Monday, May 14, 2007

CEN April 2007

May's column due, gulp, tomorrow, so here is April's.

April 2007
As global warming turns spring into summer a bit early you maybe need some games for that barbecue; ones which don’t involve the smell of burning flesh. Check out for a selection of great ice-breakers and other ideas.

If you do think the weather is particularly topsy-turvy at the moment have a look at It has a history of the British winter going back over the last 400 years.

Another great source of ideas is Doug Fields’ Simply Youth Ministry site. There are things you can buy there, but also a massive selection of freebies from screen savers to games and talks. If you want to check out another, interesting translation of the Bible from time to time you will find the J. B. Phillips version available at CCEL (Christian Classics Ethereal Library). There are other articles there too. It is especially helpful on how our Bible was put together.

To get away from it all why not spend some time in a Christian community. Iona (Scotland) has a good web-site and you can download their magazine Coracle. Lee Abbey (Devon) and Scargill House (Yorkshire) offer similar retreat services.

Acknowledgement to Presbyterian minister Iain Cunningham at Ian C’s Random Reflections blog which directed me to the World RPS (rock paper scissors) Society. I like their slogan, ‘serving the needs of decision makers since 1918’. Another clergy blog I stumbled across recently was Paul Walker’s Out of the Cocoon. Good thoughts about emerging church from a minister who finds time to read widely.

More emerging church dialogue from Matt Rees at Lost Empires, Living Tribes. Matt leads a young, emerging community in Oxford. Someone who sees things from an unexpected point of view, asks annoying questions (because they don’t have one word answers) and gets great comments from visitors is Sarcastic Lutheran. She’s become a favourite. Emerging Minister has lots to say too.

Always good ponderings online by BBC economics editor Evan Davis at his blog Evanomics. There’s a nice little essay on metrication which I enjoyed. The BBC political editor also has an enjoyable blog at Nick Robinson’s Newslog.

I once nodded off in the notices and thought I heard that there would be a special service for victims of road accidents in Coventry Cathedral. Should they have traffic lights at the crossing? But too many people still die or are injured in motor accidents. This month includes the First UN Global Road Safety Week, 23–29 April 2007. RoadPeace, the national charity for victims of road accidents, has details and links.

Making the world a more fun place, or just making it untidy? Check out Banksy’s site to see this urban artist’s portfolio. Not for the over-sensitive.

When the going gets tough the tough get going – in graph form? Yes indeed, distraction of the month has been Smaller than Life, a blog which has recently devoted much of its time to representing song titles in the form of Venn diagrams and other information graphics. Not a distraction but an amazing insight into the crazy, joined-up world in which we live, is ATIS. This is the New York City Department of Transport’s advanced travel information system. You can watch the traffic in Brooklyn. Go on. You know you want to.

It’s soon getting to that time of year when everyone (OK two people) ask what I want for my birthday. I am going to follow the crowd and create an Amazon wish-list. Just list all the music, DVDs and books you want and your friends can order it for you (or make a note of it and go buy it from a less globally-dominating enterprise, locally).

My completely accidentally discovered (oh that’s serendipity is it?) discovery of the month; if you mistype the subject in the Google search box you get links to people who make the same typing errors as yourself. Don’t know what to do with this information except to observe that it cuts down the amount of hits. Huppy hanting.

Sorry I forgot the URL of Stopitnow last time. It’s included in this month’s list. Last month’s column and all previous columns have been archived on my blog, Mustard Seed Shavings. Do visit and comment, or offer ideas of sites CEN readers might enjoy.

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