I had a gift certificate for Waterstone's given to me for my birthday back in March that I had not used.
I'd to do some bits-and-bobs in town so popped into Waterstone's to see if anything took my fancy. I had considered getting a nice hardback copy of War and Peace, but headed for the 'Christianity' section (Watherstone's don't have a 'theology' section).
Fernando noted a while back that theology books are getting thinner, well at 5cm think and 851 pages (including end notes), Taylors book bucks this trend, if indeed it is a trend. (Ok I'm perhaps blurring the distinction between theology and philosophy to say Taylor's work is a theology book - perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is a philosophy that includes theological insights?)
NB - Taylor teaches at McGill University in Montreal. It's founder was James McGill. There is a plaque on a rather ugly building on Stockwell Street here in Glasgow to state that this is where James McGill founder of McGill university was born. I'll try and remember to photograph it next time I pass bye.
I find his images of Christ compelling and stopped to look and took a picture of one with my phone.
Howson states that "as an artist, one should always be communicating". His pictures of Christ and the stations of the Cross certainly communicate - the question is what?
If you've ever seen a photo of Howson himself then you will recognize that the above picture of Christ is something of a self portrait. Is this wrong, is this blasphemous? Today reactions to such a question, even from those theologically trained would be shallow, at least compared to the deep theology that the Eastern Church has in connection with icons. Given we live in a visual culture and increasingly use visuals in church, perhaps we need to connect with and learn from this tradition and the Iconoclastic controversies of the 8th and 9th Cents?
Perhaps the first thing I should say is that this is not my car! It's simply the only photo of a car I have that I also have the right to use.
The recent hikes in forecourt petrol prices have exposed (if ever it needed exposed) our addiction to oil and our reliance on the car. We try and use our car wisely for both economic and environmental reasons. My wife and I even had a conversation recently about whether we could do without a car. The answer at this point of time is no - we still need a car - but yes we are committed to reducing year on year the mileage we do.
That said there are things that can be done to reduce the petrol you use and therefore the amount of emissions you make. So here's my list...
(1) Take your bike rack, roof rack, canoe rack etc off the car when your not transporting your bike or canoe etc. It's simple aerodynamics and even an unloaded rood rack will add to your fuel use. While I'm on the point, why do people need bike racks? I thought the idea of a bike was to cycle it, not stick is onto your car! Ok, perhaps you want to cycle somewhere different - well take the train somewhere different and cycle home.
(2) Make sure your tire pressure is correct.
(3) Given the amount of energy needed to move anything is connected to its mass make your car lighter. Now I'm not suggesting that you remove bits of your car, but if your car is anything like ours then the boot becomes a storage point and you end up driving around with a boot full of stuff adding to the weight of your car.
Why not go for what I'm calling the double bonus - lose some weight - that way you save on your food bill plus your car does not have to work so hard to move you from A to B as you weigh less.
The reduce your weight idea also applies to how much fuel you put in the car each time you fill it, so try and run with your tank less than 1/2 full.
(4) If the journey is less than 2 miles then you really should not take the car. Ok so this is a little more difficult if you've small kids or a lot of stuff to carry, but in the first two miles or so your car is at its most inefficient and just guzzles the fuel.
(5) Stick to the speed limit, especially on the motorway. Now we should all be doing this anyway, but if you sit at 70 on the M-way then you know that there are a lot of people who are not. Fuel efficiency drops dramatically after approx 60 mph, so if your on eof those people who power along the M-way at 80+ then your costing yourself and the environment.
(6) Don't be a boy racer! When the green lights come on at traffic lights your not at Silverstone. Move away smoothly. When I was a kid we sometimes borrowed a relatives car. My Dad got far better miles per gallon than they did because he's an old smoothie and does accelerate aggressively.
Along with this select the right gear so your engine is working at its most efficient.
(7) AC in a car seems to be an ambiguous one with experts saying it does or does not add to your fuel bill. What there does seem to be agreement on is that for short journeys, say less than 20 mins then its not worth putting your AC on, just to leave your car to get all hot again. For long M-way journeys having a window open is going to cause so much drag that it will out weigh any saving made from not using AC. What we try and do on a long journey is have the AC on to cool the car down. Once the car and the air system is cool switch to the normal air vent system.
I got an email from a PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast. She's doing a study on narrative accounts of important events and is looking for people to interview. She's finding it hard to find Christians to interview and asked if I could see if any of you lot out there in the blogosphere would be up for this.
I've participated and to be honest found it quite fun.
Unfortunately the web link I was given does not work, but if your interested leave a comment and I will forward it on.