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Easter Parable: The Beam of Light

Happy Easter everyone!

With thanks to the children of St Mary’s & St Michael’s Church who helped me put together this Space Ranger parable entitled ‘The Beam of Light’. It was told on Easter Sunday 2014 at both churches for an all-age audience in place of a sermon. If you like it and it’s useful to you for future years at Easter time, feel free to use or adapt, because I’m sure you can improve it! The good bits are the kids’ work, the bits you can improve are obviously mine.

An artist's impression of a Beam of Light shooting into the sky

This morning I would like to tell you a story.

This is the story of a Space Ranger whose name is Captain Steve. He has a spaceship called the Eternal Sunrise that can travel the universe. He shoots from planet to planet, and quest to quest, a hero to the galaxy and a friend to all.

One day, as Captain Steve was journeying a thousand million light years from planet Earth, he noticed Read more

Ancient-future lessons (CNMAC 2012 seminar)

An image showing an icon of St John of Damascus

This is the transcript of my seminar today at the Christian New Media Conference. Thanks to those who came to the seminar and for all your encouraging and positive interaction and feedback. For the accompanying Powerpoint, you can download it (.ppt, 7.9 Mb)

Now, as someone who has lived his Christian life through both the Anglican and evangelical traditions, images of God is not something that comes very naturally to me. I am sure we all know the Ten Commandments instruction to not make graven images (perhaps better translated as not making an idol) and not to bow down or worship them.

Indeed, the protestant churches (from which I’m guessing a good proportion of us come) generally draw their heritage from Read more

Twittering Vicar makes the news

A photo of the notice giving church wifi

I was interested to see the news cycle today includes the story of Rev Andrew Alden who is, apparently, Britain’s first ‘Twitter Vicar’ – according to Sky.

I find this story interesting on two levels.

The press’ fascination with quirky Vicars

It seems that, every now and again, you can pretty much guarantee that the press will fall over themselves when clergy adopt new technology. Read more

Powerpointless sermons

Cognitive Style of Powerpoint book jacket

As part of my dissertation work, I have come across an extremely interesting pamphlet called The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint by Edward Tufte. Tufte is Professor Emeritus at Yale and he is something of a guru, it seems, on statistical evidence, analytical design and interface design.

In the extremely readable pamphlet, Tufte eviscerates the use of Microsoft Powerpoint and says that in presentation situations, it weakens verbal and spational reasoning, corrupts statistical analysis, foreshortens evidence and thought, and forces all thought into hierarchical linear structures.

Amongst other things he highlights the Investigation Board into the final flight of the space shuttle Columbia and the sad disintegration of the shuttle during re-entry on 1 February 2003. The conclusions of that Board stated that they believed the endemic use of Powerpoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as a key component in the disaster and an illustration of all that was wrong in the technical communication at NASA at the time. He goes onto show a few of the actual slides and illustrate just what a terrible method of communication it was in that context.

He’s not alone. Greg Pece has examined the use of Powerpoint in the US Military and concluded that it has changed how missions are conceived, briefings are conducted and then the missions executed… and not for the better. Read more

The mind of Christ is cross shaped

It’s been a busy week – a busy few weeks in fact. Tomorrow is deadline day for the second semester essays here at Ridley. Essentially, academically speaking, it’s the culmination of my first year. In the last few weeks and days, I’ve written four different essays. There is one on iconography and what it can teach us about using film and imagery in church today, I’ve critiqued the implementation of a church vision, I’ve sketched out an enquirers course and written up why I did it that way and I’ve written an essay about in what sense, if any, was Jesus being punished on the cross when he died. All interesting stuff – I’ve enjoyed it. Even if it’s been flippin hard work at times!

I may be relaxing now but I have a feeling that while I’m finished, there may be one or two of my colleagues pulling an all-nighter tonight to get it all done. *cough* Tiffer *cough*

In the midst of it all, I had to lead and preach at my attachment church’s evening prayer service tonight. It was chucking it down with rain outside and I like to think it was the weather that affected attendance rather than knowledge that I was leading and preaching! 😉

Anyway, the vicar said that my sermon deserved a wider audience. So I am giving it one here! 🙂

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Sermon, Second Sunday before Lent

I preached for the first time at my placement church today. I don’t usually preach from a script (I usually work from a system of bullet-points) but I decided to do so today. For anyone who is interested, what I said follows below.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Amen.

Good morning! It’s a great privilege to be here and on behalf of my entire family, thank you for making us welcome amongst you. We are enjoying making our home here while I am on placement and training for the ordained ministry.

My wife and I are very different. They say that opposites attract and we are so different in many ways. When it comes to decorating, we can never agree on colours. We never like the same furniture and I have noticed that when we watch TV, we like to do so very differently.

Whenever my wife sits down to watch a programme, either before the programme starts or as the credits are rolling, my wife will open the telly mag and find out what is going to happen in this week’s episode before the programme starts. Do you do that?

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