Andy Redfern

Andy Redfern

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Posts by Andy Redfern

A bad night’s fishing – New Drama based on John 21:1-14

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Here is a new drama (or skit for all my readers in the USA) based on John 21:1-14

Two characters. They are called Andrew and Nathan. (Nathan is Nathaniel and while it doesn’t say Andrew was present a number of unamed disciples were fishing that night.) They are stood on the deck of a small fishing boat reflecting on the night’s fishing. Both talk in Northern accents with a “grumpy old man” manner.

 

Andrew:     I reckon it’s your fault Nathan.

 

Nathan:      Oh here we go Andrew. What are you blaming me for now?

 

Andrew:     It’s your fault we caught no fish all night.

 

Nathan:      Oh aye? How do you reckon on that?

 

Andrew:     It’s your aftershave. The fish can smell you a mile off. You must stop going fishing after you’ve been clubbing.

 

Nathan:      Oh right, blame me. More likely to be those two at the back of the boat – Zebedee’s boys. Whoever heard of fishermen called “Sons of Thunder”? – it’ll be all their racket that’s scared the fish.

 

Andrew:     Still reckon it’s your fault. I’m from a family of fishermen like my brother Peter.

 

Nathan:      What? Peter? When future Gospel writers come to write his life story, it’ll say “When Jesus came across Peter, he was mending his nets.” He spends more time sewing than fishing.

 

Andrew:     Hey shut up. He’s listening. You know he’s not been the same since he…well….you know…let Jesus down. You know when he denied him three times. He blames himself for everything.

 

Nathan:      Aye and a good night’s fishing was supposed to put that right. Not much chance of that. I’ve seen more fish in the Dead Sea during a drought on a hot Bank Holiday Monday.

 

Andrew:     Hang on… there’s a nutter on the beach lighting a fire and waving at us. Better not be the People’s Front of Judea doing that Zealot thing again. Still haven’t had the last insurance claim settled….

 

Nathan:      No…listen…John says it’s Jesus.

 

Andrew:     Blimey again? He’s back again? He’s had more comebacks than Dr Who.

 

Nathan:      Hang on… your brother Peter’s jumped in and is splashing through the water. No chance of catching any fish now. He’s being a real muppet.

 

Andrew:     If that’s Jesus, why’s he shouting at us? What? Is he telling us how to fish? Does he know what we do? Does he know we do this for a living? He’s a carpenter from Nazareth. Since when did he go all Robson Green and give tips on extreme fishing?

 

Nathan:      Shut up idiot. Now you’re scaring the fish – just do what he says. Put the net in on the other side.

 

Andrew:     Oh right. Does he think the fish are just messing about? Playing hide and seek under the boat.

 

Nathan:      Look…the nets…they’re full.   There must be…153 fish in that net.

 

Andrew:     What? 153 fish? How do you know?

 

Nathan:      I just do. Google it later and see if I’m right. LOL.

 

Andrew:     I have no idea what you just said. Well this net is heavy. All these fish. I’m going to put my back out.

 

Nathan:      Do you ever stop moaning? Look! Jesus is cooking breakfast. He’s alive. He is risen. And he’s a man who cooks a mean breakfast. Now that truly is a miracle.

 

Andrew:     No, I’ll tell you the real miracle. He’s talking to Peter and he’s smiling and nodding his head. Perhaps this is just what the doctor ordered.

 

This drama was written by Andy Redfern is copyright. However, you can use it freely for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and reference this site.

Five Ways to Make Learning Lines a Little Bit Easier

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In my view nothing takes the dramatic out of a drama more than all the actors walking around with scripts in their hands. They don’t project their voices. They don’t make eye contact with each other or the audience. And they often still get lost when they try to look up and ad lib.

People will often site lack of time or “it’s only a small congregation” as reasons why they don’t learn lines. Well those may be good excuses but I reckon if it’s worth taking the time of people to watch it, it’s definitely worth taking the time to learn the lines. So how can we learn lines more quickly and more effectively?

  1. Get the script right – if you can’t read and deliver the lines comfortably then tweak the script so you can. If you feel the character wouldn’t say things quite that way, rewrite it so you are comfortable. Of course, you are only rewriting for delivery – make sure you don’t go changing the meaning!
  2. Record the script and listen to it – even if you have to do all the voices yourself most laptops, phones and MP3 players now have the ability to record and playback easily. Listen to it a few times perhaps while you’re doing something else like driving and you will soon be picking up many of the lines.
  3. Record the other speaking lines and then practise adding yours – I use an application called Evernote. It lets me record all the other lines as individual notes. I then play them back in order and give my lines when each note finishes. Great for practising when no one else can help out.
  4. Work with a friend – ask someone else to give all the other lines. Makes sure they encourage you to get the lines exactly right. If you end up getting a line wrong it can throw everyone else.
  5. Make time for rehearsals – there is no better way to polish your lines and your timing.

So next time go the extra mile – your audience or congregation will thank you!

Got any tips you’d like to share?

Love in Action

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In considering love this week, I’ve thought a lot about what love in action might look like. I was reminded of a friend I knew a few years ago. He was pretty hit and miss in his church attendance. He would not have been able to deliver his testimony from the front of church. He did not know his Bible inside out. He did not have all the right answers. But he did know the names of all the children in the Primary School where he was the Head. He did show an interest in every individual he met. He would do anything for anyone. He never had a bad word to say about anyone.

I remember one night at house group, we were talking about discipleship and David said –

“I’m not sure I know exactly what discipleship is, but I do get out of bed every morning and say ‘I wonder how I can love as Jesus loved today’. Is that what you mean?”

David died very suddenly in his mid forties and at his funeral, the church was overflowing with individuals from all walks of life whose lives had been touched by this extra special man and his extraordinary love.

And then just last week, I attended a retirement ‘do’ for the tutor of  my Living Theology Today course in Durham. He had tutored the course for ten years, each year welcoming in a new set of students and walking with them through their head and heart journey of faith and discovery. When I received the invitation, I knew I had to go, but was concerned that there would be no one else there from my course. How wrong I was. The room was full of people whose lives had been changed by this man. Everyone was there because they wanted to testify to the difference that this one man had made to their faith and life.

But Jim is not a loud, confident, charismatic individual. He is the epitome of ‘unassuming‘. He is reserved and shrinks from the limelight. He hates being the centre of attention and does not stand out in a crowd. His knowledge of theology is extensive and deep and yet he values fresh insights from much less learned individuals like myself. His love is patient, gentle and kind. He seemed overwhelmed by the good wishes of us all, as if surprised that he had had an impact on so many lives.

Of course, the very best example of love in action that has ever lived is Jesus himself. Look for love in his every action. Look for love in his every word. Love is there to be found in all that Jesus did and said.

He did not heal the sick to show how spiritual he was.

He did not turn water into wine to prove a point.

He did not pick these particular disciples to make himself look good.

He did not cast out demons to prove how much God was using him.

He did not tell parables to get in with the in-crowd.

He did not walk on water to impress.

He did not calm the storm to gain respect.

He did not feed the five thousand to become popular.

He did not wash the disciples’ feet to make people look up to him.

It was all out of love. Love for his followers. Love for the sick. Love for the lost. Love for God. In Jesus, we find a kind and compassionate love. A love that cares and meets needs. A love that nurtures, cherishes and forgives. A love that is patient and humble.

 

Let us be inspired and challenged by love in action.

 

Let us learn to say with my friend – ‘I wonder how I can love as Jesus loved today’.

New Sunday School resources from Traidcraft

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Just found that Traidcraft has produced an excellent four-week Sunday School (or Vacation Bible School) series on fair trade focusing on honey production in Bolivia.

The pack consists of a four summary sheets detailing activities and the programme plus activity sheets to photocopy for each child. The pack is available as a PDF download here. The pack is well recommended.

Making the Trinity make sense

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I have always struggled to make sense of the Trinity. Even more so when I have tried to explain it to my kids. I came across this that helped me and my kids:

 

Athanasius compared the Trinity to a lighted candle: the lighted candle is a flame; the flame is light and the flame is heat, but it is all one flame. The One God is the creator of all, the one God is the incarnated light of Jesus, and the one God is the warming presence of the Holy Spirit. All of these manifestations are at the same time the flame of the lighted candle. This remains the best analogy I have found to describe the Trinity.

Rufus H. Stark II, retired Methodist minister, writing to The Christian Century.

New Secondary School Assembly: JUST DO IT

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Just Do it is a secondary school assembly suitable for the whole school (ages 11 to 18).

The aim is to challenge students about their response to need when it is presented to them, using a well-known event from the life of Jesus and Bob Geldof’s experience with Live Aid.

The assembly is based around the bible passage Matthew 14.13–21.

View JUST DO IT on the Assemblies website »

View all assemblies »

Rest is a state of mind – Part 3

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“I really love the name of your boat,” he was sayingQuerencia, right?”

“Yes,” she said. “You speak Spanish?”

“No, but I read a book about bullfighting once. Isn’t that the spot in the ring when the bull feels protected and secure?”

“Exactly,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a place in the sun. Other times it’s in the shade. It’s where the bull goes between charges. It’s like an invisible fortress, the only safe place.”

“Just like your boat.”

The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud

 

And that’s another thing I turn to in the school holidays – losing myself in absorbing “light” fiction. Then sometimes I find a truth right there in the escapism. True rest is there to be found in the wildest storm, when attacks are coming from all sides. True rest requires protection and security, strength and safety. It’s where I need to go between battles.

 

My thirteen year old adopted daughter can whip up a storm in seconds. The anger is raging, the hurtful words are hitting the target over and over again. Feelings of helplessness, hurt and failure threaten to overwhelm me. Even when she has long forgotten what she was angry about and has fallen asleep, I lie awake into the night, trying to find some peace, some rest, some restoration.

 

Where is my Querencia?

 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Psalm 46:1-3

 

God is my Querencia.

 

God is my invisible fortress.

In him, I can feel protected and secure.

God is my only safe place.

In him, I can find the rest to let love win again.

 

There was no grave…

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A performance poem for Easter Day by Stewart Henderson.

There was no grave grave enough
to ground me
to mound me
I broke the balm then slit the shroud
wound round me
that bound me.
There was no death dead enough
to dull me
to cull me
I snapped the snake and waned the
war
to lull me
to null me.
There was no cross cross enough
to nil me
to still me
I hung as gold that bled, and bloomed
a rose that rose and prised the tomb
away from Satan’s wilful doom
There was no cross, death, grave
or room
to hold me.

(c) Stewart Henderson – All rights reserved.

Find more Stewart Henderson poems at Eden Books

Rest is a state of mind Part 2

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So the school holidays are a notoriously difficult time to experience rest. The waters are not so quiet when filled with the shrieks of children splashing in the freezing cold stream. The pastures are not so restful with games of football and Frisbee going on all around. If God is only there in the quiet times, then I‘ve had it.

I therefore turn my thoughts to mindfulness – practising the presence of God in everyday life. Maybe hope is to be found here.

My friend has determined to practise mindfulness on her daily morning walk with the dog. Rather than obsessing about all that she has to do that day, she concentrates on her surroundings, tries to feel positive about being out in the fresh air rather than in bed and notices something new every day.

“I never realised nature was so noisy,” is her conclusion. “The running water, the birds in the trees, the breeze in the leaves – when you listen, it’s all there.

Creation crying out in praise to the Creator. Cool.

So when I am out with the kids, I try to be really out with the kids (rather than at home in my head, composing lists and worrying about unfinished tasks.) I enjoy the sunshine and the blossom. I concentrate on what the children are wanting to tell me. I draw their attention to the wonderful world that we live in. I celebrate the moments of laughter and love. I draw on my reserves of patience and love when things start going pear-shaped. (most – some – of the time).

And I wouldn’t say I feel rested, but I am getting through this Easter break so far without resorting to mindless colouring in (not with the kids, but in the evening when the kids have gone to bed!), a sure indicator in my experience of a fried brain. I don’t feel like packing my bag and running away. God is there in the midst of it all, waiting to be noticed, wanting to be found. The housework can wait.

 

PS: I’m obviously not doing as well at the whole holidays experience as I thought I was. When one of my husband’s colleagues asked him how I was, he replied “she’s wearing that slightly haunted look she always has in the school holidays.”

Shame.

Some way to go yet then.

 

Rest is a state of mind – Part 1

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As someone who is perpetually exhausted, my bed is one of my favourite places. Surprisingly, that is not the rest I am talking of today.

Let’s consider some of the best known words in the Bible

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul” (Psalm 23:1-3)

“Really? As if? When would I have time for that? Five children and husband to keep house for, lots of friends to support and spend time with, writing projects on the go, church activities to fit in….when have I got time to lie down in green pastures and be led beside quiet waters? You’ve got to be joking. Anyway, keeping busy is what matters in life, doing good things for God, using my time and resources wisely and effectively. How guilty would I feel if I took time to sit down, to be quiet? And what would everyone else think of me? I’d soon be labelled as the lazy one around here.”

What can you hear? Bitterness and resentment? Fear and paranoia? Duty and responsibility?

But when I read the words of Psalm 23, I actually want to cry. When I sing “Rest, my soul, in Christ alone”,  a yearning wells up inside me – to rest, to let out a big sigh, to relax in the presence of God. When I hear Jesus say “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), I desire to do just that.

I’ve just been to my weekly Pilates class, which is my opportunity to focus for one hour a week on getting my body back into alignment after a week of misuse, overuse and bad posture. One session a week is not enough of course, but it does just enough to leave me physically restored and refreshed and to remind me of the importance of looking after my body.

So wouldn’t it be good to set aside an hour a week to sit in the garden contemplating the breeze in the trees or to go for a walk by the stream in the nearby woods (WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY)? This could be my opportunity to focus for an hour a week on getting my soul back into alignment with my Creator after a week of emotional struggles and spiritual exhaustion. One session a week would not be enough, of course, but maybe it would do just enough to leave me spiritually restored and refreshed and to remind me of the importance of looking after my soul.

So make me lie down in green pastures.

Please lead me beside quiet waters.

Restore my soul.

And then my yearning will be satisfied.

Tears will no longer sting my eyes.

Then the Lord will be my shepherd and I shall not be in want.

 

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