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Showing posts from November, 2011

Yellow weather warnings and the fog of separation

Yesterday I exchanged tweets with the Met Office. Having been awoken by the radio news of a so called 'yellow' weather warning, I was concerned that I may not be able to safely leave the house with my wife and travel to the deepest outer reaches of Ikea on the Purley Way. I just wanted to check...and they kindly replied to say it was ok!

On Intro3 tonight we are looking at the day the sky went black in the middle of the day. Something more than a weather aberration which the forecasters missed. This was unprecedented before or since. Mark's gospel confirms 3 hours of darkness, a withdrawal of natural light which represented something hugely significant.

In the dark, on a hillside, a carpenter from Nazareth was dying on Roman cross. Jesus Christ, enduring awful physical pain, was slowly suffocating and crying out 'my God why have you forsaken me?'
This desperate cry of abandonment aimed at heaven should have had an answer, someone should have come running. Yet not only…

When Angela met David.......

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Today David Cameron, British Prime Minister, flies out to meet Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. Angela has a sneaky friend from France who has put her up to this but he has left her to do the talking. Basically France and Germany intend to give Dave a bit of a talking to over his stance on the Euro bail out. It will not work. We may all be European cousins, but we just don't understand each other, and we never have. This is how it will go.....

Real Jesus & the quest for a better vacuum cleaner

Mr Kipling spent his life trying to mass market exceedingly good cakes. Bernard Matthews gave himself up to the lifelong quest for the beautiful turkey roast. Steve Jobs pursued the most intuitive tech, Geoff Dyson tried to turn vacuum cleaners into sexy gadgets that even men might consider getting out of the under stairs cupboard and plugging in!
And it works both ways - In any marketing, customers are looking for a brand which carries authentic values, searching for something they can trust to do what it says, looking for a product to stay loyal to and identify with. That's why aspirational real life scripts work so well in John Lewis Christmas adverts. People are hunting down truth and authenticity, they want to belong to something with meaning and purpose - great advertising taps into this subliminal need.

On Intro tonight we are asking questions about the real Jesus. Could there be any truth in the claims he makes about himself? Is there anything authentic in his story? Is ther…

Steve Weiss & the US 36th

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In the summer of 1944, Steve Weiss,aged just 18, was fighting his way into the South of France against intense German resistance.A part of the US 36th Infantry Division, these boys had been called up from Texas, trained in the outposts of Louisiana, before being dropped in North Africa to make their way by sea to the Bay of Salerno, Italy. By 1943,landing in the face of desperate opposition, they gradually advanced, pushing further north as winter approached.

By the following summer, boys had become men, growing up in a maelstrom, a storm of the most awful fighting. The liberation of France was now their goal, getting back home still a distant dream.
During a night attack near Valence Steve Weiss stumbled into an enemy position. 'Rather than the men behind me coming in on either side and flowing out to make a skirmish line which we'd learned in basic training back in the States, they ran away. I recognised at that moment that the American army was every man for himself.'

I…

More than fat talking dogs and meerkats!

I hate those annoying insurance adverts. The fat Churchill dog, the fatter Go Compare man, those talking Meerkats – they drive me up the wall, but even I have to admit that they are effective. Sadly, the product they are selling is lodged in our national consciousness.
Recent surveys show that more 11-16 year olds believe Churchill to be a fat talking dog who says ‘Oh Yes!’ than the leader of the wartime coalition who says ‘We will fight them on the beaches!’ Families have even been buying meerkats in specialist pet shops, but asking for refunds when they discover that they can’t actually be taught to speak like a parrot! Arrrrrrgh!

Tonight we are using another insurance slogan ‘Morethan’ to launch our Intro course. Morethan thankfully conjurs no images of operatic insurance salesmen or talking animals, but it does enable us to ask the honest question ‘Is there more than this to life?’
Thom Yorke, the influential singer songwriter of Radiohead featured in a recent Guardian interview. Ask…

Literally: Jamie Redknapp & the Resurrection Man

I'm writing the ‘Resurrection Man’ talk for our Intro course today and wondering if we can ‘literally’ believe this stuff? It depends of course on what we mean by the word.Certainly not the ‘literally’ of Sky Sports football pundit Jamie Redknapp. These great phrases were all uttered during recent televised football commentaries.

“He literally turns into a greyhound.”
“He’s literally left Ben Haim for dead there.”
“Centre forwards have the ability to make time stand still. And when Chopra got the ball, it literally did just that.”
“He had to cut back inside onto his left, because he literally hasn’t got a right foot”
Redknapp maybe literally murdering the English language, making it say things that just can’t possibly be true, but can the same be said for the gospel accounts? Is it possible that they really meant for us to accept and believe the remarkable things they said?

The gospels all show a bodily resurrection of Jesus the carpenter, just over 48 hours after He was certified dead …