Monday, 7 June 2010

Damaged Goods

I wont apologies for not writing – it gets dull starting every blog with the same apology but thank you to those who nudged me and asked me to post.

Let me start with updates:

Daughter _ The whirlwind is now 16 mnths old? 18mnths? In honesty I am really not good at keeping track of these things. It seems to be a question I am asked at least twice a week – how old is your little girl? I still am never really sure – it seems to change on a daily basis. There is however a reason for all these questions about age. It allows for what I have discovered is the widest running competition in the world – who’s child is better. When a parent asks you how old your child is what they are actually saying is:
a) wow your child is really slow, my child is brilliant and was doing that ages before your child.
b) Wow your child is well ahead of mine; I hate you and hope you get hit by a bus.

Clearly I am beyond this kind of compettive parenting, I am happy for the whirlwind to develop at her own pace and really don’t give two hoots about how she is doing on some scale which measures every detail of her behavior and skills against an imagined list of goal posts that she must rush through in a race against other children. Of course if it was a race she would be winning – if I was comparing she would be ahead…but im not…not me…not for a minute…

Work I wont go into to much detail, enough to say that I am doing two days a week work in a business that I disagree with on almost every level. It hurts me even to think about it right now.

Mostly: Mostly its really okay I am just getting through one day follows another and the world slides around and I just watch it turn – today even as I write this I am overwhelmed by a sense of loss of all the might have beens and could have beens. It seems right now that writing about it – looking my life in the face is all to much for me so I will sign of as quickly as I signed on and vanish again for a while.

Sunday, 4 April 2010


My daughter the whirlwind has for some time had a fascinating with bags, she loves nothing better than finding things to put in and out of bags. This had led to me discovering half eaten bananas, socks, the remote control and various other things I my bag. About three weeks ago her Aunt gave her an old handbag and she has since then faithfully carried it around with her, putting it around her neck when walking. This accessibility of storage space has led her to pursue her new hobby, stone collecting.

The whirlwind is indiscriminate in her choice of stones, which ever is closest to her on a path, or on the drive of someone’s house we are passing will do. She will stop. Pick up the stone. Remove her handbag. Unzip the bag (often with a little help). Place the stone in the bag. Put the stone in her bag. Put the bag around her neck. We are then ready to walk five or six more steps before we repeat the process.

While I guess its nice that she has hobby…

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A Tantrum

The hurricane that is my daughter wants to play with the telephone. I take the telephone from her and she wails. The question is what do I do next, and what if any effect will this have on the rest of her life? If I give her the phone to play with will it teach her from this early age that she can get whatever she wants as long as she complains loudly enough, and is that a good or a bad lesson? Will it make her ‘spoilt’?

The telephone is not a suitable thing for her to play with – I don’t want to find she has hit 999 and the idea of giving in seems some how wrong – although I cant articulate a sensible reason why it would be a problem.. I suspect there is something in learning that you cant always get what you want, but then I am not sure that’s a good lesson. The people who never accept no for an answer are often the most successful people. They find ways around situations where others give up and go home.

I have seen some parents tell of children for there tantrums, but when I am upset or annoyed, reasonably or unreasonably I don’t think someone telling me I am being silly, or to calm down will help. It is instead the fastest way to make me blow my top all together. So instead I give her cuddle, I try to distract her, I offer her a story, and pretty soon she is sat by my side listening happily to “Clovis the Tiger’ – who in case you don’t know is the roarist tiger in the whole jungle.

Sometimes I allow myself to believe that the way I handle these things will make a huge difference to the person that my daughter becomes, but as i talk to my friends I realize that  everyones parents got it wrong – the world is made up of people who had bad parents and yet we all survived. Im not saying my parents where terrible here – just that they where human and made mistakes. I survived those mistakes, and I am sure my daughter will survive through my mistakes. 

For now the crisis has come and gone, the tantrum was very brief, and with my daughter cuddled up with me giggling as I roar all seems okay in the world

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

110% Sure

Someone - and I am not telling you where, put up a post where they said they always give 110% effort. I tried not to leave a comment, really i did. I tried to not be the ranty shouty man, but I am afraid it got the better of me. I tried to explain it nicely, but in honesty i am really not a very nice person.  Anyway in honour of this I thought i would share with you all a link to the classic spinal tap - these go to 11 moment..enjoy.
My wrestling with theology grows no easier with time. i am hoping that my faith is in one of the boxes that i have yet to unpack from seminary, however i suspect that it was lost in the move.

So what now? I have a hope, that somehow my doubts will crush me, compound me, that what will be left is a lack of logic or a crystal of truth. I long for that moment when all questions fall away and all doubts evaporated under a sun that radiates life giving energy.

I am currently living between metaphors. I want to scream as did the writter of eclesatics, it is all meaningless! Its all blowing in the wind! None of it matters. Yet i need work - and time. I would like to sleep a while.

I am back involved with a church - i have always found God most in people and a well turned phrase, the curate has a spark, i am tempted to try and use it to light the fire that has gone out in me, but i am not sure how easy it will be to fan flames.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Depicting the Prophet

As i was driving back from a photo shoot today I got to thinking about image - and more specifically the controversy surrounding the depiction of the prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him.

Looking into this a little I discovered that there is not an explicit prohibition against such depictions, instead there are two statements in the Koran from which these prohibitions are extrapolated:

21:52-54: "[Abraham] said to his father and his people: 'What are these images to whose worship you cleave?' They said: 'We found our fathers worshipping them.' He said: 'Certainly you have been, you and your fathers, in manifest error.'"

42:11 of the Koran does say: "[Allah is] the originator of the heavens and the earth... [there is] nothing like a likeness of Him."

It seems to me then that prohibition as found in the Koran is not to an image of any kind, but rather to the worship of these images. I may have misunderstood..however the point i am interested in is how one who believes that making such an image or displaying it is forbidden could respond to such an image.

There is the possibility of condemning such depictions and anger at those who would create them, or there seems to me to be the option of responding that it is not possible to create a likeness of Allah, or of the prophets, that not one line of the many used in attempts to depict them can carry a single speck of an aspect of that which they try to depict. In fact they fail to be a depiction at all. While the creation of an image of Mohammed, peace be upon him, is prohibited, the actions of those who attempt to create such images is mearly foolishness as it is not possible to create such an image. Such an approach would allow one to instead of being offended by an image, be amused, bemused, and in sympathy for those who might try such a futile thing.

Any thoughts from those who know these issues better than me?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Small Child

I have realised that i havent really written anything about my small child of late or at all on this blog? Anyway i felt i should probably give a suitable update on the joys of parenthood. for those who dont know we are a slung family, attachment parenting, my daughter at 14mnths or so..something like walking down the road happily and pointing at passers by then waving at them. When i get home she gives me a smile, and i ask her to get a book, she wanders of to the bookshelf and picks a book - or rather lunges for whichever one comes to hand and sits with me while i read to her. 

On Shabbat we play with woodern blocks given to us what seems like a life time ago by our dear friend Anna.

At night she curls up to sleep in the 'family bed'.

I dont know whether i make a good or a bad father - it seems very hard to tell. I find the chaos - the constant mess - very difficult, however, her smile, and more to the point her giggle is fantastic. She laughs when things dont happen in the way she thinks they should. If she rolls a ball across a table towards me and i dont catch it she finds it the funniest thing in the world - but is completly unammused by the failure of anyone else to catch it if its rolled to them. I hope that she will always giggle at the areas where my ability is lacking !

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Things should be better now

They really should. I have just got two days work a week. Its enough to match what i was on claiming benifits. I wont be any better of - but wont be any worse of. This is good news. This is positive.

I have had a meeting with my Rabbi who has been lovely and extended the warmest welcome to my exploring.

I have had a meeting with a Priest of a new church - well a new church to me, who has offered me the space to explore, to be involved, and to shy away when i need to.

Yet it doesnt feel better.

Sorry wish i had more to say.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Dancing on the Edge

I am a bit lost for words tonight. I had a meeting with a gent from church today - i rare one. To discuss - well life. A small part of me had belived that he was going to sit me down and say to me, right, lets see what we can do about making you a priest. Do you fancy returning to training next week? Instead i am aware that if it ever happens it will be a matter of years - and probably a large number. I am not sure if i have the strength to be a part of the church through those years. 

Maybe that means that i should never have been a priest - that it was right that everything was stripped away. So here i am naked, and not sure what wear. The old clothes dont seem to fit anymore - and its to cold to be naked.  I realise i am babling, that the way isnt becoming any clearer as a type, or for that matter even the questions.

I feel very low and uncertain about what to do - which way to go. I realise the questions are never this simple but i find myself drawn ever deeper into the arms of judaism - i appear to be a glutten for punishment - in judaism if i was to convert, it would be to reform judaism which means i would never be recognised as a brother by those in orthodoxy.  I realise this may seem a little shocking - cant be a priest and so change religion? Its not that - and i am not about to do that - but when it comes right down to it i feel at home in the synagogue, it feels like family. With the church it feels like a distant relative who you really dont want to see but feel oblidged to. 

My belife hasnt gone - dont get me wrong - I still belive that Jesus opens the door - it just feels right now that if i would prefer to sit in the foyer and be welcome, than try and break down a door that the church has fitted locks onto.  All over simplifications and terrable cliches but i have nothing better to offer right now and above all i need to sleep.

I also suspect i need to cry for a very long time, I am not completly sure i will be able to stop once i start though and so am trying to avoid it.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Who turned the lights out?

Housing benefit has today confirmed that they will not pay housing benefit as we are living with family. We can not live with family without paying rent. As such we need to find new accommodation in a hurry. Benefits gives us £200  every two weeks. Even before food petrol, etc etc, we have £85 on various phone contracts, broadband, landline.

Applying for lots of jobs - finding that there are over 100 applicants for min. wages jobs.


Sunday, 24 January 2010


Its 2am in the morning and i should be asleep, but my mind is racing and as so often of late i cant find peace. My obsession is as ever the priesthood. When i try to work out what i should be doing with my life, i keep coming back to this place - i should be a priest. I cant work out if i am just in denial, if what i should be doing is mourning and then trying to find a way forward, or whether i should be finding a way to fight.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Praying in the Shed

In my shed I have an icon, a candle, a stoop bowl. Every night before i go to bed i go out and sit for a while and talk/pray. While i ask question - i am still looking for the face of God. I also feel more at peace than i have for a long time. As much as a wrestle with questions i dont belive they will overcome me - but i will keep blogging my search for answers.

Today i meet with a friend i trained with and it was lovely. He sat with me and said - but you are meant to be a priest - its who you are. We talked through some of my questions and i was forced to admit that i am not sure right now if my question are there because i dont want to belive and not be able to stand at the alter or because they are question burried deep inside me that are bubbling up.  

I will keep asking - but will keep praying to.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Redemption, pain and other things

As will have become clear I have been having some what of a crisis of faith. In this however I have found my redemption. Many moons ago when involved in a lot of dark things I committed myself to god and stepped away from a life of debuchary. It has always been my feeling that I am that person – that I would live a life of crime and excess if only I hadn’t committed myself to God, and I have always felt a hankering for the other life. 

On struggling with my faith, on no longer training for the priesthood I have been set free of obligation – free to decide who I am. It has been a shock to realize I don’t want that other life, its just not who I am. With or without God I have no desire of the life I once craved.

As that realization has begun to sink in its left me feeling better than I have ever felt. Sure it still hurts to type – managed to cut my finger fairly seriously requiring 4 stiches over the Christmas period.  Sure I have not had any money since the 1st December when I sold some books (still waiting for benefits payment).  I also don’t know what the future holds for me – I belived – and still belive I am called to be a priest. Yet I really do feel okay in myself.

So what road for my faith? I have not stopped beliving in God, but have questions on the divinty of Jesus which continue to bother me.  These questions are substantial – but it remains my faith that Jesus is God. I have committed myself to one year of looking at this question – one year of doubt and searching for answers before any change to my faith life. It must seem odd for me to be saying I still feel called to be a priest – when I know I will never be a priest now, and when I have such doubts. I don’t pretend it makes sence.

More later – shouldn’t be typing at all right now.