Monthly Archives: March 2013
As I sat in the Starbucks today I had a sudden realisation. For a quick glance around confirmed that I was the only ‘leisure’ coffee drinker in the place. Since in this coffee house outside the Metro Centre in Newcastle, the customers were all surrounded by laptops, netbooks and phones. Business meetings predominated but singletons tapped furiously on keyboards surrounded by A4 pads creating undoubtedly the next… Starbucks
It seems then that these specialist coffee outlets have rediscovered the Georgian Coffee House. Actually the first coffee house in England was established in Oxford in 1652. However the idea soon spread to London. In time they became business hubs with no less than Lloyds of London, the London Stock Exchange, Christies and Sotherby’s all having their origins in these establishments. Whether they had the same bored and surly staff that I encountered in Starbucks today history doesn’t make unclear.
However, the earlier Restoration coffee houses had another clientele; because in that turbulent era they were the centres of political agitation and dissention. So much so, Charles II was all for closing them down. A reputation they were to reinvent in 19th Century Europe where they brought artist, writers and intellectuals together for discussion and debate. Now if Starbucks and its ilk were do that, we may indeed see a revisiting of something else – fresh thought to go with the fresh coffee.
Yesterday I was wandering around the harbour at Arbroath – that’s a small town with a long tradition of fishing here in eastern Scotland. Despite being pulled in every direction by my dog, I chatted to a fisherman mending his creels. Apparently, it has been a bad year what with the poor catches and the storms damaging his gear. In fact, pointing to a mound of creels he said every one had needed mending.
It turns out that these fishermen can have down as many as a thousand creels at a time. These original net-boxes are roped together in groups and are lifted about every 4 days. As a result it must be a full time job just heaving up the their buoyed lines, replacing bait and mending the damage. Work that seems to go on in all weathers despite the dangers.
And that makes me realise how lucky I am to be behind a screen being creative. Yet I wonder what I am not maintaining today?
This is worth thinking about!
Well these are my highly critical observations about street preaching, at least from within New Zealand.
People Type A attempt to preach on the streets to People Type B.
People Type A are different people to People Type B.
When Type A speak, Type B struggle to understand what they are harping on about. Type A conform to the injection myth which is that no matter what I say or how I say it, because it makes sense to me it will make sense to you. Therefore the more I inject information into you, the more you will hear from Jesus. Thus the louder I preach, the better the message gets.
But no matter how ‘anointed’ we think we are, people cannot make sense of a different language. Hardly half the story spurts out as Jesus is ripped out of his own context. And let’s be honest, it…
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This week will see an ever increasing attention on Rome by the world. Since Papal conclaves naturally fascinate the faithful and the unbeliever in almost equal measure. More to the point for today is that the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church will have a global influence on the future of the whole Christian Church not least in the way that those outside see it.
From that viewpoint, I have been more observant of the news than usual. Yet this has thrown up some surprises. Not least a Catholic priest in St Peter’s Square, on being asked about possible changes the new Pope might bring in, claimed that such possibilities would not happen as they were not of God. Next day, a Channel 4 commentator made clear that without changes the Roman Catholic Church and, by inference, Christianity would fizzle out.
Both speakers seemed intimate with what God thought! Yet who can? For the last lines of Minnie Louise Haskins’ often quoted poem – I said to the man at the gate of the year – are much less repeated. But they contain a warning for they are:
In all the dizzy strife,
of things both high and low
God hideth his intentions.
Let us then put our hand into the hand of God, look after the now and trust Him to take care of both the past and future.