Sunday 10 February 2008

My First Tag

Every now and then when I read people's blogs I come across the concept of tagging. It's a good idea for getting a glimpse into someone's life and also for introducing friends to new blogs.

Usually when I see people being tagged I get jealous because no one ever tags me. But tonight Ali has put me out of my missery. (Thank you!)

Here are the requests of the tag:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five other people.

For some reason I have a copy of the London A-Z Map on my desk. As this doesn't have a particular sentence structure I will use another book for this tag. However, here's a bit of a two-for-one deal with some info about page 123 of the London A-Z:

A good portion of page 123 is taken up with Mitcham Common with its various playing fields and golf course, along with a large landfill and Croydon Cemetery (not the same thing!). Then I noticed the south London suburb of Norbury which rang a bell with me because there on square K2 was Beatrice Aveune. My parents lived there for a couple of months (while work was being done on another house I think) when they moved to London in the early 90's after leaving me behind in Felixstowe to fend for myself. Now get this - the street that we lived on in Felixstowe was called.......Beatrice Avenue! What are the chances of that!?

Okay, I've divulged enough pointless personal history. Time for a proper book.

As I came up to the office this evening I had in my hand a book called Sowing Dragons by Geoff Ryan (sorry, I couldn't find a link anywhere - but the book does exist!) Perhaps I can give a little background to this choice. Last week I attended a conference that I have briefly blogged about below (and will try a few more reflections in the future). One of the guest speakers was Geoff Ryan, a Salvation Army officer (minister) in an urban setting of Canada. Towards the end of the conference a small group of us went out for a curry and I got chatting to Geoff. I told him that I had read this book (I think this was his first - a collection of essays) and, for some reason, shared with him that this was the only book I have thrown across the room as I was reading it. He asked me why that was, but to my shame I couldn't remember. I guess the action was more memorable than the content. Anyway, I said I'd read it again and let him know what provoked such a response.

This evening I did a preliminary flick through. but to no avail. I had already decided that I would take this book out for coffee sometime soon and see what shows up. I'll let you know. Anyway, basically this book is about calling Salvationists (and others) back to a radical lifestyle of mission and discipleship that The Salvation Army was known for in its early days as it connected with society in relevant ways....or did it? The requested sentences actually give quite a good taster, coming after the quote or a russian proverb, "You can't predict the past."

"In The Salvation Army,we, too, have an honoured tradition of historical revisionism and I contend that, in reality, things were nothing like what we imagined they were in the beginning. We were no more "relevant" as a form of Christian Church then than we are today. We wedded dance hall revelry to scriptural holiness, brought theatre into the pews, soiled the perfumed doilies of Victorian spinsters with the mud of the streets and the stench of gin palaces and ordained wild-eyed fanatics as ministers of the Gospel."
Whoa. All that preamble for just three sentences.

Here is who I have tagged:

Nick because he is my brother-in-law and we have a secret pact of trying to direct online traffic each others way. (opps, secret's out).

Howard because he deals daily with those who have suffered the effects of the "gin palaces".

Steve because I wanted to bring a little bit of Salvationist thought to his Anglican musings.

Andrew because he is an old friend who firmly believes in the need to return to the passion of early day Salvationists.

Dave because he said he was lacking some brain stimulation.

PS. If you do respond to the tag please leave a comment below with a link to your post.

PPS. If I didn't tag you and you feel left out let me know and I'll break the 5 person rule.


David said...

Thank you cosmo. This is an interesting concept. I shall blog about it on my site. I shall check out the sites that you mentioned also.
That is an interesting coincidence about Beatrix Avenue. Really strange how life works sometimes.

Here is a link to my blog:

I shall try to set up the story for my book as well as you did for yours. Thanks again for this interesting task.


St said...

Have dealt with this at

jsi said...

Haven't seen Ryan's book but it sounds like what he speaks about. Interesting to be tossed around a room (a missile aimed at a stray bumblebee or cricket?)

Nick Coke said...

Thanks Cosmo - I've finally got round to play tag...

Cosmo said...

Thanks to david, steve and nick for playing along. It's been fun watching where it goes and also tracing it back.


No, it wasn't aimed at a stray bug, but I guess you could say it was bugging me to the point of indignation. I promise I'll go back through the book to rediscover what I found so offensive (and maybe conscience provoking??)

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