Thursday, 30 April 2009

Just a Thought for Bedtime..

Two Friars and a Fool continue the debate....

Mexicans die while other suffer a contagion of fear

From Ekklesia.... some sense!

Health promoters, community and church workers in Mexico are asking why people in their country are dying from swine flu, while wealthy countries panic and the virus spreads around the world. The answer, they say, is that the poor are always the first victims.

So far, only Mexico has seen deaths as a result of the new strand of flu virus which has spread from livestock into the human population.

Some 145 deaths from cross-viral infections were estimated in the country over the past two weeks. 26 fatalities were then confirmed through initial tests. A further 2,000 have been predicted.

This morning the headline estimate went up to 159. However, a new, more rigorous epidemiological test has been introduced. So far it has linked 9 deaths to swine flu with surety.

Uneven health care, inadequate or out-of-date vaccines and slow responses from over-stretched services have been implicated in the deaths.

According to the World Bank, half of Mexico’s population was living in poverty in 2002 and the statistics have not improved greatly over the past seven years.

Current estimates are that approximately 55 million people live in poverty in Mexico, with some 22 million of those people living in extreme poverty.

The potential for the epidemic to cause devastation in poor regions is a dimension of the swine flu outbreak which needs much more attention, say health promoters.

Thee is also real concern about the wider impact of swine flu on Mexico's economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism. There has been a sudden decrease in visitors and this is hitting workers who rely on tourism-related income.

Experts say that a travel ban would not have any real impact on the the spread of the virus at this stage, and would be bad in other respects - medics and supplies coming into the country, for example.

*What ARE we worried about?????*

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Broken-ness

At the Eucharist this morning I talked a bit about broken-ness, and the broken, wounded Body of Jesus. It seemed right in the light of the various experiences and discussions of the past month or so. 

Today in my little "Blogworld", that broken-ness is very evident. There is much discussion both in GadgetVicar's Blog, and in Revd Ruth's Blog about the forthcoming General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Various links and comments are to be found on both sites, although the two Bloggers come to it from different perspectives. The broken body of Jesus right enough!

The bottom line is this.. A very good, faithful and well respected minister is leaving his congregation in Dundee. This congregation is heartbroken that they are losing him. He has been appointed by another congregation in Aberdeen to be their minister. The problem is that the man is gay and has a life-long partner. Does the Aberdeen congregation care? Not a bit! In fact in a poll, over 80% were happy or more than happy with the appointment. Aberdeen Presbytery endorsed the "calling", but now some dissenting voices have dragged this issue into the agenda of the General Assembly. Bit strange this, since the C of S upholds, totally, the right of a congregation to choose their own minister!

A right old stushie has ensued, and we are talking about the possibility of schism in the Church of Scotland, which is presbyterian in nature. Why some outsiders feel the need to stir up dissent I know not! However, it has become almost a personal crusade against this fine man who was chosen to be the minister in Aberdeen!

Does the Church preach a Gospel of inclusiveness? Don't be daft! Is Christ and his love and acceptance of all still being crucified by his Church? Definitely!

And when I go to hell, which I will according to some of these people, as I'm an alcoholic divorcee and remarried to boot, I'll find myself, perhaps, in the company of some incredibly good and Christlike individuals, who know more about the love of God than those who are hell-bent on their persecution!

And still the Body of Christ is broken, wounded, bleeding, crying out for resurrection. As our Liturgy says.. "Lord unite us in this sign."

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Crawling Back to Reality

After about 22 hours sleep since Sunday night, I'm crawling back into life again today, and even feel awake enough to lift my laptop!

Being "on team" at a Cursillo weekend can be an exhausting experience, and this one was no exception. However, so many beautiful things actually happened as a result and, undoubtedly, the Holy Spirit was hard at work! Together with the joy and laughter which is so much a part of the "Cursillo Experience", there was a lot of pain that surfaced and was dealt with, as well as it possibly could be, in the hurly-burly of the weekend itself.

The participants from Dumbarton certainly were as high as kites on Sunday evening, and even brought Linda and me a couple of freshly caught rainbow trout for our tea last night! Now we gear up for a long trip to Dumfries on Friday to welcome "home" the two Dumbarton participants! (To the Diocesan Group of course!)

I was welcomed home on Sunday night on my return by Archie and Toastie and Peanut, and ended up on my back being licked to death by three dogs! Eek! Somebody missed me!

After cutting myself off from the world, and my family, for almost five days, there were big updates on my dad. (I would have been contacted if anything serious had been happening). He has shown signs of an adequate physical recovery, apart from blinding headaches, but mentally he's "away with the fairies" as we say here, and I have no idea what's going to happen now. I'll get a chance to speak to hospital staff today, I hope.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Beyond Jesus

From Fr Geoff Farrow:

“Moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus.” Those words are used in the title of an article in the California Catholic Daily. They are attributed to a speaker at the Leadership Conference of Religious Women. Statements such as these have triggered an investigation by Cardinal Levada of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as The Holy Office of the Roman Inquisition). For the full story please read THIS.

Reading those words “Moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus” seem on one level as abandonment of the Church and of Christ. Yet, before reaching for your pitchforks and torches it might be good to remember that the late John Paul II was similarly criticized in 1986 when he convened an International Day of Prayer at Assisi. 

At the time, the late pontiff was accused of opening the door to religious relativism. Inviting individuals such as the Dalai Lama, who is also inconveniently addressed as “your holiness,” was just too bitter a pill for many in the Church to swallow. Obviously, John Paul II was not abandoning the Church or Christ. He was merely acting on the belief expressed at the Second Vatican Council that truth resides in every religion. 

Weekend Away


Tomorrow I'm off to the Isle of Cumbrae, to Millport, to be Spiritual Advisor to a Cursillo Weekend. These weekends are always a wonderful experience, and after the stresses of the last few weeks it will be good for me to get away and recharge some of the spiritual batteries, although it's hard work and relatively sleepless for me. I'm sure nobody will particularly miss my posts!

I look forward to catching up with everyone on Sunday evening... or probably about Tuesday by the time I recover!

Dad is confused and a bit restless tonight in hospital. He keeps asking the staff to phone him a taxi. I was assured by nurses tonight that it will be a good while before he goes anywhere, in a taxi or otherwise!


Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Cardboard Coffins

OK... which would you prefer? Sombre mahogany or oak, with solid brass fittings and a deep velvet lining... or a cardboard box? Yes, welcome to the world of the flat-pack coffin, printed with greetings card images that will have funeral congregations rolling in the aisles. "Rest in peas" says one especially appropriate coffin (top left), which will help the mourning process no end.

Creative Coffins, the maker of these beauties, seems to have started with the good idea that people want a "green alternative" to traditional wooden coffins. Theirs are made of non-toxic cartonboard and "use only natural starch based glues in assembly – no bolts, screws, tape or other fixings." But then they had the brilliant idea of covering them with huge images which suggest your recently lost loved one is inside a box of chocs, a bottle of vodka, a snooker table, or even a fruit machine. Genius!

Choose your novelty coffin here! Guaranteed to turn tragedy into farce. Prices available on request.

Still on the Church of Scotland and Gay Ministers..

There was a beezer of an article in yesterday's Herald, by Ron Ferguson. Well worth a read!

Link

An Anonymous, (why?), "poster" has given us this link, which I'm grateful for...

Looks like the Presbyterians are leading the way for once!

Sign the petition to support struck off nurse

 A special message from RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter

Published: 20 April 2009

Dear Colleagues, 

Last week, many of you will have seen extensive media coverage around RCN member Margaret Haywood who was removed from the nursing register for breaking patient confidentiality. Margaret took part in undercover filming as part of a BBC Panorama documentary in 2005 which exposed poor care at the Trust she worked at.

Margaret has been supported by the RCN since charges were brought in relation to her participation in the Panorama programme. Whilst the RCN cannot condone breaking patient confidentiality, we feel that the decision taken by the NMC to remove Margaret from the nursing register was unduly harsh.

The RCN would always encourage members to raise any concerns they may have about patient care with their employer in the first instance. However, if members do not feel able to do this for any reason then they should contact the RCN as a matter of urgency and we will take action on their behalf.

In consultation with Margaret, I am currently working with the RCN's Director of Legal Services, Chris Cox, and Margaret's barrister to look at the legal options around the NMC's decision. Although we are not able to make public the detail of these discussions at this stage, we are investigating what grounds there may be for an appeal. If an appeal does go ahead it will have to be lodged within 28 days of the NMC's decision to remove Margaret from the register.

In order to gauge the feeling around Margaret's removal from the register, the RCN has set up an online petition. This is open to anyone that would like to show their support for Margaret. Due to the fact that the petition is aimed at gathering views from the general public and the nursing profession, I don't feel that it would be appropriate for RCN staff members, myself included, to sign the petition. However, please be reassured that the RCN is vigorously defending Margaret and supporting her at this time.

The petition can be found at: www.gopetition.com/online/27030.html.

Yours sincerely

Peter Carter

Chief Executive & General Secretary

Church of Scotland Dilemma

Gay ministers in the pulpit? John Calvin will be turning in his grave. I've been holding back on this story, but it will hit the headlines soon when the General Assembly meets. However, a warning to the C of S from Fr David Heron today....

Alleluia!

After a couple of calls this morning, I got an assurance that the hospital won't be sending dad home, as he isn't capable of any sort of independent living..... at present. (We knew this. He doesn't know what day of the week it is!)

Ward 15 for him today, I think, which means I can lead this weekend retreat I'm going on, knowing that he's safely tucked up in a hospital bed.

Anglican "Wars" becoming Yesterday's News

From Ekklesia...

Just one journalist turned up for the recent GACON press conference of hard-line Anglicans. Is the long-running ecclesiastical war becoming a media snore?

"The Anglican schism is an ongoing media event, and as soon as the media stops paying attention, the schism will lose momentum," says Episcopal Cafe editor Jim Naughton. http://tinyurl.com/dhkzm3

He also points out, intriguingly, that Bishop Martyn Minns employs the same public relations firm that masterminded the Swift Boat Veterans campaign against former US Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, who lost out to George W. Bush.

Over on the Church Times, cartoonist Dave Walker makes this graphic comment on the proceedings:http://tinyurl.com/csya55

Last year Ekklesia published a book on 'Anglican wars' and beyond, Fear or freedom? Why a warring church must change, which suggested that the whole thing is something of a distraction from the real (and positive) challenges facing the churches.

Recession? What Recession?

Oh! To be a Tesco shareholder rather than someone who trusted in banks! Supermarkets have taken over churches as the place to be on Sundays. Now it seems to be the banks they'll be taking over next!

Away Days


Partick Thistle Nil fans, like me,  are worried about the team's poor home record which has seen them take more points away from home than in front of us, their worshippers, at the Field of Dreams.

Discussing on the fans' forum what can be done about it, one Jags supporter suggested for the next home game:

  •  Send the team off for a trip in the team bus before they get changed.

  •  Squash all Jags fans into the away stand.

  •  Make season tickets invalid for the day.

  • Thistle supporters buses should travel as usual.

    Well, it might just work.

    However, the list, which includes other suggestions, doesn't include the vital factor.... wear pink!

  • Monday, 20 April 2009

    Afternoon Delights

    It amazes me why clergy don't meet together more often. Had my best time in weeks with two fellow clergy at lunchtime today, bloggers too, having a good old blether about stuff that nobody else in their right mind would give a toss about! It was fun, a good laugh, downright bitchy at times, but perfect food for my soul.

    Had an appointment at the hospital to see dad in the afternoon and a talk with the nurse in charge and an Occupational Therapist.

    Dad has come on leaps and bounds over the past few days, but still sleeps a lot, and conversations with him can be incomprehensible mumbles or downright surreal. (eg today he told me he was watching Partick Thistle playing away in Europe last week on the telly. Hadn't I seen the game?)

    However, I'm getting told two things today. OT don't think he could manage on his own. Physiotherapy say he could do anything if he puts his mind to it. Nurse says he's in a medical ward and they are now ready to discharge him soon, because, medically they can't do any more for him.

    I'm tearing my hair out! He's still too weak to dress. He's dribbling. Wearing pads still. Sleeping all the time. Mumbling rubbish. And they're talking of sending him home?????

    I can't look after him 24/7. No care package is in place. The sheltered housing complex say that they are not able to care for him and his days of independent living are over... and they're talking of sending him home???

    Prayers now that he'll be discharged to a geriatric ward at least where some social assessment will be done, and a suitable place found for him. Eight days ago, this man was as near to death as I've seen. If he goes home, he'll be back in again within a week or two.... and I'll be admitted to a psychiatric ward at the same time. Nurse thought that was funny!

    Sunday, 19 April 2009

    Man's Best Friend

    For dog-lovers everywhere.... 

    Caption Competition

    Two thousand years off purgatory for the best caption......

    Christian Scientists Split God

    A group of Christian research scientists in Massachusetts announced this week that they had managed for the first time to split God into his component parts. God is believed to have existed in the conditions immediately prior to the Big Bang.

    They made the discovery using a machine called the Holy Smoke Chamber. A fragment of the True Cross was accelerated to 40% the speed of light and collided with a King James Bible. The 25m wide device is cooled by a constant stream of holy water.

    According to Christian scientific theory, God is composed of three smaller particles called father, son and holy spirit. The experiments has been criticised by others, however, who claim that earlier work by Revelation et al suggests that recreating the son particle on earth could trigger a process known as ‘armageddon’, which potentially could wipe out Life on Earth.

    Saturday, 18 April 2009

    Disruptive English Parishioners

    From News Biscuit:


    Rural parishes unable to find permanent members of the clergy have been forced to bring in supply vicars whose inexperience and lack of authority has made them vulnerable to disruptive parishioners, says a new report.

    One temporary priest was reduced to tears with heckling and catcalling during his sermon, and when he looked up he saw that all the church-goers had turned their pews round to face the opposite direction. ‘These young supply vicars do not have the experience to be able to hold the attention of wayward Christians,’ admitted the Archbishop of Canterbury. ‘The moment they turn their back they are pelted with screwed up service sheets and Alpha Course leaflets made into paper planes, and many of them just don’t know what to do.’


    Read the rest. How long before the bad behaviour jumps the pond? How long before the the unruliness moves beyond supply vicars and priests to vicars and rectors? Soon and very soon, I'm guessing.

    Lots more brilliant stories at News Biscuit!

    Partick Thistle Won!

    Thistle's promotion hopes stay alive after a hard fought win against Morton, Thistle have to withstand some intense Morton pressure.

    The goal that won the game arrived in the 19th minute. Kevin Cuthbert was only able to palm out a long Ian Maxwell throw and when the ball was returned to the box Lucas Akins steered the ball home (pictured).

    With the gap between Thistle and St Johnstone back to four points, for 24 hours at least, all eyes are on McDiarmid Park tomorrow with Thistle hoping that Queen of the South can repeat their win at Firhill last week and keep our promotion hopes well and truly alive.

    Friday, 17 April 2009

    The Bible says...

    Pete Jensen is HERE!

    News from GadgetVicar:

    An Anglican Archbishop Visits The Kirk

    The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen is in Glasgow this weekend, helping the Church of Scotland "Contend for the Faith". Hear him at St George's, Tron at 7pm on Saturday night.

    He has been in the UK for the GAFCON Primates' Council meeting. See the final communiquéfrom that meeting here.

    Oh no! MadPriest & Jensen in Scotland at the same time! Baton down the hatches!

    Read more about Pete Jensen HERE.

    From a Two-Year-Old

    video

    It may not be a galaxy far far away, but Strathclyde Police is clearly feeling a disturbance in the Force after eight officers listed their religion as Jedi. See this link as proof!

    "Far from living a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, some members of the noble Jedi order have now chosen Glasgow and its surrounding streets as their home."

    A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said: "At the time of the request, 10 (eight police officers and two police staff) had recorded their religion as Jedi."

    This does not bode well for criminals in Dumbarton!

    Thursday, 16 April 2009

    The Bible says...

    Thanks to GV for this revelation....



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    Dad

    I think at last I can say that a corner has been turned, and more than a little spark has returned. 

    The difference in treatment at The Vale, where he is being treated for multiple infections, and, because of rehydration, his kidneys are beginning to function again, is incredible. His words, when they come are often rubbish,  still very slurred, and he prefers to sleep, but I can honestly say that death is no longer imminent.

    Thank you all so much for your support and your prayers!

    So, it Didn't Happen eh?


    Someone sent me this today. I thought it worth blogging..


    Wednesday, 15 April 2009

    Another Easter Tale

    Again from The Herald Diary...

    A final Easter tale. Sandy Greehhorn of Kilmacolm tells of the Greenock minister who, at the end of the service, thanked the congregation for the effort they'd put in to the traditional "dressing of the cross" ceremony.

    In an excited, highly appreciative voice, he talked about the wonderful work carried out in the preparation of the beautiful flowers, the crown of thorns, the grave clothes and so on.

    However, when he declared his unbridled joy at having so many committed cross-dressers in his church, the laughter could have been heard in the heavens above. 

    Matters of the Heart

    I'm due up at the Vale Hospital myself today! An ECG and an appointment with the cardiologist. My old ticker is still running about 125bpm, and I'm well into the warfarin treatment now, but beta blockers don't seem to be having much effect!

    I'm hoping that they may take me in soon to have cardioversion done. It worked last time around!

    Talented Scot!

    Again from The Herald yesterday, now:

    Susan Boyle's story is a parable of our age. She is a singer of enormous talent, who cared for her widowed mother until she died two years ago. Susan's is a combination of ability and virtue that deserves congratulation.

    So how come she was treated as a laughing stock when she walked on stage for the opening heat of Britain's Got Talent 2009 on Saturday night?

    The moment the reality show's audience and judging panel saw the small, shy, middle-aged woman, they started to smirk. When she said she wanted a professional singing career to equal that of Elaine Paige, the camera showed audience members rolling their eyes in disbelief. They scoffed when she told Simon Cowell, one of the judges, how she'd reached her forties without managing to develop a singing career because she hadn't had the opportunity. Another judge, Piers Morgan, later wrote on his blog that, just before she launched into I Dreamed a Dream, the 3000-strong audience in Glasgow was laughing and the three judges were suppressing chuckles.

    It was rude and cruel and arrogant. Susan Boyle from Blackburn, West Lothian, was presumed to be a buffoon. But why?

    Britain's Got Talent isn't a beauty pageant. It isn't a youth opportunity scheme. It is surely about discovering untapped and unrecognised raw talent from all sections of society.

    And Susan Boyle has talent to burn.


    Hear her talent online!


    Dad

    Well, tonight, heroes of the Blogosphere, and St Auggie's folk, your prayers seem to be being answered. A flicker of life and a little bit of humour from father, and I'm over the moon!

    What a change from last night when he was so sick. We challenged the nurses at the RAH. He seemed to be infected everywhere, he seemed to be dehydrated, but he was just being left lying flat on a bed with little care. The only fluids he seemed to be drinking were the sips of coke we were feeding him through visiting times. The nurse last night told us she was only a bank nurse, and could only tell us what was written down on a wee bit of paper in her pocket.

    However, due to our prompting, a saline drip was put in yesterday, and this morning, after seeing an eye specialist, he was transferred to The Vale, our local hospital. The nursing care and the way he is now being looked after is chalk and cheese. They are hydrating him again, and pumping him full of vitamins via a drip, and just for five minutes or so tonight, we had the first lucid conversation with him in over ten days. He fell asleep again shortly afterwards, but then it had been a tiring day for him with a hospital transfer!

    They have found tiny blood clots behind his eye, due to his fall over two weeks ago now, but say they can deal with this.

    My brother got off the plane from Dublin tonight, and I just know that he's going to see a much improved dad tomorrow, now he's getting some treatment and some TLC.

    Thank you all so much for your prayers... but don't give up just yet!

    Tuesday, 14 April 2009

    The Bible says...

    "Homosexuality is a sin. The Bible tells us that." That is a reaction I get often if I talk of LGBT issues, especially of late when I've said quite clearly that my position has changed somewhat, and now is the time for our wee church to take a stand, and provide liturgies for same-sex blessings that bishops can attend. Now is the time for us to say that we will consecrate an openly gay man or woman to be a bishop if we feel that is what the Holy Spirit is telling us we should do, and that person has been called by God to be a bishop.

    However, the Bible tells us that........

    Have a wee read here! An excellent article!

    Partick Thistle Nil



    I've been putting this off, and putting this off, but it was indeed Partick Thistle Nil on Saturday. This puts an end to promotion dreams! Manager Ian McCall's face tells it all, if we could see it behind his hands!

    However, Dumbarton are going well just now, and may end up champions of the Third Division. Maybe I can bask in some of their glory?

    I got the strength to post this on the wonderful news that Scotland are the new Champions of the World at the Curling! We beat Canada in the final yesterday on their own patch.

    See curling? See Scotland? Magic! The picture is of a curling stane (stone), with easy instructions for the English. PS the RW is awfully handy with a curling stane hersel'!


    The Bottom Line

    From The Herald today, comes this tail.....

    During the Easter Sunday service at an Arran church, Neil Arthur tells us, the minister decided to gain the children's attention by asking a series of simple questions. The idea was that he would take the first letter from each of the answers and display it to the congregation on a board; when these letters were put in order, the result would spell E A S T E R.

    Just so it wouldn't be too obvious, the questions were asked in random order. And so the congregation looked on as the letter boards displayed an A, followed by an R, followed by an S. When the next letter went up, it was of course E.

    It was all the elder members of the flock could do to bite down hard on smirking lips and banish the thought that the devil had indeed been hard at work.

    And then this:

    Still on matters ecclesiastical, former Time Lord Sylvester McCoy, currently touring in Little Shop of Horrors, reveals he was once a trainee priest, with dreams of becoming Bishop of the Western Isles.

    "My time came to an end, however, when - aged 18 - I realised I'd rather be taking frocks off," he says, giggling. "I'd have been the bishop who runs off with the housekeeper."

    Finally, for those intending to tour here this summer, a language lesson....

    Dialect dilemmas continued. Iain MacArthur from West Lothian visited Glasgow at the weekend only to overhear one white-tracksuited young man exchange jocular insults with his sartorially similar chum.

    "Yermaw'sanasboandyerda'satranny," yelled out the first young man, which was later translated to a confused Iain as "Your mother has obviously crossed the boundaries of acceptable social behaviour while your father is predisposed to favouring women's attire."

    Stanley Baxter would be spinning in his grave, were he not very much still with us.

    The Bishop of Gambia once commiserated with me when he told me that he understood that English was not my first language. He may be right there come to think of it!

    Monday, 13 April 2009

    Delivery for MadPriest?

    From the BBC this afternoon....

    A Brazilian woman was refused entry to the UK when she arrived at Newcastle Airport with luggage containing only T-shirts, a dressing gown and lingerie.

    UK Border Agency officials said they suspected the 32-year-old of being involved in the sex industry.

    She had arrived on a flight from Geneva on 4 April, the agency said.

    Airport staff became suspicious when she could not say what she would be doing in the UK, other than "seeing Newcastle city centre".

    Most Britons believe in heaven, research reveals..

    The majority of people in the UK believe in heaven and life after death, according to the findings of research published today.

    A survey of 2060 people showed 53% believe in life after death, 55% believe in heaven and 70% believe in the human soul. (I'm glad of this)

    The study, carried out between October and November last year for the public theology think tank Theos, also showed 39% believe in ghosts and 27% believe in reincarnation. A further 22% believe in astrology or horoscopes and 15% believe in fortune telling or tarot, the research revealed.

    Half of people in London, the highest proportion in the UK, believe in ghosts, the survey showed.

    The capital also topped the table for belief in life after death, at 69%, belief in the human soul, at 75%, and belief in heaven, at 69%.

    Scotland had the highest number of people who believe in fortune telling or tarot, at 18%, and Wales had the highest proportion of people who believe in reincarnation, at 32%.

    (Most of them probably think we come back as sheep!)

    Often I despair!

    Probably the Best of Holy Week

    There was much to admire and much to laugh about during Holy Week. I think the story which tickled me most was the one that came from the right wing Anglican despot in Australia, which featured quite a lot in Blogland.

    This story was balanced by MadPriest, giving us the good news that Jesus was indeed English!

    Sunday, 12 April 2009

    Dad

    Dad was poorly tonight. Got nothing from him at all. No response. Just wanted to sleep. I had been harbouring some hope that he may still have a slow recovery and could snatch back some quality of life, somehow, but tonight I know that's unlikely. My prayer would be that he goes quickly and painlessly now.

    Easter Sermon

    You will find today's offering HERE. Happy Easter to everyone!

    Dad

    Just really wanted to sleep tonight. Has infections in both eyes now, and horrible yellow stuff in his mouth.

    My sister commented today, "He's neither dead nor alive". That about sums things up.

    Saturday, 11 April 2009

    From The Raspberry One

    Our Guests


    It's been great having Stephen and Laura for the past couple of days, even though with things as they are, we haven't seen much of them. Moving on to Elgin tomorrow, so a last photo...


    Good Friday

    Well, we crucified love today, and tried to do away with God. I wonder if we will ever succeed in doing this? We'll keep trying, I'm sure.

    Dad

    Not much improvement, in fact slow deterioration. The CT scan showed nothing, which seems to have ruled out a stroke. I wonder if his 84 year-old body is just giving in, worn out and done. Three of the siblings meet tomorrow, but really decisions about his future will not really be in our hands. My sister is coming up from Galloway, and she hasn't seen him since a year past Christmas. She's in for a shock.

    Friday, 10 April 2009

    Just a Thought...

    ... last night we had a bunch of Christians from 5 different denominations, and two Muslims, coming together to partake of a Jewish Seder. It could only happen in St Aug's!!!!

    Thursday, 9 April 2009

    At the End of Maundy Thursday

    What was Jesus thinking? Feelings of despair. And there was no sleep tonight. Betrayal, denial, desertion of his disciples, the ruthless beatings from professional soldiers. Broken. bleeding, mocked and scourged and Palm Sunday seemed a long way away.

    Lord, why do we keep doing this to you? When will we ever learn?

    With Thanks to MadPriest


    Tomorrow we have a service in the Town Centre. I pray it will focus on Good Friday.

    Nothing Changes

    “[Christ] was executed by people painfully like us, in a society very similar to our own ... by a corrupt church, a timid politician, and a fickle proletariat led by professional agitators.” – Dorothy L. Sayers (1943)

    Marathon Evening

    The whole shebang kicks off in earnest tonight. We get serious from Maundy Thursday on. I've devise a contemporary liturgy for Maundy Thursday, which begins with a Passover Supper. (Seder). We begin by eating sumptuously, using all the bits and bobs that belong in the Seder Meal, and including the questions and answers, and bringing in the bitter herbs, horseradish, nuts, and millions of other symbolic acts. We try to create what the Last Supper was like in the Upper Room. Lots of wine is drunk, and we tell each other stories of our lives and laugh with each other over the absurdities of daily life.

     The whole thing begins with clergy washing the hands of the people. After the Seder, at the back of the church, we move forward towards the altar where the Liturgy of the Last Supper takes place. I always have two Presbyterian ministers on each side of me at the altar.

    Then the Solemn stripping of the Altar, the procession to the Altar of Repose, and a watch until midnight. Five hours of solid symbolism which seems to touch so many deeply.

    Visitors

    We have the RW's niece and her fiance coming to stay with us for a couple of days. Poor souls will be dragged through a Passover Supper tonight, and probably thankfully, will see little of me tomorrow. I love it when the RW's family come to visit. Living abroad in England & Wales, she sees so little of them.

    Family, and how much they mean to us is a pertinent point being underlined for me just now with dad's situation. Families are important! This visit means so much to the RW, and she deserves a break from my gloom.

    It was good today to talk this morning with a Social Worker, Jude, God bless her, who seemed to care about dad as a person and not another file in her caseload.

    Scottish Football Anthem - Sung a Little Better

    It is well known that Scottish football fans who follow the national team sing Doh a Deer when the football is rubbish, (quite often), or because we're fed up with Flower of Scotland!

    I was looking for something to cheer me up mid-Holy Week, and Mrs Blethers came to my rescue! So, sit back and enjoy!

    At the End of Holy Wednesday

    What was Jesus thinking? It had been a day of questions. Questions to trick him, questions designed to condemn him. Questions from the authorities, and from their henchmen. The answers this week, though, were serious ones. Jesus was no longer poking fun at his adversaries. This was serious stuff, and on the night of Holy Wednesday, he must have felt exhausted.

    Tonight I , too, am exhausted. I've given much of myself today in many ways. To individuals needing a bit of strength to see the day out, to my dad, still so sick and very poorly in a hospital ward. I worry for him and his future, and if there is to be one. To the parish, needing to be there for folk, and ensuring that the rest of Holy Week goes well. It is all too much for me. Tonight I hand it over to God, and let him get on with it, take care of it all, while I sleep. I'm sure Jesus did much the same, and handed it all over for the night.

    For those who can do that, trust God to take care, deep peace in your hearts will abound.

    Wednesday, 8 April 2009

    Dad

    The person I visited today is certainly not my dad, even of last week. Still has incredible headaches, his speech is very slurred and he's not making much sense. The damaged eye doesn't look good, and he had fallen three times in the ward today.

    Trying to get a nurse to speak to me was impossible and I had to phone back at 4.30pm to get to speak to someone. Even then, they seemed patchy about the history and I had to retell the whole story.

    I think he's had a wee stroke, but at least there's talk about moving him to a hospital which is local, rather than in Paisley.

    It's not a nice time, or a particularly hopeful Holy Week. The time for independent living for him has passed, I believe, and if he survives this latest episode, he'll need to be taken into care. That I dread.

    Archbishop Rowan's Holy Week Message

    Just a Thought

    Came across four monks and a nun today. They suggest, "We have a Christmas single each year but...what about an Easter single? Surely a new tune about hot cross buns is long overdue?"

    Amen to that!

    Urgent Message from Fr David Heron



    An advertisement for a Pomegranate drink has been banned after it claimed to promote eternal life. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has decided that consumers drinking POM Wonderful won't, in fact, live for ever. The claim also clashes with the Church's monopoly on selling eternal life. A spokesman for the ASA says: "We concluded that the claim was ambiguous and if read as a health claim, rather than an obvious untruth, it was capable of objective substantiation".This puts the Church of England in a difficult position, particularly at Easter. By advertising services about Someone who "Cheats Death" we could find ourselves banned by the ASA. Unless we have "obective substantiation" we could find ourselves being compared with pomegranate juice.

    At the End of Holy Tuesday

    What was Jesus Thinking? There are some Lectionaries, (BCP), which point us to Mark 11 today, and the driving out of traders from the Temple.  "My Temple should be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves". If this was the "Tuesday event", then Jesus' soul may have been deeply troubled tonight. Anger, righteous anger, can be totally justified, but it still stirs up stuff deep within us. The adrenalin is still running, the "argument" is played and replayed over and over in our minds, and often we wish we had dealt with things differently. The crowds still seem to be highly impressed by this young Galilean, but the authorities are now out to get Jesus with a vengeance. He may have had a very troubled night indeed.

    Anger can be the most debilitating emotion we experience. The justifiable anger of Jesus was dealt with on the spot. He expressed the feelings and that was a healthy and necessary thing to do. So many of us, though, are crippled with anger. Angry that we were left, abused, overlooked, ignored, physically injured, diagnosed with something dreadful, rejected love... oh, the list could go on and on.

    Anger can fester inside us and cripple us as human beings, but first we must acknowledge it, own it, and do something about it.

    Dad

    Not a lot of improvement today, although I did get a few words from him, like, "I thought you might have brought me a dram". Progress?

    Meanwhile, they're concerned about his damaged eye and he'll be in hospital for at least another week while they investigate this and the constant pain in his head.

    I'm meeting with a Social Worker on Thursday. Now, that is progress!

    Church Fabric

    Things have not been going well of late. As well as the repairs needed to the Upper Room, after the gable end fell through the roof, our kitchen waste has now been blocked. The main reason for this is that some numpty, when paving outside the church, has put a big slab over a drain that needs constant ventilation. Now we need Dyno-Rod, or someone like this, to unblock our drains and sort the paving out so we don’t have a re-occurrence. 

    This week, of all weeks, both boilers are not working, and the church is incredibly chilly! Trying to find someone who will even touch the boilers, which were new at the Restoration, is like trying to find a Cardinal who will say the Pope is wrong. Impossible! There is a tiny glimmer that we may get something together for Thursday evening, when we have our Seder tailing into the Eucharist of the Last Supper & Watch until Midnight, but I’m bringing my coat… it’s not looking too promising!

    Tuesday, 7 April 2009

    Judas Tree

    With thanks to Mother Ruth:

    In Hell there grew a Judas Tree
    Where Judas hanged and died
    because he could not bear to see
    his master crucified
    Our Lord descended into Hell
    and found his Judas there
    for ever hanging on the tree
    grown from his own despair
    so Jesus cut his Judas down
    and took him in his arms
    “It was for this I came” he said
    “and not to do you harm
    my Father gave me twelve good men
    and all of them I kept
    though one betrayed and one denied
    some fled and others slept
    in three days’ time I must return
    to make the others glad
    but first I had to come to Hell
    and share the death you had
    my tree will grow in place of yours
    its roots lie here as well
    there is no final victory
    without this soul from Hell”
    So when we all condemned him
    as of every traitor worst
    remember that of all his men
    Our Lord forgave him first

    D Ruth Etchells

    A Good Reason to Dial 999

    Well, I'd want a wee shot at one of these guys, wouldn't you? And I can see a great rush in the future to become a Paramedic!

    Posting

    A valued contributor, a Mac User, has complained because she is unable to post comments on this site. Is it her computer, or are there other worthies out there who cannot inter-react with "Rector's Ramblings"? Chris, for it is she, suggested I try a different format for the Blog, then piddled off to Millport before trying to comment on the new frame.

    If anyone has problems posting, can you contact me direct on frkenny@btinternet.com? There must be a reason!

    From The Herald Diary Today

    The charity Sciaf, (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund), distributed little cardboard containers called the WEE BOX encouraging folk to give up a favourite item for Lent, and to put in the box the money they would have spent. Pop Idol winner from Glasgow, Michelle McManus  gave up crisps.

    However, one Diary reader in Stirling simply felt-tipped on an additional S and R on the cardboard receptacle to make it SWEER BOX, left it on his office desk and within days his colleagues had filled it to bursting. As he tells us: "Well, we were in the middle of an office flitting, and things got rather fraught."

    Now Here's One to Get Your Teeth Into!

    My great friend and lecturer at Glasgow University points us today to THIS STORY. We tend to have a Muslim or two attend St Augustine's from time to time, but thankfully, for them, they are not ordained Pisckie Priests. Aman himself, as Muslims tend to be, is a great follower of our Jesus, seeing him as a great prophet from whom much is to be learned.

    In America, it seems, you can be whatever you want to be, religion-wise, and perpetrate the most incredible beliefs, as long as you are not a Pisckie Muslim!

    Comments?

    Monday, 6 April 2009

    At the End of Holy Monday

    What was Jesus thinking? "Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume." It had been a day of conflict, serious argument, some rejection. A day of questions! Why the donkey? Why the Gala? And who do you think you are anyway? Rumblings amongst his enemies and the Temple Authorities. 

    Then comes the meal with Martha, Mary and Lazarus at the end of the day. The woman called Mary did "something beautiful" for him. As he went to sleep the sweet aroma of her self-giving still filled the air, and perhaps Jesus smiled as he drifted off. Getting "home" at the end of the dreadful day made for a memorable evening. This woman had seized the moment and showed him how much she loved him. 

    So often when we arrive "home", or visit friends, we take with us, not just the wee gift or the bottle of wine, but also all that has troubled us in the day, maybe even desperate to spread the misery. Often we wait for the arrival of a loved one desperate to pour out our frustrations on them. At the end of the day, however, it is a time to care for each other, it is a time to show "little acts of love". It is a time to "do something beautiful" for the one or the ones we love. For tomorrow it may be too late, and we'll have missed the chance. And for those who live alone, the telephone call can be a superb way of showing someone you care.

    Dad

    The time has come for him to go into a home of some sort. Even in Very Sheltered Housing it's becoming apparent that he can't look after himself at all now, and I'm ready to buy a Season Ticket for the hospital.

    Today he is very groggy, but seems to have damaged an eye, which they are going to have a proper look at! He is probably totally unaware I was in visiting today.

    We are dealing with three Social Work teams here. Paisley, Dumbarton, and Glasgow, but we need to get him into a Care Home in Glasgow, if he is to live much longer. This means all three teams working together, and that's going to be a big issue. A bit of light today, though, inasmuch as Dumbarton has appointed him a personal Social Worker who seems to be keen to effect a positive outcome.

    Keep a-praying that all this works out for the best, my fellow bloggers!

    Just What I Need!

    With thanks to MadPriest for pointing us to this gadget...

    At the End of Palm Sunday

    What was Jesus thinking? Did he reflect on the day and smile at the thought of children in the streets waving palms and singing Hosannas, their faces full of joy and laughter? Did he feel uplifted by the carnival atmosphere and feel affirmed by the welcome and the friendly faces? Did he go to sleep with a bit of peace and contentment in his heart?

    Or was he sullen? Worrying about tomorrow, dreading what lay ahead? Anticipating the worst?

    Often we can be so overburdened by thoughts of tomorrow and what has yet to come, that we fail to find joy in the present. We forget to relive and give thanks for the blessings of today because we are locked in fear for what tomorrow may bring. Today was a joyful day in church, and I thank God for it!

    Sunday, 5 April 2009

    Hospital Holy Week

    Looks like dad will be in hospital for quite a few days. Totally doped up tonight, and they're filling him with vitamins, as he is still agitated and still complaining of head pain. "A few days more", the nurse said tonight, so a fair bit of Holy Week will involve hospital visiting.

    We have a crazy system in Dumbarton where hospital patients are normally taken out of our community and put in the "Big Place" over the river at the back end of Paisley. More time is spent travelling than you are allowed at the bedside of a sick friend or relative. The Social Work Dept there have nothing to do with Social Work on this side of the river, and there's no joined up care in that aspect.

    I'm just hoping and praying that after this episode there is going to be the will to take him into care, where he can be properly looked after, but my hopes are not high!

    MadPriest's Thought for the Day

    And we thought this man was mad! Posted today...

    PALM SUNDAY:Just as you cannot understand what happened on Good Friday unless you understand what happened on Easter Sunday, you also cannot understand Good Friday unless you understand what happened on Palm Sunday.The tragedy of the Messiah is not that he died but that he was given up to die.Jesus was ultimately betrayed by the world and he needed God to rescue him. This is also the life experience of us all.This is one way in which we know that Christ is one with us and we are one with Christ.

    Thanks for this Mad One!

    Saturday, 4 April 2009

    New Blog. Same Issues

    Maybe I've changed my Blog Host, but the same issues will continue. A 1-1 draw today for Partick Thistle Nil keeps us in contention for promotion, but a win would have been better.

    Thoughts of Partick Thistle Nil were a bit on the back burner today anyway. I spent much of yesterday evening with my dad, waiting for an ambulance to come. He had fallen earlier in the week and had given himself a really sore face and incredible black eye. Yesterday his headaches because extremely severe and one pupil was massive compared to the other. The doctor was called who sent for an ambulance at 5.30pm.

    I was still sitting with a very distressed 83-year-old man, waiting, until at 9.15pm I decided to call 999. He had started to vomit by this point and the headache seemed to be getting worse. At least that worked and the ambulance got him to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley by 9.45pm.

    After some morphine, he relaxed enough to enable them to scan his head, as they feared internal bleeding. Eventually they kept him in and we got home around 1am.

    Today there is little progress, although they have ruled out internal bleeding, and they're feeding him diazepam to try to keep him calm.

    So, not a lot changes to my constant worries, but maybe you can all say a wee prayer for him!

    Now for the Hard Bit!

    Looking around other "Blogger" Sites, I realise that I can do all sorts of things and customise this site to look very personal and a lot more attractive. Maybe I'll get around to reading the instructions! However, Holy Week looms, and it may well be after Easter before I get going!

    Welcome

    Well, we have made the move, and Rector's Ramblings has transferred here, to Blogger. Archives of this Blog will still be found for a while at http://frkenny.blog.co.uk

    Let's hope that this works out better!