Thursday, 17 April 2014


Courtesy of the Guardian, a paper that I do read
I saw an article yesterday from that paper I don't ordinarily read, the Telegraph (The Daily Star is about my level), where it criticised the comedy series Rev. for promoting a Christianity = Being Nice model, and promptly blasted it for that. Read the article here. The author of the report, one Dr Tim Stanley, stated in clear terms that the church should "shake things up a bit" instead of being nice in the Rev. style. 

Wah wah oops!

The thing is, Dr Stanley, you are totally missing the thrust of the humour in Rev. and let me tell you why. I am vicar in the same-ish tradition as the Rev Adam Smallbone, the character in question. My parish is growing (quite fast actually). I am the vicar in the same diocese as the portrayed parish in the comedy series which is, yes, growing. But the series Rev. just isn't about what Adam Smallbone is busy doing outwardly, which is the premiss for the comedy, but is entirely focussed (in my modest opinion) on what is going on within the principal character. 

What is going on is not nice-ness, though you may be fooled into thinking it is - no, it is about the constant wrestle that humans have when they inhabit the robes and ministry of God's Holy Priesthood. I can identify with the lead character in such an acute and accurate way that it makes my eyes water. Dr Stanley's argument is precisely the same as complaining that Top Gear's central modus operandi of the portrayal of the hedgerows along Britain's roads just isn't pro-hawthorn enough! 

Today I, along with hundreds of other clergy, crammed into St. Paul's Cathedral to renew our ordination vows. I was sat near the centre, right under the apex of the famous tower and as I looked up it struck me once again how unworthy I am to deign to stand there, dressed like that, bearing the precious responsibility of ministry in my chapped weather-worn hands. I felt the same crush of worthiness-anorexia that Rev Adam Smallbone is constantly enduring in the aforementioned programme. For my part, I am an averagely educated mortal male, flawed and foolish, barely theologically literate and only marginally spiritually gifted. Yet there I was, in one of the most famous churches in the world re-affirming my acceptance of God's call upon my meagre existence.

No wonder ordained  ministry is the raw stuff of comedy - but it is God with the bizarre sense of humour. Me, a priest  - snigger!

So, if I can identify with Rev. and mine is a growing parish where needless niceness is not my forte (I am a fairly direct type, truth be known) in a growing diocese where boundaries are daily tested, you can take your assertion, Dr Stanley, that it is the 'fifth gospel" of our "liberal tradition" of some outdated quasi-English niceness and ... pray about it at your leisure. 

Niceness be damned. Adam Smallbone and all priests are not in the least bit fussed about niceness - we are too busy fighting the battle within ourselves in order to shine the light of the gospel on a world that would seem to not want to see! 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The God of Surprises

Last weekend, a rather wonderful thing happened. No, I am not referring to 
       (all glory laud and honour)
Palm Sunday though that was pretty special as always
        (it never seems to rain on Palm Sunday, either).
This year, our Hosannah-ing was followed by the baptism of two youngsters. It should have been a two-family-four-kid baptism week but one of the families cried off with chicken-pox, which is unfortunate. Our prayers
        (and calamine)
are with them at this time. No, what was wonderful was something that was entirely new to me in my modest professional Christian ministry, and also unheard of in the somewhat longer
        (and levitous)
ministry of my brother priest, now retired and a great asset to the parish! 

The two children being baptised were themselves from a clutch of four, and I was dousing Number Two and Number Four - number one was 'done' already and Number Three resolutely refused to be involved! Number Four was a babe-in-arms and Number Two was a 
        (very well turned out)
lad of about 9 or ten years of age. And so it was: we went Declaring and Promising and we even agreed to fight the devil, corruption and evil
        (no theological dilution needed in Whitton, thank you)
and then anointed Two and Four with the usual aplomb and style. The godparents were resplendent and were duly thanked for their service to the ... well, service and returned to their seats for the Half-Time Entertainment - the Collection. Suitably frisked by two youngsters, the assembled throng
        (as distinct from 'thong' which is something else altogether)
turned on their heels to face The Font for the Main Event - the Baptism of Two and Four. 

Suitable quantities of pre-warmed
        (cold is simply anti-social)
living water was poured, tested and blessed - and so it was that Number Four was gently held under my arm 
        (not unlike a rugby ball)
and received the appropriate aspersion. Number Two, being bigger therefore heavier, was trapped and held
        (rather like a jousting thing at a joust)
over The Font and was granted spiritual and fluid entry into the Faith of Our Fathers. Job done a good'n! 

And then it happened. Number Three
        (formerly agin the whole enterprise)
shimmied up, the way one does in a pew-bound church, and asked if she could be baptised. "Yes" I said, "but I haven't got my diary, so I will have to talk to mummy". No, mister, I meant now - right this minute
        (yes, Revd Imaginationless the Un-Creative, Vicar of Failing to Spot Gift Horses)
while we are here, if you please. Well, thought I to myself, what to do. What would Canon Law make of all of this
        (and should I care?)
so I did the only decent think and press-ganged three new Godparents, sent for the oils and did what any right minded cleric would do, and baptised her before she changed her mind!

A spontaneous baptism! It doesn't much better than that!

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Pilgrim Course

I am writing this post in the happy wake of a few weeks of following the Pilgrim Course in my own parish among no fewer than fifty other pilgrims this time around. As there are other courses around, themselves much vaunted in the press and elsewhere, I thought I would burn a trail of my own and offer a guide to how we did it here in Whitton. I to add, therefore, that I do not set myself up as the expert in any of this, but with 50-odd of us doing it, our experience isn't inconsiderable either.

I am writing about our experience of the Course as we have encountered it, mindful that each parish is different. I am not offering a detailed account of the Course in its content, either. For that, do visit - I heartily recommend it!

1. Why the Pilgrim Course - As a sacramental priest in the catholic Anglican tradition I sought a course for the parish that would speak to my broad congregation. I have charismatics, conservatives and fellow catholics and a course needed to appeal to all. We are also a congregation comprising a broad age-range, so it had to serve the needs of adults of all ages. I am familiar with a number of courses and have sat through a number, but I was instantly drawn both the content and to the quality of the production. The course content features light touches of liturgy, solid Bible-study in the Lectio Divina tradition (with guidance notes for the leader), reflective material that approached the text from a non-expert perspective yet challenges even those who have been Christians for decades and then something to take home and think about.

It is accompanied by high-quality video and audio material that is freely available from the Pilgrim Course website which, if the technology is lacking, is not a painful absence if it cannot be accessed. That said, when it is used, it adds much to the event, simply because it appeals to the visual sense adds other voices into the mix.

2. Approach to the Course - there were questions that needed to be addressed before any further action  was taken. Here, we considered whether the course was one that could be offered to a larger group en bloc, or if it would work in smaller groups. We opted for the latter and therefore used the course as a means to initiate home groups in the parish. In line with the guidance offered in the Leaders Pack, this is a course that works more fully if undertaken within the context of hospitality and in the homes of the parishioners.

Here, we took a two-pronged approach to the possible logistics of the course as we were launching into the unknown. First was to contract five potential group leaders, who themselves were happy with the course content and felt that they could work with it. Each person then considered a co-leader and a potential host, thus avoiding the pressures of being both host and leader within the same group.

Secondly we placed a home-made application form into our service book over several weeks asking that they give their details and a sense (as comprehensive as possible) of when they could attend such a group (simply adding tick boxes for each day and morning/afternoon/evening). We left that process to unfold for three or four weeks, and once complete, gathered in the forms. From the forms that we had, it was clear that we could form six home groups at distinct times in the week, leaving two or three individuals for whom no immediate choice of time was clear. We contacted them directly and they made a choice from the six that has been identified. All but one were able to make a choice.

I returned to the five identified group leaders (me, two retired priests, a licensed lay-minster and one other lay person) and they took their pick of groups based on their own availability and had by that time informed me where they could meet. Each group leader contacted their own group members and a start time was agreed. The course booklets (fifty of them this time around) were ordered (and arrived the next day) and distributed to the group leaders.

3. The Course in Action - Our members range from those in their twenties to those in their nineties. Some have been practicing the faith for a year or less, others for much of their ninety-plus years. Some have new-born children and others are long since retired - so it is fair to say that the palette of perspectives was broad.

The structure of the course course components is largely the same: it begins with a gentle liturgy that is simple and responsorial (and reminiscent of Common Worship Morning/Evening Prayer), lasting for less than a minute. This helpfully sets the scene, creates a recognisable point of departure and also grants a helpful and prayerful ambience (and a place where the 'chatter' might end sensitively). Once this act of worship is complete, we watched the film provided by Pilgrim which set the scene for the encounter about to unfold.

The next portion is what it terms 'Conversation' and is a general (yet incisive) question to whet people's appetite and encourage them to open up. The content of the 'Conversation' question is not a theological one or indeed one rooted in faith, but one that might ask, for example, what we are thankful for. They are questions that anyone can answer, whether they be of faith or none and whatever the depth or tenure of that faith. It is, in my opinion, for the group leader to allow all members of the group a chance to answer, or not. (It is worthy of note that each group leader, at the start of the first meeting, covered off housekeeping rules that covered confidentiality, generosity - both in speaking and in listening).

Following the 'Conversation' is a piece of scripture that has been specially chosen to illuminate the given topic. As I have already said, the course booklets walks the members through the Lectio Divina approach that encourages a spiritual reading of the text, rather than an exegetical one. It places a clear emphasis upon the members' experience of the text, not their biblical knowledge. In my experience to date, if allowed, this part of the course component can itself fill an hour as people are given permission, often for the first time in their lives, to experience the scriptures in a new and entirely personal way. I even found that they held back to begin with, waiting for actual permission to question the words that jumped to their attention as intended. Having sat in three of the six home-group, this part of the course component came as something of an epiphany moment for many.

After this time of scriptural encounter, those of us who were able, offered the first audio reflection which comprised a moderate level of background to the text, though more often than not, echoed much of what had already arisen in the Lectio Divina just prior (which to begin with, was a welcome yet unexpected surprise for many). The audio reflection gave way to a number of more in-depth questions that found their fix in the text just read, yet seeking an experiential response, for example: 'what is it that attracts you about Jesus and the Christian faith?'. The asked people to speak of their feelings and not their specific theological knowledge which, I think, was a very successful way-in for many of those taking part. All have feelings, though not all would claim a theological knowledge!

The second audio reflection follows (which, if the technology is lacking, can be read out by someone just as effectively) which was, in my opinion, more exegetical and to a deeper level than the first reflection. If the first reflection discussed Christian experience, the second might look at terminology, history, specific context - tailored to guide us through the text with an appropriate level of teaching so that this wasn't simply a free-for-all in scripture! This reflection, as with the first, gives way to a few more questions that demand a greater level of self-reflection this time. If the first questions are of the order: 'how does make you feel?', then the second wave are of the order: 'in light of this account and the truths contained within it, what fresh questions or challenges are raised in your mind?'.

After about ninety minutes (in our experience), the discussions are brought to a gentle conclusion and resolved with a concluding prayer which is also provided.

What has been a great blessing with the Pilgrim Course so far has been what it terms 'Sending Out', or homework as we have referred to it. It comprises a selection of short passages from the saints and mystics that are catalysts for reflection at home in light of the discussions already had on the subject concerned.

4. Reflections - those who have journeyed with me this time round (fifty souls) have been impressed by the fact that they have been taken back to the 'beginning' of their faith in that the first stages of the Pilgrim Course follow the catechumenate. Others have found this experience one of permission-giving to test aspects of their faith that have hitherto been untested or unquestioned, finding that they emerge from each session with their heads buzzing with a myriad other questions and feeling more secure in their beliefs. The duration of ninety minutes per session seems to be about right, too, when you add the time for informality and hospitality to the start of it. Each member has valued having a booklet to take home and a piece of work to complete alone. I had tested this with my own group and was assured that they had pursued the 'Sending Out' themselves rather than shelve the booklet until the next session. I have also found that each group was very mixed by virtue of the approach that I took to forming them. They weren't necessarily a group of friends or relative neighbours, but those who, in parish life, had never really encountered one another's faith journey. This alone was a blessing to the groups. Each group took on their own subtle characteristics based upon the nature of the leader or the context, and this blend has also been an interesting talking point between members of different groups.

5. The Future - when we embarked upon this venture, we had no home groups and the parish hadn't undertaken a nurture course in many years. We formed six groups (which was perhaps too few given the numbers) and as I write four of those groups have agreed to continue to meet as home groups after the first stage of the course is complete in a week or so. Each group has found its own balance in terms of frequency, timing and location and will, with proper guidance and prayer, become self-supporting. The clergy have been working on who might lead the groups so that we might be freed up to lead new ones in the future, and that too has been successful. It is my intention, as the Vicar, to work my way around each group and break bread with them in their context, and in the meantime, to encourage them to continue in the way of Lectio Divina until we embark upon the second course focussing on the Lord's Prayer. Two groups have chosen to continue straight into that, another to have month or two before doing so. It is my plan to run another recruitment drive in September and set some more groups on their way, and to use this course as the means by which I will prepare confirmation candidates.

After that ... only the Lord knows!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Contagion or Carcinogen?

The whole thing with this church planting malarky has weighed on my mind for some time. For those of you who don't live within the scope of an Oyster Card and therefore not in HTB heartland, a church plant is nothing much to do with Mrs Miggins and her flower rota, or indeed the lovely chap who tends to the weeds by the gravestones. 

No, this is far more important. 

Church planting is de rigueur around London and environs and refers to the creating of a new church community, often within old disused church buildings or the local school. The art of the church plant is exemplified by the Church of the Holy Trinity in the Archdiocese of Brompton, who regard it as a gospel imperative (the 'making disciples' thing). The simple fact is, if you leave a spare bedroom un-used for too long, one of two things will happen: you will pay tax or else your spare bedroom will be planted by the planters and a church dedicated St Flossy in the Wold will be created among your detritus. Church plants are also easy to spot for there are some common characteristics in each
1. There will be a polyvinyl Alpha Course banner outside
2. The Pasta will be wearing the obligatory hoody and have a funky modern hairdo, goatee and that church-plant fringe thing
3. The Pasta's name will be abbreviated from that given at their baptism (often with a 'z' added for extra funkiness)
The fact is, in sitting here and writing this, I have been absent from my own church building for a few minutes, and I am already sure that Muff and Baz have taken over the joint to create the next branch office of Alpha International. 

Now, as the meagre parson that I am, with a church community to love into the Kingdom, I find that the greater burden on my reverential shoulders is manifest in the need to keep the present day subsidised so that tomorrow has half a chance. I am largely a fundraiser to maintain, if I am lucky, the parochial status quo. Most incumbents across most parishes across Christendom face the same challenges, unless of course they are those Johnny-come-Latelys from the fecund breast of the HTB mothership. They pitch up, rip the hoarding down from the crumbling carcass of St Silas under the Wardrobe, by their own effort paint it and make it look pretty, install the rock act and the obligatory sound desk, and crack on. Are they worried about the bills? Possibly. But what is the case is that they are ready to use the re-enlivened St Silas by the Bedside Cabinet as launch pad to a new church plant.

I have often pondered this gentle spread of the planters across the territory. That they are of a single breed of ecclesial expression, that they all seem to have the same theology, that their outward face is often mitigated by the same nurture course - this, I confess, worries me. That I sit in some measure of fear for my parish community when I eventually leave because I am quite sure that a planter is already being cloned in readiness to take over and turn the altar into a drum kit - that worries me. That they are all the same worries me too as I believe passionately in the diversity of the church. That there seems to be no future place for Christians born as I have been born worries me, and there are times when, in my less charitable moments, I feel that this relentless church planting is carcinogenic. Not all church communities are the same, of course, so why are all church plants the same? 

The fact remains, though, that I know that what the planters are doing is right. They are broadcasting their seed so that new Christian communities can grow. Rather than being a carcinogen, they are in fact contagions for the Gospel and rather than wish to wipe them from the face of the Earth, wish that my 'tribe' could learn a lesson and see the very real need for all types of church plant in the breadth of expression that the Lord must surely favour. Us catholic types surely have it easy. We don't need sound-desks and drum kits, my name doesn't have to be changes to Davey and I am delighted, thank you very much, with the Pilgrim Course. All I need therefore, for a church plant is a cup, a plate, and the heart for it. 

In my little parish, thriving though it is, I have neither the first idea or the apparent resource to accomplish any sort of plant, as I see it. I don't have an International Corporation to which I can claim a place at table to help me. I do, though, want to see the church of God grow. I grant that in this part of London I am HTB-locked, so what do I do? I am so locked into the the need to have church pay its way in the present day that the idea of sending out some good folk with a roll of cash seems impossible. I so want the church that I love grow and thrive. It is an exciting time to be a Christian and the world is hungry, but I have been born into a tradition that seems to favour the liturgical moment and not the risk of a tomorrow in the dust and uncertainty somewhere new. As someone that I know (who is much wiser than I) put it  - we need more mission-minded Catholics so that we can be contagious too.

Friday, 31 January 2014

The Real Cost of Christmas

I confess, that as I read this morning's appointed readings for Morning Prayer (Abram, Sarai and Hagar to be precise, and indeed to prove that I do remember), a thought jumped into my head that had no unearthly business being there. And no, not that sort of thought - how dare you. 

It occured to me that the monetary yield of my vine-tending would have been deposited into the off-shore account, and it was a thought that offered some small relief - though why the plight of Hagar prompted this train of thought I have no idea.

And so it is that the meagre shekels of my stipend were paid into my account and that I am no longer borassic-lint and borderline bankrupt ... for a day or two. I don't normally worry about pay day as I am blessed to (finally) be a person without debt and provided for by a wife who knows the manner to which I have become accustomed. It's a January thing. Payday at the end of January was always a matter of some relief, even back in the days when my monthly income could buy me two Mars bars, not just the one. And the reason: Christmas.

I have observed an alarming trend in recent years with the proliferation of Christmas clubs and savings enterprises, which is to say at the same time as it is made easier to pay for Christmas people then go mad on it. One present for little Persephone is not enough. Presents measured in the Transit Van-load is not the new chic! I remember the first (or was it the second?) Christmas after we had the Twins Aculae. So many presents did they receive that we had to pace their opening over several days for fear of overwhelming the poor poppets. The simple fact is - people spend ridiculous and non-representative amounts on their Christmas festivities, people whose appetites for apparent altruism are fuelled by the heart-tugging advertising campaigns of the likes of John Lewis and Tesco. The sad result of this is that people are largely wiped out financially throughout January - the very same month during which the second dozen pricey gifts have been forgotten by the darling who only wanted to play with the bog box they all came in. Even those of us not given to seasonal extravagance feel the pinch. Our kids got a couple of dog biscuits and a suck on a napkin for dinner, but still the coffers were squeezed until the pips squeaked.  

I am willing to bet that people are already stashing their hard-earned for Christmas 2014, or else making the first card-payment for the stash of gear bought for Christmas 2013. I could of course blame baby Jesus who received lavish and multiple gifts from his well-wishers, but that would be churlish and would see me de-frocked. But look back on the Christmas that has just passed us by and seems so long ago and try to remember the highlights: yes, I loved my presents and I delighted in my dinner but the fact is, the best of Christmas by far (and not including the spiritual and religious for a moment) was that I was able to sit with my children piled on top of me while some pointless telly blathered on in the corner of a room bathed in the flickering lights of the Tree. That will be my enduring image of the good Christmas that I just had. And to be honest, I couldn't have bought that experience will the tea in China. 

I wonder if the Church doesn't have a role in encouraging people, believe it or not, to do less for Christmas. We cannot fight for our Festival without taking a lead in its effects, even those effects that we quickly blame on over-commercialisation. Perhaps we should focus on the Christ-child, not surrounded by the latest output from the Apple Corporation, but was surrounded by love even in the most profound poverty. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Is It Me (Again)?

I am convinced of two things:
1. We have to die of something
2. The world is going slightly mad

If we set aside the first of those two (though in passing, did I tell you that I do a mean funeral), I wish to focus on the latter for focus is good. And what might be the target of my ire this time? You may well ask (though suspect that you aren't). The first is "Since Records Began" and the second is ... well, you'll see.

When I was quite young, like last year and that, I would hear  news reports that would speak of this or that being some superlative since "records began". I would often revel in this new-found knowledge as a man with something of an autism for statistics. It is good to know that last July was the most wasp-infested since the day before they buried that King under a Leicester car-park. Yippee-doo - the cup of life runneth over. My life is enhanced by that stuff - although this tendency in reporting seems to be the sole preserve of the doom-mongers. 

The thing is, even that has changes and not for the better let me tell you. It is true to say that in our Great Britain it has, of late, drizzled a little, been a little chilly - you know, like it often is in winter. In fact, there are many people in their homes that were built on the flood-plains that have, rather less than unexpectedly, been - well, flooded. Them and Tewkesbury whose carpeting bills are somewhat higher of late. Actually, to do people a measure of justice, it has in fact widdled down for weeks on end and places that were once flower-bejewelled meadows are now new lakes and some 'B' roads the new tributaries of the River Severn, so fairs fair, it has been bloody nasty down west. 

Then the stattoes start. The numbers-folk start their analyses and present the damning evidence of a generation. It has been the wettest winter since ... wait for it ... 2011 (actually, this is an invented number for sake of effect). But it happened elsewhere too - that November was the, I don't know, most face-furnished since 1998. It's ridiculous. I really am not that old, so to cite "since ..." dates that are within my own lifetime are just meaningless and speak of the crisis in the world of statistics. The fact is, I await a news report that will appoint today as the most Thursday-like Thursday since last Thursday, and that was a hum-dinger in its own right. Tell me that today is the most manky depressed grey day since before the time of Christ, and you have my attention, but don't be telling me that it is just a bit wetter than yesterday. 

Then there is the other thing, and in this I speak the God's-honest truth. In Great Britain, we ask our ambulance crews to prove that they were out on an emergency call so that they might appeal against - you guessed it - a speeding ticket. If my giblets were protruding through my soft-palate, I would be rather keen to see an ambulance crew a minute sooner, and not worrying why they were taking so long. But to discover that our green-clad heroes and heroines are subject to the same speed regulations as the rest of us is just, well, silly. It won't end well, either. Reason for appeal: we were attending an inter-cranial bleed on the High Street. Did he survive? No - he had passed into paradise before we arrived, poor soul. Verdict: That'll be sixty quid and three points! 


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Why It Just Isn't Alright

I can't talk to the kids today; I have too much to do. Actually, I haven't seen them for months because you know those annoying golf matches - they just need to be played. I can't tell you how they are doing because I have broadly forgotten what they look like. I have to assume that they are doing alright - their mother is a good and loyal sort and I trust her to look after them. I'd have seen them before now but I prefer to have a lay-in and get more valuable sleep; I work hard, you know that. Surely it would be easier if didn't have to meet up so early, but that isn't all. They want so much time and I just don't have the time to give to them these days. I have about an hour a week, no more. I'll give that to them if they could cope with seeing me a little later in the day so I can enjoy another coffee when I wake. And guess what; I am not going to feel bad. You cannot and will not make me feel bad because if you ask them they will tell you that I love them. I don't have to see them to still love them; they have always understood that. They know that, just ask them. And before you say it, of course I love my kids; I always have. They are everything to me. There isn't a thing that I wouldn't do for my kids, so don't go claiming otherwise. 

Dear reader, please put down your pitchforks and your torches. I understand how the words above must make you feel; that I am some sort of pratt and a poor parent. Were these words true and situation real, then of course you would be right and I would no more deserve my kids than they to be exposed to such an appalling parent. But - the thing is, if you replace the "kids" with God, you have the great myth there before you: that you don't have to go to church to be a Christian. 

I accept that there is a fundamental difference between spirituality and organised religion. I accept that for many a regular habit of corporate worship is difficult, that life can and does get in the way from time to time - or indeed because the simple act of getting out of the house is beyond the physical capabilities of some. What I am sure of, though, is that a belief in God is to be in a relationship of mutual love and trust akin to that of parent and child or between lovers. We galvanise these human relationships with temporal proximity or indeed some effort to keep those relationships alive if some distance exists between the parties concerned. 

The thing is, the top paragraph is a (not widely off the mark) caricature of some of the comments that I have been privy to in recent years. They fall into the same categories: that Christians don't need to go to church; that "I don't like a service that goes on too long, say over an hour; that church should be there at my convenience (like a shop, for example). I have witnessed efforts by priests to curtail their services to that of time compliance, for example - never daring to exceed the expected time-limit. 

Why would we treat God like that? Why would we apply to God those things that we wouldn't apply elsewhere. When we go to the cinema, do we pass over the blockbuster that we had hoped to see because it exceeded 90 minutes in duration? Our world is fast becoming one that is "on demand" and "to convenience". We can store and hoard television so that we can watch it when we want to. Shops remain open all night on the off chance that we exercise our democratic right to buy jam tarts in the wee-small hours.  

What would happen if God treated us in a like manner? What if God was the parent in my little narrative at the top - only available at his convenience? What if God rationed us to 59 minutes a week, or simply didn't bother because he favoured time with his golf bats? What if God ignored us because he simply couldn't be arsed today?

So, it is the start of a new year. Have I just upset you be describing an all too familiar situation? Have no fear - the relationship you have absented yourself is still there; still real. And thankfully for you and for me, God will simply be delighted to see you again. Enjoy!


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