Tag Archives: Christian

Salt in the wound!

28 Aug

Dear friends

Whilst I pride myself on my knowledge of the English language I confess to sometimes being a tad out of touch with common parlance.

Being situated in somewhat of a ‘backwater’, St Cliff’s (my veritable charge) is rarely graced with new faces thus an unexpected phone call from one of my regulars, with regard to her niece who had recently come to live with her, revived my soul greatly.

This young lady (a Christian) had secured a place at a college in the nearby metropolis and planned to forsake the rigours of staying in halls for the relative comfort (a little humour on my part) of her aunt’s comfy abode.

Excited that this young lady might make St Cliffs her spiritual home for the duration of her further education I probably wasn’t fully concentrating on the content of the phone conversation.

What I did grasp was her concern that the niece was rather shy but (not wanting to appear pushy) she asked me if it was a good idea if she came with her to see me tomorrow evening.

“Do you think I should take her to see you, or should I let her go alone?”

Well that is what I believed she said.

To be perfectly honest, whether the young lady came solo to pay me a visit (or with her aunt in tow) mattered little. Simply the notion that our weekly attendance at St Cliff’s might be swelled by one was enough for me.

Which is why the next evening I cleared my diary (I was certain St Cliff’s Committees Committee could survive without me) and waited in the church office in readiness to meet the aforementioned girl.

It was only when the hour hand on the office clock snuck past ten that it became obvious that I had waited in vain and that she was not coming.

A restless night ensued as I wrestled with both my disappointment at the potential loss of fresh blood in the church and my perplexity as to why the young lady was a ‘no show’.

I did not have long to wait for my answer. As I heaped an extra spoonful of Maxwell House instant coffee into my mug (in a bid to stave off the effects of my tortured night’s sleep) the manse telephone rang.

To my surprise it was the aunt. Before I had the opportunity to ask why I had been ‘stood up’ the previous night she launched into a tale of how her niece had not only joined the college Christian Union last night but that she had gone on her own.

Only then did the proverbial penny drop as to what had been meant by “Do you think I should take her to see you?”

What she did not mean was my good self but, in fact, the Christian Union or CU as I now learn it is generally referred to (in common parlance).

To add insult to injury I now find that this lady’s niece has decided to attend our local Methodist church (which boasts a lively youth group – ours resolutely refusing to break into double figures).

On top of which St Cliff’s Committees Committee was unable to vote on the motion at hand because it was short of a quorum by one person (namely yours truly) so to appease their ire I have agreed to attend their reconvened meeting to ensure that the motion is carried. That the vote pertained to the requisite numbers for a quorum is irony indeed!

It is but salt in the wound that I also discover this coincides with a visit by local ministers to ‘Freshers Week’ at the said college (aimed at attracting young folk to our various youth groups) and at which I am certain the Methodist church will now ‘clean up’.

Onward and upward

Derek

You can also find me at www.derekthecleric.com

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Derek’s photos: A mistake!

9 Dec

Derek Photo_RED RED ROBIN

You can also find me at  https://www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld

Derek’s photos:Dog lovers!

18 Nov

Derek Photo _ DOG LOVERSYou can also find me at  www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld

 

The wrong end of the stick!

13 Nov

Dear friends

One of the downsides to my vocation is that I am rarely (if never) completely ‘off duty’, so to speak. This state of affairs is little helped by the fact that my clerical attire somewhat singles me out in a crowd thus making me a magnet for any who have need of a man of the cloth.

That said, it is not only the familiar dog collar that illuminates my presence. Whilst most homes get away with sporting an innocuous name or door number by way of identification, my residence is clearly ‘marked‘ as ‘The Manse’.

Last Saturday, having ventured into town to pay a small fine on an outstanding library book (not outstanding in the sense of it being great, rather outstanding as being overdue) I found myself accosted in the street by a couple of swarthy ladies proffering ‘lucky heather’. 

Not only do I distance myself from such superstitious mumbo jumbo but this particular bloom has the unfortunate effect of triggering my perennial hay fever and therefore, from my perspective, not in the least bit lucky.

Having paid my dues to a surly librarian who was in no mood to listen to my explanation of mitigating circumstances (it had been doing sterling service propping up a wobbly table in St Cliff’s foyer) I retraced my steps through the town only to once more be confronted by those persistent purveyors of purple plants.

Having successfully fended off their second attempt to persuade me to “take some heather with you to church, Reverend“ I hastily made my way back to the safety of the manse, post-haste (well as speedily as my trusty Nissan Micra would allow).

Even an additional chocolate digestive taken with a reviving cup of tea could not shake my unease that I might yet still be a target for these peddlers of happenstance, my dog collar having given me away fair and square.

When the phone rang I will confess that I was still feeling more than a little on edge. The voice at the other end quickly seemed to justify my anxieties and I promptly slammed down the phone as I would on any telephonic interloper who was attempting to sell me their wares.

It was only next morning, as I prepared to enter St Cliff’s sanctuary in readiness to deliver another in my ‘Leviticus Highlights’ series, that I discovered (to my horror) that I had got the wrong end of the proverbial stick.

It appeared that the phone call was not in fact another attempt by the aforementioned ladies to foist on me a sprig of lucky heather rather someone asking me to give a lift to an elderly lady who lives but two doors from the manse.

Not only did I find that I had inadvertently declined a request to ‘take Heather to church’ but I also now discover that the lady in question was planning to make a substantial donation to St Cliff’s Roof Fund that particular day, had she but come.

Having been spurned by my good self not only has the offer of a much-needed boost to our Roof Fund been withdrawn but so also has her membership at St Cliff’s.

My only crumb of comfort in this whole sorry debacle is that it assuredly underlines my belief (at great cost to myself) that heather is, and never will be, lucky. 

Well not in my case anyway!

Onward and upward

Derek

You can also find me at  www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld

Derek’s Take on…

31 Oct

Dear friends,

Here is another proffering in my new-ish ‘Derek’s Take on…’ series.

Onward and upward

Derek

Derek's Take On….The first shall be last

You can also find me at  http://www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld

Socks with sandals!

30 Oct

Dear friends

Having shared of late  the odd question or two fired at me from my ‘public’, I am reminded of a pertinent poser that came my way during the summer. It was this: “Is wearing socks with open-toed sandals still the summer dress code for Christian men?”

Here was my considered reply.

‘A jolly pertinent question bearing in mind the recent spell of clement weather we have enjoyed in this fair isle but one that will certainly hit a raw nerve as far as my good lady wife is concerned.

Whilst I endeavour to be ‘cutting edge’ in certain matters (we now have an overhead projector at St. Cliff’s added to which I am seriously considering replacing the dial-up facility on my computer with something called broadband) when it comes to my wardrobe I am perhaps not quite as ‘with it’ as perhaps she would like.

That said, it is not for the want of trying.

Once, in a bid to be all things to all people I adorned my personage with one of the ubiquitous W.W.J.D. bracelets in an attempt to denote complicity with the youth of St.Cliff’s.
My downfall was assuming it to be some sort of rubbery (and stretchy) trendy clerical collar and only after all but choking myself to an inch of my life was I duly enlightened as to its intended location on the human form.

Thus you will not need to be Sherlock Holmes to conclude that fashion sense and this humble clergyman are not particularly well acquainted.
It will come as no surprise also to discover that the raw nerve I mentioned at the outset is none other than the fashion crime alluded to in your question.
In my defence, if it were not for the painful pedal affliction of bunions I would be more than prepared to consider forsaking the comfort of wearing ankle socks with my summer sandals if it lessened my good lady wife’s embarrassment at my choice of seasonal attire.

That it is a condition which St.Cliff’s prayer ministry team has yet to crack leaves me with little choice once again as to my summer footwear options.

I trust that my answer (whilst no doubt offering little solace to those who would prefer such iconic Christian stereotyping to be cast into a certain fiery lake) is of some help.

I note that whilst the question you raised is an indication that our views on this matter perhaps differ somewhat I am heartened by the fact that you did not ask as to my opinion on whether or not Christians should adorn the rear windows of their automobiles with the ever-popular rainbow-coloured ‘fish’ badge.

I can only conclude that your silence on this matter indicates that whilst we may be at odds as to the matter of dress code we can at least agree upon the ‘Highway Code’ for Christians.

Post Scriptum: Whilst I would not claim to be the Jean Paul Gaultier of Christian fashion you will be pleased to know that I have dipped my be-socked toe into this heady world and you can now purchase a tee-shirt with my visage upon it (via this handy link):

http://www.cpo-online.org.uk/product.aspx?prod=Y3689TS&cat=616′

Onward and upward

Derek

You can also find me at  www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld

Another Powerpoint fail!

25 Oct

Derek Photo_ 666You can also find me at  http://www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld

Bumbling internet sensation!

18 Oct

Dear friends

It is well over three years since I launched myself onto the World Wide Super Highway (as I gather it is called in common parlance) in the guise of my very own ‘blog’, no less.

Who would have believed that in such a short space of time my regular missives would have gained such a head of steam and have earned me the moniker of ‘bumbling internet sensation’.

Whilst I may wish to tweak these well-intentioned sentiments it would nevertheless be churlish of me to ignore the painful truth that, while the comatose faithful at St Cliff’s (as the bishop rather unkindly refers to my benign flock) may remain indifferent to my weekly discourses, my ‘online congregation’ appear to be a tad more appreciative.

I will confess that my good lady wife was a little more reticent when she learned of my intentions to reach a wider audience via the ‘blogosphere’, chiefly due to the uncanny knack I have of ‘putting my foot in it’.

Whilst this predisposition may impress those with a penchant for contortionism, it has landed yours truly in more than the odd pickle.

My first internet faux pas was on the occasion of opening my ‘inbox’ for the very first time and viewing what I naively (and mistakenly) thought to be an email pertaining to The Tribulation, proffering apparent cast-iron evidence for the 144,000 referred to in Revelation as being Jews.

My excitement at successfully embracing this wondrous new means of communication at my first attempt caused me to throw caution to the wind and to ‘mail’ this important missive, poste-haste, to every member of the clerical community that my address book could proffer.

No doubt it would have been wise to have read a little more of its content before allowing the thing to go ‘cyber’ (I am a veritable magnet when it comes to all the latest jargon, am I not?) but sadly hindsight was not on the menu that particular day.

I had heard that that whilst the process of of sending an email was relatively quick, the average response time erred towards tardy.

Thus I was somewhat taken aback to discover that within a matter of minutes my inbox was positively humming.The joy of knowing that my maiden voyage on the World Wide Super Highway had proved so popular was short-lived.

In my haste I had unwittingly liberally circulated an article not in fact supporting the JEWS but rather the JWs!

Let us just hope and pray that this unfortunate theological gaffe does not signal the ‘end times’ for me also when I face my clerical colleagues at our local ministers’ fraternal tomorrow.

Onward and upward

Derek

You can also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld

Derek’s Definitions: CHRISTINGLE

15 Oct

Dear friends

If you aren’t yet following me on the Facebook internet portal you will probably not have had the pleasure of enjoying my witty and clever (well I like to think so) ‘Derek’s Definitions’ series of which this is one.

For your delectation I think I will pop them on my veritable ‘blog’ as a regular feature also.

Onward and upward

Derek

Post Scriptum. Should you wish to journey with me on Facebook, here is the link to my page https://www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld

Derek's Definitions- Christingle

Action songs!

14 Oct

Dear friends

A member of my ‘online congregation’ has asked me the following question.

“Why does the vicar make us all do the actions to children’s songs?”

This is indeed a very good question and assuredly one which resonates with this self-conscious clergyman.

Not being of a particularly extrovert disposition, those dreaded words ‘audience participation’ are guaranteed to send a shiver down this ‘buttoned-up’ clergyman’s spine.

As an aside, it is one reason why our fated sojourn to the Estuary View Holiday Village remains irreversibly etched in my memory banks. In that the nightly entertainment which the staff of this latter-day Colditz saw fit to inflict upon the inmates required our active involvement, simply compounded the torture of this ‘holiday from hell’ (as I believe my good lady wife termed it).

Should you wish to avail yourself of the full gory details, here is a link to my ‘blog’ which reveals all.

https://derekthecleric.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/812/

Back to the question.

Whilst not subscribing to the adage that ‘children should be seen and not heard’ I nevertheless have good reason for not inflicting grown ups (such as myself) with ministry methods designed for younger folk.

I will admit to having made a brief foray into the world of the aforementioned ‘action song’ on the occasion of St. Cliff’s Sunday school anniversary, but a pending personal injury claim resulting from my over-exuberant platform demonstration has put paid to a repeat performance.

I had always considered ‘Wide, wide as the ocean’ to be a harmless ditty from the back catalogue of Sunday school classics but I fear that any fond memories or affection I had for this chorus have been blighted forevermore.

Of course I have only myself to blame for standing too close to Mrs Higginbottom (St. Cliff’s discordant and none-too-melodious organist) as I flung my arms wide with as much gusto as I could muster.

The ensuing black eye which I inflicted upon the poor lady (and the impending litigation) was not part of the plan.

It is for these reasons that I have decided to pen a ‘chorus’ of my own in the hope that adults will never again have to partake in ‘action songs’.

Although it is unlikely that such ‘top drawer’ writers of hymns as Wesley and Newton will be turning in their graves for fear of being usurped by my humble proffering I am nonetheless quietly confident that ‘A statue for the Lord’ (as I have provisionally entitled the song) will one day be added to the chorus compendium.

As I stand in solidarity with all who each Sunday breathe a sigh of relief when those immortal words ‘It is time for the children to leave us’ are uttered (and the looming threat of ‘action song’ participation is lifted for yet another week) let my song be something around which we can all rally.

‘I’m a statue for the Lord.
I’m a statue for the Lord.
I’m standing still,
In God’s will,
I’m a statue for the Lord.’

Onward and upward

Derek

You can also follow me at http://www.derekthecleric.com