Monthly Archives: November 2010

Difference between new blogs now and 7 years ago

I started this blog in August 2003, just over 7 years ago and my new cycling blog in August this year.

I am finding the differences interesting.

The most obvious difference is in how people get to the blog. In the old days :-) it was all about getting linked from other blogs. You did this through

  • your blogroll (hoping to get others to include you in their blogroll)
  • commenting on other blogs with the url of your blog.
  • Linking to plenty of other blogs in your posts

Nowadays the focus for getting people to read your blog is all on Twitter and Facebook. Actually, mostly Twitter which is the largest referrer by some margin.

Obviously the blogging technology has also moved on a lot. One thing that has made a significant difference is the ease of getting photos and cycle routes onto the blog from my phone (htc Desire which I still love).

All in all I suppose the key change is that a blog can't stand alone in the way it used to. Fortunately, it doesn't have to :-)

Cycling Updates

It has been a busy time on my cycling blog since 42: Cycling Posts.

Palestinians face olive harvest threat and blockage again

Though the olive branch is a symbol of peace, harvesting olives for Palestinians, when they have to pass through a military-manned barrier to get to their land in an occupied area, is a point of conflict – writes Judith Sudilovsky.

Worth reading, reflecting on, praying about and considering if and how to respond.

A day of contrasts

Today was unusual for me and included two very difference experiences of worship.

The morning at Syston Methodist Church

This morning was great, but busy. I was at a vibrant and full Syston Methodist Church. Fortunately, there is a strong set of people to work with and so there is very much a team feel about preparing for worship. With both Baptism and Holy Communion, over 100 people and the projector to set up there is quite a bit to get ready so it is busy right to the start of the service.

This was my first baptism at Syston with another one in a couple of weeks (twins next time) and it is not that common here to combine baptisms and Holy Communion (with some experiences from the past a view I would often share). Currently the data projector brings challenges for Holy Communion as well, because it gets in the way of the normal flow of people.

All in all it meant some thinking about how we would do things, which we did at the recent Stewards meeting, and that resulted in doing things somewhat differently, particularly for Holy Communion. That of course creates more potential for things to go wrong, of which the worst is if it stops people from experiencing the presence of God.

In fact the service went well. Sheila, one of our worship leaders now training as a local preacher, led some beautiful prayers throughout the service. Joseph's baptism went smoothly (although the pop star style radio mike that we use, the sort that comes from behind your ear round your cheek, is obviously a very attractive handle for babies), it was really nice to have his granddad reading the scriptures for us and his sister collecting the water for his baptism. We had a range of fairly modern songs that the congregation clearly knew and enjoyed singing.

The Holy Communion also worked well for most people, although if we do it in that continuous style again I'll make a few changes as some people felt a bit rushed (I think it was lack of enough time/space between the bread and the wine that was biggest problem). In fact numbers we high enough that there was only one little glass of wine left after the congregation had been served so when I served the stewards, organist and myself at the end we used the chalice.

With the family I had chosen Mark 10: 13-16 and Matthew 18: 1-4 as the readings, it seems to me that these are a massively relevant challenge today to our understanding of Jesus, ourselves and what it means to follow him that they are a delight to preach on, hopefully in a way that helps a very diverse congregation.

One of the many things that I like about Syston Methodist Church is how relaxed people are at the end of the service. There is no mad rush to get out and there is a very friendly and gentle atmosphere as people have a drink while the kids weave in and out – getting extra biscuits as they go :-) All this makes it much easier, as a minister, to connect with people rather than just shake their hand as they rush out. Of course that is only made possible because of the teams of people who quietly get on with making everything happen around you.

Having manipulated ( :-) ) the plan for the next quarter of services (Dec through Feb) one of the things I am very much looking forward to is spending more Sunday mornings at Syston as I am still at the early stages of getting to know people.

With all this and with new people being trained as Local Preachers, with three people from Syston on the Fresh Expressions Mission Shaped Ministry course, plans to install permanent data projection facilities and also to consider our music resources (including looking at the new Methodist Hymn collection) I look forward to the next few years of worshipping here. It is going to be good!

The evening at Robinson College Chapel, Cambridge

By some quirk of the current circuit preaching plan, it turned out that I was not planned for any evening worship this week. As I was thinking about this I saw this tweet:


I am preaching on Sunday, on theology, art and the annunciation. Visitors welcome! 6pm in Robinson College Chapel.

So Jane and I decided to go and have a night out together as a bit of a treat including the chance to actually sit together for worship. I know, it is a bit crazy (and yes very environmentally insensitive and greedy) to drive to Cambridge from Leicester for an evening service but I have a reputation for mad ideas to keep. Anyway, it turned out that Robinson College Chapel is gorgeous modern architecture a lovely place to worship.

Of course the whole service was a complete contrast to this morning, including three times as many hymns from the Methodist hymn book, Hymns and Psalms :-) Plus a choir, amazing organ and a very thought provoking sermon from Maggi. It was beautiful to be in God's presence in that place tonight.

The aftermath

I find it interesting to note how I have changed in relation to worship over the years, remembering some of my struggles with worship during my ministerial training. I now appreciate a far wider range of worship than ever before (not that I am placing either of today's services at extremes on any spectrum but just that the contrasts made me think). Plus there is the added dimension of variety between leading worship & preaching (which I love) and being a member of the congregation (which I also love but don't do as often).

It made me wonder if we do enough to encourage and support people in broadening the breadth of worship that they experience or whether as the variety of worship styles seems to ever increase if people get stuck in every smaller niches.

I am wondering if it might be interesting and helpful to arrange some worship excursions for our local preachers and worship leaders. Maybe we could go out for an evening service somewhere different and follow it with a meal to reflect on the experience and how it might enrich our worship.

Meanwhile, with these thoughts echoing around my head, Jane and I went out for a meal together (while the boys at home practised looking after themselves by ordering a Dominoes pizza). A nice end to a good day.

Cycling Posts

It has been a busy few days on my cycling blog so here are links for you to catch up:

Plus a new series that is helped by Road injuries on google maps


It is official. I don’t exist

Adrian Warnock writes Was Spurgeon an Arminocalvinist?.

I am more and more convinced that there are many godly Arminians out there that we Reformed people would do well to listen to more than we do. I am not talking about liberals who throw the Bible out, but those who might have come to different views from us on all kinds of things, but love the authority of Scripture. I might disagree with them but if they love the God of the Bible why would I not want to listen to them from time to time? But is it just me, or are there very few Arminians on the web?

There are a few key reasons why there are very few Arminians on the web for Adrian to discover are:

  1. Many Armininians on the web are women and more than that they are women in authority in the Church. According to the modern "reformed" tradition they should not exist. Therefore Adrian can't find them.
  2. Many Armininans on the web are thoughtful people who challenge the view Adrian has that Penal substitution is the only way to understand the cross. If you disagree with Adrian on this then in his view you do not "love the authority of Scripture" and so he is unable to find you.
  3. Many Arminians on the web reject the modern claims to the inerrancy of Scripture that Adrian requires for you to "love the authority of Scripture". Hence, he is unable to find you.
  4. Some Arminians will challenge simplistic definitions of many things including what is required to be a Christian and a Christian Evangelical, in their struggle to not support the redefinition of terms so that historical figures are suddenly redefined out of Christianity they become invisible to "reformed" people like Adrian.
  5. Some Armininans are offended by Adrian's heroes who teach women that the the Bible says they must give their husbands oral sex in order to save them (see 42: More on Driscoll and Sex from 2007). Google no longer indexes bloggers who don't share Adrian's love for extremist Male Headership teachers and so he can't find them.

In short we do exist but Adrian insists on covering us with an invisibility cloak :-)

Awesome Women of the Reformation | The Resurgence

Awesome Women of the Reformation | The Resurgence confuses me.

These women were key to the Reformation, yet they would be as unwelcome today in many "reformed" churches as they were then.

Indeed some of the the "reformed" (sorry for the scary quotes but I can't help seeing the name as an oxymoron given how determined some of the the "reformed" are to not reform) are trying more than ever to "unreform" our attitudes to women.

Consider the Updated NIV Bible and debates like The NIV on 1 Timothy 2:12 | Denny Burk (warning very heavily moderated, I would not bother trying to disagree with Denny Burk in a comment). Their debate is all about what men would like 1 Timothy 2:12 to read, with men saying they would prefer the verse to read that women should not "exercise authority". Well duh! These are men in authority in Churches that don't believe women should have any authority no wonder that is what they want the Bible to say. By the way not in passing that they choose never to refer to the King James Version as it (along with Calvin's Bible) does not support their case as it has "usurp authority".

Of course one problem with changing this verse to match what men would like it to say is that in Scripture women do exercise authority (and Paul welcomes it cf Romans 16 containing several examples).

That leaves us with where we began. How is it that the "reformed" tradition that had powerful women with authority as key players in it's history is now "reforming" women out of authority? What is more the way they are doing this is deceitful, see Suzanne's Bookshelf: Denny Burk on the NIV 2011.

Hat tip to The Simple Pastor » I link therefore I am (19.11.10)