Nothing to see here.
Nothing to see here.
Nothing to see here.
On Sunday morning, rainbow clad gunmen broke into the Westboro Baptist Church building and opened fire on the congregation. Screaming, “Glad to Gay!” they killed four of the main pastoral staff of the controversial organisation, including founding pastor, Fred Phelps. Three other members of the congregation were also killed in the attack.
In the aftermath, the hashtag #iamwestboro started trending on Twitter and people the world over started publishing pictures of Westboro Baptist’s famous placards in solidarity with the church.
A spokesman for Westboro Baptist said, “those placards aren’t homophobic – don’t seek to delegitimise us without understanding either the context of our belief or our place within American society and history.”
When asked why he was promoting obviously homophobic images on his website, John Smith, of reasonable-views.com, said, “It’s a free speech issue, we must face this outrageous attack on our right to say whatever we like by saying things that we strongly disagree with – just because. And, furthermore, anyone that doesn’t do likewise, is a coward who is giving the attackers what they want. The entirety of the gay community should apologise for this horror – even if they had nothing to do with it.”
Josh Ritter is great, not particularly rock but great nonetheless.
Oh, and I’ve been meaning to say that AC/DC’s new album is great. It’s hardly been out of the car stereo since I opened it on Christmas Day.
My mate James, challenged me to come up with a list of ten books that had ‘affected me’.
It took me a while to get round to it but here’s the first ten off the top of my head. Not much thought has gone into this, it’s in no particular order, and it’s likely to have changed by the time I get to the bottom of the list.
0) God et al.; The Bible
– tells the first part of a story we’re all invited to be part of the current stages of.
1) Goscinny & Uderzo; The Asterix comics
– mean and grumpy adults (as opposed to kids) could be funny. Both a revelation and an inspiration.
2) James Alison; On Being Liked
– broadened my mind with regards to the cross and theories of The Atonement, and got me thinking.
3) Frank Perretti; This Present Darkness
– I’d seen this book in the local Christian bookshop at a young (and broke) teen age, it looked like the kind of thing that Mum & Dad wouldn’t want around but when I found it on their shelves, Mum said, ‘It’s pretty good, why not give it a go?’ So, I did – and it was pretty good, and gave me permission to like books with odd, supernatural things going, nasty villains, and human protagonists.
4) Tim Hardy; Opalescence
– it’s small, but got some good stuff inside it. I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t got a copy (I have very reasonably-priced spares). It was brilliant to create something concrete and the positive reception was wonderful but has kind of left me with a lack of ambition to write more (which sucks).
5) Rob Bell; Velvet Elvis, Michael Lloyd; Café Theology, Donald Miller; Blue Like Jazz
– I remember all these books helping to shape my theology at the time, particularly the idea of things (including us) being a work in progress, constantly developing, and that that’s all right.
6) CS Lewis; A Grief Observed & The Great Divorce
– these first of these two books helped massively with a sense of normalisation of the depression I was going through at the time – if one of the modern heroes of my faith could experience and describe things as close to what I’d been feeling then maybe there was hope for me. The second provided me with a backing (from a trusted source) for my growing unease with the idea of ‘eternal conscious torment’.
7) Douglas Adams; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a trilogy in four parts)
– funny science fiction! And a world-view that I found very appealing.
8) Tom Wright; Surprised by Hope (or Simply Christian)
– yet another “it’s all right to be thinking what you’re thinking” books – particularly the idea that received church/Christian/pop-cultural wisdom might not be entirely-based on an accurate understanding of reality/what the Bible really says.
9) Alan Moore; V for Vendetta
– Watchmen was brilliant but V was my first experience of a comic written specifically to discuss the ins and outs of a philosophical/political position (in this case, anarchism). All wrapped up in a terrifying, dystopian vision of the near future.
10) Michael Rosen; Michael Rosen’s Sad Book
– Another ’empathy’ book, all the better for both suggesting that there are ways to help with the SAD and ending with the idea that it will creep up and clobber you at the most unexpected of times…
The more observant of you will have noticed that there are more than ten books here – congratulations, have a picture from the Sad Book:
On Saturday, the moon was full and big – warming up for Sunday’s super moon.
I’d just taken ownership of a shiny new camera and been long-term-lent a tripod that fit it, so it seemed like it would be a good idea to attempt to take some pictures of the big round shiny sky thing.
I soon learned that it was possible to take over-exposed pictures of the moon:
I spent a couple of minutes working out how to sort it out and by the time the camera was pointing back at the silvery disc, this had happened:
The cloud has remained ever since and the temperature of the earth has dropped a good couple of degrees in the last two days.
I’m trying out the Isola theme – it’s a little more minimalist than the previous one – I like it so far. The side bar and menu can all be found by clicking on the three horizontal lines next to the title in the grey bar.
What do you reckon?
This morning, the church was decked out in flowers and light, there was a new Paschal Candle and everything was back in place after the desolation and violence of the past few days.
There was much rejoicing.
All seemed well with the world.
Then I remembered how Mark’s gospel ends:
So they* went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
and I didn’t feel quite so triumphant.
I’m not quite sure what I think any more.
I’m very happy to celebrate a victory that was won on our behalf (that we had no hand in winning, and indeed was won despite our best efforts) and I will be eternally grateful that what Jesus did has set things right between God and us, but the awareness that we are still a work in progress and have been given a job to do that our incompleteness will continue to get in the way of is leaving that celebration feeling a little muted.
Let me preface this entry by saying that only Roy Wood wished it could be Christmas every day.
I’ve heard a lot of discussion about today – usually involving phrases such as “resurrection people”, “Sunday’s coming” and “sure and certain hope”. None of which fills me with the intended joy and reassurance.
I don’t know too much about church traditions concerning Holy Saturday – except concerning the Harrowing of Hell (what Jesus is said to have done whilst he was resting in peace) and that most of the disciples, having slunk off and abandoned him already must have been feeling in a pretty sorry state.
Lent itself is six weeks of reflection and preparation leading up to Passiontide, and jumping straight from Good Friday to Easter Sunday morning seems to me akin to ripping open our Christmas presents before they’ve even been put under the tree.
Our best friend, leader and only hope has been cruelly murdered, we’re in fear for our own lives and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel – we’re lost and utterly without hope. I, for one, am grateful that the church allows one day a year to commemorate the lost, hopeless confusion that many of us find to be the staples of our every day life.
So, on Sunday I travelled down the country (as far as Halifax, anyway) to help out my mates with their monthly Rock Mass and then back home again afterwards so I could spend Monday morning with Ros rather than not seeing her until the evening when she got back from youthworking. As I got out of the car, I heard some drunken shouting behind me and ignored it until, as I closed the door, a very big gentleman stood in my way and angrily asked me if I knew a ‘Donna Jones’. I persuaded him that I didn’t and, after calling me a liar, he staggered down the road looking hurt and lonely and lost. I started getting my gear out of the back of the car and prayed for him that he’d find whatever it was that he needed.
Before I could close the boot, he was back in my face, acting aggressively and shouting at me to admit that I knew this Donna. I walked backwards away from him, all the while denying ever having met her. Then he took a swing at me – I almost ducked it but he connected with me cheek and sent my glasses flying. He tried unsuccessfully to punch me again and then stood there, offering his chin for me to punch. I told him again that I didn’t know any Donna and that I wasn’t going to hit him (I believe I said that I had no reason to hit him – make of that what you will). He stormed off down the street, I collected my stuff and took it inside once I was sure that he was nowhere to be seen.
After enough time for him to get clear of the street, we went outside to search for my glasses – they were nowhere to be found. We looked again in the morning and there was no sign of them then either.
Since then, I’ve been waiting for a new pair to arrive (they came this afternoon) and feeling tired and headachey because of the lack of being able to see properly (unless I was wearing my prescription sunglasses which left everything somewhat dark and still caused headaches from the strain).
They look something like this:
The Nectar card is there because we used some our saved points to go out for Italian food tonight and the picture’s part of Ros’s record of things that made her happy this month.
Thankfully, work agreed to rearrange my days so I wouldn’t be staring at a screen trying to make out the tiny words whilst I waited for the specs to arrive – and for that, I am very grateful.