Saturday, 31 May 2008

from pitch to punditry to pulpit - Gavin Peacock

Excellent interview with former Chelsea midfielder and football pundit Gavin Peacock in The Times. Gavin talks to Tony Cascarino about his imminent move to Calgary in Canada where he will study for a Masters in Divinity in preparation for ordination. I knew of Peacock's faith from the book that he co-wrote with Alan Comfort (Middlesborough & Leyton Orient player and now a vicar in the Chelmsford Diocese) Never Walk Alone. In the interview Peacock talks about his faith, being a Christian and a professional footballer, his emerging sense of calling to ordination and the future.
''Over my football career and life as a Christian, I've always spoken at different things - youth events, dinners, in churches. Over the last eight months, I've actually been preaching in churches. When I do that, I'm happy, it feels right. I enjoy it but, at the same time, I have to do it. I feel compelled to do it. It's twofold. I not only enjoy it and it makes me feel good and it completes me, it's that I have to do it. It's a conviction I have. It's different from doing something just because you enjoy it.''

I've always respected Peacock's footballing insights and will miss his contributions to Football Focus and Match Of The Day 2; though since the BBC have lost the Premiership coverage for next season there wouldn't have been much for him to do. Another interesting interview with Peacock was published by The Church Times in November 2007. Please pray for Gavin and his family as they move to Canada and as he embarks on his ordination training.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

grace over karma any day

The actress Sharon Stone has caused a bit of a stir at the Cannes film festival with some comments about the earthquake in China being because of the way that China has treated Tibet.

"I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else," she said. "I've been concerned about how should we deal with the Olympics, because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine."

"And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?"

I think I prefer Bono's take on things. Reflecting on his faith in the book Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas he says this:

''Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff''.

Assayas: ''I'd be interested to hear that''.

Bono: ''That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity''.

Chelmsford Diocesan Course In Christian Studies

I continue to enjoy the course, our tutors and other students. Stimulating, lively debate conducted with great humour, patience and tolerance.’

Thoroughly enjoying the course and would advise anyone to do it.

Would you like to share in a journey of discovery? The Course in Christian Studies is an opportunity to explore the Christian faith with others. The course last two years, is open to anyone over the age of 16 and is based on weekly meetings in local groups.

Enrolment for the 2008/2010 CCS is now open for centres across the diocese. Evening centres starting this year will be Chelmsford on Mondays, Colchester (West Bergholt) on Wednesdays, Rayleigh on Mondays, Waltham Abbey on Tuesdays and Waltham Forest on Thursdays. A morning Centre will be meeting at Chelmsford on Wednesdays.

If you would like to find out more about the course and see what’s involved then why not try a taster evening? Taster evenings for these centres will be held during July. For more information about taster evenings, brochures and application forms click here.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

futile fuel protests

Great blog by Sam Norton on the fuel protests. It does seem that many people are deluding themselves if they think we can go on consuming oil at the current rate and not expect it to get more expensive as resources dwindle. Sam puts forward a persuasive argument on the subject of Peak Oil and challenges us to think more creatively about our life styles and energy needs.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

then there were five

Sad news on the chicken front with the demise of Hazel. Not sure of the cause of death but she was always the weakest of the gang and not the greatest of layers. We were all upset as this was the first loss from our livestock apart from Paddy our beloved retriever cross who died seven years ago when the children were very young. In the end we decided on cremation rather than burial to avoid the local wildlife digging up the carcass. Not sure if we will get another chicken at the moment as we are thinking of raising a turkey. The children said a few words in tribute to Hazel for the fun and eggs she had brought to our household but quickly got over the sadness as we've just put up a trampoline as a joint birthday present.

Friday, 23 May 2008

European Champions 2008

What a night and nearly what a nightmare. Ronaldo scores and then misses a penalty. Great game and edge of the seat drama all the way but finally Manchester Utd were crowned champions of Europe. Man Utd 1-Chelsea 1 (6-5 on penalties). I have to confess that I thought Utd had blown their chance with two misses in the first half and Chelsea coming back strongly in the second and the game heading towards extra time. During the penalties I couldn't face watching John Terry taking his kick which would have given Chelsea the cup and went outside. On returning I heard the commentator saying Terry's penalty was just like Beckham's and knew he had missed! And then that wonderful moment with Ryan Giggs, breaking Bobby Charlton's appearance record for Utd, putting away the perfect spot kick before Anelka's shot was saved by Edwin van der Sar. In the end I felt mixed emotions; delighted Utd won but sad for my two brothers who both support Chelski and went to Moscow.

What a story; 50 years after the Munch air crash which wiped out a golden generation of Utd players and 40 years since winning the European Cup for the first time (the first match I remember seeing as a child). Fitting that a survivor of the Munich disaster Sir Bobby Charlton should lead the team to receive the cup. Thanks to Graham Tomlin for his text as extra time came to an end and my confidence was shaking - 'Come on - believe!' I return the advice for the championship playoff final on Saturday when Graham's beloved Bristol City play Hull at Wembley.

Champions, champions..............

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

movie meme

Some movie questions answered:
1. One movie that made you laugh

2. One movie that made you cry
Bridge to Terabithia

3. One movie you loved when you were a child
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

4. One movie you’ve seen more than once
The Godfather

5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it
Sleepless in Seattle

6. One movie you hated
American Psycho

7. One movie that scared you
The Ring (Japanese version)

8. One movie that bored you
The Sound of Music

9. One movie that made you happy
Babette's Feast

10. One movie that made you miserable
Once Upon A Time In America

11. One movie you weren’t brave enough to see
The Exorcist

12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with
Mrs. Vivian Rutlidge in The Big Sleep (Lauren Bacall)

13. The last movie you saw

14. The next movie you hope to see
Son of Rambow


Spent an enjoyable couple of hours with my wife and a glass of wine watching Becket (Paramount 1964) a few days ago. The film follows the relationship between Henry II played by Peter O’Toole and Thomas Becket played by Richard Burton. Based on the play Becket or the Honour of God by Jean Anouilh and with a strong supporting cast, I thought the two central performances were excellent. I had seen the film some thirty years ago; though the only scene I remembered was Henry and Becket jumping out of a young woman’s bedroom window! Well I was a teenager at the time. I also studied T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral while at university and so have had an ongoing interest in the story.

The turning point in the film is Henry’s decision to make Becket, his close friend and confidant, Archbishop of Canterbury in order to solve the problem of the Church’s challenge to his authority. Becket pleads with Henry not to make him Archbishop but the King refuses to listen. From that moment Becket’s allegiance turns from King to God and there is a very powerful scene in which Becket, acknowledging his unworthiness, prays for God’s wisdom and equipping for the task he has been given. Becket devotes his life to the work of the church even though it brings him into direct conflict with the King and the relationship deteriorates to the point where Henry cries out ‘Can no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’ Four knights take up the challenge, head of to Canterbury and murder Becket. The film ends as it begins with Henry before Becket’s tomb doing penance for the murder of his friend and declaring him a saint.

Having seen the film I’ve found myself reflecting on several themes including: the nature of friendship, the impact of vocation on a person’s life and loyalties and just how good an actor Richard Burton was without even trying.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Wrecking Ball

Just been listening to Emmylou Harris' album Wrecking Ball (1995). The title track is a Neil Young song which I have loved since I first heard it on his album Freedom and Harris sings it beautifully. I was delighted to discover a real treasure. It's produced by Daniel Lanois, with Larry Mullen Jnr (U2) on drums and other great artists contributing including Young. One stand out track is Bob Dylan's wonderfully confessional Every Grain of Sand (from Shot of Love). However, the song that really made me sit up and listen is All My Tears written by Julie Miller:
When I go don't cry for me

In my fathers arms I'll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I'll be whole

Sun and moon will be replaced
With the light of Jesus' face
And I will not be ashamed
For my savior knows my name

It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home and I'll be free
It don't matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

Gold and silver blind the eye
Temporary riches lie
Come and eat from heaven's store
Come and drink and thirst no more

So weep not for me my friend
When my time below does end
For my life belongs to him
Who will raise the dead again

It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home and I'll be free
It don't matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

moving home

Phil's treehouse is the new name for my blog. Previously I blogged under the title lawnmower reflections . The name for the blog was suggested by my daughter Kristin and the picture on the header is actually the view from the treehouse which I began building in 2006. Over the next few days I hope to develop the look and feel of the blog so watch this space!