Those awfully nice people at the CEN not only give me a bit of pocket money for writing them a column every month (tithed and declared to the tax office missus) but also allow me to improve my blog by archiving the old columns. Here's April's:
A new theory of everything? How to deal with fear? Just some of the big questions answered at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). The most riveting speakers around are challenged to deliver the talks of their lives in 18 minutes (and no more) at an annual conference. The best of these are available for free on the site.
Of the many lessons I learned on a recent trip to Japan the most surprising was that toilet paper use is minimal over there. 'Cleansing with fresh running water is the most soothing and gentle way to remove germs and bacteria from your sensitive skin areas instead of using rough and abrasive tissue paper. Cleansing with fresh running water also reduces toilet paper use by 80%, which is an easy way to Go Green and save money.' Thus say the people from Mini-shower, anyway. Go and buy a bidet.
If you have travelled recently and would be happy to write up your experience for others then go to Been There. This site, run by the Guardian Newspaper (which has a great on-line reputation) enables you to record your travels and make recommendations. Travelling more locally, Driving with Dogs is the place to go if you want to exercise a dog within five minutes of a motorway junction.
Another interesting green site this month is Ecorattle, 'All that's shakin' in green baby news.' If you have, or want, a green baby do visit. That said they have a wonderful chess set for slightly older people made out of used car parts. The spark plugs move diagonally right?
In other green news, Each One Counts is a recycling site for old phones and inkjet printer cartridges. Junk Buster will put you in touch with the major schemes to stop unsolicited post. It's another step in an energy-saving direction.
If you read, or only saw, the book Change the World for a Fiver a few years back you will be familiar with the work of We Are What We Do. They describe themselves as follows: 'We're not another charity. We're not an institution. We (are) ... a movement. Our aim is to inspire people to use their everyday actions to change the world. Whoever they are. And wherever they are. And that includes you. We live by the maxim small actions x lots of people = big change. It’s not rocket science but it does work!'
Share is '...for all involved with fresh expressions of church - practitioners, people in training, encouragers, supporters and researchers.' It contains '... how-to-do-it advice on starting, developing and sustaining fresh expressions of church based on shared experiences.'
Philip Ritchie is a lay education and training officer at the Diocese of Chelmsford. He blogs at Phil's Treehouse. Expect reflections on faith, family, films and football. Flipping fancy. A minister, John Richardson, who happens to work in a village called Ugley didn't really have any choice but to blog as the Ugley Vicar. That he does. Good thoughts there recently, especially on the Bible and Christian doctrine. I came across the blog of Alastair Cutting on reading a link to his reflections on Hillsborough 1989. He had to face ministering to the bereaved families, on site, after a short time in his first curacy. Helpful and moving thoughts.
If you enjoy writing and want to improve there are many sites which will offer tips and hints, or simply put you in the company of the like-minded. For those who have not yet been published try the Emerging Writers Network, Ficticity (to sample fiction) and Authors Blogs (a hub of links to other blogs).
If you like being made to think by clever people who do not, necessarily, subscribe to a Christian way of seeing the world, may I commend Mark Vernon. He is a writer and philosopher and offers thoughts on meaning, speech, friendship and business amongst others. You can find links to his various books and he also blogs. He sets out his understanding of his 'principled agnosticism' on a Guardian Comment is Free page. That would be a good way in.
There are a few reflections on my eastern travel experience on my blog as well as archived copies of this column.