to enter into a civil partnership with me and we are currently awaiting a decision, (or I am awaiting a formal proposal from TOH which would indicate Third Party has granted her permission)…as you can tell I am a bit out of the loop on this at the moment for obvious reasons.

Should we get engaged the plan at the moment is for the engagement to last a couple of years, and for us to enter into a life long civil partnership in a couple of years when Third Party’s life would be less effected.

Should there be any further development….and an official announcement I will post it on here.

Language Problems

Conversations take place using language. The words we seek to use can need to be descriptive but have the right meaning. In the certain situations words are really important because they are loaded with meaning and have been the fuel of endless debate and argument. In seeking to move beyond those arguments and debates it would sometimes be useful if there were a different set of language entirely.

I am struggling with this at the moment because in having general conversations I have been stuck for language recently. We have the terms civil partnership and blessing in relation to what can happen if two people become legal partners and this is then recognised in a religious ceremony afterwards. That’s brilliant. For various reasons I am much happier with this language than “marriage” or “gay marriage” in relation to two people of the same gender making a commitment.

However, what about the period between the decision to make a commitment and the civil partnership itself? My preferred term would be that people are “formally committed” but as I have had pointed out the connection between the word “committed” and institutional mental health care is so strong in our culture it is not useful. Others prefer the term engaged, but that again is connected with traditional marriage. In order to move out of the polemics I really believe it would be useful if we had a similar term….I want to easily be able to explain the situation friends are in without automatically using the “marriage” language, (particularly if they are preferring to clearly talk in terms of civil partnership rather than marriage).

Then there are the issues of how we mark these “new” ceremonies? Do we seek to incorporate the symbols and practices that are associated with engagement and marriage or do we look to create new ones? How do we negotiate it when one person takes a particular position in the debate which another feels uncomfortable with? How do we find acceptable ways of doing things when not only the people involved but those around them appear to have conflicting expectations, partly through the loaded language? How do we step out of the box and away from the polemics without causing more problems? These are all questions I am pondering at the moment.

Additional questions relate to how do people with children show respect for their children in these things? How do they discuss with young people things we have no adequate language for? How do we help young people negotiate their feelings about these things and ensure respect is shown to them without turning into martyrs ourselves, and denying our own feelings?

Basically, as Christians how do we live out our beliefs and act in appropriate counter cultural ways which are based on our biblical understandings of love, respect, commitment, faithfulness and care in a way which is sensitive to the faithfully held differing opinions of others in the church and of others who may have issues with these things?

As they used to say on Swap Shop….answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Everyday Life

Following two v. sensible comments on yesterdays blog here are my replies.

1) TAZ stands for Temporary Autonomous Zone and Wiki gives a bit of background, but not that much. Basically it refers to temporary spaces which are outside the control of “the system”.  There are sorts of issues with this which I can’t be bothered to blog about.

2) In terms of A.’s comment which was: “Taz, Greenbelt whatever. What about the large number of Christians who work 9-5 (or 8-6+) Mon-Fri, need the weekend to catch up with housework and don’t get long academic holidays to swan around the country.” my response is as follows.

On one level TAZ, Greenbelt and stuff in the “whatever” category because they are generally things which don’t impact on the lives of alot of people. However, as ideas and spaces for discussion they do matter. Often discussions and things that people come across at places like Greenbelt filter down into local churches.  For Methodists, for example, Greenbelt matters because it is something that the national church is investing money into….money that could be used to help other projects if it weren’t being used for this. (Note I totally agree with the Methodist churches involvement with GB and intention to try and get more worship leaders, local preachers, deacons and presbyters to it to pick up ideas).

In terms of the other stuff….well I want to take this in two halves. Firstly, those working in academic settings. Yes they get longer holidays but those holidays are also often used for work. Certainly from my experience when I was working full time in FE and leaving the house at 7:15, getting into work at 8:15 and leaving between 5:00 and 5:30 to get home between 6 and 6:30 to cook tea and then work, marking and preparing, again from 7:30 – 10:00 (approx) most evenings then spending a large chunk of Saturday in the laundrette and trying to keep the flat from total disorganisation before doing church stuff and marking, prep on Sundays I understand the demands of those large numbers of Christians. The swanning around the country at weekends, which happened occassionally, was at that time often accompanied by marking and the cost of it was a less than spotless home. In terms of the holiday time Third Party and I have never, with the exception of the year I got a major tax return never been able to afford a “proper holiday”. For Christians like us Greenbelt was important because over the last decade it has been our family holiday.When she was v. little Spring Harvest fulfilled a similar role because they were cheap enough for us to go to, once you take into account they have stuff going on and so you don’t have to pay for extras. They also give discounts to people who are struggling. There are lots of Christians like us who have gone to these places because we can’t afford a week away anywhere else. Therefore, I slightly resent the implication that those in academia get to do things others can’t, it’s not that simple. In terms of this year I have had to work my Greenbelt ticket, and Third Party is working hers. TP got to go to Glastonbury because of my dads job and indeed she has had to work it. This is how it is for many people, we don’t simply swan off here and there, we get our breaks where we can and because of the hard work we do we sometimes find housework, beyond getting the washing done takes second place.

Anyway onto the “large number of Christians”. I think they need to be honoured and valued more and need to be encouraged and helped to encounter the resources that those of us who are able can. TAZ and stuff is important to these people because they need spaces where they can be and do what they want without fear of having people telling them off, because it’s not their cultural expression. Perhaps if more people got the spirit of these things we might have less people moving out the back door. That said for most people the daily stuggle of life, and church struggle of keeping the buildings together takes priority. It is a luxury of the middle classes to go beyond this. How do we deal with this? I don’t know, the middle class indulgence of the church is a problem that we all know about and many of us contribute to. I know I might be part of that problem. That is one reason why my current potential homelessness, my experience earlier in my life as a depressed single mum living on income  support (when I did incidently go to Spring Harvest precisely because I could go with a church group and it was cheap and I got a discount), my current inability to find a job are important…they help me understand. That said I know because I am part of a supportive network of friends, family and church that I will never know truly what it is like to struggle to survive totally without support or hope, and I will remain priviledged because of that support. I know that my exprience with the housing system will be different to those without literacy skills, without cultural understanding of the way “officialdom” works and you know what that is good because it makes me angry….angry because I know if I am struggling how much more will others struggle because of the system.

I am a hypocrite, I am living in lower middle class luxury,( despite my current circumstances), I do talk tosh which doesn’t resonate with alot of people, I am wierd, but I do care, I care about the people who come and clean our churches, who sit on our finance and property committees, who make the tea and without whom we wouldn’t have a church in this country. I care about God and love God but just do it in a different way sometimes thinking in a different way and having different discussions.

Um, not sure where that rant came from or what it actually was to do with, certainly not aimed at you A, more I think letting out something…..To those who are fed up with me or I frustrate look I use this blog to chat the shit going through my brain and sometimes as a space to respond to what others have written elsewhere, like I did with the TAZ stuff. Ultimately if you don’t like it or don’t like my life you don’t have to read it!!!!

A Rescue, A Hospital and a Rev in 36 hours

Text one was recieved just as we were heading to church, Third Party had managed to borrow a random strangers phone. She’d lost her friend and was panicing. A phone call back and I was hoping, praying it would all be ok.

Phone call from 0800 mum and dad (this better be a real emergency) reverse in the middle of the service. I, as discreetly as possible nipped out and took the call. Third Party was in melt down and I was stuck at the other end of the country, skint (apart from some coins I was soon to throw over the wooden floor whilst trying to get some collection to throw in the plate).

Phone call 2 from 0800 mum and dad and thankfully TOH had emerged into the corridor and was able to have a debit card to hand as Third Party was at the station finding out how to get a ticket to get home.

Phone call to random number we hoped was the station with booking reference for ticket that TOH had managed to purchase at what would have been a reasonable price had they not put a £10 fee on for you needing to sort an emergancy.

No more phone calls for a while, which made us realise the plan had come together and Third Party was indeed on her way home rather than enjoying T4 On the Beach. (Total teenager type moment).

Whilst I was off on my first appointment on the plan, (that’s doing the preaching thing to the everyday person), TOH was dispatched to feed Third Party and give her some TLC, oh and provide some warm clothes as Third Party was a tad cold in her trendy outfit. This in itself was a little wierd given the fact Third Party has sought to deny the existence of TOH as much as poss, to the extent I have sought to keep the two of them seperate.

Anyway all was well and I was happily able to go off and do some fieldwork in Costa Coffee later in the evening. (That one was a surreal experience in it’s own right which I won’t go into directly on here).

Monday morning seemed to start brighter and a little less surreal. I mean yes there were the odd bits like being shown the picture of Third Party dressed up as a Blue Nun at Glastonbury and trying to work out how to deal with the fact that seeing as her meltdown had meant she’d ended up in Durham not Kent on Sunday night how we dealt with the fact she had v. few clothes for the next six weeks. (Side note here, she’d not been home since Glastonbury and we are not down south again until mid August…all gets a tad interesting).

Then it all went wierd again. I’ve managed to lose my fob, and the college are out of spares and so gettting in and out of the building depends upon others at the moment. Third Party decided to circumnavigate this and hop in through a window to a communal area. Great, apart from in the process of this she managed to cut her head open on the window. Good job at times like this we live next to casualty. So it was that a sizeable part of the evening was spent in A&E waiting for her to get some glue poured into the cut.

By the time we got home it was chill time. Glad we were going to watch Rev which has been getting some good comments on FB. We sat and laughed and laughed. At the end Third Party summed it up by saying, “that was just wrong on soooo many levels because it was just soooo right on so many levels.” For non UK people who can’t i-player one day I will do a seperate review, suffice to say I think that churches should start a discussion group around this to be able to address the real issues churches face. It’s so on the ball it could actually be a docu-drama rather than a sit-com.

The surreal 36 hours was finished off by one of those conversations that watching tv together sparks off. Within it we got onto evangelicalism and somehow onto Steve Chalke who’s going to be on at Changing for Good next week. Third Party reckoned she agreed with Chalke’s take on atonement theory and that he sounded a bit like the Princess Di of evangelicalism. Confuddled I enquired. She explained in many ways Chalke was the people’s evangelical but he got out of favour a bit with the establishment and Nicky Gumble sort of took over. Therefore, it all got a bit like Gavin and Stacey where Pammy won’t let Di’s name be mentioned, being a Camilla fan. Third Party reckons that Gumble is Camilla to Chalkes Princess Di. That final note of surrealness sent me off to bed, it was all getting just a tad too wierd.