A Short Essay on Friendship

Well hopefully no one will read this.  And if you do, don’t tell them. But…

As I grow older I have discovered what friendship means. I thought I knew but apparently I didn’t.  I can pinpoint a few key moments but in the last 36 hours things have crystallised:

Friendship is spending a couple of hours talking about the hardships you face via Skype and listening to the hardships your friend faces. And hearing. And listening. And laughing. And joking. And saying “maybe next time we Skype we could do it at 10pm with a glass of whisky?”

Friendship is sitting around a table with a takeaway and saying out loud “this is just us picking up the conversation we were having six months ago now we’re 200 miles apart without missing a beat”.  Didn’t even skip. 

Friendship is answering the question “where do you want to go in this sprawling metropolis where all things are possible?” with “I don’t mind. I’m here to see you”.  So we’re off to Mecca Bingo. My choice. Didn’t expect that did you‽ 

Friendship is a constant messenger ping coming from your pocket letting you know that “I want to go to this gig with you” or “I think that you will love this song” or “you need to say this to your bishop*” or “come and play this song on Thursday night at jam night, it’ll be a right laugh!!”  Ping. Ping per per ping ping. 

Friendship is that… We are fond of the silliness.  We are. Sometimes words can’t express the love that you have for a friend but “we are fond of the silliness” will let that whackjob know how much he means to me.  Yeah. I said whackjob. That’s what mates do. 

Friendship is being held up to be the best that a person that I can be. And I fail all the time, but I have the best friends in the universe. And friendship is also seeing people you love becoming the best that they can be.  Friendship is holding people up when they feel like falling down – heck, my guys hold me up to be more than I can be all of the time. 

Friendship is forming community with people whether they are in the here right now… or constrained by family commitments and the bounds of space and time.  Friends are there for you. 

Geography is annoying. 

Friends are intimate connections that transcend the bounds of Google maps estimated arrival time. 

*trust me it really was nice stuff. 

Lamb of God Children’s Activities

I’ve just been in ASDA and they’re selling sheep finger puppets for a pound. They also have sheep bags and baskets for £1.50.   

Go and sort out all of your Easter toddler worship needs!  

Consumerism

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Tim just shared this on Facebook. It’s brilliant. I now need to find out where it comes from.

Is Christianity Weird?

Who would have thought Milton Jones was so sensible?

If you don’t have it already, buy his book.

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We’ve Moved

We’ve moved…

Over the course of the last few years The SutherlandsTM have grown a variety of online presences for various different things.  Both of the bands have websites.  We’ve got Facebook pages, twitter accounts and so on.  In an attempt to try and pull things together I’ve moved us to a self hosted site at http://changingworship.com.  We’d love it if you would update your links.  With any luck WordPress.org will keep redirecting people to it in the future but if you want to follow our little corner of cyberspace on some form of blog reader you may want to use the new address.  I’d hate for you to miss out on anything controversial we may over the coming years say like “bottom”.

Yeah, I know the new site doesn’t have a proper theme yet but Rome wasn’t built in a day….

Happy Yorkshire Day

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Welcome to Church

The Church of England has recently published a guide to the “Top Ten Facts About Christenings“. It is a starter for ten for people making enquiries about their local church and “getting little Timmy ‘done'”.It seems to have picked the same scab that The Weddings Project picked for a lot of vicars….. it educates people about their rights (something vicars don’t like to admit people have) and their responsibilities (something many vicars insist people should be born with pre installed like iOS6).

I am not a cradle Anglican. I may have mentioned this once or twice. I wasn’t even a churchgoer. I grew up with the belief that The Church TM didn’t have anything to do with ‘people like me’. In all honesty, the church treated me like a pariah when I was a teenager with a Helloween patch on the back of my denim jacket – I managed to attend for 5 weeks. When I arrived at university this is what I told Ruth: The church does not want people like me in it. The David Mitchell portrayal of the Evil Vicar isn’t just a cultural stereotype, it is often the real lived experience of a first time enquirer.

“Hello, are you the vicar? I am just ringing to ask about booking a venue…..”

There are two responses to this phone call:

a) [a brusk] It isn’t as simple as that! You are not simply booking a venue…
b) Congratulations. That’s great. Let’s have a chat about how we can help you celebrate the gift of a new child/celebrate the love you have for each other as you come together in holy matrimony…

I have sat in a room and watched both of these happen. I know which one I picked up as good practice.

The Church TM is a daunting experience for those of us you refer to as ‘unbelievers’. Walking through that door for the first time is a real challenge. If your first instinct is to trip someone up on their way in for the first time you will probably never see them again and neither will anyone else.

There is a massive theological issue at stake here. Jesus is the incarnate God who had a table ministry. He welcomed everyone in. Regardless of their religious literacy. Regardless of their knowledge of canon law or the parish system. Regardless of whether they had the language to ask for a service rather than a booking.

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“I didn’t realise we could get married in church vicar”. Happy to help.
“Can we have Timmy done?” Why don’t you meet me and the church wardens on Sunday and we’ll help you along the way?
“Will I be able to bring my son with me, he’s got Asperger’s so he may not be the most well behaved.” That’s fine, everyone is welcome here. If we can cope with a noisy vicar like me I’m sure we can cope with a little noise. After all, some famous guy said ‘let the little children come to me’.