Monday, 14 June 2010

World Cup Dogs

I don't know if anyone has drawn Brazil in a World Cup sweepstake? If you have you will be heartened to see they have some real talent at work.
Significant Truths - bringing you breaking news on the World Cup with a canine twist!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sweepstake

I am entered into the World Cup sweepstake at work and my teams are: Mexico, Chile, Slovakia and Spain. I am not overly thrilled with Slovakia, but Spain is a hot favourite - or so I am told by those who know more about such things than I ever could.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Selfish, confused or honest?

According to this article,Canon Mark Hocknull has spoken out criticising the “you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian” or the “I’m spiritual but not religious” attitude prevalent in today’s society. He suggested that this showed a selfishness and the depth of public disdain for Christianity.
I was discussing with a friend recently the problem that Christianity faces when confronted with a pluralistic and post modern society in which each and every view is valid and to assert a monopoly on truth can be seen as a heresy in its own right. If we truly believe that, “no man comes to the Father” except through Christ, then does this mean that we deny the evident good – and I would say the presence of God – in other faiths? Do we happily agree with those who tell us that they are Christians but don’t go to church? Do we accept people who see themselves as spiritual rather than religious? What about those who no longer believe in the devil or the virgin birth – or even the divinity of Christ and are there any limits?

You may have already guessed that I am pretty post modern – the title of this blog is Significant Truths (plural) not truth ( singular) – but I do think the way we respond to a post modern society is something we increasingly struggle with. Many Christians and Churches do not want to be too prescriptive or controlling, it is important to accept people at the stage they are at in their journey and to recognise people will bring different levels of understanding or approach, at the same time it is important to retain the distinctive nature of what makes us Christian and some common boundaries.

I suppose one of the problems with the sentence above is that ideas about “the distinctive nature” of Christianity may differ so much that finding common ground can be difficult, and that is often just among ourselves, let alone when reaching those from a secular background with very vague ideas about the Christian faith. To some people you are not really a Christian, for example, if you do not believe the bible is inerrant (that rules me out) or perhaps if you do not believe in a personal devil. This approach brings security, but it can be stifling and exclude. I would really hesitate to judge whether anyone else was a “real” Christian (that’s the kind of fuzzy liberal I am folks) but I would not personally feel that I was a Christian if I did not believe Jesus was the Son of God and died and rose again. I do see this pretty basic tenet of the Christian faith and am quite happy to defend that view as entirely reasonable!

So can you be a Christian and not go to Church? Is it better to be “spiritual” than religious? Is God bothered about your rigorous and carefully worked out Christian beliefs, or more that you love God and your neighbour? Is a Christian just someone who says that that is what they are?

And for a bit of light relief – let’s hope Canon Hocknull’s frustrations don’t lead him to this...

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Just an image problem?

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians do not resemble him." (Gandhi)



H/T to Lesley's blog.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Westie wonders



Here you can see some talented canines in training for the Westie world cup.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The best things are not things

With a view to the upcoming emergency budget, here are some thoughts on austerity from the wonderful Colophon blog. I think the nuns of East Hendred offer some wise advice. After all, who really needs material riches when they have a lovely dog like Duncan to help with blogging?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Gaskell's Knutsford

Knutsford, home of Elizabeth Gaskell, is currently holding a literary festival and we've been meaning to go to all half term. We went over this afternoon to look around the display at the heritage centre and also to visit the dissenters chapel in Brook Street where Gaskell is buried. The chapel , now a Unitarian Church, was one of the first institutions to benefit from the religious toleration act of 1689, which allowed greater freedom of religious expression and worship. However, dissenters did still face considerable prejudice and persecution, the Brook Street chapel was built with numerous doors and exits in case of attack, and someone we were chatting to told us that certain members of the local church are still very disapproving of there being a Unitarian Church in the town!

More double standards

Thinking Anglicans carries a report from The Telegraph that the Church is to allow remarried divorcees to become bishops. So, leaving a spouse and breaking sacred marriage vows is considered less culpable than entering into a life long same sex relationship? Is this the steer from the Church? Some traditionalists may complain, but will this be a Communion breaking issue? Far from it ; deviations from scripture which are convenient to heterosexuals are tolerated.

It is not the decision itself that I necessarily disagree with, just the double standards. More and more I fight the feeling that being involved in the Church makes me a part of something which is nasty and morally shabby.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Twelve points to Finland!

The Lutheran Church of Finland, which is in communion with the Church of England through the Porvoo agreement, has appointed its first woman bishop. I also hear that Irja Askola is the third Finnish bishop who will bless same sex couples. Read all about it at Eurobishop.

Do dogs have souls? (Part ten)

Dogs are officially music lovers now that Sydney Opera House has opened its doors to 1,000 dog lovers and their pooches.
The 20-minute concert kicked off with a mellow set featuring whale calls and soothing white noise, before moving through a rhythm and beat section to a discordant crescendo almost drowned out by hundreds of barks and howls.
The capacity to enjoy music has long been regarded as a sign of a spiritual side; Tolstoy described music as “love in search of a voice” and Kurt Vonnegut opined that “The only proof needed for the existence of God is music.”
You can also purchase this CD for your canine. This clip from Youtube is well worth playing, not only because listening to music is a form of prayer, but the accompanying pictures also score high on the “awwww...cute” factor

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Home truths

The Presiding Bishop's response to William's Pentecost letter (you have to scroll down a little to find it.)

Jefferts Schori writes,
"We are further distressed that such sanctions do not, apparently, apply to those parts of the Communion that continue to hold one view in public and exhibit other behaviors in private. Why is there no sanction on those who continue with a double standard?"

Goodness! Do you mean there are parts of the Communion that knowingly ordain gay bishops but have a tacit agreement to keep quiet about it? Thank goodness that could never happen here...

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Paint it black!

Our elder son recently requested a new duvet set; like Henry Ford he stipulated that it could be any colour as long as it was black! He has also requested that when we next decorate his room he would like quite a lot of it to be black. I am worried about this request, after all black is NOT psychologically healthy is it? My son does not agree and has pointed out this is just in his nature! While he is not an emo , (or so I am informed) he does also tend to dress in blacks, greys, browns and, when he is feeling very daring, navy blue. He will not purchase any item of clothing with a logo, piping or anything that might be considered detail. He likes things plain and, if at all possible, he likes them black.

Sartorially speaking, our younger son couldn’t be more different from his brother, for a start he is interested in clothes. His wardrobe is full of patterns and colours and I frequently get asked if a particular item can be washed and ironed in time for a particular event. So I was a bit surprised when I discovered that he also approves of the black bedroom look, although his description of a more a monochrome look with black, white and gunmetal grey did sound more -er- human. So yesterday Mr M bought two black and white duvet sets -the one with checks above was rejected by elder son as “a bit too fussy” - and I suppose at some stage we will be at B&Q (reluctantly) buying tins of black paint!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Not worth reading, writing or bothering about...

Just to get some balance, here are Jim Naughton's reflections on the ABC's Pentecost letter, at Episcopal Cafe. In it Naughton writes that Williams wasted his time writing the letter and that Naughton feels he is wasting his time analysing it ( hmmmm... I know how he feels.)