Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday's over but Sunday's coming....

My goodness, I must learn to organise my diary a little better....teatime alpha, big training event and Sunday morning service all being organised by me and all happening between 6pm Friday and 10.30am Sunday. Thank you God for such a huge team of supporters and hard workers who surround me to help in every way possible.........without them I'd a mess, truly!

Really looking forward to tomorrow; the service theme is "Love the one".

The only wee cloud on the horizon is that I have four exam answers to write out and rewrite in shorter paragraphs and then commit to memory and I have only got one done.

Eschatology, anyone?.....anyone? .........anyone?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Coffee Shop Theology

I KNOW I am not qualified to join the fully formed CST brigade (read more about that here) but I dipped my toes into the world of grown ups when I spent an hour or so being tutored on eschatology by a learned and respected colleague and friend in a local coffee shop today.

I am grudgingly coming round to the point of view that theology can be good for you. I DO need to know how to be more accurate and succinct in my arguments. I would quite happily subscribe to the "So THERE - na-na-na-na-naaah" school of argument but I guess I have come to a time in my life where that's not quite enough. I do want to have a greater body of knowledge to call upon. (<~~~~you don't know how much it pains me to admit that !!!)

I am still not sure that I can master the literary and structural skills necessary to pass my exam on Monday. The only thing in my favour is that I can spell well! I feel more comfortable with some of the terminology now. It annoys me that I have to drop author's names and fancy-pants terms into what I write but I guess I will just have to try!

Oh - I am well into the theology of mission, that which I have learned so far is really bolstering my beliefs in what I do.

Stuart asked me if I had enjoyed what I had done and the answer is "mostly" apart from the "squished feeling" - pressure in reading my way through loads of books to jump First Year. And the pure theology bit; it's hard.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Theologically challenged

Thanks for the kind thoughts expressed during the period of "essay adjustment". I've now passed this, but heard today I had failed a Belief and Thought exam.

Does this mean I believe without any thoughts? (i.e. like a pre-programmed android)
Does this mean I have no beliefs but lots of thoughts? (like I waft around like the breeze)

Hmmm.Have been checking out distance learning courses in theology today (LST, Oxford Brookes and University of Lampeter, would you believe) which would probably suit my work/life balance better.

I'm remembering though that I have covered six First Year topics in two months as a children's worker with a big club to run and workshops and teams to train in August and September so I am not too hard on myself. Two good friends explained that a question on the eschatology of "new creation" would be hard to do.

When I was at University I remember clearly failing my first (and only!) (til now) exam in Social Anthropology. It was good for me to realise that I couldn't do everything - up till that point everything had been a breeze - Highers, First and Second Year of uni - and I got a fright and serious pride issues came to the fore. Sometimes you can't walk in and regurgitate notes held in a good brain - there needs to be evidence of deep thought, understanding and appropriate use of terminology, underpinned by a well structured answer.

I have spent 4 years as a Marker for Higher Geography and it's really weird to be on the other side of the fence :)

Will deep theological knowledge make me a better pastor to children? Ooooh I can't wait to hear what you think - bring it on Wood Street Girl, Brodie, Stuart, Hippocritic, TalkRhubarb, Johnny, and Nick!

Over to you........!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Overtired kids

What are you like when you're REALLY tired? Are you grumpy? Silent? Pleasant to be with?
What are you like when someone close to you gets lots of attention? Pleased for them? Grumpy? Silent? Nasty?
My 6 (nearly 7) year old has been badly behaved and full of whines, shouts and tears for most of this weekend. This, if you know her, is fairly recent behaviour and NOT typical of her at all. Her little brother has had two days of adoring attention and piles of presents for his 4th birthday. I reckon she's feeling tired and a little left out.

I have resisted the urge to lecture her about Joseph (you think you've got it hard!?!?!?) and to merely reassure her of our unconditional love for her. But the tantrums took their toll tonight and it was an early bed with the door firmly closed upon her. This is so much better than letting (my) anger rip.

I read in Stuart Blythe's blog about a mother shouting very rudely at her child. I am not saying I am perfect. I fail and I fall. But I try to remember that the pressures on our children today are immense:
* to go to at least x (insert number) after-school activities a week
* to be culture-current and media-aware
* to have at least four friends with whom you can hold sleepovers
* to achieve level F in Language and Mathematics in the 5-14 curricukum (of course) before you leave P7
* to be able to eat solid food by age 6 months, walk before you're 2, dry pants day and night by age 3, cycle WITHOUT stabilisers by age 5, swim two lengths by age 6, rollerblade and/or skate by age 8, play piano to Grade 6 level by age 10, have had your first boy/girlfriend by age 11............

I want my children to say "yes" to God at all of those ages and stages; yes, I want to know you; yes, I want to serve you; yes, I want to follow you.
There's a track on Powerpack Trust's last CD:
100%, 24/7, I'm an Xtreme Disciple


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Holiday Weekend

Spent the first part of the school holiday weekend rewriting an essay on the history of Christianity up to 260AD.

I found having to rejig parts of this incredibly frustrating. Despite my flippancy (sometimes) about academic work, I do try very hard at it (that was my school report for 12 years: "Lynn tries hard") and I was disappointed about having to do it again. Good for the pride, though!

My poor husband and kids had to content themselves with playing around in the beautiful sunshine while I got "Eusebius" out again. Oh, and RL Fox too :-)

I think I've got it right this time. I painted too broad a sweep around Polycarp's life, historically speaking, instead of setting his martyrdom in its IMMEDIATE historical context. Hope this gets me through. A few days ago I posted that I scraped a pass through New Testament studies. Found out on Friday that I have passed the Old Testament (yaa-hayy!) which I actually found harder......but it was FASCINATING; really got into it.

Despite last week being quite tough in many ways, I've been resting in a sense of immense gratitude for everything God has done for me in my life. I've been feeling this way since about June. A feeling that I am totally and utterly in the palm of his hand and always have been. I have an immense longing for the rest of my family (parents, sister and brother) to know this too :::sigh:::

This blog is meant to be about me working with kids; but it seems to be about everything that affects me in the way I work with kids - I just can't partition my life into little boxes - the parts affect the whole :-)

Tomorrow is part 1 of my son's 4th birthday celebrations - all parents and inlaws and nieces and nephews - draining but fun!

Friday, September 22, 2006


They Know You're The Children's Pastor Because...

The last time you made it to the adult service you tried to do actions to Amazing Grace. You were banned from the produce aisle of Morrisons for singing the theme song to Veggie Tales.
Your summer begins when the Holiday Club ends.
Your version of Jesus’ first miracle has Him turning water into Irn Bru.
You rolled your eyes when the pastor told the congregation how much time the worship team members sacrifice to serve God.
You are starting to have meaningful conversations alone in your office with a puppet.
In the church foyer everyone runs when they see you coming for fear you’re trying to recruit them.
You’re afraid to close your eyes when you pray.
When people ask you how many children you have you tell them between 120 and 170.
You carry Rich Tea biscuits in your pockets.
Your juice and biscuit budget is bigger than your salary.
You buy everything in bulk.
You honesty believe you are only doing this temporarily until the church finds someone else.
You were stunned to learn that some scissors are pointed.
The children’s workers are taking bets on how long you will last.
You plan an event for 200 and 50 show up.
You plan an event for 50 and 200 show up.
You prefer a root canal to meeting with the church leadership team.
You know how to pray for healing for dogs, cats and goldfish.
The Senior Pastor has forgotten your name.
You have forgotten the Senior Pastor’s name.
The church officer won’t speak to you.
You’ve never heard a guest speaker at your church.
You once sat up straight in the middle of the night and yelled at the top of your lungs, “IS THE BIG SERVICE OUT YET?!!!!”

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Found out today that I passed an exam question (doing an exegesis) - in the marker's words "only just".

The lecturer made a very kind offer of teaching me how to do an exegesis properly, instead of my puny self-taught effort.

Now I know a number of learned academic minds read this blog - what do you think?
Do I have it in me to exegetise well?
Am I an exegetiter?
Is exegetisising a very important skill?
(Am I now making up nonsense words?)

Did you know that an anagram of "exegesis is fun" is "seeing fixes us"?

Amen to that!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Having a bad day

Having a REALLY bad day.

1. Son was very badly behaved in nursery: tantrummed, ran away, went to toilet, locked door and would not let member of staff open it, was heard to be giggling behind the door. I was called.
Action point: no TV, biscuits or sweeties for two days and the "I'm very disappointed in you" spiel from several adults.

2. Have to "amend" an assignment for college.
Action point: off to read RL Fox's book "Pagans and Christians" . (Actually rather enjoying it)

3. Burnt the dinner.
Action point: it's in the bin


If you have never, ever listened to "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin, then you must listen to the version on THIS album (Live from Austin, Texas)

Now that I have an empty house again and no more studying to do I can indulge and turn the volume WAY up loud. Also recommended:

"She Moves In Her Own Way" by The Kooks. Ooooooooh, it's great! Catchy riff, brilliant bass line, sing-a-long brilliance.

Note to talkrhubarb - can you help me with these images? I have tried to put pictures in but I keep getting the Red Cross of Failure ;-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blogging and me (dangerous combo) / teacher truths

Have been reflecting on the way home about blogging.
On first glance not many people are visiting my blog. I think I count four people commenting but the thing about blogging - and you four know it - is that many more people are reading your innermost thoughts and tiptooeing away silently!

Blogging could be quite therapeutic for solo workers but you always have to bear in mind that you don't know who is reading it (I sense a Spooks-style conspiracy theory coming....) and you could end up in trouble.

I was offered a day moonlighting in my old job (teaching) today. It's kinda handy to do these torture (ahem) supply days. Money is good for six hours easy labour, unless you get six hours of what is euphemistically called "displaced PE classes". These are a nightmare. Picture a room of twenty teenage boys expecting a game of footie only to be stuck in a lecture theatre copying (yes, you read that correctly) paragraphs on "Sports in Ancient Greece" onto a lined bit of paper that is chucked in the bin as soon as their teacher returns from the sick/inservice course/meeting. This is not fiction; this was what happened last term to me. Now I can win round most kids but not displaced PE pupils.

If I have to "tent-make" nowadays I hold out for a subject specific supply day (i.e. where you actually teach what you are qualified in) Makes sense, don't you think?

And so I turned down the chance to make some cash today.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Monday, September 18, 2006


The title of this post is not about etheral beings but about a BBC TV programme.

I adore this programme but I have a difficulty with it - in separating fiction from reality! This weekend's two- parter showed homegrown atrocities being carried out in order to destabilise the government and the public; to remove the Prime Minister from power and to take control of the media and the judical system.

I'm a bit child-like in this regard; my mind and emotions are so fully engaged that I gasp as I watch as I realise that this could be why Tony Blair is going to resign. Oh, no, it's only TV.....

Films that engaged me COMPLETELY (man, I was living them!)
Schindlers List
Cinema Paradiso
Room With A View
The Big Blue
Dead Man Walking
Mississipi Burning

Films that were wasted on me:
Syriana - eh???
The Royal Tenenbaums
Being John Malcovich
Mission Impossible 1,2,3,4,x,y,z

What films draw you in; make you forget reality and during which films would you trim your toenails? :-)

Christians in School

Tomorrow I start a lunch-time club in my local school. Don't know yet how many children will come to "The Krunch Club" but the aim is to make friendships and continue the inputs I've been privileged to have with the school so far.

Best of all, the team of volunteers come from five different churches. Loving that!
We will be "ekklesia" called out to sow into a school!

Will keep you posted dear blog (it's just you and me now at this time of night)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Children's Coup

I love it!!! (thanks to Jamie for this; hope I'm allowed to copy the pic. I'm brand new to blogging so if I have broken a protocol could someone please let me know?)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder???

Apologies for my absence, as all those who know me will be fed up hearing:I had two exams to sit and three assignments to hand in so that I can leap-frog over First Year of Bible college, straight into Second (deep joy).

I know lots of people who had done this very same thing and they all said: "it's not too bad; just get your head down for a few weeks and you'll get all the reading covered and you can just blast through the assignments"....

HA - those guys who said that to me obviously DON'T HAVE CHILDREN (well, one of them does now - welcome to the land of cold coffee, Steve!)

Snatch an hour or two here and there between work, school pick ups, nursery times, general household "stuff" and genuine conversational time with other members of the human race; some of whom live with me; has meant that it's been a long, hard slog and would not have been possible without my sponsors in terms of books and childcare - Scott, Susan, Jurgen, Pete F and Chris R take a bow. Oh and everyone else - bless you for bearing with me and loving me still!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Do Children Make More Smells Than Adults?

If you are of a nervous or sensitive disposition, or get offended by "botty talk", read no further.

My little boy has been making smells all day. Started in the church administrator's office at lunchtime (sorry J) and continued right though the afternoon and evening with no "unloading of solid matter" taking place.

I did the "this is how your digestion system works" talk and then the "get thee to a toilet" command - point blank refusal.

Ran an alpha course tonight for families, went well although punctuated by rank smells.

Drove everyone home in the car, coughing at the fumes.

Got him to bed, removing age 3 dinosaur pants which are sparklingly unmarked but should really be fumigated.

And so this reminds me.........when teaching a classfull in a secular school context; there are always really horrible smells wafting round. I think its Irn Bru and cola bottles for breakfast that does it. As a teacher you can just move away *UNLESS THE CHILD HAS COME TO YOUR DESK to get jotter marked!!! Nightmare scenario!! No escape!

Same with any children's events in a Christian context. We may be cleaned up, washed, forgiven etc but the remnants of the "old" still linger and remind us of the hold they have on us as they leave the natural body.

Think I will halt that analogy there.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When should a child be baptised?

Serious canvassing of opinions needed here:

On the subject of believers' baptism: at what age should a child be baptised? As soon as they ask? When they're 12? 15?

Theological arguments/personal opinions: all welcomed........

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Reality Check

By the way, just in case you think the last post was getting a little super-spiritual, let me describe some situations from the last few days. My three year old had his worst ever tantrum in front of all my church coworkers which culminated in him escaping down the corridor between our church nursery and the staff offices at full pelt, kicking doors and running away from the nursery manager screaming as he went, like the Gadarene demoniac in long shorts and a "my mom went to Niagara" T shirt.

Oh no. Children's pastor has to remove son from the building for A Walk.

Actually, it gets better (or worse?).

Two days later he pee-ed on the floor of our new Associate Pastor's flat one hour before his housewarming party started, much to his flatmate's horror.

Pete - for cleaning up - I salute you! (and cheers for your blue towel!)

Open Heaven

I have had time to process all the things I was involved in last weekend at the Celebration event for 8 to 11 year olds:-

The kids I saw:

*took God at his word; if he's got something for them, they want it
*wanted to be prayed for as much as possible
*received from God easily and without hangups
*were impatient for the things of God
* loved to worship in abandon. Sure, they could be distracted, but switched from fiddling with their lanyards to high praise in about 2 nanoseconds
* revelled in the praise, kind words and acceptance from adults like us who were their small group leaders. Time and time again in my education job I saw kids destined for "drop out-dom" flourishing under kind words and a little bit of time.

Jesus spoke the truth indeed when he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I finish with this quote from theologian Judith Gundry-Volf who is in no doubt that children have an inherent knowledge of the Father:
“Children are not mere ignoramuses in terms of spiritual insight in the Gospel tradition. They know Jesus’ true identity. The praise Him as the Son of David (Matthew 21:14-16). They have this knowledge from God and not from themselves and because they do, they are living manifestos to the source of all true knowledge about Christ as from God”.

Loving it!.
Father, thank you for the privilege of seeing this in my job!