10 things I like about my church


1. There are very old people

2. and babies.

3. There are people with learning difficulties.

4. There are black people

5. and white people.

6. Everybody knows my name

7. and is interested in my work.

8. We sing the doxology every Sunday.

9. People love Jesus.

10. Lunch there costs less than a pound (just over a dollar).

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Cow tales


Seeing a cow peacefully grazing at the side of the main road into the city from my house,

reminded me of something I saw in Bogotá when I was there before Christmas:

a calf being loaded into the back of a taxi.

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Visa requirements


Good news for all Colombians!

In the last six months, four countries have opened their borders to Colombia,

allowing Colombian citizens to enter without a visa.

There are now 29 countries worldwide who do this,

with Turkey reportedly set to become number 30 soon.


In Europe, Colombians don’t need a visa to visit Andorra.

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Jesus is here, too.


I watched the Colombian cup final in the Christmas holidays.

Junior of Baranquilla won against Once Caldas on penalties.


After the final whistle, the whole winning team,

including the back room staff, donned T-shirts that said

The glory is for Christ!

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Poster at a bus shelter (2)


Don’t drink and drive,

I’m not ready for you yet.


This, and yesterday’s poster, are both signed ‘God’.

I don’t like this,

as it seems to me to be taking God’s name in vain,

but it does show how visible God is in Colombian life.

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Taxi semiotics – an update


Walking down the hill to work,

I stumble over something, a wire, a strand of tough grass, not sure.

It jerks me forward and I take a giant, comedy stride, before,

thankfully, regaining my equilibrium, and continuing on my way.


A taxi driver, coming up the hill toots his horn.

I puzzle over that toot.


Was it: Are you ok?

Do you need a lift after getting that terrible fright?

I saw that?

Or even, Ha ha!?

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Colombian farewels


Further to my post on Colombian greetings,

Colombian farewells work much the same way: hugs and kisses all round.

But I have observed something: the good bye kiss on the cheek



So, you are winding up your conversation.

It’s time to say good bye, so you do.

But wait, you’ve just thought of something else to say.

You say it.

And now the rule is, you have to kiss again,

even if only seconds have passed since the last time.


It’s as if the interaction has to be safely trapped between the beginning and ending kisses.

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Even more extraordinary


Here’s a story I read in the news before Christmas:

Years ago, a woman joins the guerrilla, leaving her young children behind.

One of her sons grows up and joins the army.

He asks to be allowed to infiltrate the guerrilla to look for his mother.

He is given permission and lives for a while with the guerrilla

before finding his mother, and persuading her to leave the guerrilla with him.


The great Colombian novelist, Gabriel García Márquez,

is reported to have said that he has only ever practised journalism,

i.e., Colombia is so extreme that not much needs to be made up

if you want to write novels, and with stories like the above,

you can understand what he means.

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