Thursday, 22 January 2009

my first photograph

For a fair wee while, I've been keen to get a Digital SLR camera.

On my birthday, a load of friends and family gave me money to put towards a camera.  After trying a few out in a shop, I ordered online (as you do) and it arrived last week.  Then I realised I hadn't ordered a Compact Flash card like I thought I had - so that arrived a few days later.  Oops. 

I am very blessed to say I have a Sony Alpha 350. It's a real treat.  Here's to me taking loads of great pictures in the future.

Thank you to all of those who made it possible, I am extremely grateful.  Here's the first shot I took with it.

Monday, 19 January 2009

restoring dreams

I've been a sucker for moments of family restoration for a long time. Even the most trite of film plots, the most contrived of stories can make my eyes turn to glass - and occasionally leak - when people get over their differences, forgive each other or simply get re-united.

Basically I'm a soft touch.

I think it's harder to get caught up in a moment of reconciliation when you don't know some of the back story, but those contrived storylines only show you enough to get the response they want. when we know the full story, sometimes the reconciliation is not so emotionally fulfilling.

Thinking about highly-charged situations like in Gaza at the moment, it's hard to think of moments of reconciliation with so much bloodshed - so much heartache on all sides. But they will be happening. They will not be glamourous, or overly dramatic, but they will be real. And I think it's the realily that I get reminded of when watching scenes like that on TV.

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

it seems I was wrong

That can be a hard thing to admit sometimes, but there's something powerful and disarming about being able to hold up your hand and admit your failings.

I was reminded of this when watching this interview with Phil Scolari - basically saying he made the mistake. I like that. I take what he said at face value, it gives people no where else to go. Watch it here.

Then (after writing the previous paragraphs and those after this one), I was on a course today and we were talking about the choices we have - being honest is one of them.  While on the way home from the course I then heard people talking on the radio about another instance of honesty.

So this is not a public confession that I'm responsible for the recent turmoil in the financial structure of the world (TM). I simply didn't remember something when I wrote this.

When speaking with my Dad about my chat the other day, he said "you clearly don't remember much about your younger years". "Huh?", I said....

It seems that when I was old enough to get up & out of bed before Mum & Dad, I used to go downstairs (so muct have been over 2...) and try to put music on their music centre (remember those). How did they found this out? I knew where the volume control was, then where the tape player was and finally the power switch. So one morning, Mum & Dad got woked up by some *insanely* loud music....

Dad quickly showed me how loud was ok - and how to wear headphones!

Apparently, my favourite/preferred tape was by Jim Gilbert - because he looked like Mum & Dad's friend Bill. Yes, I wanted to listen to "uncle Bill's tape".


So there you have it - the truth is often more than we remember. And we can be all the richer for knowing the truth.  Certainly be free-er

Friday, 9 January 2009

funny, but it's true I'm...

Like many people I've been playing instruments since I could work out how to use a box as a drum. I have been learning how to play them better - or least being told how to do it - since I was 8 years old (if you include the recorder as an instrument).

However I wasn't really into music that much. Not that I can remember. However, I do remember when I did start getting into liking songs. There used to be the Church of Scotland Christian Bookshop at 123 George Street (the Church of Scotland Hindu Bookshop was next door...) and from aged 12 I remember going to their sale with my Dad during the Christmas holidays from school. They had a bargain tape bin (remember
cassette tapes anyone?) and so Dad used to by tapes from the bin to see what they were like.

It was here that I came across the lyrical stylations of
Randy Stonehill and Steve Taylor. It was not (really) the music that got me going (the first Stonehill tape was Equator, about six years after it came out, and it was the Steve Taylor's live album Limelight that was about three years old as well). It was the lyrics that really connected - a mix of humour, reality, challenge, faith and hope (or something like that).

I have continued to be a fan of these guys (and, in fact, came across a loads of other artists from that bargain bin over the years) but over last three years, one song in particular has been on my mind.

Imagine a 12 year-old boy, bit of a loner, listening to a song about Turning Thirty. You might say odd, but I tell you something, hope is a powerful force. I had high hopes.

So here's the thing. When
Jenny & I lost a baby nearly three years ago, I remembered the words of Turning Thirty. When Jenny was so spectacularly ill during pregnancy with Beth, hospitalised and all that, I remembered the words of Turning Thirty (and a promise that I am sure God gave me about Jenny and I having a family). When Beth was born, I remembered the words of Turning Thirty (and cried).

You see this applies to me today because "tomorrow is my birthday, feels funny but it's true, I'm Turning Thirty". A song first recorded 26 years ago (probably written before then) has been with me for the last 18 years.

I love how songs can capture so much of life, can convey emotion and truth - can take you through a story.

Now I would like you to enjoy
the song*, and think about what you are hoping for. I hope you can trust God with your future - with your hopes and dreams.

A huge amount of love to my beautiful wife, our gift of a baby girl, my loving parents, the friends who make life interesting (and more than simply bearable) and most of all, thanks and honour to Jesus who makes life worthwhile.

How have songs helped you? Are there songs that have left a mark on your life?

Grace & Peace


*I'd rather share the original album version from 1983, but it's best to avoid breaching more copyright than you have to... so here's a live version from the late1980s.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The first rule of politics...? Get involved

Right, I'm back on the mic proper again - got loads to say, just not making time to say it.

However, today while eating lunch, I watched Al Gore's presentation at TED 2007 - on that most Gore-ite of topics; the *climate crisis*. No matter what you views of that particular topic, there's something in what he said that resonated with me. Not about the climate, the current US presedential administration or about the future, but about our attitude. This got me enthused.

He quoted Gandhi* who encouaged people to "be the change that you want to see in the world", and challenged the TED audience that while they probably all buy into the climate crisis and take local (personal) action, they (and we?) can be very slow to take regional or national action.

Gore was not inciting violence, or encouraging hatred of those who don't follow one side or the other, but he was, I think he was echoing the words of one of the biblical Apostles, James, who said "be doers of the word [God's teaching], not just hearers" (James 1:22). (interesting commentary on this stuff here).

This challenge James gives is to not simply be a great believer, but to express our belief, our passion, our convictions as an outworking of God's love in our lives. And how did I get there from Al Gore? Well, watch the video and there's a challenge to be more than just someone who changes their lightbulbs, buys a Prius and sticks solarpanels on their roof, but someone who interacts with others, sharing their views, listening to other perspectives and being salt and light to those you connect with. To encourage others, learn from them and ultimately to see the tide of public opinion change.

I caution the call to action be suggesting you read Clive's post on activity... reminds me of something I wrote 18 mths ago that I hope to blog about later in the week. Also, have a read of Mark Driscoll's chat on evangelism. (I might not agree with everything he says on other stuff, but loved this).

So, what do you think - do you need to be more open about what you believe? I think I do. Not in a waving it in people's faces, I'm right, you're wrong, dogmatic nonsense. Just expressing ourselves in a real, alive to life way.

What sayest thou?

(*on a side note I watched Richard Attenburgh's biopic of Gandhi, enjoyed it, feeding my facination with the Indian sub-continent...)