the baby and the bathwater

Oh my giddy Aunt
January 31, 2009, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

article-1132745-033f6d87000005dc-719_233x289Apparently in the UK the number of accidents at work has fallen recently. Health and safety experts are claiming victory and justifying their rigorous processes, guidelines and checks.

I fear it may have to do more with the fact that lots of people don’t have jobs at the moment.

Anyway, the most recent consequence of overbearing health and safety is now, apparently, that Asda have put a warning on their milk bottles that says ‘warning – contains milk’.

Oh my giddy aunt. Where will this end?

As it happens I have also become aware recently that soon all newspapers will have to display prominently on their front page ‘warning – contains news’. Apparently the Sun has decided not to display the message for fear of breaking the trade description act.

Maybe soon we’ll have to put a notice on the door of church saying ‘warning – contains God’.


The battle
January 31, 2009, 9:01 am
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When we are told that ‘the battle belongs to the Lord’  we are not being encouraged into a lifestyle of glorious inactivity, we are being compelled into a lifestyle of radical obedience.

Obedience in Worship
January 29, 2009, 7:46 pm
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It is always dangerous to make any judgment as to whether any one people, church, stream or generation does this thing called worship better than any other: we must be very careful to take into our own hands a judgment that is ultimately only for God to make.

But in my mind, if any one people, church, stream or generation does do this thing called worship better than any other, it isn’t because of their songs, it isn’t because of their bands, it isn’t because of their amazing visual presentation, it isn’t  because of their beautiful buildings, it isn’t because of their cd’s.

It is because of their ‘yes’.

When is enough enough?
January 28, 2009, 1:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just recently I was emailed about a new worship resource web site

Now regular readers of my blog will know that I don’t really get too excited about this sort of thing. I mean, I don’t mind people trying to resource the church and place songs etc into worship leaders hands, but it seems to me that there are many such web sites around, all circulating pretty much the same stuff.

But a couple of things caught my eye about this one.

Firstly it was coming from one of the organisations surrounding Chris Tomlin. Chris, in my mind, is one of the best worship song writers around at the moment. His songs have great melodies and tend to be really singable – with songs like ‘How great is our God’ and ‘Holy is the Lord’ two of his best and most widely used. So the fact that he was setting up a worship resource sight interested me. The second thing that caught my eye in the email was that there was going to be a cost involved – not a cost per song downloaded etc, but a monthly direct-debit type of cost. An in additional to that, you could choose your level of payment. Pay more, get more. That sort of thing.

So intrigued by what I read in the email I went onto the website and found out more.

It is a very well designed web site, with all the knobs and whistles you’d expect, and it certainly promised a lot of song downloads, streaming of new songs etc. But it was the price that leaped out of the page at me and started me thinking. OK, you can sign up to a ‘free’ level. Which I did. And this gives you access to…well not very much it seems. I was a little disappointed to find all the things that I wanted to get hold of were labelled ‘requires upgrade’.

For various levels of upgrade (and associated costs) you can start using the worship planner – uploading chord charts and then producing a song list for Sundays: if you get all your band signed up on there too, they can access your songlist and chord charts for the Sunday service too (of course I assume that they will have to pay as well). I tend to use the ‘jot down on an old envelope five minutes before you start’ method of producing a song list…but I’m sure this other way will work too.

You also get sent a ‘worship theme’ every month, although I’m not sure what a ‘worship theme’ is. It certainly sounds tempting. I wonder if it lets you type in a theme, and it picks the songs for you. That sure would save the bother of listening to God and being obedient. Anyway, I am just guessing on this one because for the moment I don’t believe I am eligible for one, or at least I haven’t received one if I am, so have not explored it further. Anything else requires a monthly cost, so I have declined an upgrade to my membership.

The top level cost is $20. For that I think I would get all the chord charts for lots of songs, I believe it will mean I can also hear some audio of new songs as and when they come out, as well as get an ample supply of worship themes.

But let’s think about this. $20 a month. That is $240 a year. If only 1000 of the massive number of Chris Tomlin fans sign up for this, that is $240,000 a year income.

Something just doesn’t feel right.

Firstly, if I am a worship leader in a church, then surely my church is already paying a big chunk of cash for the CCLI license, which was set up to ensure that songwriters received a fair wage for their efforts.  I imagine a fair wack of this already goes to this organisation. My understanding is that this new resource doesn’t replace or lessen those costs. It is just another layer of expense.

Secondly, if part of this is about getting new songs, then presumably I could buy the regular yearly CD from for around £10 giving me access to the audio. Most of the chord charts are then either available free somewhere on the net, or transcribable from the CD. So $240 a year really does seem harsh.

Recently in the news we heard about the proposed transfer of Kaka to Man City, for which he was apparently going to earn around £200,000 per week. Now that, too, I have concerns about. But Kaka is apparently a committed Christian and gives alot of his money away to the church. If that is true, then at least this means that new money is coming into the kingdom. I’m all for that.

But this recent web site isn’t even doing that. It is asking one section of the church to pay a whole lot more money out of the giving of it’s members to fund worship in their churches, and paying it to another church organisation that in my mind, is probably not short of a bob or two.

This may sound a little critical. But I feel that if someone is going to email me and ask for money to get hold of their worship songs, then at least I think that gives me the right to ask the questions.

I will still use Chris Tomlin songs. They are great, and they bless us.

But there is something about all of this that just doesn’t seem like church.

Or is it just me?

Politics is Rubbish
January 24, 2009, 2:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In a couple of weeks we are having a Trinity Arts Jazz Bar event that apparently is causing quite a stir within the town.

Once again, the design is mine. The words ‘genius’ once again comes to mind. Whether you agree with me on that one, I hope you agree that this event is worth stepping out for on Monday 16th February.


Give us some help, Barack
January 22, 2009, 3:22 pm
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On his first day in power, Obama has made many decisions. One of his first was to freeze pay for all White Office staff with salaries over $100,000 because of the economic situation. OK, so people earning $100,000 are unlikely to be facing starvation, but it at least draws a line in the sand.

On the same day it is announced that Northern Rock employees in the UK (effectively civil servants) were to get big bonuses.

Unite, the trade union, defended the payments. “Staff at the bank have worked exceptionally hard in extremely difficult circumstances. They have experienced the loss of friends and colleagues through compulsory redundancy yet have continued working solidly,” it said.

How unusual. People having to work hard in difficult circumstances. Perish the thought. No wonder the unions are up in arms.

(Unite is the trade union who’s bosses were said to be enjoying big salaries whilst their members were on minimum wages: According to figures obtained by The Times, Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite, received £89,035 in benefits on top of his £105,217 salary in 2007 – giving him the largest package of any general secretary. His total pay and perks, including pension, housing benefit, employers’ national insurance and car benefit, worked out at £194,252)

As a UK tax payer, I suppose I was hoping that the £20k or so the current bailout is costing me and my family would prompt a response that has more obvious integrity than using some of it to pay bonuses to bankers, who arguably caused the problem in the first place.

Some people may say there is spiritual void in this nation, and there probably is. But it seems that there is a huge leadership void too.

Can I be Frank?
January 20, 2009, 7:34 pm
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My friend Tim Goodwright, together with his friend Steve Evans, performs ‘Can I be Frank?’ at Trinity Cheltenham in a few weeks. I have seen the show, and I can honestly say that it is in my top five for the most funny things I have ever seen.

This is first class, high quality theatre. No cheese. Nothing amateur. Just pure excellence.

And by the way, the design is mine. And yes, it is genius (I could be humble and say it wasn’t, but if you look at it, clearly I would be lying). But such genius is only fitting for the quality of the production.