Saturday, July 17, 2010

'What scares you, Jon?' 'Authors missing their deadlines.'

If there's one thing I can blame my big bro Jon for, it's my love of sci-fi. Admittedly, I'm not as fanatical as Jon - he's manged to turn his passion into his career. Not only is he Editor-in-Chief of Abaddon Books and Solaris Books, which publish sci-fi, fantasy and horror novels, last year he also published his first novel - The Call of Kerberos.

All this seems tremendously cool if, like me, you're more than just a little bit geeky.

So, here's in interview with Jon at the 2010 World Horror Convention in Brighton...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The answer to fixing Jewish-Methodist relations...

...or at least a very nice shot at it.

Having initially thought that coming back to 'normal work' from Methodist Conference (see below) would give me time to take a breather, this week has shown me just how wrong I frequently am. Since returning from the Conference on Thursday, my colleagues and I have essentially been responding to the reactions to the Conference's decision to boycott goods from illegal Israeli settlements.

Many of these have been positive, some have been very negative (but respectful and measured in tone). A few have been downright rude, offensive and inconsiderate. All of the responses I have received have been heartfelt and genuine.

But journalist Marcus Dysch of the Jewish Chronicle wins the prize for the most innovative and positive solution to a decision that has shaken Jewish-Methodist relations - swapping Panini football stickers. Despite Marcus' grave concerns about the decision taken by the Conference, he's determined to keep some perspective on the issue:

"The everyday reality of life for Methodists, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and people of all religions is not motions and boycotts, protests and complaints, conferences and politics. Rather it is friendly cooperation, a sense of being people of faith in a world where increasingly people are not religious, and small acts of kindness... such as the swapping of football stickers."

Even though it is critical of the decision taken by the Conference, this is simply the nicest, most positive response I've seen so far.

Monday, July 05, 2010

I haven't just been watching telly...promise

There are lots of reasons for my sporadic postings on this blog... tiredness, laziness, computer fatigue...

But the one I cite most often (usually to myself, when having the 'must keep blogging' internal dialogue) is work. Working for the Methodist Church in Britain is a joy and a delight, but it also keeps me rather darn busy.

So, just to prove I've not just been sitting on my backside in front of Holby City (okay, I have a bit), here's a taster of what I've been up to over the last couple of weeks.

Methodist Conference is the big event of the year in my work calendar, and on Thursday I returned home from 10 days at this year's Conference in Portsmouth. The Conference was interesting, challenging and hard work.

We inducted our new President and Vice President, elected next year's, celebrated 150 years of Methodist Chaplaincy to the armed forces, talked about reducing the Church's carbon footprint, were blessed by a visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury, discussed whether to boycott goods from illegal Israeli settlements, confirmed plans for a new Methodist hymn collection and agreed to produce advice on cohabitation. (Most of these news releases were written by my brilliant colleague Karen).

Karen also wrote this excellent piece for the Guardian on the Israel Palestine debate.

I offered some reflections on Psalm 131 on the last day of Conference, which you can watch here.

The wonderful Church Mouse invited me to offer a round-up of Conference on his blog, which I rustled up on the way home, and you can read it here.