Weekend

We’ve had a lovely weekend with new friends in Oxford. On Saturday, Kane, a Kiwi guy from Wycliffe, his wife Louise and their three children came over to watch the rugby with us (and Louise’s parents joined us after the game briefly).

Then in the evening Mim & I went round to the Robson’s house for a games evening. James Robson is my fellowship group leader at Wycliffe, and three others from the fellowship group came along too: Pete & Bec, and Lloyd.  It was great to be playing in a group of other competitive people – winning matters!

Today we had a big crowd over for lunch: Tim & Anna and their six children (who we know from St Ebbe’s Headington), and Ryan & Jen (Ryan’s in my Greek class). Joshua loves to have older children round so he had a great time playing with the other children, and we adults and the older kids had a nice time of uninterrupted chatting together.

John Sculley interview

There’s a fantastic interview with John Sculley (former Apple CEO) about Steve Jobs. It’s very interesting if you are interested in Steve Jobs, but there are some other great bits in it too – e.g.

I remember going to CES when Microsoft launched Zune and it was literally so boring that people didn’t even go over to look at it… The Zunes were just dead. It was like someone had just put aging vegetables into a supermarket. Nobody wanted to go near it.

But I thought the most striking thing in the interview was how openly he describes his own failure to lead Apple successfully. How often do you see business leaders describe themselves with humility like this:

Looking back, it was a big mistake that I was ever hired as CEO. I was not the first choice that Steve wanted to be the CEO. He was the first choice, but the board wasn’t prepared to make him CEO when he was 25, 26 years old.

All the design ideas were clearly Steve’s. The one who should really be given credit for all that stuff while I was there is really Steve.

I made two really dumb mistakes that I really regret because I think they would have made a difference to Apple.

So we totally missed the boat. Intel would spend 11 billion dollars and evolve the Intel processor to do graphics… and it was a terrible technical decision. I wasn’t technically qualified, unfortunately, so I went along with the recommendation.

The other even bigger failure on my part was if I had thought about it better I should have gone back to Steve.

Trader to theology student: why?

There are all sorts of reasons why people leave the investment banking world, but heading off to study theology afterwards isn’t the typical path. That is what I am doing, though: I am leaving my job as a bond trader in order to study theology, and I want to spend the rest of my life doing explicitly Christian work.

To some people I guess this will sound like a mad idea, either because they think that the job I’m leaving is great (which it is), or because they think that the church is a horrible organisation with irrational and outdated belief.

But I believe that communicating the Christian message is the most important thing I can do with my life, and the church I know is made up of amazing people who I love to live and work with.

Read on for my explanation of why I am moving from bond trading to theological study – I want to knock some misconceptions on the head, and try to get across what I find so attractive about the Christian message that I want to devote my life to it in this way.

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Shotover Park

Shotover ParkOn Saturday we went to Shotover Park, which is a bit less than ten minutes drive from our house. One lovely thing about moving to Oxford from London is that the countryside is only a few minutes away, which Mim particularly enjoys. The children love being outside too, with both of them enjoying eating blackberries along the way.

Mim and the boys

Sun through the trees

Joel

JoelThis photo doesn’t have any news attached – it’s just a lovely picture of Joel being happy, which thankfully he often is.

Joshua

Joshua in the sandpitJoshua seems to have settled fairly well – he still talks about the “new garden”, but having grass in the back garden was such a novelty when we arrived that he called it “the park”!

Unattractive ranting

The other day in the Times I noticed a column by Hugo Rifkind which struck a bit of a chord with me, about the nasty tone which often dominates the conversation of the New Atheists. Of course, Christians are not always guiltless in this department, and we ought to be better given what we believe. But I think that on the whole these days, in England at least, Christians make every effort to be gracious and persuasive about our message instead of ranting and being rude. The New Atheists don’t seem to realise how deeply unattractive their approach is, and I think Hugo Rifkind’s article is interesting because it picks up on that:

You know what bothers me about the most passionate advocates of atheism? Why they aren’t nicer. Personally, if I were desperately keen to convince the world that faith wasn’t required to be a loving and benevolent moral agent, I’d be at pains not to act like a nasty, bilious oaf.

…the overall tone is one of a sort of pious, gleeful, sneering. This is pretty much the same tone that seems to predominate in most atheistic discourse, and I’m not just talking about Dawkins. If you don’t believe me, Google some of the online forums he’s inspired, which will doubtless have picked this up by now, and be busy proving my point.

Obviously, atheist hate isn’t a patch on religious hate, and the things that Pope Benedict has covered up are considerably worse sins than blah, blah, blah. But guys, you’re supposed to be above all that. You’re supposed to be the rationalist pinnacle of humanity, showing us all the glorious future the world will enjoy once it casts off its silly superstitions and finally realises how clever and right you are. I’ve got to say, you’re not really selling it.

Original article at the Times website though you’ll need a subscription to read it (as will I once my subscription runs out in a few days).