Monthly Archives: July 2009

St Magnus (no not that one)

Talking of interstices, often what is most attractive in other people and other places is not their official virtues, but something which might seem by the bye. Take the admirable blog run by MadPriest. How right he is about the C of E sleepwalking to disaster.

But really, I go there just to contemplate St Laika, and St Lady (Holy Blind Dog and Bishop). Of course it sets me wondering what saints I have enjoyed in my family. St Magnus springs to mind at once. Was ever a cat more obviously holy? St Magnus lived a life devoted to contemplation and the spreading of habits of faith and prayer.

Or St Columba (no, not that one either) A dog who truly lived for others. Can his calls for the repentance of visitors ever be forgotten? (Especially he wished the lady now living with my husband to repent, and he would hurl himself at the door handle as a proxy. It was commendable zeal.)

And St Puppy. I feel sure others will remember the conspicuous faith that St Puppy showed all her life, and be able to suggest possible traits and qualities to be remembered.


Sometimes we reach a moment where what we see and experience is, as it were, outside the main purpose of the event. Suddenly, in a day all about work, driving between jobs I was jolted out of tedium by the sight of a little cock sparrow drenched from his bath in a puddle and sparkling in the sun.

It got me remembering my mother’s long dying, and how sometimes in the middle of a day of anxiety and sorrow, there would come an interstice. Something would trigger a few moments of respite when I could feel myself unfurling to my natural state in joy and relief. Joy and beauty and a whole heart would be mine. I called them interstices. The joy of the interstices made life possible.

The interstices do not come to me only when I am sad or lonely or bored, they can come any time. Often and best they are unexpected, sometimes, approaching a favourite honeysuckle smothered hedge, I anticipate them.

What they have in common, these moments, is that they seem more real than the matter of life which surrounds them. I wonder very much what interstices you have experienced.

The angels of the churches

There must be a link joining the churches I have belonged to – really belonged to, not just attended. The first was St John’s (Methodist ) Church Hereford. It was a big church, but it seemed to have a place for everybody. Perhaps that was an illusion. We sang loudly, happily. Set as we were in the Welsh borders there were many there, not just in the choir, who could turn their voices to most things. The worship was frequently a hymn sandwich. I loved the people.

And All Saints, St Andrews. Dear knows I disapproved of much in attitudes and opinions, but I always felt I belonged.

The Tron, Moredon. I belonged there no doubt. But I had a kind of function, being the assistant minister’s wife. I am not sure how far it counts.

I really belonged to St Paul’s (Episcopal) Church Rothesay too. At times it was a very very troubled belonging, and I can remember huge fury at times – but I always, or nearly always, felt I belonged there.

And now my Glasgow church. Well, not mine alone, I concede.

In between St John’s and St Paul’s there were other churches, some very good, others less so. In none of them did I truly feel I belonged.

So we have now established it had nothing to do with my sense that everything was to my taste, or in line with my opinions. My gentle readers are welcome to come back with suggestions. Dear ones – where have you felt you belonged and why?

Cutting back

My customers this week have been puzzled – or some of them. I have been explaining that I have been cutting back. I have been reducing the length of my chapters. But surely the hard thing is to write enough words to make up a whole book? Alas no – I have enough for one and a half entertaining books. I need just one. But I’ve made a good start. I have taken 2000 words from ch. 1. In many ways the hardest to cut, because it has to have certain bits of information about parents, etc. I’ve also re written a few infelicitous bits.

Now all I have to do is keep up the good work…..

Tilla tilla, til la ta ta

In theory I like solving puzzles. If I really need to relax, I find a computer game where I manipulate my hero or heroine around an obstacle course of trigger happy guards, mystic monks and inadequate resources (what idiot enters a spooky castle without some string and a torch, and has to FIND them within the walls? Why does this plonker not have a screwdriver in his pocket?).

So tell me why finding out that my new phone is not happy to play a tune to alert me to incoming calls should drive me nuts. Plainly some setting was wrong. Again and again I reset the preferred tune (corny and loud I find best). Again and again, on phoning the mobile from the home phone (yes you stupid phone I know it was a call from home, the home phone is in my other hand!) I merely got a vibration that I would never hear in a real life situation. It had to be some other setting. In the end I tracked it down, yes, profiles – to me a quick account of a personality. And again and again I set it to normal.

In the end I realised that the little blue line had to be OVER and not UNDER the ‘profile’ of normal to get the wretched thing to cause sound. At last – Tilla tilla, til la ta ta

Good grief, I could have got my hero out of prison, over the man eating dog and into the villain’s office to over hear the plan to master the world in that time!

An extraordinary thing

An extraordinary thing has happened to me. I have reached a point in The Book where I know taking time off will be more productive than working flat out. Therefore I am cutting down to working weekdays, something like a 40 hour week.

This leaves me an amount of free time I have not had in years.
Two things are apparent –
(1) Unless I am employed doing something useful, like cleaning, cooking or vegetable gardening, I feel mildly guilty.
(2) What I actually do is spend too long surfing the net or playing computer games and feeling mildly guilty.

A Christian Act

I believe strongly and instinctively that schism is not a Christian act. I have been asked to justify this belief, and I could use help fast.

Let me kick off by saying that one reason is that is one is causing schism for any other reason than over the ancient councils of the church, which will usually mean over orthodox Trinitarian belief (which I would further boil down as saying that the essence of God is love in relationship, which love God brings to us unconditionally and without our needing to will it first) If one is causing schism for any other reason one is effectively placing other things above those core and ancient beliefs.

I think a more usual argument would be that dividing the body of Christ is an inherent ill, but I suspect the person I am debating with will simply snap back that those he disagrees with have by their beliefs already left that body.

My own feeling that the American schismatics have ‘got themselves into a state’ is not going to help either. People in a state always deny that they are (as in ‘I am not upset, and I will continue to deny how upset I am until I calm down.’)

I know this blog is read by a surprising number – HELP.