I’m planning a new series of Advent daily Bible readings this year, working through the minor prophets. These will be quite long – 3 or 4 chapters most days – but I think it’ll be a fantastic way of looking forward to the Lord’s return as well as preparing to celebrate his first coming.
I’m also going to do the 36 pictures in my colouring Bible that go with these 12 books. More than one for every day, hooray! I’ve just cast on for this year’s Advent scarf, ready to begin the actual knitting on December 3rd. That’ll give me an hour or so every day to sit down, without the TV on, without worrying about other stuff to do, to read God’s word and reflect on it.
If you’d like to join me, the readings are:
Advent 2017 in the minor prophets
3rd Hosea 1-3
4th Hosea 4-7
5th Hosea 8-10
6th Hosea 11-14
8th Amos 1:1-3:12
9th Amos 3:13-6:14
10th Amos 7-9
13th Micah 1-3
14th Micah 4-5
15th Micah 6-7
20th Zechariah 1-4
21st Zechariah 5-7
22nd Zechariah 8-11
23rd Zechariah 12-14
There’s a printable version here. Feel free to photocopy and share as widely as you like.
I recently set up an instagram account which I’m using for my OCA art and also some Bible journalling. You can follow me @ros.clarke if you’re interested. I’m much more likely to update regularly there than I am here.
Here’s a few recent images to whet your appetite:
I’m having a few days in London next week, and for the first time in ages, it’s not about seeing people but things.
On Monday, I’m going to Tate Modern to see the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition. I also plan to see The Smile and a couple of the other London Design Week exhibitions on the Southbank.
Tuesday is the V&A for more from London Design Week, and Undressed – an exhibition of lingerie. Then I’m going to see exhibitions by Pietro Seminelli and Abdoulaye Konate. I’ve booked in for afternoon tea at Fortnums at 6pm. That’ll be dinner sorted, then.
On Wednesday, I’m going to try to get to the Geffrye Museum in the morning, and then out to Hampton Court for a guided tour of an exhibition at the RSN.
And finally, on Thursday morning, I have a ticket to watch a recording of Pointless!
I’m not going to do any cooking. I’m not going to any meetings. I’m not making plans to catch up with anyone. And if I don’t get to all the things I’ve planned, that’s totally fine.
Like pretty much everyone else, I’ve been fed up of the debate surrounding the EU referendum since before it started. One thing that has particularly struck me is the lack of engagement with any of the real issues, on either side. The Remain camp are solidly focussing on short-term economic issues, while the Leave camp occasionally make shots about immigration, but mostly stick to short-term economic issues.
There are two problems with that: it’s virtually impossible to predict the economic effects of leaving the EU and both sides have been told off for the way they have interpreted the evidence to try to make their point; but more importantly, this isn’t a question about short-term economic issues. It’s not a general election where we vote for the next five years and then we can change our minds if it’s not working. It’s a referendum on a question that I don’t anticipate having another chance to vote on during my lifetime. This is a decision for at least the next 20-30 years and potentially much longer. What happens to our economy in the next 2-5 years is irrelevant. I’ll tell you what’s also irrelevant: whether you like Boris Johnson and/or Michael Gove. If you make this vote about their political careers you are shooting yourself in the foot.
So if that’s not the question, what is? Here are some questions I’d like to be discussed and which I’d love people to consider when they vote:
Questions of principle:
1. Is there greater political accountability in the EU or out of it?
2. Are the curbs on political corruption greater in the EU or out of it?
3. Will the increasing economic ties between EU countries continue to force increasing political ties? And if so, what does that mean for national democracy?
4. Is there any inherent benefit to having a smaller government or a larger one?
5. Nation or empire? Superstate or federal state?
6. What is the role of the monarchy in an EU nation?
Questions of pragmatics:
7. Does the EU really give us greater national security?
8. Has the EU been effective in preventing armed conflict in Europe?
9. Is there any reason we couldn’t have generous and compassionate immigration policies if we left the EU?
10. Is there any reason we couldn’t establish good trade agreements with EU nations if we left the EU?
11. If we left the EU, how likely is that to trigger similar decisions in other EU countries and potentially cause the whole project to fail? What would the consequences of that be?
I’m sure there are many other questions of this sort that I haven’t thought about. I’m not an expert on any of this. But please, please, don’t let the dreadful campaigns fool you into thinking this is a vote about how much better or worse off we might (or might not) be in the next couple of years. Please.
A few weeks ago, my art teacher asked us all to choose a favourite artist for a Show And Tell. I chose Bridget Riley who has been my favourite artist since I was a student 25 years ago. I went to an exhibition with a couple of her works over Easter and had treated myself to a lovely hardback book full of pictures.
Having talked about our artists, we were then hit with the bombshell that for the next few weeks we were going to be working on pieces inspired by them. Gulp. Riley is (a) a genius and (b) incredibly precise and geometric in her work. I am neither of those things. I thought about various ways I might try to get something similar to her style. Initially I was thinking stripes, but then I hit on diamonds and triangles which worked much better. And I had thought about collage of various kinds and different media, but in the end went with simple acrylic paints and lots of masking tape.
Today’s class, as always, was 10.30-12.30. My lovely teacher let me stay until I’d finished. At about quarter to three. I was quite happy with it and then the teacher went to hold it up at the other end of the room and I gasped. It looked like proper art. And it looked like my inspiration – looking up into the sky through a leafy tree. And I love it.
My hometown recently celebrated its 1100th anniversary*, so I had a lot of history to choose from for the Iron Craft ‘Hometown History’ challenge. I chose to honour Aethelflaed, the lady who founded the ‘burh’ (borough) in 913, established the castle and the pottery industry. She was the daughter of King Alfred the Great and ruled over the land of Mercia which at the time covered a huge swathe of the middle of England. She was a military leader and tactician as well as a politician who worked with her brother to unite all the English people into one kingdom. She was pretty darn awesome!
There aren’t any contemporary pictures of Aethelflaed. Mine is based an illustration from a book about 300 years after she died. It’s alcohol markers on aluminium foil which gives it a really fun stained glass effect.
*There was a settlement here about 200 years before that, but only a hermitage and possibly a chapel, not an actual town.