Monday, 29 June 2009

Brian Draper @ CCW: Sunday 5th July

Brian Draper @ CCW
If you missed Brian Draper's book launch (the unofficial one at J John, or the official one at P&G Wells), he will be speaking at Christ Church Winchester on Sunday 5th July (I believe the 9.30, 11.15 and 6.30pm services!)

Friday, 26 June 2009

Week 10: Live By Priorities

Linvoy Primus and Israel Oyelumade with me in Winchester Cathedral at the end of the series.

The Main Thing
J John started right in with the worm/talking parrot joke, to remind us to "Remember that the main thing is to ensure that the main thing is the main thing!"

9 Weeks Gone
The video spun us through the previous 9 weeks, with Week 1 reminding us not to covet "most people want just a bit
more than they already have", and questioning, what's the Number 1 for you now - food, drink, sport... or God?

We saw a brief extract from The Winchester Passion, in which Israel Oyelumade played Jesus, before Claire Carson interviewed him. What did he truly remember from playing Jesus in the Passion?
  • The size of the audience - it was HUGE!
  • How to make the message relevant?
  • How to get under the skin of this man, Jesus? As an actor one tries to understand the heartbeat of the character you're playing, as a Christian, God had already been working on Israel's heartbeat!
As an actor, the profession is all about "self", but when he met David Oyelowo, here he met a man full of self-assurance, and not from the labels he was wearing, but from ensuring that others were OK, which came from somewhere! Israel was asked by 3 people in a week to Holy Trinity Brompton, told "God wants you for himself", but ignored this invitation until he re-met David at the Royal Shakespeare Company, when he decided "me and God are for keeps"! His priorities shifted, re-centering on God daily. Instead of looking at himself, he started looking at who around could be helped - and is always happiest when talking about eternal priorities!

J John: Is God Your No. 1?
Tonight, we're looking at Exodus 20:3: have no other God's before me!

God is God and He's Not Applying for the Job...
he's not going to play second fiddle to anyone or anything!

Here comes the analogy....
Your life is like a car.... so is Jesus:
  • Nowhere near your car?
  • In the car, but locked in the boot for Sundays, where you stuff him back in for the rest of the week, in case he upsets your ordinary life?
  • In the car, but a back-seat passenger who you don't pay much attention to?
  • In the car, but a front-seat passenger, so he's a bit more in your vision, but still...
  • Or is he the driver in your car....
More importantly, if he is driving your car, are you a backseat driver?
  • As Jesus drives down the "road of forgiveness" are you complaining that you don't want to go this way?
  • As Jesus points the way at a fork in the road, are you complaining "where are you going?"
Knowing that God is First: What are the indicators?
How do we know that God is first in our lives. Here's a useful acronym which we'll expand on...
  • Finances
  • Interests
  • Relationships
  • Schedules
  • Troubles
God is always around, but we're often so pre-occupied by other things we don't see him.

Is he first in your FINANCES?
If you have a bag of 10 doughnuts, do you need all 10 doughnuts, or can you give some of it away?! You can't take it with you when you die, so invest in sending some on ahead - invest in others!!

Is he first in your INTERESTS?
What occupies/pre-occupies you daily? You CAN be interested in other things, as there is sacred-ness in the world (God created it after all!)
  • Why is a football supporter known as a "fan"?
  • Why is a Christian known as a "fanatic"? Take it as a compliment!
Is knowing God the heartbeat of your life?

Is he first in your RELATIONSHIPS?
We need to embrace the qualities of Jesus in each other. J John referred to "My Shack, Your Shed and a Bungalow" (at least I think that's what he said!) in reference to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who would rather be thrown into a furnace than worship a false god, a real challenge to us when we are called (daily!) to compromise!

The challenge is to obey God, regardless of what other people may think of you, and the consequences. Begins by stepping outside of your comfort zone...

Is God first in your SCHEDULE?
God knows that we have other responsibilities - are you conscious of God in that, rather than praying to Him as a last resort?! We should be constantly aware, tuning in, irrespective of what you are doing and where you are going!

Do you start your day with God. IF he is alive, and if he is the creator of the world - would you not WANT to know him... even athiest professors said yes when asked this question! ("The more intelligent people are, the more stupid they are"!!)

Is God first in your TROUBLES?
There's 2 kinds of troubles:
  • Minor suffering, that's what you suffer from!
  • Major suffering, that's what I suffer from!
When we are troubled, who do we turn to? When it's dark, that's when you can see the stars! We all go through seasons of life, when it's dark, we then see the morning star = Jesus.

How did you answer that, is God FIRST?
The answers to these questions indicate the kind of relationship you have with God - is he in the driving seat, and are you still a backseat driver?

A House Visit?
If Jesus came to spend a day or so at your house, how would you feel?
  • Would your welcome be sincere?
  • Would you hide some of the magazines you'd been reading and put a Bible there?
  • Would you bury some things in the deepest darkest cupboard, or is it all there for Him to see?
These are the things on which you mind and spirit feed. If Jesus is already in there, he already knows [and he already loves you as you are!]

We are called to LOVE God with ALL our heart, soul and mind... we are looking to see EVERYTHING from his viewpoint: thought, word, deed, business, pleasure, friendships, career, home, etc... He should be in all of them, not a compartmentalised "Sunday God".

In choosing Christ, you are always making a choice which excludes all others. By turning away from other gods [in whatever form they come] you can actually HAVE GOD!

Who is Jesus to You?
  • Nothing
  • Something
  • Everything
William Booth
General William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army. Toward the end of his career, he was interviewed by the press. As he looked back over his lifetime, this is what he said: "God had all there was of me. There have been others who had greater plans and greater opportunities than I; but from the day I had a vision of what God could do, I made up my mind that God would have all there was of William Booth." Thanks

Amazing Grace

Every week we've been finishing with my favourite hymn Amazing Grace!

Want to Know More?
All the partner churches would be pleased to hear from you, and J John is back in Winchester for a one-off event on 17th September as part of a national tour.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Digital Ethnography: Wow!

Wow, this is really interesting!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Cricket: 20-20 at the Hampshire Rose Bowl

I've never been to a cricket match before, although I played once at school (I scored a six, got one run, and was then out!), read the full match report. Hampshire Hawks, 183; Middlesex Panthers 155! Woo... (and we had a very nice picnic!)

Wonder where the ball went?!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Brian Draper: Spiritual Intelligence: Book Launch

Sir John Whitmore endorses Brian Draper's new book "Spiritual Intelligence", launched at P&G Wells last night. Great speeches by both, great event, well hosted, well-attended (we were spilling out onto the streets).
Back Cover Info:
According to the author, Danah Zohar, we live in a 'spiritually dumb' culture - alienated from each other, too busy to take time to reflect, and trying desperately to juggle the myriad pulls and pushes of life without cracking up. How can we find meaning within the madness, hope within the hopelessness, reconciliation within ourselves and with our neighbour? In this book, Brian Draper asks how ordinary people, whether religious or not, can live on a daily basis with increasing wholeness and well-being - by using their spiritual intelligence.

First, we must 'awaken' to new possibilies so we can 'see the world afresh'. Next, we 'live the change', before we can finally 'pass it on'. Brian Draper's unique 'iconic' journey of transformation - through four stages, and four levels of depth will help you to find yourself with a whole, new way of being.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Chris Moyles Talks Up Church

There's been several mentions of Chris Moyle's show the other day, where he was absolutely amazed to see people ENJOYING being Christians - clearly been going to the wrong churches!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Week 9: Know God

Do Christians Think?
"I can't believe in anything I can't understand" says one student to J John. On discovering that he studied agriculture, J John asked: "So, explain to me, how a black cow eats green grass and produces white milk"...

Many people think that Christians don't think because we don't think the way they expect us to think... [but we truly question what we believe, what's the point in believing in something if it won't stand up to scrutiny? Not that I have all the answers.. daily questions, and just being open to the possibilities]

Who's your hero?
Why do we need heroes?
What would God look like to you?
Personal image (heavily marketed) makes or breaks "idols"

Yes, this week is a focus on Exodus 20: 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Interview with Sam Blakey
Sam has been looking after the Press & Publicity for Just10, and often has letters published in The Times and local newspapers.

Sam had an understanding of God as a child, but once she got to university, she created a new life where she actively ignored God. Attending the funeral of a close friend at Christ Church she could feel God's hope and present, and over the next 24 hours decided to just "trust God and go with it".

Sam used the word 'amazing' quite a lot, which as she said, is what you tend to do when God is in your life. A year after she became a Christian, her husband, having watched The Passion of the Christ attended an Alpha course, and mid-way through, became a Christian.

Earlier this year, Sam's son was assualted in an unprovoked attack. Sam was so angry about this that she set out on a "journey of vengeance", and then realised (especially with the example of her son who was demonstrating forgiveness) that this was not how she, with God in her life, wanted to behave, and decided to forgive, at which she felt a burden lift.

The song "The Faltering Child" (re making choices), beautifully sung, written by Chris, head pianist! Brian Draper's book Spiritual Intelligence was launched, officially released this Friday... J John said the manuscript arrived on a day when he didn't really have time, started with a quick look, then read the whole thing in one sitting! [There was certainly a long queue for signed copies of the book at the end of the evening, I suspect Brian may have run out of copies!] The idea was created by Danah Zohar in Re-Wiring the Corporate Brain, and Brian wanted to build upon that with ideas from Ecclesiastes.

Back to J John
"If I had a photo of another woman in my wallet, should my wife just say, oh, that's OK, or should she be angry and demand to know who it is... if I was turning to that woman for advice, would my wife believe me when I said "I love you". "No, I would expect her to be hurt/angry - she has every right to demand that I keep myself for her. I want to, I love her, I made vows to her."

How does this relate to "no idols"
Idolatry = adultery to God, it's unfaithfulness, we have prostituted ourselves by bowing to idols.
We have a jealous God, he doesn't share his affection!

Capture God?
A child asked whether God was in the house (yes), in the kitchen (yes), in the marmalade jar (yes), and then clapped the lid on and said "Got Him". If we think we've "Got Him" in our hands, then we've lost touch with him... God can't easily be captured.

We can't chisel, paint or any other sensory form... all will depict Him as less than He truly is.
Some argue that such things are aids to worship, but such aids tend to become the objects of worship themselves.

So what is idolatry?
Any value, activity or idea that you place above God. In the modern world we are focused upon such things as physical beauty, sex, power, etc.

We should be reminded, as the Greeks were "Do not make of yourself an idol", when it was all about perfection of the human form... we now have Barbie and Ken (and Barbie's proportions are impossible for a woman to achieve!).

Every morning, some people "bow down" to peer at the weight on their scales... which determines what we will feel like today! (If so, he recommends Deborah Lovell: Lives in the Balance), and quoted a poem she'd written (see something similar).

YES, it is right to care for our God-given bodies through cleanliness, good nutrition and exercise, but don't idolise one of those (which tends to lead to anorexia or plastic surgery).

Superstitions are a form of idolatry, usually coming from habits (e.g. not walking under a ladder [although I always think that's more about a paint pot not landing on my head!]) or a belief in protection. Phrases such as "Touch Wood" (and removing 13th floor from hotels and 13th row from airplanes) acknowledge that there are other powers at work.

In the morning, many people check their "Horror-scopes", explicitly spoken out against by God in Deuteronomy 18:9-12.

J John appears to know a lot about the Freemasons... the Church of England Synod did a study into whether Freemasonry was compatible with Christianity - with an answer of a resounding NO!
  • Freemasonry is characterised by deception, and lower level members don't really know what is going until they reach at least Level 4.
  • It is often seen as a charitable organisation, good for networking, job opportunities, social status, etc., therefore often seen as harmless.
  • Freemasons meet in Lodges which contain temples, where they kneel at at altar, swear oaths to sacred laws, and at the 4th level, start to worship specific Gods.
  • Curses are prolific, and level 4 and above pledge lifelong silence BEFORE hearing material... and curse themselves to death if they reveal secrets.
  • At the 30th level, Freemasons declare that Lucifer is God (i.e. the Devil, the complete antithesis of God!)
Cultural Climate
Our current culture emphasises "whatever works for you". However, if you don't know what you stand for, you'll fall for anything!

Best Description of God?
Jesus himself, who came to make God visible, made in God's image (as are we).

If we're listening to the radio, there are different frequencies assigned, and we need to tune into God's frequency. Images of the world are bankrupt, and if you focus on them you'll end up deceived and disappointed!

God Offers Us Forgiveness
Before Jesus, John the Baptist was a great preacher (and if you think that J John is aggressive, you should have heard him... calling people snakes and vipers!).

J John gave a great illustration of where John the Baptist could have taken a management approach to baptising people.... lining people up, asking them "Name, worst sin", writing that on a sticker, slapping it on their chest, and then John would know what to free/baptise them from/for! As each person lines up, we got through the ten commandments, and there's Jesus "none", but then takes everyone else's stickers, and then is ready to be baptised in freedom from all those sins [which I assume will wash away in the water, if the stickers I have are anything to go by, and seems to complete the analogy!]. Jesus wants to liberate us from all that weighs us down!

Know me --> Know the Truth --> the Truth shall set you free.
We know Jesus embodies the truth, so we will not be disappointed!

What shape is your God?
The only image on your heart/mind shoudl be Jesus, replacing the focus on all those other things.

All those things that God says have nothing to do with we go and see in museums, or use as art decorations. J John asks that last week if we have statues of Buddhas, ouija boards, etc. that we place them in the Amnesty Bins [I don't believe that I do!]

Note, whenever you visit a castle and see the throne room, thrones are always for ONE, there's no throne pews! So, have Jesus on the throne of your life, as, as J John only has space for one woman in his wallet, he only has room for one God in his life.

Just 10
Just 1!! Just one more week of Just10 left, which will be on "Living by Priorities", and then check partner churches for follow-up courses. All these commandments have serious messages, but these last few are the REALLY SERIOUS ones!

Press-Packer: Open Farm Sunday

LEAF: 'Linking The Environment And Farming'
LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) was set up in 1991. At that time, the gap between consumers and farmers was getting wider and the need to meet and understand both sides of the debate was essential. For the first time a group of farmers, environmentalists, food and agricultural organisations, consumers, government and academics got together to do something positive for the farming industry.

They were motivated by a common concern for the future of farming and keen to develop a system of farming which was realistic and achievable for the majority of farmers. Based on work in Germany that had been carried out since 1986, LEAF was established to develop and promote Integrated Farm Management.

Open Farm Sunday (Next Date: 13th June 2010)
Open Farm Sunday is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, young and old to enjoy the living, vibrant countryside. Take time to listen to the birds, soak up the scenery, experience the smells of the farmyard and really get in touch with the land that feeds us. Discover at first hand what it means to be a farmer and taste the produce. So come and feed your senses on Open Farm Sunday.

Each event will be unique with its own activities - based around the host farm’s own individual story. Activities during the day may include a farm walk, nature trail, tractor & trailer rides, pond dipping, activities for kids, mini farmers market or picnics.

Week 8: Take God Seriously

What does your name mean?
It's your identity!

What do people think of when they say your name?

Names are often trademarked, and there are laws regarding defamation, where it's illegal to attack someone's reputation.

How would you like to be remembered?

Will Lunn-Rockliffe
David Williams had a great interview with Will, who is a bit of an adventurer - he doesn't sit around thinking about things, he does them!

God meets us where we're at, but sometimes we need to be taken away from our culture/comfort zone to meet God in a new way (as Will did), and it's great to listen to other's stories and see where God is in their live.

EVERY DAY (i.e. a daily battle): it's important to wake up and make sense of life!

Back to J John
Knowing someone by name is the first step to knowing a person - if you remember their name, it shows you care, and people can be hurt if you forget [and I truly know how much difference it makes to students to be known by name, and how frustrated I get when the timetable is so tight it's difficult to know everyone... although after travelling, I have reached a point where I will ask people several times, and say I don't mind how many times you ask me].

Names have associations with them - e.g. what do you think of when the names Adolf Hitler or Mother Theresa come up?

God in Biblical Times
The Israelites believed that the name of God was so sacred that they threw away the quill each time they wrote God [wow, how many computers would I get through if I did that?]

Reputation in our Culture
We're always very concerned about the reputation for our name.

Football clubs tend to disassociate themselves from football hooligans, saying that they can't be genuine fans if they cause damage, but along for the ride/rumpus!

Think how schools emphasise good behaviour when on school trips, so as not to bring the name of the school into disrepute.

Are we serious about God?
If we are, then think about how we mis-use his name, we:
  1. Use it to insult
    In the dictionary, Jesus is 1) An exclamation of surprise 2) The founder of Christianity
    When swearing, we are treating something sacred with abuse
    The media uses Goddamit, Jesus Christ, etc, but says that they are merely reflecting society
    Film Classification: PG) Blasphemy 15) Sexual Swear Words
    Don't de-sensitise the name of God - why do we say "Jesus" and not "Buddha"?
    Why are we blaming God for something he didn't cause? If something good happens we tend to say, "aren't I lucky?" , but if something bad happens we say "Why did God allow this?"
    Talking about coincidences (the flying kitten): are these God's way of remaining anonymous?
  2. Use it to exult/indulge ourselves
    How often do we feel that we are doing God a favour?
    What motivates non-Christian parents to have their child baptised, when most are making promises that they have absolutely no intention of keeping?
    What about Christmas Christians, who take communication: 1 Corinthians 11:27? God hates hypocrisy, so do it because you believe in the death/resurrection of Jesus, otherwise don't bother!
  3. Use to intimidate
    How often to Christians 'Play the God Card'? This was used to sanction the Crusades, slavery, wars, football, etc. as well as much smalled ways.
    Believe that God speaks to us as individuals, but don't misuse the "God told me" [Heard about a few guys doing that: "God has chosen you for my wife"... yeah right has been the general reaction!]
    Beware of "spiritual forgery". Don't twist the Bible to fit your own ideas, ideals and lifestyle!
So what's can we do positively in using God's name?
  1. I need to be selective with my words
    Watch slang - which is often a shorthand for swearing (e.g. Damn, is a shorthand for Damnation: condemning someone to an evil fate)
    By Golly, Gosh, For crying out loud, all refer back to God/Jesus
    Often we say we don't mean anything like that, but God's name is a holy name, and shouldn't "not mean anything".
    We are bombarded with profanity on all sides, and unintentionally it becomes a part of our vocabulary!
    If we become too compromising it may not bother us, but it bothers God. In the Bible, misusing God's name was worthy of the death penalty.
    Make a decision not to use God's name irreverantly and ask colleagues to desist.
  2. I need to be sincere in my actions
    Ensure our life matches what we say we believe: Ensure your walk is consistent with your talk.
    Many people attend church only when they are hatched, matched and despatched, and with that, the first time you're carried in, the last carried out, so only once by choice!
Whose name do we use so glibly?
God can
  • Cleanse our souls, heal our deepest hurts (putting hands out, palms up, is a sign of vulnerability and that we are prepared to receive healing)
  • Restore humanity/dignity
  • Saviour = name of power, some people are healed in God's name, and delivered from evil spirits.
  • Jesus spent 3 years discussing who, where, why, how, etc... and told many parables, at least one of which will connect with where we are NOW!
God Is...
So many different things, so that he appeals to all of us, e.g.
  • Teacher: Educators
  • The Way: Traffic Wardens
  • The Truth: Politicians
  • The Vine: Horticulturalists, etc
Why Christianity?
Why not? Essentially J John is presenting God's challenge - you've now reached a fork in the road, where you can go on of two ways. Assuming that there's 2 men at that crossroads, which would you ask, the one who is dead, or the one who has been brought back to life and is more able to give you answers!

You can be very sincere in your beliefs, but very sincerely wrong!

That Wedding Invitation
Last week J John talked about a wedding invitation... God/Jesus are offering a conditional promise - to rescue YOU if "you believe in my name".

It's not just to know about him, but to know HIM... and like pianos, we need frequent tuning!

Just 10: 2 weeks left:

Tonight: Know God
Next Week: Live by Priorities

Various local churches are also planning follow-up activities, so please contact the various churches for more information, or check the Just10 website, for information on churches near you.

Churches' Media Council, 2009 (continued)

The whole conference was structured around 2 questions:
  • What impact does the media have upon society?
  • What impact do people of faith have on the media?
Day 1
Opening Video Address: Right Hon Tony Blair
Tony Blair provided a video address to open the conference, talking about the impact that the media can have, both negative and positive - it's possible to transmit hatred and reinforce stereotypes. With such a wide reach, it's vital that the media has strong internal (Christian) voices which affect the cultural DNA of such organisations, within the big worldview. We live in a globalised world where the media never stops, and we need to be a part of those debates and interaction, suggesting deeper interaction, rather than the surface stories.

Opening Address: Baroness Scotland
Baroness Scotland spoke, introducing her talk with the idea that the media would present the idea that journalism is a faith-free zone. However, there's at least 100 people at this conference: are we all figments of the imagination?

Other politicians may say that "We don't do God" [Alastair Campbell!], and say it's a matter of personal choice, but Baroness Scotland says that it colours everything she does, and she can't help it colouring her conversations also.

You can read Nick Baines report here.

What is the Media doing to...
Our politics (John Lloyd)
  • Politicians are necessary, we should value them for their ability to compromise! Extremists are not capable of compromise.
  • We can do politics quite well in the media, but we tend to cut a lot of it down into personalities/scandals, etc.
  • Of course there's a lot in the news at the moment about the expenses scandal, but we do elect people (not robots!) and most were using the system with a nod/wink as was expected, rather than flagrantly reusing it as such. Now it's a question of how they regain our trust!
  • What are the media doing to shape public thinking? The media constructs what are the most important things in our world, especially now - when you see how we're connected to it hour-by-hour!
Our media and young people (Pastor Nims Obunge)
  • The media has created a sense of fear, but the newspapers have noted that if they fill the papers with good news, their sales drop.
  • We have allowed the media to control us. Does the media fail to show us what truly goes on in urban spaces. Young black people feel labelled!
  • Social media is great for young people to share ideas.
  • Nims has low trust himself in th emedia, especially if he does pre-recorded interviews, as they tend towards sensationalism.
  • Wants the media to report more excellence, empowering people, rather than keep reporting the bad stuff.
God (Professor Mona Siddiqui)
  • The media, big as it is, is not doing anything to God, but has to the way we talk about Him.
  • The media industry carries the moral burden of the communications business.
  • The religious/secular divide is emphasised in the media - differences are emphasised, but all largely share the same concerns.
  • Often the media see asking SOMEONE from that faith to talk as having "done the job", but we need more intellectual rigour.
  • Globalisation is a mistake, as there's a tendency to "do more religious stuff", where members make statements on behalf of their own religion, although this may not be agreed by their religion. Inter-religion is fashionable.
  • The job of theology is not to observe the world, but to change it. Those working within the media can't aim for neutrality/impartiality, but should use that power.
  • Mona only uses blogs to read about how she's been received by others: "how did you hear me?". Blogs are for conversations, rather than about "spreading the message".
Online/New Media Strand (part 1)
Claire McArthur, in charge of strategy/editorial for the BBC's local websites chaired this panel, run over 2 sessions
  • Is about monitoring reputations, does one size(site) fit all?
  • Is the Vatican leading the way in the use of New Media?
  • Communities can be built across the web. Institutions need to embrace the possibilities to allow faith to grow - don't treat the online world like a Sunday worshipper!
  • Shane Hipps, Flickering Pixels: The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture
  • In the digital age we are "a tribe of individuals", maybe "an imagined community" [A phrase first created by Benedict Anderson, as I drew upon in my PhD thesis!]
  • How has language evolved? We need to sustain more friendships at once (see Robin Dunbar).
  • Does it create anti-social isolation? Should create an extra support, not replace it!
  • What are others in church doing? What is this doing to our social world in church (e.g. does Facebook help to deepen those friendships we already have, and reach out to those who may be more shy, getting to know others before joining in person?)? Do we opt out of life because of the online - or (as research seems to be demonstrating) we are watching less TV, and nurturing friendships more online.
  • How do we turn around the negativity surrounding this debate (it's the horror stories that make the press), and take the opportunities available?
  • Online, really need to talk about what you're genuinely interested in, becomes obvious pretty quickly if you're not!
  • Propagation (which is what many churches/Christian organisations have traditionally done) is top-down, whereas social media is very much bottom up. How do you monitor what's online, and if you simply cut off the opportunity to monitor conversations, does it simply turn up somewhere else, where you don't even have the opportunity to respond to it? It's a space for communities to debate!
  • How do you get the word out? How do you get people excited/contributing?
  • What about using Facebook ads? They are about 20-40p per click, can follow the click trail, and set a limit!
  • Claire gave us insights into some research that the BBC had done into the Susan Boyle phenomenon, and who was benefiting from that online (and thus what can be learnt from it). Can see just how fast the phenomenon moved, and notice that YouTube, rather than the official ITV Britain's Got Talent website was picking up most of the traffic!
  • Can use Hitwise data to search for the terms that people are ACTUALLY using, rather than guessing what they might use. In many ways the Susan Boyle coverage is positive, she was liked, and demonstrates a real interest in what it is to be human, and churches need to make more of that.
  • Dangers of becoming insular in content, what about the relevance of what you're posting, the danger of becoming an "exclusive club", when the online world is very much about embracing inclusivity.
  • Don't FEAR LOSING CONTROL, it's already lost!
  • Next session, going to be more practical discussions on what churches can do to use social media, and bear in mind that it's not just for those who are already converted!
Day 2
Public Service Broadcasting
Torin Douglas
  • Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) is designed as broadcasting for the public good, rather than commercial gain.
  • The BBC's remit is to educate, inform and entertain. ITV/Channel 4 also have remits.
  • Globally, broadsheets and broadcasters are crashing, the death of the South Bank Show is a big signal that PSB is maybe going with it.
  • The ITV franchise was originally seen as a "licence to print money", and partly in response to this, it was forced to produce PSB, responsibilities which it is now seeking to lose.
  • Newspapers have lost readers/advertising revenue, and are moving from paper to online.
  • Affects are felt due both to the digital switchover and the economic crisis.
  • It's not all gloom: catch-up TV is a great boon for consumers (able to repeatedly view, and in their own time), which makes the licence fee a better value; the creative and digital industries are growing as manufacturing/finance drops; the digital age offers a wider view of PSB! It's still alive and well, but not necessarily where you're expect to find it!
Philip Graf (OfCom)
  • As global news grows, the desire for information on local life grows. 8/10 want local news and weather, 6/10 want to know about local life/community. Local press has been in long-term decline, especially as advertising has moved from small brands to High Street chains. Small ads have moved online, and ITV news is not expected to continue after 2011. The internet/local TV haven't devised sustainable models.
  • The BBC have offered their studios to ITV to enable ITV to continue PBS broadcasts, but more is needed. Is more regulation needed. It is clear that the current system is now broken!
  • Conventional linear broadcasting doesn't provide what's needed, and content has increasingly moved online, but the infrastructure doesn't really support initiatives, and won't unless the ROI demonstrates that it's worth investing.
  • 4G mobiles will drive a whole new range of content. The iPhone is the start of a new generation of phones. 24% of under 25s still listen to radio - strategically important.
  • A plurality of provision is required to meet needs. Tools exist, we need to find ways of using them
Launching the Church and Media Network (Andrew Graystone/Joel Edwards)
  • Great to offer encouragement, e.g. sending texts to broadcasters as they step away from the microphone (when insecurity about what have just broadcast hits).
  • The network is a forum to bring together broadcasting/Christianity, finding fellowship, be sharpened up, have a voice.
  • What does it mean to be a Christian in public spaces, moving from the defensive to the missional!
  • A bridge between the Christian community and media institutions, offers opportunities for creative engagement.
  • The previous organisation met annually, but this doesn't fit how media now works. It now requires an all-year role. Designed to be a lively, accessible, pastoral service to those working in the media.
  • Intention is to engage widely with Christians to engage with the media better. Offering digital literacy in faith communities is key.
  • Provides continuity from the previous model, not discarding it!
  • Discussion 1: Ideas for institutions to embrace social media/let go of control.
  • Discussion 2: Practical ideas as to how social media can be used.
  • See a preview of Google Wave, going to be the next big thing likely to transform social media!
  • Slowly create content, then let others claim credit for it when it becomes successful. If they think they've had a hand in creating it, probably be more enthusiastic!
  • Try experimenting with blogging, especially if it's a time-bound event (e.g. a church weekend away). Give yourselves permission to fail. Celebrate an event!
  • Mobile phones offer the option of live streaming, e.g. Qik and 12seconds.
  • Are a lot of worries about people creating havoc/inappropriate content online, but think how you'd deal with those people in church - sit them down and have a chat. If you shut something down, it's not good. The conversation is simply likely to pop up somewhere else!
  • Actively engage with quotes (expand), give your church a positive profile, demonstrate public/community engagement.
  • We think there's a seperate conference in this: See Christianity in the Digital Space, Durham, 13-15 July (I'll be there)
Googling God (Evangelical Alliance)
  • "This is Christianity": A plan for a website to make it easier for reporteres to report faith well (as with budgets shrinking it's much less likely that newspapers, etc. will have proper faith reporters. New site in the planning to act as a web portal for journalists, a quick reference guide, links to mainstream Christian organisations, and training courses for journalists.
  • Local churches need to get to know their local journalists as the church doesn't realise its own power. Many journalists are scared of reporting on religion, invite them in to report on your activities.
  • "IKOS", the idea of an online space where Press Officers for Christian organisations can work together, be well-trained to engage with mainstream media.
Beyond Broadcasting
Nick Booth (Social Capital)
  • How access to informatio has changed through e.g. Marconi, Berners-Lee
  • In 2006 the world produced 3 million times the information contained in all books ever written! Supply and demand are no longer scarce! There is clearly a power and a desire to publish.
  • Is a lot of local volunteer media, which have respectable audiences. It's easy to spread/support local issues, as there are many willing to supply information, offering a patchwork of local storytelling.
  • Great for collaborative invesigative journalism, as with crowd-sourcing, can say "Help me investigate x". Can identify layers of expertise in active citizens.
  • Technology - helps to build strong relationships, and is not alienating.
  • Twitter helps us find people, making us social capital millionaires.
  • Online world is increasing a trend towards transparency (but what about protecting souces?).
  • It's a great habit to put half a story up, ask people, what else can you add? Accept that a story is never finished!
Paul Jackson (formerly of EA, Video Games)
  • Serious technologies are changing the way that people relate.
  • The "received wisdom" is that those buying video games are young kids who are playing violent games. The average age of those buying games is 28, and under 3% of games released have an 18 certificate. This is important as then we can address issues where they really are, rather than where we presume them to be.
  • Paul was the man behind FIFA in 1991, which was hugely successful!
  • World of Warcraft - has 10 million playing. Involves raising demons, etc. Why are Christians not talking about this.
  • offers flash-based maths. Why are we not building these kind of applications for Christianity. Meet the kids where they really are...
  • Digital Britain, looking forward to the idea that the internet will be accessible (by rights) as much as clean water is.
  • What about privacy issues? 200 years ago you lived in a village where everyone knew your business. It's only 150 years ago that anonyminity became the norm. There's now another culture shift and we're returning to the natural condition. Anonymity is dangerous.
  • Market Research - idea is that we will know what you're thinking when you don't know what you're thinking!
Bliss Radio
  • Dream is to see this newly hatched radio station providing slots that are usable on secular radio stations (yes, Christian focused).
  • The young have few or negative values around them. So wants to take the opportunity to explore positive values(fruits of the spirit) through this website.
  • Expected that the audience will be primarily non-Christian, and in the 16-35 age group (wide spread, real changes in lifestyle, can hit such a wide range?)
  • Mostly not overtly Christian music, then looking to other organisations (e.g. Salvation Army, Youth for Christ) to help provide content.
Day 3
World Vision
  • Advocacy is about trying to change the world, opening up a space for political possibilities where a space didn't previously exist.
  • Now is the best chance for a new world order. The crisis offfers a moment of opportunity to change the financial architecture. Maintain that global view, not insularity.
  • Christian theology - often starts to make sense from the perspective of the marginalised.
  • Where is the power located? Institutions? The masses?
  • It is easy to be "power neutral", accepting the status quo as a given, but with power loaded against the poor - whose side does that put you on?
  • Who is left as our moral compass? The media? Christians?
  • In publicity for World Vision, is care taken with the choice of images, respecting the dignity of those depicted. Don't want to objectify the individual. Are we trivialising their dignity as NGOs try to get across serious messages?
  • The essential value is HOPE (not optimism) and where's there's football there's hope! HOPE needs to act as an adversary to cynicism.
  • The media says that it simply "reflects society" - who are you kidding? It's not power neutral, it reinforces the status quo. "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." (Edward Burke). It's impossible to be impartial and objective, as values/judgements are there all the time!
Academy Trainees
Closing Session (Andrew Graystone)
  • Edward Stourton was meant to be providing a keynote address, but due to a Tube Strike, had been unable to get his train out of London in time. Due to the wonders of modern technology we had a brief webcast with him!
  • Andrew Graystone returned to reality TV to bring together the conference, identifying that humiliation has had a place in low culture for years, but that more recent reality TV has producers taking an active role in that humiliation. The sheer numbers, and the power of presenters such as Simon Cowell has taken it to a new level.
  • What is the power of human impact, on those participating, on those directing, etc. What about ordinary members of the public who have not come along to partake in the show, but simply to observe it? What impact might it have on them when a certain expression makes a point (e.g. the girl's shock at Susan Boyle), what's going to happen to her as her image circulates YouTube? She'd signed up for an evening's entertainment and the producer has used her as an icon of the public's reactions. We don't even know if that image was used in sync!
  • The average age of a producer on the BBC is 27, what does that producer do for you? With the short-term nature of TV contracts, how does this impact the ethics of production design? We can alter another human beings story by pressing a button, we forget that these are not actors, but real people with real fears.
  • What about the sacred unity of the human personality? With online churches, there has been the option to be someone else/who you want to be? But what is the impact of these fragmented identities?
  • How do we live well as a Christian in the digital environment?
  • The session then broke into talk-circles which produced some of the following outcomes.
You can listen to some of these speakers on the CMC website. See the earlier blog entry for links to a number of Twitterers from the event.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Churches' Media Council, 2009

Currently at the Churches' Media Council (officially retired last night, to be renamed the Church and Media Network) Conference in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Already over halfway through, and it's really interesting. Haven't got time for a full-blog as need to get back into the swing, but thought I would register my presence here, and can add a blog, or blogs later, as the mood takes!

So far we have already heard from:
Plus I've been to Strand events on "Online and New Media" (see photo 1, photo 2) and Fringe Events on "Googling God" and "Bliss Radio", plus chatted with several people and eaten far too much stodge! Special dinner in about 15 minutes! We still have more to come tomorrow...

Twitter at #cmconf
With no official hashtag designed for the conference, and #cmc and #cmc09 already in use by other organisations, have started the hashtag #cmconf, which would be great to use longer-term! I have identified the following Twitterers as being at this conference, mostly by searching for "churches media", but also identifying some face-to-face. Today I've worn my "Keep Calm and Carry On" t-shirt to help identification of me:
Unfinishedchris is also here, but (s)he wants their identity kept a secret!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Week 7: "Catch Your Breath"

Catch Your Breath/Take Time out to Smell the Roses
The modern day equivalent of "You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy" can be "take time out to smell the roses"! 

The Entertainer
This week, Gary Grant, who owns "The Entertainer" toy stores across the UK was interviewed about his decision to keep his shops shut on a Sunday (setting aside the Christian aspect, Sunday is an important day for families, felt it was wrong to open), and to not stock certain lines of toys which he didn't feel comfortable selling (depite constant questions from others as to why he wouldn't sell something so long as it made him money). Trusts that God is in charge of how he runs his business. Despite the fact that he lost licences in 7-day malls, other companies who did so have gone bust, but opening 6 days a week, he runs a viable business.  Gary says that he was making the decisions that felt right for him, but says this decision may not be the same for everyone - but was a big enough decision to make the news in Australia when his store in Somerset was visited by a reporter from the UK national press, posing as a parent wanting to buy Harry Potter toys.

Gary says: "I'm the boss, I'll sell what I'm happy with as I'm accountable to God, and I need to work with integrity" and emphasised that we can all make a difference, whether we own a business, or are further down the chain!

Back to J John
The original plan that God made is that there would be 6 days for our regular duties, a day to focus on God. As with all the Commandments, this was designed to be a blessing rather than a burden. There is a built-in human need for balance in life, and as the Japanese have demonstrated, this is not working in our modern day society. 
  • The pace of life is literally killing people. If you get burnt out, you'll wake up and discover you're not that bright after all.
  • When your output exceeds your input, then your upkeep will be your downfall.
  • If you have too many irons in the fire, you're likely to put the fire out... before you know it, your spark has gone!
The term "Sabbath" derives from the Hebrew shabbat (שבת), "to cease", which was first used in the Biblical account of the seventh day of Creation (Genesis 2:2-3) [Wikipedia]. Does it matter which day is the Sabbath? For historical reasons it has become a Sunday, but it makes sense to have the same day off if possible in order to meet for e.g. corporate worship. We have a responsibility to ask, even though the answer may be no!

Is this commandment optional?
You don't think "oooo, shall I skip adultery this week?" do you, so why the sabbath?

Why is the Sabbath Holy?
  • A day to rest our bodies. 
    Rest from your weekly activities and create a day that is distinctive.
    Drs say that a lot of illnesses where rest is prescribed is for those where the Sabbath is in arrears. [I've heard this before, but think it's so appropriate]
    If you're not taking the day off, you'll not be fit to live with.
    The story of the businessman/the fisherman
  • A day to recharge our emotions.
    Told us the story of Chippie the Budgie, who was sucked up by the hoover, rinsed off under the tap, then dried with a hairdryer: Sucked in, washed up, blown over!
    How many are tired, tense and troubled?
    How many expressions are there like "I feel like resigning from the human race"?
    Take some time out to recharge in the quietness (as I did on what I keep saying is my best day out of my RTW trip: Doubtful Sound in New Zealand, where we stood still in complete silence for 5 minutes!). Psalm 23:2. Enjoy nature rather than trying to change it.
  • A day to be renewed spiritually
    We have so little time for God - our lives are so full and yet so empty.
    God says: "Be Still and Know That I am God"
    Worship renews the spirit as rest renews the body. 
    Treat Sunday with delight, as God's Holy Day... and in the first part of every day, demonstrate to God that he comes first through daily devotions
    We currently "Worshop work, work at play and play at worship".
    A son said that he'd watched church on the TV and didn't want to go... his mum said, OK, when we get back, you can watch your lunch on the McDonald's advert, whilst we have a proper roast...
Pearls of Wisdom?
  • Only as we cease to be restless doing, do we discover what is to be done.
  • The most important things in life are not THINGS, they are people. If you're too busy for family/close friends, you're too busy. We have less time for meals than we did, don't eat what we should, and don't take time to digest what we eat... it's all grabbed and snatched!
  • Technology: the phone at mealtimes - ignore it - be the master of the telephone, don't let it master you (J John has a particular bugbear with people constantly checking their mobile phones, and calls for us to focus on the people we're socialising with, rather than checking it every 5 minutes!). Technology promised to make our lives easier, but has instead increased the pace of our work (both speed/volume). 
Permission to Rest
This was always something I chose to focus on in an early worship session for Oak Hall holidays. The guests were there on holiday, and it was important that they allowed themselves PERMISSION to rest - as so few of us do - as the Tour Leader I couldn't, but I would get my rest on return. Leisure is such a great stress-reliever. [I know I have a reputation for not being great at resting, but it is something I am working on this year, trying to ensure I have social time, reading time, sleeping time, time to get organised, asking others for help, and taking time to go out and get some fresh air!]

PLAY/WORK: God is equally pleased when each is done to the benefit of the other.

Where is God in all this?
Many in Britain are restless because they're not at rest with their creator. Once we connect with God THE CREATOR we have to take the maker's instructions seriously.

God's Wedding Invitation
God's offer is like a wedding invitation, it has an RSVP on it, and it has a date by which you must reply otherwise you can't go.
  • From: God
  • To: Us in Jesus Christ/Everybody
  • About: Forgiveness from the past, and new life here today, and hope for the future.
If we were invited to tea with the Queen, we wouldn't be able to help it slipping out, why are we not so before the King of Kings, before whom all those Kings/Queens will bow. 

We are heavy-laden because we are a self-sufficient society.

Christianity: A Crutch? Brainwashing
When others have confronted J John that Christianity is simply a crutch that he uses to get himself through life, he admits this truly. We are ALL BROKEN PEOPLE, and if we had a broken leg we'd use a cruth, therefore in life, Christianity is our crutch!

When people accuse him of having been brainwashed, he's pleased to say that his brain has been washed clean (and you don't want to see what was in there before)... and from then onwards it's a journey, letting God into all "rooms of our house", which leads to the "fruits of the spirit".

Final Thoughts
"In a world of hopelessness, the world is like a hospital gown - you're often not as well covered as you think you are." (Church is not a form of insurance, but a living relationship!).

Lieut Knox's Headstone "Follow Me", to which someone added "To follow you, I'm not content, until I know which way you went".

We prepare for so much (e.g. exams/weddings), but not for the one thing that is going to keep us for eternity - Jesus.

Just 3 of Just10 Winchester to go. Next week is "Take God Seriously". [Feel free to comment on these blogs BTW]

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Starting Monday off with a little Salsa

The Weekend
Combination of a career support event at CCW (I have so much work to do on my CV!),  and a great meal in the evening at The Forge, Otterbourne for Karen's birthday (good company, good food, good service, good value-for-money) on the Saturday, and a shared event at Wesley Church for Wesley, St Barnabas and NWCC in the morning (including a free lunch, always good), and Christ Church in the evening on the Sunday.

Monday: Salsa y Sol
Monday evening, after working for around 8.5 hours on my web accessibility literature review, I decided I would give Salsa a try. After working out how to get into The Discovery Centre at night, had a really enjoyable evening provided by Max and Silvia of Salsa y Sol. The beginner session was well-paced, with probably around 60+ people there, the photo above is from the inter-mission (lots of free water provided!), and then I decided to give the intermediate session a go (why not!), and managed most of it... must be all that MoJive experience! By 9.30pm, the freestyle hour, I managed the first 2 dances, then headed home to be asleep for 10.30pm! Good day though!!!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Woo hoo!

I used those precise words when I sent an email to my Mum the other day. My plan on coming back to Winchester was to get enough work to see me through to June... job done, but although I'd had lots of conversations, I didn't have anything concrete for my next stage - enough work to see me through until October. I was then offered 2 pieces of work which, if I'm careful, will at least keep me that long, and there's other conversations in the pipeline!

I think that deserves a big WOO-HOO of celebration!

Blogging for Business: Tony Treacy

Wired Wessex sponsored an event by Tony Treacy on Blogging for Business on Thursday 28th May. Social Media is exploding and Tony's right there, giving us advice via

In discussions with SuperFunDaysOut about taking over their blogging, Twitter and bookmarking strategies (looking forward to all that adrenaline flowing online!), I thought I'd see if there was more to learn - there always is - but was pleased to note that much of it was familiar, although I need to put more of it into practice!

Inbound/Outbound Marketing
Previously Tony had given a talk on outbound (interruption) versus inbound (permission/opt-in) marketing - with social media falling into the second category, and much the way that business now goes. How it all fits together.

Blogs, SEO, Tools
  • Blogs are outdoing the web for SEO/traffic, as they are indexed quicker, therefore move up the Google, or Technorati, chain faster. 
  • WordPress is Tony's recommended tool for blogs, with its own analytics software. It's free, strong, professional (around 4,500 themes), and 6000+ plug-ins available.  He particularly recommends allinone. As WordPress also functions as a CMS, can have a consistent look to website/blog.
  • Particularly recommends Ping.Fm, allowing autoupdates of all social media.
Keywords are the key to everything, as Google is simply a database, albeit a very sophisticated one! I've forgotten the name of the new tool that Tony mentioned which Google are developing in response to the success of Twitter...

On a website, with organic methods, optimising and tweaking the content, it can take around 6 months to reach the top-spot in Google, but with blogs, it can be possible in 3-4 days!

Time, however, needs to be spent in the early stages to define the keywords - it's not rocket science, but experience demonstrates that it takes around 3 days to develop this.

What do you write about?
Write about what they want to learn about, not what you want to sell (aside from any possible benefits it may have for your viewers), as it's all about a process of relationship-building. 

Know Me -> Like Me -> Trust Me -> Buy Me

In the UK studies have shown that visitors access a site 6-7 times before they buy.

What should a post look like?
  • Internal headings (indicative of content)
  • At least one graphic
  • 500-800 words (ok, view many of my posts so far as extended reportage, rather than blogs!)
  • Lists - not too many (e.g. 10 things for x)
  • 1 idea per post, keyword related.
  • The headline should assume that the reader won't read the article.
  • Can surprise people with twists on words, etc [although I would add I'd take care not to be nothing to do with the words, as I get REALLY annoyed by that]
  • No problems with being commercial if it's a personal opinion, clarify as such. 
  • No spelling errors!
A couple of free-ebooks are on his website

Publishing Schedule
  • 1-2 times per week and stick to it.
  • With WordPress (and probably others) can set a date to publish
  • Create keyword content/strategy.
What can you put in a post?
  • Interviews (including via email)
  • Video interviews
  • Guest posts from similar blogs (copy but provide a backlink, this is your CURATORIAL slant - pointing people to the best material)
  • "Best of" lists
  • "How do we do it" posts, including screenshots
Can you get someone else to write it?
Yes, plenty can be found on eLance, but no one knows your business as you do, and you're missing out on participating on the conversation.

Tony, however, cited an example of, which he took from a static site, which was targeting the 16-24 age bracket, and turned it into a site which generated great publicity/its own content, including YouTube. 

Put an RSS feed on and talk to your market. A number of US blogs are now using blogs as cusomter service. Time consuming but gets results. 

  • Take comments seriously
  • Comment back - share an example, etc. (don't just market your product). Tony recommended CommentHut for commenting (along with another product he'd forgotten the name of!), aiming for 10 comments/backlinks per day.
  • Off thought leadership.
  • Find out who people are and follow links.
  • Subscribe to blogs and follow on Twitter
  • There are pros/cons to monitoring comments, but easy with WordPress
  • Use it as part of your blogging strategy.
  • Check out the "social media experts", who's following them?
  • Aim for 95% personal tweets, 5% sales, otherwise likely to be de-followed. 
  • Place Twitter URL on homepage, press releases, business card, email signatures!
Technorati is the Google of the blogging world, so get your blog registered there. Find some big bloggers and start to link to their material (so you start to feature in their comments, etc.)

Google Reader
There's a number of RSS feed readers [I use Newsgator], and Tony recommends Google Reader, which I use to follow blogspot blogs. 

Tony Treacy
I like Tony's approach, offering advice to allow clients to run their own blogs! He's passionate about what he's doing and you can hear the excitement in his voice as he talks about the explosion of social media and how few companies can survive with a website alone!

Age Groups (Roughly!)
  • Under 35: Digital Natives
  • 35-55: Digital Immigrants
  • 55-65: Digital Aliens
  • 65 + Silver Surfers (who largely want to PhotoShop their family history then email it!)
Meantime, I'm looking forward to the end of this month when I'll be adapting my WordPress for websites to WordPress for blogs to schoolkids who are engaging with University for the first time, shall think how best to structure the session!

Week 6; Keep the Peace With Your Parents

Opening Joke
Something along the lines of (same, same, but different!):

Dear Mum

I thought I had better write to you about a couple of problems I'm having at school this term. Last week half of the boarding house burned down. But don't worry too much because I'm now living in a flat in the village. I'm living with Frank the plumber. There's no need to worry, he's very nice, in fact I'm three months pregnant with his baby. We're planning to get married at the end of term. 
Love Sarah

Next day, another letter from Sarah......

Dear Mum

I know you will be worrying about yesterday's letter so I thought I should write to you again. Mum the boarding house didn't really burn down last week and I'm not living in a flat in the village. In fact I'm not even pregnant with Frank's baby and we're not getting married at the end of term. Mum, the real problem is that I failed my mid year exams really badly and I just wanted you to see this problem in proper prospective, All my Love,


We live in a culture where those who are aged are sidelined, whereas the young are given increasingly more responsibility. Boundaries are unclear, and often (one of the worst things children can) hear is "I'm very disappointed in you". 

Karin Ling
Karin was interviewed about her journey of faith, from when she asked Jesus to be her "special friend" aged 5, to deciding as a teenager that she was no longer interest, but her parents indicated that she should attend youth group til the age of 16, so she sat there and scowled. Her parents trusted that God had a bigger plan as Karin became focused/driven on success/money and gained a place at a competitive university, where after 4 weeks, without the distraction of friends, she decided she had to face up to things, and thanks her Mum to love/accept her whatever choices she made, which included leaving University. Having made a recommitment, she now uses her own experience to help others.

J.John: "This is the hardest commandment for me"
"Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding?... Well, it's worse than that in reality!"

"My mum is a travel agent for guilt trips". 

If parents expect SO MUCH we feel we can't possibly live up to them - no matter how good we are, there's always room for improvement!

Thoughts on Family Life
  • Child when asked "My name begins with M, I pick things up": Mother
  • The father carries a photo where his money used to be.
  • Teenagers: "Stop asking where they came from and refuse to tell you where they're going."
  • We encourage the kids to show off, then tell them to "Sit down and shut up".
God's Perspective/4 Principles
The commandment "Honour your father and mother" is a positive focus  on the smallest unit in society. 
  1. Honour my parents by ACCEPTING them.
    Don't tune them out, don't highlight the negatives.
    God is not asking us to pretend that are parents are perfect when they're not.
  2. Honour my parents by APPRECIATING them
    Appreciate the effort that your parents put in is difficult/costly.
    Son presented bill for £1 per job, mother presented bill of £1000s in return, but the final total was "I love you". 
    Mothers can direct air traffic control, whereas children are expensive but can operate the DVD!
  3. Honour my parents by AFFIRMING them
    This is the only commandment which doesn't last a lifetime, a day will come when you can no longer make amends - and no amount of expense at the funeral will be equal to that of a visit whilst their alive.
  4. Honour my parents by NOT ABANDONING them
    As parents age, offer support in practical ways.
A Message to Kids: The commandment is not "Humour your mother and father"
  • "I hate my parents": Sometimes we hate you too... 
  • You may hate it when parents repeat thing,.... if do it first time, we wouldn't have to. Acknowledge that you've heard by saying "I got it".
  • Play your part in the family, Dad is not 'the old man'
  • Teenagers are experts on surveys of one: "Everyone else is doing it"
  • Mark Twain quote
  • We get parents at so late a stage in their life that it's impossible to change their habits!
A Message for Parents
  • Think about what example you are setting, more likely to be honoured.
  • The perfect model for parenting: God - treat our kids as God treats us.
  1. God listens to us
    Teenagers often complain that they can say what they like at home as no one's listening anyway!
  2. God understands us
    A carpenter works WITH, not AGAINST the grain. 
    Give your kids roots and wings...
    Are we perfect? NO, but God accepts us through grace, treat our kids the same, not as though our standards are automatically the best.
    Teachers can teach kids to count, parents can teach their children WHAT COUNTS.
    Demonstrate honesty, admit when you've done something wrong.
    Do/don't do as you've said, even if it's difficult.
  3. God loves us
    Offer affection, affirmation and attention (how often do you just sit and let them set the agenda?)
    The average time parents spend talking to their children is 15 MINUTES A WEEK!
    It's easier to build children than to mend broken adults.
    If you don't live by priorities, you end up living by pressures. 
  4. God disciplines his children
    "I love you, but sometimes I don't like your beahviour."
    Often people tie up the dog at night, but let their children run free. 
    Discipline offers a structure of safety until the children has enough structure in character to stand up on their own. 
    Parents discipline best when they exhibit disciplined behaviour of their own.
Rules for Home
  • Fair
  • Firm
  • Fun
Be there!

A challenge for J John
Requirement to assume that forgiveness does not mean forgetting, and it's possible to forgive without dulling the pain (of 51 years of nagging!), but does remove the resentment!

Required to pardon, give up anger, show mercy/compassion. 
Forgiveness is about building positive in the present without repeating the past. 

God's Family
God gave up his Son so that we could be adopted into God's family. Whatever our experience of family, he will be the perfect Father. 

God loves each one of us as though there was only one of us.
As Jesus walked through a crowded street he asked "Who touched me?", which his disciples thought was a crazy question, but Jesus could feel that there was ONE person reaching out to make contact with him. J. John believes that Jesus knew who this person was, but wanted her to articulate it (i.e. the power of prayer).  In response, Jesus will stop as he's longing to embrace/adopt you.

Embrace God, the past is past, don't try to saw sawdust, with his help, move forward and become what you CAN BECOME.

Tonight: "Catch Your Breath", see Just10Winchester