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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Bursting & praise

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We are bursting at the seems with folk becoming regulars in our community. Please pray for us as we figure out how to accommodate the growth – spiritual needs, variety of worship expressions & preferences and culture differences.

Praise God that a friend I helped with his CV has had a glimmer of hope. He has over 30 years experience with a country’s helicopter service. We worked on reflecting this in his CV; making it very professional. He literally went to where the helicopters land/takeoff and told them he needs work. They were dubious until they mentioned a fault in a gauge that a company could not fix. A true miracle happened – they jokingly asked him to fix it and he did! They were so impressed they asked for his CV. Which he furnished and they were gobsmacked! They have forwarded this into their managing director. I hope to help him follow up with him and the company. This has been such an affirmation for him and I pray it will bring further fruit.

Special Guests – Dr. Hud & Nancy McWilliams

This week we have Dr. Hud & Nancy McWilliams staying with us. Today he is leading a seminar on grace filled relationships for the church, then speaking at our church gathering. There will be many quotes I will find worthy of posting; some his, some others. Here is one from the seminar that I think is worth posting.

“Grace is control of inward attitudes and outward actions by means of love without any penalty.”

I will ruminate on this for awhile…

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!

TB rumours

Our kids school sent home a letter about a teacher contracting pulmonary TB. The kids will all be screen, chance of infection very low, we don’t know which teacher, the info they sent was wonderful, and the health board & school have been great.

Carol tells me at her book group it hit the national news (Radio 4, BBC), camera crews were there at the school this afternoon, and you can read it in print (from least to most sensational):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7193544.stm

http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1972825.0.Mass_screening_as_teacher_contracts_TB_at_Glasgow_school.php

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/display.var.1972259.0.hundreds_of_primary_kids_tested_in_tb_alert.php

I remember when I was young my sister getting the test for TB and her ‘bump’ raised more than the rest of our family (I think we all had tests through the schools as it was customary screening). She turned out fine – others debate that point in the family 🙂 – and it is a memory. My brother in law in Kenya has gotten TB more than I can count but is alive and well (true he is a doctor dealing with infected patients), and my grandfather (maternal) was in a TB hospital for quite some time as they locked you up back then.

You could say I’m spreading the rumour further but I am actually trying to show this is blown out of proportion. We asked our son a few questions and felt all is being done that can be. The school and health board have been very informative. This happens, move on! Are we that obsessed with things that this becomes national news?

Poverty

It has been raining a lot and because the weather was fair today we went out for a walk. We decided to walk along the Kelvin River and Forth & Clyde Canal. We ended up passing through the area of Maryhill. This is one of Glasgow’s poorest areasand on the doorstep of Glasgow’s wealthiest neighbourhood. As we walked through streets with litter, Tesco shopping trolleys thrown about, abandoned flats, etc. a general sadness came over me. We have enjoyed food, parties, and presents this Christmas season and this grey, lonely and blighted area brought me great sadness. Even one of the local churches seemed to be braced for what might happen in the night – steel doors and bars, no longer stained glass but plastic windows, and closed off entrances. The contrast of Maryhill and our ‘rich’ Christmas season makes me pause with gratefulness, sadness, and simply a desire to pray for healing there.

Residency here we come!

Today we passed our ‘Life in the UK’ test, a requirement for becoming permanent residents. We studied a book on the culture of the UK, covering everything from politics to religion. Overall, it was a good process and I value it as a critical part of entering into the British culture. However, some questions were really obscure and I find them rather amusing. For example, Q: What regional dialect is spoken in Tyneside? A: Geordie. I cannot understand much of the Glaswegian accent in Partick so why do I need to know Geordie? Others were as specific as 0800#’s for various organizations and you might be asked what number to call! In the end, I got a bunch of questions about Scotland (yeah!) and was the first finished. I finished before Carol 🙂 but she probably beat me on the test; although you just get pass or fail without knowing what questions you missed.

After getting the obligatory passport photos taken at a photo kiosk and paying – get this – $1900, we can apply for our permanent residence visa (aka ILR visa). This visa is an important step for us as it means we are on our way to citizenship here (dual) and citizenship would then free us to do whatever we want throughout the EU without restrictions. It affects travel, citizenship, getting into the pension system, and being eligible for other benefits. For now, the visa enables us to stay as long as we wish, we can all hold paid jobs, and it means we knit ourselves deeper into the fabric of society. For that we are very grateful!

Bigger Spiders

I have proof. Not the image of Jesus burnt into a piece of toast or that Nessie is alive in Loch Ness. Proof that Scotland has the biggest and fastest spiders in the Western world. First, a large rodent …. I mean spider ran across the floor. I jumped out of fright but also to squash him before he ran under the wardrobe. Little did I know he was running to his brother. A few minutes later, Carol spotted his really peeved brother climbing into attack position on the wall behind the wardrobe. I got the broom and nailed him as well (I use to hunt and am a fairly good marksman).

Here are photos of Junior and his brother Baby Hughie. With legs extended, Hughie is about 3 inches in diameter:

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Sunny weather!!

Today it was 21C (69F) in Glasgow. Yesterday it was 23C (74F). It actually feels hotter here at this temperature than the same temp in the US – trust me on this one. Last Saturday it rained all day and I was very depressed, lethargic, and cantankerous. The weather really affects me so yesterday and today I spent about 3 hours each day outside instead of meeting with people indoors or working up at my computer. I pack a lunch, grab a drink, take the phone and all my ‘stuff’ so that I can enjoy the little sunshine we get here. It also helps with conversation. I had a meeting with Chris today and it really helps with dialogue when your emotional tank is being fed by such beautiful weather. Just a random thought.

Article on Scottish ‘fresh expression’

A friend referred me to this article in the Scotsman a Scottish newspaper:

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1263302007#new

I find the comments by the Scottish Christians somewhat encouraging – but I also find an undercurrent of something else. The local councillor’s comments leave something to be desired and don’t have the veneer that the professing Christian’s comments have. Here is a quote for that councillor: “Pastor Bob’s heard the call, but I find what he is doing disturbing.” He is not very politically correct and it is condescending.

Unfortunately I perceive something I’m not comfortable with even from the ‘saints’. Rev Prof George Newlands, the principal of Trinity College, the University of Glasgow’s school of divinity, said: “Problems have arisen when evangelical groups from the US get involved in missionary activity in cultures which they may not fully understand. There has been a lot of pressurised evangelism. But it would be quite unfair if all mission groups came under suspicion just because they came from America.” There is a bit of a recovery but it still unsettles me. I’m certainly sensitive being American and am sure I have done some stupid things. I wonder if I would treat Scots this way in America? I wonder if the better approach would be not to address the ‘American Factor’ and just thank our brothers & sisters and rebuke privately when we come across it personally as part of our work? For example, I hear of some Christian’s across town who are doing things ‘wrong’. Since I have no direct interaction, is it my place to get involved? All I did was hear a rumour. If I asked of Prof. Newlands who did he work with that was American and when did he experience this pressurised evangelism, would he tell me he has only anecdotal information? If so, then his comment is actually gossip (IMHO). If he is certain of the sources, is this how we should be handling it among the Christian community? As a church leader I personally have struggled with this as I’ve interacted with other ministries here. It’s not an easy thing to be caught in the middle of this so I am not suggesting we all just run around acting as Christian culture police. However, there has to be some learned Christians who could speak into the Scottish Church as to how to ‘handle cross-cultural mission mistakes’. I’d welcome the dialogue, the concern for building the kingdom, and some more Christian unity. This is a tricky one to navigate.