Practise makes… Practice

Problem:  Everyone (esp the Church) feeing under pressure to excel and be perfect at everything and never being free to be themselves (ie. not-that-great-but-trying-to-be-better) and thereby living in double guilt of failure and dishonesty/mask-wearing.

Solution:  Be a permanent practiser.  Practise until you can consider yourself 'in practise'; your life and community being a Disciple's Practice just like a Doctor's Practice.   If nothing else it'll teach you which word needs a C and which an S.  And once you've learned that, keep practising – achieving perfection is not required, and not going to happen anyway.


Glorious, stirring sight! The poetry of motion!
The real way to travel! The only way to travel!
Here today – in next week tomorrow!
Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped – always somebody else's horizon!
O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!

Ah, the famous Toad: he knew a thing or two.  And tomorrow I shall be joining his noble vision, traversing our fine nation by road, and all at the cost of the public purse too!

Explanation: as a shortly-to-become marker of the youth of today's GCSE papers, I have been summoned up to the Midlands for a day's training in how to correctly do a tick (we will be doing the downstroke in the morning, the upstroke in the afternoon).  My expenses (inclusing meals) will be paid, and my wage will be over double my normal.  But that's not the best part …

I get to drive up my favourite road of all: the Fosse Way.

Fosse aerial
I LOVE Roman Roads – they are beautiful, cracking to drive on, and join up all the prettiest (ie. pre-industrial) towns in Albion.

The Fosse Way starts near my parents' house (originally it linked Exeter and Lincoln) and will take me all the way to my B&B (in a chicken farm with its own water wheel) just by Leamington Spa.

And on the way I get to pass through some of the pearls of English nomenclature and quaintness: Stow-on-the-Wold, Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh, The Shoe, and Bath.

Fosse way
And here is my point: if I went by motorway, I would miss these.  The journey would consume less time, yes, but what are the accumulated riches of the motorway?  Tarmac, Burger King and brisk monotony.  I prefer the Roman way.

Learning from an Arch Bish

As part of my ordination candidature (or whatever I am attempting to call it this week) I've been given a few books to read.  One is by Michael Ramsey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury back in the sixties, and is a collection of addresses given to men about to be ordained.

Michael Ramsey
The book is in twelve sections, and I found the first seven pretty dull, to be honest.  And then, halfway through the eighth ('Christ's Doctrine and Discipline' – for Heaven's sake!) it suddenly became alive.  Here are a few bits that have got me all meditative:

Study gets very irksome if you think of it as adding more and more items of knowledge to your bag.  Think of study rather as being refreshed from the deep, sparkling well of truth which is Christ himself.

Let those who are glad to be Catholics or Evangelicals or Liberals set themselves to learn all they can from one another, for the partisan can soon become a person who loves his own apprehension of the truth rather than Christ who is the truth, and himself more than either.

There is only one kind of person who makes God known and realized by other people, and that is the person who is humble because he knows God and knows God because he is humble.  There is no substitute for this.  It is only a humble priest who is authoritativelt a man of God.