Saturday, 2 December 2017

Clickerty Clique or exclusion by a group

According to Cambridge Online Dictionary a clique is a small group of people who spend their time together and do not welcome other people into the group. I would like to add to this definition if I may, or are perceived to be unwelcoming to others.

You may have experienced this starting a new job, school or taking up a new hobby or sport with others and felt unwelcomed by the group. Sometimes this can be unintentional, for example when we meet up with a group of close friends we haven't seen for a week, naturally we want to catch up on the latest news, but without realising it we have made others wanting to join in feel excluded. There is also another side where we intentionally exclude people. It could be because we feel threatened, hurt or upset by an individual or a group of people. We then start to build a group who feel the same way as we do, who are allies and anyone who thinks differently to the group are excluded, with some of the worst being bullying as a form of exclusion which I and many others have experienced.

These cliques tend to be safe places for the group of individuals, but are unsafe places for people outside of it, having a huge impact on ‘outsiders’ and creating that feeling of exclusion and loneliness yet to often seen in our communities. These cliques when apart of a larger group can create tension and division. Where discrimination is prevalent and exclusion is part of the culture. If you are in the ‘in crowd’ then we are ‘alright mate’. When this happens in church the culture becomes no different to the world people have come from who are seeking to know Jesus.

In James 2:1-13 we are challenged about cliques by the analogy of a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothes (smelling wonderful) or someone wearing shabby clothing (a bit smelly). Who are we most likely to gravitate towards. In an ideal world I would like to say someone wearing shabby clothing, but I'm not so sure. It’s understandable that we gravitate towards the people who we are most comfortable with OR who may share our thinking, but is this at the exclusion of others. Finally we are challenged, “Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? ...” Could these ‘poor’ just be the people we have excluded from our group?

Monday, 13 November 2017

Church what's it all about

What's the difference between the 'real' world and church. Assuming of course you are coming from the angle that church is a group of people gathering and not a building? In which case if you are coming from the latter you are probably better comparing it against a housing estate. Well I'm coming from the people angle comparing people with people. Actually people in both cases whether 'real' world or chuch, have to deal with the same issues financial, relational, health, unemployment and lots more. Both groups are still find their place in community, learning to be in a relationship with others. Still messing up and dealing with the consequences of that.

What's the difference between the 'real" world and church. It's an obvious answer, Jesus. You would be quite right in saying, "Andy, but it doesn't feel like that sometimes". Consider this, that the church is the 'real' world with all the mess with Jesus amongst it all. Tim Watson, Beatliturgist wrote a poem called Church Without Love, in which he says, "church without love is just a meeting about a bloke". 
This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 , Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

Could the church without love be the 'real' world without Jesus?

Friday, 20 October 2017

Water from the web heats homes

I was reading on the BBC website  recently that a city in Sweden was using the internet to heat homes. Basically water used to cool data servers is redistributed to homes, therefore enabling them to be heated. This sounds like a great idea. Does that mean in countries where politicians are prolific at using social media, everyone would get an extra boast of hot air, sorry I mean heat? Oh it could catch on :-)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

That funny seat on the bus

I haven't travelled on a bus in ages, but now it has become a regular occurrence going to Durham as it actually works out cheaper than parking there. My grandad would be proud of my frugalness!

My experience of travelling on public transport early in the morning, as a die hard car driver, is a bit like getting up, going downstairs and seeing a bunch of strangers sat around your dining room table in silence either playing on their phone or reading The Metro. All going in the same direction, knowing we need to press the stop button at some point and getting ready to stagger down the bus just before it stops. Because we don't have enough confidence in the "shop like" bell and under whelming "bus stopping sign" communicating to the driver, "STOP". I do like the introduction of the next stop announcement. I think by the end of the year I'll have an encyclopedic knowledge of bus stops on the road to Durham.

So while I'm sat on the bus fascinated by the shiny plug sockets to charge mobile phones, easily pleased, I'm amused by an out of place single chair behind the driver. I'm not sure what bus builders were thinking. On the 1st day let there be a chasis and wheels. Day 2 let there be an engine. Day 3 let there be a body and all the other bits needed to get the bus running and day 4 let there be an interior. Day 5 let there be passengers. Day 6 we've missed something. I know a single seat behind the driver that looks weird. Day 7 after that I'm having a holiday!

Take a look at the photo of the seat, there's not much distance between face and wall, probably less when the driver breaks. Is sitting there a subtle way of saying to people I'm not sitting with the great unwashed, or I have no confidence please don't talk to me, a wise place to sit to avoid knocking into other passengers while looking for an available seat or could it be a genuine place for someone to get their thoughts together without distraction (but not the rattling engine) before starting work, school, college or some other activity?

Who knows and who cares it's just a seat that someone sits on?