Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A Feast of Delight

Lucreta has been a volunteer at the Feast for a number of years and is also an accomplished poet.  Not surprisingly she has combined the two!  She has just had her poem about the Feast published in a book called 'Here and Now'. It goes like this -

The Feast

Volunteers mingle at four pm
Preparing dishes as they come
With the background sound of laughter
In readiness for the banquet at eight pm

Plaid tablecloths; seventy place settings
Brightens up the environment
For the needy to be served with a three course meal

They listen to a fifteen minute talk and
Applause approvingly; enjoying tea and coffee; plus
A take away and extra clothing before they depart

A hope for change;one hear their cry; one see their sigh
They destitute embrace the gospel and then they comply

The Feast changes lives; the destitute enfold hope
Visible in their eyes and in their lives

A Feast of delight, to be polite on Wednesday nights
At Kings Church, SE6

I have heard Lucreta read this poem a few times and it is definitely best read in her fabulous Caribbean accent.  In fact I hope she performs a few poems when she is launching her new book Meh Landing Frock on Thursday 7th July at Catford Library. 

Lucreta’s first anthology is a poetic journey from memories of his grandmother shelling gunga peas by the side of the road, to her first impressions of the UK in the 1950s, to the emergence of multicultural London and a return visit to St Vincent, the land of her birth. Creole patois features in both Lucreta’s writing and performance.
The event is free to attend with the opportunity to buy a signed copy from Lucreta. Lucreta is Vice-Chair of the Inspired Word writing group and would be pleased to speak to anyone interested in joining in with their activities.
Thursday 7 July 2011, 5.45pm for 6-7pmCatford Library

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Life in Catford - on the buses 3

Living life on the Jericho Road (representing the dangerous and difficult places in our society) rather than hiding away in our houses or our car with the music turned up loud is still on my mind.  If social justice means anything it has to mean engagement and with parts of society that are not like me.

Today after church, I got the bus home with my 4 children.  My eldest who uses the bus every day sits on his own, happy to disown the presence of his family, whereas my 3 girls sit with me where there were empty seat at the back of the bus!  Upon sitting down, the guy next to me, on the phone, tells his listener that I have got on the bus.  He uses a term to describe me that I have never heard before and I won't put on this blog in case I find it to be deeply offensive slang.  His conversation which he is broadcasting to the whole bus then proceeds to be filled with plenty of foul language.  I can deal with that fine, I asked him to watch his language and he agrees and then tells his phone listener (and the bus) that it makes sense because the kids don't need to hear that language.  What I was unable to find a solution to, was the constant valuing of women as objects that he has authority over, anyone (thing in his vocabulary) who was female that came into view out of the window got a sexualised comment.  This guy had no shame! He might think that children shouldn't hear swearing but he was very happy to let them hear sexualised vocabulary.  When he got off the bus my eldest daughter and I started a discussion about his views on women.  She told me up to the point he got off, she was desperate to get off the bus and walk!  She really hoped that it had gone over the heads of the younger two. 

Yesterday I saw a man wearing a T-shirt that read 'made to be laid' - now I find the term 'laid' fairly offensive especially on public display but it was the word 'made' that got me thinking.  God made us and one of our key purposes is to procreate. Did this man even know that he was 'made'?  The impression was that he was the author and maker of his life and the obvious statement he was saying by wearing this T-shirt was that he had a right to use another person for his own selfish gain.  How did we end up here when God made sex for our good?

The sexualisation of young people through clothing and music videos etc has made the headlines recently and I am relieved that there is voice of reason in the midst of this onslaught.  Yes the casual acceptance that is given to talking about and display your intentions regarding sex is deeply disturbing. 

My task as a Father of a son and three girls who live on the Jericho Road requires my full engagement and now is not the time to hide my head in the sand.  Happy Father's Day!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Where have all the blogs gone?

I have no simple answer to why I have not blogged for a month but it gives me an opportunity to catch up on all that is going on. (The one blog I did write, froze on me so never was published!)

Events that have happened in the last month. As a family we enjoyed some cold wet Derbyshire weather and then some hot dry Norfolk weather at half time. As I reflected on the weather differences in our relatively small country, I realised what a fascinating climate we have. My wife called it something else when we were stuck in a tent for a second wet day. Also in the last month Aston Villa Football Club have turned down or have been turned down by every unemployed manager. (Blues fans would probably argue that some who are employed as well).

Steve Tibbert has launched his book 'Good to Grow' which tells the story of King's Church over the last 15 years. It is almost 10 years since I joined the team and it is a story that I am delighted to have been part of. It also provides a resource when people ask how has King's continued to grow. The weeks since the launch of our 3 sites have seen a remarkable increase in people attending the church.

I have reached the 6 months since my knee op and last night I ran for the first time in about 10 months. I have been cycling and swimming but I was told it would take 6 months to run and the consultant was right. Even running last night I could feel it on my recovering knee although I felt it equally on my other knee so perhaps it is just par for the course when I haven't run for that long. Anyway it felt a significant step towards the goal of completing an Olympic length triathlon in the Olympic year/my 40th year. Which obviously leads to a classic blog topic 'Olympic tickets', I tried to get about £600 worth of tickets including the 100m final and I got £46 which means 2 adult tickets to an Olympic event. Still no email to inform me which one. Despite the huge criticism I was generally happy with the whole process with one major concern. The system favoured people who had more money or were willing to gamble more. The more bids you entered the more chance you had of getting tickets. Putting that aside, as a family we will thoroughly enjoy the Olympic games being on our doorstep. The free events will be great and also the big screens in the Parks should be excellent places to hang out.

Life has been very busy and I have had to remember to slow down a little and try to pace myself. Next week I am away with about 15 others from the Jericho Road Project at the Encounter Camp in rural Worcestershire. This is an event started by my friend Jim Harper who runs the event to allow people who have suffered from life controlling issues to have a place where they can meet with God and find healing. It will provide for me a different week from the usual hustle and bustle of the office/home. It will give me time to catch up with people who I might see regularly but don't have much time to catch up with.

So the blog is back, hopefully!