Coffee with some lovely women from my St. Andrew’s women’s group
It’s well and truly summer. At last, and long overdue. School broke up on the 12th of July, which does seem very late, doesn’t it?
The Cwmbran Revival
We went as a family to the revival meetings at Cwmbran, Wales on a Saturday. It was moving to see the hall packed with people, praying, worshipping God. Whether it is a revival or not is irrelevant; that’s just semantics. What I enjoyed was spending hours worshipping God, hours in the presence of God, and I received a vision/image of the future of my work which was encouraging and energizing. In the presence of God is creativity, reassurance that you are on the right path, and guidance. And love, so much love.
My sense is that it is going to take continued surrender, humility and repentance on the part of the leaders of the Cwmbran revival to make sure the revival remains spirit-led, not ambition-led. I think we should adopt the approach of Gamaliel, “For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
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I went to a Festival of Prayer at Ripon College, Cuddeson. Quite a treat to see robed Benedictine and Franciscan monks, Anglican Franciscans. Would have thought that was a contradiction in terms.
Enjoyed the sessions on contemplative prayer, especially the Jesus prayer which we said together like the waves of a sea, rising and falling, profoundly calming.
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Enjoyed coffee with Malcolm Guite, brilliant poet, priest, theologian, and writer. A fountain of free-associating ideas from poetry and theology. What a treat. He invited me to listen to his talk at the Inklings Conference on the treasures of the Kingdom, which was also a treat.
And I’ve visited William Morris’s house, Kelmscott Manor with Writers in Oxford. Beautiful furniture, and a very spacious roomy house—Morris had inherited money, and used it well to support his owncreativity and that of others. Which is a Godly thing to do. The very first thing we are told about God, in the first line of the Bible, is this: In the Beginning, God Created!
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I took part in Oxford’s Race for Life—Wow!! Very ra-ra-ra, all war metaphors, Cancer, we are coming to get you, Cancer, we are kicking your butt.
Six thousand women gathered together for a common cause. I found being there, part of the great democracy of women quite an emotional experience, because I am usually an introvert who avoids crowds.
Women of every age, from toddlers to determined grannies, of several races, and of every social class, judging by the snatches of overheard conversations as I plodded along, and by the accents, for in England, though less so that than previously, accent is a still an indicator of social class.
Thousands of women in pink, some with pink gauzy skirts, angel wings, anteannae, babies in buggies.
I imagine Pentecost happened to such a polyglot motley crew.
It was a triumph of organization. Could churches get together like this, to raise money, say for global universal literacy, perhaps as in Britain’s original Sunday Schools which used the Bible as a textbook for learning to read? Ah, dreaming now…
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We enjoyed “The Way,” a beautifully shot film about the Camino de Santiago, the 500 mile pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the reputed site of the bones of the Apostle James. It seemed spectacularly beautiful, redolent of history. We want to do part of all of it.
Interesting theme. Most of the characters encountered on the Way had unlived lives, and had not chased their dreams for fear of poverty or failure or being different.
The four main characters had varying degrees of psychological distress because they were holding on to false images of themselves. Jack, the writer, thought he was blocked and could not write, because he was writing what he thought would sell not what he really wanted to. Sarah, the brassy angry Canadian, consumed by anger over her forced abortion and violent marriage, gets in touch with her heart. Joost, an obese kindly Dutchman, is walking to lose some weight, but realizes he really does love food, just not in excess, and makes peace with himself, and his weight. And the grieving father, victim of the American way of work, work, work, and then you die, who has suppressed huge areas of himself, sees other ways of living, explores his unexplored potential.
We are also tremendously enjoying the B.B.C’s “Desperate Romantics” about the Pre-Raphaelite painters.
With our friends, Russ and Malissa Kilpatrick
And Zoe, 18, has well and truly graduated from High School. She won the Head’s Award for Academic Excellence, her school’s Award for Academic Excellence in Religious Studies, and a Commendation for Achievement in Philosophy–a fistful of book tokens.
We put Zoe and Irene in private school after buying our dream house, and I ended up founding a small publishing company to pay the fees. Roy was a mathematician at the time, and I was an aspiring writer. 7 years on, Roy has taken early retirement from Maths (in 2010) and is running the company full time, and I am a blogger, as well as a writer. The kids’ education has taken our whole family on an unexpected adventure!
Zoe has an offer to read Theology at Jesus College, Cambridge. On to the next chapter!
Next on her schedule, though, is an internship at Catch the Fire, Toronto starting in September. Interns come from a minimum of 10 countries, so it should be an amazing experience for her.
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Last week, Irene went on a school trip to the First World War battlefields in France and Belgium which she found profoundly moving. She’s now at a Christian camp at Lymington Rushmore, part of the The Titus Trust outreach to girls and boys at private schools nationwide. A strategy, incidentally, that works.
Irene, 14, is an all-rounder academically. Her reports commented on her intelligence beyond her years! Her passion is reading and English. I am trying to talk her into taking up theology like her sister (unsuccessfully, so far!).
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Favourite book this month—Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly
Linking up with Leigh Kramer