Praying like a monkey?

30 10 2011

I’ve finally managed to sit down and watch the first episode of “Fry’s Planet Word”, which is a five part documentry with the marvellous Stephen Fry all about language. I’d tell you more about it, but so far I’m only 15 minutes into the first episode!

(It turns out this episode is only available on iPlayer til 9pm tonight, but can also be found here.)

What’s really struck me is a piece near the beginning (around 10min in) about a monkey called Lana. She’s been taught to make sentences on a machine: things like “please machine give piece of apple fullstop” and “please machine give chocolate fullstop”. Fry tells us that while this is clever it’s not using language like a human does. Lana can construct a basic sentence, but can’t initiate conversation. She just request things; tries to get what she wants.

Fry says that this is different to humans, and a lot of the time that’s completely the case. But I think there are times we can, unintentionally, be just like this! Maybe it’s just me, but when I pray, sometimes it’s so easy to just focus on what I want. It might be asking for something selfishly, or it might be something as well-meaning as asking for healing for a friend, but either way, it’s so easy to come to God with a shopping list of requests, and not be focussing on developing a relationship with our God as our Lord and Friend.

Sometimes, in prayer, our language skills can be very chimp like indeed!

(As an aside, I’m now 45min in and there’s a fascinating sign language segment – very worth watching!)

My SCL – faking being bad at sword drill

29 10 2011

So I read a blog called Stuff Christians Like, which is basically a humourous look at the funny things we do as Christians. (And I thoroughly recommend it!). It’s kind of about the stuff that get’s between us and God is you want to Jesus Juke it!

I found myself doing something the other day that sounds like an SCL post, so I thought I may as well share it!

At housegroup, normally within the study there’s a few bible passages to look up right? Well, when I was in Sunday school and at Girls’ Brigade, I was pretty good at sword drill (click the link, it’s not as violent as it sounds!), I could find a passage (especially in the New Testament) pretty quickly!

So bringing it back to the housegroup evening, if you hear “shall we look at John 3v16?” You think “easy – only one verse and I know I can read it without fumbling!” But, if they ask for a whole chapter which you just *know* is going to be full of long and complicated words, I don’t know about you, but after initially going into auto-pilot and finding it at speed, I’ll find myself slowing down, flicking intentionally past it, maybe pretending I can’t find it, (all the time with a finger in the right page), so I look like I’m trying hard but just can’t find it! Just waiting for someone to get there before me so they can face all those words.

Then as soon as they’ve declared they’ve found the passage then, oh look, I’m there ready to follow it 🙂

Does anyone else do this? Or was this just a confession I shouldn’t have made?!

The Daily Post: People are too dependent on technology: agree or disagree?‏

23 10 2011

This morning at church I had my first go at doing the projector. This was a little more complicated than the last church I did this regularly in, including recording the sermon, uploading it to the web and burning CDs but seemed pretty doable! As it happens, this was meant to be a pretty straightforward service, but between one of the songs being wrong, a guitar string breaking, one microphone not working and problems with the computer picking up sound for the recording, it was a little hectic.

A couple of years ago I was at a Christian holiday thing, and the 20-30s venue was in a marquee. One night, the power just wasn’t working, so for one night, and one night only, we experienced life with no technology! It was beautiful. Three people dispersed themselves throughout the group with acoustic guitars, and we just sang songs of worship that we all knew, it was incredible.

Now don’t get me wrong, technology has so so many advantages, but yes, we do get dependent on it. Sometimes it’s good to have everything fall apart to remind us that we can live without it! Those problems this morning didn’t stop us worshipping!


21 10 2011

Just a quick thought today.

They say that time goes fastest when you’re enjoying yourself….
We must really enjoy the time we spend asleep!

What’s the fear?

19 10 2011

For years and years I’ve had a fear of public speaking. This goes from speaking up in class to leading a group, or anything in front of church. Anyone who was at my baptism, saw me say my testimony and heard more than 2 words of it clearly was very lucky indeed – I reckon I broke a words per minute world record that day!

And I’ve always assumed that was it.

But this weekend, I realised that’s not what my fear is!

On Sunday I was welcomed into membership at my church (which is great!!) but, when I was up the front, all I had to say was “I do” and even that bit was fine, but standing there, in front of everyone, was just horrible!

I don’t mean that in a nasty way. Having the whole congregation there promising to support us too was wonderful. But just in front of that many pairs of eyes, well, the pinchmarks on my hands spoke for themselves!

It seems my fear is more to do with being the centre of attention. Leading a meeting, up the front of church, these things all involve the whole room looking at you, and that’s not fun at all!

Do you have any fears that are not what they seem?

Wonderfully Made

3 10 2011

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139v14

This verse is a pretty well known one, but one that if I truly think about, is pretty tricky.

If I look at myself as far as science goes, I am wonderfully made! Thumbs, the way the body just get’s what it needs from foods, respiration, all these things are truly incredible!

But as far as aesthetics go, my critique would generally be ‘could do better’. Saying I’m wonderful is going to be a very difficult lesson to learn!

Do you agree that you’re wonderful?

It’s not Terry’s, it’s mine

1 10 2011

I’ve had [what I like to think of as] an EXCELLENT idea.

(I’ve also had what might be an excellent idea, but we won’t know until they try it – Chocolate Apple?!)

What’s the most frustrating thing about a Chocolate Orange? Getting that first segment out, absolutely correct!

SO, here’s what I propose: If you are giving someone a chocolate orange, why not, to make things easier for them, not for selfish reasons AT ALL, take out one or two (or 5) segments and eat them first? Wouldn’t that be SUCH a kind and helpful thing to do?

For the record. It doesn’t frustrate me to try and get the first couple of segments out, so if you’re ever giving me a chocolate orange, please don’t feel this would be necessary for me 🙂