Friday, July 25, 2008

Memoirs of Baptiso

I still go on Facebook every day, eager to receive a wall post or a tagging, but it's rare that anything ultra exciting happens on there any more. Ok, so there's currently a new look to explore. But what else? One notification that made me smile this week, was news of a friend at home being baptised.

The event invite reminds me of when I went through a similar experience exactly five years ago. Getting baptised meant a lot back then, at the age of 17. I don't remember it being a super-spiritual moment. But I do remember a shy teenager plucking up the courage to publicly declare that I wanted to put God as the number one priority in my life. The event stands as a marker in the ground, symbolising a journey of experiences and thought-processes, that led me to conclude there really is a Creator who cares for me intimately.

Five years on, the journey continues. The searching continues. Maybe now I actually have more questions than I did five years ago. But that's a good thing. Cos the one thing that really matters, I am even more convinced of: my Rescuer really does care for me intimately.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cutting Edge

On July 6th Delirious?, one of my favourite bands, announced that the end is in sight. After 17 years, 2009 will mark the final chapter in a remarkable story. The rock band, who once peaked at 16 in the UK singles chart, will be best remembered for radically changing the thing they were most passionate about:

For those of us who no longer see churches as boring and lifeless places, we owe Delirious? a lot.

To commemorate I've trawled over some early Delirious? lyrics to find out what really challenged, shook and fired up the 90s generation. As I put together this compilation I discovered that honesty lit the touchpaper; brutal no holds barred honesty; vulnerable willingness to say yes through the questions; to not settle for anything less than the real thing.

Can I be free from the chains of my religion?
They wrap around my head and they blind my eye of faith
And I feel dangerous cos I hunger for the truth
The tightropes swinging high
No turning back
Teach me to fly
All I want is You.

We have wearied you Lord with our words
Our promises we've broken
Oh Lord forgive me
You are breaking the pride in our hearts
Lead me into your arms
I will be safe in the shadow of your wing.

We didn't count on suffering
We didn't count on pain
But if the blessings in the valley
Then in the river I will wait.

I'm not ashamed any more
Cos I've felt the oil pour down over me
And there's a fire that's burning stronger now.

Is there hope enough these days to forgive someone like me?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Congratulations Abi and Mark

It will probably be a once in a life time experience - going to a wedding in the world famous, King's Chapel, Cambridge. I particularly smiled as the best of Tim Hughes guitar tunes filled the impressive, traditional environment. Congratulations Abi and Mark. Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable day.

The middle aged often joke about how weddings are the only time friends catch up with each other. And that's already coming true for me. In these photos there's a few uni friends that graduated a year ago, all of whom, during my first couple of years, went out of their way to encourage me and pass on their experience. So it was a privilege hanging with you all once again. Thanks for the laughter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Call Me Stupid or Something

I must have heard it quoted over a thousand times. Phrases such as, 'most famous' or 'most meaningful' are usually uttered before its use. The codeword '3:16' is enough to get most Jesus fans on the same wavelength.

'For God so loved the world...' It's a fundamental belief: God=Love. If there was an introductory handbook to Christianity this would be on page one.

But when you hear something so many times it's easy to not actually think about its meaning. If you don't inspect something yourself you'll never really grasp why everyone else raves about it. Call me stupid or something, but I've only just found out, 'For God so loved the world...' is a direct quote from Jesus!

'...That he gave his only son.' So - would you believe it - Jesus is actually talking about himself. Suddenly the infamous verse takes on a new twist. Call me stupid or something, but I'd always assumed the line was simply a narrative explanation from the biography author, John.

Through a simple piece of self-exploration one of my fundamental beliefs can be looked at from a revitilized new angle; it has new life.

I'm learning that you should never assume you've got it sussed. Even 'page one' of your worldview may need rewriting. Never stop exploring. Open yourself up to fresh perspectives. Never stop asking questions.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wildlife on Blog

In efforts to earn money recently I've been up to a fair bit of gardening. Chop, chop, dig, chop has been my soundtrack. Until chirp, chirp. Tucked away in a thorny hedge there was a nest holding a pair of tiny chicks. Awww.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer Sandy Beach Banter

Pics here from some laughter-filled summer fun with Uni pals Andrew and Heather.

I've never seen a beach this sandy on the south coast before!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

You Are My Joy

Last month me and the Cambridge crew joined nearly 3000 students from all round the UK, to bundle into the Hammersmith Apollo and sing our hearts out. The event was part of a world tour that is still to visit Manila, Kuala Lumpar, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Mexico City, Vancouver, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney. Now that's what I call a WORLD tour!

The David Crowder band headlined superbly. They're definitely worth checking out itunes if you get a mo. Here's a taster video for you, filmed by someone in the thick of the action at the Dallas leg of the world tour. This song - 'You are my joy,' - never fails to flood me with excitement bursting out from the pit of the stomach. Oh yes, get in!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Wedding of Beth and Will

The heart of exam season saw the wedding of my gap year partner in crime, Beth. 'Impressive' doesn't do it justice, particularly the venue, opera singers (and food).

It was a pleasure to meet the groom Will for the first time, and it wasn't long before we were exchanging notes on amusing Beth comments. They're a good match I reckon!

Another highlight was catching up with some of the Herne Bay crew and a massive thanks goes to DNA buddy Paul for letting me hitch a lift. I couldn't have done it without you pal and I'm sure you'll agree, the hours of traffic jams were more than worth it. Thanks also for sharing my excitment of discovering the groom's family have their own wikipedia page!

Back in facebook world, here's a video of Beth's first dance, courtesy of Don and Mary Warne.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Revolutionary Coldplay?

After three weeks of release, and numerous back to back listens, it's finally time for my Coldplay review. Straight off - I'm a big fan.

A couple of observations though. Before release early indications pointed towards something completely new. The artwork drilled home the theme of revolution. The first single had a gritty rocky edge to it. Would this be the album to win over the Coldplay doubters?

In the end though we've got something similar to the beauty of 'Parachutes' - the original Coldplay we fell in love with. The Coldplay purists will love it. But other than a variety of skilful instrumental sections, there's nothing revolutionary about it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Graduation - The Slightly More Emotive Review

Graduation was a special occasion. It goes without saying that being surrounded by proud and excited family and friends stands out. But the most bizarre aspect was the reaction of complete strangers/tourists. When posing for photos you'd suddenly find ten cameras pointing in your direction! And the absolute highlight of the day was parading through the streets to applauding crowds. It felt like the red carpet at a film premiere.

A truly memorable occasion ... worth remembering for one simple reason - you'll probably never see me looking this smart ever again!