Showing posts from December, 2011

Album of the Year 2011

Here are my top 5 albums of the past year. They are not necessarily the most popular, but they are the ones that I’ve found myself coming back to over and over again. See what you think!

In descending order:

5/ Let them talk – Hugh Laurie
This gets on the list because it was such a huge surprise! Who would have thought that the star of Jeeves and Worcester, indeed Stuart Little’s dad, would have such an authentic blues voice. But he does, full stop. This is the real deal.

4/ Worship Central – Spirit Break Out
I get bored quite quickly with contemporary worship albums, all recording the same songs, in the same way, long after we have already got bored singing them in church. However, although this album has some familiar songs, it is just brilliant. There is a real momentum about the Worship Central guys, and there are some great songs, done really well on here. If you only buy one worship album a year, get this one. Job done.

3/ Laura Marling – A creature I don’t know
Riding the wave of new …

Book of the year 2011-The Top 5

5/ The Spirit Filled Church – Terry Virgo
Quite simply, there is no better book which sets out in a few simple chapters to explain why we do New Testament church life in the way that we do. I have already given away a pile of these, and anticipate that I will continue to wherever we meet people that want to know why we do what we do.

4/ Meeting of the Waters, 7 Global Currents that will propel the future church – Fritz Kling
This was outstanding, even more so because at the time it was a free download on the kindle! I have not read a book on missions that I agree with more, and which speaks with an understanding of the post modern west, and the new wave of 21st century social justice missionaries. Even if you have to pay full whack for this book, you must buy and read it.

3/ The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
The rise of Scandinavian crime literature is unabated this year, filling the void behind Stieg Larsson. All Nesbo’s books are gripping, this one is utterly compelling. This stuff is dangerous f…

Book of the year 2011

Here is the annual award for my book of the year. It is totally subjective, based on my own peculiar reading habits. Last year, a new publication of Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer took the crown. Who knows, it may just be that my habits and the best seller lists have collided a little more in 2011?
This year I have enjoyed some great fiction, getting especially hooked on a succession of Italian police procedurals by writers such as Andrea Camilleri and Michael Dibdin. It’s also worth noting that I have read more books as Kindle downloads than paper copies this year for the first time ever. I don’t expect that trend to ever reverse.

In descending order:

10/ Notes on them and us – Justin Webb
A great little read by the presenter of Radio 4’s Today Programme. This is an anthropological study on the relationship between us and our cousins across the Atlantic, based on Webb’s years of living stateside. An endearing read, which surprisingly argues for a divorce from our ‘special relati…

Dear God.........

I've been doing some preparation for our New Years Day prayer celebration today and came across these fantastic children's prayers to God.

I'm sure some cynical adult sat and made them up, then posted them on the net, but the part of me which still weeps at High School Musical really wants them to be real prayers because they are so powerful! I've heard enough of our own family efforts over the years to laugh and cry in equal measure at the beauty of a child's thinking allied to their simple phrasing when it comes to bedtime prayers.

So here goes with my favourite ones. (Imagine a small American child kneeling by their bed, with a small American voice, maybe the lispy girl from Miracle on 34th Street!)

Dear God,
Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up.

Dear God,
I read the bible. What does beget mean? Nobody will tell me.
Love Alison

Dear God,
I like the story about Noah the best of all of …

Rubik's cube, Mother Teresa and suffering

In 1982 I tore open the Christmas paper on a small box, and something magical fell onto the patterned carpet. This cube of hidden meaning, it's secrets known only to a few with special knowledge - this stuff of the philosophers stone or Da Vinci code - the Rubik's cube!
Everyone had one for a while, they were all the rage after we had outgrown our chopper bikes and space hoppers. Nerdy kids on Saturday morning telly became household names for completing the Rubik's cube in 13 seconds, before most of us had even worked out which way up we were holding it!

The basic premise of the Rubik's cube was to mess it up, then try and put it right. Each face of the cube needed to be restored to its rightful colour. Sounds easy right? No - I think I managed one side, but then each move you made to correct the other colours messed up the good work you had already done. It drove me mad. I resorted ultimately to cheating. Taking a blunt knife from the kitchen drawer, I prised the thing …

What's in a name?

What's in a name? These days we are quick to saddle our offspring with the names of the latest pop star or cultural phenomenon. For the OK Magazine fanbase and the celebrity obsessed, there remains an increasing trend to even name the poor child after the place of their conception, as though they need that message in their head as they grow up. And so, a generation of little Britneys, Brads, Brooklyns and Broom Cupboards emerges into the world, understandably unsure of their identity!

What's in a name? In old money, a name used to express something of the true identity of the bearer. Mr Bun was actually a was Mr Baker as it happened! The name of Jesus Christ is such a name. It tells us something important about who he is, and helps us to understand what he isn't.

In the language of his day, this was a name loaded with meaning. It would be like me calling my son Geoff Hurst Junior - everyone would know my expectations as little Geoff grew up into greatness! In t…