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this is one for those looking forward to the UK election.  it's been really strange viewing things in a detached way from the other side of the planet (we didn't register for remote voting in time)

i hope it all goes well !


the word on the street.  survey mark chapter 15 vs 44 ?   here it is


we're at spring harvest at the moment.  it's always amusing to see how butlins changes to accomodate a large number of heaven-lovers descending on its campus. i don't know if they picked monsters vs aliens and the passion of christ as the film choices, or whether they are recommended religious viewing.

what actually caught my eye was the old 'odeon' sign up top which has not been quite replaced in a rebranding exercise.  or should that be exorcise.


here matthew hear


wise words for easter - (though not entirely sure of the theological significance)




good friday is the day of death (but a hopeful death)




sometimes even the best things in life can get on top of you.



i could make some comment on the current debate within the anglican communion right now.  but i won't.



every found object has a story, and that's why i like them.


as it's sunday i should also recommend this (click on the jukebox to listen to it).  it's from our church service last sunday, and is worth listening to for the story at the beginning.  

it also makes the point that God cares about the little things in life which is great inspiration for all you lovers of the mundane !


don't get me wrong, the bible is an amazing book almost beyond description.  as a christian i believe it contains actual words from God.  which is quite amazing when you think about it.

it's also available online


the flagship range


popular bible


mass market bible (paperback)


pocket gift bible (for those who like to give people pockets)


yesterday was our church picnic which was a nice relaxing afternoon after the intensive brain-melt of interesting2008. 


our church friends really are our family and it's great to just spend time sitting around chatting (whilst others swam and swung (from trees and at balls with bats))


though stan may buffet !


there's nothing new under the sun




life is temporary.  so is skateboard (as seen here)


i should have left this one to easter really.  but, you know.

it's the craze that'll have 'em flocking back to church.  it's pew surfing, as demonstrated by our church warden. he's seen the light.  have you ?




passing place being a place for passing being a place to die ? there are worse final views.


ice cream van and a church - there's a fantastic title in this picture somewhere - but i can't think of it !


the talk at church yesterday was about the 'p word' (prayer) and how we need help. made me think of this picture which i was about to post. funny old world.


i spoke to the chap who wrote this sign and he told me he'd raised £700 for the hospital which was quite fantastic.

i asked him if his answers related to geographic or spiritual lost-ness. he said it was solely geographic lost-ness. rather than soul-y lost-ness i assume.

dave had a bookstall at church yesterday which was good. he had some top bargains. he did the talk as well meaning he was a busy chap.

but it got me thinking - perhaps we need to think of more ways of monetising congregations. i don't mean that. i just liked the sound of the phrase.



half of rupert, clive, mini-patricia, dave, david and peter

mmm. sausages

'extreme' care ? that's pushing care to the limit, and then some. that's almost spiritual in its message


touch here for instant cure. it's rather like an item from the weekly world news (which i used to read regularly half my life ago)

(pixie title shoe-horned in here)


i can't decide if this is spiritual or cosmic (like so many things in life). Is it a message for visiting aliens put there by interplanetary pacifists or a fight back by the eco-refuseniks ?



all these photos are by kezia using this setup:


happy easter !

in the days before neon they used nice gold wire to make their eye catching signage


saturday we went to prism of praise with musical people from church. it's good to go to conferences which are nothing to do with work. this one was about how to make church music cool.

it was also Richard Drummer's birthday so we sang and caked him over lunch

he was very pleased. i think.






esther got baptised yesterday. what a fantastic thing it was !


and afterwards we had a big party cake



the thing about christmas is that, from a christian's point of view, it points to easter which is when the no-longer-baby jesus died (but he obviously had to be born first).

anyroadup, cadbury's are obviously in agreement as i bought (and ate) my first easter egg yesterday. and here it is/was.


our vicar used an excellent set of visual aids for the christmas morning service. they were made by one of our friends who turns out is a secret fantastic maker of such things.


it's worth clicking on for a big version as it looked very South Park !


Meth church goes against abstinance principles, although these aren't quite so strict these days


despite all the upbeatness, death is a fairly common thread on the blog. sorry about that. it's something we have to think about whilst we can though int it ?

anyway, i like the idea of this funeral directors sign, which is obviously targetted at the impulse purchaser.

you can't quite see it, but the building next door is called 'wendover'. which is a nice death pun too kinda.


i went to a church thing at a church in the next town last night, which was all about churches working together and sharing and supporting each other rather than being competitive (good plan).

afterwards they had some people wandering around with aprons on and cups of tea/coffee and cake. what a brilliant plan. there should be much more cake and people in aprons at churches.


there's a jesus lizard in this picture. can you see it ?

so, here's the band this week. it's x-factor-7. but joke (if there is one) is that there are only 6 of us.


and here's me with my guitar

and you can hear what we sound like here (30 second clip): Download file


we're now half way through our church kids holiday club and much fun is being had. and it's a good excuse to post this picture which i took ages ago, but have been waiting until a good excuse to post it !

it was our church (goers) barbeque yesterday and a good, warm, time was had by all.

here are some people

and here is our church 'in action'


what's the point in changing your priorities if you don't signal them to people ?



this photo might sum up the christian life. christians are to be reflection a christ for the world to see (note the surveilance camera top left).

my reflection is pretty rusty - most of the time you wouldn't know me from adam.



this sign works on so many levels !


i was kindly sent a copy of Worship God Live by Bob Kauflin to review. here's me holding the CD in the car (jane was driving):

jane leads worship at our church and agreed to do the review, so here it is !

Continue reading "worship god live cd review" »



i don't think i've mentioned it here before in much detail, but not many whiles ago (within the life of this blog) i suffered from chronic pain. I posted about my last trip to the pain clinic here (note the unfortunate URL !). I threw all my old tablets away today as i no longer need them and i thought you might be interested in my personal story (or is that the story of my personals?)

Continue reading "dealing with chronic pain" »

death hey. funny old thing. i assume this cigarette packet says "smoke these and you'll croak" in polish or something. i don't smoke, but i think i'll still die sometime.


2 cigarette related posts in one day. what are the chances of that ? perhaps it's to do with this

i was part of a live Songs of Praise on Easter Morning. did you see us ?


it was part of Spring Harvest which we were at last week. and so were the BBC

and here is Steve Chalke who said hello to me.



today's good friday, the day when we 'celebrate' the fact that Jesus died to act as a link between people and God. So that all the bad stuff we do can be forgotten and we can approach a perfect God. what an amazing thing.

how far apart from the helpless baby jesus we celebrate at christmas, and seen here on this statue.

after yesterday's set up shot, here's some actual spontaneous church cleaning



there's probably something spiritual here about going to church and cleansing yourself, or maybe getting rid of the rubbish in your life. i'm sure there's a good pun i'm missing here though.

sunlight reflected through mottled glass on the toilet walll at church. heavenly.

after sitting silently for 350 years, i think we can safely that the reason they are so quiet is because they have passed away. but i could be wrong.


there's no right way - that's relativism isn't it ? i absolutely don't believe that.



isn't this a classic bit of british understated local advertising ? it was in a car park in a nice oxfordshire village.


i played bass yesterday morning for the first time in about 2 months and i think we rocked a little as we also had richard drummer and jane on her strat.

anyway, big eye tony used to complain about the drums being too loud, but he's in a different place now. specifically that place is behind the drums having a sneaky go after the service !

during the talk about vicar suggested that the word 'praise' in the Bible is a bit like the modern equivalent of 'advertise'. i thought that was very interesting and it's made me think. Both about God and advertising !


a new year thought - what's the point to anything ?


yeah, it's christmas day which is a day to celebrate, especially if you are a christian ! christians believe that jesus was actually born as a human in to the world. that's quite mad when you think about it. if it were true what would that really mean ?


i believe it. and today i celebrate !

jane and i went to Oxford last night for the Returning Home The Prodigals (a quick skim of the front page of this website explains what it's about). It was very good.

rob parsons of Care for the Family was the main speaker. he let me take his photo for funkypancake (though i think he was a bit confused when i explained what it is)


Rob Parson wrote all those excellent "The Sixty Minute" books which offer encouragement to dads, mums, spouses, are really easy reads and full of great fun ideas (and can be read in an hour!)



the sermon at church yesterday was about what our attitude to sunday should be. you can read what was said here.

we're studying genesis at the moment - the Bible book, not the band, although 'genesis the early years' would be quite a cool sermon series, or how about Genesis BC (Before Collins).

but we've been learning lots on how God created the world as a cool place. hopefully you catch a bit of that excitement here on funkypancake.


anyway, sunday at mcdonalds is 'funday' apparently. so much fun in fact that they dressed one of their people up as a bear with a wonky face.

i went to a meeting last week next to Bunhill Fields cemetry. Apart from being a really quiet place away from the bustle of the main street nearby, it's also 'home' to a number of notable characters, including:

john bunyan (writter of Pilgrim's Progress)

poet William Blake

Daniel De-Foe (writter of Robinson Crusoe)

there are many other 'notable' persons in there too. it's interesting to look at the dates and compare them to when the Monument was built (following hte Great Fire of London in 1666). i had no interest in history at school, but it's weird to be stumbling on all this stuff in the last few days and see they cover a similar time period (give or take a century).

even weirder is that we're doing an Isaac Watts hymn in church this morning. The message of Jesus hasn't changed in 2000 years so i guess i should be surprised that hymns singing about it are still going strong after just 300 years !

But it is strange to be singing songs that were written by a man whose 263 year old grave i walked by a few days before !


here's john dropping a load of christian magazines on the floor

here is john picking them up again

who says nothing exciting ever happens in the world of funkypancake ?

here is the last picture of lee on his last day at our church before he goes off to vicar factory.

here he is pulling his best vicar face

it was the 2 minute silence in rememberance of last week's terrorism yesterday lunchtime.

of course the world today is no more dangerous than last week. it's just we didn't realise how dangerous it was last week until things went boom.

life is fragile for each of us. it's just we don't think about it much until something dreadful happens to our family, friends, town etc ...

meanwhile here's a statue guarding Chancerly Lane Tube Station (as seen in the picture above)

i took a picture of it a few weeks ago overlooking a bus.

we had a band practice at a church last night (not the one we go to). when we arrived i spotted this rose. i later found out it was probably from a funeral that had gone on earlier.

unfortunately during our practice our car got broken in to (but nothing got stolen). in the scale of the things it's no big deal, but it's still a pain phoning insurance companies/window repairers/police report rooms late at night.

what a week !


i don't want to say much about yesterday's terrorist things in london so i won't, but thanks for those who sent emails and texts to check i was ok. i really appreciated that.

i took these poppy pictures last week and most of the pictures today are old ones. i didn't feel much like photo-ing yesterday (despite walking 17km).

it's weird when these things happen in places i go to all the time. i missed the edgware bomb by about 10 minutes i think and nearly went via Liverpool Street/Aldgate East. things like that do your head in.

people will ask 'If God exists, how can he let this happen'. but i wonder how you can make sense of the world if you don't believe in a God. If there isn't any ultimate justice for the people that do this kind of thing, then what's the point in anything ?

not all churches are built on sound theology. i've no idea if this church is a good one or not, but i do like the idea of a religion based on the sole philosophy of smiling at people a lot.

that'd probably be quite superficial, but it would be fun for a few weeks !

this little chap steers the giant sails of the windmill to ensure they point directly in to the wind.

like a small rudder it ensures the maximum efficiency of some seemingly greater element.

makes you think, doesn't it. what's steering your life ?

after the fire i suppose


my brother=in-law kev works for a church in nottingham and often sends me pictures of gloves.

here he is (with baby sarah) showing his holy credentials in a pentecostal manner (despite being anglican).

christianity real is quite an amazing faith. God, who invented everything became an actual person for the sake of us humans. he was killed by us, to take the blame for the bad stuff we all do all the time. and after all that he even sent his holy spirit so we can experience him and be more like him before our time on earth is over.

how cool is that ?


remember Moses and the Burning Bush ? if so you must be quite old - or you read about it in the Bible.

this little bush was sitting next to a gas canister, which can only mean one thing. someone is thinking of recreating the whole experience.


easter is the most important part of the Christian calendar. It's about something which i totally believe happened as an event in history.

if it didn't happen then christianity is worthless.

but since i (and many others) believe it did happen, we should totally celebrate what it means !

so, to all i say "happy easter" !

and to all who wouldn't call themselves Christians, perhaps today would be a good thinking day, to use to think about what life is really about.

click for big

there's got to be some fantastic/comedy biblical explanation for this. but i can't think of it.

it's easter sunday so happy easter to you.


look. i didn't notice this at the time, but each of the pigeons scrabbling around on the floor has a gardian angel pigeon looking out for them up on the fence (with St Paul's in the background)


how's your daily walk going ?

i've tried to pick up the speed of mine to start preparing for the marathon. i arrived at work quite out of breath and eagerly looked at my pedometer to see what my average speed was (so i can get some feel for how long my marathon's going to take).

unfortunately my pedometer wasn't impressed and actually showed my walk was slower today than usual. i suspect technical trouble.

anyway, on my walk today i saw this little clothing label on the floor which made me think of how i'm doing on my spiritual walk.

the label says 'M' which could mean Medium. but i think it's not as good as that. so i'll pretend it means Male.

Recent world events have re-emphasised the fragility and uncertaintly of life. When things happen to others it makes us realise how any of our lives could (and will) just 'end' at any moment.

This little label on the street has really made me think about what i'm actually doing in life/death. Which is quite a healthy thing to do at the beginning of a new year.


what does this mean ? where is Mark ? did he ask to be detected in this manner ?

or is it a Biblical reference ? As a christian it helps to read the old testament with your new testament glasses on. mark is a new testament book.

so perhaps it's a street based reminder that God had a plan for the world right from the start.

God does indeed speak in mysterious ways


an empty cathedral notice board.


How good is heaven going to be ? i fully expect it to be totally brilliant. like the best thing ever.

i may start eating chocolate bars again when i get there (or their celestial equivalent).

meanwhile, here on earth, we have to make do with giant chocolate vicars.


After the success of the last church band bowling outing the event was repeated. Anita (here with clipboard and lovely lampshade hat) organised everything most efficiently and ensured the person to fun ration was optimised for the occasion.

some people thought it better to dance than bowl. here is craig combining the two.

DSC05027.jpg DSC05041.jpg

i took a lucky photo through a glass and ended up elongating Mark's nose. mark is a doctor and so is steve, seen on the right keeping a medical eye on proceedings.

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finally, here is what it looks like to be a skittle. jane and craig thought they'd like to be in the picture to. so were.

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here are esther and kezia outside church looking at the confetti left from a wedding the day before.

up close the confetti complimented the autumnal colours and the beautiful dew drops.

in a battle between man made and natural, i think the natural was winning.

click the leaves

what is a person without a soul ? what is a soul without a person ?


who does dave love ?

i love God, my wife, my family, my friends and chocolate.

who/what would you write on the wall if you had to chalk graffiti your first name and a list of loves ?

no need to answer. just have a thunk.


faith and religion are two slightly different things. faith is what people believe whilst religion is too often about ceremony and self-effort.

the cool thing about christianity is that there's nothing we can do ourselves to earn our way in to God's favour. this can be annoying as it means all those nice things you do to help people don't count for anything in terms of getting in to Heaven. But it's actually fantastic news as none of us would have been good enough anyway.

what am i on about ? dunno. but i was thinking about how people get in the way of religion. i'm always concerned when i play music in church that i can easily distract people from whatever God is trying to tell people by being too loud or playing my comedy bass riffs. so how can people leading the church service become 'invisible' so only God and his word becomes visible to people ?

well, may be here is the answer. It's Mark and he was doing the reading today. i noticed he was camouflaged against the church. his shoes, trousers and jacket all matched the surrounding step, wall and hymn boards. he was getting as close to being physically invisible as he could have been (without physically being somewhere else)


after a rather excellent church service we had a kids band practice. scott is the drummist but due to transport difficulties hadn't any drums or sticks.

he borrowed some drums and improvised with a pencil and a wooden spoon. the pencil was HB so his drumming was medium strength.

do kids today know anything about the pencil grading system ? i'd almost forgotten myself.


this hotel being an old monastry has its own little chappel which is open late at night. apparently it was all decked out with candles on my first night here but i missed it. instead here are the candles.

the chapel itself is now used for corporate events and has a bar built next to the altar !


our poor photocopier has been feeling sorry for itself as we seem to simply print new things these days rather than copy old things. and he take SO long to warm up.

i didn't realise things had got this bad for him though. he's essentially saying "please turn me off. i can't take it any more".

there's a ray of hope here too in that it's asked to be switched back on again. to be renewed if you like. made like new. brilliant.

but who is this service rep-resentative. and why is he so resentful ?


i was doing sound at church yesterday morning. inspired by the reading festival i added a little extra volume and reverb to the occasion.

the services incorporated a number of signs:

and here's pete hiding behind a sign. he's the only way you know. jesus not pete.

one of the nice things about old churches are the windows. this one might be 13th Century. it might not be. i'm sure someone will tell us (lynda ?).

either way, they must have been so cool back in the days before photos. the colours would have been unlike anything else.



this bollard was approaching the 'little seeds' tent at the holiday club. little seeds is for the 0 to 5 year olds, but it's only a small bollard.

perhaps it was already starting to question why it was there. as a road and pavement user i often have to ask the same question about bollards.

in a strange matter of symmetry i sat for around 30 minutes in a number of bollard related traffic queues this afternoon. makes you think.


i spotted this sign at my local train station today. it says "due to instructions from above we will be unable to issue any car park tickets without your car registration number"

i suspect they felt that God was telling them to make this move when they read Luke 12:7 which says "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.".

ie God who made the whole universe also has an interest in the minute details of your life right down to how many hairs you have on your head (easier to count on some than others).

but, if God knows these details anyway, why does the train station need to know too ? and what's more, why the negative attitude

tonight represents the beginning of the second phase of my two weeks holiday from work. this week we've got our church kids club. it's already practically sold out and we're expecting 250 kids each day i think ! it's in a marquee on a school field. you may have seen the photos from last year.

jane is leading the music and i'm playing bass in the band in the mornings. afternoon is kezia/esther looking after for me.

here is the view of the stage with mike and music stands in a nice row. it didn't look like that by the time we'd finished we'd finished with it.

those of a praying nature may wish to pray for nice weather, safety and the kids learning stuff whilst having fun etc.


i've seen this piece of plastic on the way to work every morning. one morning i stopped and inspected it. it's a hospital identification tag for an 80 year old lady (it had her name and date of birth). i've no idea if she's still alive, but whoever it was has obviously had a stay in hospital.

her plastic identification bracelet is now being dragged in to the undergrowth by the trees where it lies.

in the morning it makes me think about the fragility and ultimately temporary nature of life. all this whilst rushing for my early morning train.



it's been a while since we've had any Christian letter closes on the blog, so here is a fresh one. you can use this for the next 8 months until i give you a new one. ready ? here goes:

Until His appearing

it was communion this morning which meant bread and wine for all. esther and kezia opted for a post-service bag of quavers, prefering their cheesy crispness to the sliced white communion fair. the chap behind them is Ian. he's actually tidying up, but looks more like a child catcher in this photo !

we've been studying Samson at church for the last three Sundays. Even if you'd never dream of going to church, i highly recommend you read Judges 13-15 to read this story of sex, violent and nagging wives/girlfriends. (Don't forget it's old testament so stuff like forgiveness and loving your enemies aren't high on the agenda.)


We're doigna series on Judges at church. We've reached Samson and i felt sadness at my lost hair. But in the scale of things it's not an issue.


we had a band practice at church last night (the second of three nights running for band practices this week).

it had finally stopped raining and the sun came out. it looked very pretty so i took a couple of photos.

hoorah for june and late night opening (but the nights are drawing in now)

here is the church:

and here is the field behind the church:

esther and kezia like to hide behind the pulpit at church when we are clearing up the music stuff afterwards. here they are playing with their small teddy bears and singing songs.


some minstrels in a big concrete circle. it's just like ezekiel


here is the church we go to (just in case you wondered what it looked like).


update: here's a history of Arborfield Church from our friend lynda. she thinks there might be some inaccuracies in there but isn't sure where.

my favourite is the vague names of the early vicars !

Continue reading "arborfield church" »

one of the great things about church is that it's a community of people who love and care for each other. what better way to show that than to have a barbeque together ?

there were four barbeques on the go so there was some competitiveness between the various chefs. here are two lots of chefs (chieves ?). note their different approaches. i was especially suspicious of the two on the left who were scoffing all their own food.

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i can't believe it. i missed jesus. i went out of my way to see him this morning.

luckily other people saw it for me.


it was bowling this evening. not entirely what i expected. bowling is all about cardboard shoes. but this was in a pub. so it should have been about throwing mishapen chunks of wood.

but this being the south of england it was about throwing small round balls (about the size of a baseball i think) at 9 sticks of wood. you have to put them back up yourself if someone knocks them down too.

anita organised it (very efficiently):

and here is everyone eating:
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i walk past this church every morning and there are often homeless people on the steps waking up and doing their morning activities.

This morning (from the other side of the road) i noticed that the house next to it has a fire-escape which leads on to the church roof.

i didn't manage to fit that building in to the photo. i imagine there's a sign in that house which says "in emergency, go to church".


here is lee preparing to preach on a tiny lecturn.


a friendless church is indeed a very sad thing. but if you are friendless and have a friend you are no longer friendless so you can't be in it and you are friendless again. and so on. probably


come to me if you are worn out, stressed and done in, and i'll give you some peace and rest (said jesus).

some churches have taken this literally. this church has a duvet stuck between the pillars outside its front door


here is a red apple on the floor outside a church.

the devil probably thought "they've fallen for this once, let's see if it works again".

oh, the shame of the fall.


here's your weekly (weakly?) god-stuff:


There's god right.

And he sent jesus his son ok.

and he died so we don't get what we deserve when we die essentially.

and jesus has gone back up to heaven, but will come back basically.

and meanwhile we have the holy spirit who is like god being with us in the interim marvellously.

and the holy spirit is a bit like the wind (in that he blows all your sermon notes off the lecturn if you aren't careful).

he is the fan outside the church on the way home.


it's becoming traditional to have someone at church looking like they are smoking but not. last time it was kezia and today it was Big Eye Tony. He's using a cheesy bread stick thing as a cigar to comical effect.

Interestingly he's holding a pad of paper which has the words Big written. It may have said Big Eye. i'm not sure.


easter certainly brings out the vicars. we had a really good service at church this morning - it was family service (kids stayed in) and there was a communiion. it was a real celebration of what God, through Jesus, did.

there was also a baptism of one of our friends' children which added to the fun. they brought their own vicar with them so there were two official vics there.

and then there was matthew, seen here. he's also a vicar but you wouldn't know to look at him standing their with his Easter bucks-fizz champagne.


we all stood around pondering the power of the resurrection and the fantastic things that God does whilst drinking champagne and scoffing cake.


bucks fizz and chocolate cake makes a good alternative communion.

at our old church they give out grapes to children in the communion which is a nice idea. they should wrap them in breadcrumbs - that would be even better

26 questions

esther got up to preach her sermon only to discover she was slightly too short.


i've been working from home today which is why there's been little blog activity.

this evening we had a band practice at church. Lynda brought a picnic.

it consisted of cake, biscuits and tea/coffee/hotwater making facilties (and some snoopy mugs).

she's that kind of person. and we are very glad.


as i mentioned earlier, i went to see the Passion of The Christ last night. I didn't think it was much good actually. but that's my opinion.

the music in the cinema was funky, the seats were comfy and the refreshments were plentyful. there was an advert for 'paradise poker' before the film which was a nice touch

here's me with my flagon of coke giving a nice 'post passion' wave:

but what did i really think ? here's my review for those who like to read words:

Continue reading "blood views instead of good news" »

is this result of a corporate makeover for the Catholic Church ? Management speak has converted congregation confessional boxes in to 'client admission centres'.


kezia likes to do the sound check for the piano when we are playing. she was given a microphone whilst she was playing today but she shooed it away, preferring to concentrate on the accompaniament rather than singing.


here is a not very brilliant picture of a clock outside a funeral directors. it's constantly reminding us that our time on this planet is very much finite and time is ticking by.

funeral shops are funny old places. they never really get to meet their clients properly.


i just popped out to the sandwich shop to get my lunch and i popped in to the newsagents to get the chocolate element of my lunch. the conversation went like this:

me:[after looking at the chocolate for a while] there sure is a dazzling array of confectionary available for the modern man

newsagent: yes, too much if you ask me. people still want more and aren't happy with what we've got

me: yes, that's because chocolate can't satisfy the soul

the newsagent then stared at me like i was completely mad. i took my queue and left.


A good few years back there were lots of campaigns to 'keep sunday special'. the basic concept was that we should all have one day a week where we enjoy each other's company and think about and ejoy life stuff rather shopping.

needless to say the world of shopping won and many shops in the UK are open on Sundays albeit with reduced opening hours.

10 years later, John Lewis have just caught up. their balloons in their Oxford Street window declare they are open every day, especially sundays.

my local john lewis is open on a sunday but shuts on a monday instead just to confuse everyone.

yeah for the world of retail.


easter has arrived already. here are a load of chicks in a shop window. they'll be fully grown chickens by easter day.

bank holiday wise, in the UK you get as many holiday days for Easter as you do for Christmas. God-wise, Easter is as important, if not more so than Christmas.

Shopping wise, Christmas wins hands down (with the probably exception of chocolate). Meanwhile, let's enjoy lent.

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here is a completely confusing sign i saw on the edge of a building site. the green goes nicely with the purples, but i haven't a clue what it means.

it appears to be implying that the people in the middle are the centre of gravity.

perhaps it's the holy trinity in the middle (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit in that order). The sign is subtly telling people "hey, this God/Jesus/Spirit thing. think about it. it's the only way of making sense of life".

i suspect it's actually an emergency congregation point. which is also how some people think of God.


this sign has a spiritual dimension.


a friend sent me a spam which linked to this site. it's a lovely idea. the ministry in a box concept is nice too.

disclaimer: This site has nothing to do with me and i would highly recommend you don't get ordained. any distater or general badness resulting from your ordination via this route is not my fault. ok ?

Be Ordained Now


this site has been going a while but i love going back to it to the latest Bible stories which have been built in lego.


can you guess what i've given up for lent ? i've even surprised myself with the randomness of this plan

UPDATE (also redated to reposition it)

here is the item i have snubbed:


jane (my wife) said "it's just a stupid idea. there's no point. why are you doing it".

i said "it's good to have a challenge".

and she said "well, i think it's just stupid".

we had a music practice at church last night. the pathway lights made some great grave shadows. here's one.


here is liz. she had her birthday party today and we were invited. liz goes to the church we went to before we moved house. so it was great to see her and a number of other families with little children who we hadn't seen for ages.

i know i've said this before, but i'm really looking forward to heaven. it's going to be so cool to meet up with christian friends we've known throughout our lives (and billions others !).

once again i've managed to change the topic from happy stuff to death. but you see where i'm coming from i think.


there's a thing on every sunday in february in reading called 5:14 and it's run by Reading Vineyard church. it's most excellent.

the band contained a couple of friends and a singer called suzie.


here is an interesting link to a thing to amuse you for a few seconds (needs sound). probably only makes sense to british viewers.

the devil might be in the detail, but Jesus is on the sugar.

here is the sugar sachets in a regular cafe we went to today. they are by "Kingdom Coffee International" and contain a Bible verse.

this reminded me of my plan for 'litter evangelism' which involved throwing leaflets explaining about Jesus all over the street so that people might pick them up and read them. this concept remains untested.

i also had a plan for 'whistle evangelism' which involed whistling well known christian songs to subliminally influence members of the public in to believing the truth about Jesus. this wasn't very successful as not many people know christian songs these days.


here's a poignent (pungent?) thing. it's a tramp asleep in a door way on Oxford Street. There's a fair amount of them about in london so nothing new there.

but i was struck by the writing in the shop window. was it referring to his life expectancy which he's been daily reducing from 1 week only to last day.

has he read what his life expectancy is or is he carrying on regardless ?

furthermore, this person has got nothing except a sleeping bag. yet the sign above his feet says 'or less'.


i was thinking - imagine we all had little counters at home which showed how long we had to live. that would certainly focus my mind ...

esther and kezia helped us load in the guitars this morning.

it was also the debut of nu:generation, the young people's band. we had two singers, 3 blowy instruments (not sure what they were!), piano, guitar and drums. jane and i joined in on guitar and bass. they had style and volume. a great combination

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one thing i'm looking forward to about being dead is the fact that there is probably going to be lots of parties in heaven. we decided to have a smaller scale party at our house last night for all the people who help out with the music, overhead projector (for the words) and sound stuff at church.

there were around 20 people (i think) including spouses. Here are some of them:

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and here is ian and Big Eye tony:

i went to All Souls this lunchtime. The question was 'How good do you have to be to get in to Heaven'.

The answer was that there's nothing you can do morally or spiritually to make ourselves perfect enough to meet the entry requirements, so as human beings alone, we're stuffed which is a shame. and that's where Jesus fits in to the story.

You can listen to the services here. Life makes (more) sense when you've got an eye on the end game. otherwise, what's the point ?


it was our church carol service this evening. i think it all went very well. the thing i got from the service was how christmas is all about life (ie jesus coming to earth as a baby), but is actually more about the important question of what happens when you die.

here is tony who made all the mulled wine. or was that the mule-ed wine. or the mull(et) wine ?


allow me a Sunday moment ...

The run up to Christmas is called Advent. Most people are too busy shopping to bother about the true Christian significance of Christmas.

What if you knew your life would end in a few days time ? Are you prepared ? What do you believe ? We need to think about this stuff, it's not the kind of thing we can just wing at the last minute !

Christianity, like Christmas, is all about life and freedom. It explains the problem of mankind, but also provides a solution. Don't miss it because you're too busy shopping !

here's a little sign i did for you. an advent advert if you like:


... is more than just being kind to spiders. don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

today a group of us from our church and greyfriars (our old church) went to a music conference organised by the mwf in Sutton Coldfield.

it's a couple of hours drive to get there, so we set off early and saw an excellent frosty sunrise. there was an excellent red haze in the air (as well as lots of Red Kites)


The conference was really good. lots of ideas, including introducing grunge and reggae in to our little church. i think we are on the way to doing that anyway, so at least we have an excuse now !

Christian conferences always have a bookstore. this was no exception. this might be my best book photo cover ever (modelled by Tony, the Greyfriars webmaster):

click for big version to fully appreciate it.

As for surreal things (which happen quite often in Christian circles), at one point in the proceedings they put a photo of a giant funnel on the screen for us all to admire and be inspired by. I wanted to shout "FUNNEL" at the top of my voice but decided that wouldn't have suited the reflective mood.

I'm embrassed to say my mobile rang loudly during the final talk and i caused general disruption as a result. Other surreal thing was lots of flag waving which is very popular in modern churches. personally i think it's dangerous and it won't be long before somone has someone's eye out and the whole thing gets banned. Here is a multicoloured flag waver:


how does God communicate with a world which is too busy to listen ? does he even bother ?

well, i think he communicates in lots of different ways. how often have we heard people say "if God is exists, i wish he'd give me a sign". i've taken lots of photos of signs - some with dogs in , some without

However, this morning, after posting the pictures of wigs here and here I did wonder if i was overdoing the artificial hair angle somewhat. So it was with delight that i saw this piece of paper blowing down Wigmore Street:


So, the word on the street is more wigs

regular readers will know that my mum is on holiday somewhere. i'm not entirely sure where it is, and i'm beginning to wonder if she's joined a religious cult as she's started sending me quality pictures of signs.

i think she's been driving round taking these pictures just so she can be featured on the blog. i thank her for her tireless dedication to the task !

click on these tiny photos for bigger readable versions

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she also sent me this picture of a hip rock'n'roll band she had discovered:

it makes you wonder where she's gone and if she'll ever come back again !


here is a sign post for life. changed priorities ahead.

it implies some kind of spiritual renewal. or simply a senior management change.

i guess if someone found God for the first time then in a way that would be a senior management change in their life. but that sounds corny, so i won't say it. sermon over.


i often see business cards in the street. i don't bother about them mostly (they don't bother me either - it's a mutual non-bothering thing). however, there was a flock of them on the street this morning:

it's a nice advertising idea. i thought of a similar thing for church pamphlets which i called 'litter evangelism'. you can share the Good News by throwing colourful brochures all over the street and public transport. i have heard some religious cults already do this - they leave their magazines on the tube.

these cards belonged to the office manager:

please note, i'm not in any way suggesting that the person named on these busines cards is involved in a religious cult. you could always phone up and ask them - i've got their number (and fax and email)

now here is a part of church life which is definately more to do with religion than faith (religion being more about 'tradition' and man made rules, rather than faith which is the real bit).

church crockery is traditionally very pale blue, with spindly cups on spindly saucers. it's been this way since the 1970s.

however, the church we go to has mugs which is much better. (though i have noticed a trend since the mid 90s for forward looking churches to standardise on the use glass mugs).

but i digress. this evening we had a church meeting which included a meal and look how they arranged the cups on the table ! they were presented in groups of 4 cups and saucers. the best bit is the presentation of spoons in the middle.

potentially the protruding spoon handles could have caused sight injury if a member of the congregation suddenly lent forward to adopt the prayer position over the table.

luckily we had all finished our drinks prior to the prayer time. see how God sometimes chooses to protect his flock.


i went to a lecture by dr patrick dixon this morning. the lecture was part of a series arranged by the Reading Church's Men's Breakfasts and he'd been asked to speak on personal spirituality in the context of a changing world.

dr dixon regularly lectures around the world on the impact of unceasing change in the modern world. this lecture was different in that he'd been specifically asked to provide an insight in to how he himself responds to these changes and makes sense of the world.

he was most excellent and i highly recommend you see him if you ever get the chance. see the global change website for more info


postman pat's spiritual welfare was provided by the church. The sign read "please stay on the path". a firm reminder to all christians to stay true to their foundations


the spritual welfare of the guinee pigs (not guiness pigs) was also considered in the kids animal area. in their pen they had a nice church too:


london is great. all over the place are round blue signs like this one which say who once lived where.

this one is my favourite: Thomas Young, Man of Science.


Man of sciences sounds a very old fashioned title. i imagine at the time it was completely futuristic. but now is just sounds strange.

i'm a man of science. i'm made of molecules and atoms and all those tiny things they tell you about in school.

man of science was probably an alternative to 'man of god' ie you can't be a techno-bod and a person of faith. they don't have to be exclusive though. God invented a fantastic world with physical constants and structures which we can start to understand.

i'm a man of science and i'm a christian. i'm not great at either. but i try.

i walked past a Christian bookshop this afternoon and saw this Teeny Weeny Bible (it was about a centimetre square). I'm one of those people who believe that the Bible is true ie it contains God's word (I would call myself a Christian).

i find the concept of a Tiny Bible quite interesting however and it's good to see Christians are keeping up with the current trend for miniaturisation. i want my mini-communion too please.


it was the last event in the tent today, marking the final final end to the Holiday Bible Club. It was a fantastic cloud free morning and the band played well. i've nearly perfected the art of jumping up and down whilst playing bass.

i have developed a new chic. it's basically a floppy hat and hippy jacket. worked for a week in the rain. i'll probably abandon the look now.

after a week of top notch kids entertainment, the church holiday club is over. we had a BBQ this evening and I got to play in the band in the great outside. It rained, but only after we had finished.
highligh of the week for me was when a leader explained that prayer was like a mobile phone in that we can talk to God at any time and he's always ready to listen. "Of course God hasn't really got a mobile telephone"
"good job" said a 5 year old, "cuz I don't know his number"
"you should ask my mum" said another young child "she keeps all her important numbers in a book"

kids are great. and God is a great big God. (so the song goes).

drummers are funny people. but everyone knows that. here is the holiday club drummer.

bass players and drummers have to be telepathetic ... he's got a telly and i'm pathetic. [joke to be removed by quality control at a later date].
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well, here I am 24 hours later and this morning the sunrise isn't red. normal sky in the morning, shepherds yawning. you can tell a lot about the weather by looking at it. that's how the weather pixie works.

proof of appearance. note the cotton wool in ear. i am completely deaf in that ear at the moment, so i have been playing my bass guitar in mono.

i'm near the middle with my hat on - sitting on my bass amp so i can feel the notes as i can't really hear them.

the tent where dave plays:

the tent where jane plays (note how hers is more open plan):

300 kids and 3 toilets. thats a high kids to toilet ratio.
portable toilets like this are never pleasant.

when not being ill i have been in a marquee playing my guitar.

It's the church holiday club this week which happens in a school field. work has kindly allowed me to work flexibly around my bass playing duties, which may mean I start my working day at 5am and finish at 9pm (with a break in the middle).

Yours in His Service

we're on a God-holiday weekend in a boarding school at the moment.

it's always interesting to see the peripheral trends in the Christian faith, particularly amongst the youth.

Continue reading "modern christianity" »

God's travel advice: Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath

"yours in His gracious grip"