Saturday, December 31, 2005


Sunsets on another year.
12 hours from now and the dawn will be rising.
Unknown lands lie beyond this night.
Yet you and I walk hand in hand.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Final thoughts before heading off to the world of Devon.

What ever happened to the chocolate bars called Whispers?

What will I do with thoughts that float around in my brain on holiday and will I be able to get away from the feeling that I should be typing them on a screen for random people to read? I think this will be good for me, as sometimes it’s good to dwell in the moment, to live an unrecorded life. I’m looking forward to reading some more of Narnia, enjoying, and arguing with, my lovely family, living in a world without watches, walking on beaches staring at the sea and marvelling at our amazing God.

It’s already strange being away from broadband, the place I call home and all the things I use to define me and my worth in Brighton. Maybe it will just be good to get away to a place where I can be with my Father, where He comes first and where I can sit and listen to the old old story.

Things here will resume after Christmas. I was sitting writing Christmas cards today marvelling at all the random people who get my prayer letter, some of whom have never met me (random indeed) and thankful for the people out there who care about the work I do and who care about me. I am massively grateful to all the people God has used to affect and influence me. And if you are reading this here’s to you. A song by a lesser known band which sums up all I want to say. So if you are reading this consider this a massive thank you and appreciation of you. Impersonal maybe. But the reality is there.

“To all my childhood heroes,
and everything you’ve shown,
All your little weaknesses, all your righteous codes,
To all who have encouraged me in every single way
The messes I get into, the crazy things I say.

Here’s to you my friends, here’s to you
For all that you have given, for all you’ve seen me through,

For my loved and cherished ones
I thank the Lord above,
For all the care they give me, for their unfailing love.
To those who scaled the mountains
To my friends in the vale,
May Jesus walk beside you,
May your faith never fail.

Here’s to you, my friends, here’s to you
For all that you have given, for all you’ve seen me through.”
(The Electrics)

Have good Christmases, know the peace that comes from the Emmanuel. Remember the one who came to the madness, and rest in His arms.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas bumper posting

Tomorrow I head off on my holidays, firstly to the land of Guildford to enjoy parental home warmth, old friends and sleep. Then onto a small holiday cottage with my family for Christmas. Hence the bumper posting of tonight. Dial up and being in the middle of no-where for a week will give me a small break from this rather strange world of blogging.

So some last Christmas thoughts, building on the friendship theme, here's a verse for those out there who might be finding the journey a bit too steap at the moment.

From "It came upon a midnight clear"

"And those whose journey now is hard,
whose hope is burning low,
who tread the rocky path of life,
with painful steps and slow:
O listen to the news of love
which makes the heavens ring!
And rest beside the weary road
and hear the angels sing!"

May we all know more of the reality of a God who loves us, likes us and came down to be one of us over the next two weeks. Through all the fun, celebrations, hard times, pain and reminders of the past we encounter, may the God who breathed life into us, set us on this journey, and will get us home, come and breathe new life and vision into our bones. Hear again the awesome world changing event of the Word becoming flesh. The defining point of history. The defining point of our lives. God steps in. Emmanuel has come. There is hope.

And the word became flesh and dwelt
And the word became flesh and lived amongst us
And the word became flesh
Became flesh like you
Flesh like me
And the word became flesh

Heaven held its breath

And the word became flesh.



Friendship must be one of the most underrated things in this world. It's brilliant, wonderful and many other massive superlatives. It's also really hard. Really hard to not mess up, read too much into things, and seems so fragile at times. It's hard not to try to fix friends lives when what they really need is an encounter with the living God. I can't generate that, which is slightly frustrating. For years now I've wanted a magic wand to make life better for those around me. It's hard knowing how much to try and help, to grasp the right words to say and when to say them. And dealing with the complex reality that sometimes saying words doesn't help, sometimes they do, but working out when and where to say them is tricky.

I guess the only thing to do is to try and stop second guessing other peoples thoughts, trust in God to look after the work He has started and ask him for opportunities to help in sensible ways. The reality is, however hard I try, I am not God. I am not the centre of my friends lives. He is. But it's hard to discern between the voices that want to support and be around for someone, and the pouring of support to give ME an indespensible role in someone else's life. There must be some way of working out the difference?

Whatever I should be doing, or am getting wrong there is one thing I can do:

Lord, I put my mates into your hands, keep them going, strengthen and hold them in your care, help me be of use in their lives in a way that brings us all closer to you as our strength and refuge. Help me not want to be the centre of their existence but help me be a Good Friend. Help me not grasp them too tight, help me be honest and real and a lover of you first of all. Be their God and their hope. Help us all have grace with each other in your family. Let your story shape and transform ours. So we are free to love without manipulating or controlling. So we can be free from jealousy, envy and pride. Shape our fragile messy existences so that they reflect more of your beauty.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A thought.

It occurs to me that life is a great deal more messy that we would like it to be. For example; when I think about being a Christian I would like a load of nice Christian clothes to wear, a perfect outward image to portray to the world of how Jesus has transformed me into a changed person, a person who always gets it right, who reacts in the right way to everyone, who loves well, who doesn't get jealous or envious and well, you get the picture.

But the problem is this. That image is a lie, an invention of the shiny person I want to be. Jesus didn't die so I could put on the outer clothes of looking like a Christian. He died so I could be in relationship with Him, so He could get on with the work of transforming the inside of me. But that is messy. I get things wrong, my transformation into the likeness of Christ isn't happening overnight, sometimes I think I'm on hold, and then discover He was teaching me some other way of being more like Him through that experience.

He works in strange ways that don't always fit into how I would transform me. I would do it overnight, in a Matrixesque way (downloaded into the brain, Neo somehow "knows Kung-fu"). I would make it easy for me to do what I was created to do- live and breathe and love well in a relationship with my maker and my fellow created beings around me. But He wants to transform me truly, so I learn dependence on Him, so I am broken away from my pride and self transformation programmes. He wants to build belief, faith, hope and love into my life. It's a process of a lifetime. When I stumble and fall I see failure and rubbish. He sees another situation to teach me more of the patience and grace of Himself.

The book of Judges shows the ultimate in God working through the complete mess and stupidly and horrendous sin of His people. And that's the same God who is at work within my messes and sin. He is at work redeeming the mess. I like that. But it doesn't look neat or perfect, it looks flawed and messy. But I like it. It's more beautiful and hopeful to the people around us to see; that we are not people who have the answers worked out, who have a plastic exterior which allows no space for mess, questions, confusion and pain. But that we have the hope of Another in that mess. One who works through the stories of our lives; weaving in and out of the mess, redemming it, forgiving, helping, disciplining and making something beautiful that we will get to see on the last day.

I want to live that life. Forget plastic Christianity. Forget false ideas, fake prayers and "good" exteriors. I want the messy inside out transformation. I want to know grace in the mess. I want to be real about the one who is in this world transforming and weaving His grace and truth in. I want to be like the one who walked around in the mess, I want to love as he did, to be real about the questions and doubts, to be real about my relationship with him. To speak honestly of the one who sometimes feels as close as a tender whisper in my ear, and sometimes as far away as the tops of the highest mountains. To speak of the reality of a relationship with one we can't see. But to know that reality is what we are all about. That He is real. That He is in charge of this world. That He knows you and me. That He is looking over my shoulder as I write these words. And that He will not give up on what he has started.

Forget the plastic image. I want the earthy, dirty, shining through with light reality of the risen Christ in my life, and the lives of all I meet. I want to teach that way of living, rather than a set of rules, rather than polishing up the exterior of our lives. I want to teach and live out, express and breath the reality of Jesus here on earth, of a God who is in control and of a Spirit who is living within us, producing the fruit of our lives.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Back for an evening

Back from the world of Team Days, good but oh so tiring. Blown away and ripped apart by Judges and the stupidity of the people God uses and the echoes of that in my heart. It feels very dark in there at the moment. That's it. Ripped to shreds. Christmas day is upon us now in my house. Off to buy a chinese to sooth the raw edges and then hopefully meet up with the one who can do something about the darkness.

Monday, December 12, 2005

On a slighty more interesting note...

I'm off for a couple of days with my lovely team for the delights of Christmas team days, lots of quality reminders of who God is and why he bothers with us, Christmas food, support and encouragement and time with mates. Until then here's some Rich Mullins to keep you going, a song that pretty much sums up everything going on in our relationship with the one who loves us most.

"You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
While You're up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You're up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know
Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind

I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can't see how You're leading me unless You've led me here
Where I'm lost enough to let myself be led
And so You've been here all along I guess
It's just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get"

7 things...

Peer pressure and nominations from Bish and Ed have led me to this inconsequential list...

Seven things to do before I die.
1. Write a book.
2. Live in the Lake District.
3. Open a cafe.
4. Drive across America in a camper van.
5. Love Jesus more than I do.
6. Tour with my band.
7. Change the world.

Seven things I can't do.
1. Sing.
2. Love the Lord with all my heart soul and mind.
3. Love my neighbour as myself.
4. Fly.
5. Turn back time.
6. Randomly start conversations about Jesus.
7. Resist grace.

Seven things I say most often.
1. Brilliant.
2. Genius.
3. Cool.
4. mmmm
5. Like it.
6. Why?
7. Mate.

Seven Books I love.
1. The Poisonwood Bible- Barbara Kingsolver.
2. The Ender Saga- Orson Scott Card.
3. Christ plays in ten thousand places- Eugene Peterson
4. The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis.
5. What a carve up - Jonathan Coe
6. Life after God- Douglas Coupland
7. An Alien at St Wilfreds- Adrian Plass

Seven films I can watch over and over again.
1. The sound of music.
2. When Harry met Sally.
3. Pump up the volume.
4. Fight Club.
5. Educating Rita.
6. Stand by me.
7. Cry Freedom

Seven songs I love at the moment.
1. At the bottom of everything- Bright Eyes.
2. Hard to get- Rich Mullins.
3. The JCB Song (sad I know..)
4. Through the dark- KT Tunstall
5. Land Locked Blues- Bright Eyes.
6. Freedom- Pete Seager.
7. The Swimming Song- Eddi Reader

Seven people to do this next.
1. Nathan B.
2. Becci
3. Alison Young
4. Jonny
5. Sarah B
6. Steph B (despite lack of blog)
7. Phil S

Sunday, December 11, 2005

And so it was...

And so the evening did pass with much merriment, laughter, jolity and frivolity.



And after...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I wish it could be Christmas everyday...

It really feels like it is Christmas everyday at the moment. This week I've been to two carol services, seen Narnia and had the annual exchange of presents with my lush friends Sarah and Anna. (friends of the best kind who know you inside out, don't let you get away with the I'm fine platitudes and love you well). Next week I'll have two Christmas meals and two more carol services. It's a good job I like Christmas.

Tonight it is our annual 'cook for lots of people who were in some way connected to a house we used to live in' meal. Which gets more convoluted and strange each year.

This event started two years ago when our house and the boys next door got together for a Danish (the housemate who can cook is Danish) Christmas extravaganza. Last year it turned into, our house, old housemates, the boys house and another girls house. This year it's gone crazy what with people getting married, new people arriving and lots more interconnections I have no time to go into here.

ANyway. Tonight is the night when Danish and English Christmas' collide to make a joyous evening, and we attempt to fit 12 people around our dining table. So much fun :-)

Friday, December 09, 2005

So, the event has happened, I have seen the film I've been itching to see for several months now. The film I've been anticipating in a slightly apprehensive way. When you love and know a book off by heart as much as I do with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, it's hard to see how someone could do justice to it. And of course the reality is that film may never beat imagination and the narration of a master story teller, films never quite capture the significance of moments as well as a narrator can. (I'm sure several people could provide adequate examples to counteract that theory but bear with me.) I'm thinking of the moment the children hear the name Aslan in the book. Their reaction goes something like this:

"'They say Aslan is on the move - perhaps he has already landed'. And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was anymore than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different...At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realise that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer"

It's hard to capture that kind of thing on the screen, no matter how good the actors.

The film is reviewed elsewhere, I'm not going to attempt a deep analysis. But there a few comments worth mentioning. It's a good film, it's pretty faithful to the book most of the way through. Edmunds betrayal and Aslan's paying the price for his death is done well. But, I think, the film somewhat misses the point. The film is about the children fulfilling destiny, the book is about Aslan transforming Narnia and the lives of the children. I guess that's to be expected. Aslan was never going to fit well onto the screen and it's hard to capture the character and affect of him, one of the reasons CS.Lewis was never all that keen on the books going into film. It's not a satisfying portrayal of Aslan, but not unsurprising given the complexity of trying to portray the affect he has on people.

So if you haven't, or if you haven't for a while, pick up the book. Be entranced again by the Aslan within it and ponder the remarkable similarities there are to the character of God. The way Aslan is expressed in the book really helps me understand and grasp how God can be so powerful, awesome and scary whilst being tender, loving and intimate all at the same time.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

More Bright Eyes

"And the world's got me dizzy again,
you'd think after 22 years I'd get used to the spin."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Just one more thing...

"I cannot say my creed in words
How should I spell despair, excitement, joy and grief?
Amazement, anger, certainty and unbelief?
What was the grammer of those sleepless nights?
Who the subject, what the object?
Of a friend who will not come, or does not come,
And then creates his own eccentric special dawn,
A blinding light that does not blind?
Why do I find you in the secret places
Where I hide from your eternal light?
I hate you, I love you, I miss you, wish that you would go,
And yet I know that long ago you made a fairy tale for me,
About the day when you would take your sword
And battle through the thicket of the things I have become.
You'll kiss to life my sleeping beauty waiting
For her prince to come.
Then I will wake and look into your eyes and understand
And for the first time I will not be dumb
And I shall say my creed in words."
(Adrian Plass)

Advent Musings cont...

This is the word that sends shivers up my spine, and always has as I have sung Christmas carols over the years. "O come to us abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel", "Born as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel". It's the word that defines our lives. Emmanuel. God with us. The indescribable Creator, the one who dwells in unapproachable light, the one who parted the Red Sea, the one who led his people in fire and clouds, the one who dwells in the holiest of holies. This God who is so separate, so other, comes down to earth.

The Message puts it like this:
"The Word became flesh and blood,and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish."

The Word on the street puts it like this:
"So, God's voice gets flesh and blood, skin and bone. He spends time with us; we hang around with him, get to know him, see what he is like. And? As magnificent, as superb as you'd expect God's only Son to be...and heaps more!"

Emmanuel. The hope of this world. God is with us. Crazy. The maker gets down here with His creation. Think about that for a minute and see if it doesn't blow your mind to pieces.

Someone else to write my thoughts

Do you ever read things that you think, "hang on a minute, has this person been inside my head"? Becci Brown has written a cool post over on her blog, check it out. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Lucy's take on life

Sometimes Lucy's take on life hits a bit too close to the bone. I don't ever want explanations of why I feel the way I do, just someone to agree with me.

Isn't it new and shinny and lovely

So, do you like it, do you? Do you? The thebluefish Bish is the man... We like him. Oh yes. To be honest I've always wanted to make it look cool, and now it does. I almost feel like I now have to write things worthy of this new image. Alternatively I think I'll just watch snoopy dance again. Grin.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

More smiling moments.

This made me smile too. When all is rubbish around you, all you can do is dance. Snoopy philosophy. I kind of like it.

Snoopy Dance


Sometimes life needs to be full of these moments. Sometimes Calvin and Hobbes are the only ones who can make me smile.

Monday, December 05, 2005

New logo?

So the bluefish man was dossing around and came up with this, votes please if you want to see it at the top of this page...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Brooding clouds

Advent Musings cont...

A variety of experiences come into that category. Waiting for bus feels very different from waiting for test results. Waiting can be stationary, absorbed in the event being waited for, unable to think about anything else. Waiting can be active in preparing for the said event. Waiting can not feel like waiting at all, it is easy to forget what we are waiting for. What are you waiting for?

Big picture wise we are waiting for the next coming of Jesus. Christmas reminds of the hope in the darkness, the light of the world breaking through into the world. But it does not leave us in the past. It reminds us of the coming that is to come. The day when this world will be wrapped up and new fresh shinny things will be done.

But what are we doing whilst we are waiting? Actively living like the Risen Christ in this messed up world? Or distracted by everything else on offer? Remembering where we have come from and where we are going? Remembering the thrust of our lives, the burning core within us; that Christ has come, Christ is risen and Christ will come again.

The Thessalonians almost got it right. “They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath.” I say almost because they didn’t quite get the hang of active waiting, lazy waiting apparently isn’t an option in God’s books. How are we waiting? Am I waiting? And is that changing what I do today?

Thursday, December 01, 2005


The man at the swimming pool I go to a few times a week now knows my membership number off by heart. After going there for two and a half years does this mean I have finally settled in hoveactually?