Games to play in church

During my rather epic post on the subject of last week’s religious Glee, I mentioned in passing a game my friends had created that can be played in church or at Christian festivals – actually, it’s not Christianity specific, so could be played by members of any religion. I felt it was sad to mention it so briefly, so thought I’d take some time to explain the rules. It’s very simple….

Version 1: Praying or Sleeping?
Created at Greenbelt 04, the aim is to look around your fellow Christians, spot someone with their eyes closed and judge whether they are praying or craftily grabbing 40 winks. People can be canny, and use the ‘I’m just having a moment of spiritual enlightenment’ card when really, all they’re doing is catching up on the sleep they missed by having to get up for church early, or because they’re at a festival and sleeping in a tent…

What do you reckon? 
Notice how an order of service is carefully placed on their legs, so it looks like they’re following what’s going on…

Version 2: Religious Experience or Medical Emergency?

This was a later invention, once some of us had begun attending more charismatic churches where falling over or making strange noises wouldn’t be uncommon. It’s not much fun to play in cathedrals, or places where putting one’s arms in the air is more likely to be an indication that they need the loo or know the answer to a question – rather than just to praise the Lord. As well as being a fun game, it also taps into one of my (slightly more bizarre) fears – if you were taken ill in a charismatic church, would anyone notice?

Luckily, last summer I finally got to see this play out in reality. At the end of a song, everyone sat down, but as we did so there was some commotion near the front of the church.There was a noise not unlike a person crashing against chairs (not unlike to the extent that it’s exactly what it was) and the question came into my head: “religious experience or medical emergency?”. People went to help and it was later discovered that a guy had serious heatstroke (it was on one of those super hot summer days – remember those?), so while not an ’emergency’, it was definitely ‘medical’. I was relieved that the correct action had been taken, and now feel that I can faint at church safe in the knowledge that I will be cared for appropriately…

Who says church can’t be fun?

The good, the bad and the ugly


  • The first day of Wimbledon fortnight has heralded uncharacteristically good weather. The sun is out, the sky is blue, there’s not a cloud to spoil the view…
  • I’m spending 5 days in a rather nice hotel in the heart of London’s Docklands.
  • My room in the aforementioned hotel has both an excellent waterside view and (more importantly) a lovely bathroom. Emphasis on the ‘bath’. My flat lacks that amenity (it has a shower, I’m not completely unclean!) and thus I revel in the facility when I have it.

[Ok, that’s not a photo of my view, or the bath, but it is one of my favourites from a late evening photography stroll. I’ve no idea what the ‘Idea Store’ is, but I intend to find out…]


  • My presence at the hotel is courtesy of a work-related conference. Thus the amount of time I’ll get to spend admiring my view; enjoying the weather; taking a bath; and utilising the spa/gym will be severely limited. 
  • Meetings that begin at 6.30am. I am not a morning person – it’s best not to talk to me during my first hour at the office on account of morning grumpiness and the negative impact of commuting. At this morning’s meeting, my first contribution was a single “yes” approximately 45 minutes in. That was an achievement. 
  • It’s Wimbledon fortnight and I cannot watch any tennis! This is an utter travesty and what’s worse is that not only am I away over the first week, but will be away next week too! Gutting doesn’t even begin to describe it – it’s my favourite time of the year. Fingers crossed, next Friday (my next day off) I’ll make it to its verdant lawns in person. 


  • Ever seen me at 6am after several nights of limited sleep? Not pretty.

Not so bleary eyed

As I’ve got a presentation with some distinguished members of staff this morning, it’s probably just as well that I’m not in the state that past mornings after the Academy Awards have found me. Watching the highlights brought back memories of past ceremonies when the sun dawned finding me even more bleary-eyed than usual.

Back in the day, when the BBC showed the Oscars live, it became something of a tradition to stay up and watch the whole thing – it became an endurance event akin to the marathon.

The year James Cameron did a little better than he did last night (1999 – Titanic year) my school friends and I held an Oscars party in a house conveniently close to school. If memory serves me correctly, we ate a lot of jelly (with jelly babies suspended within it) and one particularly eager friend made up a hugely complicated points system based on how many categories we correctly guessed the winners of… [To think, other 17 year olds would simply have got drunk!] It’s a miracle we made it into school the next morning, though I suspect I was keen to be at my triple American politics lesson…

A few years later, determination to complete this feat helped to cement my friendship with Ian [3 weeks till he’s in England – yay!]. We struggled to stay awake whilst sat on the world’s most uncomfortable sofas (wooden arms – eurghh!) and he caved significantly earlier than I did. In fact, I know for a fact that by the time I went to bed it was light and the building’s cleaners were already in.

The thing is, I think the key to successfully completing this marathon is to care about the results. I know that it doesn’t really matter and that the winning movies/actors aren’t necessarily the best, but you probably need to have watched the majority of front runners in order to have a modicum of opinion.

This is where I would fail – big time – this year. The only film I’d watched that made it into any of the categories was the latest Harry Potter (nominated for best cinematography). [I did also watch almost an hour of In the Loop last night, which was nominated for best adapted screenplay, but I don’t think that really counts.]

I am shocked and appalled at myself. I do love films, but I’m not massively keen on cinemas and I think I’m at the point where Avatar‘s hype is going to cement a stubborn will in me never to see it. My useful and local friend with whom I watch most films moves to California in a matter of weeks, so I will actually need to motivate myself if I’m ever to hold my own in film conversation again…

Maybe this time next year I’ll be capable of an intelligent piece of prose detailing the pros and cons of the various nominees. Maybe…

[And also, it just me, or is anyone else having a hard time coming to terms with Sandra – Miss Congeniality – Bullock winning Best Actress? Or is it just because The Proposal left such a bad taste in my mouth??]

Reasons why I should have an iPhone #74 & #75*

I’m still waiting for my third dream in which I use an iPhone before I actually cave and get one. (Having had two such dreams, I wondered whether God was trying to tell me something. My mother suggested that Biblically, three such dreams could be seen as a divine ordinance…)

In the mean time, more and more reasons for having one get chalked up on the ‘pros’ list. You’ll know most of them – Facebook on the go; mobile blogging; a handy little app to tell me what the tube’s doing & when my train will reach the platform; tweeting more effectively; the ability to instantly prove that I’m right courtesy of Wikipedia/Google; having something to do whilst waiting for friends to turn up in bars…y’know, all the things we think are pretty much ‘essential’ these days.

I’m well aware that there’s some serious dross available from the app store, but every so often I come across something that makes me wish I had the device of dreams…

Reason #74
‘Sleep cycle’. [I’ve just realised how many sleep references led up to this, totally unintentional!] This genius app helps monitor your sleep patterns, waking you up when you’re at the more awake end of the sleep spectrum rather than in deep sleep. (You set an alarm, it wakes you up within half an hour of it.) Not only should this mean you wake up more easily, but it also produces handy graphs to show how well you’ve slept.

The friend that introduced me to this helpfully sent along a couple of graphs to illustrate her different sleep patterns. The ones below show last Thursday versus the Friday before, which was a great night’s sleep given the amount of time spent at the ‘deep sleep’ end of the scale.

My last couple of month’s of sleep have been plagued with insomnia and general sleeplessness, so having a little gadget that measures my sleep quality would be rather intriguing…

Reason #75
The Dave Walker/Cartoon Church app. Dave Walker’s cartoons are genius & it links to the Dullest Blog in the World – what’s not to like?

*These are utterly made-up numbers. Just in case you were wondering whether this was an actual list or something….

Things I don’t do well after napping:

1. Answer the phone. I make an effort, but usually end up slurring my words & sounding drunk.
2. Understand where I am & what’s happening.
3. Perform simple tasks quickly – like changing from PJs into normal clothes.
4. React to surprising situations.

This would explain why I was utterly floored when woken up from a short Friday evening nap (yes, incredibly exciting Friday night for me!) first by a phone call, then a buzz on my intercom announcing the completely unexpected arrival of two good friends of mine.

In the space of 10mins I went from sleeping to cooking food to hungry visitors, but I’m pretty sure I was totally incoherent for a good long while. Apologies.

In my defence, this is my first properly free weekend in ages, and my plan for the evening had basically consisted of curry, Gilmore Girls & Guitar Hero. Sometimes a nap’s a welcome bonus! But it also goes to show that there’s still room for spontaneous popping round, even in the age of mobiles and unfriendly London.