Friday, 24 September 2010

Giving Away My Daughter 2

The poem 'I Gave Away My Little Girl' formed in my head over 2 or 3 days before I typed it up late one morning. That afternoon I was rubbing down and re-staining the window frames at the top of the house when the following poem sprung into my head. I was thinking about how lucky we are in this country and what my daughter's situation would have been like in a completely different country and culture.


I sold my little girl to a stranger
I didn’t really want to
But we needed the money for food

I sold my little girl to a stranger
She couldn’t get married
As I couldn’t afford a dowry

I sold my little girl to a stranger
I needed to keep my sons
As boys are strong
And can work our fields

I sold my little girl to a stranger
Even though I love her.

I sold my little girl to a stranger
To stop the rest of us starving.

I sold my little girl to a stranger
He said he would look after her
But we haven’t heard from her since

I sold my little girl to a stranger
And they tell me now
He is a sex trader.

I sold my little girl to a stranger
My heart is broken.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Giving Away My Daughter

I was recently at the wedding of two of my son's friends and one part of the service struck me as odd, why do we still have the father of the bride 'giving her away'? In the days when women were regarded as property I suppose it made sense but now?

Oddly it didn't strike me as peculiar when I gave my daughter away earlier this year, in fact I felt it was an honour, but it did get me thinking. As I thought, over a period of a couple of days, a poem took shape in my head which I hope gives some idea of the emotions of a father giving away his little girl.


I gave away my little girl
It was an odd thing to do.
The preacher asked ‘Who gives this girl?’
And I replied ‘I do’

I gave away my little girl
The tiny little thing
Whose furrowed brow made me smile
In the delivery room.

I gave away my little girl
Who questioned everything
Why this? Why that? Why anything?
Like Why Bird on TV.

I gave away my little girl
Who loved to go to school
And learn about all sorts of things
And make some friends there too.

I gave away my little girl
Whose music filled our house.
From Bach to Britten and Bernstein
Sibelius but no R Strauss!

I gave away my little girl
Whose make up was all black
Despite the school rules saying
It should be paler than that.

I gave away my little girl
Who came to share my faith
In Jesus Christ who loves us all
Whatever creed or race.

I gave away my little girl
Who went away to college
And returned a very clever girl
With lots and lots of knowledge.

I gave away my little girl
To a fine young man
And though she now belongs to him
She’ll always still be mine.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Spiritual Journey

Of late I have been pondering how I have moved in my spiritual life. My upbringing was fairly traditional evangelical so how have I ended up in a more radical view on Christianity.

My problems started in my late teens / early twenties when I started questioning parts of my faith and found that my peer group would describe what I was saying as heretical. As a result I shut up and just got on with being an evangelical but my faith got weaker and weaker. I knew I was the 'seed that fell on thorny ground' but I had no idea how to get out of that situation.

Eventually, in my late forties, I bought a 'Bible in a year' and started to work through it. I admit that some of the Old Testament is hard going but two things in the New Testament were to completely change the way I looked at my faith. The first, which I have already blogged about, is in John 1 where it is clear that Jesus, and not the Bible, is the Word of God.

The other occurs in several places in the Gospels and it is how Jesus proclaims his message, he says 'The kingdom of God is near you.' and not 'The Kingdom of God is something you go to when you die.' To Jesus The Kingdom was about good news to the poor, oppressed and outcasts here and now. Now the classical evangelical way of looking at things is that Jesus' mission was all about what happens when you die and, although that is part of the picture, Jesus preached about the here and now.

These two things enabled me to start asking honest questions about my faith and finding that there are answers. It also leads me to a much bigger picture of God and His work in the world.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Greenbelt 2010

This year my wife and I went to Greenbelt for the first time. Our daughter has been going for 6 years and it seemed like fun so we thought we would give it a go. However rather than camping we were rather extravagant and hired a motor home for the long weekend.

Our plan was to drive down Thursday afternoon and 'camp' in the racecourse car park so that we would be near the front of the queue. Things didn't quite go to plan as after a (predictable) delay on the M25 we found that the M40 was shut and spent one and half hours driving along the old A40 through High Wycombe to cover what would have been 15 minutes of motorway driving! As a result we arrived at 11:30 exceedingly tired!

We did wake up in time to be near the front of the queue and so, more by luck than judgement, we found ourselves in a nice spot on the far side of the race course. The programme, all 120 pages of it, was rather overwhelming but with a little help from my daughter, who was camping elsewhere on the site, we managed to plan some things to attend.

After attending the first of his 4 talks I made an effort to hear all of Richard Rohr's talks on 'The Art of Looking Sideways at the Bible/the Church/Us and Jesus - all very interesting and challenging. I didn't get to many of the music events but Courtney Pine was brilliant. On a lighter note Tickling in Public (for children of all ages) was hilarious - the custom built electric glam rock ukulele was not to be missed!

Monday, the final festival day, was our 30th Wedding Anniversary so we met up with the children (daughter, son-in-law and son + girlfriend) in the morning. Tuesday was my wife's birthday (a significant one at that ) so they all joined us in the motor home for breakfast.

Thankfully the journey home was uneventful (even the M25) as we were both very tired.

Will we do it again? We hope to but are unlikely to afford a motor home again so are now looking at trailer tents on e-bay. Next time it shouldn't be so overwhelming so I hope we will be able to get to more talks, music and comedy.

Overall a very good way to spend a Bank Holiday weekend (with a few days either side).

P.S. I'm still puzzling over the boy who pointed at me and said 'Father Christmas' - I wasn't wearing my red suit at the time.