Saturday, March 25

I am the Vine

A reading by Joshua Waddington

Also on The Grace Lent Blog
My Odeo Channel (odeo/fdba8224f0326120)

Tuesday, March 21


If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

See the Grace Lent Blog entry by Steve Paynter

Monday, March 20

Three things

Three things you need to remember in life
Never be mean
Never be false
Never be cruel

Tuesday, March 14

Blessed are the Rulemakers

It’s lunchtime and I’m sitting at my desk taking a well earned break (be encouraged that I am writing this to you as recreation and not as part of my paid employment). I am sure there must be a rule governing how long I’m allowed to linger writing this before I need to be back on the job. I say this because it is the subject of rules which is bugging me.

In many ways my whole day is dominated by rules. I have to fill in time sheets by Friday, submit project plans by yesterday, fill in work request forms to get things done. I don’t normally worry about this but lately there seems to have been an upturn in the zeal with which the rule-makers have been operating. In fact, if rule making were a religion I believe we are now in the middle a spirited revival in which new converts being added every day.

Here’s an example. Take the elderly lady who, last week, was asked to remove her hat in a pub because she represented a security risk! I kid you not. Apparently she fell within a general category which includes hoodies. There was also the man who was handed some junk mail and made the foolish move of putting it in a public waste bin. Foolish because he is now fighting to avoid an £80 penalty for abusing this public facility by depositing private waste.

Last weekend I was in church and someone had helpfully produced a sign requesting that we all try and be quiet this week. I quite understand this since the Sunday morning service is usually dominated by shrieking, wailing, heckling and other disturbed interjections. Be that as it may, the intention was to encourage worshippers to respect the silence required by people who find spurious outbursts unacceptable. This was not exactly a rule but the way it was presented came across that way.

Where am I going with this? My point is that there is always an intention behind any rule, and this intention is rarely articulated for fear of giving people a choice. For the rule maker it is about minimising the need to compromise. The intention behind the sign outside church was that we give due respect for the variety of worship needs within the congregation. However, by demanding a specific solution, it was an attempt to meet the needs of one part of the congregation. In the case of the little old lady who wore the hat in the pub, the intention was to make the pub a friendly place. The cold application of the rule achieved the opposite.

I have another couple of things to say on the subject…..(2 o’clock my boss is coming).

Sunday, March 12

Grace for Lent

Last night Grace invited enyone to bring a station to help reflect on lent. This is the what Deborah, Josh and I came up with.

Wherever you look there are entrances and exits - doorways in and doorways out. Each one marks out a different territory where particular rules apply. Each space on the other side of these thresholds, these boundaries, is the domain of someone.

I remember an aunt in the north of England who had a particular pride in keeping the doorstep polished and the kettle on. Her domain was a place of welcoming and hospitality but of course not all spaces are as welcoming as my aunt’s. Some places are selectively welcoming, keeping out undesirable elements while only opening the doors to those who fit certain criteria.

The Celts used the idea of the open gate. I like to think that this image – a gate through which the land is visible, enticing and accessible – is a good way of understanding the gateway which is open to all who choose to venture that way. This is an idea which offers us all hope, but in order to go to one place we necessarily have to leave another – so the gateway is both an entrance and an exit.

So what do you want to leave behind and where do you want to go?

There are more photos here

Friday, March 10


Here's a video from a site called Vimeo which is a movie version of Flickr - in fact you can post your video on Vimeo and then link it to the Flickr site. It's also very easy to link the video to your blog - as I have done here. Now here's the hairy technical bit: this video is on the small side but I've decided that the ideal size for a one minute clip is 320x240 (good for ipod) using Sorrensen 3 compression. This comes out at just over 3Mb. The good thing about these file sizes is that they are comparable to music file sizes.

View video

The opinions expressed on this site are those of Mark Waddington and not his employer. If I have made any errors or published anything unfairly please bring it to my attention and I will make corrections if appropriate.