Time out in the quiet lane

29/10/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (0) Comments

I never cease to be amazed at the wisdom which politicians seem to be able to draw on after they have left office. This is not to say that they are completely foolish while in office, but I find myself agreeing with even those whose policies I have deplored or just disagreed with at a fundamental level. Perhaps it is the release from the shackles of having to tow a party line. Perhaps it is that they have grown into the shoes they have been seeking to occupy. Perhaps, as Tony Blair the former Prime Minister put it in a Q&A published in The Independent, it is that they ‘start in office at their most popular and least capable and leave it at their most capable and least popular’. More ...

Conkers and faith

06/10/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (1) Comments

Horse chestnut seeds, high vis jacket, goggles, gardening gloves - it means just one thing: the conker season is here. Our garage is being bombed with conkers dropping off a nearby tree and the crop this year is plentiful. The game is fun, though I'm not sure how many children are allowed to play it any more or indeed really know how to play because of safety concerns. The protective kit mentioned above is probably rather over the top, though if you get a conker in the eye the point may seem clearer. More ...

The last thing we need is more hate

29/09/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (0) Comments

What is your first thought when a stranger comes towards you? Is it friendly or fearful, hostile or welcoming? Do you notice them? Would you feel comfortable if you had this thought written on the front of your t-shirt? It might lead to an interesting conversation, or get you into a lot of trouble! Earlier on today I saw a woman with the words "I hate you" written in large letters on her shirt. It struck me as an odd message to take out into the world to proclaim! More ...

Strapped for cash

18/08/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (0) Comments

The other day, on a rainy Friday afternoon, I walked past a queue outside a payday loan shop. It was a sorry sight. They looked fed up and on their uppers. The people who use payday lenders are generally struggling with low pay, finding it hard to match the bills to their income, and have difficulty getting credit anywhere else - if that wasn't the case why would anyone turn to a lender charging such large rates of interest. Worst still are the doorstep lenders who use violence when the repayments are not met. But there are better solutions and the growth in credit unions reflects this. More ...

What is cool?

25/06/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (1) Comments

A vicar from Nottinghamshire has become an internet sensation. During a wedding she joined in with a flashmob style dance routine with the bride and groom as the church erupted with the joy and exuberance when they were proclaimed husband and wife. The video has gone viral. She has been feted for showing Church of England clergy are not stuffy and kill joys, but prepared to join in with the party. Jesus, after all, went to a wedding and when the wine ran out, performed a miracle that must have made him sure to get more invites, changing water into wine! While many have praised her, there have been voices expressing another view. One tweet read "How many useless dad dancer vicars now feel sick with dread when a new wedding request comes in?" Not everyone would feel comfortable joining in in the same way and it's important to remember that people are different. More ...

Queen’s Coronation

02/06/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (0) Comments

Sixty years ago today, the Queen was crowned in Westminster Abbey (2nd June 1953). A prayer has been issued by Westminster Abbey for use on this occasion. Almighty God, at the hands of priests and prophets you anoint your chosen servants with the oil of gladness and strengthen them with the gifts of your Holy Spirit: accept our joyful praise as with united voice we give thanks for the long and glorious reign of our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth. Renewing your blessings, pour on her your choicest gifts, and on all your people the spirit of humility and mutual service shown in the life and death of him who is the anointed King of all, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. More ...

Speaking ill of the dead?

11/04/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (2) Comments

The death of the former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, has unleashed extreme passions. Some are very angry at anything they can interpret as a slight against her, even if there is none. There are others who have been very offensive in their tone of attack on her name; some have partied. She was a divisive figure and is no less so in death. 'Ding dong the witch is dead', the song from the Wizard of Oz, is rising rapidly through the download charts and is heading towards number one for Sunday - there is an internet campaign dedicated to achieve this. More ...

Bombs and Peace

04/04/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (0) Comments

The debate about nuclear weapons is back on the news agenda. The prime minister has backed the purchase of Trident missiles. The Lib Dem members of the cabinet are less enthusiastic. Meanwhile North Korea is waging a war of words threatening to launch nuclear weapons. These weapons exist and the argument is that if we don't have them we are vulnerable to those who would launch them. The threat of mutual destruction is seen as the best defence. Surely no one would be that crazy to use them. On the other hand having them makes us all more vulnerable - the more there are the greater the danger of them being used. Some people are that deranged. As Rowan Williams, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, said, there is no moral good involved in the destructive force which these weapons can bring. What exists, though, can't be uninvented. How to square the circle? More ...

Origins of life

18/02/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (5) Comments

Support for belief in God came from an unlikely source recently. TVs own resident scientist, Brian Cox, has been presenting a fascinating series on the wonders of life on BBC1. In the first episode he explained the origins of life on earth some 4 billion years ago. Grossly simplified, the 'spark' of life occurred as a result of energy flowing through the raw ingredients of hydrogen, Carbon Dioxide and various minerals (iron, nickel, sulphur) to form organic molecules. This involves a similar process to how a battery works as energy is released as protons flow from a high concentration to a lower one. The conditions for this occur naturally in hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor. For the fuller version, view the programme via the link above while it is available. More ...

Life through the eyes of blessing

14/01/13 | Posted by Ian Black | Permalink | (2) Comments

This is a fun story. The Queen's car wouldn't start. Instead of calling the AA or RAC a bishop who happened to be standing next to her at the time decided to give the car a blessing - for a joke. To the delight of the crowd it sprung to life and purred into action. I have no doubt he would not claim any credit for this and wouldn't argue that this proves prayer works, though, as the nation was hit by snow today, many prayers and a few curses will have been invoked over cars that wouldn't start! More ...

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Latest Blog posts

Time out in the quiet lane

I never cease to be amazed at the wisdom which politicians seem to be able to draw on after they… more

Conkers and faith

Horse chestnut seeds, high vis jacket, goggles, gardening gloves - it means just one thing: the conker season is here.… more

The last thing we need is more hate

What is your first thought when a stranger comes towards you? Is it friendly or fearful, hostile or welcoming? Do… more

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