Friday, March 30, 2007

They Call Me Jesus...

The past couple of weeks I have been going into one of the local schools in Chelmsford to lead some lessons on Easter. I was looking forward to these lessons. I had done some year 7 lessons on Christmas in this same school and I really enjoyed it. The kids were a lot of fun and asked some massive questions. I had no reason to suspect this would be any different.

I had 14 lessons booked. I had seven year 8 classes who I had never met and then the familiar year 7 groups made up the other half. Although any young class are usually excited to have a guest teacher in (the word soon spread that the bearded Christian guy throws out chocolate eggs at the end), I was especially pleased to be greeted by my year 7 friends with exclamations of "oh cool, it's him again" and "yesss, this lesson is going to be fun" (although, having said that, one conversation did go something more like this: Girl #1: "Oh look it's that man again" Girl#2: "What do you mean man?!" Girl #1: "Alright, it's that boy").

But then one of the kids said something weird:

"Cool. It's that guy who did the Christmas lessons. It's Jesus."

The name caught on.

By the end of the two weeks, I was unable to walk through the playground without being bombarded by shouts of "hey Jesus" and "look - it's Jesus" and the popular "got any eggs Jesus?".

My first reaction was to think about the extent to which I'd failed. I'm not supposed to be Jesus. Why aren't they taking Jesus more seriously? Why is Jesus just a funny nickname to these kids?

But then something occurred to me. Maybe I am supposed to be Jesus. Not in a "Carry On Calling Me Jesus and Come Follow Me" type Waco kind of way. But in a "I Might Be the Only Experience of Jesus Some of These Kids Get" kind of way.

Now I should make two things clear at this point:

Number 1: My nickname of Jesus probably had far more to do with the beard and long hair than my inspirational grace and compassion for mankind.
(Note: The picture above is of me and was drawn by one of the year 8 students. Cute when they're five. Not so much so when they're 13 and should be listening. Still, I appreciated the gesture. And if that's how I look I can kind of understand the Jesus thing)

Number 2: I was not encouraging (nor will I ever encourage) anyone to call me Jesus.

But it did make me think. What if I am the only representative of Jesus that some of these young people will ever encounter? That's a big responsibility. Essentially, I do have to be Jesus to them. I have to act as Jesus would have acted. I have to show them the character and grace and love that Jesus would have shown. I have to teach as Jesus would have taught (although I think I can do better - Jesus never had PowerPoint).

I have to be Jesus (or as close as I can get). My Jesus impersonation has always left much to be desired but I owe it to everyone I work with and for to try and be more Christlike.

Maybe there's nothing I can do about the nickname. But I can certainly try to live up to it.

Sad Day!

So today, I had to tell Helen (DYO for South Western Division of the Salvation Army) that I was unable to go to SWSCA (South Western School of Christian Arts) this year. I'm absolutely gutted because I loved it last year and have been looking forward to it since September.

So to all my SWSCA friends who read this blog, I'm truly sorry. I will miss you all and will be thinking of you.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I am currently lying in bed having acheived something that I haven't quite managed for some time...

I've finished a book.

Now this may not seem as intensely remarkable to many of you as it feels for me. I am sure that the vast majority of those reading this will be well read and bookishly advanced. Why, the very fact that you frequent this blog would suggest that your literary palette draws you to the finer and more exceptional examples of writing. And as such you are no doubt wandering why finishing a book is such a big deal. So let me explain.

I used to read a lot. I used to love reading. In fact I think it was my love for reading that encouraged me to read so much. But for the past few months (in fact probably since starting my current job) I've had a real issue with reading. I just haven't seemed able to really get stuck into a book and even if I have, I get distracted by another literary masterpiece before I get to finish the previous one. I just cannot seem to finish books anymore. It is most annoying. Here is a list of books I haven't finished recently:

Beyond Belief to Conviction (Josh McDowell), I.O.U. (Noreena Hertz), The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More (Roald Dahl), The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), The Highway Code, Impro for Storytellers (Keith Johnstone), Desiring God (John Piper), The Struggle (Steve Gerali), Cafe Theology (Michael Lloyd), Show Them No Mercy (Stanley Gundry), The Other Side of the Good News (Larry Dixon), Darwin on Trial (Philip E. Johnson), Games for Actors and Non-Actors (Augusto Boal), Down Under (Bill Bryson) and Lift the Label (Westlake & Stansfield).

Needless to say, all this failure in book reading has been quite frustrating. Which is why I am so elated to be lying in bed next to a completely read copy of John Irving's The Fourth Hand. It's a good book. Not quite as good as some of his other works (A Prayer for Owen Meany is my favourite) but a good read nonetheless. I would recommend it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


You may or may not have heard of Minipops. You may have seen them but not known what they were called. On the other hand, you may not have.

Minipops are awesome. They basically consist of famous people drawn with but a few pixels (usually around about 30 high).

So for example, here is a Minipop of 50 Cent:
Here is a Minipop of the A-Team:

And here is a Minipop of the cast of Fawlty Towers:

Feeling inspired by such artistic genius, I decided to have a crack at my own. So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my very own Minipops of the models in the SP&S catalogue (or Minisalvos as I like to call them):

What do you think?

P.S. SP&S, for those who don't know, stands for Salvationist Publishing & Supplies and basically acts as the Salvation Army's shopping centre for all things good.