Back in the Seventies in the UK when I experienced the three day week , the Miners Strike of 1974 and Coal was King concern about the environment was a very different beast to that of today as far as I can remember . This is not going to be a treatise on the topic but a gentle ramble.
In those days I listened to my eldest brother talking about nuclear power and the dangers surrounding its use in electricity generation. John was a good speaker from my recollection.
Fast forward to 2007 the resurgence of the green debate has come with it a degree of being fashionable and often, in the UK, almost a corporate badge of pride in some circles.
But where should I be positioned in all this I ask , speaking as a Christian? “The earth is Lord’s and the fullness thereof ” the Bible says and it seems to me that all too often that approaches from Christians to the environment have focused on the iminent return of Christ so why bother about this earth ? Others have expressed concerns about the agnostic and humanistic views of some of the greenies or the Mother Earth type of envronmentalists.
I have been on and off intellectually wrestling with these concerns so to speak. The more and more I look at the green issues the more I realise that one of the best things I could do if I want to reduce my Carbon Footprint is to be more organised. I suspect I am not alone on this one. Take for example recycling household waste. More household recycling needs more plannng. So it was with a mixture of pleasure and angst that I realised that several more things could be recycled at the council run Cheltenham Recycling Centre last time armed with my bins of things to recycle on my way to the Supermarket to ensure the mental justification of my recycling trip no doubt to myself. I expect I struggled with whether I should purchase Air Freighted “Fine Beans” in Tesco from Zimbabwe. Much Intellectual food for thought in that possible purchase there is!
But should I try and behave in a Greener Way as a Christian ? The arguments are complex and many and varied, but I am continually drawn to the issue that on one topic of the debate there is a powerful argument. The argument is this. If global climate is caused or exascerbated by man then what are the consequences for the poor of unfettered global growth of the manner we have been acustomed to? I believe that the concern and love for the poor is a very Jesus like thing to try and be like in our everyday lives. It is the potential rapid ( in geological terms least ) change of the climate that will affect the poor of the world more than the rich.
So in my faltering inconsistent way I will continue to try and be more Green as part of my love for God and my love for my fellow man.
Cambray now has volunteers who staff an office at the Church building on morning during weekdays. My part in it project up to now was to order Broadband for the office and to aquire a computer for it.
In the process of getting Broadband I discovered that not having a full postcode on the BT database for the existing church telephone number. This caused the checking process for broadband with our ISP to fail. Amazingly the Cambray Church Building does not have an official postcode!
GL50 1JS is the postcode of the two buildings on either side.
Today , Saturday 10th March I went to a website seminar organised for Christians in Gloucester. I was pleasantly surprised to see two people from Cambray there as well.
There were seminars on Joomla a free opensource management system as well as Search engine optimisation , basic intro to building a Christian website, first steps. Moving on, there were “Contact us” using forms. Better images-from origin to site and How to be heard on the Net- streaming audio.
It was really encouraging to speak and listen to Christians running church websites and the like, who had the same challenges as I have had over the years with Cambray’s site. It was also challenging to seriously rethink the whole way in which the Cambray site is going as well as assessing whether I continue to do it or serve in some other way in the church. Perhaps I ought to have a crack at getting a new front end for the website aimed at the “unchurched”
Broadfield Churches near Crawley and Gatwick in the UK is a site that uses some banner images and video and a refreshing approach to those 2 very different audiences that a church website should seek to cater for : Christians and not Christians. Gospelcom.net have a good section on designing and building good church websites that reach the community. There is also a review your website questionaire.
I joined the forum on the Christians in Gloucester Site.
It is almost a month since I have posted anything on this blog. Perhaps the most significant thing that has happened to challenge us all who are part of Cambray in Cheltenham is his announcement of his decision to take up the post of a vacancy of a church in Sydney Australia.
On a personal note I have started meeting with two other people in the church to pray. I hope this will be an encouragement for all 3 of us as well help focus us on what in the in the final analysis the important things in life.
Those important things are to love God and serve him with our lives as we seek to live and speak in such a way that we are channels or routes for the Holy Spirit to work in other people’s lives.
Thinking about routes and channels reminds me that although there is plenty of jargon in christian circles, there is perhaps as much in the computing world as in a church sevice. For the last 6 weeks I have been serving at www.redcliffe.org , a christian mission college in Gloucester nine miles away from Cheltenham, as their ICT person. I now work in two part time roles.One as an employee of a telecoms company and Redcliffe Christian College on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Saturday 3rd Feb 2007 , I decided to upgrade to WordPress 2.1 for our site. I carefully read through the instructions, thinking, ” this is not as easy as when I first installed WordPress.” I was also thinking that if this goes wrong, then I have a broken website. And then I will have to use the back up process outlined if it had gone wrong. I nearly missed out a key instruction in the upgrade process and thought that something was corrupted. I followed the link and the site looked ok, well mostly.
I had used a plugin in the past which created static home page, to make the site more like a classic website. Now this plugin failed to work its “magic” This was an opportune point to pray rather than to shout ! Still, many hours later and I look at some of the wordpress 2.1 improvement pages at www.wordpress.org , these revealed the fact that 2.1 will let you change the home page of a site to any one of your posts or pages !
The lessons to learn?
- Pray 1st
- First read about the improvements in the upgrade.
- Try it on my dummy test site 1st.
- Keep cool.
- Get someone in the church to share the responsibility for the website.
I have inserted this You Tube Believers Baptism to experiment with the idea of using more visual media in our website at www.cambray.org. This looked like the best UK produced on You Tube when I searched for “Baptism”. There are always lots of complex issues relating to images and video relating to confidentiality consent. I liked this video because the focus was on the general idea of Baptism and challenging people to think more about it.
(Baptism at Christ the Lord church, Broadfield, Crawley, UK)
The first week of the New year 2007 with a reasonable number of things happening at Cambray is a chance to try out the Cambray Google Calendar with some real church day to day events . The content of the newssheet 2007 week 1, where what is outlined at Cambray appears for the next week 8th Jan 2007 to 13th Jan 2007 (excluding Sundays ) has been transferred to the Cambray google calendar. I have now added it as an inline frame to appear at http://www.cambray.org/archives/292 ( This is the whats on page for the week). I have used the plugin sticky to ensure that it appears at the top of the Category section: Whats on this week. The ability to repeat events that tend to happen weekly will save typing , and if I can easily explain RSS and the ability to add events (restricted to selected contributors ) to people in Cambray then that is the next challenge. It is my prayer that the church will see more people becoming committed followers of Jesus in 2007 and that the Cambray website plays its tiny part in that.
Christianity Explored preview
I have noticed from the emails I receive fron the webspace provider for Cambray Baptist, that WordPress blogs are available with our hosting option, so I gave it a try for our little used other domain www.cambray.org.uk.
We have tried to keep our archived sermons at cambray.org.uk. I clicked a few buttons and the blog was created. It turned out to be a little less configorable than wordpress.com blogs like this one, which was fine for me.
“What happens if the settings get changed when the blog is created and I lose my published links from the index page, I thought?” …..short pause for thought… ”No it will be OK.” I continued to think.
A few minutes latter when I looked at the site, the Cambray.org.uk index pages and rest of the pages were missing. I have the sermon files on my PC, but I wish I had backed it up first!
I created a link from the weekly what’s on in the week of Dec 11th 2006 at Cambray page to a Cambray Google Calendar . Google Calendar is beta, or still being tested out. One of the curious things I noticed that the map links from the calendars are ok when I am signed onto google. When I pretend to be someone else with no google account, the map links fail ( both postcode links and Latitude and Longitude Coordinates) , as I guess they try to find a US address.
The good news is they seem to create a link to trying using maps.google.co.uk . The result when accessed successfully finds the correct link, but using http://www.google.ca , that is Google Canada !