NearlyMarthaAgain

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day


I'm late I know but I'm really mad busy (watching the football) and I didn't want to have the day pass though without acknowledging International Women's Day. This is me and my baby girl and I think because of the work of those who went before, she will have plenty of opportunities to make the life she wants to live. Sometimes people get a bit huffy and say you can't be a Christian if you are feminist and vice-versa. I would just ask (and I know I have said this before) if you are a woman


  • Do you vote?
  • If you buy a house with your partner - do you expect to have your name on the deeds?
  • If your husband gets a bit fed up with you and runs off with the maid - do you expect not to be thrown out on the street - losing all rights to see your children?
  • Do you expect not to see the words "Males Only" in an advert for a job?
If you take these things for granted, it is the feminists that have gone before that you need to thank. And if what you want to do with your life is to stay at home and care for your family and build a good life for them, then feminism doesn't want to stop you - it is about you having the same opportunities that's all.

In church, people sometimes talk about feminism or women in leadership going against hundreds of years of tradition. I'm not really a natural leader but I think
  • Tradition - "the handing down of statements, beliefs, customs" isn't always a good thing. There are children suffering fgm every day because it has been done that way for generations. 
  • If God doesn't want women to minister - why does he keep giving them something to say and gifting them to say it? 

There are people more learned than myself who say that the New Testament is scattered with examples of women leading, ministering and sharing the Good News. It is also full of women cooking, doing housework and running families. There are also plenty of women being healed, hearing from Jesus directly and even having him save their lives. It is full, therefore, of vibrant, alive females - living their lives to the full, in the manner they were called to, under obedience to Jesus. If that is feminism and I believe it is, for an individual female to be given the chance to be the person God wants her to be without having to be put into a restrictive box, then I think you can probably call me a feminist.
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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Coming Apart


I am having a "Biblical Theory with No Biblical Evidence" moment. I have spent the weekend with an award winning migraine. I haven't had one like that in some time. It was a codeine level interruption to my weekend plans. And I did have plans. HOH is working the night shift in the hospital - helping people to get back into bed and wondering how anyone can need that many toilet visits. So my idea for the weekend was to do a lot of catching up - housework and all that stuff while he was asleep. (I am a very quiet housewife type person) Then work happened - with quite a lot of stress for some reason and I was pooped. But I still intended to work through everything on the to-do list. Then my head exploded so it was all I could do to copy small dog pictured above and place head under cushions and sleep. I think that I was definitely in need of sleep because I did and awful lot of it.
Which makes me wonder (back to non-Biblical theory) do you think that sometimes, instead of claiming healings and bouncy jigginess, we should accept that maybe God would rather we put our heads down and did nothing. And when we refuse to do so, he is able to make us do so? I have little or no evidence for this theory - except that I wouldn't have stopped unless I was made to and that I feel better now than I did before I was ill. 
Also - does this sound sometimes more like a command than a cosy invitation?

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat 
Mark 6 v 31

And does it make you think that if I had just stopped when I needed to rather than when all the unpleasant Scanners type pain started, it would have avoided a lot of trouble. Interesting theory? No? Probably just me then. Anyway - back in the saddle and feeling much better thank you.

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Lent


Today is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent. (Sorry for rubbish photo - last minute as usual) I am not really overwhelmed by Lent. I come from a non-conformist background where this sort of thing was not acknowledged at all as it was considered "Papist" or something. Also, there is nothing gets on my nerves more than hearing people say things like "Uh, it's like er Lent so I am like going to see if I can lose some weight." I just think, if you are going to give something up, you should possibly have a look at the spiritual significance? At least put to one side some thinky time - otherwise it's just what is called "a diet".
Some people wear crosses made of ashes on their foreheads which is quite powerful symbolism. I heard that a gay rights Christian movement is selling ashes with glitter in them. I am all for campaigning for what you believe in but this doesn't sit very well with me. Thinking about what we remember happening at the end of Lent - I just think there is a time and a place.
I see that Theresa May held a reception for Christian leaders in 10 Downing Street to commemorate Shrove Tuesday and to say thank you for the work that Christian Communities do in our society. "About time" is the phrase that comes to mind and well done Mrs May for celebrating Christian life in Britain. If I could just respectfully point out that Christian life involves: feeding the hungry, taking in the displaced and healing the sick (not shouting at them that there is nothing wrong with them because they have managed to walk five paces across a room - that does not count as healing). Making sure your government supports these things is maybe another valuable way to celebrate the Christian contribution to society.
So I'm not giving anything up for Lent. I have done it before and it doesn't work for me. I am "doing" a Lent book. The Wilderness Within You." by Pen Wilcock. It looks like it is a tiny chapter a day and I like her writing. Will let you know how this worked at the end. Thank you for your time people.
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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Oscars

BBC

Just a little summing up of the Oscars as you do. Most of the films I liked didn't win much which is probably tells you a lot about my life.

Oscar night used to be a pretty big deal in our house because we go to the flicks quite a lot and it used to be a flippin good laugh when Billy Crystal did it. Now Sky have it and we don't usually get to see it but FOW1 had bought NOW TV for a month to watch the football so we got to have a look. Jimmy Kimnel, who I get mixed up with Jimmy Fallon, seems to have done ok as the host. He seemed fine but I wouldn't go a bunch on him as my old Nana used to say.
So Moonlight won Best Picture but I can't help you with that I'm afraid. I haven't seen Moonlight so far, partly for the childish reason that when someone tells me that something is the "Best Film Ever Made in the history of anything - EVER and that anyone who doesn't like it and see it is basically useless" I tend to put my money back in my pocket. I'm just a bit contrary that way. Also I think I will struggle a bit with the bullying of the little boy. I'm not very good with that. I dunno - I might see it. 
I never quite understand it when Best Director doesn't go to the person who directed the Best Film - maybe they think you have had enough awards. But it went to Damien Chazelle (La La Land) who has a name which suits being the director of a musical I think. A lot of people I know will be disappointed that La La Land didn't win - especially those who go to the pictures rarely and went because, for once, they found a film that they liked and could get on board with. I wasn't thrilled with La La Land personally but I know what they mean. 

Emma Stone, who seems like a lovely person, won for Best Actress but, for me, it should have gone to Natalie Portman for Jackie - she was amazing. Casey Affleck won Best Actor for Manchester By the Sea which was all good and correct - he was astonishing. My favourite film of the year "Arrival" won very little. I think it got an award for "Best Noise Made When You Rattle A Stick In A Bucket" or something. I don't understand the technical awards.

The biggest hoo-ha seemed to be because someone put the wrong card in an envelope and the wrong name was read out. This was corrected within about 15 seconds. Anyone who has ever got on the bus and tried to show the driver the wrong ticket will understand that this is an easy mistake to make. The difference is that normal people get over these things very quickly. As far as fancypants showbiz people are concerned - it seemed like the end of days. I am assuming that heads will roll. Ah Hollywood, what are you like.
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Sunday, 26 February 2017

My Favourite Character


This is about the book of Jonah. If you are not familiar with it, you may find it helpful to read here

I love Jonah. I think that have a lot in common with Jonah. Obviously not the being eaten up by the big fish bit. We don't share that experience. I'm supposing you're the same. If you do think that you have shared that experience, you should write a book, or get interviewed or have a nice lie down in a dark room until the feeling passes.
We also don't share being an amazing preacher which I assume he was. Well, when he preached an entire nation repented. Practically overnight. Turned on a sixpence. Even the dogs sorted themselves out. (Anyone who has met my dog Morecambe will know that this is something I definitely don't share with Jonah) Not many can say that they have made entire nations repent, I wouldn't have thought. We may have heard a few preachers claim that they did this and we may have suspected that it wasn't entirely correct. Jonah did it though.
Jonah is one of the main "I'm not having that" things that people throw my way about Christianity. They say things like "But Jonah and that whale. Who believes that?" For what its worth, even as a child I wasn't sure that there was a literal whale, although I have found it a useful rule of thumb in life not to underestimate God. However, it has never really mattered whether there was a literal event or not. I just love Jonah.
He's all over the place. God tells him to do something, and although we can assume he has the gifts to do it. He ignores the instruction completely and goes in the other direction. We are not even told why he legs it. Fear? Inadequacy? Can't be bothered?  He gets in a boat and the weather happens. When the storm hits, he knows that he is the problem and heroically offers to sacrifice himself to save the others. (I don't think he had any possible ideas about whales and bellies - would you?)  When God saves him, he is repentant and contrite. He does what God asks him to do and is hugely successful. Instead of being chuffed and full of faith and optimism, he gets all ratty. Why should Nineveh get all this forgiveness? He has a go at God for his mercy - despite having been a recipient of it pretty recently. God responds with grace and covers him from the sun. Jonah calms down. God removes the cover. Jonah gets nasty again. God gently reminds him who is boss.

I love the passion of the relationship between God and Jonah. Jonah knows God. He knows exactly who he is. Yet Jonah gives God a hard time, he gets fed up, he accuses God of things that aren't true, he is irrational. Jonah has a short memory when it comes to God's goodness. He sees great miracles but prefers to concentrate on how rubbish he feels now. He is upset by other people's blessings and greedy for his own. He has everything within him to serve God and it seems to be a chore. I don't know if I identify with any other biblical character more. 
You know what else I notice in all this. The character of God. He is patient. He gives out second chances. He heroically saves, knowing that any gratitude will be short lived. He provides shelter then removes it to gently instruct and inform. He reminds Jonah who he is without using fireballs, plagues, pestilences or anything else that might make Jonah permanently regret his stroppiness. It is a story of a man and his God. It shows the chasm in behaviour and the way God reaches out over the chasm. Knowing what I am like, with my unfailing tendency to be a ratbag most of the time. It is very comforting to see how God feels about someone just like me.
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