My Big Posh Church, Lent, Day 18.

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As I was very tired from my night out I decided to go to our town’s poshest church rather than make the trip to my own church this evening.

Very beautiful surroundings and wonderful choir, good sermon, but strange to be there.

This posh church’s ethos is extremely liberal – which is my 1970’s upbringing background. It’s all gay vicars and seminars on transgender issues. But the hierarchical nature of the service, the Us and Them aspect (congregation v clergy), the formality, is now alien to me, yet this is what I grew up with.

At my usual church services anyone can pray out loud, singing is done by all of us and we sing a LOT! Sermons, a.k.a. the message, are chatty, funny, moving. But gay vicars are a big no-no. It’s a fundamental church, in effect, though with kindly pastoral care rather than punishing.

Sometimes trying new things can be a disappointment. But it does stretch you and also makes you appreciate what you have already.

Wear Your Sunday Best- Really? Rethinking Sunday Fashion

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“Mom and Dad, why do I have to dress up on Sunday?”

“Because it’s the Lord’s Day, and we want to look our best for him.”

Religious BillboardDoes this advice ring a bell with anyone else? I heard this constantly growing up. Anytime I didn’t want to wear a frilly dress and wanted to wear jeans instead, I was told that it was the Lord’s Day. I was in elementary at the time, and the meaning didn’t really sink in. All I knew was you dressed up for church.

However, over the past couple months I’ve been re-evaluating why we choose to wear our best clothes on Sunday. As I’ve pondered Mariet Hardy Freeland’s, early Free Methodist educator and evangelist, biography, and re-read the diary of Edith Gage Tingley, daughter of Free Methodist evangelist Ida Gage, I am beginning to think our approach to Sundays is off-base.

Freeland believed simplicity was…

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A Fire Burns Tonight, Lent, Day 17.

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_65108948_peterfarrellHad an evening at a friend’s house with some of her friends. Well, actually, it is the house of her parents, a farm estate that’s been in her family for 200 years. She’s living back at home and what a very lovely home it is! The new things were that I met two of her friends who I’d never seen before.

I felt out of place, even quite shy, to start with as they are all about 10 years younger than me and have known each other years but I tried not to let that hinder me. Most of them are Christians, but not all, and they tend to belong to looser, more liberal churches than the one I go to (which is too fundamental for me but I love the place and the people and the pastors).

I really enjoyed the evening and ate my own body weight in Pringles, dips and spaghetti bolognese and loved the large, blazing woodburner.

The War Room, Lent, Day 15

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We had a film night at church tonight. We watched the Christian film, The War Room, which I had never seen. (Hence, it was NEW to me).

I did enjoy it but found its lack of subtlety difficult, and as my friend, JH, said, the ends were all very neatly tied up, rather unrealistically.

I found this review from The New Yorker interesting: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/the-sanitized-christianity-of-war-room

Hot in the City, Lent, Day 14

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Was very stressed today and thus sought solace (in the cleanest possible way) in the sauna and steam facilities on our city’s university campus. This is  not a new activity exactly, though it is a while since I’ve been there. However, I did talk to a man there, briefly. He wasn’t scintillating but it counts as a NEW person and fulfills my ‘try a new thing each day’ challenge for Lent.

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No Pills and Thrills for Me, Lent, Day 13

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After the Celebrate Recovery  session tonight I went to one of our fast food outlets and instead of scurrying back to the car I sat and ate at a table indoors and watched people passing through the town. It was around 10pm.

A lot of them looked like they were heavy drinkers and I did think that some of them might benefit from Celebrate Recovery! Mind you, you have to be willing to encounter Step One – Denial – to  begin CR.

Town at night is not a pretty place and I thank God that despite my own sometimes torturous issues I don’t have  addictions to alcohol, drugs or similar.

 

 

Room With a View (of churches), Day 12, Lent

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Today’s new thing was to visit a friend/client at the house he and his wife have just bought and are doing up to rent out.

The wife, who is also a friend, is a Christian (the hubby isn’t). Turns out that she bought the student house in 1988 that I lived in during 1986/87. This is a small city!

The house has a view of the cathedral plus two other important, historical churches.

Day 8, Lent Art

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Today’s NEW thing in my Lent Challenge: I went to an art gallery in a small town near to my birthplace. This is somewhere I’ve been meaning to visit for a while. Had a good chat with the proprietor, a NEW person. Bought an art card by an artist that was NEW to me.

I also went to another art gallery across the road which was also NEW to me.

Christians Afraid of Dating

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Are Christians afraid of dating?

The Quiet Worshipper

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Though a garrulous person in every day life when it comes to church services I am a quiet person. I do love to sing but I don’t feel any need to proclaim my devotions in any other way. I keep everything pretty low key. Quiet. To do anything else at this stage would feel so false.

In a similar way, I mentioned to Ex once that I was going to a baptism  “You’re getting baptised?” he asked, incredulous.
“No, of course not. I’m going to see a friend be baptised,” I added.

As I discussed with male friend, B, some months ago, you don’t just go and get baptised like it’s some fashion statement. B said it was akin to getting married; you do it if or when you feel it is right – if ever.

Sacred Space and Bliss

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“[Sacred space] is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

[…]

Our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended. You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it.”
Joseph Campbell

Liars, Beggars and Hangers On

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One bonus of having an anonymous blog is that I have a little rant:
While I can’t really fault mine and ex’s estate agent for their sales talent and verve their ‘sales progression team’, is, in my view a heap of rubbish
It seems clear to me now that they use some sort of centralised sales progression agency. I don’t think the woman who is our ‘contact’ even knows where my town is!
She’s rude, rushed, offhand, keeps asking the same questions over and over (Who’s your solicitor? Who’s your contact at wesellyoursoulformoney.com?).
Estate agents – many – lie through their teeth; solicitors are just weird – a law unto themselves, forgive the pun, and, while I liked my surveyor a lot, it seems that as a whole surveyors are just afeared of getting their butts sued and they state the blatantly obvious… (“there is a bay window to the front of the house”).
Just had to get that off my chest.

The Reason for Routine

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Doing new things every day for Lent has made me realise why we do tend to do the same things over and over. It’s because on the whole the things we choose to do tend to be the ones we prefer. For example we may get coffee from a particular cafe because that’s ur favourite coffee or the staff members are especially pleasant there.

Some of the things I’ve done up to present have not been as good as my regular choices BUT I shall persist as they say a change is as good as a rest.

PIC: http://www.chrisbalbi.com/blog/2014/8/12/dont-fall-into-routine