Waffley Versatile

Jumping on the blogging bandwagon. Sorry.

What do you know? January 12, 2010

Filed under: God,Ponderings — keca @ 10:41 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s a funny thing, living in Cambridge. It’s unusual and a little disconcerting to be surrounded by quite so many academics, and highly educated people. Since moving here I’ve found I semi-frequently feel myself to be seriously lacking on the intellect front. Which is probably quite healthy for me if I’m honest!

The bonus of living in this city, is that everyone just assumes I have a degree – making the fact I don’t have one pretty much irrelevant. Except for I know that I don’t. And I know that it wasn’t really through my choice. Which sometimes makes it hard, as I chat with friends completing PHDs, or teachers, or accountants or most people really. Whenever the topic of education or university arises.

It feels a bit like I’ve ended up on Mastermind by accident, and everyone else has a specialist subject and I’ve got… nothing.

But then I was reading Psalm 111 today and had a great reminder of what I really should be concerned about knowing:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”    Psalm 111 v 10

This is incredibly similar to Proverbs 1 which says:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”  Proverbs 1 v 7

Education is good. Degrees are useful things to have. We need people who can study and discover and reason well. We need doctors, teachers, scientists, engineers, economists, accountants… But what we really need is true knowledge. What really matters is our attitude to God. If we don’t fear God then no matter how well educated we are or aren’t, we are fools who despise true wisdom.

Check out Proverbs 1:20-33:

 20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street,
       she raises her voice in the public squares; 

21 at the head of the noisy streets [c] she cries out,
       in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:

 22 “How long will you simple ones [d] love your simple ways?
       How long will mockers delight in mockery
       and fools hate knowledge?

 23 If you had responded to my rebuke,
       I would have poured out my heart to you
       and made my thoughts known to you.

 24 But since you rejected me when I called
       and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,

 25 since you ignored all my advice
       and would not accept my rebuke,

 26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster;
       I will mock when calamity overtakes you-

 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
       when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
       when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
       they will look for me but will not find me.

 29 Since they hated knowledge
       and did not choose to fear the LORD,

 30 since they would not accept my advice
       and spurned my rebuke,

 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
       and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
       and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
       and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

 

Tales of the unexpected April 14, 2009

Filed under: Day to day — keca @ 9:41 pm
Tags: , ,

Another blog post, another waffle…

 

 

I realised just now that if you run up a set of stairs whilst still treading on every step, you really don’t make it up them a whole lot quicker than if you walk. Clearly to increase speed a multiple-steps-at-a-time approach is needed.

 

There’s no deep philosophical point to that by the way, and I’m not about to draw a theological parallel. I really was just running up the stairs!

 

It’s been an interesting week or so for this waffler. It was my birthday last Tuesday, and I’ll be honest it didn’t go quite the way I had imagined. I woke up feeling chirpy and went to work, taking American pancakes in for my colleagues in celebration of my continued existence on the planet. I felt pretty optimistic and was looking forward to the rest of the day. I returned home a few hours later completely shell-shocked from the news that my entire department will soon be made redundant.

 

Ouch.

 

It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster since then. I mean, there are far worse things that could have happened. A job is just a job, and above all I know that God has my back and I don’t need to be afraid. Yet that sense of perspective seems to come and go with amazing rapidity!  I’ll be fine one minute, and the next I get this feeling of overwhelming anxiety. Just adjusting my mindset to job hunting is taking some doing. I don’t want to look for another job, I really like the one I have! But it’s not exactly optional. So I’m trying to pull myself together, or more accurately I’m asking God to pull me back together, and help me focus on what’s in front of me. I need to remember how he has looked after me in the past, and not doubt that he has my future under control.

 

“Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.”    Psalm 16 v 1

 

75,000? Really? April 6, 2009

Filed under: God,Ponderings — keca @ 6:11 pm
Tags: , ,

Approximately one year ago I put a video on YouTube. It was something I put together whilst volunteering with the youth ministry team at a church in Ohio. Some words and pictures to go along with a Misty Edwards song, to be used one week during communion to help the teenagers focus and reflect. I remember finding it harder than I thought I would. At the time I struggled to connect with the song for some reason…  weirdly it’s now one of my favourites. Anyway, I created a YouTube channel mainly for sharing a few vlogs with some friends and thought I may as well add this video too.

 

One year later and it has just passed 75,000 views.

 

And because YouTube doesn’t count multiple views from the same IP address, that means 75,000 different computers have viewed that video. That’s amazing! I mean… the video only exists because in a meeting of a few people in a church in Ohio it was decided that it would be a useful thing for one service, one week.

 

Now people all over the world have watched it. Amazing. The song (I Am Yours) is fantastic and I have no doubt at all that this is the reason it has been viewed so many times – the video is not that special! But just the idea that God can use that set of circumstances to bring that song to so many people and encourage them, when we thought it was just for one Sunday morning… (I’m going to sound all American, but I believe they do have the only phrase that fits here)… it blows my mind.

 

It reminds me how God can do whatever he wants with our little actions. They can have repercussions as big as he desires.  I find that incredibly encouraging. I so often feel that in the grand scheme of things and the big picture of this world, I am so small and insignificant… anything I do is just a whisper in a hurricane. And this is true. I am that small, and it is just a whisper. But God is the ultimate sound technician. So that whisper can do whatever he wants it to. It can go to one person or 75,000. Or 75,000000. The number doesn’t matter because that’s not what its about.

 

It’s about God and his glory. And he can and will use the little I’m able to do in whatever ways he chooses – big or tiny – to glorify his name. Brilliant!

 

Independent woman? March 3, 2009

Filed under: Day to day,God,Music,Ponderings — keca @ 7:36 pm
Tags: , ,

I was listening to the radio this morning and they started playing Independent Woman by Destiny’s Child. As I was (naturally) singing along I suddenly wondered about the words I was actually saying. There’s such a big emphasis on being independent in today’s society, like it’s terrible to depend on someone else. And it just struck me that this is kind of weird.

 

I mean, to all intents and purposes I’m independent. I live with housemates, have an OK job, pay my rent and bills. I can cook, I do my washing and I know how to change a lightbulb.

 

But I depend on people. I depend on my family. I depend on my friends. If I didn’t… I think I’d be a pretty unsociable and unloving person. If it didn’t matter to me if they were there when I turned around or not… what would that say about my relationships with them? And if I didn’t depend on other people, then would other people really be able to depend on me?

 

More than anything else I’m dependent on my heavenly father.  I can’t do anything without him, but with him all things are possible. Knowing that I can depend on him, that he will always be there and will never abandon me… it’s amazing. And essential in my life. He gives me strength, and courage and a reason to get out of bed in the morning on those days when all I want to do is pretend the world isn’t there.

 

So do I want to be an independent woman?

 

No thanks!

 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Seeing through subjective spectacles February 24, 2009

Filed under: Books,God — keca @ 11:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

With the aim of becoming slightly better read, I have begun an adventure into the “Classics” section of Borders (other bookshops are available!).  Thus, I find myself currently reading Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. And using words like “thus”. I’m quite enjoying it so far, although I do occasionally find myself a little frustrated by his elongated descriptions of the fictional countryside of Wessex. I find his prose far more interesting when it turns to people, and his observations about them. My favourite is as follows:

 

“In making even horizontal and clear inspections we colour and mould according to the wants within us whatever our eyes bring in.”

 

I reckon this is true of how most of us view a lot of things in life. We are subjective. We don’t always see what is there, but what we want to be there. Instead of who people really are, we sometimes see only who we want them to be.

 

I think we can make this mistake with God too. We try to make him what we want him to be. But to do so, turns God into some sort of fictional, created being, and therefore what we end up believing in isn’t God at all, but an entirely imaginary character.

 

God doesn’t fit into our wants. He doesn’t fit into our box. He’s not going to change because it would be more convenient for us, or because we think it would be better for us, or because we think we’d find it easier if he was a different way. He cannot be coloured or moulded.

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

– Isaiah 55:8-9

 

God is eternal, beyond our full comprehension, glorious and never changing.

 

The trouble with Hugh. January 27, 2009

I have a confession to make. And for those who know me well, it will be deeply shocking, so prepare yourselves.

 

Ready?

 

Yesterday I voluntarily subjected myself to a film in which Hugh Grant appears.

 

For those not yet in the know, and who are wondering why on earth this is cause for such an apparently dramatic statement and a painful public confession, allow me to explain. For a good number of years I have had a strict NO HUGH policy.

 

I will not watch Hugh. Here’s why…

 

Many moons ago I came to the realisation that watching Hugh just made me angry and irritated. He was so frequently entirely blithering and pathetic. Type casting? Perhaps. He made me ashamed to be English. And for those who will point to Bridget Jones in his defence, granted Daniel Cleaver is not quite so apologetic and wishy washy as his average character, but he is somehow still intensely annoying.  So the solution to my problem with Hugh was simple – I would never again watch him in anything at all ever.

 

Now the situtation for Hugh is perhaps not aided by my distinct lack of appreciation for most modern “romantic comedies”. To say I dislike the genre completely would not be entirely true. I just think that most of what the film industry churns out in this vein nowadays either fails to be romantic, or funny, or both. They are, generally, utterly formulaic nonsense designed to part women from their money and their senses. Back in the day they used to make great romantic comedies, which were also great films. The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, Some Like It Hot… Funny, witty, charming, great scripts and top class actors.

 

There are still a few good rom-coms around. I have on my shelf Pride & Prejudice and 10 Things I Hate About You, and would merrily rewatch 13 Going on 30 and even The Devil Wears Prada. But if you consider just how many chick-flick-rom-com-lame-half-hearted-efforts studios turn out every year, the ones I like are very few and far between. Richard Curtis has never convinced me… Four Weddings and a Funeral? Love Actually? Notting Hill? Ug. Perhaps it’s not his fault though. I mean, Black Adder and Vicar of Dibley were fantastic! And didn’t star Hugh Grant. Interesting that.

 

I seem to have wandered from my original point somewhat. I broke the policy. I watched Hugh. And actually, I quite enjoyed Sense and Sensibility. Hugh doesn’t have much screen time and when he did pop up and fail repeatedly to spit his words out,  I was placated by the fact that one of my housemates joined me in my loudly expressed despair of his ever learning how to end a sentence.

 

Where this leaves me with my policy now, I cannot say. Perhaps there is a little room for manoeuvre. Perhaps not. Maybe if it’s a Jane Austen adaptation it’s OK??

 

I leave you with this final thought. How much better would every film Hugh Grant has ever made be, if they had only cast Sean Bean instead?

 

Sean Bean. Legend.

 

What if…? January 25, 2009

Filed under: Ponderings — keca @ 10:55 am
Tags: ,

What if the contents of our Facebook profiles wasn’t within our control?

What if Facebook automatically filled out our “info” sections with 100% accurate information? All the music we really like, not just the bands that we want to admit to listening to. Our actual favourite films, and not whatever sounds cool and credible. Our genuine interests and activities, and not just those which we think sound impressive.

What if we had no control over which pictures we were tagged in?

What if there was no way to hide or embellish things about ourselves, but Facebook simply showed us as we are. Warts and all. How different would our profiles be? And if the answer is very different, then surely they’re not really profiles of ourselves at all, but fictional inventions of people who don’t really exist?

How honest is your profile?

Is there such a thing as being too honest?

 

What if every time you logged into your Facebook account it updated your status with what you were really thinking?