Christian culture, summer grumpiness and the joy of decent people.

Today God gave me a loving, but firm kick up the backside.

For a while now, at this time of year, I have got a proper grump on.

I see lots of people on Facebook, Twitter etc going off to various Christian conferences – new wine, the 24-7 stuff, greenbelt, you name it… it all looks so lovely, but we can’t afford any of it. And at the end of September we will have even less as our first child arrives.

Gone are the days when as a youth group member my church paid for me to go on CPAS holidays or as a young adult I did new wine as a volunteer, because I could as a young free and single person.

Now we are not poor. We can afford Netflix and the TV licence. We also have a once a month date night budget. 

On top of all that I’m a youth pastor and my lovely church pays for my husband and I to go to the aog conference.

So really I have no room to moan. 

All the same, I know a lot of people with less money than us who live hand to mouth, and lots of people who like us can’t afford to go away for any sort of holiday, conferences included. 

It makes me cross that access to all this beautiful, amazing teaching, worship, general God stuff is only for the wealthy or those who belong to big enough churches they can afford to pay for their skint members.

So it was in a fit of grumpiness I responded to Krish Kandiah’s post about Books for life LIVE.

That’ll teach me… he, and others responded with such humble generosity. Take a look:

It’s left me both humbled and blessed… and wondering what solutions there could be for all those skint believers out there. 
At the.end of the day, speakers, preachers and authors also need to eat. But surely technology could bring stuff local? I know you can get lots talks on video, and that at big conferences stuff is streamed live from one venue to a second… maybe it could be streamed to local churches… I don’t know. There just has to be a way of being more inclusive.

Which brings me back to the book conference. Turns out if I had stopped and looked I would have known I couldn’t go anyway, it’s 13 days after baby’s due date.

But I do have a plan. You may have seen little free library on Facebook… I wonder if our church could have a Christian little free library? I mean, how cool would that be. I’m going to ask…

And I resolve to have more action and less grumpiness.

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#Vegan #glutenfree Walnut almond and lentil “meatballs”

At this time of year R can’t have wheat as it affects his hayfever, so the flour in these meatballs is gluten free. We had them covered in barbecue cook in sauce, chips and stir-fry.

200g red lentils

20g vegan bouillon

141g onion (1 onion) chopped

50g walnuts chopped

30g almonds chopped

110g gluten free flour

Cook the lentils in water with the bouillon untill it reaches dhal consistency.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients, form into about 24 balls and then bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 200C 

Eat with your favourite sauce.

Pesto and beans

It’s been so hot today we didn’t feel like a heavy meal, so we had pasta pesto and beans. I made enough for us to have it cold for lunch too:

300g pasta (dry weight)

60 g fresh spinach & rainbow chard chopped

1 tin cannellini beans

1 jar of meridian free from green pesto

We had gluten free pasta as R is off wheat for the hayfever season, but you could have any kind you want. It was lovely, and not too hot for a hot day:

Who we are, and who we would love to be.

Everyone would like to be a better version of themselves than they are. Except for the people who want to be someone else, which of course is just a recipe for misery.

Mind you, I find the journey to a better me to be pretty frustrating at times. I can see that better life, healthier, kinder to others, calmer in myself… But it’s just not something I can manage alone.

My morning Bible reading reminded me that in fact, we aren’t meant to do these things alone. They are the fruit of the spirit. That is, as we seek God first, he is able to work out a better version of us as we go along.

It has always mattered to me, but has been brought into sharp focus as I approach the mid way point of my pregnancy.

Now I don’t just want to be a better me for my family and for the young people I work with… But R and I’s child… The one that for all these years we thought was impossible.

Even in the face of a miracle, change is mundane. Longer walks with the dogs, starting a gentle exercise routine at home and a new drive on healthy eating:


 That and a renewed desire to meet each day with Jesus, knowing it isn’t by might or power that things change, but by his Spirit.