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Andy Long Bass Player

Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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Progressive Christianity Network AGM

This weekend I enjoyed a train trip up to Birmingham to attend the AGM of the Progressive Christianity Network.  It’s the first time I had been to this event and didn’t really know what to expect, apart from previous experiences of other AGMs leaning towards the tedious.

In fact this was a very enjoyable afternoon. 65 people in attendance with a chance to make some new friends over lunch before starting the proceedings.  The business part of the meeting took place first: Election of officers, finances, reports etc. Once that was all out of the way we split into sub groups to discuss a variety of subjects and I found myself in a small group discussing how PCN members can make better use of social media platforms.  As an avid tweeter this was home ground for me, but a couple of our other members were quite new to the whole concept.

The whole group reconvened for a plenary session to discuss issues raised by the various groups and it was a good opportunity to hear from a broad selection of the members.

It was great to meet Adrian Alker at last. I picked up a copy of his book ‘Is A Radical Church Possible‘ and added it to my already too large pile of books to be read.  I’ll get round to it. Adrian also expressed an interest in coming to address our PCN group at Cardiff so we’ll be fixing up a date soon.

I brought home a box of resources for our group. PCN have recently released a set of four leaflets to be given to friends or used in churches.  These are titled ‘An Introduction To The PCN Groups Network’, ‘An Introduction To Our Eight Points’, ‘Helping Churches To Share A Progressive Faith’ and ‘Helping You To Live A Progressive Christian Faith’. These are an excellent little series of leaflets, I’ll be distributing them to our group, if you’d like a set please get in touch and I’l be happy to send them.

I’ve been grateful for the friends at PCN over the last twelve months or so and look forward to future events.  Next major conference is with Robin Meyers in Bristol on May 13th. Details here.

Kitchen project complete

Not the sort of topic I would normally post about, but we’re so pleased with the way this turned out that I had to tell someone!  After saving for a R-E-A-L-L-Y long time we’ve finally had our old kitchen ripped out and replaced with this beautiful solid oak set-up. I thought I’d post some pictures of it before I stink the place up.

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The Baptist Union and Same Sex Marriage

For a few years now I have been concerned with equal rights and inclusivity for LGBT people in the church. I was very happy to see the legalisation of same sex marriage in the UK in 2014 and since that time I have been actively interested in pursuing the acceptance of the LGBT community in churches, and the willingness of churches to register for same sex marriage and put right the prejudices that have been practiced for centuries.

I’ve spent most of my life as part of the Baptist church in the UK. For the most part a traditional denomination that holds quite conservative views on the matter. There are a small number of Baptist churches in the UK that have chosen to register their premises for same sex marriage, and a slightly larger number that would call themselves ‘inclusive’ in the sense that they welcome LGBT people as equal and active members of the church and embrace their sexuality as a natural and God-given part of their individuality.

It’s been hard work for me to be a part of the Baptist church with the views that I hold. In our own church there are some others who share my views, some who certainly don’t and a lot of people floating about in the middle somewhere. I’ve had a few disagreements with the leadership at the church over this issue and for the last few years have felt very uncomfortable there. I’ve wanted to leave on several occassions but have stuck around most of the time for the sake of friendships and because my wife didn’t want to move to a new church and start again.

On the subject of same sex marriage, the position of the Baptist Union of Great Britain in recent years could be summed up like this:

1. They hold to what they call a “Biblical Understanding” of marriage as a union between one man and one woman and call Baptists to live in the light of it.

2. As Baptist churches are governed by their individual church meeting and not by the Union itself, any Baptist church whose members vote in favour of registering the premises for same sex marriage is free to do so, with the understanding that the union itself holds to the principle as shown above.

3. Similarly any minister who wishes to do so, may carry out same sex marriage in accordance with the wishes of their church ‘where their conscience permits, without breach of disciplinary guidelines.’ (that is genuinely what they have published)

4. However, any Baptist minister who enters into a same sex marriage as a partner themselves will be deemed to subject to discipline as this is considered ‘conduct unbecoming for a minister’. If you want to see how seriously they take this, take a look at the list of other offences considered ‘unbecoming conduct’. You can find it on page 13 of the Ministerial Recognition Rules published in June 2015. 

I have been hoping that in light of recent conversations at Baptist Assembly and taking into account the 2013 legislation that the Baptist church would begin to take a more progressive line. However a statement issued in March 2016 appears to negate any immediate hope of that.

The Council statement reaffirms the commitment to the “Biblical Position” as outlined previously. Whilst the tension of diversity of opinions is recognised the statement goes on to ‘humbly urge churches who are considering conducting same sex marriages to refrain from doing so out of mutual respect’.

I failed to see the humility in this statement, in fact I was furious when I read it. It seems to be a giant leap backwards rather than even a small step forwards.  It is wrapped up in nicety but reading betwen the lines I can’t find any hope in it at all. The statement calls for affirming churches to act out of mutual respect, but no such respect is being shown to them in return.

It has left me wondering whether I can continue to be a part of the Baptist movement at all. In all good conscience, can I support an organisation that I believe is acting unjustly towards people who have historically been marginalised and have only recently started to achieve respect and equality. Surely we should be holding out a welcoming and inclusive hand to all.

I hope that I can stay at my local church and continue to be an advocate for equality, it’s difficult and I’m not someone who makes dramatic gestures or shouts his mouth off in the church meeting. I just hope to be a quiet and consistent voice for progress.

Andy

2016 and losses to music

Like a lot of people I have been saddened and shocked at the number of great musicians that have passed away in the early months of 2016. So this is just a short picture tribute to help us remember the lights that have dimmed. I’ll update this as time goes on but let’s hope I don’t have to add too many more.

Frozen Shoulder and Playing Bass

For the last couple of months I’ve been suffering with extreme pain in my right shoulder. Some x-rays and tests led to a diagnosis of frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. This is a condition caused by the thickening and inflammation of the capsule tissue surrounding the shoulder joint. It is extraordinarily painful and debilitating, especially at night.

Frozen Shoulder

I’ve seen several doctors for advice, but it seems that there is no really effective treatment, it just gets better over time, but can take up to two years to recover.

I’m taking a variety of painkillers and I even had a steroid injection. That was stupidly painful and hasn’t really helped. I’m trying to exercise it every day but it’s hard work.

In terms of playing bass it’s having some quite negative effects. I am unable to lift anything heavier than a cup of tea with my right arm, so Tim and Harvey have had to help me out a lot in loading and unloading equipment.

Thankfully I switched my cabs out to those lovely lightweight Edens a while back, which helps.  I’m having to play sitting on a stool most of the time (like a proper old fart), but even then it’s difficult to lift the bass off the stand and onto my lap. Once it’s there I can play OK (well, about as good as normal anyway).

For short sets I can stand to play, I’ve lengthened my strap a bit to try and ease strain on the shoulder.

Any other bass players out there had similar problems, any advice welcome.

Andy

Website rebuild

So…

My website used to be all blue and stuff.

now it looks like this…

That’s all

Andy

Hereditary Angioedema – update

I’ve had my Hereditary Angioedema page on this site for a few years now, It gets quite a lot of hits from around the world and the story has been shared on lots of different websites. I get quite a few emails from fellow patients and I’m always happy to chat about the condition.

Periodically I update the story with recent developments, but doing that has made the page become something of an epic, so I thought instead that I would update everyone via the occasional blogpost, so here’s one.

This year has been as interesting as any for a HAE patient. For a long time now I have been suffering with dry scaly, skin on my back and this year I’m also getting it on one of my forearms. I discussed this with my immunologist and we thought it might be a potential side effect of long term use of tranexamic acid.

As my HAE swelling are generally not too severe, especially compared to some, he suggested that I come off the drug altogether for a while and ascertain whether the skin problem improved.

I’ve been taking tranexamic acid for over twenty years now, so had no idea what would happen, but I came off the drug altogether.  After about a week or so I had a completely spontaneous swelling in my right arm, there were no trigger factors, such as a bump or fall that we could identify.  The attack started with the typical red rash, you can see what that looks like in the attached picture.IMG_0522

The swelling started as a pronounced lump in the middle of my forearm and gradually worsened, spreading right up to the elbow and down into my right arm.  Once it had started I declared the tranexamic acid experiment a failure and jumped straight back on them, taking an increased dose for a few days.

Despite that the attack lasted for a good few days. I didn’t go for hospital treatment, I never do for arms and legs as they are not dangerous attacks, just a bloody inconvenience.

After being back on the medication for a few weeks I suffered another attack, again spontaneous with no trigger factors, this time it was in an area that, well let’s just say I won’t be posting any pictures of that one!  I’ve had attacks like that in the past and they are extremely painful and debilitating. Last a day or two before subsiding.

I guess the lesson for me is that if you have a medication regime that is working it probably doesn’t pay to bugger about with it.

 

Newport East General Election Hustings – Candidate profile no.3

As you may already know I have organised a Hustings for Newport East, at St Julians Baptist Church, Beaufort Road on April 17th (7:30), which will feature several of the candidates in a question time format.

In the run up to the event on Friday I have decided to blog each day, presenting a profile of each of the candidates that will be at the event.  The profiles are taken direct from the candidates own websites and I present them here with no bias or preference, they are simply presented to give you a little more insight into each person.

So here is the third one, in no particular order. Check back tomorrow for another.


 

Newport East Liberal Democratics – Paul Halliday

key_Paul_Halliday.jpg

Paul Halliday is a Minister and Retail Development Manager who has been a part of Newport’s community for almost 10 years. Honest and compassionate he is the people’s voice on some of biggest changes Newport has seen in a generation.

When the University of South Wales announced that Caerleon campus was set to close Paul called on the Welsh Labour Government to reverse this closure and keep the vital campus open.

As one of the largest employers, it’s loss will have a bitter impact on Newport’s economy and its communities. But Labour council leaders, AM’s & current MP’s are all standing by and watching while the campus is closed.

Paul campaigns to keep Newport’s libraries open; to help save Newport’s heritage, for the scrapping of the Severn Tolls; and improved transport links across South East Wales. He is committed to more nurses in hospitals & encourages local businesses to take on more apprentices to ensure a stronger future enabling everyone to get on in life.

Only Paul and the Welsh Liberal Democrats can beat Labour in Newport East. A vote for anyone else will see Labour puppet Jessica Morden head back to Westminster and leave the people of Newport with nobody fighting their corner for another five years.

Newport East needs a strong voice. Vote Paul Halliday for Newport East.


The hustings is a free event, for more information please contact me:

Andy Long

andy@andylong.org.uk

tel:07801 883420

Newport East General Election Hustings – Candidate profile No. 2

As you may already know I have organised a Hustings for Newport East, at St Julians Baptist Church, Beaufort Road on April 17th (7:30), which will feature several of the candidates in a question time format.

In the run up to the event on Friday I have decided to blog each day, presenting a profile of each of the candidates that will be at the event.  The profiles are taken direct from the candidates own websites and I present them here with no bias or preference, they are simply presented to give you a little more insight into each person.

So here is the second one, in no particular order. Check back tomorrow for another.


 

NATASHA ASGHAR

Natasha Asghar (Conservative)
Natasha Asghar (Conservative)

CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE FOR NEWPORT EAST

I was born and raised in Newport and have worked across the country in business and industry. As your MP, I’ll serve our area with commitment and passion.

Above all, I want to secure a better future for you and your family – and I have the plan to achieve it:

1. More investment in Newport to create jobs. With my business experience, I’ll deliver investment in roads and local infrastructure to attract businesses and jobs

2. Safer roads. I’ll work with local police to ensure all residents, including children and the elderly, feel safe walking our streets, day and night

3. Help for people out of work. I’ll support those looking for a job, helping equip them with the skills they need to find work and get on in life

4. Support for people with addictions, health problems and disabilities. I’ll stand up for every member of our community and do all I can for local rehabilitation and support groups – as someone who’s cared for a disabled person myself, I know how vital these groups are

If you elect me on 7 May, I’ll deliver all these commitments and more for our area.

So please support me at the election, and let’s secure a better future for everyone in Newport.


The hustings is a free event, for more information please contact me:

Andy Long

andy@andylong.org.uk

tel:07801 883420

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