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Food for thought? An African Tale October 30, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Random Musings.
Tags: ,

Just came across this, via @uk_cmf:

In a certain country the law says you should not eat porcupines.

An individual was found hunting a porcupine
He was asked ‘Do you know what the law says?’
And he said ‘The law says “you are not to eat a porcupine”.
It does not say “don’t hunt a porcupine”.’

He was found carrying a porcupine.
He was asked ‘Do you know what the law says?’
And he said ‘The law says “you are not to eat a porcupine”.
It does not say “don’t carry a porcupine”.’

He was found skinning a porcupine.
He was asked ‘Do you know what the law says?’
And he said ‘The law says “you are not to eat a porcupine”.
It does not say “don’t skin a porcupine”.’

He was found roasting a porcupine.
And he was asked ‘Do you know what the law says?’
And he said ‘The law says “you are not to eat a porcupine”.
It does not say “don’t roast a porcupine”.’

He was found tasting a porcupine.
And he was asked ‘Do you know what the law says?’
And he said ‘The law says “you are not to eat a porcupine”.
It does not say “don’t taste a porcupine”.’

Unfortunately he tasted the whole porcupine…

A Tale of Two Photos: Inside Outside October 24, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Life, Photos, Random Musings, Theological Reflection.
Tags: , , , , , ,

TWO PHOTOS I TOOK after church this morning as I stood in the church doorway:

Outside looking in...

Outside looking in...

Inside looking out...

Inside looking out...

In the first, I’m standing on the threshold of the church, looking in, with the bright autumn sun streaming from behind me to cast my shadow into the porch. I’d wandered out and just happened to glance back, decided to capture the moment. Then I turned around to face the light and was struck by the contrast. Again, the autumn sun streaming in, now inviting me to go sit on that bench by the war memorial, my shadow somewhere behind me.

There’s an old ATF song, “Back to the Light” (from the album Signs of Change), that’s more or less permanently etched on my brain, and it ends with these verses:

… I step up and onwards, and what do I see?
There’s a mist of darkness and it’s creeping up on me.
Many times before this road I’ve been,
But never alone, never alone, depression walks at my side again,
It’s creeping up on me,
I can feel it in my soul.

There in the distance, a tiny point of light,
It’s growing and glowing, and swallowing the night,
But I’ve still got darkness in my eyes,
I must turn around, and face to where the brightness shines…

I guess you can see why these pictures bring those lyrics back to me again. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, when depression dogs your footsteps, to be able to turn around, and face to where the brightness shines? But life’s not that straightforward. Most of the time you turn around and it’s just as dark the other way too. And yet, and yet, and yet… moments like these: they’re there to be savoured.

I look back into the church and see the people milling around. They’re in another world, somehow. Did any of them see me point my phone and capture that moment? I turn around. The autumn sunshine streams through the trees. The war memorial stands there, mute testimony to humanity’s inhumanity to humanity. The bench is empty and for all the light shining, it too speaks of death, of a once proud tree now cut down and shaped to humanity’s convenience.

But the light still shines, and no amount of darkness can ever put it out. The light you think you can see at the end of the tunnel isn’t the headlamp of an oncoming train: it’s a man with a candle. He’s walking ahead of you. The reason the light keeps flickering is because he limps as he walks and his body keeps blocking the light; but every so often he holds the candle up high, beckons us on, and the light shines brighter than ever.

This morning was one of those moments. Savour it with me.

iTunes Ping Sucks #Apple #fail October 20, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Music, Technology, Watching and Waiting.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Here’s why:

Ping: "You cannot like or post to Ping about an item that is not currently offered in the iTunes store"

iTunes says, "You cannot like or post to Ping about an item that is not currently offered in the iTunes store"

… to which I reply, up yours, Apple! No, it is NOT “OK” for you to tell me what I can or cannot like. The fact is, I like ATF’s Like the Power of a Jet — and all the data about the track and the album it’s from, Der Kommissar, is out there in the Gracenote database, to which you have access already built into iTunes and which you could readily integrate into Ping if you were actually interested in what your customers like instead of simply being obsessed by your own income stream (in case you’ve forgotten, you found all the track names from Gracenote for me when I ripped the CD into iTunes: thank you).

So please do yourselves and your customers a favour: if you want Ping to be a social network, stop telling us that we can only like things that you can sell. Strange but true, Mr Jobs: life is bigger than Apple’s bank balance.

Thank you for listening.

World’s Best Ever Videos October 10, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Books.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

OK, so I’m a tad biased: this guy is waxing enthusiastic about my wife’s book, details below. He’s a Mormon, which is a bit of a bummer, but we won’t hold that against him on this occasion since he’s making the right noises. Listen and be enlightened…

Linguistic Analysis of Biblical HebrewLinguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew
Sue Groom

9781842271643 (1842271644)
Paternoster Press, February 2003

Unfortunately Paternoster have discontinued the book so it’s now out of print, but copies are still available via Amazon marketplace.

Meet Jesus on Thyface October 6, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Books, Christianity.
Tags: , , ,

THIS is promises to be entertaining, methinks…

h/t @simonschusterUK | www.thy-face.com | @ThyfaceJesus

Feeling the Call October 1, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Watching and Waiting.
Tags: , , , , , ,

A FRIEND told me she thinks she may be feeling the call to Anglican ministry. Being the bravehearted type, she asked me what I thought she should write to her vicar about it. Always ready to help a friend in need, I suggested:

Dear Vicar,

I think God has finally lost the plot and I’m hoping you’ll agree.

You see, I think God may be calling me to Anglican ministry. I mean, how bloody stupid is that? WTF does God think she’s doing, calling ME?? Is she bonkers? I know she called you but that was when she’d overdosed on coffee or something, wasn’t it?

So can you do me a favour, please, and pray about this until SHE CHANGES HER FRIGGIN’ MIND!! I know God changes her mind sometimes coz she changed her mind about destroying Nineveh, and asking me to be a vicar, well don’t you think that’s a bit worse than destroying Nineveh? Wouldn’t it make more sense to get swallowed by a FREAKIN’ WHALE than to become a vicar?

Lots of love,

Your No. 1 fan,


My theory is simple: the best test of a vocation is to run away from it. If you end up getting swallowed by a whale and puked up on a beach not far from where you were running away from, you can be 99% certain God was calling you. OK, so you end up with seaweed in your hair, you stink of rotting fish and your skin’s maybe a bit rough from the stomach acid, but that just adds to the authenticity when you get there. I mean, if you’re going to preach hellfire & damnation, you might as well look the part, and that’s what vicaring’s all about, isn’t it? Why else do they all wear those fancy frocks if it’s not to hide the whale stains and holes in their socks?

But for some reason she didn’t send it. Can’t work out why. What do you reckon?

PS: If you’re feeling called by God and would rather avoid the being-swallowed-by-a-whale-and-puked-up-on-a-beach routine, these sermons might help you find your way…

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