26 October 2007

Rediscovering Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr was one of my theological heroes during my theological undergraduate years in the mid 1970s, but he has since seemingly drifted from the focus of liberal theological studies.

Now his "Christian realism" is making something of a comeback in missional theology here in the UK , so I was interested to read recently of a similar ascendency in the US.

Among the resources that I have traced over the past week is this excellent interactive material from the American Public Media network which features resources and recording about Niebuhr's life and contemporary influence by Krista Tippett in her "Speaking of Faith" web radio series.

While some would question the relevance of Niebuhr's thinking in post-Christendom Britain, if you can read beyond the implicit reservations which arise from him being a man of his time and place (which the photo graphically illustrates), then there is many an insight into the theology of public place which translates into our own contemporary context.

26 April 2007

Computer gear and Dell's XP retreat

Computer prices seem to be at an all-time low. I have been been busy replacing old computers at home and advising a local youth work charity on an admin upgrade to support their growing success.

Their are some great Dell official refurbish deals with Sterling here. Note that the prices include a three year on-site support deal and they are much cheaper than Dells own reselling site.. Sterling have been one of my best suppliers for the past few years - efficient and helpful when the occasional problems arise. What is really great is how they pitch their advice to the skill of the caller - so finance introductions for the informed or patronising nonsense for the less informed.

Notepads running versions of XP are at quite daft prices - Music Youth have picked up three really decent HP portables for £239+ ( they wangled a bulk charity price so the display is higher) By chance I had an old Computer Shopper from November 2006 when they were being offered at the bargain price of £599 + VAT

They have also bought Samsung ML-2550 Duplex lasers for the office from Morgan for the crazy price of £98 for a big memoried duplex printer. I have fitted one on my study system and it is quick quiet and very intelligent - so if it jams (very rare) it notes that a print was not complete and repeats the missing process. The duplex printing (auto doubled sided printing) is an absolute joy, and the seems not to be any quality deficit for the toner saver mode except for photo printing. Refills are cheap compared with HP etc.


Had to chuckle at the weekend to read that Dell have been forced by customer demand into offering their machines with XP again having completely switched to Vista in its confusing options.

07 October 2006

Blog anniversary

Four years ago today I started blogging - at a local internet cafe - to a closed group of 6 friends - on an archaic piece of unstable software which I recall as netway2 - strictly words only and it took 24 hours to post what was written - but we thought it wonderful and had little idea that it would lead to today's reality.

What is amazing (given how widely blogging has developed) is how it remains either a closed or misunderstood world.

As one computer savvy person said to me some weeks back " you don't seem the sort of person that would keep a diary" - after some prompting he googled "Bigbulkyanglican" - commented that he thought he had to have the blog software himself to access a blog - and a whole new world was opened up.

Nigel Wright has offered a great post on what blogging has meant to him here

and just for fun have a look at this little rant about blogging/googling at the Daily Mail there is a wonderful comment about the dangers of blogging

"Thank God for one brave and fearless voice speaking out against the tide of mediocre thinking and blatant pornography. that is the so-called "world-wide-web". My grandaughter was convinced to try this "googling" of which you speak by a schoolfriend and now she is pregnant. What I want to know is, what is this Government going to do about this nonsense, especially now foppish young Cameron has revealed it to be one of his unseemly passions? In my day, such an admission would have been a resignation matter. I'm disgusted.
- Nordelius, Bristol, UK"

I think I must sum it up by saying " I thank God for blogging" and I have yet to try "googling" and am obviously missing out on the chance of getting pregnant!

15 September 2006

MS Windows Live Writer goes live - brilliant!

One of the remaining irritants about Typepad is the clunky way of creating a post which never really allows you to see what the post will finally look like when it is published ( ie the preview doesn't really work)

Thanks to a tip off (from Mark and Sue via email via wi-fi from a travel-lodge in Nevada USA) I have installed the beta version of MS Windows Live Writer, which will connect to all the main blogger services and gives you fill WYSIWYG writing facilities.

You can down load it here and it took me about five minutes to download it and establish the connection with Typepad Blog which then loads you normal settings into Live Writer

I am writing this post in a full familiar WYSIWYG window, with all the familiar controls of say MIcrosoft Word - complete with full picture editing, categories and everything I currently use or would want to use but haven't done so cos I could not work out how to do it in Typepad.

So it is dead easy change to bold and back out again, and  the same applies with italic etc. You can amend and backtrack with familiar Word keypresses etc and drag and drop as usual.

You can choose whether to display the screen in normal (black on white as in say Word) or in Web mode which will be how it appears on the screen

The only rather ironic error that I have discovered so far is that the spell-checker did not have the word " blogger" in its existing dictionary

If it remains stable and reliable this really "ups the anti" for the blogger software companies - I cannot see why anyone would choose to write in their relatively crude formats anymore.

When comparing the speed of publishing in Typepad remember that they are currently (Friday 15th) experiencing speed problems themselves so the publish make take longer.

Clergy Training

Two people who share in the ministry of my local Church in Oakworth represent something of the diversity of people who are training for the ordained ministry within the Church of England.

Nigel is training on the Northern Ordination course for the non-stipendary ministry, and is beginning his final year - his excellent blog  offers some insights into what the training process has been like - as you will read he has spent the summer in NZ with Steve Taylor and the folks at Opawa Baptist Church as part of his placement training.

Nigel's vocation as a priest is to the weekday world of work where he spends most of his time as an accountant. This for me represents a missional vocation into one the most interest mission contexts, and I watch with interest to see how the formal Church copes with this vocation rather than seeing him simply as another pair of hands to fill the gaps caused by the reduction in the number of paid clergy.

June is beginning her training on the Carlisle and Blackburn Diocesan Training Course ( the course where I trained) on Saturday and comes to this new challenge with lots of gifted experience of pastoral ministry within a range of churches, and a hugely valued personal ministry within the parish here. After two years training she will share in the ministry here at Oakworth as an ordained person.

Above all I recognise with Nigel, June and others that I am both hugely encouraged that such gifted people are offering to engage with this ministry within the Church and it is really exciting - but also as their parish priest/ spiritual director/friend I see something of the cost involved as they become the people that God is calling them to be.

Just another thought - I heard recently that Blackburn Diocese which covers most of Lancashire now has more ordained priests than at any time in its history . . .

So its a time of change and challenge within the Church - responding to a priestly vocation is never an easy choice - but God is calling people to be priests in new ways and in new contexts - for which we should offer our thanks.

23 January 2006

Not sure if I am flattered?

Just be sent a draft programme for a youth work conference at which I have agreed to offer late evening worship and be priestly confidante.

As seems de rigeur with such events they have tried to write something witty and inspiring about eMoylesach contributer, and aside for an accurate description of my youth work pedigree (which makes me feel a great deal older than my 40 something years - ) and a reference and link to BBA  they have suggested that I am now "the priestly equivalent of Chris Moyles".

Now I don't listen to Radio 1 enough to know the man so I am not sure whether to be flattered or offended! Are they suggesting something more that a physical resemblance - which is at best tenuous - what can they mean?? Two visitors to the Vicarage just fell about with laughing without further enlightment!

04 December 2004

Suggestions Please

I have been asked to suggest some books for a new section in the College of the Resurrection Mirfield library ( which services both the College and the Northern Ordination Course) which will focus on faith at work - both for ordinands and lay people - this will have particular significance for those ordinands who are training for Non-stipendiary ministry ( ie they will keep their day jobs) and could also equip stipendiary clergy for understanding how to support lay people in the workplace.

Ideas would be welcome either by email or in the comments. Since the recent blogsphere debate about how in touch the theological colleges this is a good opportunity to influence the College - let's use it.