Saturday, November 28, 2009

Freeganism in today's BBC news

"We live in a very wasteful society and part of it is we have no respect for the value of everything."
Mark Boyle ::

My local Polish carwash made me think about church...

I'm just in from taking my car to the local carwash. I was kind of manky and it was way too cold for me to do it myself. A group of Poles have been washing cars next to the railway crossing for a good while now and Olly has frequented them many times to her personal delight... this was my first time and I have come away equally delighted.

Why? They did a thorough yet quick job at cleaning the car... it looks fab and... most importantly... it only cost me £3.


My car is gleaming... and I don't have frostbite... all for £3.

As well as making me happy as Larry... the trip also inspired me to think about expressions of church.

At my work... we have a departmental mantra of
Simple... Agile... and Cost Effective
This is the benchmark to which we aspire to as a Technology Department... all that we do should be simple... as agile and nimble as possible... and undertaken in a cost effectively manner.

Today I saw this in practice... at the carwash.
  • Its a simple operation - 1 choice: get your carwashed for £3 or don't.
  • Its an agile operation - they don't have much in the way of equipment... a couple of pressure washers and some enthusiasm... and they could easily and quickly relocate somewhere else.
  • Its a cost effective operation - 10 minutes work per car... with water, soap, manpower, electricity & their location being their overheads.
Could this mantra be applied to new and existing expressions of church? I think so... or should I say... I hope so!

A church is, afterall, a group of likeminded, Jesus-focused people. It is not the building or the infrastructure... certainly not an obscene campus costing $163 million like the First Baptist Church in Dallas or even the country called The Vatican.

So then... if we were to keep it simple by focussing on people and not infrastructure... what would this mean? It would mean a group of people whose motives were easy to understand... who were open and easy to interact with... where the content of these interactions wasn't complicated or complex.

It wouldn't be about programme but about coming together... belonging would be easy because we would already be part of the community (space or interest) in which we were situated... our existing friendship would be enhanced as a result of this additional dimension... albeit it wouldn't be reduced if those of our community did not wish to be part.

We wouldn't need to translate... because the language we would use is the common tongue of the community. We wouldn't need to commute because we'd already be there... or at least within reach.

Nothing is simpler than opening your house... putting food on the table and opening your door.

What about agile? What if we were able to meet the needs of the communities that we participate in... in a quick and nimble manner? Where we could "move with the times" without the sense of lethargy that comes from an allergy to change? Where we had the sense of empowerment and the "permission" to act... so we could actually meet these needs?

Lastly... what about cost effective? Surely the church should be showing an example... an alternative... to those not yet part of the church about cost control... where the church only spends what they have... where debt isn't part of the equation? I suppose we could "own" property and they rent it out to the "community"... but then we could always seek to reuse existing property... we could share or rent too.

As for resources... we could all contribute what we have... you bring the Cafetiere and I'll bring the coffee... come to my place. We don't need expensive programmes and models but a willing heart and the spark of creative imagination. Think open source. Think freeganism. Think house church. There are already alternatives to cost that could be utilised effectively.

So yeah... I think... hope... believe... it is possible for church to be simple... agile... and cost effective.


A walk around Strathclyde Park with a dear friend... #2

See the whole set here


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Welcome to Glasgow, Jeff...

Welcome to Glasgow, Jeff

One of the inspirational photographers I follow on Twitter :: @jeffreywith2fs aka Jeff Hutton :: recently offered his original polaroids to folks to rephotograph/recontextualise in some manner or other... i have an idea. a giveaway of sorts. an art project of sorts, too. i want to give YOU one of my polaroids. i'll pay to ship it to you and package it all nice, too. and you'll get a one of a kind little piece of art.

what's the catch? pretty simple: a picture of you holding my shot or a picture of my shot in it's new home.. i would really like to compile a book with these pictures. and then we'll share the whole thing and we'll all feel good. and i'll have more space to keep shooting and collecting more polaroids...

I jumped at the opportunity... received my pic... and tried to think of the best way to introduce Jeff to my world. If you take a look at the other entrants in Jeff's gallery you'll get why I wanted iconic.

What I came up with was the pic above... aided and abetted by Stewart Cutler who took the photo with my dad's Canon Digital Rebel with a wide angle Soligor lens. The Duke is an alternative Glaswegian landmark and, although he didn't have his usual cone hat, he was photogenic!

So yeah... Welcome to Glasgow, Jeff... and thank you for allowing me to be part of your giveaway. Can't wait to see the book.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Moon & worrying about others...

I love my wife and have happily embraced her latest obsession... I think its only fair considering how obsessed I am about stuff. If you haven't gathered already through tweets, facebook stati etc... she's been bitten (pun intended) by Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series of books and films.

And when I say obsessed... well... she read the books in record time... abandoning all but the essential tasks to devote herself to the four books in less than two weeks. It was impressive... and kind of scary.

We have posters in the computer room... one of Edward and one of the Cullen family. We do have an original “New Hope” poster in there to even things out... but even with Princess Leia in buns on the wall, I still feel Edward's eyes following me in the room.

I'm cool with this. Seriously... I'm a fan too. I'm so far the third book “Eclipse” and have enjoyed the fable. I have enjoyed the experience to date... enjoyed the films... loved the soundtrack to “New Moon”... good times!

For Olly.... Twilight is her Star Wars.

The thing is though... Olly is becoming defensive about the characters & the story. She will defend them like they are her dear friends... kind of like how I act when folk knock the Prequels (Jar Jar Binks ROCKS!!!).

She gets particularly upset about this whole “Team Edward vs Team Jacob” thing. To me its either completely childish or a cynical attempt by the film company to cash in on two handsome young lads. I don't get it... but then I'm not a hormonal mid-teen lassie.

The whole thing really winds Olly up. Seriously. We are talking homicidal. We are talking Bates Motel.

She gets so wound up because of the whole childish superficiality of it all... where people are only judging the surface and not appreciating the story for what it is. Whilst I haven't finished the third book yet... (you know me... slow reader!) even I get that this is about Bella & Edward... Jacob is a bit part. A very important bit part... but he's not Romeo... nor is he Luke.

So for folks to go “Team Jacob” is just plain silliness... unless its because you appreciate the buffness of the Taylor chap who plays Jacob. But if that's the case then why not “Team Taylor”? Oh wait... its because the producers wont make any money out of that!

Anyway... it got me thinking about my faith and my struggle with my spiritual identity.

I have gotten myself all wrapped up in the fact that some people within the Salvation Army (and the wider church) do not get what it means to be “saved to serve”... that their understanding of faith is so superficial and childish... based on the surface... on what they can “get” from God.

I get really upset when I see people identify with Christ in words only or when they consider they are “doing their bit” when in fact they are just serving their own pleasures and fragile vanities.

I get as riled as Olly with the whole “Team Jacob” thing.

When I consider the legalism that floods our movement or when I contemplate the total arrogance of the prosperity Gospel that is creeping in... my blood boils!

The Salvation Army is a movement based wholly on the grace of God... and we have taken our eyes off His greatest gift. We have become an group of people so wrapped up in externalities... in appearance... in our “uniform”... that we have lost the plot. We consider performance as service when all around us the hungry go unfed... and the very things our Founder lost sleep over continues. Preservation of what we have is seen to be virtuous where as apostolic expansion and risktaking is confined to the slow death of committees & bureaucracy.

I can see through the silliness... through the self-serving egotism... and I desperately want to shake the Army to its core... tell all that listen that there is another way... that there is this wonderful story of love and redemption that they can participate in... if only they would see beyond the veneer.

But this isn't the way.

I nearly let this frustration consume me... and overtake me. I nearly let it blind me... deafen me... desensitise me from God's Truth... I almost walked away.

But I didn't and I thank God I didn't because... I came to realise... through the reading of Scripture and the counsel of trusted friends that this is not the way.

A revolution is coming... but not a violent one. No one will be put against the wall and shot. For that is not The Way.

The Way of Jesus is like the mustard that patiently grows and takes all with it. It isn't dramatic... it is slow and deliberate.

It grows through love... encouragement... humility... food... patience... relationships... hope... interaction... joy... participation... trust... engagement... selflessness... & empowerment.

Especially love... for love is the foundation for all that is done in and for the name of Jesus... or should be!

As for the characteristics of its participants... they are resilience... diligence... self-control... as described by Paul in his second letter to Timothy...
“God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth...”
This revolution will not be televised. It will spread through inspirational relationships and common kindness... with a loving touch & a powerful example of sacrifice.

The Way will be shown in this example... it will be all about doing as I do... leading by doing... each one leading one to a new way of life... a life lived in ALL its fulness... an eternal life.

I understand my role. I understand its no longer about shouting or judging or being angry. Its all about being loving and gracious and being an example. Its all about being salt that flavours and preserves... not stings when we are wounded.

Its all about keeping on keeping on... about persevering... about being an example... about wearing down those who don't get it with our love.

Let love be my spiritual identity. Let me be known for my love.

Now that is something worth worrying about.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A walk around Strathclyde Park with a dear friend...

Took time out this morning to walk around Strathclyde Park with a dear friend :: George Connor :: and my dad's dSLR (Canon EOS 350D). I also sneaked in my Vivi UW&S & my sweet Olympus Trip.

It was a very peaceful time... a sacred time where we talked about what was on our hearts... shared space & time together. Lovely.

Here are my pics from this morning.

Good times!


Friday, November 20, 2009

This is cool :: Typography by Ronnie Bruce

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

For those of you who listen to me ramble & blether on the something beautiful podcast will... you know... find this video funny.

(via swiss miss with thanks)

My first trip to Philly... was three years ago

Suburban Street Station, originally uploaded by Headphonaught.

I've been reminiscing about my first trip to Philadelphia... can't believe it was three years ago. Its an awesome city... one I hope to see again sometime.

Check out the rest of my pics :: here


Thursday, November 19, 2009

A privileged evening...

I had a privileged evening this evening...

First off, I had the privilege of passing this bike ::

Peugeot Carbolite 103_ 01

... to a chap called Ben Thorp aka @benthorp

@benthorpe with his new bike

I met Ben at the Emerging Church gathering that Stewart organised a while back. I was a pleasure to pass on the Carbolite to him... knowing he was in the market for a road bike. I know he'll cherish it as much as I do my BSA.

I was also privileged to meet William Stanger aka @wcs53

@wcs53 & I

He is a really refreshing voice in the Salvation Army. He ministers with his wife Pamela in a town with a population of 12,000... which is 2 hours from anywhere (6 hours from Toronto). They are doing things that a different from the "traditional" Salvation Army... more missional, community driven work... and have a real humble pioneer spirit. It was awesome to meet him albeit I would have preferred to do so under better circumstances (he was over in Scotland because his 95 year old granny had died). I found him wonderfully refreshing... a real "like mind".

I hope to interview him for the something beautiful podcast... because his is a story that needs to be heard... especially for likeminded Salvationists who will appreciate an alternative to the norm.

It was also a pleasure to meet William's mum & dad... who came to Starbucks near the end of the conversation with Bruce & Isobel Smith... who are the officers at Airdrie and are dear friends (Isobel is William's sister).

Its been a good evening!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My friend Robert (321/365)

My friend Robert (321/365), originally uploaded by Headphonaught.

I like it when I get to meet my friends for coffee... and I am grateful to Robert for coming through from Auld Reekie to meet up.

Made my day to talk about cameras, infomania & Robert's new squeeze.

Good times!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This is cool :: Pomplamoose's cover of "Beat It"

Thanks to JD for the heads-up to this fab cover. Love it. Tx

More awesomeness...

I got a text today from a dear friend, Martin Bellshaw. He was in a charityshop in Edinburgh... he had found an Olympus Trip 35 camera for £3... and wondered if I wanted it.

Let's just say I jumped onto camerapedia then was very quickly back in touch.

It was one of those "grab it now" moments in life... and for THREE QUID... omgoodness!!!

Afterwards I was pretty stoked for 2 reasons... first off - I've got a new camera to play with... which is always good! and secondly - I liked the fact Martin saw it and thought of me. Made me feel all shiny inside.

Cheers Martin!


Loving this :: Kitsune Noir Mixcast / No.014

I'm a huge fan of Bobby Solomon's blog Kitsune Noir and think his taste in music is particularly onpoint for me. This thought has been reinforced with his latest Mixcast (#14).

The tracklisting features some awesome tracks (Johnny Cash, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Velvet Underground & Jose Gonzales are personal faves)...
  1. Personal Jesus by Johnny Cash
  2. King of Carrot Flowers Part 2 & 3 by Neutral Milk Hotel
  3. He’s A Mighty Good Leader by Beck
  4. Gospel Song by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
  5. Heaven Adores You by Earlimart
  6. Jesus by The Velvet Underground
  7. Rapture by Pedro The Lion
  8. Chariot by Page France
  9. Archangel Tale by M. Ward
  10. Crosses by José González
  11. My Sweet Lord by Yim Yames
  12. Angel in the Snow by The Robot Ate Me

What I love is Bobby's attitude to this mix:
This week’s Mixcast is all about God, Jesus and religious stuffs. A few things to start with… I’m an atheist, but I totally believe that you can believe in whatever you want to believe in, it’s your deal and it’s none of my business. This isn’t meant to be critical of anyone’s religion, it’s just a bunch of fun music put together around a theme. If you take offense to any of it you’re an idiot, and if you try and leave a dumb comment I’m gonna’ delete it.

A lot of music over the years has been inspired by religious stuff and these are some songs that fall into that category. In fact, these are all amazing songs, no matter what their content is about. I’m not sure if this is going to end up being my most loved or most hated mix, but I’m sure it’ll be interesting nonetheless.
I loved it! Please check it out... Tx

My Miriam

My Miriam, originally uploaded by Headphonaught.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Who wants to be confused with some of the most dangerous and stupid people in the world?

"... Christian Zionists are yet another reason why I and countless other Christians, including many of the more moderate evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox are hesitant to be labeled “Christian.” Who wants to be confused with some of the most dangerous and stupid people in the world: nuclear-armed, paranoid evangelical/fundamentalist Bible thumpers rooting for Armageddon and worrying in paranoid “official” documents about being forced to become like “the Europeans”? ..."
Frank Schaeffer

Taken from his book :: Patience with God :: Schaeffer presents an interesting viewpoint... a critique of the Fundamentalist Evangelical subculture from within. I recommend you read the excerpt.

My first roll with my Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim...

I am delighted with the pics from my Vivitar UW&S :: here.

I really dig the colouring... the vignetting... and the sheer width of the images produced. I knew it was wide but you really need to take a pic with one to get it - the viewfinder is cropped compared with the end result... which adds an extra dimension when composing a pic.

For example... the pic above of the Roman Bridge was not meant to have the three rubber rings... but yet it adds to the image.

I am pleased. If you are on Flickr... please leave a comment and let me know what you think.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

'roid week #6 :: Roman Bridge

'roid week #5 :: Go with the flow

( (my pic used) ) :: Christmas Day Celebration

I'm really stoked to have one of my pics used by a Salvation Army Corps in Australia. I love it when people ask permission then show you the end result... very polite & in keeping with my Creative Commons license.

Check it out here ::

Oh and the original is here ::


This is cool :: "Losing feeling" by No Age

Another wonderfully upbeat song for a Saturday morning... and another awesome video. Going to be checking No Age out.

This is cool :: "My turn" by Basement Jaxx

Here is a truly beautiful video to get you all upbeat & inspired on this Saturday morning.

(via notcot #26,110 with thanks)

Friday, November 06, 2009

This looks way cool :: Albums on Stamps

According to Creative Review... the Royal Mail are releasing 10 stamps in the new year that showcase some of the best British album covers... and I for one can't wait.

Included on the list are The Clash, Mike Oldfield, Blur, the Rolling Stones, and New Order... a fair representation of what Britain has to offer. I'll need to find a wee space for them alongside the British Design Classics that I picked up earlier in the year.

Personally, I like the details that CR discuss...
Deciding what album covers to include was no easy task. Royal Mail tell us that they began the process by trawling through various existing polls of Greatest Album Covers. They also enlisted the help of editors from various leading UK music publications along with graphic designers and design writers who were asked to list the most significant album sleeve artwork used on records by British artists. The final selection of ten sleeves (which perhaps oddly doesn't feature one of The Beatles' album covers) will appear on a set of 10 stamps that will launch on January 7, 2010 - and the stamps will be uniquely shaped, as shown in these images, to accommodate a glimpse of a vinyl disc poking out of each record sleeve.
...but then I'm a geek who likes album covers and really well designed stamps... so yeah, I'm happy... and will be queuing up on the 7th January.

Got to Creative Review to see the rest of the stamps.

(via notcot #26,106 with thanks)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

An awesomely zingy day for receiving...

Today was an awesome day for receiving...

Awesomeness_ Rivendell

First up... I received this wonderful picture of Rivendell from my dear friend, and Olly's cousin, Derek aka joy_inc. In the parcel with the picture was a note of reassurance and encouragement... that I won't share on here... other than to say it referenced the journey I am on.

I love geeky references. For those that have read the Lord of the Rings... will know that Rivendell is a place of peace & tranquility. It is the home of Elrond and the place where an orphaned Aragorn is given refuge. It is the place Frodo & the Hobbits head for... and then depart from.

I guess I am looking for my Rivendell... my place of peace on the journey I am on. Its not a place I intend to stay... but it is a resting place... a space for growing strong... for recuperating... before making out once more on my journey. It is also the place, just like Frodo, where I gain an insight into my purpose.

Thank you Derek... I get it and am glad to have got it from you. You are most kind!

Awesomeness_ Marc de Ridder's pic #1

Awesomeness_ Marc de Ridder's pic #2

Next up... I received these brilliant photos from a colleague at work... Marc de Ridder. Marc is a truly brilliant photographer and is a genuine inspiration to me. He was the kind soul who gave me 9 rolls of film last week... and he has gifted me two of his photos for our house.

I love birds. I think I am a secret "twitcher" and instantly gravitated towards these pics when he showed them to me last week. The composition of the photos really spoke to me... I love reflection and I really appreciate off-centre shapes... and I was naturally complementary of these shots. I never thought I'd end up owning my own copies.

Marc's work is very impressive and I would encourage you to check out his work :: I would love for him to get the exposure he deserves.

Awesomeness_ Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim

Lastly... I finally got my impatient grubby paws on a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim 35mm film camera. I've been lusting after one of these babies for a wee while now... and picked this up for a tenner on eBay.

I am so excited to see the pics but am also deeply worried that I will be disappointed. I have hyped this camera up in my head and hope it lives up to the possibly unfair expectations I have for it. I've popped some Kodak ColorPlus 200ISO in it... so I'm praying for some sun.

My thanks to Derek... to Marc... and to the lassie I bought the camera from... for making my day extra zingy.


'roid week #2 :: Ultra Wide & Slim

Was initially disappointed with this pic... its blurred and I felt it was almost decaying as I watched on. It was the last pic of a pack of ten that was seriously out-of-date... & has been in my camera for too long.

But then as I left the pic on the coffee table... it began to haunt me... to intrigue me. I realised the image had stayed with me.

The pic gives me a shape and a flavour for something more... something just out of my reach.

I know its silly... but I feel it expresses the hunt for my Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim - the object in the pic. I describes the faint out-of-focus hope of finding it... & the genuine wish that I had... & have... to obtain it... to see it up close.

I'm glad to have found the camera in the image... to have finally reached the end of my own personal rainbow... but I am equally glad to have my Polaroid & to be party to the things that only it can express.



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