More on Men and Women

19 06 2008

I normally ignor emails which are forwards of something that someone else found funny, but there are one or two contacts who consistently send me hilarious messages. The following comparison of men and women came through yesterday, and I thought it was worth sharing. I have no idea who authored it, but it is pretty good in places. The penultimate point kind of sums up the low expectation of fatherhood mentioned yesterday though:

Men Are Just Happier People


If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah .

If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other As Fat Boy, Godzilla and Four-eyes.

Eating Out

When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in £20, even Though it’s only for £32.50.

None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.

When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.


A man will pay £2 for a £1 item he needs.

A woman will pay £1 for a £2 item that she doesn’t need but it’s on sale.


A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from M&S.

The average number of items in the typical woman’s bathroom is 337.

A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.


A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.


Women love cats.

Men say they love cats, but when women aren’t looking, men kick cats.


A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.


A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.


A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, but she does.

Dressing Up

A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the bins, answer the phone, read a book, and get the post.

A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.


Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.

Women somehow deteriorate during the night.


Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children.

She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favourite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

Thought for the Day

A married man should forget his mistakes.

There’s no use in two people remembering the same thing.


Best Teacher Meme

22 05 2008

Guy Davies has tagged me for a best teacher meme. The sky’s the limit for me here, as I’ve had so many good teachers over the years – but I’ll give it my best shot!!

1. Mrs Lightbody, Clandeboye Primary School in Bangor. When I came into her Primary 2 class I couldn’t write in a straight line (I think that it had something to do with being left handed). She sorted that out for me with patience – I was only 6 years old!

2. Mr Robert Martin, Gransha High School in Bangor. Mr Martin taught English, and it was he who brought literature to life for me. I can still remember him reading poems like ‘Dulce Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen, and ‘Digging’ by Seamus Heaney in class and being completely captivated by the sounds of the words and the depth of their sentiment.

3. Dr John Thompson, Queens University Belfast. John Thompson taught (and still teaches) Medieval Studies within the School of English. Sitting in his lectures on Chaucer was a wonderful experience. He coupled intellectual rigour with pastoral warmth and personal friendliness. Probably the finest teacher I’ve ever had.

4. Dr Stephen Kelly, Queens University Belfast. Stephen was completing his PhD when I was studying for my MA, and he was an amazing help. I would meet with him weekly, and was always astounded by his breadth of reading. He had a tremendous capacity to synthesise popular and medieval culture in his teaching.

5. Dr Maurice Dowling, Irish Baptist College. There are a host of tutors at the College whom I could single out, but I’m just amazed by Maurice’s intellect. I think he speaks seven languages, is an expert in church history, and is a delightfully down to earth man. He regularly travels to Eastern Europe to teach in Russian, Romanian or Latvian.

I’m going to tag the following people with this meme: Ian B, Jennifer B, Gary Cousins, Timmy Brister, and Steve Burlew.

The Bald Truth

16 04 2008

It’s official – baldness is not a disability. That’s the message which has emerged from a recent court case in Scotland, reported by BBC news. James Campbell is engaged in an employment tribunal which revolves around his claim that he was discriminated against in his teaching job because of his baldness, which he claims is a disablility. Pupils would taunt him about his lack of hair, and according to the article he even feared physical assault. In seeking to be compensated for this discrimination, Campbell has been informed by a judge that his lack of follicular finesse does not qualify as a recognised impairment. A bit of a slap on the mouth (or the head?) for Mr Campbell, one would assume.

As anyone who knows me can testify, I’d be the first person to show sympathy to any man whose head is outgrowing his hair. I am currently in the process of obtaining my own ten inch parting, or tefal tonsure, and have had to come to terms with the loss of most of my fringe benefits. (I’ve opted for a shaved head by the way, rather than an ill-conceived bouffant or comb over).

I am also delighted that workplaces and colleagues cannot make a difference on the grounds of disability and that the stone age attitude of some within our society towards disability is being challenged and defeated. There are those in our community who need protection from discrimination, and who deservedly pursue their rights through the courts in an effort to make the way easier for themselves and others.

But by no stretch of the imagination is baldness a disability.

My issue with this story is the social problem which it highlights. Everyone wants to be a victim of discrimination, and being a victim can be a lucrative occupation. Our legal system offers rewards to those who can prove that they have been the butt of some kind of cruelty. Our televisions are bombarded with grinning sharp suited sharks who promise ‘no win, no fee’ compensation to everyone who has stubbed their toe on a desk, or slipped on the diet coke which one of their colleagues has spilled on the canteen floor. It seems that to get cash for cruelty one need only focus in on a prevailing weakness or sensitivity and make that the grounds of litigation.

How different this is to the practical message of the New Testament. The Christian faith is one where wrongs are to be endured, where extra clothing is to be offered to those who would take our coat, where the face is to be turned rather than the fist raised when confronted with violence, and where joy is to be found when all the world turns against us because of Christ. How I need to guard my heart from the temptation to self pity, to assume victim status when assailed by the more difficult providences of life. How I need to count it all joy, rather than counting on compensation, when faced with various trials.

That’s not to say that if anyone calls me a ‘slap head’ in the next few days I won’t quote 2Kings 3:23-25 at them!!

Forgiving Margin

12 03 2008

When it comes to Bible reading and study, people often fall into one of two camps – the markers and the non-markers. Those in the former school will often sport a copy of the Scriptures which is well-worn and ink stained with thoughts and insights which have come to them over the years. Their margins might contain thoughts which emerge from private study, which they have picked up while listening to preaching, or quotes on verses from commentators which are particularly illuminating.

Those in the latter camp are generally appalled at the thought of making such marks. Their prejudice against writing in their Bible might be cultural (none of the books on their shelves have a single crease or notation) or spiritual (feeling that it is some form of desecration to write on holy writ).

I think I fall between both camps.

I always hesitate before I write something in the margin of my Bible. For me there is the handicap of being left handed. My handwriting wavers dangerously between being a juvenile series of unconnected letters, and being a scrawl worthy of any NHS prescription. Then there is the problem of what to write, and what not to write. A thought that seems rich and powerful to me today, may not seem so in a few months, and I might look back with regret that I’ve marred the margin for no good reason. Another factor is that I preach quite a bit, and I worry about being distracted while ministering by marks and comments made in the past. I also don’t like the sense of ostentation that can accrue to having an ink-laden copy of Scripture. If I have to share my Bible with someone they might on the one hand form an excessive and unrealistically positive picture of my spirituality (if they fall into the marking camp) or could possibly pass out in the pew at such sacrilegious scrawling on Scripture (if they belong to the non-marking crew).

With all of those reservations, however, I still mark my Bible. There are times when God speaks so personally, when a truth comes home so profoundly, or when a preacher expounds a passage so precisely, that I feel an overwhelming compulsion to remind myself of it in days to come. For a while I marked my ESV Cross Reference edition, but soon ran out of space in the minuscule margin, as well as having to look at ink-bleed on the back of each page.

Last spring, when we had reached our decision to follow God’s leading into cross-cultural mission, a very dear friend and spiritual mentor bought us a copy of the ESV Journaling Bible. This has been a panacea to my Bible marking split personality. The margins are ruled, wide, and forgiving, and there is more than enough space to record multiple thoughts on any one verse. For my 30th birthday I got the Bible rebound into beautiful leather, and it has now become a treasured posssession. I don’t use it for my daily devotions at the moment (I’m reading through the NIV Study Bible), but when a thought, quote, or piece of clear guidance comes during my reading of the Word it is marked with joy in the margin.

This has left me with only one loose end in terms of Bible marking morality – what about the academic work I need to do in Scripture? In years to come I don’t want notes and quotes from Bultmann and a whole host of other infidels to cloud the clarity of what God has said to me through His Word. Another ESV solution has proven pretty good in this area – the single Gospel editions of the ESV printed by The Good Book Company. I’m working on John’s Gospel and have been able to purchase one of these for £1.00, which allows me to work through passage exegesis, making marks as I go, without leaving indelible print on my conscience.

Whether you’re a marker or non-marker, isn’t it great to record the ways in which God speaks to us, rebukes us, and encourages us through His living Word for the glory of His name? For some it may mean a journal or diary whose pages are laced with God’s grace, and for others a margin marked by God’s mercy.

Two Reasons to Not Give Up Chocolate

11 02 2008

Bishops and scientists agree – you shouldn’t give up chocolate. At least, that’s the potential message which two news stories carried last week.

The first was the Bishop of London’s plea for people to avoid giving up the traditional things they abstain from at lent, and work to reduce their carbon footprint instead. Mini egg, anyone?

The other story was that scientists are now positing the thesis that childhood obesity may be more related to their genes than their ingestion. Studies have ‘proven’ that children who suffer from obesity may do so more because of nature than nurture. In typically clear, understandable language the scientists say: “These results do not mean that a child with a high complement of susceptibility genes will inevitably become overweight, but that their genetic endowment gives them a stronger predisposition.” Anyone fancy a Dairy Milk?

My conclusions are, of course, made (pardon the pun)tongue-in-cheek , but these stories do carry an important message about consumption and consequences.

On the one hand a Christian practice which is traditionally understood to focus the mind on the suffering of Christ, has turned its focus instead to the needs of others in the world. The Bishop’s ideas are laudable, given that the way we live our lives does seriously impinge on the poorest people on the planet, but are they legitimate in terms of the traditional view of lent? Is our focus solely on the sufferings of others, or should it not be on the sufferings of the Saviour? He is the One who has ultimately borne the consequences of our sinfulness in His body on the cross at Calvary – and He is the only one who can ultimately renew our ailing cosmos.

On the other hand scientists seem to be hinting at the fact that fault cannot be found for being obese. It seems that we cannot be held to account for certain consequences which result from our behaviours. Undoubtedly there are many people who are genetically predisposed to being overweight (and I’m no size 00 myself!) but is this really the message which the media should be presenting to our society which is growing both in waist and waste? Is the so-called ‘obesity epidemic’ not at least a partial consequence of our consumer culture, and growing affluence?

These are just some random thoughts about carbon, cocoa and consequences, and don’t necessarily carry any weight. My own response to both stories will simply consist in cycling to the shop to buy my Mars bar…

Light Relief…

11 01 2008

Things have been quite serious on this blog for a few weeks, so I thought I’d loosen my tie this Friday afternoon and share something which makes me laugh everytime I watch it. Enjoy!!

4 01 2008

Let it snow…
Let it snow…
Let it snow…