Thursday, 30 September 2010


Hi all!

Huge apology for not posting on here for ages. All 5 of you that read this must have been twiddling your thumbs down to the bone in impatience... Maybe not.

Anyway, the sort of blogging on here will no doubt change in the near future as I have just set up a new church with a great friend (Andrew 'Ed' Edmondson). The church is called Church of Christ the King, Selly Oak (CCK). We are very excited about the church, and looking forward to what will happen. It's going to be really quite different to what we have been used to so far in our church experience, and we hope that this is a good thing.

Anyway, on the church website there is a blog where I shall be posting thoughts etc, and I'll reserve this blog for both the more controversial and academic postings!

Any questions about the church and the blog, please get in touch!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Shocking News About Young People

Jon Birch over at Asbo Jesus has posted a good cartoon this morning.

Click on the picture to see the full article.

Asbo Jesus does it again!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Rejected Application

                    YOUTH PASTOR
                    APPLICATION FORM

First name: Yehoshua
Surname:   Benyoseph
D.O.B:      circa 5 BC (so they tell me)

Please state any previous Experience: 
  I began working with furniture,
  and after many years of carpentry, I became
  a rabbi. Preached to many people on numerous
  occasions - however, this often led to a plot
  to kill me...
  I was a big influence on the few young men whom
  I discipled. In fact, nearly all of them were 
  killed for their association with me.

Do you have any relevant skills for youthwork? 
  Can work wonders. Great patience and love,
  but will say it "as it is". Good sense of 
  humour, like telling stories. Good at party
  tricks with water.

Self disclosure: have you ever been convicted of a crime? And what was the punishment?
  Yes. Blasphemy. Capital Punishment.

Do you agree with our church doctrine and praxis?
  I know your deeds, your hard work and your
  perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate
  wicked men, that you have tested those who
  claim to be apostles but are not, and have
  found them false. You have persevered and
  have endured hardships for my name, and have
  not grown weary.
  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken
  your first love. Remember the height from which
  you have fallen! Repent and do the things you
  did at first. If you do not repent, I will come
  to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Please include 2 references with your application.

Dear Conservative Evangelical Church,
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the eternal.
It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things
within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. 
Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes.
He has always been! It is His hand that holds everything together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything - He is first.


Dear Conservative Evangelical Church,
This is a dangerous man, who has caused more harm than good. His suitability for church work is questionable. On numerous occasions he has been seen to mix with very undesirable people: prostitutes, criminals, unsavoury unemployed, corrupt politicians - the list goes on. He makes troubling statements about what constitutes right living, and has encouraged his previous followers to give up on life as we know it, in pursuit of the "Kingdom of God".
There are many who have willingly given up their lives in following this man. It has been said that he often drinks alcohol, and attends far too many parties.
If you are wanting to grow your church, again, I would dissuade you from employing Yehoshua. Each time he managed to dupe a good number of people into his group, he would almost always lose them with harsh, inappropriate words.
The man is a dangerous radical, who cavorts with vagabonds, and encourages unrealistic behaviour from those who listen to him.
My advice is to stay well clear.

Conservative Reason.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Christmas Number 1 2010...

It has been a long time since I last blogged - I'm sure you coped.

One of my friends, though perhaps the following will put question to that label, recently brought my attention to something that is currently becoming viral; namely, 3 minutes and 50 seconds of pure 'genius' provided courtesy of a certain Maxine Swaby. Written by Patrick McNeill, "Pardon Me" is a song and music video that will change your life - if for no other reason than you will find yourself whistling it almost every time there is nothing else to do - and even sometimes when there is...

This comes with what may seem an attempted comedic warning. However, let me assure you, this is gravely serious. Please, only listen to this if you think you can cope. Furthermore, I hereby take absolutely no responsibility for this decision of yours. If you click, be it on your head - please do not hate me for it. Okay...

And for those of you who are reading this on facebook, or whatever, where the embedded video may not work, here is the link: Pardon Me

Now, where can we possibly begin? Cruelty is certainly an option, but I think a terribly cheap one. However, neither is a sensible critique or review an option - that would cost too much... Should I mention that it looks like she went into a hairdressers and asked for "everything"? I won't, as that is unnecessarily cruel. I also, shouldn't spend too much time questioning the directing techniques, or the sudden appearance of deer at the end. Instead I'm going to invoke "Poe's Law".

Poe's Law points out that it is hard to tell parodies of fundamentalism (or, more generally, any crackpot theory) from the real thing, since they both seem equally insane. Conversely, real fundamentalism can easily be mistaken for a parody of fundamentalism. Of course, Pardon Me hardly falls under the label of fundamentalism, nor a crackpot theory. Yet, I think the law still applies. There are so many poor, and downright bizarre things that can be found on the internet, that I find it plausible (even hopeful!!) that this is some sort of parody. I know deep inside (however impossible that actually is) that Pardon Me is as genuine as they come. And I am reminded of that every 20 minutes when I find myself humming it through. Again. Someone help me for goodness sake.

I suppose, the point of this little rant is that people are weird. I don't understand people. However, it is that strangeness that gives me some little bit of hope. That actually, I'm quite normal - because I'm weird. To misquote The Incredibles "If everyone is weird, then no-one is." The potential for anarchy is terrifyingly wonderful, however. To truly get one over on the X-Factor crowd, this should be campaigned for a Christmas number 1... besides, it seems fitting that a follow up to "F### you I won't do what you tell me" should be, "Pardon Me".

This video is really getting viral now (in every meaning of the word). I've just been made aware of many "Re:Pardon Me" videos (even a Re:Re:Re:Pardon Me...). It's generating a fair amount of talk too. One person asking, and seemingly not seeing the ironic side of his suggestion, that due to her pronunciation of certain words, she may be deaf. Yes. Well done. A deaf person singing a song called "Pardon Me"... the weirdness continues...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Cheers, Big Ears!

Picture the scene:

Me and my wife are waiting in line in M&S to purchase a couple of essentials. Hannah is a teacher, and has had a few M&S gift certificates, so we were using them to pay for the stuff - free food stuff is always welcome here! Anyway, as she is handing over the gift certificates/card, she mentions that it is one of the perks of being a teacher, to which the woman behind us "just had to say" (apparently) that the 6 weeks of holiday are also a perk, surely.

Now, this neither of us can argue with. It's a slur that pretty much every teacher has had to put up with and smile graciously about since, well, since forever I imagine! However, the woman in question proceeds to snort out that, 'in fact, there are about 13 weeks' holiday. Paid. *tut*'. Hannah, being Hannah, hates confrontation, so she said nothing. Until we got into the car at which point she made her frustration known. "Why do some people feel that they can be so rude?" she justifiably asked. Indeed, why do they? What is it about certain people that makes them feel they "just HAVE to say something". They conveniently leave out the fact that most teachers work 12-13 hours per day, and that during the shorter holidays, they are working most of the time. I also wonder whether or not this woman's children go to school. Or in fact, did she? I am sure her (hypothetical) children would be worse off if there were no teachers.

We live in such a judgmental society. In fact, here I am judging this woman based on observing her actions for less than 5 minutes. It is bizarre. We are generally encouraged to do so by the media too. I believe that the contestants for Big Brother were booed before they even entered the house this year... What an odd society we are. Internet message boards, and blogs such as this, are rife with people saying the most disturbing things to each other, over nothing at all!

As a Christian, I am told by its founder to "not judge others". It is a practice we could all do with a bit more. I hope that we can be more gracious, and thankful to those we meet.

Therefore, allow me to offer you this challenge. For each person that you come into contact with, try and find something encouraging to say to them. Resist the temptation to lower their status by denigrating something about their existence.

"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it's the only answer."
Dorothy Day.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Following Jesus

I often think about my faith.

I came to believe in the Christian God aged 8, having experienced something "other-worldly" on a school trip to a local church. Having experienced this odd feeling, I reasoned that it happened in a church (that I had been in many times before) so, perhaps going to a church would provide the answer. To cut a long story very short - I became a Christian.

That was eighteen years ago. In the last year, I have really been struggling with what it means to follow Jesus Christ. I have been looking at the church and seeing mass hypocrisy. I have seen rich people backing up their ideal of "good behaviour". I have seen poor people find a crutch to lean on. I have seen lots of people happy to join a "club" and try everything they can to get others to join this "club". What I haven't seen much of is the real problems in the world tackled by the people that should be tackling them.

There is a quote on the latest Delirious album which simply states:
"If it's not acceptable in the kingdom of heaven, then it's not acceptable here."
How many Christians believe this? Let me ask you this question (and "being a Christian" has no moral leverage here) - "What are you doing to change the sorry state of this world?"

The only thing I would say to Christians is that we have no excuse to do nothing. The good news we have isn't just a "social gospel" - but (among other things) it is a social gospel.

There are people in this world that need help. What are you actually doing for them?

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Atheism defined!

I have to admit, this quote found from Atheist Tool Box did make me chuckle slightly:

"Unlike Religion, Atheists do not have to agree on all issues and share similar agendas. Atheists can be conservative or liberal, capitalist or communist, republican or democrat, black or white, male or female. Some Atheists are completely neutral in regards to religion and it's place in society, whilst other Atheists do have certain agendas. Some of the more common Atheistic agendas include the separation of church and state and the teaching of evolution in our school systems. It must be said however that these are individual groups within the Atheist community and in no way represent the Atheist community as a whole."

As far as I am aware, Christians do not agree on all issues. We have conservative Christians, and liberal Christians, capitalist Christians, communist Christians, Republicans, Democrats... there have even been some black and white Christians... I'm sure I've met both male and female Christians also...

I also have to giggle at this quote,
"It must be said however that these are individual groups within the Atheist community and in no way represent the Atheist community as a whole."
- well, that never applies to Christian groups...

It really annoys me that such things as this exist. And they exist on all sides of the arguement. When Christians act as if Atheists are, in some way, worse than they are it makes me cringe. Well, they're Atheists! Surely they are just... um... wrong! - Well, no actually. Similarly, when certain atheists (not representing the Atheist community as a whole, of course) make statements like the above, it also makes me cringe.

I doubt it will happen, but I long for some decent, respectful dialogue. While there are extremists and "anonymous extremists" (i.e. people who are unaware they are extremists) on every side of the debate, respectful dialogue seems unlikely. While so many Christians still use very dodgy (and often downright terrible) science to "prove" their agenda, and while so many Atheists see the religious as silly and unable to offer anything to a debate that has already (in their minds) been sealed - the future looks bleak.

I still live with hope that both groups will one day learn to not vilify the other, see them first as fellow human beings, and enter into what could be a very enlightening debate.

I am aware that my sarcasm is probably not helping my cause here, but the quote was so bizarre I couldn't just let it pass. I apologise.