The Cobbler

Harrison and I climbed the Cobbler followed by a stop at the Drovers Inn fir fish & chips. Brilliant weather and a great time together.

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Burns Supper

Tonight we had our Burns Supper. Celebrating the national poet Robert Burns. We had haggis, neeps and tatties, recited a few poems and listened to local singer (thru the cd player) Eddie Reader sing songs in honour of Robbie!

Airport, IKEA, UPS and swimming

That was the order today as Carol headed to Boston to celebrate her father’s 80th birthday. We all loaded into the car and took her to the airport, said our goodbyes and then snaked through the back way to IKEa for their 95p breakfast (the kids and I love it). Did some idea shopping for the store and then went to ship a package for a photo shoot for the business. We came back home, I did some emails and follow up phone calls, changed and headed out to go swimming. We now have set up a movie room – the church projector & screen – to watch The Call of the Wild and eat bangers and mash (sausages and mash potatoes). Need to go make the mash!

Why?

Christmas day some new friends joined us. They are from Pakistan and so the news of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assination takes on new meaning. Christmas day we spoke of the politics in Pakistan, the culture, the traditions. I mentioned how around the table we can know one another in a special way – the same way Jesus and his disciples came to know one another.

This news makes me sad and we mourn for their loss as this touches deep into their hearts, and thus ours. Why does this happen? 

International Christmas

I’m posting early as it is going to get busy. I almost finished our shopping, our tree is decorated, Sophie has her party today (she is Mary in the play), and the kids get out at 230pm and then have off for 2 weeks.

Our Christmas meal is shaping up to be an ‘international’ feast. Along with Carol’s sister’s family, we have a Pakistani family, a Congolese/French family, a Nepali friend, and possibly a Danish friend. This means we cannot have ham (Muslim culture) nor beef (Nepali/Hindu culture). We wouldn’t do beef anyway so we will be having turkey, chicken, and I’d like to try a salmon filet. There will be international people so I’m hopeful we will also have international foods 🙂

The next day we head over to our English neighbours for Boxing Day – the term originates in Victorian era Britain, for the day after Christmas, when the rich would box up gifts and bring them to the poor, and also to their own servants. It will be a full few days in addition to our Mosaic gathering on the 23rd and the one we host at our flat on the 30th. I’m glad the kids are off, we have a roof over our heads, and that God is blessing us with these wonderful friends.

If you remember please pray for Ruth a community member and Sheila, the mother of Peter another community member.

Have a Happy Christmas and great Hogmanay!

Mike for the family

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Healthy church confusion

It is very easy to think that a building is church and it is something you go to on Sunday morning. But what if church became so confusing that everything you did was ‘church’? That no matter where you were you experienced God’s presence. Or you couldn’t tell the difference in your worship expression through a deed or singing a song? Or when you went to a place that you knew physically as ‘church’ but the gathering was nothing like church as you traditionally know it?

I think for Christendom this would be very confusing and unsettling. We’d label that expression heresy or that expression as wrong since we are ‘basing our faith on good works’. We’d say we could invite our friends to this gathering but not to that gathering – one would scare them away, the other would be tantalizing them with the things of God & enjoyable. Or personally, this would feel like church since we got all dressed up, went somewhere we recognized as a church building and sang and listened to some songs. On the other hand, a very similar activity wouldn’t feel like church but we still got dressed up, went to the same building and sang & listened to some songs.

Recently that has been what it is like for our family. As adults, we feel quite comfortable in this unsettled place even though we are thoroughly familiar with a Christendom church model. And yet, I see our children embracing this way as the norm for them; they know nothing else. Here are two experiences that highlight this: Continue reading

Good times

We’ve enjoyed a number of family meals this week where the conversation has been so rich that it is hard to put into words. Meal times can be hectic for families with small kids. You make a special meal, set the table with your ‘finest’ and then sit down to a candle lit… fight as the kids argue, say things like ‘I hate that disgusting stuff’ and you wish you had sent them to bed early so the adults could eat in peace! However, this week we have started to eat earlier due to the nights closing and have asked the kids to be more part of the preparation. Sometimes they help cook, other times they set the table, and usually they want to create a special atmosphere at the table. Our meals have turned from a chaotic dash to a leisurely meal and conversation. We’ve had discussions about loving people (how to love friends who are not included at playtime), told stories about our childhood, and laughed at precious family moments. The good times theme for our meals I think is a product of us yearning to be together, being disciplined with our time so we have space to relate, and having all of us participate. I pray this will last and our teenaged kids will want to be around the table with us – that they would long to be there with their friends even.

Satiated from the feast!

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Yesterday we had our Interactive Feast. It was superb! We had more than enough food, people poured their hearts into making various dishes, there was generosity, there was fellowship, we read scripture, we glorified God in our love for one another, and I think we recovered a bit of the sacramental nature of eating. Here is the narrative we read to help us all participate in the feast and draw our attention to scripture:

Continue reading

Interactive Feast

This Sunday we are having an Interactive Feast for our Mosaic gathering. Since the day I was born I have enjoyed eating (haha!) and more recently have been reading a paper titled Eating as a Central Act of Christian Community. This and some scripture readings have inspired me to try something creative. Since it is a 5th Sunday of the month it is a bit of an oddity in our Sunday gathering rhythm. Sometimes we use this oddity for prayer, other times we use it for more social activities as a way to make community practical, pursue friendships for eternity, even to worship 24/7 (a few of Mosaic’s life practices). So this Sunday I have written a short story that ties in the scripture from Genesis to Revelation and I’ll read this to draw our attention to the feast. To try to remove some of the convenience that clouds our eating habits and put back in more of the sacramental and symbolic. We’ll have a central feast table and individual eating tables around the outer area of the room. We’ll have various verses related to food spread about. The theme is Mediterranean so we’ll have food ~ lamb, couscous, roasted vegetables ~ and music wafting through the air. We have asked people to bring various dishes and also to try not to do this alone. They could select a recipe together, perhaps buy the ingredients together, even cook together as a way to build a bit of smaller community and gain an appreciation for what goes into the preparation. My hope is that we can recover what has been lost through our take away/convenience food society and tie that into a sacramental meal. I hope further that people will find joy as they have poured in their creativity, practiced the presence of God in their labour, and experienced a sacramental communal expression in the making and feasting of the food.

I’m looking forward to the making (we are making leg of lamb & a pork dish), the feasting and experiencing of this feast as a Christian community.

Krumpes!

As our time here in the U.S. draws to a close, I recall all the wonderful experiences we have had. We’ve been treated to wonderful meals, lavished with love and gifts, and had a lot of fun outings. We are tired both physically and emotionally, but in a good way. Last night, at 9pm after celebrating my mother’s birthday and father’s retirement (ice cream cake and family), we were all quite tired but I decided to push us onward to one more outing. All we need to do is mention the word and the whole family shreeks – KRUMPES! That is ‘donuts’ and if you are ever in Hagerstown you need to try them. But not from a store. It’s better to go to where they make them, wait in the stinking hot line, cram into the building, and order from the same people that seem to have been there forever (yet never age). We decided last night to get 36 donut holes – 18 glaze & 18 chocolate cake donut holes. Carol and I have been doing this since we dated and now we have all out children hooked. It’s a cheap, fun activity that draws both food, fun, and fellowship into one tiny morsel.

http://www.krumpesdonuts.com/