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Showing posts from April, 2014

Something as simple as a glass of water

In a fictional tale, told by David Foster Wallace, an older fish swims past two younger fish and sayswe can't live long without waste "Morning boys, how's the water?" They swim on for a while until one turns to the other and says "What the hell is water?"

It's said we take for granted the technology that already exists when we're born. We adapt to what is developed as we grow up. And then we get suspicious of the stuff that arrives after we turn thirty.

The middle aged person today critiques today's youth for relationships based on texting and snapchat, wishing they would just make phonecalls... and yet that's a call for one kind of technology instead of another. Face to face unmediated contact is ultimate (1 Cor 13) and so maybe a phonecall is better than a text message, but we all have technological bias.

I graduated University without having a mobile phone, and having never drunk real coffee. I'm not sure how long I could survive tod…

Video: Find me in the city

Find me in the city from Trinity Media on Vimeo.

I wrote this for my Word Alive seminar on God and Technology.  Much credit to John Dyer's book From Garden to City and UCCF's long standing clarity on doctrine of creation and the value of work. The video doesn't have any audio. I think Kings Kaleidoscope's Higher Throne makes a good musical backdrop.

Awesomeness: Word Alive 2014

It was 1am on a Friday morning in the Spring of 2002 when I sat down with a group of Reading University students to watch Paul Thomas Anderson's film Magnolia. Our host that night is now a tutor for the OCCA and I remain thankful that he gave us the experience of this unsettling and outstanding film.... and for the 4.30am ride home through the cold of the night on the back of his scooter.

I've been on the UCCF team for 13 years now and its nights like that that capture what UCCF is about for me. Gospel-loving people, engaging constructively with people about the ideas and imagination of this world, together. And Word Alive is a part of that family - with all the grown-up graduates, their kids and many others around too for a week around Easter.

Last week was my first time at Word Alive since 2008.
I wish my family had been there with me. 
I wish *all* the students I work with had been there. 
I wish my church Community Group had been there.

We experienced:
The Don Carson on J…

The knock at the door: a real life parable on the challenges of communication

Photo by Jackie
I opened the door.
"Hello Mr Dish."
I assume salesperson, and in the middle of dinner quip back, with a smile: "Not a great start, thats not my name..."
"Really?" comes the reply before a check of the clipboard and a second attempt. (Later my wife will gain a new surname too...) I'm handed a flyer, and it turns out this is our long serving local Councillor.
"Do you vote?" (Only about a third of the neighbourhood do...)
Checks clipboard.  "Oh, yes I see you do." (I confess I'm not really warming to her at this point...)
She reminds me for a second time that she's been representing us for a long time. "Will I have your vote?"
"To be honest, it'll depend on policies..."
"I'm sure you've read my six monthly newsletter..." (I don't recall...)"I'd love to see what you can do about the speeding on our road."
"Well, if you will live on a m…

Top 5 tips for your Weekly CU email

Image Cesar Garza. Creative Commons
I've been receiving weekly emails from Christian Unions for most of the last 17 years since I signed up for one as a fresher. I've been working with CUs pretty much ever since.

Here's my top 5 tips on using this medium well which I'd suggest as part of a wider communication strategy. For some strategy is a dirty word but being organised and well ordered is a deeply spiritual thing, and sponteneity is often used as an excuse for disorder and laziness.

Longest and most important point first.
Please add your tips and thoughts in the comments.

1. Pretty much anyone can sign up for the CU email. 
That means this is not an "in house" commmunication but a public communication. Assume you have a mixed readership.

Don't talk about "non-Christians" (lets ban the term please!), beware of stuff that would be weird if your friends who don't know Jesus read it - because they (or someone elses friends) probably are read…


With thanks to James and Dan, a meditation on Luke 10...
Standing tall, standing proud. Ready to impress, ready to win.
To ask the killer question. In the Emporer's New Clothes.
He's misread himself and the one standing there.

Blind to the obvious. The king of his castle.
Is lying in the gutter.  Beaten up and dying.
He's misread himself and the one standing there.

Now his chosen victim is coming. The roles reversed.
The most unlikely of friends, for the most unlikely of men.
He's misread himself and the one standing there.

The true good Samaritan. The one he wanted to crush.
Has come to bind his wounds. Has come to lift him up.
He's misread himself and the one standing there.

Blind to my blindspots. Sure of myself.
Wise in my own eyes. While everyone sees the fool.
I misread myself and the one standing there.

"I'm giving you my dreams." With so little idea of my loves.
Things I never knew mattered. Until they're taken away.
I misread myself and the one…