Monthly Archives: October 2008

What are supermarkets doing about climate change? « MAKE WEALTH HISTORY

Noticed: What are supermarkets doing about climate change?  Interested as we called in at the Dartmouth Sainsbury’s today (see 42: Hilly Devon). That supermarket had many green features. From memory:

  • 2 wind turbines. Powered all the tills. Significant reduction in energy from the grid.
  • Rainwater harvesting: reduced water consumption by 60%
  • Sustainable timber structure, used 420 trees, they had replanted 420 in the original forest plus 420 locally (car park sign posts also from sustainable timber).
  • Lighting included a lot of natural light with automatic dimmers on electric lights
  • re-using heat from the fridges to heat the building
  • several other things I can ‘t remember at the moment.

Still a long way to go to be considered really green. But what was interesting was that all these green features have actually created a much nicer building to shop in. The atmosphere was much nicer to breathe, the lighting much more pleasant and the look much better (lots of timber structure visible).

Hilly Devon

We are away meeting lots of our family at a campsite in Devon (not far from Totnes). Slightly chilly and particularly at the moment rather wet.

Had a nice ride today. 14 of us had decided to go to Dartmouth to see the castle and have a cream tea. I chose to ride there, total just over 17 miles but 1900 feet climbed (2300 feet descended. My garmin edge 705 found a rally nice quiet route (many lanes covered in mud with grass in the middle) but it was very steep, I ended up walking on three hills (I will blame, rather unfairly, lack of grip onnthe back wheel).

Met up with everyone fine, much easier to park a bike. Good castle, good cream tea and the Station restaurant. I was glad though to be able to come back to the campsite by car.

Starting too soon!

This coming week I am being properly published!

I wrote a week of daily studies on "A Gospel of Reconciliation" which are published on the Methodist Church daily Bible Study: A Word in Time. My first study is on Sunday and despite it only just being Saturday I notice there are already 3 comments – should it be renamed to "A Word ahead of Time"?

Please be gentle, this is a first time for this kind of thing for me :-)

An example of marriage

Following from my despairing comments about male headship and marriage in 42: Intentional Manhood 13: Finances I thought it might be a good idea to write about how I see finances working out in a marriage.

I am going to use my parents as an example, they both passed into glory in 2004 after a long and very happy happy egalitarian marriage. As I reflect on their example I am struck by how different it was to the commonly presented stereotypes of egalitarian marriage that we see described by those in favour of male headship.

First, let me point out what was entirely obvious to everyone who met my parents. Here was a couple who were entirely in love and it showed in every way. I remember an organised sailing holiday from my late teens, at the party night towards the end of the holiday on of the leaders asked me if my parents were always like this. I didn't know what she meant so she explained that she had never seen a couple so clearly in love, she commented on the way they held hands, were relaxed, confident and secure in that love which allowed them to reach out and include others.

Second, I want to comment on the issue of respect. I was interested to read in Complegalitarian: One Egalitarian Muses About Respect that Molly had grown up believing that respect was missing from egalitarian marriages. When I was growing up I just assumed all marriages were like my parents, I never heard either complain about the other, never be less than 110% supportive in public (and within the family). It stuns me to hear that some complementarians believe that egalitarian marriages do not have respect as a key factor. Nowadays I frequently hear complementarians talk of the need to respect your spouse, but to me it keeps sounding as if the respect is needed due to your partners gender – that seems all wrong to me. I don't respect Jane because she is a woman, I respect her for all the infinite number of reasons I love and value her as my wife, lover and as a child of the living God. Reducing respect to something based on gender seems a very backwards step to me (after all there are many other people I respect besides my wife, and lots of them are not women).

Ok, then back to the finance issue. In this as with every other part of their lives my parents appeared of one mind (which as a child could be very annoying, no going to the other for a different view).  Financially, they went through a number of different stages in their married life. Some were good, several were terrible. Yet they did it together, the ideas presented in Role Calling: Intentional Manhood 13: Finances would have been wholly alien to them. Thank goodness for that as I cannot see how that method would have withstood some of the difficulties they faced.

For example early on in their married life Dad took over his Father-in-laws building firm (the partner had sadly died) and then soon after had to close it down due to bad financial advice. That ate up my grandparents retirement savings, yet they all worked it out together, without a single cross word (I only learnt about it from my grandpa soon before he died and he said it was one of the things he was most proud of). I can only imagine the conflict between two families that would have come from following the advice in Role Calling: Intentional Manhood 13: Finances. I know that this caused them to sell a lovely house Dad had designed and the firm had built in Wolverhampton to move to a small terraced house in Kingston-upon-Thames so that Dad could join the civil service – all that when I was less than 2 years old.

They started their own business when I was 16 or 17. Just after committing to that their largest client lost a huge contract that was going to give them a lot of work – they worked through that together (for a long time the business was funded by borrowing against the home – I can remember Christmases when we were down to two weeks before the house would have to be put up for sale). They ran that business together each with specific talents, yet working as equal partners (legally as well as in practice). For example Mum was always brought in as the big hitter in financial negotiations. She had a technique of inviting the potential client over for dinner (that she would prepare) and during the meal she would clinch a deal that nobody else thought was possible. For years they had a production staff of up to 15 (including many part-time) working from their home using a shed in the garden plus part of the house. Mum kept that operation going on a daily basis, getting the most from the staff as well as showing great pastoral care for them and their families. Dad was freed to work on the technical aspects of the work (using any and every excuse to buy new Apple computers). He also did all the financial planning and budgeting. Both were entirely essential to that business which they ran for over 20 years.

I want to finish by praying that you will get the most from your marriages, I am totally convinced from personal experience that will only come when you drop artificial roles based on gender and work together to use your different, but God given gifts and personalities in an attitude of mutual submission, support and respect. Essentially it means living out life as one flesh.

Intentional Manhood 13: Finances

Aaarrgghhhh! – Role Calling: Intentional Manhood 13: Finances.

I thank God for more accurate Bible translations than the one being used here. Ones that correctly recognise that the language of 1 Timothy 5:8 is inclusive:

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for
their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an
unbeliever.

I am confident that the whole of our family is grateful that, with an understanding of role built upon  gender accurate translations, they get their money managed by Jane rather than me.

In the post we see 5 steps all created from a mis-translation. They completely contradict the one-flesh understanding of scripture. They even encourage bad relationships by advising the husband to go outside the marriage for help before even telling his wife there is a problem. How can people build a loving home when one half is kept in the dark about their finances?

One thing was clear from our training for the CAP Money course from Christians Against Poverty. Money management works much better when both partners are fully involved and committed, even though one will usually take the lead in actually doing the paperwork.

In my (limited) experience I have seen more marriages get into trouble through the spending habits of the husband than the wife – in more than one case leaving a single mother with debts run up by the husband.

We should take the consistent one-flesh scriptural view of marriage far more seriously and that has to mean honesty, openness and mutual respect and responsibility for finances as well as every other aspect of life.

In my view Male Headship has far too low a view of marriage. I believe Jesus calls us to no less than abandon self into the marriage, becoming one. Male headship continually denies that oneness, that abandonment by attempting to separate wife and husband.

In the wedding service we say "A and C, God so join you together that none shall ever part you." A pity that male headship does exactly that.

Life before death

Sanity from Map Priest: get me to the church
before my time
.

You could argue that society should respect the wishes of the dying to commit suicide even for these social reasons. But I think that is wrongheaded and far too convenient for a selfish, youth worshipping society. We need to make provision for the terminally ill to die with dignity whilst enjoying the end of their lives to the full and free of the stress of worrying about others. In other words, before we can legislate for a dignified death we need to make it possible for the dying to live dignified lives. [Ed: my emphasis]

Yes! Yes! Yes!

But not just for the elderly and infirm in the UK this should be a mantra for all people all over the world. Which is of course what Christian Aid have been doing for years under the slogan "We believe in life before death".

Wii Bowling at Ringstead

Just back from an evening of Wii Bowling at Ringstead Shared Church. A new venture for us, one of a number of purely social events that we are putting on for the village.

We had 17 people which was just about right for the space available (and meant there was plenty of good food to enjoy).

We had advertised it with the corny title "Free Wii Bowling – you won’t need to spend a penny".

Thanks to some generous equipment loans we had two Wii’s and 8 remotes, one Wii using my projector and the other on the large TV screen from the Church.

I think that nearly everyone got at least one strike. Our winner (co-incidently the youngest there – in year 4) got an amazing 258 in one round (I think that was all strikes apart fropm 2 spares).

Anyqwway everyone seemed to enjoy the bowling and the company. The next social event is a village Christmas party in January.

What was quite strange is that Jane was at a Barn Dance at Raunds Methodist Chapel while I was Wii Bowling. We both had a good time, but I do prefer social events with the wife rather than without :-)

What do I do all day?

What do I do all day? Is a more relevant question tonight than at most times. Tomorrow I face 3 groups of year 2′s who will be wanting to know what a minister does.

When you take a day like today it seems an odd mixture:

  • Hospital visit. 1.5 hours driving, 45 minute visit.
  • On way back dropped off 12 boxes to Harvest for the Hungry collection at Kettering. Jane had very kindly left me the small (economical) car today for the trip over to a Leciester Hospital, but we had forgotten that 12 boxes of produce are quite heavy. Small car just coped.
  • Took mother-in-law to Wesley Guild (good speaker from Spurgeons today). Once dropped her off and parked I realised that I was next to Richard and Clarice who had just discovered a flat tyre, so changed the wheel.
  • Then nipped to Serve for hearing aid batteries (no not for me – yet).
  • Onward to NatWest to bank gifts from Sunday lunch.
  • Off to Thrapston to bank fundraising for the redevelopment fund (nearest HSBC bank)
  • Back in time to chat to people at the end of Guild. Nice to see Bob, our newest member, just moved from Wollaston at 93 and already joining with everything – clearly he knows me well already as he commented that I had arrived rather late.
  • Gave 3 people lifts home and took Sylvia for her flu jab.

No evening meeting tonight so I was taking up my Mother-in-laws carpets to discover that significant areas of concrete came up with the carpet, started preparation to level floors ready for new carpets. Nipped home for tea in the middle and then Jane came to help me (at least we see each other then).

  • Finally catch up with email and start/continue/finish preparation for tomorrow morning.
  • Some work on Raunds website (good to see several members getting activge on it).

Notice the significant flaw?

I still don’t properly count/consider my prayer, thinking and reflection times as work. Oop’s.

Raunds Methodist Church Website

I have done a complete update of the Raunds Methodist Church website. Now uses WordPress instead of Joomla.

Good news:

  • Now have google calendar putting events on the site automatically and correctly (both on calendar page and in side bar)
  • Have google maps putting the location of the chapel on properly

Bad News:

  • I have not done any styling work so far (so it looks very very plain). I could switch to any of the themes at http://demo.sndbx.org/ but I think I will do some gentle stuff myself first.

The think I am most pleased about is having the calendar displaying correctly. We keep that calendar pretty up-to-date. This means no more displaying old events, no more keeping events in multiple places.
Enjoy.