Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I found out yesterday that I officially got my PhD - it's hard to describe how much relief I feel. So - having gotten up at twenty-past six and into college incredibly early for the last two weeks - I am now up ridiculously late, watching Westwing - season 4, back-to-back, curled up on the sofa - [yes, sofa - we sold the settle, accidentally, for 99pence. My brother says we're lucky that we didn't have to pay someone... but still, our first foray into e-bay selling verdict: Not good.]

It feels kind of nice. No little eyes peering over my shoulder to look at what I'm reading, no little voice in my head saying, 'you really should be doing something else...!' IT FEELS GOOD.

Of course, when I have to get up tomorrow, I'll be tired, hungry, and I'll ask myself 'why?'...

Various other things - I've been playing squash - to my own rules, I've discovered! Am trying to learn the real ones, but when I play it my way I win! I've been reading, thinking, working, praying, hoping...

Trying to think in new ways, rediscover old ones. I've been thinking a lot about Nazarene-dom. Our guide-lines, covenants, personal reactions and responses. I've been thinking about sacraments - about my understanding of the body and blood; the baptismal waters. Thinking about what it means to be representative - democratic, efficient. I taught Polity and Practice in the Church, and found myself re-exploring what it means to be a Nazarene - and asking myself what my understanding was, and what the latitude is - how flexible, inflexible, how wide, broad, how...? Anyway, troubling, because I want to have complete and utter integrity - and yet, have so many ideas that seem out-of-conventional-step.

Longsight continues to be such a blessing - sounds really cheesy. Such a trauma, beautiful, messy, wonderful, crazy, zany... anyway, when I think about it in the round - I think God's revealing God-self amongst us - like incarnation, only - US... but I also think - where next? How next? Where do we go from here?

SO - that's about all - I need to go to bed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

time, rage, life, love

So - I'm here in the office at just-past-midnight, waiting to go and get Andrew from the train - he's been in Durham for the day...

I've been entertaining myself with (in order of appearance) un-cluttering my in-box, facebook, Masterchef on BBC iplayer (thanks Beeb), and now TED.

The day didn't begin so well for me, since I heard a report on the Arctic sea having no ice in the summers and the only comment in the 06.30 bulletin was that it would be GOOD FOR SHIPPING. ?!*&?"! WHAT?? Good for shipping?? What about the sea levels? What about the big, wide, open, gaping blue sea that will help warm us up? Anyway, I find the news quite overwhelming a lot of the time, which is why I listen and don't watch it - at least my brain isn't branded for hours...

Apart from that, caved in tonight and opted for Pizza - gooey, hot, greasy mass - now sitting heavily...

Books these days are random. I've still not had my viva - it's a long, long story, longer, longer process... fearfully frightening, well, well, well. (unrepentant captain beefheart reference there for the uninitiated).

TED is something I've enjoyed watching for a while which is amazing - lots of things to watch/hear... I love that I can stretch outside of my comfort zones. Currently indulging myself by listening to Vusi Mahlasela... amazing.

Allotment is in need to tlc right now - hopefully there tomorrow - alongside parties - Christenings... graduations... harvests...birthdays...

Longsight is also in a hope-full but challenging place right now - we're crammed full on a Sunday - and thankful for the sense of love... But a lot is messy too - and often I've become sucked in... the challenge of creating goodness, movement, enabling freedom not chains, not enabling dependency... Man. Hard.

Also, it's difficult not to get drawn in BIG STYLE to some of the tensions of keeping the wheels on the road... or of pastoralia... So much of me loves people and wants to be the shepherd/nurturer... But so much of me needs some kind of act of courage/newness/change/fresh-thinking to feel that I'm firing on all cylinders - So, I ask myself, do I need to stay rooted and grow wise... or travel on and grow wise?

So - we're starting our FEAST again soon - a creative type of time and space, in the evenings twice a month- I'm hopeful that it will be a place of renewal, hope, grace and dynamism... maybe even beauty, freedom and formation.

The best to last: My wonderful godly Grandpa is here - I am trying to spend as much time with him as I possibly can. It is hard to describe how special he is. He turns 90 on the 5th December - he is forward thinking, grace-ful, a story-teller. He is one of the four reasons I didn't get married until in my 30s. I was waiting for someone like him. (the other three are my dad, the doc and my brother). My Grandpa has prayed for me everyday for the last 39 years of my life. He moves me. On Sunday in our Word and Table service my husband asked Grandpa to pray the intercessory prayers. The only way I can describe those moments are as liminal. A thin space where the prayers and scripture reading of 89 years came together into a prayer of scriptural proportions and a deep and sustaining love - rooted in earth and in us and in life. He is so loved. Be loved.

Friday, October 02, 2009


It's been a while since I've written anything - there's been a lot happening in some ways - in others, same ol'

I'm at the office ridiculously late because I'm collecting andrew from the train at 12.55 (last time he'll book that one I hope!?!) and I had a sneaking suspicion that if I went home I'd crawl into bed and not wake up...!

So - been clearing the decks here a little - lots of e-mails, bits and bobs to do.

Impressions of life

My PhD viva is still an age away - but the closer it gets the more terror I feel

spent a week in the states at Point Loma Nazarene University - filled with the dilemma (for example) of preaching about God's longing for renewal of all the earth, all people - and then FLEW. hmm. need to think hard about eco-anything.

But -loved the time there - really touched by the people I met... and the beauty of the place is extraordinary -

I saw HUMMINGBIRDS playing!

The allotment is steady as she goes at the moment - I am hoping we'll get to go there tomorrow... dig, frame, plant, tidy, weed, harvest... lots on the 'to do' list

Reading lots of rubbish as well as swotting. Favourite read of the moment is The Word Militant by Brueggemann. Least Favourite, Reason, Ridiculre and Religion.

Have spent some time with great friends - Steve and Jo, Jme G and Michelle, Becky, Mary, Mark, Heather and Gary... all states based...

Not spend enough time with anyone else!

Other things that are going on - Andrew's lovely Grand-dad, one of the most thoroughly good people I've ever met died last week. His funeral is next Tuesday - May his memory be eternal.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In. Nearly done.

Well -
I submitted - two days early.
On rain sodden days, dreary and bleak, the last eight years or so were bundled into two black bound tomes.

It's odd. I think I thought I'd feel bereft - and in a way I suppose I do - but I also feel liberated. I found myself whistling for the first time in months.

Of course, the viva's still to come. But I've taken a complete and utter break for the last two weeks - and next Monday we head to India for a while - incredibly exciting.

It's IN though :-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

as murray plays, I wilt.

I'm taking a break from PhD editing... (only four weeks to go until I either submit,or... well, I don't I suppose!). I have come into NTC to check my e-mails, and am also listening to the Murray match... and also, (I surprise myself) I am scanning for updates on General Assembly... This is the first one I've missed in 16 or so years, and I am finding myself strangely bereft. Mostly because of the people I am not seeing... but also, there is something strangely compelling about the way decisions are made. I have enough distance now from some of the things that troubled me that I have a vague curiosity/strong interest in some aspects of things.

I was moved by the NYI voting... To think that there were a hundred plus people who would have been excluded... and they were able to be involved. I felt it was a dream realised. And, to think that I was involved in thinking/creating/hoping/agitating for that... It feels like a life-time ago, but it feels satisfying. I have also been watching with interest the debates on emergence/emerging and all things postmodern. Sad about the lack of grace involved at points, but pleased that the conversation is taking place in the public sphere. My hopes for the election of General leadership also run strong... that he/she/they will be representative of the whole church, forward thinking, grace-filled... and hopefully at least one of them from outside the USA/Canada...

My last thoughts are on the grief of my workplace right now. NTC is hurting, and of course, that really means that the people who make it are in pain. I still can't really talk about Doc. I/We ache. And my other mentor, who has ceaselessly encouraged me to study Wesley and think and love history and its ways has had a stroke. Such pain.

So... Apart from all of that, it is HOT here right now: that energy-sapping heat that makes you want to lounge, drink long-ice-cold liquid, and fan oneself... not really sit in the study and read and re-read your own thoughts. It's hard to spot mistakes when you've made them!

Monday, May 18, 2009

you know it's been a long time when...

you can't remember how to sign on... (and the 'remember me' facility has forgotten you as well)...

Most of the people whose blogs you follow have had baby/ies that were hardly even thought of the last time you wrote...

You're less-than-double-digits away from your PhD submission dates...

Anyway, I am getting ready to go home after a long day, but I just thought I'd write - nothing very interesting to say but a quick up-date:

Andrew's been accepted to do his PhD at Durham (lots of implications for us, we're praying hard for him to get funding but who knows...?) You'd think he'd have been put off for life after watching me!

The allotment (and all the crew, Peter, Josh, Mark, Deirdre, Andrew plus an honourable mention for Chris) is going really well!! Hard work, and we've been definite part-timers this term, but still... Eating fresh raddish, still smeared with dirt, is bliss.

Longsight Church is the usual mix of wonderful and messy and difficult - and we are still seeing good things, but also facing hard things together.

I've been utterly inspired today by two visits - one of a young woman (13), who is courageous and gracious and holy and ordinary all at the same time - truly inspiring in the way she is facing every difficulty she encounters. {I am thankful for the NHS}. And, a visit to Doc, who is beloved and known by many. He too is inspiring, wise, the kind of person who is open to learning, generous with himself, and courageous and gracious... He used to take me to school - I grew up with him as a mentor and friend - and it is one of the greatest honours I can imagine pastoring him. As someone who excelled in leading, overseeing change, transforming so many organisations he could be formidable, but he has chosen to be one of the world's encouragers - and we are so blessed as a congregation by him (and his family).

PhD - well, as noted, I am under pressure. A lot. Stretching me thin it is (not literally, actually to keep awake/focussed/writing I'm pretty much like one of those army ants... I'd eat wood for the sugar content, but as it is, chocolate, crisps, umm, almost anything)... Anyway, it is still there, hanging over my head like a big sword.

Can't think of much else - not very interesting, eh?

Anyway, I need to go home!

Oh! Reading: Lee Child (go Jack Reacher); Marilyn Robinson; Zygmunt Bauman; and Louis L'Amour...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Overwhelmed by the realisation that I've nothing interesting to say. But, for the sake of a moment or two - a quick update

spent several days at a pastor's conference -good, long, tired, friendly, enjoyed the speaking, but realise that my attention span is directly related to a lot of comfort levels. Went on my own and rediscovered again how intimidating it is to walk into a crowd of people eating and try and find somewhere to sit... Was quite disturbed by 'problem feeders' - the kind of people who want to know the details of bust-ups, splits, depressive illness, physical ailments, and somehow gain from it [similar to bottom feeders in a fish tank who absorb all the crap and grow... only dissimiar cos I'm not sure problem feeders clean the tank] ... Amazing how much pseudo-spirituality can be cloaked in prayers for ...

Also - really enjoyed (yeah, something positive!) a lot of the seminars: on the church, but more on a posture of humility, mercy and community. Good...
And, heard a sermon on Leviticus and crushed testicles, which was really interesting! :-) Probably not the kind of place a lot of preachers could go with a straight face! Anyway, very thought provoking, but typically nazbo in that it was impossible to spend much time processing - so I need to now! oh, wait, no time...
Also, a lot of conversations about 'welcoming' and inclusion. Quite brave conversations really - the question of 'the other' which I'm trying to look at in my Phd coming through again and again... esp. relating to homosexulaity and the church. Just realised I use a lot of elipses. Sorry.

Actually reminded a lot of my need to try and pray more, be rooted and grounded in scripture.

haven't cycled in two weeks (puncture/laze/ poorliness) and discovered that that's a) probably how long it takes for me to break a habit b) it was helping to make me slightly less low. SO, sherlock, you'd think I'd get back on that 'ole peddle machine, but so far... NO. Self-defeating.Argh. And it's gone cold.

Lots of people around who are depressed. Sometimes v. sympathetic, sometimes not. It's hard to feel helpless.

Umm, what else? Met up with lots of friends. Talked to various people = some moving into charismatic circles (for the emotion/ umph and so on) and some moving out of them (for the emotion/umph and so on) = trying to think about the role of the holy spirit in my life as pointing me to Christ, or shaping me, and feel a little unshaped...

Lots of babies coming (sometimes in multiples) that's pretty cool. (not for me, I don't mean, for loads of other people. )

Reading Isabelle Allende and really enjoying it.

Have the attention span of a blog-knat for anything else I'm supposed to be reading/doing. At the moment, have just given up on Phd for the night and am going home.

So - not a very bubbling over with happiness blog, but such is life.