Saturday, June 30, 2012

Live in the Difference

Live in the Difference
John Westerhoff

Don't try to make a difference--be willing to live in the difference God has made and continues to make.
(via inward/outward)

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Radical Trust of Rest

Rest ... it is so important.

What hinders you from rest?

I think if we are honest it is often because we don't trust God.

I mentioned to someone the other day that I reckon one of our key issues is that we don't accept our finiteness.

How differently would be live if we trusted God and accepted our finiteness?  As I've grown in these qualities, rest comes so much more easily.

With this in mind, I was encouraged by Christine Sine's post that spoke of a book she had been reading that spoke of "the radical trust of rest".

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Texting or phone calls?

What are your preferred methods of communication?  There are so many options these days.  I've had many conversations about this topic.  Sometimes, these have been sensitive as a friend and I work out how we use various communication tools differently and share with one another what it might mean to love each other well and as we work to understand each other.  Often these have been profitable and beneficial to the relationship.  Do you think about how you communicate, what you are trying to communicate and the best tool for that and what the person/people you are communicating with would prefer?  Do you text, phone (on mobile or home number?), Facebook message, email, snail mail or speak face-to-face?  Do you communicate with those around you your preferences?

I reckon much fruit comes from us thinking these issues through and this is an interesting post around the topic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grief - boring for the uninitiated

Clare Bowditch has written the words that speak my feelings and thoughts strongly - yet again.

She sings: The thing about grief is that it gets kinda boring for the people who don't yet know.


Monday, June 25, 2012

The question is the answer

"The question is the answer" is a phrase those who know me well are probably used to me saying.  Another favourite saying of mine is "live into the questions".  One wouldn't be surprised then to find that I loved the poem below as I read it on this blog:

Never kill a question;
it is a fragile thing.
A good question deserves to live.
One doesn’t so much answer it as converse with it,
Or, better yet, one lives with it.
Great questions are the permanent
and blessed guests of the mind.
But the greatest questions of all are those which build bridges to the heart,
addressing the whole person.
No answer should be designed to kill the question.
When one is too dogmatic or too sure,
one shows disrespect for truth and the question that points toward it.
Beyond my answer there is always more,
more light waiting to break in,
and waves of inexhaustible meaning
ready to break against wisdom’s widening shore.
Wherever there is a question, LET IT LIVE!
Gerhard Frost, from “Bless My Growing”

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Publishers represented at Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity Conference

One of the reasons that I went to America recently was to attend the Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity Conference in Washington, DC.  I will write more on this soon.  However, in response to a readers' question, Brian McLaren has done a list of the publishers who were at this conference and who he hopes might be people who write useful resources for those interested in this topic over the coming years.  You might like to stay tuned to what these publishers produce!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kindle Highlights to Evernote

Some of the readers of this blog are users of Evernote.  Some are also Kindle users.  I'm loving my fairly new iPad and being able to read ebooks.  It has made such a difference to my reading.

Here is a post regarding getting your Kindle highlights into Evernote.  I'm still yet to try it - but thought that some readers might be interested in it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Commissioning Prayer

I was struck by the words of this Commissioning Prayer that was on this blog.

Co:missioning prayer

In the name of the divine and mysterious Trinity,

You have called us into being through love,

You have joined us to one another in love,

You have placed us in your world to love.

Grant each one of us the strength,

To carry your blessing from this place to the next.

May we be at home in any land and in any place in between,

for all the cosmos is yours.

May we, with our hopes set on shalom in the world,

live also as aliens in all lands.

May the rhythms of your creation,

be the pulse that sustains our very life.

May the lamp of your word guide our feet,

on the unsure paths of each day.

May your breathing be the wind that leads us,

across strange new oceans.

Our lives are but a flicker of a flame,

But we are kindled from your divine Spirit.

You have created us,

humble missionaries, holy wanderers,

Specs of dust and divine-image bearers.

Shadows of your creativity,

and crucibles of the spark of innovation.

We are constantly restless until we rest in you.

Grant each one of us and our community,

a deeper fullness of being and spirit,

May our faces be fuller in glory and joy,

now bearing new shape,

as we transform and supplement one another.

May that transformation bring peace, joy and love,

in the world in which you have placed us.

In the name of the Spirit who moves across the surface of the waters,

and in each beat of the human heart,

In the name of Jesus, the God-Man,

who died, rose and lives on for us,

In the name of the Creator and re-Creator,

the source of all beauty, freedom and grace.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Being a participant in life

I love observing.  There are many things that I have learnt as life skills from having deaf parents, many that have taken years to understand.  The skill of observation is one of them.  As a deaf person, observation is a crucial life skill.  It is a key way that you grasp what is happening in the world around you and having keen observational skills contributes towards the many things that you do not know because you do not hear them.  Often observation is also all that you can do, because to really participate is not made possible for you as a deaf person because the people involved will not make the space necessary nor do the actions involved for you to fully participate.

This is the world I grew up in and, despite not being deaf, this is how I learnt to function.  I did not need this life skill in the way a deaf person does but I still learnt the skill - it's bread and butter to my parents, how could I not learn it?!

I've thought about this a fair bit over the years, especially when a professional supervisor I had during my Clinical Pastoral Education raised my tendency to observe rather than participate.  I now recognise the strengths that this skill brings, and I am aware of how it can hold me back from fully embracing life, from fully participating in the ways that I can, from contributing the many things that I have to contribute.  It can be a method of not choosing vulnerability, of self-protection.  It can also be a path of contentment, of enjoying observing others, of knowing a positive sense of life in that.  Often it also means that I have information that feeds in a life-enhancing way into a project that I'm involved in.  Over time I'm learning to accept all of these as part of the picture and to embrace the parts that are life-giving and to choose to not hide and give power to the ways in which it's self-protective and using a life skill that is unnecessary for me as a hearing person.

With this background, I was fascinated by this post by Alison Sampson.  Some friends will be aware that I love watching board games.  Some of this is about the positive sense of enjoyment I gain from observing, but I wonder how much has been about self-protection.  How much has been not wanting to risk, not wanting to throw myself into life?  Certainly this has shifted and I reflect that this has been different over recent years but it has me pondering.

Reflecting on this topic also has me pondering the connection this all has to a conversation I had with another friend recently who was sharing her view with me that people are always better for our presence.  I wasn't convinced.  The conversation was coming from a different place, but I wonder on the connection with this line of thinking.  Do I hold back because I do not believe that my contribution is valuable enough?  Do I not believe that people will be better off because of my participation and contribution?

Hunger Games

During my recent holidays, I read through the 3 books in the Hunger Games series.  It's been a while since I was grabbed by a novel series.  They were a great read.  I'm still pondering many of the themes in the books and wondering what it says about our world that means they have been picked up with such interest.  I look forward to watching the movie when it comes out on DVD.  Steve Taylor has done an interesting review of the movie which raises many of the themes within this story.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life Springing Forth from a Winter Landscape

A friend recently wrote these precious words:

A bleak, winter landscape, 
trees stripped bare, 
shivering, leafless, naked, vulnerable. 

Cold wind whips around my heart. 
Trees bare, but for little stubs, 
which one day will sprout unexpectedly, 
lush, green, new growth. 

Birds will sing, 
blossoms will open, 
sun will shine - warm and steady as it softens and warms the earth, 
readying it for its new Life to spring forth.