Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Requiem Mass

My eldest daughter, Katie, came home to stay a while which is normally a time for celebration and gravy dinners, of laughter and shopping, of shared secrets and girlie stuff but not this time. She came home for some TLC because she had just said goodbye to her friend at a requiem mass. Her friend had been diagnosed as having leukaemia and three weeks later, she had died. This was a great shock to Katie, who like many of her generation have been brought up with hospital drama's in which almost everyone gets better, and even if they don't, death is managed and beautiful and everyone gets to say goodbye and make up their differences...but this experience of death was not afforded to Katie who carried guilt about the usual things surrounding death...did I do enough...did I visit enough...if only I had done this, that, the other...and to compound the matter, of all my children, Katie is the one who finds the harder side of life difficult to cope with.

As Katie shared her feelings about the service, even though she was upset, she was clearly able to articulate the difference between this funeral service in which most of those attending were Christians from the Roman tradition, and funerals in which those attending did not have any faith. It left her with a sense of hope as well as a sense that death definitely was not the end.

Yet Katie, a child of the Manse, would not describe herself as a committed Christian...not that she has deliberately chosen to rebel against any form of faith commitment. Again like a great many of her generation, faith is something that has just past her by...become an irrelevance...something that Mum does as a job.
I was struck by the great sense of responsibility that I, you, the rest of Christendom, carry in making faith relevant to the 20-somethings of this world. That is a heavy charge to answer if we fail to do so.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


I have been recently introduced to the benefits of the social networking sites which have recently become very popular, and have registered with Facebook. Before I knew it, I was launched into a virtual world where people poked each other, threw hot potatoes at you, super-poked you, spanked you, invited you to cocktail parties and a whole host of other 'virtual' activities, some of which have more merit than others if you get my drift. I have had graffiti written on my wall, been spanked several times (deservedly some would say!) and been contacted by people I had forgotten I ever knew. I now have a large network of virtual friends, who clearly do not require as much attention as the real life versions - just a poke every now and then. I have also been pleasantly surprised and intrigued that my daughters friends want to be my friend too and have quickly been blessed with 'Mummy Sue' as a term of endearment. The downside of this is I am now party to Cyber conversations and learning things about my children and their friends that I would be probably safer not knowing!
I have also been utterly amazed and bewildered at some of the things people will publish about themselves...will they live to regret this in a few years I think to myself, particularly as prospective employers are now frequently using these sites to do a little research on applicants. I guess this is the fast moving IT life we now inhabit and in which we shall all have to learn new rules about.

I wonder if Jesus had this problem when he made friends?

I wonder what the theological equivalent is to a 'super-poke'?

I wonder where cyber space actually is and whether or not there is a cyber heaven and a cyber hell?

I wonder if all this wondering is good for me.....

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Swing Low - Shosholoza!

Last night I had dinner with two Methodist students and their partners. Nothing strange about that except that these are pre-ordination students training for ministry in the Methodist Church and I am arranging a placement for them in Cape Town, South Africa, one of the most beautiful countries that I have ever visited - except for Yorkshire of course. These students and their partners are very nice people - kind, gentle folk who mind their p's and q's and will be no trouble what so ever to their placement host.

Now, we all know that there is a very important rugby match coming up on Saturday when England take on South Africa in the finals of the world cup.

Having read what their placement host has to say about the this match, particularly his prediction for the result, I am beginning to wonder about the wisdom of sending such innocents half way across the world in the care of a person who clearly lacks sound judgement. I shall enjoy sending him an England rugby shirt as a gift when we win...just as a reminder!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Happy Birthday!

New life has come to this house....on the 8th October, Dora our Patterdale Terrier, presented us with three puppies:
- Abraham (Abe for short, dark velvety black and a real bruiser),
- Polly (the colour of chocolate, quiet and gentle) and
- Peggy (fat as butter with a dark stripe down her back).

I would just like to wish everyone who shares 8th October as their birthday, many happy returns.

Anyone want a puppy....