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Category - "Revd Richard Haggis":

Saturday Reflections

The Revd Richard Haggis joins the blogosphere

This illustration, chosen because of its dreadful pun on the word ‘Reflections’, is in honour of my friend, the Revd Richard Haggis. Many of you read and enjoyed his guest post on this blog on ‘The Sound of Silence’.  I am very happy indeed to be able to report that his many friends and admirers have finally persuaded him to start his own blog. I think he realised in the end it would be best to give in to force majeure, but he gave a very creditable performance of being dragged to the Speakers’ Chair  with a becomingly modest humility – rather more convincing than that of Speaker Bercow on YouTube.

He also writes like an angel. Original and arresting phrases tumble out of him, one after the other, and it is a real pleasure to read him just for his style and expression. He has had a difficult time in the Church of England, which he tells us a little about on the blog, but the pain has tempered his iron into steel, if I may put it like that. He goes right to the heart of the question, but removes all  histrionics before writing about it. To a fellow Anglo-Saxon, this gives his words all the greater impact.

But if you don’t get the point of puns, prepare to groan now. Although I expect he will mostly reserve them for Facebook, the fecundity of his brain and his delight in language mean that he cannot resist a good pun. Sometimes he cannot resist a bad pun either. The title of his new blog? ‘Winsome, Lose Some’. Whether this counts as a good or a bad pun, you will have to decide. There is plenty of room in the comments section, and I urge you to visit and welcome Richard to the blogosphere. For the competitive ones amongst us, we had better look to our laurels!



Becoming a Digidisciple

I normally post a couple of times a week, which is a routine I seem to have settled into. But my time clock is slightly out this week as the last piece that I wrote was not for this blog, but for Big Bible. I have become a ‘digidisciple’. Here is what the website says about this venture:

What is a digidisciple?

Whether as a Christian or a digital explorer, you’re a newbie or an old hat, a rookie or a bishop (and in the digital sphere, there will be some who fit in all categories), we all have something to contribute to the digital space. The concept of the digital as ‘space’ or a ‘culture’ is important as we come from a perspective in which:

  • As Christians we live 24/7 for God, in whatever spaces we live in or engage with.
  • There is no such thing as ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ worlds: only online and offline space/cultures – the connection between the two is different for each individual.
  • We need to take seriously our Christian presence both online and offline.  Are we the same person, living by the same values in both ‘spaces’?…

A ‘digital disciple’, or, as we are calling it, a #digidisciple is someone who seeks to live out their Biblically-informed Christian faith in the digital space, whether they are dipping a toe in, or are fully immersed in the digital worlds.

The copyright arrangements are generous, and we are allowed to copy the pieces to our own blogs a week after they have been published on the BigBible site. Digidisciples make whatever commitment they can sustain: I have said I will submit something every other month.

Perhaps we can persuade you to join us?



Moving House

We’ve made it! I do feel it’s been quite a journey (and Word Press is not as intuitive to use as Blogger was) but, to those of you who told me that it was necessary to move the blog into the main Lay Anglicana website, yes, I can now see you were right.

The effect on the number of page views has been gratifyingly significant. Now, how to put the next bit? It’s another Calcutta story – only slightly of the shaggy dog variety. I was on the committee of the Women’s Friendly Society, whose address was 29 Park Lane, Calcutta. In my role as lady in waiting to the President, Roma Bhagat, I accompanied her on a trip to buy fabric. We chose something which I was sure would be a perfect match and, on our return, found that it did indeed go perfectly. It is notoriously difficult to carry colour in one’s head, and thinking that Roma was rather slow to praise my artistic genius, I said: ‘Do I have an eye, or do I have an eye?’  To this day, twenty-two years later, I can hear her reply, and see her expression: ‘Well, you have a trumpet!’ Ouch. And it’s not as if I haven’t had a recent warning from Pam – though admittedly not personal- to avoid the snare of pride and vainglory.

Right. Now to blow my own trumpet then. The Wikio ratings for August are just out. Whereas last month, the blogspot blog was at #71, this month the rating for the blog in its new home is #39!

What I ought to say instead, of course, is thank-you all very much for visiting. As you know, I couldn’t have done it without you!








The first photograph, ‘Reflections’ is by Ian Mason via 12 Baskets.

The second is from Shuttercock.



The Sound of Silence

I have made a new friend. In the early hours of this morning, as I was tweaking my posts and twittering on twitter, as you do when you can’t sleep, I started chatting online to the friend of a Facebook friend whom I had befriended (still with me?) because we shared common interests in Flanders and Swann and that marvellous quote by Alice Roosevelt “If you haven’t got a nice word to say about anyone, come and sit next to me.” And though I may not be at exactly the same altitude as him on the church candle, his description of himself as ‘High Church Latitudinarian Anglican’ sounds pretty compelling to me. He writes like an angel, with that gift of establishing an immediate bond of sympathy across the ether which any writer trying to communicate with an audience would envy. He has no blog of his own at the moment, but has kindly allowed me to offer the following as a guest post. We would both appreciate your comments. Over to the Revd Richard Haggis:

The Sound of Silence
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given” we sing at Christmas time, and yet Easter time is much the same – there is silence from the tomb as the great and extraordinary event of the Resurrection actually happens. If it actually happened. Of course it did – we’d half of us be out of a job otherwise! Oh wait, I am out of a job! Christian art generally engages with the risen Christ – standing boldly atop the tomb or with Mary Magdalen in the garden or at the barbecue on the beach – but we read nothing of the moment, presumably glimpsed only by angels, when life was restored to death.

On this day sixteen years ago I was ordained a deacon of the Church of God. On this day eleven years ago, I was licensed as a parish priest to Saint Giles-in-the-Fields. Both make me think of silence. Some of the evangelicals on our ordination retreat struggled a lot with the rule of silence. One said she thought it was “rude” to be amongst strangers and not talking to them. Saint Giles had a congregation which appreciated silence in the intercessions, probably, on average, the most mature congregation, spiritually, I ever ministered to. Chequered times since, but I do not for one moment regret the privilege of ordination, nor the greater privilege of serving some very wonderful people. And even the less wonderful were pretty wonderful.

I was talking to a charming young lady at a party lately swapping notes about how much we liked walking alone in the dark, preferably in the rain, and it was the silence we agreed we both enjoyed, a sort of blanket of privacy, making the world and its woes irrelevant, and allowing and encouraging us to think our own thoughts. So many people these days fill up the silence with music, piped straight into their ears – Joyce Grenfell wrote a prescient song about that, when she noticed that piped music was broadcast in the ladies “and into the gents … they tell me”. (Bring Back The Silence And Deserve Our Thanks.)

I’ve known a few priests who are terrified of silence. This seems a shame. How else will they ever hear the “still small voice”?

But silence is a two-edged sword. There’s the mutual silence of calm content between friends or partners, and the silence of unexpressed grudges and sorrows; the warm silence of contemplation in the small of the night, and the silence of terror at real or imagined horrors; the silence of the aquarium and the sleeping cats, and the silence of the empty nursery, the deathbed vacated; and the silence that draws us towards the silence of God, into the transfiguring quiet of that emptying tomb.

Then there’s the silence when the bloody telly is switched off.

So, I’m broadly in favour of silence, but I know there’s a downside.

Littlemore, Oxford

2 July 2011

The video is attributed to i-church,which you can find online here

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