Sunday, September 02, 2007

Which "Princess Bride" character are you?

Vaguely continuing a theme (well, the film The Princess Bride does feature a pirate), here's something I came across on Facebook where I seem to be spending inordinate amounts of time at the moment.


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

What this says about me is a little worrying? I'd probably have preferred something like the Impressive Clergyman, or maybe the Albino. Even Miracle Max's wife! Oh well. In other news, my Myers-Briggs personality type has either changed (not possible according to theory) or my preferences have become differently expressed, or summat. I was an ESTP according to an assessment a couple of years ago, now I'm an ENTP. Can we blame fatherhood for a move from details to big picture? Or the sense of a purposeful future for move to vision from immediate senses? Answers on a comment, please (and if you don't know Myers-Briggs/MBTI, let me know).

PS be patient - more serious posts on sins, ministry and maybe a few other things will pop up at some stage.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Talk like a Pirate

This just came to mind now, so I thought I'd post a 'heads-up'

International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2007 - Sep 19.

[PS blame the gap since last post on holidays, and discovering Bebo & Facebook]

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Great Quote

PS Saw this on the side of a lorry on the M77 this morning! It was attributed but I can't remember the name.

Discovery consists of seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.

I may have got the odd word wrong but that was the gist of it. Fantastic eh? On a lorry, too.


Seven Deadly Sins - Overview

So finally I begin my long-promised (but probably not long-awaited) series on the Seven Deadly Sins, readily acknowledging Wikipedia for factual and historical stuff (assuming that the Wikipedia article in question is both factual and historical!)

Long-time readers of this blog have probably given up and gone home long ago, but if they have survived, they might remember I mentioned sin and sins in January. This was because during the ICC Weekend Away, one of the issues that came up (at least in my head) was about sin. I was becoming a bit more aware of certain areas where I fail and fall. Now I know sin is not a popular notion in our (Westernised) culture at this point in time, it's all to do with postmodernism and the lack of absolute values and all that (so they tell me) but what is worse is that many Christians and Churchians don't talk about it much either. Don't worry, I'm not going to turn into a fire and brimstone preacher, but sometimes it might do us well to consider sin - what it is, what it does, and what we should do about it - without focusing so much on it that we lose focus on God, Christ, life, loved ones and all the important stuff. Of course 'what it is, what it does, what to do' would be a series if not a dissertation in itself, but suffice to say for now that my working definition includes: something that separates me from God, something that is unacceptable behaviour, not up to standard, and that has an impact on me and those around me. Further general thoughts on sin will hopefully become clear as I think about each of the seven.

And because there were several areas that I noticed coming up, some of which might possibly overlap with the so-called Deadly Sins, I thought they would be handy pegs on which to hang some confession and reflection.

So here's the list, courtesy of Wikipedia:

  • Lust

  • Gluttony

  • Greed

  • Sloth

  • Wrath

  • Envy

  • Pride

Just for the record, I haven't seen the Morgan Freeman/Brad Pitt film Se7en, and don't particularly intend to.

I hope to reflect on and explore what the terms mean and meant, and what they mean to me (hey, now that is postmodern...)

So just to get it right, we probably shouldn't refer to Seven Deadly Sins but Mortal or Cardinal ones - the distinction being made by (primarily) the Roman Catholic Church between these (which could lead to eternal damnation and had to be resolved either by confession or perfect contrition) and venial sins, which were less serious and could be forgiven through any sacrament of the church (incidentally the RC church also has seven sacraments - as opposed to the Church of Scotland's two - but I don't think there are direct parallels with the sins. Might be an interesting study though...)

I had hoped to do a quick intro and one of the actual posts tonight but due to a few hyperlinks and my usual obsessive-completist tendencies, this will have to do for now. Oh yes, and don't hold your breath for the series to come out regularly or even quickly. I have a two-week holiday coming up!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Graduation and other oddities

So I graduated (again) on Saturday (07/07/07 - won't forget that date in a hurry!)
I am now David G Slater, B.Sc., B.A. (Theol.)
For those who are interested, my B.A. Theol is with majors in New Testament with Greek, and Practical Theology. I worked hard to ensure that my module choices gave me a double major or alternatively the option to choose one of two majors in my potential Honours year that I'm not now doing, including taking 30 credits more than I needed over my three years, and now they (my majors) gets very little mention. So much for Pride...
I am also trying to sort out going to Glasgow University, where I will (hopefully) get some more alphabet extracts to drag around my formal correspondance.

This is because the Kirk have accepted me as a Prospective Candidate in Training for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, and the Presbytery of Irvine and Kilmarnock have nominated me as a full Candidate so assuming that I do all the relevant studying, attend the Candidates' Conferences, have three successful Student Placements and a fourth Probationer's Placement sustained, complete Church Law and Bible Knowledge Portfolios and probably get examined on walking with my left leg behind my right ear, I will nearly be a Church of Scotland Minister (assuming that one of the umpteen vacant charges is in agreement with myself and Cath that we are called to be their minister and minister's wife and they are called to be our charge).

But in spite of all the ifs and ands, it's been a big milestone that I have temporarily lost sight of through finishing my term, and indeed my time at ICC (you can tell I lost sight of it by the fact that it's almost 2 months after acceptance that I'm blogging it!). Before I was simply studying Theology in faith that God had called me to ministry. Now I have some sort of 'Status' in that representatives of the ?biggest denomination in Scotland (at least the biggest Protestant one, surely?) have confirmed that calling and I am 'in until I'm out' rather than being 'out until I'm in'.

This probably doesn't make a lot of sense, and isn't what I was going to post on in detail when I started. But bed is beckoning so the other oddities will have to wait. Still, at least I'm back blogging - it may not be regular or daily but I am still here. Anyone reading this who hasn't yet fallen asleep, please post to say hi.

Incidentally, I haven't come to any great conclusions about our new PM except to agree with Nick Robinson's description of him as 'Not Blair'. Which, let's face it, is a good start...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Resource for 'Housedads'

I'm not actually a housedad, but do manage to spend more time at home than I would if I was on a 9-5, at least I have recently. So for all those dads out there, house- or not, I recommend I haven't read it all yet, but I find it funny. [The management of Nodrog's Gruntlings accepts no responsibility for anyone who does not agree with me.] I particularly recommend 'Dear Dave' - no relation (I think. Much. Well as I said above I'm not a housedad. Look, just read it and laugh, ok? Or smile grimly if that's all you can manage - but remember that just looking after the wean for an hour on a Saturday afternoon may seem hard when you're going through it, but it's bound to get easier if you're doing it 24/7, right? Hmm...)

Survival or 'Thrival'?

Can't believe it's been over a month! This term was supposed to be an easier one... but I find that having more time allows more time for procrastination and plain time-wasting, as well as work expanding to fill the available (space-)time. Then of course I have tried to prioritise my family (still getting used to thinking of my wife and son under that heading instead of my mum and sisters!) - not always successfully - and there was a cold in there somewhere as well (or a series of 2 or 3 of them for spouse & sprog :-( )

Anyway, in the midst of 'end-of-term' stuff - despite lack of decent preparation, did quite well in my final Hebrew test of term, and think I've done an ok exam paper (2 hours) for Greek Text: Philippians. Now I just have to write a few thousand words about some children's songs, mostly before Friday, and I'll be fine!

But I've just been wondering - am I surviving this week (which also included a 'Personal Development Interview' as part of my C of S Ministry application) or thriving on it. I feel like I've 'survived' the two language modules rather than thrived (thriven?) as perhaps I did last term (at least in Greek - or that's how my revisionist memory records it...) but at the same time, I've been trying to depend utterly on God. I'm a long way off yet, but feel it ties in with Brother Lawrence's 'Practising the Presence of God', and have made some progress in small ways. What I wonder is, has this intention to depend on God, led to an actual 'thrival' in terms of my studies? I certainly seem to be a bit better at not being anxious in these last few weeks.

The proof of the pudding will probably be if I get this independent study work completed reasonably well. I also recently decided that perhaps I should embrace the fact that I work in what my placement supervisor calls an 'exponential' fashion - the graph of work against time shoots up as the deadline approaches! As long as I time things right, there isn't a problem!

Friday, February 02, 2007

BBC Anti-Progress?

OK so my post title is a bit exaggerated. I bookmarked this story a while ago but forgot to blog it until now. Still thought it was worth highlighting - it's so unusual to see anyone in mainstream media (he said, blatantly generalising) questioning the forward march of progress and especially technology - it's usually 'which gadget' not 'should we have gadgets' (I speak as a gadget fan myself...) Scroll down for some of the BBC readers' comments too - also refreshing (in some cases)>

This is part of my theory (not unique or even original, probably) that we are not postmodern entirely by a long chalk, yet - in the realms of science/technology, we are still modernist, seeking salvation from global warming, etc., by 'scientists' or by new technologies like energy-saving bulbs. (I got one. It went dud, for a while. I tried it again later, it worked, then died shortly afterwards. I know I can't base my decisions on one bulb, but it has decreased my inclination to try this method of saving the planet, at present.) TV adverts still sell on the basis of 'clinically shown to...' or just a picture of someone in a white lab-coat... I mean, what is going on? Is the appearance of authority all that's really needed? Just a stern voice ('Big Brother says come to the diary room') and we all follow because it's easier than thinking ourselves? (The oft-cited 'electric shock' experiment would be relevant here if I had a source).

Anyway, just thought I'd raise the point. Is progress always good?


I don't know about you, but I'm kind of stuck in a Churchian(*) habit of saying sorry for anything, regardless of whether it's big or small, my fault or not, deliberate or accidental. Part of it may be British/Scottish cultural influence, especially when you apologise to someone who bumps into you! Anyway, check out this SmuloSpace blog entry about apologies.

It blows me away.

How can we as a church/faith and as (individual) faith communities get back to this kind of corporate movement, that will lead to a physical action/change in the world? As our college principal mentioned today, you may not be able to change the world, but you can change someone's world.

(*) I reckon a Churchian is someone who is an adherent of Churchianity, that well known parody of Christianity (**)

(**) Whether we should even refer to Christianity or use something like 'I am a Christ-follower' (or 'I try to be a Christ-follower') is a debate for another time, possibly.

Monday, January 22, 2007

New World Order

Am I the only one who finds reports of Gordon Brown's 'new world order' slightly sinister? See the BBC report and Nick Robinson's blog entry. I don't have a fully developed eschatology, as such, and take the scenarios portrayed by the Left Behind series and similar with a large pinch of salt, but it begins to make you wonder... how will things all end (if you're premillenial posttribulationist... if you're a pre-trib and a Christian then perhaps it's not quite so relevant!). I can't quite visualise Gordon Brown as the antichrist, but you never know...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lurkers, Memes and 10 things I'll never do

It seems that last week was 'De-lurking Week', or so a few bloggers have claimed (well, Brodie and John at least).

As I'm a generous soul (possibly - watch this space for the Deadly Sin post...), lurkers have extra time on this blog to post a comment and 'de-lurk'. I confess, blogger though I am, I lurk a lot - usually feeling pressed for time to write reasoned and thoughtful comments (or ones that are humourous enough) but here and now (probably until the end of January, if you like) there are no limits, just give me your name (assumed or real, your choice), and something about yourself if you want - location, blog, whatever. I note we've recently had a Hawaiian visitor so if you pop back, 'Aloha' and make yourself at home.

I'm still relatively new to the blogosphere, and learning my blogiquette, but I get the feeling that I have been very bad. Nick over at Learning to Walk tagged me with what I understand is called a Meme (do I sound like an oldster or what?) over a month ago, and I haven't yet responded. This particular meme is '10 things I'll never do'. My first response was that it was a waste of time/space and too much like these email chain letters you get, but given that my whole blog might fall under the first category, that's no excuse, and the second, well nothing's actually being sent so it's not using up bandwidth everywhere it goes, and furthermore no-one is telling you that terrible things will happen if you don't respond... so here goes (in no particular order):

1) Stop being a nit-picker
2) Use the word 'never' without questioning whether there might be any exceptions
3) Stop reading books, novels, magazines, cereal packets...
4) Stop loving my wife
5) Stop loving my son
6) Stop loving & following Jesus (imperfectly, in this phase of life)
7) Be entirely organised
8) Be a morning person
9) Stop enjoying science fiction
10) Be able to come up with 10 other bloggers who haven't already been tagged

In light of number 10, I may restrict my taggees to 5 (as the above-mentioned John has done here) but beyond that, if you're a lurker or other visitor, why not consider yourself tagged and either post your 10 things in a comment, or leave a comment to link back to your blog.

In the meantime I tag:

1) The Magic Porridge Pot who hasn't blogged for a while...
2) Brash by name... likewise may be offline or just lurking?
3) Looking for my Fig Tree - why is it all my blog-tacts have (temporarily?) stopped blogging? Was it something I posted?
4) New eyes - highly recommended blog of life in Rwanda
5) TJ's miscellaneous thoughts - a blog that I found highlighted on Blogger's front page (as with 4) and am starting to read and even interact with - it's good to expand your own blog-horizons!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weekend Away

Ma heid's burstin', as you might say. The three of us are not long back from Lendrick Muir, where the ICC weekend away was held.

I have lots of stuff I want to blog about - and might actually get to before it drifts out of my mind like sand in your hands.

Things like - family life and the changes that marriage and children bring, ministry in the future, attitudes to money, modernism and postmodernism, journeying spiritually, visiting Africa, holidaying with a small person, authenticity in faith and life, new ways of being/doing 'church', looking for right answers vs asking the right questions, venturing out of my almost exclusively Christian enclave, sin - including some of the famous 7.

There are more topics there than I expected, and others might come up as/if I blog more!

Overall, though, it has been a weekend that has excited me. I haven't felt quite like this possibly since first year, and my encounter with lots of different ideas and topics around theology. Thinking about it, some of my module choices have avoided the subjects likely to bring new ideas into my head and have instead been about techniques (sermon preparation, music) or factual learning (history, languages) - though I recognise that even in these subjects, there are opportunities for mental expansion if you look. One thing's for sure - I am reconfirmed in my desire to get the most out of ICC, particularly if this is my second last term here.

However, 'getting the most' should not be (or not just be) taking as many modules as I can and racking up (or attempting to!) the good grades - which has often been my approach till now. I need to be seeking to find and think the 'big ideas' and new ideas, and integrate them into my practice - not just to get better at a technically good sermon that includes clever references and Greek/Hebrew words, or improving my listening skills for pastoral care. The stuff I need to do could lead me broadly in the same direction as our two weekend speakers: Brodie from Queen's Park Baptist and Stuart from Mosaic, both of whom are ICC graduates who are now in church leadership positions (see also Santa Fe Trail on the sidebar under 'ICC related blogs').

It's a scary thought - I could be a church leader, part of a church leadership team. Of course, I've been on course for that (as far as I'm aware) for nearly 5 years - but really (hopefully) a lifetime/since the world began (depending on your theological flavour of predestination) from God's perspective - but as this weekend's journeying theme has highlighted, it's one thing to be on the road to somewhere, and another to actually arrive. Not least because 'arrival' is probably a bit of an illusion until we reach the heavenly city, and is rather the start of the next stage of the journey...

So it's been a weekend away from ICC, away from routine (though we hadn't really got back into one from Christmas/New Year), and away from studying (oh, Hebrew homework for tomorrow...) but in a sense, it's been a weekend back - back to God, back to the journey instead of the apparently attractive side routes, back to a way of doing holiday with family that suits all of us (in comparison to our trip to Carberry last year - more on that story later!), back to what it is all about - integrating the gospel in our lives and presenting that gospel through our lives.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Skype and stuff

Forgive me father for I have sinned... it has been some weeks since my last blog entry. But so much has gone on - we've covered probably 1000 miles, done the whole family/Christmas bit, put in lots of work tiling this bathroom (the completion date: possibly before the new Wembley) and even done some filing. There's still a war on paper in our house but I feel we've won a couple of skirmishes anyway. Now we're into the new term, I have Greek and Hebrew to keep up with, a possible new language to learn in a Bible Translation course and/or an independent study course to decide on relating to worship/music/childrens' ministry, and of course my placement which will now include further reading, preaching (next time is in less than two weeks), individual and organisational visits... Not forgetting being a husband and father.

So why on earth did I spend most of yesterday downloading and getting started with Skype? OK so it's really cool, easy to use and basically free. Ok so now at least one of Peter's aunties can see him on screen (although not last night because he was asleep by the time I got the video working!). Ok so I had a great (free) chat with a cousin in Norway! And ok, so the search facility in the 'phone directory' is really quite good. But apart from all that, what have the Romans ever done for us? Seriously, it did use up time better spent doing Hebrew (although I got it done on the train) - and seriously, I do like it as a piece of software. I still have to work on this arcane skill called time management...