Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Denver reflections

I was going to write a post about the many and fantastic things we did on our mission to Denver... but the very talented Rachel put together a video for the college meeting that is waaaay better then anything I could say - so crack open the popcorn, pull up a comfy chair and enjoy Denver 2008...

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Mile High Club…

Bet that got your attention!
The title of course is referring to the fact that I can now claim to be among the people that have visited Denver, the mile high city :o)

We are now onto day 4 of our mission and have a welcome day off – hence this post as it means I have managed to find some wi-fi when I am out and about doing some retail therapy!

The trip is going fantastically well. We have all more or less adjusted to the altitude, but it was a little ropey to begin with. You have to drink shed loads of water and if you don’t you tend to get tight chested and breathless. Apparently your body compensates for this quite rapidly by producing more red-blood cells that give your body more energy ,,, the positive side of this is that when you get back down to ground level you have bags of extra energy until your cell count returns to normal. Our tutor Dave is rather impressed with this as he is running the Great North Run shortly after returning, a race he is now confident of winning :o)

Our primary task whilst here is to work with a church called “Scum of the Earth” and its senior pastor, Mike has put together a fantastic program for our stay here. We have been learning about the church, its mission and how it works and are all looking forward to worshiping with them tomorrow. We have also met with various other church leaders and attended some events at Urban Skye, a group that works primarily in the arts community. I will post more about these groups when I get back home and back a regular internet connection as the work that they do is diverse and fascinating.

It seems like meeting over meals is very popular – which given the size of American portions is challenging, to say the least. Yesterday we had a brunch meeting at 10 which lasted about 1.5 hours. We then had about 20 minutes to do a brisk walk around the block to try and work some of this food off before returning for our lunch meeting at 12! It’s a hard life being on mission I can tell you…

So our day off today should be great, including the great American shopping mall experience and a drive out to Boulder (Na-nu, Na-nu) and tonight a concert by Phil Keaggy. We also have a day up in the mountains to look forward to on Monday – can’t wait… We will of course also be doing lots more work – honest!

Monday, 15 September 2008

American Elections

... Say what you like about the American's but their elections are just so much more spoofable then ours....

Sunday, 14 September 2008

lost and found…

The ever wonderful Maturest Student in the World has been reflecting here about the loss of identity that can come from leaving behind one life to begin another. This is a topic close to my own heart as, like her, I find myself struggling these days to know how to answer those inevitable “what do you do” questions that seem to be the foundation of all modern conversation. Like many people I suspect, I found a great deal of my esteem in my working life. The fact that I had worth to my employers, gave me my identity. Each pay rise or new job was a boost to the confidence that I couldn’t seem to find for myself, I had an identity in my profession that was the framework to how I understood myself.
Loosing that external validation of worth when I gave up that profession has been hard and yet… it has taken me to the start of an amazing journey to discover my worth to myself and more importantly my worth to God. It’s taken me all year really to come to the sense that my old identity has gone, that an essential part of the training process is this stripping away of all the scaffolding of the past. Doing this enables us to be free to build anew, to work with God to come to a new sense of who we are and of his purpose for us…. a process that I know will continue long after college has finished.

This whole issue of identity has been at the forefront on my mind of late as I reflect on my parish placement this summer. There I witnessed one of the most heartbreaking things I think I will ever see. The funeral of twins, born extremely premature, long before there was any hope of independent life outside their mother. Born before the 24 week deadline that legally sees life begin these were not, in any official sense, children. Their identity, if you could call it that, was as unviable foetus’ subjected to a spontaneous abortion as a result of an infection. Yet, you only had to listen to their mother to know that whatever the law might say these were her children, much loved and much wanted, grieved for with the intensity that only a parent that has themselves lost a child could fully understand. They were her children. They each had a unique identity, named and known in the few days there was to say hello before the grim task of saying goodbye began. For the first time I really began to understand the importance of a funeral in declaring the full personhood of the deceased. This is never more so than here were the simple naming ceremony that preceded the committal put the identity of these children, as human beings known and loved by God, front and centre for all to see. Never have the words “a person known to God” seemed more real. Whoever the world may say we are, whatever identity we claim for ourselves or others claim for us it can never be more important then that.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Lord above…

The critics weren’t joking when they said that Pierce Brosnan couldn’t sing. But that aside Mama Mia (which I finally got around to seeing this week) is definitely the best feel good movie that you will see this side of Christmas. Go on, take yourself along for 2 hours of deeply silly but magical movie making – bet you will be singing along to the songs by the end :o)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Modern dilemmas

So do you go to CafĂ© Nero and get a decent cappuccino but have to pay for wi-fi… or do you go to MacDonalds that has lovely fast and free wi-fi but lousy cappuccino….
Decisions, decision…