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The reason why: page 7 in shiny happy colour

The reason why I went to the moon for my birthday, page 7 in colour

I love Dr. Seuss books. I like his limited colour palette and large areas of flat colour, so I copied him a bit. I’d like to know what you what you think. Does it work? Does it make you happy? Do you wish I had used some purple? (This book will contain no purple.)

The reason you’re getting a coloured page is that I have hired a successful children’s author to look at my story and tell me if it’s any good or not and recommend changes that will help it on it’s way to publication. I want her to have an idea of how the finished pages will look and there is no way I’m going to keep this little treat from you.

Here is a comparison of the original scan and the tidied and coloured page:

The reason why I went to the moon for my birthday, page 7 comparison


24 June 2015
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The reason why: page 3

The reason why I went to the moon for my birthday, page 3

I learned how to use the scanner this week. I drew a million circles and spirals this week.


4 August 2014
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If Dr Seuss wrote the bible it would be better than this, but I still think you should read this poem aloud to your children

Now Peter was Jesus’s very close friend.
He said I’ll not deny you. I’ll stick to the end.
Then soldiers grabbed Jesus, and Simon Pete ran
away just as fast as a very scared man
dressed in a dress and two sandals can.
(For that was the way that they dressed way back THAN.)
Then Pete started and stopped and he turned.
‘This is my friend from whom I have learned.
I cannot just leave him!’ Pete’s embarrassment burned.
He walked back to Jesus, twelve sixths of a mile,
till he came to the spot where his friend was on trial
He looked in the building and wanted to shout,
‘Don’t worry, Jesus! I’ll bust you out!’
But he didn’t. He went to get warm by the fire –
and right there is where Pete turned into a liar.
A servant girl saw him with clever bright eyes.
‘Aha!’ she exclaimed, ‘I recognise
your face. You’re with those travel with Jesus guys.’
Pete’s throat went all funny. He had a small choke.
He restarted his breathing, then carefully spoke:
‘I am a traveller. That much is true.
But this man you call Jesus – I don’t know who
he is. I only just stopped in here because
my toes are quite chilly, my brain’s in a fuzz
I could use a big dinner and a nice coffee buzz
You see, I travelled today from the hills of Dorduzz.’
The servant walked off, not quite convinced,
but there was soup to be served and beef to be minced.
Another guy saw Pete and said, ‘You’re with him!’
Pete’s throat got all lumpy, but he said with some vim:
‘I don’t even know him! Clear off, sonny Jim!’
The man left, but Pete’s heart was all palpitations
and his knees had gone weak with fearful vibrations
that if they found out, they might make him dead
so he went kind of crazy when the next person said:
‘You’re Galilean. I bet you know Jesus.’
Pete’s voice changed to guttural, anger-filled wheezes.
Dear children, I hate to, but really must say,
these are the words Pete shouted that day:
‘Shut the bleep up you bleep bleeping creep!
I don’t bleeping know Jesus, so bleep bleeping bleep.’
How long Peter’s swearing could’ve gone, I don’t know,
But then the dawn broke and the cock did some crows.
And Pete wept and his tears soaked his dress and his toes,
and his beard got all gunged with the snot from his nose.
He stumbled away feeling pukishly ill,
while Jesus was nailed to a cross on a hill.
Let’s pause for a moment. Now fast forward two weeks
Pete’s been fishing all night and totally reeks
of sweat pooling in pits and dripping down cheeks,
and all that he’s caught is a bad case of the bleaks.
For what fish would swim into the net of a jerk
who abandoned his friend then thought he could work
at his old job on a boat back in north Galilee?
‘Even that shouting man on the shore’s mocking me,’
Thinks Pete. Then he hears that it’s kindly advice:
‘Throw your net on the left of the boat once or twice.’
Now everyone knows that you fish on the right.
You fish on the right when you’re fishing all night.
But Pete reached the point where he just didn’t care,
so he threw to the left with a casual swear.
And the fish! Oh the fish! The fish in the net!
You’ve never caught this many fish I will bet.
Peter’s friend John said, ‘Pete, it’s the Lord!’
Without even a thought Pete jumped overboard,
and the foul-smelling sweat on his cheeks and his pits
was washed away as he swam (and so were his nits).
When he got to the shore Jesus hugged him to bits
and served him forgiveness, fresh fish and some grits.
And if you think that this poem is ending, yes, it’s.


14 April 2013
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The lamentable story of a desperate man who is hoping for help from a suspect mythical being when what he really needs is an intervention of grace

Sign: There's no such thing as the dog poo fairy

There’s no such thing as the dog poo fairy!
I yell to the woman walking her dog away from the steaming pile on the pavement
I yell silently in my head because I’ve lived here 12 years
and it would be terribly unbritish to say anything like that aloud
There’s no such thing as the dog poo fairy!
scream brainbound words as I hold my breath and step
around the fresh pile of
of—
metaphor
Metaphor
It’s a really obvious metaphor
which is now beating me about the head—
that’s so gross because the metaphor is the …
on the pavement
and I’m a tidy human
not a chimpanzee
Faeces
get flushed
that’s all there is to it
and yet
the metaphor insists
reminding me of all the stinking piles I’ve left behind
the anger I’ve crapped all over my family
the ooze when I use my friends like tools
the hard jobs I’ve started and left undone
and I stop
and stand
next to the mess
the dog dirt
the soil
the four letter word I don’t say in church
because I’ve been a Christian all my life
and it would be terribly unholy to say anything like that aloud
even though I can’t think of a better word to describe
the waste I’ve laid
and I convince myself I deserve nothing better than to reach down to the dog dirt with my bare hands
NO
I don’t like where this metaphor is going
I don’t like where my life is going
I don’t like anything
And then
a kick
that sticks
dog doo
to my shoe
then through the window of a passing car
that is no longer passing
It’s stopping
driver’s door opening
and the only thing I can think to shout as I run for my life
from another stinking pile
is There’s no such thing as the dog poo fairy!
Later
Inside
the curtains drawn
I am hiding under my duvet
hidden under the weight of the realisation that
I can never set foot outdoors again
overwhelmed with regret that
I didn’t take my dirty shoe off before I crawled under the covers
Night falls and I know there’s no such thing as a dog poo fairy
who will take my dirty shoe and leave 50p under my pillow
But I can’t help hoping


10 April 2013
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Triumphalerest Entry

It’s almost like Matthew read Mark’s account of Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem and thought, what this story needs is More Awesome.


4 March 2013
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Maurice Sendak died today

I love what he says about illustrating:

An illustrator, in my own mind – and this is not a “truth” of any kind – is someone who so falls in love with writing that he wishes that he had written it, and the closest he can get to is illustrating it. And the next thing you learn, you have to find something unique in this book which perhaps even the author was not entirely aware of. And that’s what you hold on to, and that’s what you add to the pictures – a whole other story that you believe in, that you think is there. When you hide another story in the story, that’s the story that I am telling the children.

It may not be a ‘truth’, but it is certainly applicable, not just to illustrators, but to any creative work that involves communicating what other people have said or created.

Watch the whole video:

Thank you, Mr Sendak


8 May 2012
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You are as pretty as you can get inside the shell, so you might as well come out and do some stuff

Comic by Hugh D. Crawford.

I have not learned a lot of things about success, but one of the things I have learned is: just start. Stop planning, dreaming and waiting on whatever and do one thing today to start making it real. Do one more thing tomorrow. Repeat.

It’s true your idea is not good enough yet. You will find out the ways in which it is not good enough as you go. Your idea will become good enough as you go. You may find that you end up with a completely different idea than when you started, but it will be the right idea. And it will be made real.

Here is the parable of the pottery class:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot—albeit a perfect one—to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes—the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

(Source: everywhere on the Internet)


14 August 2011
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You do not understand

A couple weeks ago the good people at Woodland Hills Church used my illustration and story about my stillborn son Teifion in a sermon about unanswered prayer. They also posted it on their blog. I was very pleased with the way they did it and happy that my story was possibly being helpful to other people.

It resonated with two (I’m sure very kind and wonderful) people enough that they commented on the post. Both commenters got pretty much everything wrong, their understanding of Christine’s and my life, their analysis of our states of mind and the applicability of their advice. This is not surprising. Their comments are based on a short story that tells one perspective of part of one event that happened 11 years ago to some people they don’t know at all.

I’m not offended at these kind, well-meaning comments, but they do raise in my mind an oft-observed truth: Once you tell a story, it isn’t yours anymore. Other people will add their own meaning to it and change it.

and a question: How much of your ‘understanding’ of people is based on projecting your own worldview and experience onto a very thin slice of someone else’s story?

An example: I have a friend who loves Krispy Kreme donuts and Starbucks and Costco and lots of other big consumer brands. I’ve struggled to understand her brand love as long as I have known her because I am very fond of quirky independent local cafes. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and spent my teenage years hanging out with friends in quirky independent local cafes. That’s where some of the great memories are (and out in nature and stuff, but this example isn’t about nature and stuff). This week I learned that where my friend grew up there aren’t any quirky independent local cafes. They are all big brands. And so that’s where her rich, great teenage memories were made. So, Duh, Jeff. Of course that is what she likes.

Some advice for me and you: Shut up and listen, then ask some questions, then shut up and listen.


8 April 2011
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Many stories = one story?

I read a few deconversion stories this week. I found it interesting how like conversion stories they were. In fact, if you reversed the direction of travel and called them testimonies, Christians would strongly relate to them.

The story, either way, seems to go like this:

This is also the how the story of my becoming a vegetarian reads.

Two thoughts (about which I’m not entirely convinced I’m correct) to take away:

  1. We humans have a lot in common with each other than we often recognise. The reason why my conversion seems so unique is that it happened to me and yours didn’t.
  2. We don’t make big decisions like (de)conversion rationally. Logic happens before and after, but not during, the decision.


19 March 2011
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Sucking on purpose

Most things that suck suck by accident (e.g. most Adobe software). But some things that suck suck on purpose. I’m looking at you, Vanish Prewash Spray Oxi Action Intelligence PLUS.

Prewash spray is for getting stains out of clothing, a job which requires it to make contact with stained clothing. You might assume that the clever people Vanish would equip its bottles with a spray nozzle that effectively delivers Oxi Action Intelligence PLUS to my son’s stained jeans. You would be wrong. Because Vanish has Oxi Action, which means: Pull the trigger and get foamy bubbles.

‘Dad! It’s got foamy bubbles!’

‘That’s the Vanish Oxi Action, son. Gaze in wonder.’

Actually, no. Foamy bubbles don’t spread out in a nice spray. Foamy bubbles dribble onto a tiny patch of the very-dirty-all-over jeans. What is really going on is that the clever people at Vanish hope I will be so impressed with their foamy bubbles Which Do Absolutely Nothing To Get My Son’s Jeans Clean that I won’t notice that I have to use four or five times more of their spray than I would if they used an ordinary but good spray nozzle.

Some people call that marketing: Sell the sizzle, not the steak. Give the kids a show. 83% of consumers were excited about our Unique Brand Experience!

I call it lying.

It’s lying.

Two points here:

1. You are lying, Vanish. When your pink bottle is empty too soon, I will buy a different brand.

2. Are you so contemptuous of the people you are selling/preaching/singing to that you are adding metaphorical foamy bubbles to the thing you do in an attempt to increase your perceived awesomness? Are you lying, or do you have enough respect for your audience to be speak/write/sing/play really honestly?


13 March 2011
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Death is a farmer

Larry Shallenberger writes a really good blog. His post today was so good that I drew a picture for it — I draw pictures on my iPhone — and thought about how the Farmer o’ Death is a lot like The Powers in (what little I know about) Walter Wink’s ideas.

It’s a short post, and it starts like this:

Death is farmer who rises before dawn and eats the same plate of eggs and bacon

And drinks bitter coffee from the same ceramic mug that his son bought him when he was in the first grade, just before he joined the Army.

The farmer grabs his faded cap and ambles to the barn and resurrects his faithful tractor thinking about the weathered fence his wife has been begging him to paint

And that dripping faucet.

The farmer absently guides the blades to a field he does not…

Read the rest of Larry’s post.


8 March 2011
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Footprints in the Sand

Photo: Kirsty Andrews

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, sometimes three or four or a dozen. Sometimes there were rabbit footprints. At other times there was only one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord, ‘You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?’

The Lord replied, ‘My precious child, I love you, but you are as thick as a long-forgotten glass of milk in a teenager’s bedroom. First of all, why are you getting your ideas about me from syrupy inspirational poetry instead of the bible? I’m not some cute guy you walk on the beach with. I’m spirit. My life is in you. How could I leave you?

‘So what about the footprints, God? If they aren’t yours, whose are they?’

‘They are the footprints of your family and friends — the people on the journey with you.’

This really bothered me, and I said to the Lord, ‘Dear Lord, why did you curse me with terrible friends that would abandon me as soon as trouble came my way?’

‘My dear child,’ said the Lord, ‘are you having me on?’ Then the Lord laughed heartily, for he is God and he knows all things

‘It is true that some of your friends deserted you because of their fickleness. But the reason that many of your companions left is that you pushed them away. You became offended and did not try to restore the relationships. You were afraid that people would judge you for your struggles, so you did not share them. When you failed, you ran and you hid behind sand dunes and piles of driftwood.

I admitted to the Lord that many times I had run away and I had hidden from those who could have helped me. ‘But Lord, I don’t remember any sand dunes or piles of driftwood.

The Lord replied, ‘Just go with the metaphor.’

‘Okay, Lord. I don’t want to hide behind the metaphorical driftwood of my dream. What should I do when times get hard again?’

‘Remember, my child, that you are not alone. You are part of my glorious beach party.’

‘What?’ I said, ‘You are pushing this whole beach-as-a-metaphor-for-my-life pretty hard, Lord.’

‘My beloved cranky and impatient child, I’m just trying to work with your dream here. When times are hard, don’t wander off down the beach in the dark. Stay by the fire and have a chat. Do you understand?’

‘Yes, Lord. I see now that this life following you is not meant to be lived alone. I have only one more question. Why were there rabbit footprints in the sand alongside mine?’

As I began to wake from my dream I heard God call to me as if over his shoulder. He said, ‘It is because you are really weird.’


23 January 2011
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Morons!

Paul Mayers posted this parable over at Deep Church. I am reposting it here with his kind permission because it is brilliant and I want it to launch me back into writing more about abundance culture.

I can almost hear Jesus saying…

‘A man and women walk into starbucks, pay £8 to sip their skinny latte and chi tea. They leave feeling less thirsty and more virtuous having discussed their spiritual journeys and resolve that in this space they can be truly free. Before parting they agree to meet back there at the same time next week where they will this time discuss how to resolve world hunger over a chocolate muffin and a piece of blueberry cheesecake. Who do you think is richer for this experience, the economy of God or the economy of the market?’

At once Peter spoke up, ‘Guru, you have made me think that if we offer free muffins and better coffee we will be able to attract more followers, for as you have said men and women need more than just Dunkin Donuts alone.’

‘No, no,’ said Judas, who managed the on-line bank account and charitable donations, ‘We should buy shares in this starbucks. It would seem its business model is most profitable.’

The disciples began to bicker amongst themselves, one saying for the coffee plan and another for the investments, still a third argued that they should set up their own coffee shop chain and a fourth that maybe it would be better and edgier to run a pub or a tattoo parlour. Each one saying that their idea was more radical and counter cultral than the last.

Finally Jesus spoke again, ‘Oh you and your consumer ways! Do you not realise that you seek to take on the forms of this world rather than embody the values of my Father? For it is not about the coffee blend or the pastries that you consume but rather what it is that consumes you and gives your identity. Broad is the market and many who find it easy to be sold their identity from amongst its counter cultural niches. Morons! You are being consumer sheep not radical rebels. But I tell you, narrow is the way of true self formation, denying your right to your rights and instead following me.’

The disciples wondered at his words as they entered into the McDonald’s drive through…


21 March 2010
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One way to practice abundance

From Telegraph.co.uk

‘For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness,’ he said. ‘I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years,’ said Mr Rabeder.

But over time, he had another, conflicting feeling.

‘More and more I heard the words: “Stop what you are doing now – all this luxury and consumerism – and start your real life”,’ he said. ‘I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need.”

Be sure to read all the way to the end.


16 February 2010
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I made another film

This one is a parable about the meaning of Christmas and incarnation.


11 January 2010
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Faith like a child

Since Easter, in my Sunday School class we have been talking about the garden of Eden.

Yes, that is a long time to talk about a garden, maybe. But… God’s plan for the world, for people, for animals – I found it quite amazing and I’m glad the kids seemed to feel the same way, but, So many questions!

Jesus said,“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”

I have been told that the meaning of this is that you have to have un-questioning faith. That you just accept.

Ummm… Have you ever spent any time around children? Starting at toddler-hood a favourite word is ‘why’.

The ball is round

Why?

Because in order for it to roll smoothly and in the direction that you want it to roll it needs to be.

Why?

Because, if it wasn’t round then when you kick it it would just go a way that you didn’t mean for it to.

Why?

Umm – I just told you why. Twice!

Why?

Because you asked me to

Why?

Because you are very curious.

Why?

Because you are a child, you want to know all there is to know and you want to know it right now and apparently you want me to tell you!

Why?

I don’t know, But I don’t have all the answers.

Why?

Cos… I’m not God!

My own kids, and my church kids have so many questions. Often I just don’t have the answers, and I won’t pretend to either. But I will do my best to encourage them to keep asking questions, keep looking for answers.

Whoever seeks shall find. They will know so much more than I do. Thank Goodness.

Maybe also Jesus was talking about the enthusiasm of a child. I watched their faces light up as they learned about this perfect place before sin. I showed them a drawing of the garden, one child piped up, ‘That’s silly! there’s a fox lying down beside a rabbit. That wouldn’t happen.’

‘There was no death in the Garden of Eden, the rabbit was perfectly safe to lie with the fox.’

‘Wow!’

The rest of our short lesson consisted of the kids talking about which animals they would put together if life was like it was then. Their imaginations were going nuts!

We came back to that many, many times over the next few weeks. I shared stories of the exploits of my cat Max, whose favourite thing ever is to devour small animals, and I have heard many stories of their own pets and the blood and gore they get into!

If only life could be as it was at the beginning. You can see the longing in them – for perfection, for freedom, for that ability to walk in the garden with God.

Last Sunday we talked about how the people were sent from the garden, we talked about bloodshed and shame and him blaming her and… it was very quiet in the room.

At craft time we had clay Snakes and pictures of Adam and Eve sad and shameful with their leaves and furs. One boy just looked at his paper and said, ‘I want to draw but I don’t know what to draw’

‘What part of the story sticks in your mind from today?’

‘I don’t know’

‘Okay, just take a little time and go over the story in your mind and as you are doing that, ask yourself how you feel and try to see if you can get that feeling onto the paper.’

This is his picture:


15 July 2009
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Hooray for 678

In my group of kids in years six, seven and eight we are studying the parables of Jesus. Obviously, the thing to do is to write a parable. I gave them three ideas to choose from. They picked one and wrote a story. Two weeks ago we filmed it. Today is it’s worldwide premier.

I proudly present a story about the way people view God and the way God actually is and the reason God gives us commands: Daniel and the Lions.


1 March 2009
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Escaping from the pit of pronunciation to the farm

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My first year in school, a short fattish four year old, and I was to be an elf in the Christmas play. We were going to practice the Christmas play in the school hall. If you are from the South Wales valleys and you say ‘hall’ it sounds like this ‘aaaaaaawl’ and if you are from the South Wales valleys and you say ‘hole’ it sounds like this ‘aaaaaaawl’

I never really knew what was going on in school but I remember there was lots of excitement and we were lining up in the corridor outside the classroom and for some reason I had a green cap on with jingly bells and everyone was talking about the school aaaaaaawl and I was petrified. Here I was, dressed stupidly and they were taking me to some giant black pit that was in the bit of the school I’d never been in before. Would I be made to go into the aaaaaaawl, or would they just let me stand on the edge and look down into it? So scary!

The aaaaaaawl looked like any normal school hall and I think that I must have felt some relief when we went down three steps and opened up some double doors and the ground didn’t suddenly disappear, but – so Big! Too big for me, and just inside the double doors was a piano and behind that I hid and would not come out to practice being an elf with the other jingly kids. I sat behind the piano facing the wall until it was time to go back to the safe classroom.

Well, safe-ish. I spent a lot of my time in that room lying on the rug playing with a toy farm under a shelf, but sometimes I was made to sit on a chair and Mrs. Monday would point to some strange symbols and pictures that were stuck up above the blackboard, there was a picture of a queen and a picture of a gate and there was a picture of a kite and some other pictures but if you said ‘queen’ or ‘gate’ or ‘kite’ when she pointed to the pictures you would get shouted at.

It seemed like we did this thing over and over in that first year of school. It was so puzzling, sitting there while the children said ‘A B C D E F…’ and the teacher would say, ‘Come on, Christine!’ and I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing and what those weird marks were that went along with each picture and why all the other children would do weird, not normal talking whenever we sat in those chairs and looked at those pictures and what did this have to do with anything? Couldn’t I go back to playing with the farm?

I didn’t like infant school.


6 October 2008
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Traveller

There is a wasteland not far from here that is more like the desert around the Land of Oz than anything in the real world. It just starts. There is a straight line as far as the eye can see. On one side is plenty of nice green grass. On the other is black wasteland where nothing grows. There is no dirt for anything to grow in, just hard black ground and rocks.

When the traveller comes to this wasteland there is no question about what to do…

Keep reading
9 September 2008
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We ate apples and oranges for breakfast four days a week

My mother believed in eating healthful food. When I was a boy I fantasized about having my tonsils removed because they gave you ice cream after the operation.


19 June 2008
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Insomnia

818210_35483357

Sometimes, when I was 14, I would tell my mother that I was going to sleep at Shiree’s house that night. And Shiree would tell her mother that she was going to sleep at my house. And we would wander the streets of our little village for hours when everyone else was sleeping and sometimes we’d try and get some sleep in the stairway in the flats (but it smelled like pee in there) and sometimes we’d wrap ourselves in my coat (she didn’t have one) and try and get warm and to sleep in the doorway of the community centre. And finally, 5 am would come, and daylight, and we’d wander around the streets again, waiting for the milkman to come and leave us some milk (and sometimes, if we were lucky, yogurt!) on someone’s doorstep. And we’d drink our milk and continue to wander and wonder why we decided to stay out all night anyway, and let’s not do it again, is it?

But we did.


13 May 2008
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The good Samaritan goes home

Inspired by this sketch I wrote a sketch which avoids the wife-hating and features a ninja:

Joanna: Where is he? He should have been home ages ago. She gasps. What if he was the one they attacked! No, they said he was a Jew. But Nathan looks like a Jew sometimes when the light is low…

Keep reading
20 April 2008
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That's well neighbourly! - updated

This weekend our church is looking at the story of the good Samaritan. I want to rewrite it for my class of 10-13 year-olds and set it in high school. (For those of you outside the UK secondary education starts at age 11 here.) I found some interesting retellings laying around the internet: here (scroll down), here and here, but none of them are really what I need. How do you think I should update the cast?

Who are the attackers?
Who is the victim?
The priest?
The levite?
The Samaritan?
The innkeeper?

If all goes well, I shall put a working draft story online in a day or two for your further comments and sugestions.

Thanks!

UPDATE

I ended up not rewriting the story beforehand. Instead, I did it live as a mad lib with my class. They loved it. And they heard the story three times, once proper and twice silly. AND they all asked for a copy of their own. Here is their story with a little help from the TNIV:

Once a footballer slide tackled Jesus to test him. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit fantastic life?’

‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’

He answered, ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’‘

‘You have answered Jeffly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’
But he wanted to sit himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’

In reply Jesus said: ‘Conor was going down from Tesco to i61, when he fell into the hands of terrorists. They stripped him of his table, karate chopped him and went away, leaving him half hairy. A referee happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side of the Aston Martin. So too, a fit, sporty girl when she came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side of the elephant. But a nerd, as he read, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on 7up and lemon juice Then he put the man on his own ferret, brought him to Jamaica and took care of him. The next day he took out two dollars and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will paint you for any extra expense you may have.’

‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the terrorists?’

The footballer replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’

Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’


20 April 2008
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That Floor

that floor.

2 years ago, Jeff was downstairs in his office graphically designing to his heart’s content. The little daughter was at playgroup and the son was at school and I was upstairs in the little daughter’s room scrubbing away at her floor which used to be shiny and white but had lately been a bit dingy and needing a new coat of paint…

So there I was, scrubbing-brush in hand, scrubbing at the floor with everything I had when… (dun-dun-dun) the phone rang (which is more of a brrrrrrrrrng than a dun-dun-dun really, though a dun-dun-dun phone would really be kinda cool dontcha think?)

Jeff is the phone answering person in our house and so Jeff answered the phone.
He paced the living room (because Jeff has a hard time praying or talking on the phone without pacing) and I kept hearing him saying “o-o-okay!” not with a nervous stammer but with his happy stammer, he doesn’t really have a stammer but it was a bit like “o-o-okay” and I have a hard time describing it any differently than that.

He was happy. We hadn’t been very happy in the past couple of weeks, our dreams of doing church in a different way, in a way that people who didn’t like church could connect with… we felt those dreams had been taken away from us… but we really felt that those dreams we had for a new way of doing it – were from God.
But Jeff sounded happy on the phone and I was dying to hear the other side of the conversation.
I went downstairs “Jeff, who is it?”, I mouthed at him, as sharply as mouthing would allow me to.
He mouthed back “Steve” and turned to pace the other way.
Steve and Gill were a couple at our church who we had always thought would be our pastors. They had connected with us as no one had before, they had shared with the church a vision that we were just so sure was from God for a way of doing church that was just not terrifying to people who were coming through those church doors for the first time. We had thought they were going to be our pastors… but some people didn’t agree that they were right for the church that we were in… The dream was… over?
Well, I wasn’t getting any hints from Jeff as to what this phone call was about (other than it was something exciting), so I went back upstairs and resumed my work of getting that floor ready for a coat of paint.

He FINALLY got off the dang phone and I swear was up those stairs in 3 strides.
“We are starting a church… in a pub”

We jumped. Up and Down. On that floor.

i61 was born a few weeks later. Our first meeting was on Easter Sunday 2006 and… It’s now Easter 2008, and that floor still hasn’t been painted. It’s been a busy 2 years. But so SO worth it.

More fun than anything. Happy Happy Easter!


23 March 2008
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Stupid, evil credit cards 2

I wrote before that our two iMacs were on a 12 MONTHS INTEREST-FREE ON BALANCE TRANSFERS credit card from MBNA. Those twelve months ended near the beginning of March. Because I am working hard on managing our money, I set a date two weeks before the 12 months ended, and I paid off the card on that date.

I was obviously not pleased then when I opened my latest statement to find that I have been charged enough interest to wipe out half the interest I earned by the smart thing I did.

When I called MBNA to ask them to clear up the obvious mistake they had made, I was informed that ‘12 months’ doesn’t actually mean 12 months. In my case it turns out that ‘12 months’ meant 11 months and two days.

I said to the call centre person, Doesn’t it seem little dishonest to offer me 12 months with no interest but only give me 11 months and two days? And they said, and I quote: Blah blah blah blah policy blah blah clearly stated blah blah blah nothing I can do blah blah get off of our free phone line, you worthless piece of lichen.

The moral of this story is that credit card companies (and, even more so, insurance companies but you knew that already) are Evil.

Always assume the headline is a lie.

Always read the fine print.


21 March 2008
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Jesus's job interview

I wrote and Christine and I performed this sketch at our church on Sunday. Christine would be a brilliant HR person.

Welcome to Saviours PLC, Jesus. Is it okay for me to call you Jesus?

Yes, that’s fine.

So you would like to become a saviour?

That’s right.

Keep reading
17 March 2008
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What's Your Condition?

What I smile like.

My favourite wife has despression. She’s also a happy person. She’s also a brilliant speaker. She told the story of her journey into happiness at our church on Sunday. It is a story worth hearing. I promise I’m not saying that just because I am married to her. Have a listen (23 minutes)

Also, you might enjoy checking out Christine’s related project on Flickr, Room 37


25 February 2008
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Frantic five minutes

let's sway

I had to leave. It was time to go. The daughter would be getting out of school in less than 15 minutes and I couldn’t find the stupid car keys. Where were they?
Where were they?
There weren’t in there and they weren’t under there and they weren’t behind there and they were completely gone and had ceased to exist and I was gonna have to get a taxi or something and I’d be so so incredibly late and the teacher would give me that look again. And I’d feel ashamed. I am a rotten mother because I do not put my keys away properly in a place where I can find them and my children suffer because of it. There she would be, the 4 year old daughter, standing in the cold and not knowing if I would ever come. A stiff wind would blow to dry the tears that fell…

I said to God, “Father!”, I said, “Help me find the keys, please, I need to know where they are or there will be much suffering” (this is the extended version of what I said)
And in desperation I raised my hand to my head like a damsel in one of those old, silent movies… and the keys were in my hand.

Now. What have we learned today ?


22 February 2008
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Hooray for fables

Here is another poem that I wrote. It is a riff on Æsop’s Tortoise and the Hare. Christine and I read it this morning at our church. Today’s theme was Run to Win, the third in a new year series called Born to Run. If you can stand a lot of rhyming couplets, read on.

Keep reading
20 January 2008
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