Peter's Blog

New life?

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Happy Easter?

I couldn't help but laugh at this picture as I was trawling the web looking for some Easter images this morning... 

The machine is up and running...

Written by Peter Johnston on .

The Tale Machine

It really exists! The Tale Machine is now installed in Greyfriars Kirk, Lanark where they are running The Tale Machine next week. Good job to Bryan et al for creating the machine and it looks just like the picture I created a couple of months ago!! 

Preparations

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Piano

Apologies for the quiet blog. The whole day has been filled with preparations for the Holiday Club. It is exciting to be devising our own holiday club this year, though there is a lot of work that goes into it from planning the crafts, games, story activities, scripts, music and on and on... and even better to see the actual Tale Machine taking shape down in Lanark where it will be used next week before we use it in the following week.

This evening I enlisted the help of Carolyn and both of us on our electronic piano with a flurry of playing and virtuosic button pressing to change settings recorded the backing track for the theme song for the Holiday Club the words for which you will find here. And the score here so you can sing along. This is one of those songs where the written melody is really just a guide, especially the rhythm which really needs to swing more than I have written it. Indeed when I recorded the vocal track I realised I was rewriting the melody as I sang!

We were going for a country feel!! Here's a version with vocals:

Mary's Song

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Easter Service at Livingstone Memorial

This morning I was in the Livingstone Memorial Parish Church for the David Livingstone Memorial School Easter Service before dashing over to St Andrew's to setup for a rehearsal with Auchinraith Primary for our service tomorrow. Everything went very smoothly and it was good to see Fiona Wilson settling in well as the chaplain at the primary school. Though she did give me a name check when mentioning Cadbury's Creme Eggs... can't think why! 

When I picked up the two older girls from the school this afternoon they were both wanting to know how many Creme Eggs I had eaten!

One of the songs that the children sang during the service was "Mary's Song" by Mark & Helen Johnson. It is a very moving song written from Mary's perspective as she watches her son on the cross. The children sang it very well.

Reflecting on The Easter Code

Written by Peter Johnston on .

The Easter Code tomb

Having finished The Easter Code yesterday with our final morning in St Andrew's I had hoped to blog a few reflections yesterday evening on the whole event having finished it. However, events took over.

Then, before you know it, you move on to the next thing... and so my voice is feeling very rough this afternoon having spent the morning with my friend Bryan Kerr recording puppet sketches for The Tale Machine - the holiday club that we're doing in our respective churches this Easter and that Karen Harbison will be doing in the summer.

We decided as time was short to forget a script and just to go for it using the "Whose line is it anyway?" method of production! It worked a treat - or at least we thought so! And now over to Gill, our administrator, to try to make some sense of the recordings and create a script from them... 

But what of The Easter Code?

Aurora Borealis

Written by Peter Johnston on .

I've only once seen the Northern Lights clearly. It was one night in Aberdeen when even with the street lights you could see the shimmer of light in the sky. Nothing like these images from British Columbia shown as a time lapse film. Stunning. 

The Chain

Written by Peter Johnston on .

I'm sure it is not just me today who has a big grin on their face to hear Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" returning as the theme music for Formula 1 motor racing. Woo hoo! 

It will be a fascinating season - I'm really looking forward to it.

[Update: Just finished watching the qualifying in a window on the computer while working, and I am gobsmacked at the results even though all the practice runs looked like the brand new Brawn team might be able to pull off something spectacular. That they did is, as Eddie Jordan said, "a fairytale". It really is going to be a good season!] 

Environmental thinking

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Earth

Archbishop Rowan Williams, in a lecture about the environment and our responsibility as humans to steward it well, says:

Is this – as some would claim – a failure to trust God, who has promised faithfulness to what he has made?  I think that to suggest that God might intervene to protect us from the corporate folly of our practices is as unchristian and unbiblical as to suggest that he protects us from the results of our individual folly or sin.  This is not a creation in which there are no real risks; our faith has always held that the inexhaustible love of God cannot compel justice or virtue; we are capable of doing immeasurable damage to ourselves as individuals, and it seems clear that we have the same terrible freedom as a human race.

You can read the lecture and/or listen to an audio version here: Renewing the Face of the Earth: Human Responsibility and the Environment

Red Letter Christians

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Red Letter Bible

During the run up to the US elections in November 2008, there was a lot of talk within religious circles in the States about Barack Obama's faith. Why has it been, and continues to be, a talking point? One of the descriptions I read referred to Obama as a "red letter Christian". 

This is an image from Bible's like the one above I have right next to my desk in which the words of Jesus are printed in red to make them stand out from the surrounding black text. The point being that a "red letter Christian" is predominantly interested in Jesus and what Jesus said and did. Which seems to reflect quite well what I have read about Obama's faith, and, indeed, is something I feel a lot of connection with.

Penultimate Day

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Sharing at the Last Supper

It is the penultimate day of The Easter Code: Can you crack it? today. It has been a great week, though I think all the team are pretty tired. One last spurt of energy for today where we are up at High Blantyre Baptist Church with children from High Blantyre Primary and then our final day on Monday at St Andrew's. 

The picture above is from one of the tents/gazebos that groups visit where a passover celebration meal is re-enacted as Jesus' last meal with his friends is remembered.

More reflections on The Easter Code later. Time now to take the kids to school/nursery!

Dividing Science by God

Written by Peter Johnston on .

God equation

I stumbled across this article from the BBC website tonight in which Mark Vernon asks five scientists about 'God'. I thought it was interesting following my previous blog post. Particularly the comment:

For [D'Espagnat], quantum physics shows us that reality is ultimately "veiled" from us.

The equations and predictions of the science, super-accurate though they are, offer us only a glimpse behind that veil. Moreover, that hidden reality is, in some sense, divine. Along with some philosophers, he has called it "Being". 

Water walkers

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Gerridae - pond skater

Over the last few weeks I've been thinking a lot about the relationship between faith and truth. In part it is because of talking with Carolyn about Discourse Theory, as she has been studying it for her Masters in Psychology, and in part because of the reading I have been doing myself.

In my thoughts the image of a water skater (Gerridae) walking on the surface of a pond keeps popping into my mind, and so I'm going to explore this metaphor for a life of faith a little with you. For haven't you, like Simon Peter, always wanted to picture yourself joining Jesus and walking on water?

A night at the flicks

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Kodascope Model B

We had friends staying with us last night from the USA as they take a week to tour some of Scotland. For fun we pulled out our old projector that had made it out of the attic at my parents before they moved. It is a Kodascope Model B dating from around 1928. 

My grandfather would have bought it along with a cinecamera back then as we have footage of my father as a young boy from the 1930s. It is quite a museum piece and beautifully well made. So well made, in fact, that even at more than 80 years old it still works. It probably hasn't been used for 20 years, but as soon as we plugged it in to a US adaptor (it was made in Rochester, New York and so operates on 120V) it whirred into life. 

Snow go

Written by Peter Johnston on .

And to think that our trains get defeated by wet leaves... 

Bubblegum 'n' Fluff Resource Packs

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Bubblegum 'n' Fluff Resource Books

The first box of "Bubblegum 'n' Fluff Planning and Resource Booklets" arrived this morning from the printer just before I headed off to do the school and nursery run prior to making my way over to Trinity Church for day two of The Easter Code. I was able to take a copy each for the chaplaincy team and it was wonderful to see everyone's response to the booklet all printed and looking lovely! It is great when all that hard work bears more fruit than you initially thought possible.

Later in the day the other boxes arrived so now it is just working out what will go on the DVDs for the resource packs.

Now we need to get the word out to other churches and school chaplaincies that this superb resource is available and ready. And then get to work on producing a similar resource booklet for The Easter Code!

And we're off and running...

Written by Peter Johnston on .

We had our first day of The Easter Code: Can you crack it? today. It is a new Easter event devised by those of us on the Calderside Learning Community Chaplaincy Team to explore the meaning of Easter with all the Primary 7 children in the primary schools associated with Calderside Academy. We hosted Woodhead Primary School in Hamilton Trinity Parish Church this morning.

Everything went very smoothly for the first day, which is always a bit of a pilot especially with a completely new programme. There are some things we will change for tomorrow, but nothing major. We were very worried about timing but we kept almost perfectly to the two hour slot. The idea of taking groups of children for a tour visiting different tents to explore the events of Holy Week worked really well.

You'll no doubt hear more about The Easter Code from me as the next two weeks go on... 

Launch Day for The Easter Code

Written by Peter Johnston on .

The Easter Code: Can You Crack It?

A long evening tonight that only started after 9 p.m. when all the chaplains were free to setup Hamilton: Trinity Parish Church for the launch day of our new Easter event for Primary 7 children in all the associated primary schools to Calderside Academy.

As it was the first day it took us awhile to set things up - including constructing five gazebos! It looks great through and we are ready and raring to go for tomorrow morning. I'll try to get a few pics for tomorrow's blog entry. 

Dolphin Bubble Rings

Written by Peter Johnston on .

We were talking on Sunday evening in the Lent Study Group about happiness. Never think we are the only creatures who exhibit happiness, here are dolphins playing and it is extraordinary.

An Inspiring Church Centre

Written by Peter Johnston on .

For many, many years I have had a subscription to AutoExpress the car magazine (it was a birthday gift a long time ago from Carolyn that has never stopped!). Before that I used to buy car magazines all the time and particularly, of course, to read about the Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Times have changed a lot... Now if there is a review of a new estate car or people carrier I get excited! Look at all that room, I think, and all the cubbyholes... I guess this is something to do with growing up!

I've been through a similar change over church buildings too.

The depths to which we descend

Written by Peter Johnston on .

I have made no secret in this blog of my horror at what has been done in my name as a part of the "War on Terror". Specifically the torture of other people has left me aghast. Torture patently doesn't work as an interrogation tool, leading to false intelligence, it is a political disaster in terms of foreign policy, and for me as a Christian it flies in the face of all that Jesus teaches us.

A year ago we might have been able to argue that the torture problem was solely an American one. But no longer. Over the last two months there has been more evidence that Britain participated to condone torture at many different levels. A UN Report released last week has specifically made that claim.