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Planet BB Needs You February 25, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Books, Knockabout, Watching.
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Planet BB

Planet BB - The Boys' Brigade Around The World

I confess that I know next to nothing about the Boys’ Brigade. I know that it exists and the odd snippets I hear tell me that it does a lot of great work with young people all around the world.

But the reason for this post is that my friend and fellow bookseller, David Chant, has this book coming out fairly soon. It tells the story of the Boys’ Brigade around the world and its aim is to help raise funds  for the BB in parts of the world where things are somewhat tougher than we have them in the UK: places like Africa, where organisations like the BB are a real God-send to young people.

Trouble is, David’s in a bit a trouble. He’s just celebrated his 100th birthday (born 23rd Feb 1910, according to his facebook profile, and I always believe what people write on their facebook profiles) so you’d think with that wealth of life experience he’d have life sorted. Maybe he has; but his publishers haven’t and they’re getting a tad nervous about demand for the book. Which means if you don’t put in an order for it, instead of it raising funds for the BB, David’s going to end up subsidising it. That’s gonna take a hefty chunk out of his pension, and he’s already having to subsidise his day job out of it; rumour has it the Aussies have made him take his hammock down from in the office and are expecting him to work for a living.

So do yourself, David and the world of the Boys’ Brigade a favour, please: if you’re a BB member or a fan, or know someone else who is, head on over to your nearest bookshop — ideally your nearest Christian bookshop — and order a copy.

Find Planet BB on facebook Follow Planet BB on twitter

Planet BB: The Boys’ Brigade Around The World
Compiled and edited by David Chant
9781858583334 | £12.95
Brewin Books Ltd

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You, O Lord: A Song February 24, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Songwriting.
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A song that’s been going around in my head this morning, growing as it goes along. It doesn’t rhyme and probably doesn’t scan: I know nothing of such things; but for some reason or other, it won’t let me go. It’s also far too happy-clappy for my theology, but hey, what’s the point of theology if you can’t be flexible?

I have my own tune for it: I’ll let you make up yours.

You, O Lord, are the light of life that’s shining;
You, O Lord, are the everlasting way.

You, O Lord, bringing hope to those who seek you;
You, O Lord, bringing joy to those you find.

You, O Lord, bringing down the high and mighty;
You, O Lord, lifting up the poor and weak.

You, O Lord,
You, O Lord
(repeat to fade)

This One’s for Luke: Happy Birthday! February 21, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Family.
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It’s not every day your youngest nephew turns 16 and decides to adopt the family name: nice one, Luke! Have a great day and take good care of that name!

Lots of love,

Phil & Sue

Happy Birthday Luke!

In the beginning… February 18, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Short Story, Theological Reflection.
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PeanutIn the beginning was the peanut, and the peanut was alone.

“I need a warm planet to grow on,” said the peanut. “Let there be a planet!” And there was a planet. The peanut looked and the planet was good.

As the peanut looked at the planet, it realised that peanut and planet were spelt with almost the same letters. The only difference was a U instead of an L. So the peanut took an L from the planet and a U from itself and created a lettuce. And the peanut looked at the lettuce and was pleased: it was very good.

LettuceAt first the lettuce was happy and it grew in the peanut’s garden. But one day, as the peanut was walking around the garden, the lettuce became angry and attacked the peanut and beat it into a mess of peanut butter.

But the lettuce didn’t know that this was what the peanut had in mind all along because without a lettuce to mash it up, there would never have been any peanut butter. And without any peanut butter the bread would have been naked and it would have been ashamed, except maybe for a bit of jam that the peanut made for it when it realised it was naked.

And so it came to pass that the peanut and the lettuce were reconciled but could still never quite bring themselves to share the same sandwich, especially not with the jam. Which is why the Church of England is in such a mess and women are not allowed to be Bishops.

Texts of Terror: 2 Chron 15:13: “All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death…” February 13, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Theological Reflection, Theology.
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2 Chronicles 15:13: “All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.”

That’s the NIV translation, and it’s as good — or as bad — as any. You’ll find more translations than you’ll ever know what to do with at biblos.com but they all come down to the same thing: convert or die, no exceptions, no mercy. Eugene Peterson’s The Message hammers the horror home:

They all arrived in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign for a great assembly of worship. From their earlier plunder they offered sacrifices of seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep for the worship. Then they bound themselves in a covenant to seek God, the God of their fathers, wholeheartedly, holding nothing back. And they agreed that anyone who refused to seek God, the God of Israel, should be killed, no matter who it was, young or old, man or woman. They shouted out their promise to God, a joyful sound accompanied with blasts from trumpets and rams’ horns. The whole country felt good about the covenant promise—they had given their promise joyfully from the heart. Anticipating the best, they had sought God—and he showed up, ready to be found. God gave them peace within and without—a most peaceable kingdom!

Not satisfied with slaughtering hundreds of oxen and thousands of sheep, anyone who refused to join in would be slaughtered too; and God, bless him — and surely only a male deity could approve of this? — “gave them peace within and without—a most peaceable kingdom!”

Well bravo, God. Nice party, huh? A “peaceable kingdom” indeed: who dares to differ, to question or challenge when the price of standing out from the crowd is your life?

How do you deal with Bible verses like this? Skip over them as quickly as possible? Try to pretend they’re not there? I had the misfortune of having to read 2 Chronicles 15:1-15 at Evening Prayer tonight. When I reached this verse — verse 13: unlucky for some — I paused, looked the congregation in the eye, read it, then paused again before completing the reading.

There was no sermon slot. After the readings, we went into the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth…

I stumbled through it. Bullshit. This is not the God I believe in.

And the good news? No one’s going to slaughter me for saying it. I hope…

Prayer of the Bánfaith February 1, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Books, Prayer.
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Came across this prayer in Scarlet, Book 2 of Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven Trilogy (pp.243-244). Hope it touches your spirit as powerfully as it touched mine; even more, I hope that you can join me in making it your prayer:

O Wise Head, Rock and Redeemer,
In my deeds, in my words, in my wishes,
In my reason, and in the fulfilling of my desires, be Thou.
In my sleep, in my dreams, in my repose,
In my thoughts, in my heart and soul always, be Thou.
And may the promised Son of Princely Peace dwell,
Aye! in my heart and soul always.
May the long awaited Son of Glory dwell in me.

In my sleep, in my dreams, in my repose,
In my thoughts, in my heart and soul always, be Thou.
Thou, a bright flame before me be,
Thou, a guiding star above me be,
Thou, a smooth path below me be,
And Thou a stout shield behind me be,
Today, tonight and ever more.
This day, this night, and forever more
Come I to Thee, Jesu —
Jesu, my Druid and my Peace.

I guess it’s the idea of Jesus as Druid that connects with me most powerfully: not some majestic, other-worldly Lord of the Universe but a fellow human being on the same journey through life with me, yet one who has already touched the mystery, upon whom I can call to sustain me in my journey.

Walking with him, the veil is thinner and hope grows stronger.

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