Hoddidodds for BeeverSteve

something gritty to chew on

Welcome to my blog.

These are not the voyages of the Starship Enterprise but the reflections and musings of a local church minister about to begin a period of sabbatical study.  Some entries will have practical applications whilst others may resemble a Daliesque stream of consciousness. Those are the more personal entries as I’m holding up a mirror to my own thoughts as I reflect on my faith and life’s journey.

Feel free to comment but please respect these words, thoughts and ideas for what they are.  Most of them come from experience; others will reflect my reading and travel experiences over the next three months. Some are reworkings of older material (where is that PhD when you need it?) – a few will probably be written with the effort of getting my allotment ready for winter. (There’s a message in that somewhere, I’m sure).

Some will provoke, others warn or warm – some may even move you. When you do read, ask God what He might be saying to you. I’d love to hear about it.

The working title for my blog comes from two dialect words in use in rural Cambridgeshire until the 1970’s. A slap up meal at Mrs Miggins’ pie shop for anyone who deciphers the true meaning!

Having my cake and eating it too

I'll be honest, I'm no stranger to a pie. In fact, we've enjoyed a deeply intimate relationship over the years as my expanding waistline bears witness. I'm also rather partial to fruit cake made to a real Cambridgeshire recipe (secret tip -   black treacle), just the thing with a slice of strong cheddar on the side.  Then there's home baked bread with real yeast and the heat of an airing cupboard to prove it:  that also takes some beating.

Fancy cake

Baking has become big business with the rise of television programmes aimed at the new "on trend" leisure activity of cooking. It might be rather more creative  with seeds, swirls, piping bags and exciting "new" ingredients but it's still pretty much what most of us have been doing for a long while now.

It's called survival.                              

Stepping back: Moving On

If you came this way
taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. (T S Eliot, Little Gidding)

Walking into a Church Hall early on Saturday Morning for a men’s breakfast, I noticed that a corridor led directly from the modern building into the medieval church. Since we were early – the breakfast was still being cooked – and it was a building I hadn’t visited before, I thought I’d step inside to look around.

It’s not a particularly remarkable building in Architectural terms although it was once the home of families who later became household names in very different fields. There’s a hint of a wall painting by the altar, pew ends polished by hands over hundreds of years together with clear evidence that this is a building which continues to be used, loved and cherished. That alone is just cause for celebration but there was something more:  the present and tangible sat with their roots in the past and in the “otherness” of God.

It was a place where prayer has been (and remains) valid.

The right foundations

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is built directly upon the fault zone of the San Andreas fault, which is one of the most unstable parts of the seemingly fixed earth's crust.

The bridge is built to sway some twenty feet at the centre of its one mile suspension span. The secret to its durability is its flexibility that enables this movement. But, that is not all: by design, every part of the bridge -- its concrete roadway, its steel railings, its cross beams -- is linked from one welded joint to the other, up through the vast cable system to two great towers and two great land anchor piers. The towers bear most of the weight, and they are deeply imbedded into the rock foundation beneath the sea. In other words, the bridge is totally tied to its foundation. Its "secret" lies in the apparent contradiction of high flexibility and a secure and deep foundation.

How flexible and well founded are you today? Do you know the stability of loving relationships, close friends, a supportive family?

On teaching a pig to sing(*)

I’m not looking for Handel’s “Messiah”, Meatloaf’s “I’ll do anything for love but …” or even Manfred Mann’s" Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do." [Mind you, the latter might be helpful in interpreting some of the things I’ve heard over the years].

Because I like pigs – I think they’re cool, friendly and intelligent animals – I don’t want to make it too stressful. I’m content to set my goals rather lower, at least to start with. To be honest if I get to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in a few weeks, I’d be really happy and feel I’ve achieved something.