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Sabbatical, Day 86: Scarlet Fever

Not time to report much today, and here’s why. Since early last week, the children have both had rashes. They were puzzling, but not looking sinister. Having followed flow charts in a medical book and from past experience, we thought that either they had slapped cheek or it was just something viral that would pass. They both still had them this morning, but Mark’s was worse. We kept him off school for a doctor’s appointment and sent Rebekah in.

Well, Mark entertained the GP with his comic timing and his wry replies to rhetorical questions. By the end, the doctor said it was probably viral, but had we heard of a condition called scarlet fever? There was just a small chance it was that. He advised us to watch out for the symptoms, and gave us a penicillin prescription in hand, to obtain should things develop.

Tonight, I drove to the midnight pharmacy to get that prescription. During the afternoon, Mark had complained of various pains, which Calpol relieved for a few hours but then returned. This evening, he didn’t want his dinner, despite it being sausages, a favourite of his. He went to sleep unusually quickly, but woke an hour later, spewing huge quantities of vomit. Debbie was out at a meeting to plan a church fun day, but Mark wanted Mummy. A quick call to her mobile, and she was home in record time.

So with all that and more going on that it wouldn’t be wise to talk about here, I’m just going to leave you with a couple of links that grabbed my attention earlier in the day. 

First, here is a laughably bad example of a church taking a blatant biblical metaphor literally: Smells like Holy Spirit? Well OK, they may be going for effect, but how is it going to be perceived by non-Christians?

Secondly, a controversial article – I think it’s a partial truth but there’s more to it – nevertheless well worth reading: How the digital revolution might affect the Church.

Sabbatical, Day 47: How Could I Forget My Daughter?

Pressed for time in blog writing last night, I made an unwise choice. Yes, I enjoyed writing about the bozos in the High Street, but how could I overlook the achievements of our wonderful daughter?

Yesterday was a terrific day for her. We saw her take the lead when her class led school assembly, sharing on a trip they’d had to Braintree Museum to explore Victorian life a couple of weeks ago. All the class said something, but Rebekah had to kick it off. Clear voice, good projection, nicely paced. Could  make a preacher of her yet.

Later in the assembly, the Deputy Head presented her with a certificate to mark the Maths test she passed last week. She looked so proud, in the right way. At the autumn term parents’ evening, her teacher had told us that Maths was her weakness. No longer, it seems. Not only did she pass this test, we had the spring term parents’ evening on Tuesday night, and she is attaining standards in numeracy ahead of her age now. So there has been a real turnaround. She has worked hard, and the teacher has done well with her.

Meanwhiles, Mark, according to his teacher, ‘can do everything’, and she’s having to hold him back on his reading because he’s so far ahead of the others. On its own, this would have worried us, but she discussed strategies with us for making a bit more of the books they’re expecting him to read that they know are below his capabilities. The real concern is his lack of socialising with children of his own age. 

Collecting the children from school yesterday, we were greeted with a very red Mark. Not only his hair, but blotches on his skin. We kept him off his swimming lesson. This morning, he was much better and we sent him in. However, by morning break the school had phoned me and I went in armed with Piriton. That did little, and at the beginning of lunchtime came the second phone call. We brought him home, and with the school anxious that he might be infectious with something like slapped cheek, Debbie took him to the doctor, where they had to wait alone in a side room before seeing a GP who wasn’t sure what it was, but said just to keep him off school tomorrow. Poor lad, ever since going full time at school in January, he’s struggled to do a full week any week.

Meanwhile, back at yesterday afternoon, Rebekah was fit for her swimming lesson. Once a term, the swim school tests the children. Yesterday, she passed her 20 metres badge, so great elation and more reason to eat chocolate!

Today, she is happy too, because another milk tooth fell out, thanks to a cherry cake that was served for dessert at school dinners. It has been irritating her for days. Tonight, it was not difficult to persuade her to sleep, because she is anticipating a nocturnal appointment with the Tooth Fairy. And in the tradition of a children’s book we once read about the dental sprite, she is sincerely hoping this tooth was clean and sparkling enough to find a home in The Hall Of Perfect Teeth. Our next door neighbour told her there would be an extra reward for such teeth.

Fat chance. The standard £1 coin is in the envelope with the TF’s letter. We’re not getting stung again.

Meanwhile on the sabbatical front, I still haven’t ordered any more books, but having a Myers Briggs personality type that likes to keep my options open, it was fatal today to receive a catalogue for church leaders from Wesley Owen. As I flicked through, hoping not to be tempted and take it on an early trip to the paper recycling sack, I was accosted by a few titles that could have something to do with my research. Not the ministry and personality type stuff, but the dialogue between traditional understandings of ordination and our contemporary missional context. 

So step forward Ministry By The Book by Derek Tidball. Prepare for Exile: A New Spirituality and Mission for the Church by Patrick Whitworth sounded interesting. And Evaluating Fresh Expressions:explorations in emerging church: Emerging Theological and Practical Models edited by Martyn Percy and Louise Nelstrop sounded like it might be useful as a critical voice from outside my tradition to ask hard questions about new forms of church. If anyone reading this has read any of these books, please let me know what you think in the comments below.