Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dublin, the Goo Goo's and the mouse...

I went to the Goo Goo Dolls gig on Friday night in Dublin with Chris McC & Chris T. Two concerts in two nights - how great is that! I don't claim to be a huge Goo Goos fan but their stuff is pretty easy listening so i knew i would enjoy it. The concert was great, it was in a small venue (Ambassador Theatre) which made it all the better and i was pleased that they sang a lot of their material from Dizzy up the Girl as well as their new album Let Love In both of which I'm fairly familiar with.

So we were staying at this apartment (friend of Chris Mc). It was lovely and we arrived back after the concert with pizza only to find a mouse happily skipping across the kitchen counter. Anyone who knows me well will know that i don't cope well with any sort of vermin at close range (think its inherited from my mum!), so at this point i was starting to panic. Thankfully the 2 Chris's were a bit more masculine than me and cornered the mouse with a frying pan and rolling pin and a bread board! Basically the mouse finished up flattened between the bread board and the side of the fridge with the bread board being pounded with the rolling pin! Meanwhile i'm still seeking refuge in the living room until i get the all clear! As you can imagine this left quite a mess in the kitchen to be cleared up, so we decided to eat the pizza first before tackling the next problem of getting the squashed mouse into a bin liner. This turned out to be a 3 person job and one of the most hilarious and discusting experiences ever! Oh the craic!

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Editors...

So i was at The Editors gig last night in Madella Hall Belfast. I first heard the band last November when they supported Franz Ferdinand in Manchester - great gig. From then i quickly purchased their album 'The Back Room' and its a great album.

So the gig last night was excellent, the band played most of the songs on their album as well as about 5 new songs a couple of which were great tracks - so i would expect another album fairly soon. The Editors are definitely at the early stages of a journey that should take them far.

I just love concerts, there ain't anything better than being at a gig and really feeling the music as the bass resonates inside you. Also there's something unique about that shared experience with a huge amount of people all enjoying the same thing. One distraction for me was the lead singer who I'm convinced either had Terrets syndrome or was on drugs! He just seemed so anxious and on edge and fidgeting all the time! Anyway it didn't take away from the fact that it was a great gig and this band can definitely put in a good live performance! If you want to sample some tracks click here.

Emerging's me wat?!

So I went to 'A Day with Brian McClaren' run by Emerging Ireland on Monday. I was fortunate really to get a ticket as it was a small event for about 100 people. Brian McClaren is basically the daddy of the emerging church debate that's pretty popular at the moment. I don't claim to have a huge depth of knowledge on the subject but I'm reading Generous Orthodoxy at the moment so i you haven't read any Emergent stuff then it's a pretty good start.

My understanding is that emerging church is really a post-modern way of doing church. The day was really conversational with McClaren responding to lots of questions from the floor - no i did not ask any, definitely not intelligent enough for that! What i like about this stuff is the idea that it isn't another idea intent on splitting churches and the creation of 'emergent churches'. It's the development of a new ideology or way of thinking about church that can embrace all denominations by uniting on what we agree on. I also like the idea of developing missional churches that are not 'all about me'. Churches that recognise that Christians are not the 'end users of the gospel'. Instead McClaren presents a model of church that recognises Jesus comes with saving love for THE WORLD.
He (Jesus) invites me to be part of this community to experience his saving love and participate in it.
This is the bit i like the most though:
Those who want to become Christians (whether through our proclamation or demonstration), we welcome. Those who don't, we love and serve, joining God in seeking their good, their blessing, their shalom.
This for me says that we love people just because we love them and not because we want them to become Christians - otherwise there is something impure, an ulterior motive if you like, in our love that i don't think is Christ-like.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Up the Mournes...

So i went up the Mournes yesterday with 2 friends Stefan and Stig. It isn't something i do very often, usually only 3/4 times a year but i enjoy it a lot and would like to do it more.

It's such a vast and huge area that i really don't know a lot about but there is something adventurous spending a day rambling through marshy ground, scrambling up rocks and climbing mountains (i know they're only really hills to you Americans!) whilst at the same time solving the problems of the world in our conversation!

It was probably the longest day of walking I've done in the Mournes (7 hours) and i was exhausted (I'm not joking i thought my legs were gonna give up on me!), but when it had finished you just felt great. I guess it's a sense of achievement! Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as i enjoyed the day!

This is me just taking a break!

Stig on the left & Stefan on the right.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Manchester, friends, masculinity & unbusyness!

I've just arrived home after being in Manchester since Friday. I was over staying with Stefan (left in pic). The other guy is our friend Simon from Barcelona. We met him in Italy last summer on our Inter-rail expedition. We've kept in touch ever since so it was cool to meet up again. That's one of the great things about travelling - meeting people. It's easy meeting people when you're doing the back-packing thing but rare to keep in touch and meet up again. We're already planning to meet up again in the Autumn, this time in the sunnier climate of Barca and hopefully take in a match at the Nou Camp - how awesome would that be! Had a great weekend in Manchester, watched the FA cup Final - what a match! I really wanted to see the Hammers win but i suppose the Pool deserved it - it hurts me to say that! The rest of the weekend was generally filled with eating, talking, a bit of dancing, church, watching movies and sleeping.

I finished reading Wild at Heart (for the second time) whilst away too. What a great book for blokes (and insight for girls). I can really relate to a lot of what Eldredege talks about in terms of the life experiences of a lot of men. So I'm all set to be a warrior, climb a mountain and rescue myself a damsel in distress!

I've started reading The Gift by Eugene Peterson. I'm really enjoying it so far. It opens with his redefinition of the term pastor which is really interesting. One word he feels should be used to describe a pastor but isn't is unbusy!
How can I persuade a person to live by faith and not by works if I have to juggle my schedule constantly to make everything fit into place.
He goes on to qualify this by stressing the key things that pastors should be investing time in - prayer, preaching and listening to people. I'm so guilty of busyness. It makes me feel important, significant and needed but it's often at the expense of my spirituality. I'm realising that more than ever i need to block out time in my diary for God. I'm excited about what this might reap.

Friday, May 12, 2006

So my remit for this post is two-fold. One part involves working with the young people in the church and the other is pioneering work with the unchurched in the community. So far most of my work has been with the former simply because programmes are already there, the young people are accessible and i knew some already. The latter group i knew were always going to be a bit more difficult. Went to a church prayer meeting last night and i asked our group to pray for opportunities to really get connections with young people in the community. Then i had to pop into the leadership meeting at church to say hello. There were about a dozen young people hanging out in the church car park. After i came out of the meeting i went up and introduced myself to a few and got chatting for about an hour. It was cool and really encouraging for me - God is good. It was interesting too cos they got chatting about church - here is one young lads observations of church:
  • don't go because i don't need to and its kinda boring.
  • all the people with money are the ones in leadership and the ones sitting at the front of church.
At the same time though they were really frustrated with their local community because:
  • there is nothing for them to do.
  • they feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in local youth clubs.
  • they feel that people in the community who don't know them don't like them and are rude to them and won't even say hello in the street.
It was interesting for me to listen to that because I've heard it a lot before. I'm looking forward to meeting a few more local young people soon. If your praying for me continue to pray for favour in this because it isn't always easy to walk up to a group of young people you don't know!

Monday, May 08, 2006 & dancing...women & hope!

So i read this quote the other day. It was posted within a friends blog and i just thought it was fantastic!

"hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; faith is having the courage to dance to it today." Peter Kuzmic

I guess it's the metaphor of music and dancing that really grabs me. I think it paints a bit of a mental picture that seems to bring the words Faith and Hope alive - i like that! It's kinda funny cos I had a recent conversation with a friend and of course we got talking about the lack of women in our lives! Anyway, the conclusion we reached was 'oh there's nothing worse than hope!' It was funny and kinda became a bit of a standing joke!

On the contrary, where would we be without hope? Hope in Jesus, hope in eternity, hope in heaven, hope in the plans God has for us, plans to give us a future and a hope! Hope that God has started a work in us that He will complete, hope that God will hear our prayers and be moved into action. Now, there is something to dance about...

One week in...

So I've completed a week of my new post and all is good! I've experienced the craziness of mums & tots and the sheer energy of Friday Fun Club with 50 p5-p7's! On top of that i've had a great nite out ice-skating with the Fusion group (yr8-U6th) and didn't manage to break any bones! Yesterday was of course my introduction to the church so i got a couple of mins just to say hello and let people know where I've come from and how i came to be here! Everyone has been really lovely and very welcoming which has made meeting people enjoyable! I really enjoyed the services too. The church has lots of really talented musicians and they put a lot of effort into their music ministry. I love worship so i really enjoyed that!

This week again is really all about meeting people so lots of coffee really which I'm not complaining about!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm blaming the coffee...but embracing the excitement!

Don't you just hate lying in bed not being able to sleep?! Day 2 of the new job involved writing a letter and making a few phonecalls in the morning and then meeting with the trainee deaconess in the afternoon. This evening was the church AGM and my official introduction. It was a social evening held at Edenmore Golf Club with a meal and a short AGM speech (plus a couple of other speches) attended by 110. It was a good night and i was encouraged to have a few people come and introduce themselves although i am hoping for grace in the incoming months to remember names! Also hoping for grace on the dress code front! Minister told me smart/casual (which basically is not helpful) but he'd be wearing a suit! So I'm thinking, everyone's gonna be in suits so I'll dress down and wear a suit without a tie - how overdressed did i feel! Basically my suit only appears on 'special' occassions so i really hope that folk won't be expecting to see me so smartly dressed on Sundays!

So much goes on in WPC every week! My head has been buzzing for the last hour with church stuff. I'm thinkin about strategies, resources, people, programmes, services, outreach, marketing... the list goes on! It really is kinda overwhelming at the moment a)because there are so many people i don't know and; b) because so much happens in the church that it's hard to get my head round!

Part of me wishes i was 3 months down the road and these things wouldn't really be issues (and I'd be sleeping right now!) but a greater part of me loves being really excited about something! I love that i have so many ideas in my head and lots of people to get to know - it's all about embracing the excitement i guess! Well I'm gonna try and hit the sack again hoping for some rest!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cham '06 The Movie!

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Ok folks as some of you will already be aware, I was snowboarding in Chamonix in March (i know, life's tough!). So I've put together a wee video of the highlights which you might be interested in! There are a few private jokes in there that you won't find funny but hey you weren't there so unlucky for you hehe!

Blogspot, Life and David

So here we go folks, I've concluded that Blogspot is truely the way to go and have decided that I'm gonna blog here from now on. As you can see i set this blog up over a year ago but the whole Blog thing really confused me then! Anyways about 4/5 months ago i set up a myspace because lots of friends and colleagues used it and it was easier for me to work out the basics of html! So yeah now that I'm html fluent (by that of course you understand i mean 'copy and paste' fluent!) I acknowledge that there is only one true blog location so watch this space from now on!

So I was thinking about how i was really in blog training for the last year and then i was reading Samuel this morning about David and how even though he had been annointed king he still had to live under Saul's collapsing and unstable Kingship for quite a while. I guess it was all character building - he was in training too. So then i got thinking about me - i start my new job today with Waringstown Presbyterian (have a meeting with the minister at 12noon - i love it when first days start at 12noon, i think it would be a nationwide policy or somethin!). The prospect of this job has been running roundin my head for over a year now! I applied in November, had an interview in December and got offeredthe post around Christmas time. This has been a long process and at times it has been frustrating but it has definitely been training. During the last year my decision to stay/go changed weekly. I was on a bit of a journey, trying to work out if this was really what God wanted. I didn't want my preferences to get in the way of what God wanted.

So yeah, it has been a good year of training and i'm really excited about getting stuck into working in Waringstown, it's home, where everybody knows my name!