trolley joke in honour of new arrival*

ancient cave painting (produced by me)

An archaeologist excitedly presented his latest research to a group of peers. He projected a picture of a cave painting showing what looked like a wheelbarrow or trolley, a man, a spade, an ox and the sun and announced: “I conclude from this painting that we have irrefutable evidence that prehistoric man was a farmer who kept livestock, who tended the ground and used primitive barrows to harvest his produce.”

A colleague put up her hand. “I think you have made serious errors in your analysis,” she said. “Prehistoric humans worshipped the sun. That is a cow, not an ox. The feint symbols beneath the man are his name. And most significantly you have failed to take account of the fact that prehistoric man wrote from right to left. In fact this message reads, ‘Holy cow, look at Zog’s new wheels!'”

*see previous bloggage for explanation.

waiting fulfilled

For those of you who have been waiting patiently for something vaguely coherent to appear on these pages for the past two days: thank you for waiting.

For those of you who have been waiting impatiently for something vaguely coherent to appear on these pages for the past two days: I refer you to the subtitle of this blog… and you seriously expect me to be coherent?

For those of you who have been waiting patiently for news of the trolley delivery: woohoo! It arrived today!

It arrived in kit form.

Along with a piece of paper with relatively vague instructions. After examining them, turning them upside down and then turning the trolley components upside down I finally got the right pieces in the right places.

You may need to tilt your monitor or head to view this correctly

Trolley!!

Worryingly, however, there are two sets of nuts and washers left over. There are no bolts for them to go on, and they don’t appear on the vague instructions, so I am relatively confident that they are surplus to requirements, but they are there nonetheless to put a little bit of doubt in the mind of the assembler that they may have missed a vital aspect of the assembly process.

Reflecting on this briefly (before I start transporting things gleefully around the house and garage) I wonder whether you think God ought to have given us clearer instructions, especially for being church. I mean ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ is not exactly a detailed blueprint for church, is it?

And therein lies the genius. Within the broad parameters of this church-building, disciple-making, people-dunking, obedience-teaching programme is the flexibility and possibility for the good news of Jesus to be made relevant to every era, culture and person. And there’s the opportunity to establish church in ways and places that most effectively enable followers of Jesus to be free samples to those around them.

It begs the question, “Why do so many churches look the same?”

And, did Jesus leave any room for nuts and washers that are surplus to requirements? Nope – we all have a part to play – whether people think you are a nut or a washer (baptist)!

Be blessed, be a blessing.

getting trollied – the update

Because I am a cheapskate and did not want to pay extra for faster delivery I am still waiting for the delivery of my trolley (either on another trolley or not). See here for details, if this post means nothing to you so far.

This is still within the estimated / aimed for delivery period of the company from which I ordered the trolley, but suddenly there’s an urgency in the air. I could do with it being here by Thursday morning (when I would like to use it) or Saturday (when I need to use it).

10-14 working days did not seem unreasonable 10 working days ago. Now it seems like ages as the deadline looms.

I can’t make it arrive any sooner by worrying about it, so I am seeking to exercise the gift of patience.

And the anticipation will make the moment of delivery all the sweeter!

getting trollied?

No, this is not a bloggage about drunkenness, although it begins with a confession:

I have trolley-lust. There’s something about trollies that I love. It may be that they are so simple, yet so useful (like me?). It may be that they are so mundane and ordinary that we take them for granted (like me?). It may be that they have been around almost as long as wheels have been put on axles (like… er no).

I have recently realised that not only do I like trollies a lot. I now need one. A while ago I did a magic show at Cafechurch in Bluewater Shopping Centre and carried the box of tricks (literally) all the way from my car to the Costa Coffee shop. And back. And afterwards I realised that I had hurt my back. I could have done with a trolley.

I have also recently bought a boat (see this bloggage) and have realised that I will need a trolley to help me convey it to the launch sites because it is so big and there’s kit to go with it.

So I have been looking into buying a trolley, guided by my wife Sally (the voice of wisdom). I really liked this trolley, which is on offer in Robert Dyas at the moment  thumbnail(click on pic for link). It’s big, got rugged wheels and looks like it means business. But the voice of wisdom asked if it wasn’t too big and bulky. Would I fit it into the back of my car for when I needed to transfer items from the car to another venue. She was right (as she usually is) and I have reluctantly agreed that this is not the trolley for me.

But this setback has not diminished my trolley-lust, nor has it made me think that I don’t need one. If anything it heightened my awareness of the need, especially as I have just agreed to do another magic show soon where I will need to lug boxes of tricks from the car. So I searched online for trollies and saw some spectacularly superlative trollies. I also understood more about them. The one pictured above is actually more of a cart than a trolley. And the sort of trolley with two handles, a scoop at the bottom and just two wheels is called a ‘sack trolley’. Who knew?

Hand TrolleyThen, just as I was despairing of ever finding the right trolley for me (budget, size and capability) I came across this one. It’s a sack trolley. But it also transforms into a cart!!! It combines the best of both worlds, and is small enough to load into my car along with the stuff that will need to be trolley-transported.

Do you want to see what it looks like as a cart?

I know you do really.

Here it is…Hand Trolley

Isn’t it magnificent? Just what is needed! And at the moment (May 2012) it’s on special offer!! Woooo Hoooo! [clicks and orders]. (If you want one too, click on the image above.)

I may be getting a bit carried away at the moment (really?) but I think there’s something even more exciting that may happen. You see because I ordered it online, it’s going to be delivered to our house. And what if (deep breath, calm down)… what if it’s transferred from the lorry to our house on another trolley?! That may be the ultimate in trolleyness.

Before you start sending the men in white coats around to our house (and bearing in mind they may strap me to a trolley, which would be self-defeating), I should try to get to the point of this bloggage.

Tucked away in the New Testament is a tiny little letter that Paul wrote to a friend called Philemon. It seems (from the back story) that Paul had met a runaway slave from Philemon’s household by the name of Onesimus. (Bear in mind that slavery in those days was commonplace and that there is a biblical injunction to treat them well – almost as employees). How Paul had met him we don’t know, but he had been helpful to Paul and had become a believer. Paul was sending him back to Philemon (where the law said he should be flogged, or worse, for running away) with this letter in which he asked Philemon to welcome him back as a brother in Christ.

Onesimus means ‘useful’. In the letter Paul makes a pun on this by saying that he had been useless to Philemon (perhaps he was a poor worker) but had become useful to him, and will be useful to Philemon.

The point of all this? The things and people we take for granted can all be useful to God (including us). What we may consider to be useless is useful in God’s eyes. Jesus took a bunch of ordinary people and transformed them into a new movement. He took a boat and turned it into a pulpit. He took a packed lunch and turned it into mass catering. He took bread and wine and turned them into an encounter with him. He took his own death and turned it into new life for all who love him.

Don’t write anyone or anything off. It’s all useful to God – even more useful than a trolley that converts into a cart.

Be blessed, be a blessing.