Like many I have been enjoying catching some of BBC’s study of three Hereford Diocese parishes in A Vicar’s Life, still available on i-player. They have been fair and sympathetic and portrayed our clergy as the community heroes they very often are. But I also detect, or anticipate, a bit of controversy below the conventional surface.Read More
Well what about God? Is he vengeful or is he kind?
Should we live our lives in secret and hope he doesn’t mind?
Isn’t he an If ….. Then …. God? That’s it; that sums him up.
If you obey his law … then he’ll look after you, if you’re lucky.
If you eat the forbidden fruit … then you’ll be expelled from the garden.
I get it ……….but, I don’t believe it! I see something else.Read More
How did you get on in Hong Kong (I asked an acquaintance who had been visiting her sons there); Oh, it wasn’t very comfortable; most of the spare room in their tiny flat is taken up by a huge hot-air panting server mining the internet for Bitcoin! So we’ve returned to 19thC booty capitalism where adventurers set off to colonise farther corners of the digital universe to pan for new gold, and apparently Bitcoin. Is this wise? Is it inevitable?Read More
During a stay in a foreign university we made friends with Zaid, a Pakistani and devout Moslem; there was endless scope for leg-pulling since he needed to work out the direction of Mecca at least 6 times a day for his prayer devotions. Our dear Zaid accepted an invitation to come to church with us, a lively affair full of students, loud music and joy.Read More
When you look at the wintering sky, the gathering weight of the season coming with its diluted light, do you see pale or dark? Do you see the winter rigging of the woods at anchor, naked branches stripped down for the coming storms, or do you see the endless ocean of the sky, somehow nearer and emptier, all the more intimate for being uncluttered? We can ask the same about God. How do we see him?Read More
'Heavens, that's a big stump!' I said to myself, exploring a remote corner of a Herefordshire wood. Approaching, I found myself in what might have once been a garden; and the “stump” turned out to be an ivy covered chimney breast, all that was left of a long-abandoned cottage, once full of life and hope clinging precariously to the edge of the common.Read More
The business wheels of Kington Town Council often grind slowly and tortuously, but the work is done and thanks to our new Town Clerk, Liz Kelso, it will be done efficiently and accountably. We are lucky to have her! We had a long and occasionally frustrating discussion on the provision of new play equipment and surfaces on the Rec.. Disentangling suppliers, contractors, specs and quotes isn't simple. So is it worth it?Read More
“For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon). One of the joys of a holiday where you can hide in the shade and read in peace was the “purr, purr” of a distant turtle dove; they were shy and hard to see, fleetingly diving like arrows from pine tree above to a dark oak below. In the evening I even heard the strange wrrrrrrr-urrrrrrr of nightjars, close by but never seen. Large butterflies flew, settled, flew frustratingly rapidly. Was it a swallow-tail? Yes, or something equally glorious!Read More
So it's a hung parliament! And at the time of writing we have few ideas on how this will develop. But in looking for positives it has to be recognized that chaosis a great engine for change and innovation. Compromise and cooperation are far from simple but provide fertile soil if we put in the hard work to break up long fallow ground.Read More
When the Church lives up to our Lord's radical values and church leaders speak up, there is bound to be a politician who tells the Church to mind its own business. Bishops and archbishops have spoken out against wars, punitive taxes, treatment of the vulnerable and discriminative policies; it's not politics but democracy. Having a view, caring and speaking out are important. But politicians might defend their irritation by pointing to the famous incident in the New Testament when Pharisees came to try and catch Jesus out over the paying of taxes. Is it right to pay taxes to the Roman occupier? Show me a Denarius he said, and duly pointed out Caesar's image; “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's.” There is a separation of Church and state but nonetheless we may, rightly, hold strong views on how states operate.
Lenten fasting was almost over, and now was the time; the Great Easter liturgy was here. Slowly the old king collected his cloak and summoned his servant. Must you go, asked the Queen; it's late and you are frail. Yes! I must go. And so he went, quietly, descending the hill to the monastery on the edge of the marshes. Arriving at a half hour to midnight, slipping in through the monks' door, all was dark but alive.Read More
He crossed the lake to the other side, perhaps seeking rest away from the Jews, but as soon as he landed in that wilderness place, a naked madman ran towards him roaring like Prospero's Caliban. A prisoner to self harm, tormented by demons, dangerous with unnatural strength, the man whom no one could chain or restrain, threw himself at the feet of God. “What do you want with me, Jesus Son of the Most High?” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”Read More
When Jesus said at his trial “for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth”, the worldly and cynical Pilate countered rhetorically “What is truth?” That is all very understandable and perhaps wearily familiar. After all, the Governor of Judea has grave responsibilities and serious ambitions to worry about; above all he must suppress rebellion and raise taxes.Read More
The New Year is the time to reunite ourselves with our spiritual wild side. Singing Hymns Ancient and Modern is something for Sundays but it isn't the same thing. The Creator of the universe has touched us, and he has plans for each of us. We are made with star dust, and the hands that made the stars fashioned the human soul. It is wild and unfathomable and breathtakingly thrilling.Read More
As the sulphurous smoke clears from the American election battlefield, we seem to be waking up in a new world. A reality TV virus has apparently infected the political universe; 'let the hunger games begin!' with, after a pause, that deliciously cynical benediction 'and may the odds be with you'. May the odds be with us all!...Read More
What do we think about immigration? It's a subject brought centre stage by Brexit and our Government's strategy direction. It helps me to take a mental walk through Kington...Read More
It's good to take stock of life, and isn't the Walking Festival, just finished, a great opportunity to do just that? Walking and travelling together does so many things. We adopt a measured pace fitted to one another and the landscape uniting us with ancient hunter-gatherer pasts. Apologies if you are laughing, but I think it must be true.Read More
Like many others, I hope, I'm enjoying a cargo of ideas and feelings and refreshment having had some holiday. There were lots of things to remember but the common ingredients were enjoying family, staying with old friends, being outdoors a lot, and marvelling at the beauties of the creation around us.Read More
The old king slowly and sadly paced the terrace of his summer palace in the cool and quiet of the early morning. Only the swifts screamed and the martins busied themselves in and out of the palace eves. His heart was heavy, but it was the law of the land. Why had he agreed to a people's referendum?Read More