Big World Small Boat

Private Diary of A Priest. OK, so we're not all angels...Everyone needs a place to get things off their chest! And yes, I do talk to God about it all! Even He has a sense of humour! Want proof? Well, he made me, didn't He? Oh, one last thought-If you don't like what I've written, please keep in mind - it's MY diary. Go write your own!

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Location: England, United Kingdom

I've been serving children in crisis for over twenty five years. My goals are not to raise money, but to find organisations and individuals who can help change lives! What may be outdated equipment for you could change the life of a child in Eastern Europe! To learn more please visit our site at:


It’s A Down Under Dilemma Mate!

‘You old bastard!’ It wouldn’t be nice to call someone this, would it? Well, actually it’s a warm and endearing affectation between best friends in Australia. And if an Aussie were to sling this accolade in your direction, you’d be considered well and truly ‘in.’

But to say such a thing in England, in Canada, or even America, it would be considered mildly offensive and certainly in poor taste.

So does that mean we are to look down our noses at the Aussies with disdain? Of course not.

The Australian Tourist Commission has recently launched (in my opinion) a beautiful new advertising campaign that uses yet another typically Australian idiom entitled ‘So where the bloody hell are you?’ Now, for those of you here in England, stop squirming in your seats! Again, it’s just an ‘Aussie thing.’ Just as some here (not including me) might use an idiom to say you have an Episcopalian friend who likes to stomp on fags! Now, for those of you in America, stop squirming in your seats, it means something quite different over here!

You see! You see how easy it is to offend? Colloquialisms, which may be considered acceptable locally, can invoke adverse reactions elsewhere.

Consequently, several English-speaking countries are banning the running of the adverts, citing its offensive language and in Canada the fact that there is the implied offer of unbranded beer makes the advert a definite no no! But the language apparently is not a problem. (I kid you not!)

Here in England, according to the Advertising Standards Agency, for us to watch an Australian tourism commercial that uses the phrase ‘bloody hell’ would simply far exceed the boundaries of British good taste.

Too right! I’m sure the ASA would be flooded with complaints from incensed viewers who saw such an offensive advert follow, say, a popular car company’s advert entitled ‘shake your little ass’ during the running of the TV series ‘Queer As Folk,’ or following the latest Gordon Ramsay's 'F Word' cookery show. And there’s no doubt Australia’s Minister of Culture, Sir Les Patterson and the venerable Dame Edna Everage, would take exception to such depictions of poor taste.


Thank you, oh great Nanny state, for protecting our modest and fragile ears. And America, please, please, I beg of you, please don’t add Australia to your ‘axis of evil’ shopping list and ban American’s from travelling to this morally corrupt country.


Where else would the Americans get to see kangaroos running wild in the streets of Sydney!

Wanted Part-Time Wife

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All With The Same Brush

‘All Arabs are gun–toting, homicidal, extremists,’ or ‘ Blacks are nothing but a bunch of foot–shuffling lazy people on welfare,’ or ‘All Irish are thieving, lying, alcoholics,’ or even ‘Jews are conniving, money–grabbing people who are taking over the world.’* Take your pick, not only are the above quotations particularly odious, they are patently false!

But what happens when people who have an opportunity to change such preposterous and inflammatory prejudices and work for a common good, simply don’t? What happens when the press become tainted with the same brush, to an extent that the only view allowed or shared, is the prejudiced view they create?

Britain is proud of its diversity, just as are many countries. Demographically, there is no other city in the world that hosts such vast diversity than London. Its residents live in an adaptive and harmonious society. As a consequence, one of Britain’s greatest strengths lies in our tolerance and respect for all faiths and cultures. That’s not to say that it has always been this way–far from it, but we’ve worked hard to evolve.

But while we would like to believe that the prejudices, as quoted herein, are of an era past, sadly, this is not the case. Prejudice and discrimination raises its ugly head every single day.

It may be that someone is excluded from a potential job because of the colour of his or her skin, or cultural attire. Clubs and organisations create deliberate barriers to prevent people from joining. And what I find to be most repugnant, people’s places of worship, homes, or cemeteries are attacked merely because of the fact their faith is different.

I came home to find a terse note from one of the many religious newsgroups to which I subscribe, saying that I had been dropped from their group; All because I had written in my blog regarding a friend of mine, who happens to be Jewish. I read through the groups regularly and it helps me to understand many of their challenges. Sometimes, it helps me see how the roots of misunderstanding can begin.

What surprised me most is that this group is based in Canada and that the founders of that group are learned individuals who had presumably come there so that they could share their freedoms of speech, their diversity, and their cultural and religious beliefs.

But my blog was never submitted to the members for review, nor was I asked to offer any explanations or amplifications regarding what I wrote: not that I feel there is any need to. But I’m deeply saddened because the group, that apparently attracts a large number of international subscribers from various faiths, has an opportunity, if not a moral obligation, to help in the promotion of a fair and unbiased society. Certainly, more than ever, it is crucial that we teach our children that there is no place for prejudice or discrimination.

But to exclude people, whether it be in a newsgroup or an open society, merely because they respect the individuality, culture, and faith of every individual, without judgement; can only dramatically narrow your own personal and spiritual growth.

And perhaps, saddest of all, it can only serve to continue to fuel misperceptions others may have of them.

O Muhammad, tell the unbelievers [of Islam]; O unbelievers[of Islam], I worship not what you worship nor do you worship what I worship. And I shall never worship what you worship, nor will you worship what I worship. You have your religion and I have my religion. The Koran: Al-Kafirun, 109:1-6


*Found at the website of a rightwing supremacists group, exercising their 'rights' of 'free' speech.

A Simple Exercise

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Baaaaa! The Old Goat...Again!

Remember Emma? (The Old Goat). I’d almost swear flowers shrivel and drop when she walks by. OK, so I’m exaggerating again…but I certainly can’t be that far from the truth. It has been a challenging past few weeks for me. 

Something happened to one of my legs. It went quite strange and I ended up in hospital again, having to get pumped up with a concoction of IV’s and Cephalexin. It looked awful and had swollen to the point that I looked like one of those trees in the Wizard of Oz that threw apples at Dorothy. (How’s that for a metaphor?) 
Nevermind. The dog had gone out to do whatever it is that dogs do when they’re out and it was time for him to come back in. And of course, they never do, do they? So I hobbled outdoors with the aid of a walking stick. It’s a pitiful enough sight to see a priest rummaging through shrubbery in search of a Jack Russell named Mister Piddles, but add a walking stick to the scenario and it’s quite pathetic looking. I’ll have to remember to take my trousers off and do the same thing the next time I feel like I need a ‘nice long rest.’ I’m certain someone would come take me away. In any event, I digress. Sorry.

I had to walk past Emma’s front door. Now, keep in mind, Emma is currently infirmed. She broke her heel just before Christmas and she’s still hobbling about like a cowboy whose been riding on the range for the past six months. Give her a pair of six–shooters and she’d be ready to star in a remake of a Hopalong Cassidy film! 

Bang! She swung the door open with such ferocity that it made me jump. ‘You!’ she bellowed. ‘What are you doing in my shrubs?’ As I slowly turned around I quickly tried to replace the grimace that my face had contorted into with my best ‘preacher face.’ I hadn’t realised that my shoulders were still perched high as a reaction to the anticipation of receiving a blow from behind. It made me look as if I were suffering from scoliosis. 

‘Good morning Emma,’ I smiled. ‘How are you this morning?’ Her face was already beginning to contort. ‘Harrumph,’ she snorted. ‘My bookshelf needs moving. I’ve been waiting for you to come by for over 3 days!’ She dragged out the word ‘three’ as if it were a polysyllabic word. I had no recollection of Emma ever telling me she needed her bookshelf moved, but that wouldn’t have mattered. If she thought it, then everyone should know. ‘So, why can’t you do it now?’ she glared at me. ‘I’m so sorry Emma, I’ve actually been in hospital. I’ve had a bit of a problem with my leg, as you can see.’ 

I didn’t think I needed to hold up the walking stick for her to see, I knew she had watched me from her kitchen window. And besides, had I done so, I would have done my own rendition of the sinking of the Andrea Doria. ‘I don’t know what any of you get paid for,’ she barked. ‘All of you are worthless!’ 

And on that note she slammed the door. So hard, in fact, it made her doorbell ring. You can’t miss Emma’s doorbell. St Paul’s has nothing to compare with Emma’s doorbell. She’s deaf as a doorknob, so she needs something equivalent to the ship’s horn on the QM2 to rouse her. (and I have absolutely no idea why ships have bombarded my mind this evening!) I’m so grateful that I believe in the promise of a new dawn. This way, when I see Emma again, I will have forgotten that today ever happened. 

And yes, I still love her to pieces…the old goat!

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Discounting Friends

I knew it would come in time–the spirit of what I wanted to write here.

The children had worked diligently to help someone who was going on a holiday. I had written a few words for them, but they were the ones who sat together and worked so hard to create a masterpiece of a blog for our friends–to help them on their holiday.

We were heartbroken to hear only complaints about the trip. Nothing seemed to be working right and they were both clearly miserable. And within their first 24 hours away they were already talking about coming home. Worst of all, it was our fault. Their entire holiday was centred around our suggestions.

Lent is such an important part of the Church calendar. It calls us to take stock of ourselves and to reflect upon our own journeys.

And it came to me this morning–as clear as the crisp air of a new day: The Fifth Petition of The Lord's Prayer:

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.


Remember The Sabbath

Here along our costal shores our community would easily be described as typically ‘WASP’ (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant). It often causes me to miss the multi-culturalism of London. However, last year I met a lady who is Jewish. She is helping to care for my friend who has MS and her parents lead their small and ageing Jewish community in a town not very far away.

But unlike with my 'wasp' community, I'm reminded to be respectful of the Sabbath and not disturb their holy day. And on a couple of occasions I have had to quickly correct myself when I've absentmindedly picked up the phone to call them on either a Friday evening or Saturday.

Today the Jewish community observes, even celebrates, Sabbath. The seventh day is a day of rest. 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' For one day in seven, work ceases. There are moral limits to economics, commercialism and consumerism.

Sabbath is not only a reminder of moral limits but also that we are all part of the order and rhythm of creation. For six days we are creators: active, involved and immersed in public life and civic society. On the seventh day the Jewish tradition reminds us that we are significant creations, part of the natural order. We are part of the world that needs rhythm, the harmony of work and rest, action and reflection, energy and renewal.

So the Jewish Sabbath is the reminder of our human dignity, and whatever our faith, it can be a reminder to others about our commitment to the cycles of life God created for us.

Without the rhythms of work and rest, activity and leisure, our health and well-being can suffer. Far too many of us become stressed out by our frenetic lifestyles. We push our mental and physical well-being to the limits and beyond. For one day, at least, we all need to stop, cease, reflect, celebrate, and then, perhaps, the other six days can also be different.

As Christianity becomes increasingly homogenised and marginalized, with Sunday shopping and people being forced to work, I'm grateful for the reminder I've received from knowing my friend.

So thank you, you’ve just reminded me to sit down for a moment to rest and renew. And this Sunday, when I celebrate my holy day, I shall think of you and smile.

And on the seventh day God finished His work, which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work, which He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work, which He had done in creation. Genesis 2:2-3


The Sabbath Big World Small Boat

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