As an enthusiastic blogger I sometimes realise I need to stop and explain. A colleague (younger than me as it happens) leant over at a clergy conference the other day and asked, ‘What is a blog?’ The short answer – it’s an abbreviation of weblog and it’s an online journal - is OK but there is a four part essay by Canadian evangelical minister Tim Challies at Challies Dot Com which is worth reading. It details the history and social trends of the blog together with an assessment of the state of, what is known as, the blogosphere.
How’s your short-term memory? Can’t remember? Test it, and some other bits that may let you down, at the Brain Fitness Channel. Other useful online health checks and articles are available at Surgery Door where I discovered it is national osteoporosis month. The NHS site has a useful facility to tell you waiting times for various routine operations and procedures. Blokes can find practical information at Malehealth which is an independent men’s health site. Women might like to try the netdoctor. Complementary health issues are dealt with at Webhealth. An interesting juxtaposition of adverts here meant that beneath a link to moneysupermarket.com was another banner ad with the question, ‘Does your food taste metallic?’ Priceless.
Got great volunteers in your church? Why not nominate them for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The award is given for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who:
regularly devote their time to helping others in the community
improve the quality of life and opportunity for others
provide an outstanding service
Looking for an old commentary to replace the one you leant to someone and never saw again? Try Lund Theological Books of Cambridge or Golden Age Books. There are some listed on eBay but the search result currently includes a box trailer system and a Bruce Lee video. I don’t know either.
Bored with your local DVD rental shop? Many people are turning to renting over the internet. Lovefilm.com, for instance, will let you borrow movies for as long as you want (so it isn’t a problem if you can’t view them on the day you planned) and then return them in a pre-paid package. There are different schemes depending on how many movies a month you are likely to get through. Similar looking services are offered by MyMovieStream, easyCinema (run by Stelios Haji Ioannou the easyJet guy) and CD Wow!
For those who are so completely Anglican they even like to do their shopping at an Anglican site Kevin Mayhew publishers have launched Anglicanshop.com, ‘...the first exclusively online shop serving the needs of the Anglican Church.’
If you’re not sure what to buy as a gift for a special anniversary or occasion then visit Present Aid. ‘I thought of you and sent someone a pig,’ sort of thing. You could also give a can of worms. I mentioned this site at Christmas but worms are for life not just Christmas.
In his wonderful book Sex God Rob Bell mentions a friend of his who started a web-site where people could talk about their struggles with their sexuality. The site is XXXChurch.com. To generate traffic it describes itself as a Christian porn site but don’t let that bother you. It’s the opposite.
‘The organ is the instrument of worship for in its sounding we sense the Majesty of God and in its ending we know the Grace of God.’ Find this amusing? More musicians and musical jokes at Musical Jokes. A fine selection of theological light-bulb changing jokes is available at Lite Bulb Theology.
‘One major behaviour that triggers a work interruption is ‘going online.’ The Internet is a vast repository of time wasters, and if you're like me, the activity that signals that I'm about to lose focus is opening the web browser. So I created a simple web page with the words ‘Get Back to Work’ in big, bold letters on top and set it as my homepage.’ The genius who said and did this is Mark Taw and the potential home page is called Get Back to Work so I won’t be ending with a list of distractions this month. I will finish by pleading that you pass on any good ideas to me, by visiting Mustard Seed Shavings (where previous columns are archived).