Monday, 27 July 2009
I offer apologies to those I have offended during my blogging days, and thanks to all who have supported me through some grim times in the past, as well as those who have laughed with me at the absurdities of life.
The blog will stay online for a few days more simply so these apologies and thank-yous can be caught by my regular readership.
News of St Augustine's can always be found at the Parish Site
Sunday, 26 July 2009
There is already a plan in St Aug's to manufacture sterling silver hand gel dispensers for the altar. For more catholic parishes, there will be the option of having the Virgin Mary on the front of the dispenser, but it will come also with a simple cross option. With Raspberry Rabbit, we're hoping to make mega-bucks with this idea. After all, every parish will need this new liturgical prop.... sooner or later!
Saturday, 25 July 2009
The police were almost called yesterday when he tried to run away again, and it looks like we are heading for hospital admission again.
I'll visit this afternoon and see where we are, but desperately in need of your prayers. Blog readers will be aware that there has been enough stress, personally, this last week. I can take so much, but there comes a time when I'm ready to despair.
Friday, 24 July 2009
It's heartening that our new hall is almost completed now and we are planning to move in on 28th August. Plans are afoot for a big party on the 29th, and then we have a Confirmation on the 30th with Bishop Idris coming. There are grounds to believe that we may be successful in one of our grant applications, which means that we can have new furnishings for the hall, plus a number of laptops to turn one of our meeting rooms into a cyber cafe for the town centre.
The hall has cost us upwards of £330,000, and with the credit crunch, and the fall in value of our share portfolio of around £100k, the congregation are certainly feeling the squeeze! However, the faith within the Vestry that God will ensure we manage to see this through, with a full time ministry at the end, is unshakable!
We also endorsed the installation of new boilers for the church which should keep us warm enough for many years to come.
There was lively discussion on the swine flu pandemic, and how we should respond to recommendations made by the C of E, which seem to be endorsed by the College of Bishops. There was strong feeling that we must not abandon the common cup just yet, but that higher standards of hygiene, including alcohol-based rubs, should be introduced for all who minister at communion time. This will obviously be under review as things develop, or don't!
It's wonderful to be in charge of a congregation where so much is happening, and where there is real excitement about future ministry and mission. We now have to pray that we can afford it all, and have the necessary folk to make it all happen. In God we trust - and God has never let us down up until now!
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
However, it did strike me that normal people don't get excited by things like this, and I'm beginning to wonder, in recent weeks, whether I'm normal at all! Yesterday, the RW dragged me away from things parochial to visit the fair town of Helensburgh for afternoon tea and toasties. I was able to go into a WH Smiths for the first time in a while, and while the RW was perusing the Mills and Boons or whatever, I found myself looking at the hundreds and hundreds of different magazines that are now for sale! I was shocked! Do people buy these magazines? Well, they must do! However there are some weird and rather specialist subjects that obviously enthrall enough of our populace that they can publish and sustain a weekly or a monthly blatt on the subject!
I looked in vain for the Parousia Monthly, but I couldn't find it. It seems that folk these days find their redemption in BMWs, motorbikes, fishing, computers, techno-babble or whatever. Not even a Playboy in sight! What has the world come to when I've not been looking?
Monday, 20 July 2009
But the patrol that pulled over a Ford Fiesta on Friday doing 112mph was surprised to find at the wheel a 56-year-old nun who claimed she needed to be at the pope's side after the pontiff lost his balance in the bathroom and broke his wrist.
In the back were two fellow Salesian nuns, aged 65 and 78, who had jumped in the car in Turin when news broke of Pope Benedict's fall near Aosta, where he is spending his summer holiday.
"The police were shocked to find three nuns of a certain age in the Fiesta," confessed the nun, named only as AM. "But we were afraid of getting there late. I know you shouldn't go so fast, but the news of his Holiness's injury had made us truly anxious."
You couldn't really make this up!
Sunday, 19 July 2009
As the Site, eventually says:
Priests, Vicars, Padres!!
Tell your congregations about Host-in-the-Post,
and from now on you can enjoy Sunday Morning in Bed like the rest of us!
God Knows, you deserve it!!
Saturday, 18 July 2009
If only it could be like this all the time, but we know that a visit two hours later could have produced a very different scenario! Day at a time, Kenny! Day at a time!
My brain is hurting, my stomach churning over the thought of what the next crisis will be, or what the next visit will bring. I have lots of odds and sausages which need to be taken to him today, and it's with fear and trepidation that I anticipate the visit.
Psychiatric assessment, and perhaps some different medication is a possibility, but I don't know when that's going to happen. A case conference sometime next week will take place, but again, I don't know when.
It just can't go on like this. I know many folk who have parents who accept they can't manage on their own, and settle in to a care home, often with a bit of difficulty, but eventually with acceptance. The last two weeks have been totally OTT.
I'm just praying for the strength and sanity to see this through for now.
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
It got surreal during the second half when the Jags, in pink, had two No 16s and two number 15s on the park at once. Perhaps they should all be given No 10 and told that they are Pele? Shame for the wee Dumbarton trialist who never even got a number!
If both teams play like they did tonight, it's going to be a long hard season for both sets of fans!
It certainly scuppered her plan to be with me tonight at The Rock where Dumbarton are taking on Partick Thistle Nil. My local team against the love of my life! It's only a pre-season friendly, so I don't expect The Nil to do too much. Prediction - a Dumbarton win which will make my life hell for the next few months.
Other things will scupper the attendance at tonight's game. Bruce Springstein is in concert just down the road in Glasgow, and Maggot and T, it seems, are about to become grandparents today. However, Simon Barrow from Ekklesia will be with us from Englandshire. Why a noted theologian and widely read academic supports Dumbarton I know not, but there are obvious connections with insanity in both these roles.
Meanwhile, Archie, Toastie, Peanut, the SA and I have been left to our own devices! Scary. Eh?
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Today, in the Gospel we had the head of St John the Baptist served up on a plate, and there’s a lot of truth in saying that there are some who will march this weekend, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne 319 years ago, who would gladly have the head of Pope Benedict served up on a plate too.
The thing is that if it was an anti-Islamic march then it would be banned! But even in this community, shortly, the flutes will play on our streets, the drums will bang, and wee girls will dance like Salome, twirling the cords of the various banners.
Not that the other lot are much better.
There are some who would wish they could get away with blowing the said walk and all its participants to kingdom come in one fell swoop. Mass murder is nothing new to either camp.
Hatred of Roman Catholicism and hatred of Roman Catholic practice is an abomination to God. There, I’ve said it because it is the truth.
Hatred of anything that is not Roman Catholic, Calvinism, Protestant and reformed is also an abomination to God. There, I’ve said that too, because it’s the truth.
We take God Almighty himself and use him as an excuse for our hatred and division, and that is an abomination.
I will have nothing to do with bigots and those who will perpetuate hatred in the Name of God in my country or in this community, whether Christian or not, for it is an abomination, and that’s the truth.
But telling the truth can get us into all sorts of problems.
There are two types of people in the world we despise. The first are people who can never be trusted to tell the truth. The second are people who can only be trusted to tell the truth.
Can you remember the first time you got in trouble for telling the truth? I can. I was four or five years old. An adult was visiting our house, and they asked my dad why we didn’t come over very often to visit them. I chimed in, “I know. . . Because my mum says your children have dirty heads.”
I once told a funny-smelling “old lady” that my mum would never have a cup of tea in her house. Well my mother had said it. “It would give you the bile”, she’d said.
Eventually we learn that while we should always tell the truth, we don’t always have to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Some call this the art of the “white lie,” And there are many things and situations which, if we are going to fit in with society and be acceptable, we have to learn the technique of staying silent or telling the white lie.
The truth be told? We usually don’t want the truth to be told.
But sometimes, I believe, we need to tell the truth, even although we risk getting our head on a plate for our efforts.
And we might offend. Well, tough! Because some things need to be held up as wrong, some things need to be held up as evil, and sometimes we need to be brave enough to stand and speak the truth.
And John the Baptist was doing just that. Sure, there were lots of things he could have accused Herod of doing wrong. His politics were more than a wee bit crazy, but eventually he did something that couldn’t be ignored, and John spoke the truth.... “You are in an adulterous relationship. You have stolen your brother's wife and you must repent.” And it was because Herod was offending God and God’s law that he eventually spoke out. It cost John his life.
There were other things that could have been said about stuff in Herod’s life, but some things are worth dying for and others aren’t. We maybe have to pray for discernment. Discernment is important, because there is always a time to speak and a time to stay silent.
But, if God is being used to create the sort of hatred and division in our society which we see at this time of year in this community then it must be condemned. The truth needs to be told.
If someone is destroying the fabric of the People of God, then the truth needs to be said.
If someone is even jeopardising the life and unity of this parish, then the truth must be told, even if it’s told in love.
If the Gospel itself is being twisted and used for means other than truth, unity and love, if it is making a mockery of Jesus and his way of love, then it is an abomination and worth speaking out against and maybe even dying for. We’re lucky that heads on dishes are not common sights, even on Dumbarton High Street.
Often, we are asked to speak the truth because it is necessary to do so, but so many of us shy away from it because we are afraid to offend, or afraid of the consequences.
What if Michael Jackson had had people in his life who weren’t afraid of giving offense, what if certain people who loved and cared for Jackson brought grace and truth together in his life, were firm and told him the truth about himself? What if they weren’t afraid that he might want their heads on a platter? Might he still not be alive today?
What about some of the drug abusers and alcoholics in our communities who continue to be enabled, simply because nobody is brave enough to stop it and hold a mirror up to their faces, and confront them with their unacceptable behaviour. I would have been saved a lot of pain had someone long ago had done that for me. Instead, it was all covered up with the words, “Oh! Father enjoys his wee drink!”
And so our silence can often enable evil and unacceptable things to go on, we enable things to happen which are destructive to our communities, our friends and families because we won’t tell the truth. We’re frightened of the consequences.
Sure, we always need a spirit of discernment, but often it’s just that we lack the courage, and are afraid of the consequences.
John the Baptist had no such fear. His love of God was such, that there were things that had to be said.
There are things that need to be talked about. Truths that need to be told, from world hunger, to Islamic and Christian extremism, from basic human rights, to racism and even homophobia. And the truth needs to be told.
But even in our little communities, and in our families, often the truth needs to be told in love, to save folk from themselves, whatever the consequences. We need to be brave, sometimes, to do that.
It's not only the Christian Church which is being challenged on the gay issue, as Aman's interview clearly shows.
After reading this, I guess it's a good job he's leaving Glasgow soon. Scottish academia, theologically and spiritually, will be poorer for his absence.
It's going to be an interesting day or two in Blogland over at Kelvin's Blog. After a week or so of negative comment in the press by senior churchmen in Englandshire on the whole gay issue, perhaps Kelvin has said what needed to be said!
Saturday, 11 July 2009
It's the "Care Home" leap, and the finality of it. He'll never again be independent or able to care for himself, and I know that now I have to detach a bit, let him try to settle in his new surroundings, and visit when I can. He can come out with us still for a wee while, but his short term memory is woeful and he needs someone with him if he is to venture outside the big house.
The other residents are mostly in a more advanced state of physical and mental need, and maybe that's why he, himself, is pretty depressed just now. There have been lots of tears and a day when he did nothing but cry.
All sorts of feelings and emotions are snaking through my brain. Could we have done anything else that would have prevented this? Was it the right decision to bring him to Dumbarton in the first place? Every child must have some sort of "guilt" if that's the right word, when a parent is put into an establishment like this?
Dad himself is good at pressing the right buttons and stirring up emotions such as those!
At present I'm working on the Serenity Prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change!
Thursday, 9 July 2009
‘It’s a sad day when society forgets what the Sabbath is for,’ said Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium. ‘While many still observe the major festivals and turn out to the shops at Christmas, we’re finding that more and more people are moving away from the traditional Sunday shopping experience. Organised, communal consumerism is what keeps societies strong, but it no longer seems to be relevant to people’s lives, and our economy is weaker for it.‘
Yet despite the general public’s growing indifference, a small band of born-again shoppers are rowing against the tide of deserters. ‘I was never a regular shopper in my youth, if I’m honest,’ said Dave Wilkins, a fervent Sunday shop-goer, ‘but my wife got me back on the straight and narrow. She’s always insisted that Sunday shopping provides a focus to the week and a chance to reflect on what’s important. Each week we spruce ourselves up for a trip to the shops and she gives the kids the usual lecture about how they should be grateful for the opportunities for Sunday trading that she didn’t have as a child.‘
‘It’s just a pleasure to spend Sundays together in large retail complexes,’ agreed Dave‘s wife, Mel. ‘The architecture is awe-inspiring and never fails to remind me that I’m in the presence of omnipotent forces I can only begin to understand. I just love to take myself off to the fitting rooms for some quiet reflection, before putting something in the collection at the tills on the way out. It’s our way of saying thanks. And its so reassuring to see the security guards keeping an eye out for those who’ve lost their way.’
Although the outlook appears bleak for retailers, church leaders are much more positive about the return of religion as a guiding force in people’s lives. Churches have reported a rise in attendance at Sunday evening mass as those unfortunate enough not to live near an all-night Tesco Express pop in on their way back from Ikea to top up on bread and table wine.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
What does it all mean? Palin’s surprise announcement, on Friday, that she is quitting as Governor of Alaska left a load of July 4 dinners in a Marie Celeste state of abandonment as commentators scrambled to explain her move.
The first scenario ventured goes something like this. It’s part of the bigger plan and somehow masks a greater, iron-clad will to bypass the local politics of governorship and head straight for the 2012 presidential elections.
This interpretation sees Palin conjuring a giant smokescreen to disguise her plan for world domination, possibly while stroking a pristine, white Siamese cat.
Monday, 6 July 2009
Following revelations that the next head of MI6 was found to have a Facebook page, secret agent James Bond has also been found to be an active user of the site.
Concerns have been raised that foreign counter-espionage teams could discover that 007 got 95% correct on ‘Guess That 80s Band’ and chose Lady Gaga, international megalomaniacs, the colour pink, Dizzee Rascal and Piers Brosnan as his ‘5 Things I’d Like to See Disappear Forever!’.
He was also revealed as being a member of a number of Facebook groups including ‘Ant & Dec for PM’ and ‘Bring back Bagpuss’.
David Miliband has joined calls for Bond to be sacked, saying ‘His page shows that he clearly lacks judgment, not to mention taste. And only 95% on 80s bands? Come on…’
Sunday, 5 July 2009
Friday, 3 July 2009
Was going through some old pics as I re-organise the computer and I'd forgotten about this! It was taken on a visit to the Nou Camp in Barcelona, where the visitors are allowed in to see the "away team" dressing rooms. Just the same as the Home Dressing Room, except........ (click on the pic to read the tale)
Britain’s largest retailer Tesco will today come under fire over 7p an hour garment workers in Bangladesh as shareholders prepare to hail the company’s record £3 billion profits at its annual meeting.
The Church of England is a major shareholder with an investment of £27.5 million in the company, according to the last annual report of the Church Commissioners.
The news comes as the third uncomfortable revelation for the Church in four days.
Yesterday, the Guardian newspaper revealed that Exxon Mobil, in which the Church of England has a shareholding valued at £17.2 million, is continuing to fund lobby groups which question the reality of global warming, despite a public pledge to cut support for such climate change denial. On Tuesday, campaigners announced that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) would be the subject of a legal action after it was was linked to climate change and human rights violations. The Church has a £8.4 million stake in RBS.
Well we did the dirty deed yesterday and at least semi-moved dad into his new home. Then after a brief visit two hours later, left him to get on with it and settle in. It seems strange today that Linda and I don't have to jiggle things around to ensure hospital visiting times are covered.
It's a sad feeling to realise that "it's come to this", but he just is unable to look after himself, and there's no option. A wee tear is an option, and a heavy heart is a realistic response.
The owner of the home is an ex- St Aug's member, now living in Florida, and the staff are just smashing. We left him with his pipe, what a joy for him, and the prospect of a wee dram before his dinner and another before his bedtime! Let's hope the honeymoon works out!
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
It's the end of a long hospital saga, and I know we are extremely lucky to still have him. Blog prayers are powerful things!
How happy he'll be, I know not. Certainly most of the residents are in an advanced state of dementia, but if they treat him as someone who can help out, rather than "as a patient in need of great care", it may well work out.
He moves in tomorrow, Thursday, so we'll need lots of prayers that he'll settle! The blogosphere won't let me down, I know!