Last week I was on a residential in North Wales with the bright young sparks of the YMCA where I work (under Danny Flynn pictured, tee-hee). It was an eye-opening time away and I learnt lots from it, which I’d love to share … but perhaps not for the time being. I came back from that on the ill side and although I attended a brilliant conference hosted by Jim Ford on Saturday the whole physical and mental exertion of the last week in particular caught up with me and hammered me body down especially with the breathing. So I’ve had to take these first three days of the week off in a bid to get the medical experts to offer their diagnosis of my plight as well as to recuperate somewhat.
There are still outstanding big picture issues to be resolved in the short term for the health and safety of those concerned, especially me, but it would be good if I was healthy to be able to deal with these issues, so I have to relax a bit more, take things a bit easier and pace myself. One of the things that’s obviously suffered in all this has been the blogging which is a pity as it’s one of the things that I’ve enjoyed the most, so being able to blog now has been a huge relief and over at Among Friends (AF), I’ve been picking things up slowly but surely. I expect it to take a few more weeks before I can really get a settled rhythm of life going in the new order and that’s not taking into account the impending family changes as exams, holidays, moves and other changes loom large on the horizon! Oh the fun of being Christopher Dryden – to be fair I wouldn’t have it that different, only thing I would change is … well I’ll leave that for another blog entry.
So although I’ve not been able to blog as often as I’d like – and I never appreciated what effort is really required for this type of blogging until recently – I have been able to keep up a steady pace of reading which has been a saving grace for me in these tricky times. I hope to be able to post some of the reviews of that over on AF in the weeks and months to come.
Right onward with the topic at hand. Once again I’m struck by something whilst watching CBeebies. Come Outside features Aunt Mabel as played by Lynda Baron who I’m sure was also famous for being somewhat of hot crumpet from some leering middle aged guys back in the 1980’s. Indeed thanks to the power of the InterWeb I can confirm that yes she was that bit of crumpet in the ever ‘funny’ Open All Hours. (She was in Eastenders as well, apparently, but who cares about that?)
Of course in this programme she does not play any crumpet of any kind, but bizarrely a middle aged upwards lady with a dog who goes on adventures by plane, because obviously just because you’re middle aged upwards and have a dog doesn’t mean you cannot fly a plane … or own it … or live in a place that requires you to make the majority of your journeys by plane. I sometimes wonder what the inspiration behind these children’s programmes is.
Oh and as a quick side note, as a secular reference to a spiritually deep issue I just want to give a shout out to Prodigal Jon’s ace blog entry on this issue. Read it here to find the best excuses to watch funny programmes and keep your halo on!
Anyway, Come Outside doesn’t have the place in my heart that Thomas the Tank Engine or Balamory have because basically it is boring most of the time. (If I have just committed sacrilege with such an outrageous statement, by all means join the Facebook Appreciation Society and start the petition against me.) Indeed I only turned it on as a set up for Deborah once she got changed, as CBeebies is their channel of choice.
In any case, as I turned it on Aunt Mabel was concluding her explanation of the marmalade making process. She finished with something along the lines of ‘that’s all there is to know about making marmalade’. I’m not being super-critical, after all this is a programme aimed at people around Deborah’s age and it is of some educational value for children to appreciate what goes behind the things they may take for granted.
Yet I was there thinking to myself that here is a programme that can be no more than 15 minutes, some of which is spent on introduction, closing, a story and the routine shots of Barron and dog being clipped into their plane for the ride. So let’s generously give them 7 minutes and in those 7 minutes they’ve been able to explain everything there is to know about the process of making marmalade. I got the impression, however, that there might be more to it than the time given and if it did only take seven minutes to explain everything there is to know about making marmalade then maybe it’s not worth the hassle of consuming the product.
That got me thinking then about the way we read the Bible especially in terms of things like creation. Now I’ve read Genesis 1 with a group of people before and I reckon it took less than 7 minutes, maybe a bit more, but it’s not that long a chapter to read at all. In there I’m led to believe is all there is to know about Creation, yet I look outside my window up the road where there’s greenery and in the sky with the various cloud formations and the promise of more rain (this is England, after all). I then think to myself that even if I were to indeed spend six days and six nights gazing at what forms creation I still wouldn’t be able to give all there is to know about creation.
Millions of words and images have been dedicated to the cause of explaining it. Billions of pounds have been invested in scientific exploration to eek out the secrets that lie within and without this curious star in space as to how on earth it came about. Entire lives have been consecrated to finding out and sharing with others what exactly it took to get to where we are. In all of that we still haven’t been to explain all there is to know about creation. We are still very much at the tip of the iceberg and all us believers are left with is seven minutes worth of reading to get us started in wonder and amazement as to how God put it all together.
Keith Green shares a wonderful sentiment in I Can’t Wait To Get To Heaven that if God took six days and six nights to put this universe into being imagine what it will be like to experience the new heaven and earth that he’s been working on to date over 2000 years! Or better yet, don’t bother trying to imagine something that is so mind-bogglingly beyond human comprehension and rest in the contentment of the hope of something even more wondrous than this fascinatingly complex ecological structure that provides our habitation.
All of this to say faith doesn’t stop us from fact finding, neither does it offer something simplistic to explain everything, what it does give us though is an extended hand from the Creator to begin exploring how amazing our planet is and how it reflects His creative heart and even in its fallen state there lies within it the keys to its eventual redemption. That should take considerably more than seven minutes or even seven days.
For His Name's Sake