Monday, January 28, 2008

Dwelling in places where people dwell in darkness

It's interesting to watch what is happening in me as I make decisions to give myself to the area I live and where our church building is in an even deeper way, and as I choose to give myself more deeply to my calling of working with God in helping shape people for mission in the world and as I choose to give myself to the final preparations I have to do before I am ordained.

The words of "the world conspiring with you" seems to fit my experience now - like at many other times. The universe is such that when you choose life and the things that "fit" the world both works with you (and profoundly against you too).

Right now I'm seeing the working with.

Last nights reading was Matthew 4 which we looked at through doing a Lectio and some words that leapt out at me had me looking at my Greek - in essence it seems that the call for me is "just as Jesus dwelt in the midst of the people who were dwelling in darkness, that is the call for you" and then I read a blog post this morning that also had the words that call of priethood is to "know how to stand in the dark places and to find resurrection".

It's also fun watching things in me that have been a bit dormant for a couple of years gain space, room and energy.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Consequences of Grief

A good friend and I were talking about grief the other day and one of the things we agreed was that a key consequence of grief is "expect some of your key relationships to fail". As we both said we are not sure that you can know this during and not sure how much it's helpful to say it to people in the midst of the intensity of early stages of grief but we both reckon it's a profoundly true statement, as we have watched others and experienced significant grief ourselves. Certainly for us it helps us to just relax a bit at least looking back - and to be easier on ourselves than we otherwise might.

As I think about it, I reckon it's broader than just grief - I'd say that in any big thing in your life, whether good or bad, that's one of the things I'd say "expect some of your key relationships to fail". Not sure I like the word "fail" - but you get the gist of what I mean - "not be able to cope with it". That's certainly been my experience of all sorts of stage in my life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

6 months last week

Well - last week it was 6 months from the date of mum's death - or to be more exact 6 months since we found her and the date on everything official. Ironically, it was the same date I received the probate paperwork in my mailbox.

I've been feeling it profoundly in a way that I can't my finger on really. When some people have asked me recently how it is some words of used are "it just is", "it seems to be at a point of acceptance". But now it seems to be more the place of sadness - again not mostly sadness for the person who was Lyn being in the world (although a little of that at her best) but rather sadness for my mum not being in the world.

I haven't been out to the rose garden where we buried her ashes by myself yet - and due to the above I'm thinking it's time - so I'm going to do that today. Never know I might also make it to one of the places my good friends ashes were scattered as well - we shall see what I need to do once I've trecked out to Lilydale.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I've been thinking about the statement (wherever it is from) that "the good is the enemy of the best". It's led me to think a few other things "the many is the enemy of the one" and especially for me at the moment "the fact that you can do something is the enemy of the things you are called to do". I've been thinking lots about the many things I can do - many of which I enjoy, many of which just seem to need to be done by someone and I'm able - and how they distract from "the" things that whatever words you want to put around it I am called to do, the things I'm uniquely made for, the things that in this phase it is right for me to be giving myself to. It's hard when there are many things you can do to give yourself wholehearted to the things you are called to today. But that is faithfulness and it is the call to life.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Iceblock melt

My 2 year old friends currently are coming to terms with the fact that "iceblocks melt and balloons pop". Iceblocks and balloons are two of their favourite things at the moment and coming to terms with the fact that they melt and pop - that you can't control that - is very hard. Their mum prayed for us on Sunday morning with our versions of iceblocks and balloons. What are the iceblocks that melt and frustrate you as you desperately try to hold onto them? And what are the balloons that pop and frighten you, make you angry?
It describes so many things over my life - I'm now going to call the iceblock or balloon moments.
Call to Discipleship

Christ, whose insistent call
disturbs our settled lives:
give us discernment to hear your word,
grace to relinquish our tasks,
and courage to follow empty-handed
wherever you may lead,
so that the voice of your gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth, Amen

(A Prayer Book For Australia)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Accountability vs. Edit-ability

For many years accountability was big for me. It's also big in many Christian circles. A good friend started questioning the concept a few years ago and over time his questioning has won me over. I now think that it's quite an unhelpful concept. I've recently been reading (or more like skimming) a good book called Organic Community and that also questions the "accountability" concept.

It puts into words what my friend and i have discussed over several years and has a useful table camparing accountability relationships (AR) and edit-ability relationships (ER). A couple of the comparisons which speak some of what we have thought about are:
AR are built on the understanding that people are primarily bad and sinful, whereas ER are built on the understanding that people are good, made in the image of God.
In AR the partner tries to ehlp by creating more structure, rules and regulations whereas in an ER the "Editor" makes suggestions but leaves the major reworking with the individual.

Within the chapter it talks about what I think is the major issue though - who is responsible for our actions and for holding us responsible for our actions ... under God that is each of our responsibility. Often this becomes merged unhelpfully in AR and rather than taking responsibility for our own actions and growth we give that power - or at least the power to hold us responsible for that - to someone else.

It really comes down to who is responsible for our life - and before God that is each of us. Thankfully, God does put others around us to journey with us and to be involved in helping us be more the people he longs for us to be but the responsibility for that lands squarely with each of us. I think AR, very differently from what they would aim to do, keep people from embracing their potential maturity, whereas ER helps people to embrace it. (Now on the other hand the concentrating on AR has taken many people into some good relationships where they have shared in ways like no other so don't hear me saying it's all bad; however, for me there are points at which it has often just reinforced some of my own broken behaviours and patterns.)

Now I'm off out of the oven that is my house at the moment to an air conditioned house and a walk in the evening air with one who is very much a fellow journeyer on this life adventure - and who definately encourages me to take responsibility for my life before God and who i do the same for her - I wonder what of life we will enjoy together this evening, ponder this evening, challenge each other on?!


Over the last 6-12 months I've increasingly been thinking about whether venting or talking stuff through in that kind of way is actually helpful. Most of my life I have believed that it's how I work and process and others have reinforced this belief. But for a range of reasons I've started questioning whether it's actually helpful.

The seed of this thought realisation (worded like that because I know myself well enough to know that most significant things are simmering in me for a long time before they come to even this point) started almost out of the blue one day several months ago. I think it had been a stressful situation and for some reason I just thought "I'm not going to vent or talk to anyone about this at least until I am no longer worked up about it". This is the opposite to my automatic response. It was certainly a good path.

Since then several other things have happened - and I certainly have made decisions to vent to a more specific range of people - mostly people who won't just let me vent actually, partly chosen because of that.

During the past week I rang a friend to "vent" (I think actually used that word!) and he was happy to hear that but was in no mood or space to just allow a vent so we did good work on what was behind it.

Then this morning I read The Chief Happiness Blog which sometimes has quite interesting things on it, a link to a page about how bad venting is for you - I reckon it's so true.

Mmm .... very long term patterns I'm changing here so it will take time and I'm well and truly already on the path and it's already significantly changing relationships but will continue to. I do think that it's something God is really significantly doing in my life and a real invitation to live life more in the ways he desires ... an increase of life in abundance.

(Now most but not all of the people I vent to in some way read this blog - do feel very free to respond to this information how you feel best and how you are able - from doing nothing with this information to asking me the question of "do you really think talking about it in this way and at this time is the helpful thing" to a stronger boundary around hearing a vent)