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Showing posts from August, 2017

Why I may be impish

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An imp is a mischievous sprite in folklore. The Girl Guides have a section, the Brownies, where each pack is divided into sixes. When I joined the Brownies I was put (without the use of a sorting hat) into the Gnomes. Each six was named after a different sort of “little person”. The Gnome emblem showed a figure with a sweeping broom (not a besom as favoured by witches). Now woodland creatures are an alternative. When I became a Sixer, due to seniority rather than any leadership skills, I was moved to the Elves. There were also Fairies and Pixies in our pack. At the Brownie Revels and other events where we met with other packs, there were Sprites (the drink was not yet invented), Leprechauns and perhaps more beside. In those days adults used to make remarks to children in passing, whether they knew them or not. They might call them rascals, scamps or imps. How customs have changed in many parts of Britain!
While I was never officially an Imp, I have been known to be mischievous – the chie…

Feeding One Another

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Jesus commanded Peter to “feed my sheep” at the end of John’s Gospel. I think many focus on Peter feeling hurt Jesus asked that question three times.  I  think of it as a “cancelling out” of Peter’s threefold denial. 

I wonder about the walk along the seashore where Jesus challenges Peter to focus on his walk with God, rather than worry about the disciple behind them.  Worrying about what other Christians are doing means not paying attention to what God wants us to do!


I find the “do not worry” command the hardest to obey and suspect this is true for most of us.  This is why one of my favourite Bible verses comes from Hebrews.  “For we do not have a high priest unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”.

It is a great comfort to know we are all in the same boat, needing…

Go Into All The World... by Trevor Thorn

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Nasa’s glorious 'Blue Marble' picture One of the most perplexing Bible texts to me in my teenage years was that of Mark 16.15: "...And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to the whole of creation.’" (NRSV). Taught regularly to interpret the instructions of Jesus to his disciples as being addressed to me as a follower of Christ, I could not conceive how I could fulfil that command in any possible way. I could not at that time imagine ever leaving the UK - and certainly not for long enough to meaningfully ‘proclaim the Good Newsto the whole world', which was the more familiar phraseology of those earlier years.
Yet now, every one of us has just that opportunity given to us by the marvels of the digital age. My own blog, The Cross and The Cosmos has, in its six year old existence, been viewed in 136 different countries out of the possible 196 (or thereabouts) which would encompass 'the whole world'. So perhaps it is a challenge t…

Labyrinth, by Lucy Mills

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I confess, I have had no chance to write an original post this month.  So here's a poem I wrote years ago about 'becoming a writer'!

trying to chart a labyrinth with rattling words and futile rhyme I wait like a mime artist clawing the air clutching for a new way to articulate my stampede into the careless freedom of words
when they are inadequate. I only sound foolish scrabbling in the dust for a gemstone finding only coloured glass lying there dead but sharp and the abrasive nature of my discovery only repels my intent.
from what I say you could assume that I am enamoured by the trivial but I search among the trivialities for a breath of meaning forgetting my cheap imitations of masterpiece and hoping one day to match the skill of simply saying
what no one else could.

(c) Lucy Mills

In Celebration of Summer, by Fiona Lloyd

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Apparently, it’s summer at the moment. Not that you’d know it: the past few days the sky has been 49 shades of grey. It wasn’t much better in Brittany, where we spent the first two weeks of August, and where the sun occasionally popped out to taunt us before retreating behind the nearest thundercloud. 
The upside of it being summer – bad weather notwithstanding – is that it gives me more time to read. Why moan about the rain if it means I can curl up with a good book? So, rather than bore you with my holiday snaps, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on some of the things I’ve read recently.
I think my favourite book of the summer was Destiny’s Revenge, by Philip S Davies (and no, I’m not just saying that because he’s a member of ACW!), which I read in a day. A YA fantasy novel, it follows the adventures of a feisty young woman called Katelin, who first appeared in Philip’s previous novel, Destiny’s Rebel.
A close second was The Evenness of Things, by Deborah Fiddimore (also an ACW…

Hidden Stories No 1—Rich Man, Poor Man

In the Gospel parables, teaching is hidden inside a story. In the Letter of St James (my favourite book of the Bible), there are stories hidden inside the teaching. I found this little story nested in chapter 2, and I thought I’d share it with you.

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It is time for prayers to begin. The small synagogue is almost full. Sophron methodically runs his eye over the rows of worshippers. He knows nearly all of them, even though many have only joined since the breakaway. Despite the scandal of their withdrawal from the mainstream synagogues of Judaea, people continue to be drawn in by their message about Yeshua Mashiach, the Lord of Glory. With an inner prayer, Sophron moves to ascend the bema, but at that moment two people appear through the doors at the back of the room. He doesn’t recognize either of them. One man is smartly dressed in expensive robes, with gold rings that can be seen across the room and a richly embroidered prayer shawl. ‘Worth more than the rest of us…

Thoughts of Thanks by Emily Owen

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‘We want to make it as easy as possible for you, in a way that will suit you.'

The quote above is taken from an email I received.I’m fortunate in that I often receive nice emails, and this one should definitely be included in that category. The email was one in a conversation between myself and Authentic Media, who are publishing my next books.

The conversation – fear not, I shall greatly summarise it – went like this:
Them: We need to schedule a team meeting with you.

Me: OK.

Them: We usually arrange a Skype meeting, is that alright with you?

Me (thinking): Oh no.

Two reasons for this:
1)I am pretty bad with technology.I’ve only ever had one Skype meeting in my life, and that was just a month or so ago. With one person.To be honest, we had enough hassle setting that up, let alone a meeting with multiple people.I mean, how would that even work?
2)I am deaf.I can lip-read, but lip-reading is easier in person than from a screen.Especially more than one person from a screen. I assume, anyway. …

Our national heritage

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The Lord will watch over 
your coming and going 
both now and for evermore.
                            Psalm 121:8 





This month friends from the US stayed for a week their first time in the UK. As we live in Bristol they visited the SS Great Britain and wandered down the river to the city centre.On Sunday they joined us at Bath City Church, after which we visited the Abbey, walked around the sights, had a late lunch in an old pub by the canal, and returned to visit the Roman Baths which became the highlight of their visit.
With all the rain this August I felt like saying “Woe to be in England now that summer is here,” but we found the Lord carefully orchestrated the days that if we were inside, be it in the car, or a building, it would pour with rain, but when walking around a village, castle, garden the sun came out its warmth and splendour making wonderful photo opportunities.
From the outset we joined the National Trust, and realized what an extraordinary history we have, and we we…

Clearing the clutter by Sue Russell

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I've been cogitating on the subject dear to all our hearts (or maybe not): editing.
The gardening analogy is an obvious one, but might bear reiterating. We humans, compared to a grapevine, are told we are in need of pruning in John's Gospel, chapter 15, verse 2, with the express purpose of becoming more fruitful. I don't know anything about viticulture, apart from the delights of the end product, but I have a vague notion that some plants need pruning, whether delicately or more stringently, and I guess there are few among us who would deny we need that sometimes painful discipline.
Just lately we've been doing some drastic clearance in our UK garden. Used as we are to macro-gardening in France, we wanted to make our English garden as low-maintenance as possible. So the ugly, overgrown and already-ringbarked-and-therefore-dead Leylandii between us and our neighbours  - planted many years ago, and not by us - had to go. A dozen or so trees, ranging from spindly to massi…

Making your mark, by Veronica Zundel

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How do you write? I don't mean, how do you begin, do you plan or just pitch in, do you use lots of adjectives or conversation or authorial comment, do you do research? I mean physically, do you tap on a tablet or doodle on a desktop, or are you one of those supposedly old-fashioned writers who have to start with a pad and pen, or even a fountain pen on fancy thick cream paper?


I can write straight to screen if it's prose (like this),  but with poetry I have to have the physical feel of pen on paper, the muscle memory of inscribed words, even in the middle of the night when all I have is a nearly finished reporter's notepad and a run-out biro by the side of the bed (and yes, last night I had to go to the home office twice since the first ballpen I picked out there was just as run-out as the one by the bed, but at least I got the draft poem down). I gave up 'proper' fountain pens decades ago, in spite of being the generation that started with desk inkwells and dip-in …

What do running and writing have in common? By Georgina Tennant

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My two sons love telling jokes.  They have, in fact, become a headline act in our church's yearly talent show.  Andy Murray's favourite number?  Ten is.  His bedtime?  Ten-ish.  Such is the quality of quip featured in their annual performance.  
'What do running and writing have in common?'  sounds, initially, like a question so absurd that it wouldn't be out of place in their next recital.  Running and writing?  Surely these two verbs are from such far-flung ends of the 'verbial' spectrum (sorry, a neologism was necessary there!) that they can only co-exist in a comedy line-up?
Think again!  I have long thought that running contains a limitless supply of metaphors for our spiritual lives.  It was only recently that I began to discern its countless connections to writing too.  As I set out running, a few weeks ago, for the first time in a while, after weeks of holidays, parties and indulgences, I observed a few things about running that we would do well to …

Writing from a place of rest By Claire Musters

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During the summer our church has been doing a preaching series on rest. Last Sunday my husband Steve and I spoke, focusing on working from a place of rest, which is something that God has been talking to me about a lot this year.
I know that many of us fit our writing around other jobs – and even if writing is your main job it can still seem like there is never enough time in the day for it.
Here is what God has been teaching me about resting in Him as I start each day rather than rushing on with my ‘to do’ list…
The importance of ordering my day I try to remember to ask him to order my day before I hit the to do list. I have found when I do this it really makes a difference – and I think part of that is heart attitude, as I’m giving the control over to God before I start running away with it myself.
Starting the day in silence with Him I am someone who can’t sit down and relax until all the jobs are done. God challenged me, saying that He knew I did give Him time as soon as dropping the …