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Monthly Archives: September 2011

[Guest Post] Perspective…

Hello lovely people, and a big welcome to those of you who have visited blogblunders in the last few days – it’s great to have you here! If you are the person who came across my posts after googling ‘Cherry Healey nude’ (Read, Listen, Watch) then, my apologies, there are no naked pictures here! 😉

So…it’s taken a few posts, but finally I’m taking you back to the world of musical theatre today. Years ago I performed in the European Premiere of “The Will Rogers Follies”. At this stage I need to make it clear that the fact that it was the European Premiere is not actually that exciting. Fundamentally, the reasons the show had never been produced in Europe were a) the Broadway production had not long closed when we performed it and b) it is totally insane. It tells the life story of Will Rogers – “American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer, actor and one of the best known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s” (Wikipedia link) through big production numbers akin to those featured in the Ziegfeld Follies, a revue show which he often headlined.

One of Rogers’ famous quotes was “I never met a man I didn’t like”, which is the title of the theme song of the show (if you want to listen, there is a horrific version by Barry Manilow here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOqLuwoxfrU&feature=fvst I couldn’t find a way to link to the original cast recording!). By way of introducing himself, Will sings a version of this at the opening with the show, and interrupts his singing with this dialogue;

“Howdy. I guess I met a whole lot of people in my lifetime, and I always try to approach them the same way my Indian ancestors would. You see, an Indian always looks back after he passes something so he can get a view of it from both sides.

A white man don’t do that. He just figures all sides of a thing are automatically the same. That’s why you must never judge a man when you’re facing him. You got to go around behind him like an Indian and look at what he’s looking at. Then go back and face him and you’ll have a totally different idea of who he is.

You’d be surprised how much easier it is to get along with everybody.”

I’m really struck by these words, as I’m aware how easy it is to judge others according to our own values, beliefs and opinions, without due regard to the fact that they might think differently from us.

I wrote a few weeks ago about a girl called Zoe who told me that she was pregnant and  was planning  to have an abortion. She was 16, not in a long term relationship, and just about to start a course at college. At the time we spoke, I was heavily pregnant with my first son. As she told me about her plans, I felt him squirming and kicking inside me, and urgently felt that I needed to fight for the life of Zoe’s unborn baby. So I asked her to consider keeping the baby. I told her that even though it was scary, it would be OK. I told her that there would be lots of support available to her. I told her that even if her Dad was angry and disappointed to start with, he’d calm down eventually, because he loved her. It was very easy for me – a 24 year old, with a husband, job, mortgage, supportive family and crucially, a planned pregnancy – to say these things. And whilst they might have been true, on reflection I know that I was trying to assess Zoe’s situation according to my circumstances…not hers.

In this instance I know I should have been more aware of the need to look at things like Will Rogers did. I might then have had a better chance of helping and supporting Zoe in her decision.

On the other hand, this week I’ve been challenged by people who have opinions SO different from my own, that try as hard as I may, I can’t see things from their point of view.

On Wednesday morning I saw a facebook group, called sTopman started by Tender, an organisation my friend works for (www.tender.org.uk) who work with young people to stop domestic violence across the UK. sTopman was set up to protest the sale of this t-shirt (Guardian Article) – specifically the red one which lists commonly used excuses for domestic violence).

Within hours, Topman had removed the shirts from their website and stores and issued an apology, stating that they were “meant to be light hearted and carried no serious meaning”. What I can’t understand is, given how many people must have been involved in the process of getting this tshirt from design to store, why no one objected to it before it even had chance to hit the racks?

Do we really live in a society where some people still don’t take domestic violence seriously?! Well, according to the comments on the Topman facebook page after the statement was issued…yes, we do. Alongside those thanking Topman for recalling this item, there were over a hundred comments from people who genuinely thought there was nothing wrong with it. A ‘choice’ few (edited for language!)…

“Seriously? Some people can’t take a joke can they?”

“is idiotic. It’s a t-shirt…if you don’t like what it says then don’t buy it”

“Get a grip…end of the day its a T shirt! You don’t have to read it nor buy it so stop moaning.”

“Anyone who thinks that the red tshirt refers to domestic violence is an idiot.”

No matter what angle I came at it from, I couldn’t see how anyone could justify the sale of these t-shirts. Even if the domestic violence interpretation was not what Topman had intended, did no one consider how it might affect a victim of domestic abuse to encounter someone walking down the street with those phrases (“You provoked me…I was drunk…I didn’t mean it”) emblazened across their chest? I think that t-shirt was a bad choice by Topman. It’s not funny, and could do serious damage. In this instance, no matter how many different opinions I read, nothing was going to convince me to change my mind.

I think Mr Rogers might have been onto something though. Sometimes looking at things from another person’s perpective might help you to develop a more rounded and informed opinion. It might enable you to help or support someone, and will often improve your relationship with them. Conversely, sometimes you may come across opinions that are so opposed to yours, that considering them for a moment serves to confirm and strengthen your own beliefs. It’s win-win 😉

This week join me in taking time to think about things from another perspective. Let me know if you have any fresh revelations!

Love

Mrs B

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Jesus, Mission

 

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Following the liberator…

Jesus the liberator

Hey all!

Back to our journey through the Gospel of John, been so long I had to remember where we left it!

But, we are still in Chapter 2 and our verses are 13-15. So here they are;

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.

And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your househas eaten Me up.” 

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. John 2:13-25 NKJV

If you know your Bible stories you may be wondering why this narrative is happening here. Matthew, Mark and Luke have this story towards the end of Jesus’ life. But, it would appear that Jesus cleared the temple more than once. John has Jesus going to and fro Jerusalem several times during his short ministry. If this event did happen more than once than it would as NT Wright has noted explain why people travelled from Jerusalem to the little town of Galilee to check up on Jesus (Mark 3:22 & Mark 7:1). But either way John is clear in why he is including the story.

John clearly states that this event is during the passover – he has already told us in the previous chapter that Jesus is the passover Lamb. John is showing that Jesus is changing the meaning of passover. Moreover, he is fulfilling the true meaning of the passover.

The passover was all about liberation, rescue from the slavery of Egypt, celebrating the God of gods and His faithfulness to His people. This is the first example of John explaining the full meaning of the passover, he will continue this in Chapter 6 and Chapter 12 of his Gospel. Jesus came to set people free. He came to conquer.

Every single act Jesus did was an act of liberation.

When he ate with someone who was an outcast or a ‘sinner’ he set them free. He declared that they were worth something, no longer worthless, but worthy of knowing God. He redeemed.

When he healed, he set people free from their illness or debilitation. He set people free from the stigma of being an outcast, he brought them back into the community. He restored.

When he let himself be crucified, he did it to restore us, to redeem us and rescue us. The greatest liberation!

The act in the temple, was about setting people free. Jesus has come to declare that He is the true temple, the word made flesh. Greed and corruption will eventually be destroyed.

Jesus tells the Jewish leaders, you can destroy me, but I will be back in three days, from then on things will be different.

The God who still loves the world has a plan. To redeem, restore and renew; and it comes through Jesus. As we learn to follow the greatest liberator we take our place in God’s plan. When we choose Jesus we are in the process of being redeemed, restored and renewed. Then God in His sovereignty does the same thing through us as we follow Him!

The gospel of John is about presenting the story of Jesus and then asking us to respond. John hints as to how people should respond. If you see the signs, then trust Him, it may be a little bit to start off with. But, take the risk. Jesus is the liberator and he knows you through and through (John 2:24-25), there is nothing about you, your past, your story that God does not know and He still loves you. (check out the MrsBlunders  tab for some excellent posts on the theme of God’s love)

God is all about resurrection!

Resurrecting the things we thought were dead, restoring broken dreams, replacing what has been lost, redeeming us to a better way of life.

We are living in a world of endless possibilities.

We are living in the midst of rescue.

We are living in the resurrection!

What have you got to loose?

How will you follow Jesus the liberator today?

Have a think and let me know your thoughts in the comment section or email me if you have any questions,

Grace and peace,

Steve

Prayer

Father, thank you for your grace.

Thank that you are the God of the resurrection.

The God of redemption.

We thank you for your Son, his life, death and resurrection.

We thank you for saving us, for liberating us.

May we live with eternity in view.

We will play our parts in the redeeming, restoring and rescuing of this world.

May we learn to follow the liberator.

Holy Spirit, teach us!

In Jesus’ name

Amen 

 

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…Monday Morning Prayer Revisited

Monday Prayer

Hello once again from Blogblunders land,

It’s been a while and I thought I’d return with a short prayer to kick start the week. Perhaps you are nearing tea break time or just fancy a break from your to do list. Take 5mins have a read and keep mindful of Jesus in your Monday!

Grace and Peace,

Steve

Dear Lord God and Father,

Thank you for this day,

Thank you for your grace and mercy, for your love and hope, your strength and your shield.

As this day unfolds may I stay awake to your Spirit’s presence with me,

That you are sustaining me even now,

As I breathe, I will acknowledge my creator

As I sit, I will listen to my teacher

As I walk, I will follow the Master,

As I eat, I will be hospitible and gracious,

May the words of my mouth and my thoughts bring glory to you this and every day!

For your glory and your renown,

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Liturgy Project, Prayer

 

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[Guest Post] Read, listen, watch…

Mrs B back with you and I thought I would do a little blog about things I’ve read, listened to and watched just recently, whilst I think of a topic for my next few posts.

READ…

I’ve just finished reading ‘Room’ by Emma Donaghue. I’d never heard of it, read reviews or had it recommended to me. I just picked it up in Waterstones, read the back cover and liked the sound of it:

“Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there’s a world outside . . .”

Told in Jack’s voice, Room is the story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible. Unsentimental and sometimes funny, devastating yet uplifting, Room is a novel like no other.”

I can’t tell you anything about it – because I’m rubbish at keeping secrets and don’t want to give anything away – but it was defintely one of those books that had me hooked from beginning to end. At one point I let out a huge sigh of relief – not realising until that point that I’d been holding me breath for about 3 pages!

It’s sad, and funny, and thought provoking and brilliant.

LISTEN…

Our favourite ‘car CD’ at the moment is 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. I say ‘our’ because both the boys have their own favourite tracks, and as soon I tell HJ (16 months) that we’re getting in the car he starts singing his! Now, I must confess that in general, I’m not a big fan of Christian music. I think there’s lots of rather average stuff around that gets sales, attention and great reviews just because of the ‘big name’ who has released it. So I didn’t expect to be so impressed by this album, which is packed with brilliant tracks and some really outstanding lyrics. EJ (3 and a half) loves ‘number 8’ which is actually called We Could Change the World .

I love the lyrics of the chorus:

“Yes, our God is all He says, all He says He is
Jesus, in Your name we could change the world
We stand in Your love, in Your power
And all You say we are
Jesus, in Your name we could change the world”

And I love listening to EJ belt it out – I’m praying that he’ll always have a relationship with Jesus that means he can make these declarations, and I look forward to seeing how he changes the world in Jesus’ name!

I’ve also become reacquainted with the soundtrack from the musical We Will Rock You. I know that opinion is a bit divided on this musical – Queen fans don’t like the fact that the music’s been messed around a bit and musical theatre fans don’t like the fact it’s just a bunch of Queen songs held together with a rather tenous storyline. It was the first musical I managed to drag Steve to see in the West End, and the live cast recording is exceptional. Lovin’ it.

WATCH…

My best girl crush, Cherry Healey has been back on BBC3 with a short run of documentaries. The most recent was called ‘Cherry’s Body Dilemmas’ and you can still watch it here – BBCiplayer (as an aside, I love iplayer. We don’t have Sky, so can’t Sky+ things and I find myself watching a lot of stuff on my trusty laptop!).

I’m a bit in love with Cherry.

Mr B will confirm that I’ve said that I want to be her. It’s true. She’s fab and she makes funny, interesting, balanced documentaries. As someone who has worked with teenage girls around topics of body image and self esteem, and battled my own body image demons (I’m finally resignd to the fact that my flat stomach is long gone, thanks to the two beautiful mini-men in my life) I was really interested to watch as she interviewed a range of women with very different views. Word of warning; she make a visit to a naturist camp – full frontal nudity – try not to laugh too much!

Last night me and Blunders watched “Never Let Me Go”. Those of you who know me well will know that I am not a film buff. There’s loads of classics that I’ve never seen, and loads of current stuff that I haven’t heard of. Which means that sending me to Blockbuster to choose the DVD is always a bit of a risk. This one sounded OK from the blurb on the box;

“Kathy, Ruth and Tommy are best friends who grow up together at an English boarding school with a chilling secret. When they learn the shocking truth – that they are genetically engineered clones raised to be organ donors – they embrace their fleeting chance to live and love. Based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go is an intriguing exploration of hope and humanity”

It is a fascinating movie.

After watching it I read some of the reviews online and it seems that reactions are really mixed – a bit of a marmite movie. I have to say I neither loved it nor hated it. It was beautifully shot and there were some fantastic performances (Keira Knightley is annoying though. She always is). There were some bits that didn’t make sense, and some questions that were unanswered, but if you can put those things aside it’s well worth a watch. As always, reviewers commented that the book is much better than the film, so excuse me now as I head over to the Kindle store to download it…

Let me know your read, listen, watch recommendations in the comment box!

Love
Mrs B x

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Book Reviews, Eastbourne, Jesus

 

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