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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Journey 4 – Day 32 – One of those days

I’ve had one of those days. But not one of ‘those’ days, where things all seem to go wrong and make you think that the world and life is all against you. No, my one of ‘those’ days has left me profoundly and massively grateful and thankful for all that I have…. and not so much what I have purely in a material sense, but also very much in the sense of relationships, the organisation I work for and am part of, moments, meetings, my amazing family, comedy, great meetings and conversations, great stories and learning a lot. Being grateful for the opportunity of receiving as well as giving.

These journeys are teaching me so much. Yes I want to be real, honest and someone that lives with integrity. Some of the time that means getting angry, being real about disappointment, getting frustrated, being selfish and being lazy. But my desire and prayer is that my desired orientation towards gratitude, grace, restoration and moving forward come to the fore more and more. I can’t do that in my own strength. The inner work of transformation by God’s Holy spirit, being helped and made better by others and creating space to live from a place of reflection leading to action are for me the keys to a full life.

Thanks to family, friends, colleagues, writers, film makers, poets, storytellers, people who have hosted and shown incredible generosity. I am grateful and thankful for what you have brought to my life, what you have taught me, how you have inspired me and brought perspective. Thank you.

 

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Journey 4 – Day 30 – Giving, Forgiving and Receiving

Miroslav Volf continues to challenge me and inspire me through his amazing book ‘Free of Charge’. In the section I have been reading this week he talks a lot about the importance of giving having first understood and received the goodness, love and nature of God. God is the utterly loving giver. God does not just love, He is love! Ephesians 5: 1-2 encourages us to be imitators of God. In one sense that’s so hard as we are not and never can or will be God. But he has made us in his image (Gen 1:26-28, Psalm 139) and we can

1) Give when we delight in someone

2) Give to others when they are in need

3) Give to help others give

(Volf, Free of Charge p68-69)

I was also reminded afresh yesterday of the importance of receiving as well as giving. I took some time out to meet up with a friend who is involved in running an urban retreat centre and who has a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in the art of contemplative prayer, reflection and meditation and practising the art of retreat.

I was hosted so well and treated to a really warm, rich and helpful conversation. I did it to help me think and prepare for my next themed journey on Contemplation which starts on the 9th June. I got to spend some time in the retreat centre after our conversation and was really struck by the theme of being rooted.

Rooted in Love, Rooted in Christ and Rooted in Community, Family and relationships and from that rooting  comes the outflow of action, but the action can only be legitimate and have deep rooted integrity because of its rooting and the origins first of internal transformation leading to an external, outworked transformation.

I am thankful for the challenges and blessings of the day and resolve to both give and receive to and from others and also from God in his Love, goodness and mercy.

 

Journey 4 – Day 28 – The Beautiful Disciplines

I had a really great as well as really challenging time preparing for and leading a session with a great group of young people from St John’s Southall this morning. They have been journeying through a series on the spiritual disciplines and today’s was on simplicity.

We took our inspiration from Richard Foster The Celebration of discipline and a really helpful and engaging book by Martin Saunders called ‘The Beautiful Disciplines

Using the interactive, session themed resources in this book was brilliant as we got the chance to look at our priorities, our possessions and our time in a way that was helpful and challenging. We had to list 10 things that we thought were essential to our lives and then try to reduce that list down to just 5. Not at all easy. Especially as so recently I had to make a list of everything I had in my life!

We were inspired and challenged by 1 Timothy 6: 6-10

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

It brought up some great discussion, especially about the importance of who we are, who we are becoming and the importance of character and core ethos in connection with what we do and what our goals, careers and aims are. Wealth and Money are themselves not a problem, provided our attitude towards them is healthy and orientated towards generosity rather than simply selfish gain.

The conclusion of today was to live open handedly, to hold onto what we have lightly and when we do possess things to be more thankful and more aware of the blessing that they can bring not only to ourselves but also to others.

As this session and my reading has shown me so far, There is a very strong link between simplicity and generosity. Simplicity has to be lived out in Generosity. For that reason alone these are two disciplines that indeed are beautiful and indeed should be celebrated and embraced.

 
 

Journey 4 Day 25 – Small Steps and The Promise of Life

Having had some quite grand aims at the start of this week I have not been able to take any giant strides of generosity! No put pocketing or anything massively radical.

But I have been able to take some small steps. Buying the Big Issue, texting the value of the coffee I bought to a charity, Buying friends lunch, taking time to intentionally listen to someone, holding more doors open, praying for a community in Uganda, helping set up for an event, taking time out to think about motivations behind giving and seeking to give time to genuine rather than purely transactional relationships and having a good clear out and giving lots to a charity shop.

I don’t want to live my life and outwork generosity in a list/tick box manner, But having this focus and building generosity into life as a rhythm, an orientation is the way to go. Today we finished our weekly group discussion and prayer gathering focusing on Consumer Detox. We finished with this really helpful prayer and commitment, which I would love to build into my life more fully.

The Promise of Life

Because life is a gift, we live it thankfully
Savour what we have
Pray for what we need.
No longer hurried, distracted, or worried,
We’ll walk through each moment with God.

Because everything is a gift, we live with open hands,
Tread lightly on the earth
Share freely our homes and our things.
No longer restlessly chasing identity,
We’ll be known by our love not our logos.

Because giving is a gift we live generously,
Give ourselves deeply to family and community,
Give joyfully to those in need.
No longer caught in the consumer dream
We’ll invest our all in the kingdom of love.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Generosity, Journey 4

 

Journey 4 Day 21- The Generosity Experiment

This idea and film reminds me quite a bit of the legendary Danny Wallace and his ‘Yes Man’ approach to life! Spontaneous generosity and random acts of kindness are amazingly liberating!

I’m aware that some of that spontaneity is not fully possible, however this week I am going to make a much more concerted effort to be more spontaneous and at the very least unexpected in living a little bit more generously!

I would love to try put pocketing…. Or pay for the next person in line….

Here’s to a week of creative generosity!

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Journey 4 Day 18 – Openhanded

During my simplicity journey I was reading the book ‘Consumer Detox‘ by Mark Powley. The final section/final 3 chapters are under the title ‘ Adventures in Generosity’.

This morning I was part of a great conversation on the chapter entitled ‘Openhanded’.

Even in a 20 minute discussion we were able to get to grips with some of the real challenges and the complexities of this issue. How on earth can we go against the tide of consumerism when its so focused on getting us to think that we need to keep on replacing our stuff as quickly as possible and move onto the next or better thing?

It was a great discussion wrestling with the tension of pioneering and developing and simple contentment and saying stop and enough is enough. The current ongoing financial crisis and the seemingly critical stage we have reached with regard to climate change is highlighting that living in the way we do is simply unsustainable. However to revert back to a far more primitive and regressive era does also seem unrealistic and unappealing. However of the two extremes I think I would vote for the latter! But I think such polarity is unwise and unhelpful. Overall I think the book does a good job. We do need to detox, question and challenge the consumer mentality we have bought into, but not slip into guilt tripping or being judgemental as the spectrum is vast, wide and not about just one position or the other.

It is possible to budget wisely and still be generous, to be thrifty but creative and entrepreneurial, to live well in the tension of neither poverty nor riches.

Whatever position we find ourselves in, the challenge for me from this chapter and discussion is the importance of generosity being outworked. To hold onto things more lightly and to genuinely live out life in an open handed, more than transactional way.

As well as the book, which is a really good and really challenging read, I can also massively recommend the blog that Mark wrote on lots of the related themes during Lent this year.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Generosity, Journey 4

 

Journey 4 Day 16 – Foundations

” Build your life on 3 things, Humility, Generosity and Integrity” Rick Warren at the HTB Leadership conference from this Morning.

I began my day today in the simplicity, humility and depths of contemplative prayer and am ending it having spent a great evening with a bunch of great people who want to explore how they and a bunch of them from their church can go overseas and serve and learn. They welcomed me into their home with generosity, integrity and great humility. It was brilliant

In between that I have felt really blessed  and encouraged at work by people of Humility, Generosity and Integrity.

My simple act of generosity today was to encourage and support people and also keep open doors for people (not caring about whether it was PC or ‘old fashioned’ to do it… I just did it)

Had a great conversation with a great friend and colleague….. About generosity that is done with integrity and with humility.

A wow day. Thank you to so many people who have blessed me today and who have shown me that the way of Humility, Generosity and Integrity are the key to life, the rock on which we can build and go forward with in a way that will bring change for the good.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Generosity, Journey 4