Final post of the year


I am going to take a break from blogging for the next couple of weeks

(as part of my plan to chill out I got 4 books out of the library today, a total of 2023 pages!)

but I wanted to let you know about two events taking place in January.


For those in the Glasgow area, I’ll be speaking at a Latin Link prayer evening

in Partick Trinity Church of Scotland, 20 Lawrence Street, G11 5HG

on Thursday 9th January at 7.30pm.


And my church in Edinburgh, St Thomas’ Corstorphine

(75-79 Glasgow Road, Edinburgh, EH12 8LJ),

will be saying goodbye to me on Sunday 12th January

at the morning service, starting at 10.30am.


There will also be an afternoon tea in St Thomas’ at 4pm on Sunday 12th January 2014.

If you’d like to come to the tea, let me know before 5th January

– use the guestbook, or look for me on Facebook or Twitter.

(Let us know if you have any special dietary requirements, too).


Thank you for reading my blog, and for all your support throughout the year in so many ways.


May you have a peaceful/exciting/meaningful/relaxing/enjoyable time

over the festive season and I’ll see you back here on 6th January 2014, all being well.

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A modern Raleigh


Near where I’ve been studying

there is a street with a building site on it

and there is a workman positioned at the entrance

to keep passing pedestrians safe.


This week the man said, On you go,

so I knew it was safe to pass,

then added, Sorry, it’s a bit mucky!


He sounded so genuinely concerned,

I’m sure he would have put down his cloak if he’d had one.

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Culture Making


I enjoyed reading a book called Culture Making by Andy Crouch.


There are lots of sections I could quote but I’ll make do with this one on page 97-98:


I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches?

Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture?

Why aren’t we known as cultivators – people who tend and nourish

what is best in human culture, who do the hard and painstaking work

to preserve the best of what people before us have done?

Why aren’t we known as creators – people who dare to think

and do something that has never been thought or done before,

something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?


Why not indeed?

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Nelson Mandela: my tuppence ha’penny


Years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Robben Island,

where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated,

and was shown round by a veteran of the struggle against apartheid

whose party trick was to ask his audience where they were from

and then tell them what their country had done to support said struggle.


When it was our turn he said that Glasgow had been the first city

to offer Nelson Mandela the freedom of the city (in 1981) and

had later named a square after him (in 1986).


This week, to my amazement,

the railings of the church in Nelson Mandela Square, Glasgow,

were full of floral tributes and written messages

marking Mandela’s death.

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Tantalizing snippet


Overheard on the train (again!),

said by a male speaker:


It’s funny how your mind works:

I don’t remember the whole night out,

I just remember the fish supper.

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Overheard on an Edinburgh Bus


Two men in front of me,

strangers to each and the city,

bonded over the weather

and their shared experience of being parents.


One was recovering from a painful illness

and this is what he said:

Well, you pray when you’re in pain, don’t you?

I’m Church of England, but I believe

there’s something out there, a supreme being,

there has to be.

It’s like when you are on a plane

and you start to pray

“Lord, just get me down from here,

and I’ll be a good boy,”

and then you land and you forget all about it.

It’s dreadful, really.

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A Perfect Day


A long time ago, I used to visit my parents

in South Africa at Christmas.


Two dear friends felt I shouldn’t miss out on a

Scottish Christmas dinner, and for several years,

took turns to make me turkey and all the trimmings

about mid-December.


I no longer visit South Africa but our Christmas dinner,

now in a restaurant, is now a tradition.


So if you see me wandering around Edinburgh

with a big smile on my face today,

it’s because today’s the day.

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I’m all missionary meetinged out


Well, that’s me officially finished my talks for the year.


I spoke about my work in Colombia 25 times.

I spoke to about 700 people.

I spoke in two Scottish Episcopal Churches, one Church of Scotland,

one Baptist Church, and 14 Free Churches.

I spoke at the Latin Link Scottish Conference,

the Freie Evangelische Gemeinde, Trier, Germany,

and to groups in two independent churches.

I spoke at two interdenominational meetings.

Ten of the talks were to women’s groups.

I spoke to one Sunday School.


80% of my audience was over 50.

Two thirds of my audience were women; a third, men.


And the moral of the story is:

as with the East End, you can take the girl out of the Free Church,

but you can’t take the Free Church out of the girl.

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Political Turmoil in Bogotá


Remember this, back in 2011?

Then, Gustavo Petro, formerly a member of an illegal armed left-wing group,

was elected mayor of Bogotá.


He has now been removed from office

and banned from taking part in politics for 15 years

for alleged mismanagement of changes to the rubbish collection system.


I must say, it all seems a bit odd and disproportionate.

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