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The hunt for the smoking gun

A photo of a smoking gun

In January, I was interested to read an article on the BBC News website about whether geniuses are born not made. Essentially the article is a promotional piece for a new book called The Genius in all of us by David Shenk. I found that interesting in itself since I thought the BBC is not usually one for advertising but perhaps I’m being naive.

Anyway, the basic gist of the article and of Shenk’s book seems to be that the genes we are born with are not ‘robot actors’ always doing the same thing in exactly the same way, but rather that heredity, our genes, and who they make us to be interact with their surroundings. There is a far more interesting and developmental process in play.

“They now know that genes interact with their surroundings, getting turned on and off all the time. In effect, the same genes have different effects depending on who they are talking to” (quote from the BBC article).

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Café Church stations: Ash Wednesday

A screengrab from the Trinity Cathedral media video 'Dust'

I had very little to do with our Lenten Café Church service this month, but I did contribute a prayer station based around Ash Wednesday and Isaiah 58.

As always, if you are interested, you are welcome to download the basic instructions of the station and re-use them or adapt as you see fit.

The video is called ‘Dust’ (no, not the Rob Bell DVD) and comes from Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix where a contact, Nick Kniseley, is the Dean. You may like to be polite and check but they seem happy for people to make use of the material.

My one reflection on the way the station worked is that it would have been useful to, perhaps, have someone on hand to administer the ashing and speak the words over people ‘remember that you are dust… etc’ rather than relying on people to sort themselves. There’s something significant, I think, in having such words spoken over you.

You get by with a little help from your friends…

A painting of St Teresa of Avila

With apologies for recent silence, this post marks an attempt to get back into the blogosphere. In the month of February, I had some study leave which was both good and fruitful although it proved to be cut short because of domestic problems whereby my good lady wife fell quite seriously ill.

She is, thankfully, on a road to recovery although what has happened will mean we probably have to make some lifestyle changes for her long-term. However, in the midst of all, the love of God was very present to us both.

There were no warm fuzzy feelings or ‘mountain stream’ moments to be found, but just the love and care of the Christian community around us who have been brilliant in both caring for my good lady wife and also helping me as I spent a few weeks as a quasi-single parent (for whom I have a new found respect).

Anyway, this picture is not my wife (thankfully). It’s St Teresa of Avila who famously said something that has echoed long and loud for me in these last few weeks as we have relied on God’s people for help. In so doing, through the Body of Christ, we have experienced the love of Christ to us. Their hands and feet have been, to us, His hands and feet:

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours,
No feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which is to look out Christ’s compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.”

When someone else says it better

I follow the latest news reports about the latest Christian fostering controversy with some incredulity. I am not going to repeat a long argument when others have said it far better but, if you’ve followed the Johns’ case with interest and confusion, then can I point you to, variously:

I guess I would like to reverse the field and see what it looks like then. For example, imagine a gay couple wanted to foster. Would they be asked whether they would be happy to promote an evangelical Christian lifestyle to a child who wished to pursue such a thing and, if they refused, would they be considered unsuitable to foster?