Jan 06 2013

Sermon: The Epiphany

The text today was Matthew 2.1-12 (see the Wordle post from a few days ago).


You can also download the presentation that accompanied it.  If you can’t view it, download LibreOffice.

Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2013/01/06/sermon-the-epiphany/

Jan 03 2013

Word as Wordle: Matthew 2.1-12

This coming Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany and so, of course, the set Gospel reading is Matthew 2.1-12.  Here it is in Wordle form:

Wordle: Matthew 2.1-12 (NIV)

This passage speaks of a great many themes around the coming of the Messiah: the coming of the wealth of nations seen in Isaiah; the gifts reflect the coming of the Queen of Sheba to the original son of David, Solomon; the star may reflect the story of Balaam both in terms of his prophecy of a star rising out of Jacob and him as a forerunner of the Magi themselves; Herod’s response echoes that of the Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus, setting up Matthew’s theme of Jesus as coming as a new [and greater] Moses figure.  You can never tire of preaching on the Epiphany every year.

So, what theme will I be picking up on Sunday?  Come along to St Francis’, Luton at 9.15 or 10.30 for 11.00 to hear!

Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2013/01/03/word-as-wordle-matthew-2-1-12/

Dec 24 2012

Sermon: Babies Grow Up (Carols by Candlelight)

My sermon from last night’s carol service is now online.

Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2012/12/24/sermon-babies-grow-up-carols-by-candlelight/

Dec 14 2012

Newtown, Connecticut

Another tragic day in America, twenty children and six adults murdered in an Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  It’s time the US got serious and dared to talk about gun control.  It’s time Democrats stood up to the NRA and set about making it illegal to possess and carry firearms.




Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2012/12/14/newtown-connecticut/

Nov 19 2012

General Synod Audio and Twitter Stuff

This week, I’m helping the Communications Office at Church House with General Synod streaming.  From now, we’re providing officially a cross-platform stream (I’ve just verified it on Android for example).

You can access the audio stream of General Synod here.

As I have done before, I’ve put together a couple of ways in which you can keep track of tweets relating to Synod in interesting ways.  They both contain the following search terms – and you can turn them into a presentation if you so desire:

  • #synod
  • #generalsynod
  • synod
  • general synod

Firstly, a simple Twitterfall for General Synod.  This shows the tweets in order with the most recent ones at the top.

Secondly, a prettier display of General Synod tweets which really shows one at a time but looks gorgeous.

Take your pick, basically.


Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2012/11/19/general-synod-audio-and-twitter-stuff/

Nov 15 2012

Go Vote! (Even if you don’t vote)

Ballot Boxes by Flickr / kitoy

Today, we are asked to vote for Police and Crime Commissioners (well, most of us are – in London, this role is done by the Mayor).  It is expected that this will be one of the most poorly supported elections in UK history with an expected turnout of around 20%.  This is down to a number of contributing factors: Lack of awareness, apathy and not wanting politics to be involved in policing being the three main reasons for people not voting today.

So, let’s tackle them in turn.

Firstly, lack of awareness.  Done.  If you’re reading this, you’re now aware of the election.

Secondly, apathy.  The person elected will have the power to appoint (and sack) your local Chief Constable.  For that reason alone, it matters.  They will also have influence over policing priorities and how budgets are allocated.  I don’t think we should apathetic about any election but this is one where the impact on local communities can be seen.

Finally, not wanting politics involved in policing.  I agree with this.  In an ideal situation, we wouldn’t be having these elections.  We don’t live in an ideal world: we have a Tory government.  However, this is not a reason to not vote.  Actually, it’s very much a reason to turn up and spoil your ballot paper.  Not voting tells the government that you’re not interested, spoiling your paper tells them you object to the process.


Because of the expected low turnout, what we might call “Undesirables” are hoping to steal victories in some regions.  The British National Party (BNP) and the “British Freedom Party” – a front for the English Defence League (EDL) – are standing in places where they feel they might have a shot if ordinary, law-abiding, diversity-appreciating British people of all backgrounds fail to cast a legitimate ballot.  Do not let them achieve this.  If you have a candidate for one of these groups (or the UK Independence Party – UKIP) on your ballot paper, please, please, please vote for one of the other candidates.

Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2012/11/15/go-vote-even-if-you-dont-vote/

Nov 12 2012

Sermon: Ruth and Naomi

Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2012/11/12/sermon-ruth-and-naomi/

Nov 06 2012

America Votes

Results are starting to come in.  Track my live election updates via Twitter.

Today, the United States goes to the polls (actually, due to the early voting system in some States, they’ve been voting a while) to elect the President for the years 2013-2017 (as well as one third of Senate seats, the House of Representatives, a smattering of Governors and lots of other things).

If you don’t already know, each State is allocated a certain number of votes in the Electoral College, this is determined by the size of that State’s population.  A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to become the president.

Below is a tally of my predicted state-by-state results as well as the actual results as they come in.  Both tallies assume that all the electors from Maine and Nebraska vote according to their respective State’s popular vote – these two states apportion electors according to the Congressional District Model.  Florida is essentially too close to call.  The latest polls seem to have Obama ahead but by far less than the margin of error and this has been by no means a consistent situation.  I’m putting it for Romney below but wouldn’t be at all surprised if it went for Obama.

I’ve found ElectoralVote and the New York Times very helpful in analysing both the polls and their trends in the lead up to today.  As we go through the night, I’m watching BBC News and CNN, tracking the BBC website, CNN site, ElectoralVote and the New York Times – and, of course, Twitter.

You can predict the result yourself using the BBC’s electoral college map – Predict the President.


Obama Predicted/Actual Votes: 303 / 303 Romney Predicted/Actual Votes: 235 / 206
State Electoral Votes Predicted Winner Actual Winner
Alabama 9 Romney  Romney
Alaska 3 Romney  Romney
Arizona 11 Romney  Romney
Arkansas 6 Romney  Romney
California 55 Obama  Obama
Colorado 9 Obama  Obama
Connecticut 7 Obama  Obama
Delaware 3 Obama  Obama
District of Columbia 3 Obama  Obama
Florida 29 Romney
Georgia 16 Romney  Romney
Hawaii 4 Obama  Obama
Idaho 4 Romney  Romney
Illinois 20 Obama  Obama
Indiana 11 Romney  Romney
Iowa 6 Obama  Obama
Kansas 6 Romney  Romney
Kentucky 8 Romney  Romney
Louisiana 8 Romney  Romney
Maine 4 Obama  Obama
Maryland 10 Obama  Obama
Massachusetts 11 Obama  Obama
Michigan 16 Obama  Obama
Minnesota 10 Obama  Obama
Mississippi 6 Romney  Romney
Missouri 10 Romney  Romney
Montana 3 Romney  Romney
Nebraska 5 Romney  Romney
Nevada 6 Obama  Obama
New Hampshire 4 Obama  Obama
New Jersey 14 Obama  Obama
New Mexico 5 Obama  Obama
New York 29 Obama  Obama
North Carolina 15 Romney  Romney
North Dakota 3 Romney  Romney
Ohio 18 Obama  Obama
Oklahoma 7 Romney  Romney
Oregon 7 Obama  Obama
Pennsylvania 20 Obama  Obama
Rhode Island 4 Obama  Obama
South Carolina 9 Romney  Romney
South Dakota 3 Romney  Romney
Tennessee 11 Romney  Romney
Texas 38 Romney  Romney
Utah 6 Romney  Romney
Vermont 3 Obama  Obama
Virginia 13 Obama  Obama
Washington 12 Obama  Obama
West Virginia 5 Romney  Romney
Wisconsin 10 Obama  Obama
Wyoming 3 Romney  Romney

Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2012/11/06/america-votes/

Nov 05 2012

We have elections too!

The USA isn’t the only country going to the polls this month.

However, when you learn that Barbie Girl by Aqua is the thirteenth best selling single of all time in the UK, you begin to wonder whether the public can be trusted to choose a Police and Crime Commissioner.

Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2012/11/05/we-have-elections-too/

Oct 01 2012

Sermon: The Lost Sheep

Preached yesterday for Back to Church Sunday.  The text was Luke 15.1-7.


Permanent link to this article: http://jamesthevicar.com/wordpress/2012/10/01/sermon-the-lost-sheep/

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