Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Archbishop at Delhi Brotherhood

I was looking at the Lambeth website at pics of the Archbishop visit to India (I was meant to be there myself). He was recently visiting CMS partner organisation, 'The Delhi Brotherhood'
I enjoyed the photos of the service and the cricket.

Delhi Brotherhood: The Delhi Brotherhood Society was originally known as the Cambridge Brotherhood, where a small number of English priests set out for Delhi in 1877, with the aim of promoting higher education. This they duly did, founding St Stephen's College in 1881 which is now one India's leading universities. In more recent times the brothers have turned their energies to the plight of slum dwellers in the city, with projects currently being run addressing HIV prevention, agricultural projects, as well empowerment initiatives for women and those people with disabilities.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Nasruddin in 140 characters or less

Since I was in the Land of Mullah Nasruddin I thought I would try posting a story a day whilst I am here (this was back in May)

"what is a traitor in politics?" they asked Nasruddin "Anyone who leaves our party to join another is a traitor." (pt 1 of 2)

"Well, what about a man who leaves his party to join yours?" they asked "well, he is a convert, said the Mulla “a real convert” (pt 2 of 2)

"That pain in your leg is caused by old age" the doctor told Nasrudin. "That can't be, the other leg is the same age & doesn't hurt a bit."

Mulla, what did you think of the sermon?" "Oh, It was OK" said Nasrudin, "Only he passed 3 really good places where he could have stopped."

Nasrudin is fishing "How many have you caught?" asks a passerby. "Well, If I catch this one that's nibbling and then 2 more I will have 3!"

Mulla Nasrudin sat fishing in a bucket of water. A passer-by enquired, "How many have you caught?" Nasrudin smiled "YOU are the ninth!"

On his 85th birthday Nasruddin was asked: "Don't you hate growing old Mulla?" "Oh, NO," he said "If I wasn't growing old, I'd be dead!"

"That election was fixed" challenged the defeated Mulla. "I know cos a friend voted for me fifteen times, but I only got 4 votes in total!"

Nasrudin lost the election & felt sorry for himself: "I am a victim"! "A victim of what? asked his friend. "A victim of accurate counting!"

I found a 'Nasruddin' story of the sweetest strawberry - dedicated to Pete in Mazar.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

"a train is a fire going in one direction"

I attended the memorial service for Ian R Smith (6 Mar 1948- 29 July 2009) at St Oswald's Church, Fulford, York. He was a great railway enthusiast, as well an Area Secretary for CMS, before going on to be General Secretary for CMS Ireland.

You can read more on CMS Ireland's announcement of his death last year

He was a colleague and friend, who had visited us in Karachi in the mid eighties. I remember his enthusiasm for trains nearly got him arrested. He was driving the Mirpurkhas narrow gauge steam train to the Indian border, on the foot-plate playing Ilkley Moor bar 't'at on the train whistle. Therefore on the return the military check post assumed he'd come from over the border. He had a lot of explaining to do......

His family shared movingly about his life through clips and quotes from friends. His son talked about his unswerving hope (Heb 10:23) and how as a stranger and pilgrim he did not receive everything promised but welcomed them from afar (Heb 11:13)

Simon Barrington Ward previous Gen Sec of CMS Britain and former Bishop of Coventry
spoke of his vibrant faith and commitment to the gospel, his role in General Synod and his advocacy of the plight of Christians in Sudan. He finished his address by quoting Robert Browning's poem 'epilogue'

But it was a short film clip 'One Direction' made by Rev Chris Bennett of Holywood Parish Church for Ian's funeral, which will remain with me. It was a powerful image of a life of passion committed to a lifetime of service. And whilst Ian was passionate indeed about trains, it was the gospel that really fired his engine...

"A train is a fire going in one direction"

He wrote a number of railway books, but also a book of his travels in the Middle East, when part of CMS, called A Case of Confidence (2005)

He went looking for vibrant Christian faith in an area of the world where Christians were rapidly leaving. (partly inspired by William Dalrymple's classic 'From the Holy Mountain') And of course because of his enthusiasm and energy, he found many inspiring Christians and managed to communicate their stories in a simple compelling way....

That was part of his gift. Inspiring confidence in the good news of God's love to all he met....

I finish with a prayer written by his wife Carol

Let us remember Ian and thank God for
His life, his love and his gifts
For his cheerfulness and his smile;
His enthusiasm and his flair;
His love of life, and ability to live it to the full;
His love of the natural world, and railways too;
for his gift of friendship; his sense of fun;
His passion for the gospel;
His clear, faithful preaching;
His yearning to share the good news with others;
His love and concern for his brothers and sisters
throughout the worldwide church;
And his love for his family;
We thankyou God

Friday, 15 October 2010

Afghan girl receives enduring heart award

You remember the TIME article about an Afghan girl disfigured by the Taleban and left to die
It was very contraversial in the way the picture was used politically. However the 19 year girl, Aisha, has now received a new prosthetic nose and is all smiles.
All was revealed at a ceremony where she recieved an 'Enduring Heart award'

You can read all about it

Disfigured Afghan teenager smiles again and also

The smile that defies the Taliban: Afghan teenager whose mutilated face shocked the world unveils her new image

It's a small victory for humanity in the face of oppression. a case of 'cutting of a nose' which has now 'spited the face' of the Taleban.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Pray even if you have no prayer

President Karzai was understandably emotional as he thought about his own children and the future of Afghanistan . .


President Hamid Karzai bursts into tears during a nationally televised speech on the problems facing Afghanistan, as a peace council is appointed to start formal negotiations with the Taliban.

a friend of mine Colin responded ot this with a prayer/poem which I thought would be good to post:

Colin Darling

Pray even if you have no prayer...

Oh great God friend of the crushed and broken,
let not Afghanistan be a caravan of slaughter
on its way to a caravanserai of despair.
May you gentle king grant to people who live in security
the gift of tears and imagination,
and to those who live by violence
the gift of hope