Peter's Blog

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.

Cadbury's and Fairtrade

Written by Peter Johnston on .

As Fairtrade Fortnight 2009 ends, one of the highlights for me as a confessing chocoholic was the news from Cadbury's that they are going to move to make Dairy Milk products with fairly traded chocolate. This is a huge step in the right direction with such a mainstream product ensuring that workers receive a fair deal for the work they do. 

And it is a great excuse to show this fantastic advert from Cadbury's which fairly sums up my feelings on the subject! 

Inspiration and encouragement

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Glasgow University

A tremendously moody picture of the Gothic lump we know as Glasgow University: photo taken by my sister's partner, Claus. I love it.

Technically Monday is supposed to be my day off. Even at the best of times that is a bit of a laugh, but today it is a total wash...

Emerging Church or Emerging Biology?

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Within the Western church over the last decade there has been more and more talk about the "emerging church" - about new forms of church "emerging" from current practises. Indeed, the Church of Scotland now has a specific role in its central offices for someone to support and nurture emerging groups of followers of Christ around the country.

These "emergent" communities (in the Church of England they call it "fresh expressions") may look very different from traditional church, but if it provides a new form in which people can explore faith and following Jesus then rejoice! You can here Brian McLaren talking about this via my post of earlier today.

Brian McLaren

Written by Peter Johnston on .

At the end of 2008 the pastor and author Brian McLaren was in Scotland speaking to different groups organised by the Evangelical Alliance Scotland. Sadly, I missed the opportunity to hear him "in the flesh". Though, having read most of his books I know where he is coming from and I find him inspiring to both listen to or read.

You can hear what he said at Strathclyde University with this podcast. I encourage you to take a break for 40 minutes or so, sit back and listen.

(Hat tip to Stewart Cutler)

[Update: some reflections from those who did see Brian "in the flesh". From Stewart Cutler here and here. And from Gordon Kennedy here, here and here.]

Congratulations to Malcolm Anderson

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Malcolm Anderson and family

Thanks to Malcolm for sending over this photo of himself, Donna, Callum and Dean from his Ordination and Induction to the Congregational Church on Tuesday night. It has been a blessing to see Malcolm exploring his calling through the readership in the Church of Scotland to now becoming minister at the Congregational Church. I know my prayers are joined with those of many of us in St Andrew's in support of Malcolm.

Sadly, with my responsibilities at presbytery I missed the service, though I did escape from Motherwell in time for a cup of tea and some homebakes - for which many thanks to the kind folks at the Congregational Church!

We've got a story to tell

Written by Peter Johnston on .

A few of us at the moment are working on a Holiday Club for primary aged children based around the theme of Jesus as a great storyteller. We're using a different parable as the focus each day. In great Holiday Club tradition we thought a theme song would be required. So, here is the latest doggerel from Sleepless Nights Productions!

Loyal betrayal

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Jesuit priest, Riccardo Fontana

Carolyn took a break from her essay writing last night once the children were all in bed and we sat down to watch a 2002 French/German film from the Greek director Costa-Gavras: Amen. I'd read about a scene in the film recently and was intrigued to watch the whole movie. 

The film centres around the efforts of an SS Officer, Kurt Gerstein (based on a real character) to get news of what is happening under Nazi rule out to all the German people and to the allies. As a chemist, Gerstein perfected the use of Zyklon B for disease control, and was concerned for ensuring clean water supplies, but he finds that the work he has done is being used for terrible ends: the holocaust. As a devout Christian he is deeply troubled.

Careful where you walk...

Written by Peter Johnston on .

"The Crevasse" by Edgar Mueller. Wonderful street art / illusion.

Megamix

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Members of the Megamix Team

I've just been uploading photos from the camera onto the computer and thought I would add this one of some of the team that created the Megamix event that took place for P4-P7 children on Saturday evening in St John's Parish Church, Hamilton. As with the previous two Megamix events, it was a very worthwhile evening, with over 70 children present involved in many different activities, and giving leaders from local churches ideas for things they could do in their own setting.

Alas, despite making four trips back and forth to St John's that evening doing taxi service, I missed most of what went on and wasn't able to get any photos during the event itself! However, it was good to hear that some of the churches in East Kilbride, having seen what Megamix is about, are thinking about doing something similar in the future.

Well done to all the team that put Megamix together! 

Pizza Disaster

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Pizza disaster

We had a bit of a culinary disaster this evening... Let's put it this way: the pizza on the bottom shelf had a lot more topping than we expected!

Andrew thought it was priceless - and has decided this is the way all pizzas should be cooked. No surprises that mum was at work.

Moral: read the instructions! 

A Reflection for Communion

Written by Peter Johnston on .

A sneak preview of the video reflection we'll be using in the morning worship tomorrow as we share the bread and wine.

Along with still images, there are two depictions of the Last Supper. One from the superb African film "Son of Man" which sets the gospel story in a township, and the second from Five Mile Rivers studio's The Bible series. The song is by Yvonne Lyon; please go and buy her albums, they are brilliant. 

Reading the Bible: Part 2

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Reading Bible

Earlier in February I wrote a post about Reading the Bible following a conversation with someone in the church. I mentioned in that post that the subject is vast and could spill over into many blog posts. And so it has...

At the end of that post I talked about how I believe it is impossible, despite our best intentions, to come to read a text from the Bible completely objectively. So in this post I want to flesh out how it is okay to come to the Bible subjectively, and indeed to note that this is what Jesus himself did with the Scriptures he knew.