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Showing posts from 2019

Failure

I'll let you into a secret. Most months I feel like I'm failing. I live with an expectancy that sooner or later someone somewhere will call me out and point out that everything I've ever done in ministry has been wrong and that I cannot and should not have done all the things I've done. More than that, I'm half expecting it to be true that quite frankly everything I've tried to do over the years has amounted to next to no improvement or advance in anyone's life or the kingdom of God. O how I'd love to know what a better, more prepared, skilled and gifted and experienced person would do with my job; I'll copy them.

I don't say this to elicit cries of 'Oh poor you, that's not true - you're not a failure.' it's just how I feel.

The thing is, I've felt like this the entire time I've been in ministry and in whatever aspect of ministry I've worked in. When I worked with children and ran the Kidz Klub and Sunday children…

A Subtle Shift

I don't know what I think.

I've sat down to write but don't know why, nor do I know exactly what it is I want to process in this writing. I could let loose a stream of consciousness on the screen and stand back afterward to see what unfolded (another blog sat in 'draft' stage forever perhaps?). Or I could try and say something. But sometimes 'saying something' feels contrived and my mind doesn't think as freely as it otherwise would. I can set out to write sometimes and appear as though I'm exploring and musing and 'fellow travelling' but when I do this, I know all along where I'm heading; and so the journey isn't as free and loose as I'd like it to be.

I've returned home from another evening's discussion in which a diverse group of people expressed a diverse range of beliefs on a (you guessed it) diverse range of themes. I've come home trying to filter through what I've heard and I'm now trying work out what …

It's Personal

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Ultimate reality is personal.

That idea if true, has huge implications for life. The works and lectures of Ellis Potter are having a big impact on me at the moment and this statement is from his book on knowledge. Ellis was a Zen-Buddhist monk for ten years (many years ago) and is now a Christian lecturer, thinker, pastor and writer.

Ultimate reality is not mechanical, it's personal.

It is perhaps, in our society, more natural to think of ultimate reality as being mechanistic. We have broken the world down into its smallest parts, convinced as we are that a thing is best understood by isolating and understanding its smallest details. Having uncoupled the world from its goal and purpose and having done away with 'big-picture' meaning and objective absolutes we examined the world from that starting point and found it follows mechanical processes.

Tick follows tock follows tick follows tock.

The natural laws in the universe appear to be constant (we're not sure why but t…

The Fragile Self

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'Such and important message!'

'So beautiful, and so so needed!'

'It's so wonderful to see such empowerment on display!'

Accolade after accolade followed their performance, and deservedly so for a fantastic and important, oh so important message.

I watched the performance of the all girl dance group The Khronos Girls in the semi-final of BGT and echoed many of the sentiments shared by the judges above. I shared them but for different reasons. It is a needed message but I fear so few can hear it. Their dance depicted the struggle of teenage girls everywhere to match up to others' expectations of themselves and their fight for self-acceptance in a world that makes them feel constantly like they don't measure up.

It was heartbreaking to see such a clear presentation of one of the main problems with our psychological age, and baffling that so few people see the huge fissures that seem to be opening up beneath our feet. Fissures evidenced by the terrifyin…

Beauty from violence

On the earth's creation.

'When I first saw the Earth from space I thought about how something so incredibly beautiful came from something so violent and destructive.' - Astronaut Nicole Stott

Watching a documentary on the creation of planet Earth I was struck by those concluding comments.

Throughout the episode there was a regular repetition and emphasis placed on the violence and chaos that surrounded the creation of our planet. Rocks 'smashed' into each other 'collision upon collision'. The narrator described our planet as a tiny droplet of calm in a massive surging 'storm', 'raging' all around us.

It made me think of the creation myths from antiquity. Unfamiliar with the details of any particular story I'm told that in almost all creation stories, the world is created amidst a battle between the gods, with war and violence as their themes.

Increasingly I'm interested by the process by which many of our early human ancestors create…

Solitude: a journey of listening

I am listening God.
Silence. Then, like a stampede of elephants my thoughts crowd and crush through my mind demanding I attend to urgent matters and trivial ones. Holding the mind still enough for long enough to listen is hard. As external processors perhaps it is only in the engaging of our thoughts that we can hold and develop them. The thoughts come one at a time in this way, the next only appearing once the first has been captured. 
In my mind is this image, that as the stampede passes there is left behind in the elephant's path a small creature, shy and unassertive standing and waiting; ready to be listened to but not demanding. Lean in and listen.
Do I need ask questions or require answers? How will it know what to say?
A voice comes. It doesn't come from the creature but it can only be heard when I lean in to the thing. The voice comes out of the air in between the air, around the creature. The voice fills the room yet it isn't loud. It is thick and near, full even but …

Life in Ruins: Constructing Truth

I had a fascinating discussion this evening with a detective inspector who trains people in suspect interrogation. The thing that most stood out to me was his comment that when a person constructs a lie they always create a linear narrative a then b then c then d, everything is causal. The interrogator's role is to try and question various parts of the story to try and make their story break down.

It got me thinking. Do we work to spot and create causal relationships between things when we are trying to defend our positions? Are these types of cognitive distortions that aren't easily noticeable? Is that what a person does to construct a meaning and bring themselves comfort? Do we lie to ourselves in order to convince ourselves we're ok because the confusion and pain we'll cause ourselves by waking from the delusion is too much to bear? On a macro level is that what a worldview is, a post-hoc construction of component parts assembled into an order that 'makes sense&…