Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Well the nearest Auchan is halfway round the ring-road and our local LeClerc is small and poky, but we're equidistant between Géant Casino Pessac and Carrefour Mérignac.
Never let it be said that I won't take advice. We switched to Carrefour, despite their apparently dodgy policies regarding deforestation, of which I was blissfuly unaware and about which even now I remain confused.
However they don't have toilet paper with aloe vera, which was one of the real highlights of life in France for me. And you have to watch the prices shown on the shelves because they are all over the place. Hopeless !
Here's one example. Guess the price of the Maxi-format CocoPops.
If you guessed 3.74€ then give yourself a pat on the back.
Still, the scannette always tells you the truth.
We have to soon renew the brake discs and pads. We knew that anyway.
One fog-light doesn't work. But they're not required ot by law so I don't care.
Stuff like that. All OK.
So that's me and the car looked over and passed fit to circulate.
Monday, November 28, 2011
2) Visit of Peter Nye from the mission Tues to Thursday to survey possibilities for a work team from Operation Centurion
3) Sort out and clean study and turn it from a troll's den into a desirable guest room by putting a mattress on the floor. (see 2)
4) CNEF meeting this evening, thankfully in Pessac because Catrin has solfège lesson also in Pessac.
5) Normal evening meetings : CNEF Monday, PM Tuesday, Café philo prep and Bible study Wednesday, English Class Thursday.
6) Surveys on campus and in town ?
7) Meeting with Patrick to discuss work teams (see 2)
8) Register gor Geneva Bible Institute conference in May (Don Cobb, Don Carson, John Piper et al)
9) Sunday English service and also visit of Comité d'Evaluation.
Let's get on with it !
On Saturday afternoon Gwilym developed a tummy bug.
Catrin bounced back to life on Saturday but Gwilym is not yet restored.
Meanwhile Saturday night was the Chinese group at Pessac (in French -> Mandarin),
Sunday morning the French service at Anglade and
Sunday evening the English service at Cenon.
It's great, but you have to keep your wits about you.
One weakness of the trombone and the flute is that they are not all that useful for accompaniment.
The Chinese have a good keyboard player and two violinists
but at Anglade and in Cenon we sang unaccompanied albeit with gusto !
Also we don't yet have heating at the church because the reversible aircon units are to be installed on the walls above the toilets, and we don't yet have walls above the toilets. Not only that but the circuit installed to the wall-sockets isn't tripped enough to run electric heaters. So yesterday morning they did a lot of resetting trips while last night we met in the Sunday School room which is adequately heated by a convector on the wall.
We are hoping deeply to have heating installed before the 11 December as this is the English Service Christmas Special. We'll see...
Friday, November 25, 2011
Catrin was ill - just a little under the weather.
Gwilym was helping with his schoolmates at the local supermarket collecting food for the banque alimentaire, from 12h15.
It meant no leaping out of bed at 06h30 ! Bliss - an unhurried morning !
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I was impressed to see lots of police in town, on the tram, at the tram stop, everywhere. The tram stop was so full of police and ticket inspectors that I thought they were gathering for a demonstration or something. Then on the bus home at a certain stop the exits were blocked by police and a sniffer-dog was sent on to check people's bags for cannabis. One small boy's bag was suspect so he and his companion had to get off the bus to give an account of themselves, or more particularly of the substances the dog found in the bag.
Today I have my dermatology appointment and the Advanced English Classes this evening. We're going to work on precision of tenses when recounting events.
For example. I was sitting in the dining room when the assailant entered. I had already finished my dessert and the butler had said that he would bring the coffee presently. Then suddenly the assailant entered and shot the butler and all the staff. It's most inconvenient. I still haven't had my coffee.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Strictly speaking, according to the law of 1905, an Association Cultuelle can only do things that are directly related to worshipping God. So training pastors would be OK. Holding workshops, music practices, Sunday schools, prayer meetings - all these things would be OK.
However what about a church holiday ? A kids camp ? Outreach to different groups ?
For these activities some churches in France just carry on regardless. Laws can be hard to interpret anyway.
Other churches form Associations CultuRelles to provide the legislative framework for activities not directly related to the worship service.
Thus today we have the Annual General Meetings of the Association Culturelle, FAC, established for outreach to students.
It's been compared to Campus Crusade, but a moment's reflection will reveal how mistaken and flattering that is. The Chairman of the association is our elder, Patrick. There's two staff on the association, Fiona and myself. Two volunteers, Abigail and Nicola. There's a handful of other members, including Dik, Hetty, Patricia, some students and some other young adults who are involved in the work.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
"No, they're all down. No, everything seems like normal..."
The electricity had blown the trip. I got up and gave it a try. The trip wouldn't stay on.
"What did you turn on just before it blew ?"
"The kettle and Gwilym's heater"
"OK, go and turn them off."
The trip stayed on.
"Now put the kettle on"
Clack - the trip blew. The kettle's duff. Poor Pat. No early morning birthday cup of tea for her !
Me: "I was staying at Eugene's and Harriette in a hotel"
Gwilym: "When was this ?"
Pat: "You don't even know that he's been away do you ?"
OK. I get the point. Apart from one overnighter to Nîmes on 5 December, that's it now at least till Christmas.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
For us to reach this target we need LOTS more churches. For example in Pessac alone there are currently two evangelical churches for a population of about 60 000. That means four more churches are needed. And Pessac is pretty well off, really. Neighbouring town Talence is much less reached.
For them as reads French this website tells you a bit more - http://www.1pour10000.fr/ - including a very useful interactive map ("La Carte").
Off we go !
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Other less helpful things also run in our family, including noses, but the blood runs well.
She says that in her opinion my state of health is sufficiently good enough for me to be a pastor.
(I needed my doctor's opinion before a meeting on 6 December).
However when I showed her the blemish on my thigh she recommended a dermatologist and said "She'll probably take it off".
I think she meant the blemish, not the leg, though I didn't ask...
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I'm really looking forward to going. We've only been to that department once, to visit a friend who lives near Lafitte, and it's beautiful !
Of course, I won't see a lot of Lafitte - just the inside of the building where the synod is taking place, but I can gawp through the car windows as we go and maybe feign illness and "need fresh air" to get a quick stroll round the town...
Meanwhile today on campus, then café théo planning and Bible study this evening.
Tomorrow on campus, then Shakespeare film night in the evening.
Friday and Saturday Synode Régional
Sunday preach in French am (Mark 4 - What on earth is more terrifying than being in a small boat caught in a storm ?) and in English pm (Romans 8 - Even the bad times are good for the Christian !)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
1) Take Catrin to school
2) Get blood sample taken
3) Do shopping
4) Get Catrin from school
5) Make appointment with doctor
6) Read blood test results email
7) Wrestle with non-functional Windows 7
8) Trombone lesson
9) Wrestle with non-functional Windows XP
10) Combo jazz session (baffled! it's like I died and went to Sumatra..)
11) Wrestle with iTunes
12) Fall into bed too late
It's fun but I'm glad it's over !
Today I just have a meeting at 10h, the church council at about 16h30 and the prayer meeting at 19h30.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Firstly for me. The doctors does annual blood tests to check everything possible. I still remember fondly when my doctor at Shotton Lane asked me if I'd like to have a cholesterol test done. I said no, then afterwards relented and let them do it. I've never had a high reading. Anyway here they test cholesterol, sugars, PSA (for prostate problems), everything ! I saw the lady this morning ticking all the boxes.
Then for the car. Every two years the government wants to make sure that your car can stop OK and that it isn't poisoning everyone or threatening to disintegrate on the motorway and cause one of those awful pile-ups. It's nice that it's only every two years. It halves the stress !
It occurred to me that I stress terribly over the car's contrôle technique but I am pretty relaxed about my own. Strange, no ?
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Daveys2France started out as a kind of family newsheet so that folks who know us could follow our progress as we settled into life and ministry in France. As time has gone on it's been focused a little more on ministry news rather than on kids' schooling and stuff.
Current ministry is fine for that, but the future may not be.
Also a colleague remarked the other day on how important it is now to preach on the internet.
Hmmm. Now I am convinced that internet preaching is in general part of the problem and not part of the solution. And one of my watchwords for life is to always try to ensure that I am part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
However the colleague may have a point. Perhaps I need to steer more towards Bible reflection and perhaps message posting (message in the sense of preaching message...)
Question 5. “Is our representation of Christ not part of the mission?”
Kevin and Greg responded here to five questions.
Today they expand on their answer to the fifth question—thus far the biggest criticism of (and confusion about) their argument. The whole thing is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight this point where they reference Schnabel’s work on this:
We like the way Eckhard Schnabel puts it in his massive work Early Christian Mission. Schnabel argues that “expansive proclamation” is “the centrifugal dimension of mission” and “attractive presence” is the “centripetal dimension” (1:11). Our words ring out; our deeds draw people in. So the “elements of mission” include not only the ministry of the word but also “charity” and “ministry of grace.” But this is not same as saying missions is charity or that a missionary is anyone who serves others in good deeds. According the Schnabel, “missionaries” are “envoys sent by the risen Jesus Christ to proclaim the good news” (1:11-12). Just as important, he clarifies what mission is striving for. “The result of mission is conversion: people accept and adopt the message proclaimed by the missionaries, they are integrated into the new community of faith, and they start to practice a new way of life with new behavioral patterns” (1:12).
Friday, November 11, 2011
Today is a public holiday but the supermarkets are open so we're off to Carrefour to see if we can get Gwilym a reasonably priced pair of formal shoes. He has to suit up to go to school on Thursdays and Fridays, so he needs something that'll be OK. He also needs another formal shirt.
It was funny taking him to buy his first suit. I remember my mother taking me to Polikoff's to get my first suit. I got this really formal three-piece thing to go to an interview for university in Leicester. We'd seen some nice ones at a bargain price in Kiabi but as usual when you get there they don't have your size and you end up either buying something much more expensive or of poorer quality.
Anyway. Apart from that it's weekend-preparation day, and I have to take photographs of the works at the church.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I don't know why. I have nothing against the countries as such. I just don't fancy going there.
It is something I had never thought about till recently, and it cropped up again this weekend
when I met a fine new friend from Canada. I know a family who dreamed of emigrating to
Canada, but I just can't see it.
What's more, I imagine that most people don't want to go to Wales. Why would they want to ?
I certainly don't want to visit Israel.
I'd go if I had some reason to go, of course. But otherwise why would I ?
What about you ? Do you want to go to all the countries of the world ?
Do you want to visit Wales ? If so, why ? (No need to ask why not when there's so many gorgeous places in the world !)
The service was filled with lively music, led by a choir, accompanied by a varied group of musicians amongst whom were some professionals - notably the excellent saxophonist. There was a short message on the wise and foolish bridesmaids (groomsmaids ?).
Afterwards we left quickly to eat and await Jean-Baptiste from La Rochelle. We were due to drive to the Cévennes in his car, me driving, to the national pastors' conference. Dik had already left on the train, so Harriette and I waited.
Phone call. Jean-Baptiste's car had broken down.
Jean-Baptiste would get a lift to Bordeaux and Harriette would drive us in her car.
Following some spirited driving and without getting lost (it was our second time there after all) we arrived at about midnight.
The main speaker was a chap called Matthias Radloff from the Emmaüs Bible School in Switzerland and I found out that he knew Chris Pegington and Jean Ellis from GBM.
He spoke from 1 Timothy and his basic interpretive framework for the book was "Anything which promotes faith and love is to be encouraged. Anything which creates a hindrance for the spread of the gospel is to be avoided." It was aninteresting approach, but it doesn't solve every problem and we even felt that it creates some problems.
The conference centre is really nice, hidden away in the hills up amongst the chestnut forests. Of course, as always, it's the conversations that make the conference really.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Saturday, November 05, 2011
The thing is that there's been TORRENTIAL rain and FLOODING in the south of France. Some roads are impassable and the guy whose car I am due to drive down there phoned just now to see what the situation is. I rang the conference centre and they say there's no problem where they are.
We'll see !
Well yesterday was Friday and after a few weeks where he'd not called at all he came with a young lady. I was unprepared and surprised, and we ended up doing the kangaroo thing. All we did was disagree about texts, contexts and links that don't exist..
Bof. Catch me out twice, shame on me, as they say... It won't happen a second time.
Friday, November 04, 2011
The church there, with its pastoral search committee, will deliberate after our visit of 23 October. There'll be a green light for further consideration, or a red light for let's not take this any further.
One or two subsequent visits are foreseen with, assuming green lights all the way, a church meeting to consider and issue a call.
Of course, we Daveys have our own green and red lights to consider, too.
And if experience of driving in Bordeaux teaches us anything, it teaches us that it is rare to have green lights all the way !
Then Sunday morning we have a joint service at the Eglise Baptiste de Caudéran, then we leave for the pastors conference which is held at Chausse, near Alès in the Cévennes.
It's a LONG LONG drive. Last year I took our car and we left Bordeaux around 3 in the afternoon, arriving at Chausse at about midnight - seven hours straight driving, and couple of stops and a lot of confusion trying to find the conference centre at the end.
This year we had planned to go by train, but several events have overtaken us, including a meeting for one of our party today in Nîmes, ill-health for another of our party, a further person being added to the party and a brother from up the coast who wants to travel with us.
This latter brother can take his car, a Golf, but he can't drive that far due to an old war-wound, so I will be driving the VW to Chausse.
I'll pop photos of Chausse on the blog when I can. It's a wonderful place on the side of a hill hidden amongt the chestnut forests. We usually eat quite a lot of chestnuts there, one way or another.
The silence was deafening.
"OK, moving swiftly on, let's look at these six word stories."
(You know the things, like Hemingway's "For sale, baby shoes, never used", which he apparently regarded as his finest work ever).
Well they were every well received, and people worked in pairs to produce their own six word stories.
Here's a couple I remember :
Hard times. No candy. No chocolate.
Autumn over, birds are heading south.
People don't know Hemingway, so I'm thinking of using part of "The old man and the sea" in a "choose the right preposition" exercise.