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Still Gone: a darkness to see by

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2 years ago today was my Dad's funeral. Around that time I wrote down some reflections. As I read them back recently it reminded me that often the darkest moments in our lives can provide us with what we need to see life that little bit more clearly. I felt as though a part of me was missing, like something inside had been chopped out. Below are some of the things I wrote around that time. I hope it doesn't seem too self-indulgent to put on as a blog, I only know that a change in perspective is often just what we need to help keep our priorities aligned and in order.

Gone. One word, four letters and a whole world of meaning and implications. More than ever before I feel as though my life is in perspective. 
To my dad I now live in the future, a time that his eyes didn’t get to see. He doesn’t know this time and this date, these events are something he’ll never be able to recall. It’s the little things that seem to carry the greatest sadness like the grass of the park covered wit…

Are you quite done?

Is it off your chest and on the floor? Do you see how it looks now?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Christian minister who lived during Nazi Germany and eventually died at their hands just days before the end of the war. I came across one of this books this week that really seemed to speak into what I've been wrestling with.


A few things stood out with regards to the desire we all share for an inspiring and authentic church community. I thought I'd share them as I've found them to provide a sort of balm for the irritation of commercial Christianity we all sometimes feel from time to time.

Our desire to be part of and help build the sort of sacrifical, other-centered, powerful community that we read about in the New Testament is a good desire. The trouble is that this desire or hope, when deferred, makes us sick, frustrated and disillusioned with church. We conclude that it was a 'pie in the sky' utopian dream that was never going to happen. 

Bonhoeffer's comment was…

The Lure of Hypocrisy

Spoiler alert.

I feel sick of slick. I feel sick of people who smile sweetly, who present a 'got it together' image. Sick of downloading vodcasts and podcasts of the latest Christian personality.

I feel sick of the celebrity culture in the church. The 'I follow Apollos' mentality that decides whether I'm in or out, credible or not. Bright lights and a camera on a crane. Popstars and doting faithfuls, carrying the bags and hanging on the words of bright minds and sharp wits. Sick also of the 'anointed' frauds I hear about and read about. 'Follow me' Jesus said to a group of fishermen and outcasts. Was this really in his mind? A church full of TV presenters and the nausea inducing age of Christianity I live in?

I haven't got room in my stomach for name-dropping or rhetoric. Words seem too deceitful to trust. I don't know who I am, or what I really think. I like only the sound of the syllables and the images, the twists they create in my mind. …

Jesus my colleague

Jesus.

He's the one I work with, sorry for. You may have heard of him. He's there in every meeting I attend and since I work for a church, most meetings are about him. Occasionally I take time out to ask him what he thinks of this or that decision but most of the time I assume I know what he wants, I've read his book after all.

I want people to follow him, and I'd love to introduce people to him but in reality I don't much like talking to strangers and it's hard to change someone's mind about the type of toothpaste they use, let alone the god they worship. Surely he knows that.


I do want him to be worshipped and honoured as the ruler and king that he is. In our church services I want to sing and shout and dance and delight, but I sang this song last week, and the week before that and I'd really rather sit down and listen to a talk about him (it's far less demanding).


I do love working with, sorry for Jesus but it's just that he follows me home a…

The Inevitability of Dominoes

One falls and they all fall, that's how it works isn't it? It does if you've set it up right.

There are few things more anti-climatic than a poorly arranged domino chain. It just gets going, just starts to gain momentum and then... it's over.

'Decisions are like dominos' someone once told me, it's stuck with me. He was right. Every decision we make whether big or small has consequences to it. We can't always see all the implications of every decision we make but we know there'll be some. Take my decision to ask a friend to shave my hair off a week before my wedding... small decision, a lot of grief and a lot of dominoes. Now every time we look at our wedding photos, I'm reminded of that decision. Little did I know as I did it that I'd forever be plagued by the memory of it, rarely does the 'issue' not come up when talking with friends about our wedding day. Rash decision, many dominoes.

Right now I'm in the process of watching s…

The soundtrack of our lives

Del Amitri Roll To Me, Seal Kiss From A Rose and Shanks & Bigfoot Sweet Like Chocolate; Three songs that mean a lot to me.

Roll To Me was played to death on a skiing trip in France aged 18 and every time I hear it I'm transported back there and can recall with striking intensity, the minibus ride through France and up the Alps. Kiss From A Rose - the summer of 1994, Batman Forever and Summer Squash Camps at Lee On Solent and Sweet Like Chocolate the summer of 1999 and leaving school, of beach parties, fruit picking and the Solent in the sun, magical.

Songs have a way of conjuring up memories, of transporting us. Do you ever wonder what the soundtrack to your life would consist of? If I was to listen to my life I wonder what the reoccurring themes would be? What would shine through as the most listened to pieces of music or genres of music? Would it be my overdose on Nirvana and Guns N' Roses when I was 14 or my brief flirtation with Hip Hop & R&B in 2001? Or maybe A…