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Showing posts from February, 2016

closing my eyes and seeing clearly

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On my way home just now, taking the long way round with a walk through the Meadows on a crisp sunny late winter's day, I was building myself up for a vitriolic rant against an institution from which I at times feel very disconnected, by which I feel forgotten and even abandoned out here on the limb they are pleased to name 'pioneering'. I would only have deleted that, though, for what does an angry rant achieve?

But the last few steps towards my flat brought a dawning of realisation. I have forgotten. I have turned my back. I have disconnected. Not from the institution, but from the Divine.

I think I had actually realised this during communion, without quite putting the words to it; as we sang songs after having received communion, I could not sing for the silent weeping that took me by surprise.

And now I see that I felt alone because I forgot in whose company I have chosen to reside.

It may be that I need to challenge my church to work with me more. Though there is some …

Thursday Throwback to a gradual, gentle landing

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Midweek Musing: the glories of the unexpected

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When you take on a project like a PhD, or move to a new country, or embark on any kind of adventure, you expect a certain number of surprises, anticipate the unexpected. When you lean into the Spirit and go where the Wind blows, you know you do not know what you will find.



So when I moved to Scotland to do this PhD, I suspected I would be taken by surprise by homesickness when I least expected, to be startled by beauty unimagined, taken aback by differences in customs, language, culture not anticipated. I hoped I would be pleasantly surprised by interest in my project from people I had no idea I would meet, might delight in a welcome of who I am and what I do, by new opportunities beyond what I could imagine.

Now that said, I am still shaking my head in incredulity, months after I submitted a proposal for a paper to present at a conference on the Glory of God. The glory of God. It simply is not language I tend to use. I associate that language, the 'praise the glory of God', o…

Thursday. Throwing back to wish and want and throw it all away.

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Midweek Musing: a week of interest, intrigue and innovation

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Mid-term in second semester at the University of Edinburgh means Innovative Learning Week. A week when individuals, schools and departments across the university run events of interest, intrigue, and yes, innovation. But strangely, my building complex is eerily quiet, I can access the washing machines with no competition or queue, the door across the landing isn't slamming all hours of the night with the coming and going of my undergraduate neighbours. They've all gone home.

It's mid-term, they want a holiday, rather than the reinvigoration of alternative learning, workshops or excursions.

Fair enough, I suppose. I am a postgrad, so supposedly more studious, and I am attending two official Innovative Learning week events, both of which I am presenting. The third event of the week wasn't officially for Innovative Learning, but took the opportunity of a class free week to present peer-to-peer learning for early career academics.

What, then, am I learning, this week of in…

Throwback Thursday in anticipation of Sunday

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If you celebrate Valentines Day, this week's throwback thursday celebration of poetry is for you. I don't, but before I chose the single life, I had a Valentine or two. May love be the gift we all give and receive, each day.


Midweek Musing: to sleep, perchance

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Well, here is a musing for you, midweek, and in the middle of, immersed in, the living of the dream; a poetic musing to dispell the romance of dreams coming true, though hopefully, not to put us off having dreams all together.


Perchance 
The Niagara whirlpool where
my stomach should be rages,
weeks before the Big Stage.

I cannot sleep.

Treetop twittering will not dim,
but spills to wilfully engulf the whole,
stumped, trumped, fallen unable to let go.

I cannot sleep.

The heavens' expanse is empty
of little diamond beams to fly
towards, reach for, soar upon –

I cannot sleep, will
not sleep, not
relinquish and submit –
but oh, how I want to

In which I finally write a poem for my niece

I was feeling grumpy, then I saw a photo of my niece. I had just eaten some food, which probably also helped. The smile returned. I realised I had not composed a poem for her yet. The words flowed freely. And I shared this poem at an open mic night tonight, rather than a rather darker one.

A New Aunt's Gaze

I look at you
and I see your mum
who I held in my arms
as I hold you now,
three long decades ago,
only yesterday

I look at you and I see
your dad, my brother
now in the law of love
forever and always

I look at you in
flashes across my screen,
saving moments, crossing oceans
between us and we
are together again

I look at you, most
wonderful creature
I ever beheld, and whatever
felt frozen is suddenly
puddles at my boots –
look at you, miracle, gifted
reminder of all that is worth
holding on to, look
at you!

Throwback Thursday lines of poetry

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Midweek Musing - more of the same, on difference

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This Sunday I provided pulpit supply at Upper Clyde Parish Church, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. My third visit, this time, it was punctuated by snow; inches deep, crisp, falling, white snow all the way from Edinburgh to Crawford.



My glee at finally touching snow and making a snow person aside, I was delighted to return to a community for whom a fondness has quickly grown, and to speak into their theme of Christian unity from my PhD work with the letter to the Romans and its celebration of unity that is enriched by diversity.


Here are words from our 'Thinking about ...' time; my reflection, introducing the portions of Romans 12–16 that I read (I haven't learnt them by heart yet, that's this month's task); and a prayer I wrote for our thanksgiving and concerns.

Thinking about – a place for each, a place for all We’re going to sing a couple of songs in a moment – actually they could be two verses of the same song, as they have the same tune.

When we listen to the bi…