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Bodily exercise profiteth little


My first week of college is almost at an end and I have been wondering all week what my first college blog entry should be about. While there is much to remember and enjoy, my over-riding memory of this week will be the fact that as I have lived out my life this week, I have been filled with fear and loathing every time I have been confronted with a staircase!

College brings with it a paradigm shift in my commuting. It’s arguably too far to walk from home to college (especially to make it in time for the compulsory Morning Prayer service at 08:15) and using the car is fraught with congestion, car parking difficulties and grief from the wife who will want to be using it at other times during the day. So, my only solution is to re-discover my pushbike and great fun it is too zipping in and out of traffic, leaving the morning rush hour in my wake.

With a rediscovery of the pushbike has come a rediscovery of my leg muscles and something I have long suspected – seven years behind a desk building websites and managing projects has left my heart flabby and my body unfit.

As a result, I have lived with permanent soreness of the leg muscles for the last five days. Moreover, each staircase I face is a mountain that I’d really rather not climb. It doesn’t help that my study room in college is four flights up so not only do I have to climb a staircase but I have to climb a long way to reach my destination.

So dominant have staircases and the inevitable pain been in my thinking that it was perhaps a given that it became a metaphor for me in prayer this week as I reach an important new stage in the life of my family. Timothy was a young leader of the early church and one of Paul’s apprentices, and in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, Paul continually exhorts him to embrace the call of God to lead and to “train” himself for such a purpose.

I know that in time my legs will go stronger, my heart will build stamina and my lungs greater efficiency. In time, my morning and evening bike rides will become a delight, not a disaster. Similarly, as I train and learn and practice and listen here at college, my love for God and humanity will grow, my theology will go deeper and wider and my spirit will engage with God in ways that I have not yet known. It is a tremendous opportunity and one I intend to embrace gladly and with eagerness.

Continuing with Paul’s letter in the the King James translation that titled this post (somewhat tongue in cheek)…

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

Regardless of whether Paul thinks bodily exercise is of value or not, in both cycling and in my college training I will “continue”…

Getting geeky with the CofE

Image of church statistician at work

It must be an interesting week down in the Communications Unit of the Church of England. The first two press releases of the week concerned, firstly, the annual league table of the Bishop’s expenses for last year (which prefaces the news that their offices, diocesan functions and other working costs collectively totalled £10.7 million by helpfully reminding us what bishops actually do) and, secondly, the annual statistics for giving, attendance and vocation.

While it will be a better man/woman than me that wades through the bishop’s expense accounts to find out who gives value for money and who does not, the annual statistics for giving, attendance and vocation always make interesting reading.

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Unless you become…

‘Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you must change and become like little children. Otherwise, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”‘ Matthew 18.3

Mister God this is Anna book jacket

With a reading list a mile long and just over a week to go till college, I guess I probably shouldn’t be wasting valuable reading time with anything that isn’t on the list. However, if I start a book, I have to finish it. I can’t leave novels half-done… even if I’ve already decided that it’s rubbish and not worth reading any further. Something in my make-up tells me to keep going.

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When you wish you could’ve been somewhere else

Life is generally a bit ‘odd’ at present. Everything feels very new – settling into a new house, a new rhythm with the family, trying to find a level of discipline personally when there isn’t a job to run your days, waiting for term to start, trying to manage that process and discover so much new there, trying to manage our old house and make sure the new tenants are okay for us new landlords.

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