Garden(ing) Party

by Richard on July 19, 2008

Myrddin & Ian

It’s been a well-known fact in these parts for some considerable time that Richard is not a gardener. He may (may!) have many other fine qualities, but he is by no means a gardener. Faced, then, with the task of bringing order to a somewhat neglected plot so that he can hand it on to his successor without everlasting shame, what’s to be done?

A garden(ing) party of course.

Lay on cakes, fruit, scones, sundry breads, assorted cheeses, soup and other comestibles and then invite folk round to do a bit of gardening in exchange for fellowship and a good feed.

It went really well. What would have taken weeks of sustained effort was achieved in a day by a small gang of willing volunteers. We cleared 6 carloads of ‘green waste’ to the local tip, meaning that the garden has at least a fighting chance of being tidy again. I’m hugely grateful to those who came and hope they (at least sort of) enjoyed themselves.

Of course, it’s days like this that reveal who your true friends are. There was no sign of Kim Fabricius, but I’m not hurt or bitter.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }


Bene D 07.20.08 at 12:19 am

ar arr arrrr!

No Kim eh?

So when do you move?


Kim 07.20.08 at 7:54 am

I’d rather go to a pantomime - and you know what I think about pantomimes! (Hint: if I were to do both, I’d be armless.)


Olive Morgan 07.20.08 at 8:18 am

When DO you move, Richard? Be assured of our prayer support in your new sphere of service - and of course during the upheaval of moving.


Kim 07.20.08 at 8:27 am

Btw, Richard, I think DH and are probably hermeneutically together for the first time on this blog that Genesis 2:15 is to be taken literally. ;)

Oh, and any further wise-ass remarks and at tonight’s service I’ll heckle!


ontherun 07.20.08 at 9:43 am

What a brilliant idea - wish we’d thought of it. In five years we’ve managed to transform a pretty standard surburban manse garden into a sports ground with adjacent “wildflower garden” - the wild flowers being mainly brambles and Rosebay willowherb. Just as well we’re going to a manse with an even bigger garden then (!)


PamBG 07.20.08 at 1:13 pm

Well done not leaving an overgrown gardener for the next minister. I think this was an excellent idea, too. And here we were, paying someone to do the gardening for us. Front garden at a 20 degree slope to the street, anyone?


Olive Morgan 07.20.08 at 4:32 pm

You should see mine, Pam. I call the front garden the hill and the back the mountain, because from the top you can see right over the top to the houses and gardens on the other side of the ‘valley’. In the days when I did all the gardening, I managed to cope with the mountain but I often found myself toppling down the hill when trying to tidy the front garden. Now I employ gardeners and this is my biggest expenditure - but well worth it.


QueerAndy 07.20.08 at 10:13 pm

What he hasn’t told you is that after hacking through the undergrowth, we discovered the “Lost Tribe” of Sketty, and a few new species formerly unknown to science! Seriously, though. It was a good day, and we had a nice group of people working together.

Good services today Richard. Sorry we put you on the spot!

Beth, nice to have met you. Everyone else; you missed a treat, Richard Hall - speechless!

Pam BG. You have my sympathy, my last garden was so steep that you needed oxygen to get to the top, and there was the danger of nose-bleeds!


Beth 07.21.08 at 1:38 am

A lost tribe, eh? That explains the strange, neanderthal creatures I’ve been seeing wandering around Swansea bus station, then?

Lovely to meet you too, Andy, and what a treat not only to meet the infamous Richard for the first time, but to hear him preach too. And there was cake.


QueerAndy 07.21.08 at 10:49 am

Hi Beth,

The Neanderthals would have been waiting for a bus back to Port Talbot! Richard’s tribe were a peace loving bush people; possibly “primative” methodists? Hopefully, John (Richard’s replacement) will do something about his garden on a more regular basis than once evey 10 years;)
And he won’t have a pack of mad dogs running around.


Kim 07.21.08 at 4:30 pm

Now I know why Methodist ministers move so often. Nothing to do with ecclesiology (if you can call the circuit system ecclesiology!) - it’s the book tokens they get as parting gifts. Of course in Richard’s case, the gesture is laden with irony. ;)

By the way, it should not pass without comment that last night Richard shared with the congregation what he values most as Methodism’s contribution to the world church, followed by the “hymn of the day” “Let earth and heaven agree”, the last two lines of which sum up Richard’s choice:

For all my Lord was crucified,
For all, for all my Saviour died.
(Brilliant, that repeated “for all” in the last line!)

Observe. Not Wesleyan hymns (perhaps that’s too obvious - and Chuck, of course, wrote “Let earth and heaven agree”). Nor the centrality of conversion and “holiness” (usually taken to be the centrepiece of Methodist theology, supplemented by John’s often misunderstood “doctrine of perfection”), or a general emphasis on personal “experience”. Nor the seamless robe of evangelism and social gospel. No, Richard bypassed anthropology and went straight to the theological heart of the matter: universal, as against limited, atonement (which, by the way, for Wesley included the possibility of the salvation of non-Christians).

To which this Barthian Calvinist can only cry, “Hooray!” Limited atonement and double-predestination - Wesley saw that the fundamental issue here is the character of God. On the love of the God behind the “horrible decree” Wesley wrote, “Is not this such love as makes your blood run cold?” Brrr!

Mind, Richard didn’t enter the maze of free-will (thank heavens!), nor did he tip his hand on the issue of universalism. But I suspect that on that one, he is closer to Barth than Wesley - or at least leaning that way. And if so, my ten years of labour with the lad will not have been altogether in vain! ;)


PamBG 07.21.08 at 5:19 pm

Richard bypassed anthropology and went straight to the theological heart of the matter: universal, as against limited, atonement (which, by the way, for Wesley included the possibility of the salvation of non-Christians).

To which this Barthian Calvinist can only cry, “Hooray!” Limited atonement and double-predestination - Wesley saw that the fundamental issue here is the character of God.

All of which makes me want to stand up and say ‘Hooray!’.

You made me remember why I’m glad to be a Methodist, Kim.

All this, and gardening too! :-)


dh 07.21.08 at 6:22 pm

Why is it assumed that there are two dichotomies: universalism/limited atonement, double predestination/free-will?

When one defines atonement as made available to all and entered into as one accepts the free gift then one can see that atonement is made available to ALL and thus IS universal however not in the same way as adherants to universalism define universalism.

Also when one defines predestination as not being “predetermined” but defined as “God (being omnipotent) knowing who will accept or reject Him” then one can see that CalviMinian is appropriate as opposed to only the two extremes. Which begs the question, why does one assume onto people who believe in predestination that they believe in double predestination when in fact that is not always the case?


QueerAndy 07.22.08 at 2:12 pm

Whoa! I thought this started as a blog about Richard’s garden? Kim & DH; I think you 2 could have a theological debate about flavours of chewing gum!

What do you think? Strong Mint = Fundamentalist, Spearmint = Moderates/Liberals, Juicy Fruit = Pinko Communist Poofs? Perhaps true believers shouldn’t eat chewing gum; and stick instead to Bubble Gum? Does the Old testament tell us to avoid gum of mixed flavours/liquid centres?


dh 07.22.08 at 2:54 pm

But I’m not a fundamentalist.

Like a famous singer sang “Whats gum got to do got to do with it.” Oh my I think I got one of the words wrong (sarcasm). :)


QueerAndy 07.22.08 at 4:16 pm

So, you have a sense of humour! Who’d have thunk:)


Beth 07.22.08 at 6:25 pm

Personally, I eschew (see what I did there?) the softness and malleability of the gum, and adhere only to mints. Real, solid mints, which do not encourage stretching, bending, or other changes of shape.

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