Tag Archives: Writing

Writing, Speaking, Podcasting and Lamenting … out loud

I called this blog Thinking Out Loud because that describes something I love to do – working out, wrestling with, and sharing my thinking externally. Writing is a helpful tool for this as it forces you to wrangle your ideas into some kind of structure and shape, that you hope will help spark ideas, resonances, and responses in those who read them. There is also some trepidation in putting your thoughts into ‘print’, as they can then be perceived as fixed and final, unable to be further nuanced or developed.

Podcasting is another great way of thinking out loud. I have a range of podcasts I’m loving listening to, hearing other people ponder and wonder, dialogue and debate, inform and imagine as they speak their words into being. (I need to update my top listening list soon). There is probably a greater sense of immediacy and connection with listening rather than just reading, which makes me want to think more about the engagement of our different senses in this context.

Many of the messages I preach are available as podcasts, and a friend and I have been imagining what a podcast we hosted could look like.

Last week I had the opportunity to be interviewed for a fairly new podcast, hosted by Andy and Mike, two guys serving as worship pastors in churches that are part of the movement in which I lead and serve.

Our topic was Lament, and in particular how the Psalms of Lament teach us and lead us in this practice as part of our worship. I really enjoyed sitting down and talking through some of what I have learned through my studies and teaching, preaching and practicing, of the Psalms.

The downside of talking over writing is that you don’t necessarily say everything you want to, and I did wonder if our tone was sometimes more upbeat than the topic might suggest, simply due to the enjoyment of having the conversation itself.

But having dialogue partners means you can bounce off one another in real time, which is great for both questions and tangents. Hopefully it leads to key ideas being both clarified and applied in helpful ways. I really enjoyed our conversation and it probably could have gone for a lot longer.

In many ways, learning to lament is itself a practice of thinking out loud.

The Psalms invite us to enter into their experience and relationship with God,  to experience their emotions and imagination and embodiment. I believe it is in enacting the Psalms, voicing their words as our own, that they form us.

The lament psalms in particular invite us to share our experiences of disorientation with God and with one another in the community of faith: asking questions in our doubt, weeping tears in our sadness, expressing anger at injustice, confessing our weaknesses and failings, standing in solidarity with the grief and brokenness of others. And doing all this in an attitude of prayer and worship.

I’m currently working on a few writing projects on the Psalms, but if you’d like to hear some of my thinking out loud specifically about Lament, you can listen to the podcast episode here: Captivate Podcast, Episode 8.

Today would be a nice day to be in Stratford-upon-Avon

Today is a public holiday, which would seem like a nice day to stay right here, but I have lots of writing to get done, so I’m thinking a place with some literary inspiration would be a nice getaway. Where better than the town of William Shakespeare?

Map of Shakespeare's Stratford
Map of Shakespeare’s Stratford
What did I love about Stratford-upon-Avon?

For starters, it’s a very pretty place.

The river Avon
The river Avon

It was April when we visited, so the trees were green, the river clear, and the flowers blooming.


We stayed in the most charming English Bed and Breakfast, although I’m not sure I could have coped with the colour scheme for more than a couple of days!

Bed and Breakfast

Coming from a country where a 100 year old building is OLD, it is pretty cool to see places that have been there for hundreds of years and wonder at all those who have passed through in that time and what might have occurred there.

Old Houses

The Guild Chapel has been hosting worship gatherings for 850 years.

Guild Chapel

The building next to the Guild Hall was added more recently … in 1490.

1490 building Guild Hall

We had a great English pub lunch at The Garrick Inn, thought to be the oldest house in Stratford-upon-Avon, with parts of it dating back to the fourteenth century.

Garrick Inn

What did I learn from Stratford-upon-Avon?

Really, as a visitor, Stratford-upon-Avon is all about Shakespeare, and I learned much about him. Touring town is basically a walk through the places of his life.

Where he was born, the son of a glover who later became an alderman and High Bailiff but then fell on hard times and narrowly avoided debtor’s prison.

Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare’s Birthplace

The church where he was both baptised and buried, and likely attended services whenever he was in town.

Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church

His wife’s cottage, the older woman he married at 18, seemingly spent twenty years apart from while he wrote and performed, returned to live with and left his “second-best bed” to in his will.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

His daughter Susanna and her husband Dr John Hall’s house.

Hall's Croft
Hall’s Croft

The site of the house where he died.

The New Place
The New Place

His grave and funerary monument inside the church.

Shakespeare's Grave

And of course no Shakespearian trip would be complete without catching a performance of one his famous plays … we saw Henry IV, although it was back in London at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Globe Theatre London

From all accounts, our William was a complicated man who had in many ways a messy life. But his legacy is a reminder of the incredible power of words … words that live on and are shared and inspire. Words that can even change lives. As someone who works with words in my teaching and preaching jobs, who is currently engaged in finding words to express my research and learning, and who enjoys playing with words in this adventure of blogging, that is a powerful reminder.

Shakespearian Boats

P.S. And finally, speaking of words, I’m not sure there is anywhere else but an Old English village where you would find such politely expressed parking advice.

Pretty Parking Sign