God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

Archive for October, 2006

Atheism is the new cookery pt II

Posted by Martin on October 31, 2006

Don’t know if anyone spotted the very unsubtle atheistic worldview displayed in episode one of the BBC’s new sci-fi show Torchwood – it wasn’t easy to miss. The show is a spin off from Doctor Who (it’s an anagram, geddit?), and it’s central characters possess a metal glove which can briefly resurrect the dead. In the pilot, written by Doctor Who saviour Russell T Davies, they used it on a murder victim, and asked him, as he was breathing his last for a second time, what he saw when he died. He suddenly got very upset and declared ‘nothing. I saw nothing. There’s nothing!’

Very subtly done, Russell T. We barely noticed.

Look out by the way for another new spin-off from Doctor Who’s producers, launching next year. It’s about a farm animal who races sports cars, and it’s called Hot Rod Cow. The cow doesn’t believe in God either.

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Posted in Spiritual is everything, Television | Leave a Comment »

Kanu believes it!

Posted by Martin on October 30, 2006

Here he is, bless himI should so be writing headlines for The Sun.  On which subject, saw an awesome article today on their hallowed pages about Portsmouth FC, the football (or if you must, soccer) team which is currently upsetting the form book in the English Premier League.

Apparently rejuvenated star striker Kanu (left) and SEVEN of his colleagues have been getting down on their knees together before each match to pray. And then coincidentally… they’ve been beating everyone, and he’s been scoring like his life depended on it.

Kanu told The Sun “When we pray I keep scoring. I am a Christian and I love praying. A few of us say a prayer in the dressing room. There’s Linvoy Primus, Sol Campbell, LuaLua . . . about eight of us all together. And it is good because it keeps the team together and gives us that bit extra. The spirit and unity shows out on the pitch where we work for each other.”

I love it. Everything is spiritual, baby.

Posted in Spiritual is everything, Sport | 2 Comments »

Dammit Chloe we’re running out of time…!

Posted by Martin on October 30, 2006

If that phrase means anything to you, time to get very excited. Just about the most gripping and adrenaline-pumping show in the history of television ever, ever, is back in January (if you’re a lucky American) or a few months later if you’re a Brit like me.

Until that wonderful day, here’s the new trailer for Series 6 of the peerless (and now Emmy award winning) 24.

http://www.24trailer.com/

Posted in Television | 4 Comments »

Atheism is the new Cookery

Posted by Martin on October 30, 2006

Is it a good or bad thing that pro atheist Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion is now no.1 at Amazon? I can’t make up my mind. Obviously I’m not keen on the idea that a scientist is trying to disprove the very notion of any God, and am slightly offended by the implication of the title. On the other hand, at least it gets people talking and thinking about God. The biggest enemy of the Christian message in a consumerist society is comfort-induced apathy, not atheist rants. And my hunch is that when an angry ranter like Dawkins starts spouting, he’ll send more people into the arms of God than he’ll ever drive away. Keep writing, Mr D, any publicity is good publicity…

P.S. The title of this post refers to the fact that the no.1 book at Amazon is often by Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith or similar. I’m not suggesting that we should all get people round for dinner parties with no food, where we all renounce the existance of God. That would be silly.

Posted in Spiritual is everything | 1 Comment »

The world’s best movie podcast

Posted by Martin on October 30, 2006

Mark KermodeIf you’re a movie fan, and you enjoy witty and informed reviews, there are none better than those on uber-reviewer Mark Kermode’s weekly slot on Radio Five Live, on the Simon Mayo show. Subscribe at iTunes, or visit this link for more details.

Interestingly, both Mark (left) and Simon are Christians – Mark’s major field of expertise is the horror movie, but he’s clearly got some sort of thought-through theological justification for his interest – one of the most fun parts of listening to the podcast each week is listening to their subtly-inserted references to faith and spirituality.

The best recent review – of the atrocious Wayans brothers debacle Little Man:

Mark: If you go to see Little Man, Shame on you. Shame on you.

(later)

Simon: Would you go as far as to say that Little Man is possessed by the devil?

Mark: Honestly Simon? You want to know what I really, honestly think? Yes, Little Man is possessed by the devil.

Seriously, start listening now. Unless you’re a big fan of Pirates of the Carribbean

Posted in Movies | 1 Comment »

Quidco.com and the cheapest non-cashback phone I’ve ever seen

Posted by Martin on October 27, 2006

I’m not on commission – I just enjoy this stuff. Here’s a little deal that will end you up with a new phone, 300 xnet minutes a month, and 1000 texts (doubled for the first six months). In effect, you pay just under £10 a month for this, for the 18 months of the contract, and there’s none of this silly filling out cashback forms on the correct date rubbish (don’t get me started on THAT).

Step 1 – go to www.quidco.com and sign up for an account. Don’t worry – it’s free to join. Quidco is a brilliant web cashback co-operative, which for a £5 a year admin fee, passes on referral money it earns by sending you to other websites, directly back to you.

Step 2 – using their directory of services, click on the link for three.co.uk. It’s the 3 network shop. You must visit it through clicking this link, and complete your transaction in the same visit for this to work.

Step 3 – Click the ‘buy now’ button at the top of the page, and go into the shop proper. One of the big pics in the middle of page shoud offer you this deal – it’s for a refurbished Nokia 6280r (plum). Sign up, making sure it’s offering you 18 months half price, not just six, and hey presto. I’ve done it, and it’s a fantastic deal.

Step 4 – In a couple of months, Quidco will pay £95 into your account – meaning that in effect, your discount has taken you down to below £10 a month. Show me the money!

Yee-hah – take that, The Man!

Posted in Maven haven | 2 Comments »

God bless youth ministry

Posted by Martin on October 27, 2006

Heard an interesting observation from the marvellous Mark Yaconelli (pictured) at the recent National Youth Workers’ Convention in the US. He was noting how we often talk about how God is ‘blessing our ministry’ when we see numbers rise, or get some funding, or see some other kind of increase. But in fact, he said, if you look at Jesus life and call to ‘take up our cross and follow him’, his call is actually a path of difficulty, where things aren’t all rosy and straight forward.

It seems to me (this isn’t Mark now) that when we really get involved with them, we HURT for and with our young people – when we get deeper into youth ministry we find ourselves sharing God’s pain for the brokenness in their lives. Their lives are often a struggle, and thus so can our work be.

So, (back to Mark again), perhaps when God really IS blessing our work, this is what it looks like: it hurts. It’s messy. It’s painful to journey with these young people. Our group isn’t growing (remember Jesus never managed to grow his youth group beyond 12 – he’d have been sacked after a year in most churches). We feel like we’re failing. There’s a great big cross on our backs and it’s getting us down. So next time someone tells you that God is really blessing their youth ministry, perhaps you should reply: I’m so sorry – how can I pray for you?

By the way, Mark has written one of the best books about Youth Ministry I’ve ever read. It’s called Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus, and it’s available in two different versions depending on your side of the Atlantic. Wherever you are, I’d recommend the US version – it’s much nicer, and it’s a hardback. Believe me, you’ll spend so much time looking at it, it might be worth the investment in the sturdier version (pictured).

Posted in Youth Ministry | 3 Comments »

How long can it last?

Posted by Martin on October 26, 2006

Thanks to Ian at Youthblog for sending me this link to an article on trying to remain anonymous:

http://www.cartoonchurch.com/blog/2006/10/09/online-anonymity/

I’ve been rumbled. I’m just doing this to sell more of my albums.

This is not an invitation to start guessing who I am, by the way…

Posted in General | 1 Comment »

The future of banking

Posted by Martin on October 26, 2006

If you’re interested in this sort of thing… apparently sites like this are the future:

http://www.zopa.com/ZopaWeb/

You’re the bank – or someone else is. You lend and borrow to other people over the internet, and somehow, everyone gets market-beating rates. I know it sounds shady – but I have a friend who’s a banker, so he would know…

Posted in Maven haven | Leave a Comment »

HappyLand, the obsession continues…

Posted by Martin on October 26, 2006

Bought the HappyLand playmat for my boy yesterday, so that he has somewhere to park his tractor. Now this is a thin excuse I know, but it looked so cool, AND it folds in half, so you can carry your suit around in it too.

Unfortunately it doesn’t come with all this built up plastic stuff, but soon it will. Note in the picture, the little HappyLand church! Buying this stuff for my son has now become an evangelistic ministry. No need to tithe anymore!

Posted in Family | 2 Comments »

The time eater

Posted by Martin on October 26, 2006

He is the pac-man of my time, gobbling it greedily as I attempt to ghost past him.

There’s this guy. He’s a very committed evangelical Christian, and he has seven Bible verses for every occasion. I think he’s identified me as his ‘project’, for no apparent reason. Whenever I pass him, he’ll stop me and download a variety of thoughts for the day – talking at, not with me. Time passes. He’s eaten another twenty minutes of my life.

Now I feel very ungrateful, criticising a guy who is trying to input into my life, and for ages I’ve felt guilty. But this morning, I think I’ve cracked the problem – he never talks about anything real. He’s forever talking in paraphrased Bible verses and holy thoughts, but he never mentions his wife, his children, his job or even his favourite football team. It’s just a long series of character criticisms (of me) and then some proof of his own lofty spirituality. There’s no grounding – it’s, dare I say it, inauthentic.

I need to develop a way of speaking with him, so that I get at least a 5% share of the conversation. But maybe, rather than looking for an escape, I’ll ask him about his life. Maybe no-one’s told him that his life, his family, and his football team can be spiritual too.

Posted in Spiritual is everything | Leave a Comment »

This band rocks

Posted by Martin on October 25, 2006

David Crowder BandI think it’s important to detach how good a so-called ‘worship band’ is at leading people on in worship from how talented they are as musicians. There are plenty of great worship leaders who are only just musically proficient, and there are also plenty of great musicians who can leave a congregation cold because the thing just turns into a concert. And pity those poor guys who have the worst of both worlds.

But then you have the David Crowder Band – in my humble opinion a brilliant worship band in every sense.

If you’re uninitiated, or if you don’t have the latest full album ‘A’ Collision, head thee over to iTunes and download ‘You are my joy.’ Not only is it the best track I’ve heard since Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, it’s also an example of why they’re so great – bristling with the sort of originality so sadly missing from most ‘Christian’ music. It’s a rock opera, you see, in the vein of ELO or Queen. Not the sort of thing you hear every day.

Which begs the question – has any other Christian act released a rock opera? Answers on an e-postcard. 

Posted in Spiritual is everything | Leave a Comment »

A missing grace

Posted by Martin on October 24, 2006

You may remember the controversy over the British gay police association’s (GPA) ‘in the name of the father’ advert a few months ago. The GPA took out a newspaper advert placing a Bible next to a pool of blood – claiming that most homophobic attacks within the police force were motivated by religious belief.

Christian lobbyists responded, of course. The Revd George Hargreaves, leader of the Christian People’s Alliance political party (that’s the CPA, don’t get confused now)  complained about the ad and called the GPA ‘Christianphobic’. Fair enough, I suppose – the GPA were being pretty fierce.

But the row has escalated in recent months, with Hargreaves refusing to let go of the issue, and pursuing the GPA like a hungry hound. He continues to call publicly for the dismissal of the GPA’s leaders, claiming that ‘this is an issue for the whole police force.’

Then, yesterday, something interesting happened. A spokesperson for the GPA made a public apology for the advert, saying that he was ‘devastated’ at the upset it had caused among Christians. And even more incredibly – he did it on a Christian radio station. That’s the equivalent of scoring a goal and then walking into the opposition fans to say sorry. What a ‘Christian’ thing to do.

Well, apparently not. For Mr Hargreaves still isn’t satisfied. He told the same station that he would not accept the GPA’s apology. Wonderfully ironic, isn’t it? ‘Christians’ pursue gay group in so-called righteous anger; gay group apologises; ‘Christian’ group won’t listen. A glorious opportunity to demonstrate a living faith is spurned, and even better, the GPA prove that they probably had a point about Christian bigots all along. 

Posted in Spiritual is everything | Leave a Comment »

Oh happy day

Posted by Martin on October 23, 2006

HappyLand farm setThis is not my child. But it is my (son’s) brand new Early Learning Centre HappyLand  farm playset. And it’s my favourite thing of the year so far.

The main reason one chooses fatherhood of course is because once your child reaches about age four, there are some really cool toys to play with. I am particularly anticipating the great days of lego, and of Star Wars figures. But it seemed so far away – after all, my boy is only one.

Well, the nightmarish wait to play with some good toys is over. HappyLand is suitable for babies aged 18months +, but mine’s a genius so I’m letting him play with it now. He doesen’t really understand – he just keeps trying to insert the little hen in a hole in the farm roof – but after he went to bed, I played with it properly on his behalf.

And the best news of all – there’s a whole massive HappyLand range! Now I can pass on my obsessive compulsive collector nature to my son.

HappyLand: join the revolution at http://www.elc.co.uk/BrandProducts.php?brand_id=290

Posted in Family | Leave a Comment »

Man + baby = freak

Posted by Martin on October 21, 2006

Just been out for the morning with my one-year-old son, giving my wife a very well-earned lie-in for the first time in weeks. We had great fun – went for a coffee (he likes to wave to people and eat fruit), did a bit of DIY shopping etc. Pretty standard stuff, but I was struck by the reactions of people around us. I’ll admit, I don’t spend enough time alone with him, but I’d never picked up that people now think that a man and baby out together look strange.

Some people were definitely wondering if it was my alloted time slot, dished out by a judge somewhere, but most were just looking at us like we were aliens. Especially when I started talking to him. Is that weird? Talking to your baby? I know he’s not exactly versed in Shakespeare, but he understands some stuff, and he’s only going to learn more if he hears it, right?

Well apparently that’s a minority opinion. As I walked around the supermarket, asking my son if we had enough milk, a woman gave me a stare that said ‘I’m going to call social services’. Clearly I didn’t expect him to know how stocked our refrigerator is – it was just interaction.

Together with the general astonishment I saw in the high street at man + baby, this little incident has really made me realise how attitudes to family are sadly changing. That may be so, but I’ll keep on behaving like a freak, thankyou very much.

Posted in Family | 2 Comments »

When things go very right…

Posted by Martin on October 21, 2006

…do you ever find that suddenly things go very, very wrong?

I had the most incredible week of my life this month – yet at the end of it, I found that all manner of suffering and pain was loosed upon me and those I love. It took me a whole other week to recover, knocking a lot of my momentum away in the process.

I guess the various faiths of the world have their own ways of explaining that. It’s ying and yang, or Karma, or something. I know that I believe that my God (that’s the Bible guy) is involved in the miraculously great things in my life (like that One Great Week). So I guess that the rubberband snap-back effect – (that One Bad Week) could also be related to Him. Maybe not his handiwork – I’m not a great believer in the God who tests and tries us by fire – but that of those who work against him. The forces of darkness and the demonic being the implication, although don’t ever rule out Ricky Gervais. Scary stuff, definitely, even if I do sound a bit barking to some.

Life is back on a positive note, and I’m through the storm. I guess that’s because whoever the other guy is, my guy is bigger.

Posted in Spiritual is everything | Leave a Comment »

Anonymity

Posted by Martin on October 20, 2006

This is an anonymous blog. That’s not a comment on all of you who blog un-anonymously (there’s got to be a better word than that) – it’s actually because I wrote a blog before under my real name, and ended up feeling like my hands were tied. It’s hard to be honest when your boss knows what you’re thinking, you see.

There’s another, much more interesting reason for blogging incognito however – my life is, at the moment at least, pretty interesting. I’m going to exciting places, and meeting exciting people – I’d like to share all that. But let’s just say that the circumstances that have created that stuff also mean that I need to remain anonymous on here. Hope that makes sense, and that you enjoy the blog.

Come back soon!

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »