Category Archives: modern life

Its in the blood (or at least the air…)



So, I went to my “cardio kick” exercise class on Monday.  A proud moment of self-control and discipline in the face of i’d-rather-die-than-go-ness and a event of marvel in itself.  We’ll skip over the fact that my punches and kicks were rather half-hearted and that I only did one sit up for everyone else’s two…

Being still relatively near the start of a new year there were lots of unfamiliar faces there.  A couple of late teens were there with their mum and were wearing Gaelic tops.  Instantly I felt intimidated.  Now, its not like I’ve never seen people in Gaelic tops before – I work with an all-Ireland student movement after all.  But this was different!  This was in a town not known for its peaceable catholic-protestant relations; in what should have felt like neutral territory.

I leant towards my friend and whispered “Its hardly the place to wear Gaelic tops, is it?”.  She agreed: “It makes quite a statement doesn’t it?  We wouldn’t wear Rangers football tops here.”

Now, please don’t misunderstand me; these feelings of intimidation did not incite religious hatred nor strong desires to assert my identity as a British/Northern Irish Protestant (though I’m pretty sure those things would be low on my list of identity definers if they made it at all!).  It was simply a reaction to the association with a ‘side’ that has become common in Northern Ireland.  Like, even seeing a huge Union Jack flying outside a house last week put me on my guard…

…then I remembered I was in England.

Back in the leisure centre up the road, though, I was feeling uncomfortable – but I didn’t really think too much about it until I realised I was wearing my Christian “CSSM” t-shirt.  Why, if I could wear that, could they not wear their Gaelic tops?  Why did it matter?

Basically, it shouldn’t matter – and in terms of my feelings of non-hatred for people from a Roman Catholic background it doesn’t matter!  Rather, it seems to be that I am a victim (awww poor me! 😉 ) of the culture of bigotry I’ve grown up in – not from my family’s influence, but more I guess the divided school system, the eventful news, the ‘no football tops’ signs over bowling alley doors… 

Meaning that, rather than a sports tops reflecting an enjoyment of the sport or a flag being a symbol of wholesome patriotism, I have grown up interpreting these things as a political statement:

“This is who I am and if you’re different, you’re my enemy.”

If that’s me, from a middle of the road un-bigoted Christian family, I can only imagine the depth to which such lies run amongst those for whom painting curb stones and hanging flags is an ‘innocent’ past-time…


Filed under culture, fear, modern life, Norn Iron, story

Another (similar) Kerfuffle…

Not wishing to diminish the impact of my announcement of The Great Crash of January 2008, but just something for those with some time on their hands to consider and wrap up neatly for those of us who take much longer to form an opinion…? 

At a friend’s house for dinner the other night, she drew to my attention a Kerfuffle within the Presbyterian Church which the Belfast Telegraph have been reporting on over the past few weeks.

The crux of it is that one minister (male) refused to let another (female) preach in ‘his’ pulpit at a joint Christmas service.  The event of a joint service between these two churches in the same town has been happening for years and years, but only recently has the female minister been installed at the church.

Some interesting questions raised by both journalists and citizens who wrote in.  The following are in date order.


The earliest article I could find (kind of ugly, but later articles paint a different picture of the lady’s reaction).

Regrets expressed over inability to find compromise.

The ‘unholy row’ – call for consistency within Presbyterian Church policy.

Some comments from the Moderator

Letter of support

Journalist (and choir member) opinon – quite random, done in context of the new Irish Presby hymn book!christinab_262288d.jpg

“I will not back down”

Letter of disappointment with how the situation has been handled. 

More general article on the challenge facing the Church in secular society.


You see, randomly enough – this stuff makes me think about the should-have-been post on the blame-claim culture RE The Great Crash of January 2008 (my neck’s doing well, thanks)…

Larger questions about the assertion of ‘rights’ by Christians.  Jesus gave up his rights to defend himself and was pretty selective in the battles he fought, right?  So how do we know when to stand up and fight and when to make sacrifices or put up with losing face?

Much wisdom, grace and love required methinks.  Especially in current politically correct culture.


Filed under church, freedom, grace, modern life, questions

Modern Life: Blogging Peril

When this young bright-eyed, bushy-tailed blogger began a timorous voyage into the previously uncharted waters of the blogosphere, she started out with innocuous dreams of ruling the world and rhymes about teddy bears.  This ‘self-confessed un-intellectual’ soon struck out for deeper waters: tremulously sharing thoughts verging on philosophical about the perils of modern life and the moral codes of blogging.

Confidence in her place within the community began to build as she found herself at home on the green, green grass of blog; the stats rarely being too high or low to stir too much pride or too much insecurity.  It was perhaps this heady cocktail of peaks and troughs mixed with refreshing banter on the proverbial lawn that led to our timid heroine’s (!) demise…

Being somewhat impartial to a slice of healthy optimism with lashings of heart-on-your-sleeve, her innocent paddling became a full-on skinny-dipping adventure (metaphorically speaking, of course) as she plunged into 365ing and then la goutte d’eau qui fait deborder le vase…

Second Rate.

She wrote the post late one lazy Sunday afternoon, little knowing the effect it would have on the blog world at large.  Tears shed; friendships broken; families at odds – and that was just over Voxo’s addiction to stroking his Leopard.

Many things can be learnt from Modern Life, not least the fact that we should never take it all too seriously!


Filed under blogging, modern life, story

Modern Life – Swinging

(Remember I’m a closet goody two-shoes and the title will not mislead)

I love to chat and dream about changing lives and by extension, the world.  I love to think about the way things could be ‘if only…’ and inspire others to think about similar things.  I love to feel so passionate that I could just break down and cry for love and excitement about something or bounce up and down like a loon.

But, I also hate it.

I hate discontent because it brings frustration when others don’t (or won’t) engage; boredom with the status quo; depression over the lack of change…

Reminded tonight that our culture is one which only enjoys things if they happen immediately – fast food, miracle diets, next-day delivery.  We’re not used to waiting anymore, not used to working to see results.  I am realising that I’ve been sucked right in.

So I swing from elation to despair, because I see how it could be but get bogged down when no-one else is getting inspired by the vision, and no change is visible.  I could scream with the sheer frustration of it all.

My comfort tonight is that Jesus knows how I feel:

Mark ch 8:

14The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

 16They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

 17Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
      “Twelve,” they replied.

 20“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
      They answered, “Seven.”

 21He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”


But change comes slowly by slowly and I’ll just have to wait.  Perhaps tomorrow I will dream again.

This is all getting very serious, isn’t it?  Have a look at this to lighten the mood.

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Filed under change, hope, modern life

Modern Life: Blogging Pride

Having just read a comment which was a self-confessed blatant attempt to boost blog entry ratings on a site we’ll call Pord Wress (thanks whynotsmile for the anonimity technique…), I am questioning my seemingly innocuous cyber-scouting of said site. Do I really believe it is a better system on which to chronicle the random musings of this self-confessed un-intellectual? Or do I simply want to be able to boast of hits to my blog entries coming from all over the world?

Firstly: with this whole blogosphere community thing is it acceptable to derive pleasure from the internationality of something which is meant to be a humble sharing of life? Like, writing for the sake of art rather than just to be thought witty, or intellectual, or worth reading?

Secondly: are there ever any pure motives in leaving comments on the blogs of others, or am I just kidding myself?

Thirdly: who exactly decides blogging etiquette?

And finally: will you think any less of me if I switch sites in order to keep a close watch on my stats?

Post on “Modern Life: Blogging Stats Insecurity” to follow…


Filed under blogging, modern life, morals, questions

Modern Life: Blogging Insecurity

So, for those of you who are unaware, I have started a second blog in the 365 style. And I’ve just been updating it – actually I’ve not finished doing it, as its meant to be a record of something cool about each day for the next year, but I was all of a sudden struck by another phenomenon which can be attributed to modern life. Blog insecurity!

I was beginning to wonder if I was doing it right, or was a messing up the beauty of something cool by listing inane details of my not-so-exciting current life?! I mean, its hard to think of cool things that happened each day, especially when this morning I was just about to buy Take That tickets for the Belfast show on Friday night over Facebook, only to remember that I’ve gotta go inspire some first year students about Jesus. And, okay, okay – that’s a slightly more important and eternally exciting thing, but Take That! In Belfast! This Friday! I’m gutted. So, what on earth am I meant to write on this other blog devoted to the minute details of a life lived in such a world as this?

I’m kind of happy that this blog is just what I said it would be – the random musings of a self-confessed un-intellectual. I’m sorry for those of you who swing by during a boring web-session hoping for some thought-provoking… er… thoughts.

So, anyway. Blogging insecurity…

There’s the fear that no-one will ever read it. Then of course, there’s the fear that someone will read it! (Like, what if the blog-fluent friend that inspired me to join the 365 ‘movement’ actually stumbles back this way, reads my 365 and is shocked and horrified at my bogey-nosed, sticky-fingered decimation of the phenomenon?) Not forgetting the fear that some day in the future I’ll have a vague recollection of something I used to do online… rediscover the link and be horrendously mortified at what I wrote as a naive 25-yr-old thinking she understood life. It’ll be like when I found the journals I had kept in high school: “I love Glenn, today he let me borrow his pencil… I wonder does that mean he likes me”

AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! (Just to save me any MORE insecurity – I was 11 at the time.)

Needless to say I burnt them.

Oh – and, incidentally… My mum was up yesterday and said someone in her work showed her a picture of me he’d found online, and from the sounds of things its from my blogspot profile. So, that’s another thing about all this – random strangers, fine – but random strangers that work with your mum? Good job I’m a good girl who only writes about nice things. Others have had more difficult secrets revealed, right Lily?

Anyway, just so you’re not all (or just the one person who reads this) overwhelmed with sympathy at me not seeing Take That in Belfast, I’ll be seeing them in London in December. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeooooo!

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Filed under blogging, modern life

The Facebook "Friends" dilemma…

For your reading pleasure:

I tried to put this link on my Facebook and copied it wrong, so possibly sent a score of people to an article all about sex. Worse still, I put it in with the comment “Rachel is thinking more people should read this…”


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Filed under modern life, online networks

Life to the fool…?

Morning television on a day off – grrrrrrreat. Then the ads kick in again:

“You want to live life to the full – Laser Eye Surgery can help you do that”

Wow! Great! If only I’d known! Flip, jack in this Christian stuff – why bother dealing with the bowels of Christian “community” in obedience to Jesus, when all I really need is to regain 2020 vision with the help of modern technology! D’oh!

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Filed under happiness is, modern life

Modern Technology

So, it turns out the summer is rather a dry period for blogging opportunities, never mind inspiration! Although at least its dry in one sense…. the rain has been somewhat depressing.

So, anyway, I’ve been thinking… I often equate my frustration with modern technology with how I am obliged to respond to the beeping of a text message within ten minutes or be deemed ‘crap at replying’. Or how, now that my laptop needs resurrecting, I feel like the past year and a half of my life has been flushed down into a distant black hole of cyber space.

But reading a friend’s blog, I just had an epiphany of a further evil.

Modern technology raises the standard of what is considered beautiful. So much so, that we’re willing to stand semi birthday-suited before a complete stranger with a can of spray paint.

Lily Todd, I feel your pain…

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Filed under beauty, modern life

Life to the fool…?

So, listening to the radio on my way home in the car, I suddenly became aware of one of the little things advertising slips by us…

“Centra. The way we live today”

Oh my.

Is it just me, or is it more than a little disconcerting to think that a fluorescent-lit shop selling wrinkly old cabbages, greasy ‘fried-twelve-hours-ago’ bacon rashers, frozen fish fingers and other such questionable delicacies is being claimed as indicative of the way we live today…?

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Filed under modern life