Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Snow and steam out of my ears…

Posted: December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

Hello all in this chilly winter Brexit land we are drudging through. Thinking of Christmas? Thinking of Gluewine and mince pies after more beer or regular wine? Wondering how to get that stupid fad toy present for the kids before Xmas eve rolls around?

I’ve got some of that going on…not much but some. Also though bit of a moan to let out. You know, I’m in a regular working class job, just above minimum wage. I got my degree but things get very muddled and life happens. I am proud of being working class but I kind of hope I’m not boring ‘look-at-me-martyr’ in the workplace. I do try not to be any kind of stereotypical Christian saddo. I’m sure the ones I work with don’t really think I’m too much of anything like Ned Flanders of The Simpsons. They know I’m a rock n’ rollin’ weird arty bloke with some kind of faith. But I may still be too nice.

See I usually don’t work Sundays and I’ve got my reason. I’ve got my head screwed on, and kind of know my rights but…I may finally have been just too soft with my bosses. Now, is this about me and my faith? Am I being too dramatic? If it is about the principle of not working Sundays how much does it really even matter now?

Some of it personally is also about family time and keeping a day for that. I’m in the UK-we tend to work longer hours that most other countries all around us for…well no good reasons at all really. This British complex about wanting to look so very hard working…sigh. For what? For who? And then what is the effect on families? With working adults often clocking in possibly around 50 hours a week give or take some, how often do kids see their parents? How often do partners spent quality time with each other?

Are we working ourselves into early graves all because to have huge mortgages or super-expensive cars and lifestyles? Just what do we stand for now, and why do we do it?

If I now cave in and join in with the rest am I throwing away my principles, beliefs and values to please others? Because I am ashamed, afraid to stand for my faith and beliefs at work and face scepticism, ridicule? Right this may seem really unusual in the UK, but I wonder if this is more of a regular personal struggle or has been in the U.S.

I know some Churches are now actually pondering if worship really needs to be on a Sunday always or any day of the week, any evening of the week as long as it happens. That may be the way, but we possibly should not loose our faith and identity getting to that change.


Greenbelt 2017 Review

Posted: September 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

Hello again. Well we’re now almost a week since 2017 Greenbelt festival, which had the theme of The Common Good. How did it all go this year? Better than last year? Not as good?

Well let me start with a shock-besides about half an hour of rain early Saturday morning, this year the festival was mud and rain free. It was also very, very hot and sunny. I think this confused but also pleased many people. The funny part alongside that is that my wife bought some new crazy striped wellies for the mud which never came.

So look I would say I was perhaps struggling with some personal things at the last Greenbelt-mostly my religious or church attitude, some class problems and stuff. This year I found I was much more relaxed and happy with myself, the festival, life in general. I think the great weather did help with that.

But really this is a festival about very many things in life-faith, culture, politics, the environment, inclusivity, hope, fun, and much more. The difference this year was that there were not really any major speakers, authors, bands on the bill that I was immediately interested in seeing. That was fine as it would be one of those years where my wife and I just amble around and decide what to go see and hear once we got there. Plus we did see the line-up on the website weeks before the festival and of course there were still many very interesting things put in place, people and music and more.

So I’ve been to Greenbelt around five or six times now and there are some things they have on the programme every year which we usually go and check out-writer/journalist Cole Moreton’s Daily Mirror newspaper review panel with Cole overseeing it along with a panel of famous or known writers, politicians, musicians. Then there was the Goth Eucharist which I don’t think happened last year and made a good return this time.

I was camping in a new tent with my wife (oh I’ve got to say this tent- so good, so comfortable) and walking to the festival grounds to back to the tent and even to our car regularly takes up a fair bit of time over the three and a half days but we still saw very much and had a really great time.

I think we got the tent up surprisingly quickly and went into the festival, smoozed around taking in the sights and then caught a band on the main stage. This might have been King Porter Stomp. I soon remembered that we had seen them before at Greenbelt- as they themselves told us-back in 2015. They were better than I remembered, a good mix of reggae, hip-hop, ska and afro-beat sounds. Good lively way to start the festival. We stayed up late and after standing around beside the lake in the dark we headed into the service by SUB group from Manchester. This was a sort of subculture/alternative service (put together by some very nice metal/goth/alt people) with the theme of blood in religion and faith and our culture. It had a few minor problems with equipment and the small new canvas tent venue but was a good effort.

Saturday we woke with just that short period of brief rain before entering the festival to check out the first Daily Mirror with Cole Moreton and friends. It was good but seemed to fly by quickly and didn’t cover as many newspaper stories as previously. After that, the rest of the day was to be more random and casual as my wife and I just sort of pick chose the next thing to see of find around the festival. Oh yes, hang on-we did actually see John Bell speak on the Glade Big Top main stage before Cole-Mr.Bell’s talk was called Rampant Heterosexualism. I think some people may have not have enjoyed it or been frustrated by it, but it was more than I initially thought it would be and he told us that he has been a gay rev in the church for many years and while some things he told us were very sad recollection of some committing suicide because of a clash with religion and their orientation he seems to be a great man doing great things.

I we went and made some late lunch on the stove back at the tent after Cole, came walked around the festival for a while and caught an interesting talk about middle eastern/Palestine/Israeli religious and cultural tensions. We later caught a band on the main stage called La Chiva Gantiva who mixed together Latin funk Cuban afro salsa and even brief rock sounds in a great infectious groove of sounds. We then continued on late to eleven at night and around to the Canopy smaller stage to see what CC Smugglers where like but you know-not my thing really at all. Some kind of old time swing/classic safe jazz/Mumford bumpf but hey many did seem to like it.

We were intending to check out the two new tents this year- the Red Tent, which had talks around many areas of feminine gender, and the Amal Tent which showcased Islam and Muslim culture and music.

My wife also wanted to go catch prayer time with the Franciscans but just never got around to it….maybe next year.

It was up fairly early on the Sunday and down to the Glade Big Top main stage for the gathered festival communion. Huge crowd and sometimes I feel uncomfortable or out of place with this (communion in general) but this time a short while into it was just hugely emotional and moving. Instead of a well known speaker from a political or religious background as previous, this year we hear a speech from a young teenage girl called Becky who has Cerebral Palsy. She was telling us how she can’t really move or get around in life physically herself and was talking with a machine like Stephen Hawking using here eyes but with a young female voice. Thinking about it right now I’m almost crying again (no, I am) as she has such hope and optimism, faith and is thankful to God where many of us take so much in life for granted and don’t thank God enough. Lovely young girl, and wonderful speech.

I think we went to see Cole’s Daily Mirror again after this but that may have been Monday morning…it gets confusing at this point. So much was going on and the weather was so unusually great and sunny, and actually hot. We did eventually go to the Amal stage and watched a demonstration of old Eastern dance styles and music.  I think we then quickly rushed over to the main stage to see a few minutes of Joanne Taylor Shaw -excellent blistering blues rock sounds.

Again we somehow stayed up late enough to go along to the Goth Eucharist around half eleven at night in the canvas tent beside the lake. They did some slightly different things this time with the goth rock music adding in maybe some violins and extra tribal style drumming. They focused on the tenth anniversary of the death of Sophie Lancaster, beaten and kicked to death because she was a goth or ‘mosher’. This linked with a reading from the Bible and then call for us to unite and embrace our uniqueness.

We usually try to pack up our tent early on Monday and catch a couple of things before driving back home. We did this, catching a talk called Christ of the Comma-a lady talking about helping a refugee from Calais into London and our homeless problem. We then went to the Canopy stage to see a great African band called Thabang Tabane and Sibusile Xaba- good driven percussion and passionate vocals but surprisingly short performance.

I think that is where the festival ended for us. We walked around all weekend seeing many different sights and surrounded by happy faces in possibly the most friendly and relaxed festival around these days. Oh we also did that thing where driving back home my wife and I started talking about things at Greenbelt so much we missed our turn and had to drive back up the road a while before getting home (we think the same thing happened last year.)

It was a more relaxed, more sunny, dry and emotional Greenbelt this time I think. As ever, too much to even hope to see and do all weekend and will definitely think about going again next year.


Been away too long…

Posted: May 28, 2017 in Uncategorized


I’m back- never really been away-I’d sort of neglected this blog page for what actually seems to have been a pretty darn long while. I was waiting, leaving it for when I may have felt inspired or had some good tale to tell…well sometimes you just need to write any old thoughts down, and well I should have been doing that a while back.

So…how are you all? Doing good? Some interesting or eventful things moving your life and path these days?

So look I’ll just make this a quick return post for now, mention a few interesting things. Let me think…well I went to Greenbelt again last August-good time, but may have been feeling as I do not need to really go again too soon (even thought probably will be there 2017. )

I haven’t been at my regular church every week- this ain’t a real shock. Yes, I struggle with how I feel being there, my place in being there, if its the right church for me etc.

There’s tons more of course-music, art, films have been happening. Twin Peaks is back y’all!! Can you even believe it? Good start to it so far as well…

We’ve had a really great new Demon Hunter album released about a month ago-big success on release it seems. The new The Letter Black album out this week. Good to have them back. Latest Mastodon album seem one of their best since Crack The Skye.

So look I’ll post again very soon (no, I really will) and I’ve got things in mind to write about here. Keep good and safe, positive and keep the love.

Clearing the leaves…

Posted: January 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

Hello everyone. How are you keeping right about now?

I return here, to this blog of hopefully humble thoughts and contemplations with the experience and dealings of another week behind me now.

Hold on there, I need to change this music…

I can only listen to bagpipes for so long. Right then, on we go.

So look, this week has been not highly unusual but eventful near the end. My own thoughts of faith, God and purpose have been turning over in my mind. You see, I often observe people, our culture, the world events, national and world news and consider what is going now here, why and how and for what reasons. With this I then think about how I fit into all of it, in the best way.

There are many different things going on spiritually all over the world. Maybe we here in the UK have a largely faithless or agnostic culture, but it cannot be denyed that humanity has and continues to look for and worship God in many ways. Is it a natural, expected thing, a deep-rooted human part of living which will never really leave us, whatever science or Western culture may argue?

I did end up having some form of feeling of guilt personally today. This was about myself, where my faith may be, what I may or may not be doing as a Christian, how I may or may not be living. This feeling has drifted now, and I am not precisely clear why or where it came from. I am not Catholic and have not done some drastically serious crime as far as I know. No, this was just a regular spiritual kind of guilt.

Was it brought about by church? Well, possibly but much more than that.

Anyway, this blog post is not me feeling all guilty and moaning. Things have turned around. You see, I am just very concerned for our culture, the country I live in, the divisions, the ways that many of us are afraid, made to feel fear or confusion by the media, the ways we hurt each other.

I see hope thought. There are lots of problems. Hey maybe this is still me grieving for the loss of David Bowie (we should make him a Saint now right?). The start of this new year has been a struggle. Both Bowie and the legendary Lemmy of Motorhead passing away days apart. Just why? I mean, rockstars are never really immortal, but seriously God-taking them so quickly one after another-it hurts.

The floods, the extreme weather in the United States, the continued terrorist threat. But there is much to look forward to in this year, we have so much to be thankful for still. I know this, I see this and I relax a little more.

I am who I am, I don’t think there is much wrong with this at all. Let us drink or listen to the lasting great music of Lemmy and Bowie and be thankful for it in our world.

There may be more people around me and us who do believe in God or a higher power, more people who want to love, help others, know our neighbours, help others when very bad things happen, when low emotions pull us down.

I think I’ll go listen to Bowie’s Blackstar album again with a smile and peaceful night ahead.


Yeah, I somehow managed to make it back along to the bigger modern local church again this morning with my wife. This was after problems with the house door, waking up and getting dressed quick enough to walk super-fast along the main road just as the service was starting.

So already was in a bit of a ‘not totally awake and grumpy’ mood on stepping into the church. But as the songs and service continued, it cheered me up surprisingly quickly.

Thing is, right now in the last week or two the crazed advertised hype and marketing and commercial aspect of Christmas has come down upon us fast and without mercy. The many regular atheist or secular floks around me in work and daily life are thinking about expensive presents, what the festive seasons means-i.e.- often or usually many chances or excuses to get shockingly drunk and do really stupid things and work parties and in pubs and clubs with the get-out of ‘hey,it’s Christmas’.

Brief note-I’ve no problem with people drinking and being merry at all-drinking way too much, acting like total fools, starting fights, hurting eachother verbally etc.-that sucks.

So I was at the chuch this morning after a week or two away. Many kids, young ones around, big mass of people all happy and spiritual etc. Great, good times.

After all the songs, the sermon things started. About a couple minutes in the speaker-well known and respected nice fella-accidentally swore, mixing his words. Many people laughed, possibly uncomfortably. So that was funny.

It was the a sewrmon connected to the start of Advent of course, and he was highlighting the link with Christmas and Jesus’ death on the cross, but we should not forget the time between he was suggesting. very good. Some of it was maybe pushed a bit much toward the end, but it was very good overall.

After all this, well-pluss the ‘mingle part midway-came the really uncomfortable walk around and chat part before leaving. Look, for some of you, just casually chatting away to others or even stranger may be the easiest thing in the world. Great for you. Well done, have a gold star.

It’s not that I’m shy really-at this point more probably that I don’t want to offend others with some of my views and beliefs. And having noticed that some may not be Guardian readers-which is arguably the most relevant, essential, modern, connected, non-bias, open-minded, wide reporting world and national newspaper-well that made things suddenly even more difficult. I’ll try to connect and know and be friendly with all and any kinds of people, I really will. But if I’m surrounded by a load of Dail Mail reading narrow-minded, conservative, Tory-voting, paranoid, materialistic, upper-middle class ‘spiritual’ people…that is fairly hard.

Churches are closing regularly in the UK, some remain open or expand due often to money from wealthy middle-class folks. So in some ways, hey maybe the poor and confused peeps like myself don’t matter so much to churches. I can’t pay for a church extension, I don’t look like a member of Mumford & (Wealthy)Sons.

Godbless, I’m off to think things over, listen to some tunes, better than apathetic, feminized church tunes or christian ‘safe’ pop ditties.


Hello all. Here we are on Sunday midday, morning after Halloween 2015. I did not end up doing much last night. This is the usual event really. So look, I don’t know what you think about Halloween, the notions about spirits, devils, witches, celebrating things creepy, spooky, ghoulish and evil. Do you approve? Kids walking the streets, maybe with parents, knocking door to door and asking (or begging, depending on your point of view) for sweets or a ‘treat’. If they get nothing, they may then feel like giving people a ‘trick’. Or just simply throwing eggs at your windows.

I was at work for some of the night. Some of my colleagues were dressed up in costumes, all bloody and ugly. I wore an old great Alice Cooper t-shirt and had some plastic fangs if I needed them.

I saw many families and some groups of friends, some couples on their way out or having been trick or treating. People seemed happy, in good spirits (pun intended).

So should I dissaprove of all of this, as a born-again God-believing person?

The answer may be a yes or no, but mostly personally I do not really mind it all. You see, I am also a big fan of horror films, horror books. What I do not like is when it gets out of control. There were reports in some of the local newspapers of people who had been attacked on the streets last year, their money stolen, hurt with knives. Some people beaten up by groups on the dark streets under shadows. It can be a dangerous night. I worry about the young children and kids wandering around. Older kids may chase or attack them, steal their sweets, steal their money, beat them up or worse. These things do happen.

But then, some people have a really good time, really enjoy themsleves. Many folks were going to Halloween parties-we are becoming so very much like America now with our October 31st. This is consumerism, selling an event, an excuse to get drunk and merry. Maybe we need this, want this, or just accept one more on top of all the other social big occassions now. For non-religious people (most folks in the UK) it is a chance or excuse to get merry and have fun. Well, that’s fine.

How about all of the old thoughts about getting too close to ‘evil’ or bad spirits? Are we actually taking a big, possibly dangerous risk, tempting fate with all of this ghoulish behaviour? Many Christians would certainly think so.

Do I think like that? Possibly just a little. But then, part of me maybe thinks that it is also good in some ways to acknowledge and confront the notion of evil, danger, dark forces, evil in the world. Danger, death, fear are part of living. Death is a part of life at some point. This is how I see watching horror films and similar things. To shy away, is to deny this. To confront fear and horror, is to also possibly enbrace life from that. Confront mortality and remember how blessed we are. To also remember that there are dangers in life and the world around us. Some people-many Christians may live a life, with almost all or every kind of uncomfortable, nasty, troubling event or thing around is edited out, or ignored which may not be the best way to live.

There is danger, darkness, things that spook us and scare us in this world. There is then also love and light around and beyond that waiting for us.

Hello all, here I am with a new post, it has been what? A few weeks? I was waiting for something I don’t know-important, real, right?

So look, this has been another week of ups and downs, moments of strong and mercyful faith, moments of sin, confusion and distraction as ever. But then here is the part that may end up most challenging or interesting in some ways. The day before yesterday a couple of my work colleagues seemed to have learned or guessed that I am Christian.

So look, I have never really hidden this, but I suppose I have not always shouted it from the rooftops-some reasons for this are linked to not working Sundays, and a previous manager not wanting me to encourage other staff to do the same.

So yes, these are both two younger guys I can mostly view as friends I would say-especially the one who just suddenly, but in a friendly way looked at me and said-

‘Are you a Christian?’ (He did say it with a curious smile, not in a vindictive way)

I was not at all expecting this, just going about with the usual tasks in work. So I possibly hesitated for a short couple of seconds-what is the right way to confirm this, in 2015?-I said, with a smile…

‘Well, yes I am, in my own strange way’ (or something very close to this, it was a rushed, surprise moment so some of it s lost to me)

So then began a casual but unexpected conversation in a friendly manner about my faith, my view of what/who God is or might be, what I think about Jesus, my friend’s own beliefs, childhood religious upbringing. The other guy there just quietly said he was probably atheist while the one talking a lot I think decided that he was possibly agnostic these days. He had been put through a religious school period with nuns, that Catholic kind of thing I think.

At first, he expressed just how shock he was in some ways-

‘But you like Lamb of God and listen to metal!?’ he said.

‘Well, I don’t love Lamb of God, but yeah I like metal and rock music…so?’

So I expressed my current personal views-briefly, I mean, were at work, and this just suddenly happened. Well, at present he is still my friend, and had the view of ‘to each their own, fair enough’. One of the others guys I saw at work yesterday and was not too sure if he was really wanting to still know me now. But it seemed that he was okay still like he always has been, I think. I think it probably helps that they have known me for a good while previously, so they’re not suddenly meeting a ‘Christian’. They know me, how I am, what I like, my interests. I told them ‘look, I’l be first to tell you church music sucks, that’s why I listen to a good few christian metal and rock bands’. I have previously lost some friends when they have found that I that I have this particular kind of faith, and just hope that these guys still want to know me and that we can continue to work well together as we usually do.

Okay, continuing on from the previous post I having been reading more of the weekend article about LGBT tensions with faith and church.

The brave and bold reverend from the UK I mentioned was Sally Hitchiner-a wonderful young lady of faith, and yes also gay. She works with Diverse Church in UK, and they attended London Pride recently. Many LGBT people really seemed to react well to the unexpected support, and message of God’s love waiting for them.

Diverse Church handed out leaflets stating- ‘We’re sorry if anyone has ever told you that God doesn’t love you. God loves everyone’.

This just simply warmed my heart so much. Simple honest love spread out to all.

One slogan seen around the area read ‘Queerly Beloved’ as joyful music played loudly at the Pride march.

We have some great supporters of LGBT and gay rights  from our world of faith here in the UK now, including Ms Hitchiner, Vicky Beeching-evangelical musician/theologian, Steve Chalke-social activist/leader of Oasis network, but also Tony Campolo has shown support.

The UK CoE Anglican church of course remains tongue-tied and hesitant, only just about managing to get to grips with the problematic (but not really) issue of female Bishops recently.

Must must listen, show love, respect, and listen to God, not simply our possible fearful or confused conservative cultures of old.

I thought that I was in fairly good spirits now after having finished work and returned home. Nice cup of tea, half an old doughtnut, look at the papers. Oh dear.

Now, I don’t read the trashy simple propagandist right-wing or tabloid newspapers, and so this was a valid serious issue to change my mood.

Starting out, it was written by a very intelligent guy, a spiritual journey-man if you like from the UK  here. He was setting out an article about LGBT in our times and the challenges with acceptance, culture and more. He referenced a brave lady reverend who was supporting LGBT cause, and calling for them to ask their haters for forgiveness.

He then goes on to state some of the LGBT tensions in America toward the church, with disrupting services, breaking stained glass windows, calling for stripping of charitable status for church.

This all saddened me. I do know that all gay/lesbian and LGBT people are not agressive, violent, angry to such extents, but I would also certainly understand all of this.

Considering how the majority of American church and christianity reacts toward gay people, it would not really surprise me to hear of this kind of response from some.

Although from my parents/grandparents generation, I had mostly respected the massive scale of evangelising done by Billy Graham, but he apparently thought that Aids was Gd’s judgement on gays. Oh dear.

That was a very long time ago, but there are many christians who of course read the Bible very literally, and have serious personal problems and views of LGBT people. This is 2015, let us please move on. There are so many more serious issues for people of faith to be concerned about such as illeagal war, the wealth/class divide increasing, poverty and joblessness continuing, big corporations collecting our personal data, our children and young being so confused, violent, lost and more.

Right here-I have no problem with gay people, bisexual people, trans or other gender minority groups at all. Get married, fall in love, be very happy. Spread love, find peace, find faith. People of faith-find tolerance, understaning, find love.

Coffee, pain and Grace…

Posted: June 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Oh it’s Sunday. Oh joy.

No really, I was kind of looking ahead to it with some hope and optimisim this week, but just hours before I was sort of getting less interested.

Now we’re back from church, and well…it was one of those off times. This is mostly due to the fact that I took my morning meds quickly and then we rushed off to church, maybe the late night but on top of all of that was just my state of mind.

I have such strong views on social class, justice, injustice, inequality, I’m cynical, jaded, I curse more than I have in the last few months. Stuff is going on.

I perhaps don’t fit into some of the nice charming social catergories with the rest of the very nice, mroe wealthy, very well educated, very financially successful people in this church around me. It gets to me, I won’t pretend it doesn’t.

With that also…the music. Oh dear heck, ah man…I know the views, the cultural debates or lack of…I am not a super-masculine guy really but this music, these hymns are just still so very, very feminine, and soppy to be blunt about it.

Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, the majority of people in the church are probably female, this music and worship style ‘clicks’ well with them, with how they feel. That’s fine and good. But it certainly isn’t for everyone in society. Should I feel odd because I don’t want to sing about almost going on a date with Jesus and falling head over heels for him?

There are many forms and genres of musical styles, and mainstream church worship music is still so inoffensive, conservative, middle-class, feminine and blant…I just can’t get with it personally.

Please don’t be offended by this, but I’m say that there are many folks in modern society who do not dig worship music like this, never will, and will and are probably very turned off by it.

But hey, they probably don’t have huge bulging bank accounts right? (Oh dear, there I go with my class related issues again).

The major problem is there for me, not just with the lame worship tunes but because I know that so many thousands of people in my country don’t go to church, many of them young, under 30, the next generation, and they like different music and pop culture which current mainstream church just isn’t connecting with.

The message doesn’t really get spread inside church, just repeated. The message should be out on the street, in work, with strangers when it feels suitable and right.

Is too much of modern, current church just simply an ego thing? There just to make many of us feel better about ourselves, even when most of us are some of the luckiest people on this planet, in some of the richest, wealthiest countries right now?

Take peace, faith and hope with you.

There were some good things mentioned in the service today-the message is not the church, it is Jesus. You’re not bringing people to church, you’re bringing them to Christ.

Amen to that for sure.