February. Good news. Pay day comes three days sooner than usual. Bad news. Monthly deadlines do likewise. As I embark on the surfing I sacrificially do on behalf of Church of England Newspaper readers, here is last month's offering:
Welcome to Lent. Fancy a new take on giving up? Go to The Big Cold Turkey and sample their free downloads before buying a cool light blue wristband with clip-on trophies for 5, 10, 21 and 42 days of abstinence from whatever it is you decide not to do. Alternatively go with Christian Aid’s idea of giving up giving up and giving instead. Details on the Count Your Blessings section of their web-site. Want to know a bit about Lent? Why thus called? Why 40 days? The Ayiti. This spells out the cost of life. You take decisions on behalf of a poor family in Haiti and try to keep them alive. It’s difficult to master but great as a learning tool. Youth groups will love it. Getting some of my virtual family to live for four years was a genuine cause of joy and a wake-up call too.
Thinking of travelling? How about checking out if anyone you know is going where you’re going? OK this is probably not the behaviour of the Church of England Newspaper reading demographic (all trying to avoid people?), but your children? They may well be back-pack-gap-yearing. Telling them about Where Are You Now? will establish how cool you are if you do so before they discover it.
Think that last paragraph was a bit clumsy? Maybe I should have taken it to GrammarStation for help or downloaded free software from ZDNet which checks for phrase or word repetition. No guarantees here. Readers advice on grammar software appreciated.
If you think the TV drama Party Animals can’t possibly be true then get the insider’s view on life in the Houses of Parliament by visiting the blog of senior parliamentary assistant Kerron Cross - The Voice of the Delectable Left. It’s visual, infatuated with looks and full of less-than-useful links. Premier League time-wasting.
What do the clergy think? I’ve been writing my own on-line journal for nearly four years now and have been able to host discussions I would never have otherwise been involved in, from the size of a reasonable CD collection to the nature of evil. There are loads of others. I find an interesting take on life from so many clergy blogs. You find the words ramblings and musings quite a lot. Hmmm.
Finking Out Loud is updated in spurts and then goes quiet for days but is always likely to make you fink, smile or both. Good in Parts is a log of learning on the job. Vulnerable and visual.
Why don’t seaside vicars look out to sea in the morning? Because then they’d have nothing to do in the afternoon. Elizaphanian looks out to sea, often photographs it and, I hope, has a sense of humour or I’m in trouble. Rev Ruth is also coastal but looks inland too.
Still striving for that elusive halo... is a lovely title for a blogful from a priest, wife and mother. Gadget Vicar is a busy site with lots going on. Made me feel determined to redesign my own blog. ‘Squallen from Celtic days refracted though Black-country-wised and wizened forebears. Thames flowing in grandsired veins. God Christfully inspirited this mud: a husband; a father; a priest. ENTP.’ If this floats your boat you have to go to Nouslife. Now. Watch out for pop-ups.
Hiding behind these convoluted titles are real deacons and priests. Visit to find out who they are. Maggie Dawn doesn’t hide and does update every day. Bishop blogs? Bishop of Bristol, Mike Hill, runs one which he began following a well-reported road accident. Starts many conversations. Thinking Aloud is equally episcopal.
Hub sites are places which have links to many other sites. To keep up with new developments in alternative worship Moot is a good hub. I got from there to an online Labyrinth, some Pomomusings and The Alternative Hymnal which is a commentary on contemporary songs from a worship perspective and a place I will be dropping into lots.
I’ve archived last month’s stuff and all previous columns on my blog, Mustard Seed Shavings. Leave a comment there or email me with feedback. Now I must get back to Haiti.