Friday, 13 June 2014
Having explained the whole Calling process, it's worth thinking about the theory behind it. Basically, the vicar you get is the perfect one for your church at the time.
A discussion about the vicar's role on Ship of Fools and remembering the whole Settlement process made me think about the shopping list churches have when looking for a Minister.
- Challenges the congregation so they grow spiritually. Doesn't offend them or change anything.
- Holds services that are not too long or too short. Contain the right mix of hymns and choruses. Sermons are the correct length. Not too high or low brow.
- Works from 7am to midnight on all aspects of church life. Is always available if needed. But has a good family life.
- Invests 25 hours a week in sermon preparation; 20 hours in pastoral ministry; 10 hours in meetings; 5 hours in unexpected emergencies; 20 hours in visiting and evangelism; 6 hours in funerals and weddings; 30 hours in Bible reading, prayer and their own spiritual development; 12 hours in administration and correspondence; 10 hours in creative thinking and 15 hours organising the building project. Still has time for family.
- Has a burning desire to work with young people. Spends all their time with old ones.
- Always has time for all committees and activities of the church. Never misses a meeting of any church organisation. Is always busy building relationships with people outside the church. Still has time for family.
- 30-something years old. With over 40 years of experience.
- Is good looking. But not too good looking. Not too tall or short. Not too fat or thin. Not too funny or serious.
- Talented, gifted, scholarly, musical, practical, popular, compassionate, understanding, patient, level-headed, dependable, loving, caring, neat, organised, cheerful, and above all, humble. Can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
- Has perfect, well behaved children of all ages.
- Has Spouse with all the spiritual gifts listed by St Paul. The qualities of the perfect woman listed in Provers. The judgement of Deborah and the wisdom of Solomon. Plus any practical gifts that fill all the skill gaps in the church's ministries. Plus (!) psychic powers so s/he always knows where the Minster is and what's happening. I apologise in advance to any church that calls Rev T in the future. Falling over your feet and saying ar*e a lot may not be considered good qualities, but they're what I bring to the table.
- Is at someone else's church.
If your vicar does not measure up, send this to six other churches that are tired of their vicar as well. Bundle up your vicar and forward to the church at the top of the list. If everyone cooperates, in one week you will receive 1,643 vicars. One of them should be perfect. Have faith in this letter. One church broke the chain and got their old vicar back in less than three months.
Monday, 9 June 2014
Going back to this post, where I talked about being £6,000 in debt, I thought some people might be interested in the detail of how I paid it off. "Rev T and some good friends helped me set a repayment plan and stick to it"
This was before the Internet. It was an article in a paper or magazine about a book. How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously by Jerrod Mundis. The book is based on the principles of Debtors Anonymous (DA).
The main difference between DA and some other good sources of advice, is DA acknowledges for some people, debt is an addiction. It's going to take more than a good budget to get them back to black. Mundis has been there and bought that. He works through every excuse and demolishes them all. It's not an easy read, but it's a worthwhile one.
The first thing is to acknowledge that debt is you have a problem with debt. My name is Mrs Tubbs and I am a compulsive debtor.
Once the problem is acknowledged and owned, it's time for the next step.
Commit to not incurring any new debt today. Just today. Yesterday has gone and life doesn't come with an undo button. Tomorrow isn't here yet so you don't need to worry about it.
The book sets out a re-education process. A spending detox, debt repayment plan and a refocusing of priorities from shopping / debt to family, friends, career etc.
A new person that's more than just the balance on a card. As no one talks about money ever, let alone debt, it's easy to assume that you are the only person in the world with this problem. You’re not.
There reason about why some people have this issue and others don't btw. Rev T was born with the ability to track his money to the penny. He can rattle off his bank balances and if he doesn't have the money, he stops spending until he has.
Here’s a brief outline of DA's process:
- Work out the cost of monthly essential out-goings. Housing, utilities, food, transport to work. What’s left is for debt repayments, savings and non-essential spending.
- Create a monthly spending plan that reflects outgoings. £x for housing, £y for food, £x for clothes etc. Unlike some regimes, the book allows for small items of non-essential spending and saving. Only within the confines of the monthly spending plan. Identify ways to reduce outgoings and increase income.
- Go through the bills and work out how much is owned. And who too. Try not to freak out!
- Work out a repayment plan based on priority. Size, interest rate or the lender. Pay any mortgage / rental debts first. Then the ones with the highest interest rate or the biggest.
- Contact the people you owe money to ask them to accept your payment plan. Many will accept as some money is better than none. As each debt is paid, money is freed up to go towards other debts, outgoings and savings.
- Track all spending. However small. Group spending into categories so you can see how the spending compares to the plan. This helps you keep on track and adjust if needed. Each night, add the daily totals to the weekly totals so you know what money is left for the rest of the month. The commitment to not incurring new debt means this is the only money you have. This keeps you on track with the spending plan.
- Keep a monthly running total of how much you owe and how much you’re repaid. Watching the balance decrease motivates you to keep going. You can see it working!
- Cut up any credit or store cards so there won't be any new debt. If they’re still there, they’re a temptation. If they’re used, then the balance won’t decrease. This was the hardest part of the process for me. I hid my credit card in the underwear drawer. It moved to a plastic bag of water in the freezer. By the time I’d defrosted it, I’d lost interest in whatever it was. Rev T had it for a while. Eventually it got shredded. I cried.
Once all the debt is repaid, continue taking it one day at a time. Keep to the spending plan and tracking. The book assumes this is done in conjunction with regular DA meetings, a sponsor etc. There weren't any groups near me. I did it with the aid of some great friends. Lisa, Laura and Karen and Rev T. One day at a time.
Years later, I'm still doing it, one day at a time. Some days are better than others, but if one day goes badly, I know I did it yesterday. That helps me feel able to give it another try tomorrow.
If you think that your issues with your finances are more than just being crap at budgeting, then DA may help you. If you think you just need a better budget, then DA may help you create a realistic one and stick to it.
Sharing with all these great Linkys
The five things about church that I’d like to see live. A companion post to this one about 5 things in church that I'd like to see die. There should be praise as well as blame.
Dirty Sexy Ministry concludes:
- Best message.Ever. God loved people so much he gave his only Son, so everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. (John 3:16)
- Community. There are millions of church communities of different sizes and shapes throughout the world. All trying to be welcoming, caring and relevant, Jesus focused communities. It's one of the few places where you can interact people from outside your circle or peer group.
- Diversity. Each of those church groups worships the same God completely differently. That’s okay. It’s the heart not the appearance that’s important. From the Highest Anglicans, via the Baptists, the Catholics to the Snake Handlers. Something for everyone.
- Practicality. Many of the things the UK takes for granted - welfare state, employment laws, charities, schools, NHS - exist because Christians campaigned for them and made them happen. Many churches run toddler groups, lunch clubs for retired people, food banks etc. Christians are still at the forefront of campaigns against trafficking, slavery etc. Be great if these things died because we didn't need them.
- It's never dull. Trying to be community with people of different ages and cultures with one thing in common - you all believe in God- is never dull. Joyful, challenging, fun and frustrating but never dull. It teaches you about yourself. It teaches you even more about God. We don't journey through things on either list alone. God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - is beside us. Hopefully at the centre of things. But sometimes on the side-lines shouting, "Oi! I'm over here!" That's the thing about God, he turns up everywhere.
Dirty Sexy Ministry concludes:
"The Church has been dying since its birth on Pentecost. And it has been living since Pentecost. The Church is a living spirit. Like all living spirits of God, we wax and wane. We have times of feast and famine. We are the embodiment of death and life. Perhaps instead of bewailing the death of the church, we can be the people of faith called into being on Pentecost and trust that death is part of our life together. Things will change. Beloved traditions may have lived their full life; new experiences are birthed. Change happens. Life goes on. Amen. Alleluia!"
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
Thank you Amanda for the comment, the same thing happens to me. My image of my 18 year old self is ruined by unexpected mirror glancing or photos. Then it gets, "Who's the old bint?".
Another post of limited husbandy interest. London Beauty Queen posted two entries talking about things about make up and skincare she'd wished she'd known when she was 20.
Excellent idea, here are the things that I wish my 18 year old aubergine eye shadow buying self-had known:
- Always wear sunblock. Helps protect against cancer and sun damage.
- Look after your skin. Cleanse, tone, moisturise, maybe use a serum and an eye cream morning and night. Don't go to sleep with your make-up on. Maybe bung on a primer before putting on make-up as well. It’s unlikely any of us will be the youthful looking eighty year old who only used soap and water. Get lots of sleep and eat well.
- Don't believe the hype. There will always be must have beauty products. Some will work for you and others won't. If you think they'll work for you, you can afford them and they don't duplicate what you've already got, then go for it. If not, then don't worry, there will be another must have product along in a minute.
- Expensive isn't always best. Whilst the Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight & Sculpting Powder Duo is finely milled, blends nicely, stays all day and comes in a beautiful case, it's £19. The Sleek Makeup Contour Kit costs £6.49, lasts forever and does the same thing. Not quite as foxy looking, but does the same job with money left.
- You've only got one face and only two of your four cheeks need blusher. There's only so much stuff you need and can use up before it goes off.
- Make up is meant to enhance your features, it's not a mask. Go easy!
- Brushes. The right brushes make application easier and the finished look better. Clean them regularly.
Have fun! You're only be 20 something once and you can only get way with wearing that for so long. Don't wish it away, just go for it!
Sunday, 1 June 2014
But the face that looks back at me in the mirror tells a different story. We all age, get wrinkles etc. It's not the end of the world, just part of life. You're not any less talented, gifted or compassionate etc now. Just older.
This tutorial by Lisa Eldridge is aimed at women my age. Brilliant as many makeup tutorials are by twenty-somethings. Nothing wrong with that, but what works for them may not always always work for me as we're in a different place.
Eldridge's video is great as it discusses things about beauty at this age you'd really rather not - wrinkles, facial hair, sweatiness, not being able to see well enough to do a cats eye flick - and gives some work arounds. The right makeup can take years off. Me, only better. Perfect for everyday.
But ... but ... It's so minimalist and tasteful! Sometimes that's not what's wanted. The girl who ran to Miss Selfridge to buy aubergine eyeshadow is in there. And she complained when the eyeshadow wasn't aubergine enough. For those times, there's this from Illamasqua.
In the words of Jenny Joseph's poem, Warning:
"When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me, and I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves and satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter"
If you're wearing purple and a red hat, you may as well combine it with some spangly eyeshadow and a red lip.
Thank you to Rev T for sharing my blog on Facebook and to Neil and Ros for the likes.