About to start writing May's stuff so here is last month's. Want to read it earlier? Subscribe.
My local church has welcomed visitors over the last few weeks – some of them were people looking to move to the area and trying to find the right church first. Commendable. Achurchnearyou is a web-site dedicated to helping you find a church in a different location. It is easily searchable by postcode and, although nothing like complete, has almost 20,000 entries. Whilst we don’t play ‘Mine’s bigger than yours’ round here, Find a Church boasts over 40,000 entries. The Way claims simply ‘thousands.’ Search for yourself. Or make sure your church is on the various databases so it can be found. Looking for a church that does an Alpha Course is also a way to find a church with a bit of life.
If you regularly need to print or display music and lyrics in worship you will need a copyright licence. Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) was ‘...originally established in 1988 to provide a copyright solution for churches wanting to reproduce the words of hymns and worship songs for their times of worship.’ A reasonable subscription keeps your church legal and ensures song writers are not cheated of income. As part of the service you can also subscribe to SongSelect which allows you to search a huge database of songs, print off lyrics or scores and even transpose the music.
I have enjoyed discovering SGM Lifewords this month. They are the organisation once known as Scripture Gift Mission although you wouldn’t know it from the site. ‘On this site, find ways to make imaginative connections with the Bible's life words for yourself and your community, explore fresh perspectives on the Bible and culture, and learn how you can partner with us, working hand-in-hand with some of the world's most vulnerable communities.’
Another excellent Bible resource launched recently is Deovox from Damaris. These are daily devotional podcasts. First few from Matthew’s Gospel downloaded in seconds and played at once on my RealPlayer, or they could be transferred to an iPod.
YouTube has a reputation for weird and wonderful videos but did you know that a whole load of great interviews are archived there. For instance Rowan Williams on Emergent Church or the Gospel story in his own words. ‘Trust Jesus when he tells you what God is like,’ he says. Fair enough methinks.
Ironic that following all the furore about what the Archbishop said about Sharia I should discover a Christian Mediation service advertising on the net. If you don’t feel you should take your brother to court then visit Resolve. They might help you sort it.
Did you know that a third of the food we buy in this country ends up being thrown away? Lovefoodhatewaste is a campaign to put that right. Lots of ideas there. It is being run by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) which ‘...helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more, making better use of resources and helping to tackle climate change.’
There is evidence that those who train their brains by doing thinking exercises stay sharper older. Lumosity will help you with language, processing speed and another thing. Memory, that’s it. Play the trial exercises before signing up to anything. Other similar services are provided by The Brain Training Company, Brain Matrix and MindWeavers. Saddest moment for me was when I discovered pages of cheats for the Nintendo brain-training games. Cheat yourself cleverer. Love it. Not telling you where to find them.
Blog of the month is Embody, the home of designer, coach, mentor and, apparently, circus performer Bruce Stanley. He may help you more than a million brain games. Beautifully designed site. Notable runner-up mention for Funky Pancake with its eye for the surreal image. Here you will find, inter alia, hassock of the week and fridge on the street. Cool. The site not the fridge. Stephen Fry has a brain the size of a large brain and his blog is never dull.
An interesting development in the blogosphere is the beginning of iPM by the BBC. This weekly (Saturdays, Radio 4, 5.30 p.m.) inter-active programme uses audience generated material. Visit and tell them why they should feature left-handed banjo players or interesting takes on textual criticism (first two things that came into my head – maybe I need brain-training). They’ll listen.
Previous columns archived at Mustard Seed Shavings as ever. Come and talk.