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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Journey 9 Day 8: Lament and Celebration

Having begun my Journey of celebration it feels that events of the past week have made it at times quite difficult to celebrate. The events in the Middle East and the outcome of the Women Bishop’s vote in the Church of England General Synod are but two examples.

Lament is a motif and way of being that is profoundly biblical. I have again been drawn to Walter Bruggemann’s Spirituality of the Psalms. And the Thread of Orientation, Disorientation and Reorientation.

I am thankful to say that in the midst of this Lament and difficulty I have been able to find a way to celebrate with legitimacy and integrity.

On Monday I was at LICC celebrating their 30th Anniversary. I am very thankful for the vision and work of LICC. They have played a significant role in my life, discipleship and growing faith. They have really highlighted the importance of whole life discipleship and the brilliant and releasing truth that all of life, all vocations, all moments are part of who we are and how we can live out our Christian faith.

Yesterday I was at HTB at the Fresh Expressions conference ‘ Following the Missionary Spirit‘. After the events of the Synod Vote it was so good and so encouraging to be able to look at this movement of the church and see its positive impact. Archbishop Rowan Williams spoke profoundly about the importance of the Church being challenged and renewed by the margins, the edges and the bold risk takers and prophets who are prepared to step out, ask questions, pioneer and think outside the box. He spoke brilliantly, honestly and with real clarity about the importance of reimagining church.

Bishop Graham Cray also gave this excellent talk on the reasons to be thankful and also to be hopeful going forward.

It was then great to move from this event to Thanksgiving last night and celebrate and be thankful with a great group of friends.

I am therefore celebrating that even in the midst of some real challenges and lament, there is a place, a needed place, for good and genuine celebration! May the Journey continue.

 

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Change, Food, Generosity, Humility

 

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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Journey 9: Celebration: Day 1

And so my ninth and final journey of this year (and what a year 2012 has been) begins! I am really looking forward to celebrating the year, this journey and taking time to be thankful and delight in the journey and year it has been.

Celebration is an important thing. Birthdays, festivals, promotions, life events, Graduations, Projects complete, Awards, Change, recognition, beauty, people’s talents, freedom, transformation, results, exams, new jobs, new baby, Marriage….. There are so many good things that warrant celebration. There are so many occasions in my life and the life of family, friends, culture and society that I count as an honour and just brilliant that I have been able to celebrate. Getting to this stage in my 2012 journey is another significant landmark!

The motivation for this Journey was to celebrate 40 amazing years of Tearfund’s Transform programme. Its also 10 years since I did my first Transform trip to Kenya, which turned out to be significantly life shaping and affirming in so many ways!

Celebrating is important.

A friend and colleague has a brilliant blog that shares and celebrates good stories called Talking up the Good. I love the hope, positivity and potential that these great stories bring. Another world is possible!

I want to celebrate so much and take time in this journey to celebrate this year and the many years, people, events and experiences that have made this journey and my life what it is today!

I am pleased that I have lined up some planned celebrations (Including the final day of the Journey being Christmas day) but am also looking forward to some more spontaneous celebrations and as all of the journeys have proved, enjoying the discovery and learning along the way!

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Food, Generosity, Play

 

Journey 8 Day 40: Hosting and Growth

For me this article on hosting and being hosted well in the context not of ‘the home’ (although similar principles could apply and no doubt reap great results) but of ‘the workplace’ has been my stand out and most helpful and profound insight on this journey of hospitality. I’m seeing it and experiencing it more in my life and workplace and it is bringing huge hope, inspiration and opportunity. I am thankful for my ‘hosts’ and hope also that I am beginning to do a bit more of this type of hosting myself? If not then I certainly desire to learn more about how I might be able to. Some of it is stepping out in courage and with freedom (losing the fear) and some of it is being yourself and just going with it!

Linked to this for me is the concept of Being Loving, Being Interested not interesting and The idea of the happy manifesto .  All things that have inspired the idea of hospitality in a much wider and much more helpful context than I have previously imagined. Things that make me want to journey in this direction more and more and enable the idea of hospitality, growth and opportunity to be more prevalent and possible in my life.

That said, the more traditional aspects of both giving and receiving hospitality have also remained special. Being able to bake for others, Being able to have people into our home, being able to be hosted by others and gather together as a group of friends and extended family have all been so great.

Hospitality – The giving and receiving of it, is a special, profound and deeply human, spiritual experience and one to greatly cherish.

I heard this interview yesterday which inspired me and highlighted the importance of giving to others and being in relationship with others. I then had a day of wonderful meetings, connections, conversations and experiences. Truly wonderful.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Courage, Generosity, Journey 8, Passion, Play, theology, Work

 

Journey 8 Day 39: How is my Neighbour?

Its one thing to know who is our neighbour, its another thing entirely to know how they are. This one day conference: How is my Neighbour: Developing Livable communities by Livability looks great.

Across our communities trust is eroding, stress is increasing and inequality is on the up. Across the UK more people are reporting a reduction in their economic, health, social and spiritual wellbeing. This is made even worse as global corporations tell us that happiness means consuming more and sharing less. However, our children are the unhappiest in Europe.

As a nation we are richer and better connected than ever. With ‘friends’ easily accessible on the web our neighbourhoods trust is eroding, stress is increasing and inequality is on the increase. How do we love our neighbours when we don’t know who or how they are? 5 million people aged over 60 say they now consider the television to be their only source of company.

The day will include:

  • Plenary session on a theology of Livable communities and rediscovering shalom in the 21st Century.
  • 8 inspiring presentations on models of intervention to increase wellbeing in our communities.
  • A 60 minute taster of Livability’s new Happiness Course for community groups
  • An exciting and interactive exhibition of organizations with resources to help your work
  • Creative networking opportunities throughout the day
  • Tools for you to take away and utilise in your own context

 

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Journey 8

 

Journey 8 Day 34: Follow Friday

Twitter users will know that on Friday’s there is a thing called ‘Follow Friday’ known as #FF

This Friday in the spirit of hospitality I wanted to share some sites/links/good stuff that I have been finding helpful as I have been taking these journeys and just doing life in general as a disciple and human being.

I do this in humility, knowing that others have loads more to offer and share but also in a spirit of community and sharing and recognising we are better and stronger together when we resource and encourage, challenge and inspire each other.

Talks:

Greenbelt Talks (Loads of great talks, lots of free ones as well from previous years)

Rob Bell: The Two Kinds of New (Just a great talk and so helpful in so many ways)

Pete Rollins: Being Human (From Mars Hill Bible Church, October 2012)

Tom Wright: Forgotten Message of the Gospels

Podcasts:

Nomad Podcast (Great range of interviews exploring community and new forms of church)

Websites:

Breathe Network A Christian network for simpler living.

The School of Life The School of Life is a new enterprise offering good ideas for everyday life.

Rhythms Great ‘Village’ website with articles and amazing interactive space for action!

Blogs: (Where do you begin! So many, so here are just a few)

Jonny Baker Another World is Possible

A New Name Emma Scrivener

A Servant’s Life Frank Ritchie

The Good Stuff Jenny Flannagan

David Westlake What on earth is God doing and how do I join in

Rachel Held Evans asking big questions about faith, doubt, culture, gender and the Church.

 

Journey 8 Day 33: Friendship as an expression of hospitality

 “Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.” George Eliot

I came across this brilliant blog by Frank Viola earlier today on the value of true friendship it was both stirring and profound.

It came in the context of me reflecting on some questions and also hearing about Love, Freedom, Empowerment and being on a Journey.

The questions:

What does it mean to have and live with true hope and work for deep transformation?
How can I embrace Realism but keep cynicism at bay?
How can I keep the heart right and keep my roots but also embrace a progressive position?
Why am I so fearful, why can’t I be free and more of the person that I’m fully created to be?
What does it really mean to be a part of a dynamic, vibrant, alive community?
Is it all about small, rooted, regular and organic, once something grows is it just natural and inevitable that it loses its freshness?

The Five Characteristics of a Close (True) Friend

  1. A close friend rejoices in your joys and sorrows over your pains. A true friend is not just sympathetic, they are empathetic. They share your feelings, weeping with you when you weep and rejoicing with you when you rejoice.
  2. A close friend won’t defriend you if you disagree. Friendships are tested when there is a disagreement. But true friends don’t cut you off because of it. They may tell you what they think you need to hear and vice versa. But they will do it in such a way where you can receive it. The reason is because you know they love you unconditionally more than they love their views.
  3. A close friend stays in regular contact with you. I have friends who contact me from time to time and vice versa (once or twice a year). We regard each other as good friends. But a close friend this doth not make. Close friends communicate fairly regularly.
  4. A close friend is someone whom you trust implicitly. They have earned your trust. Consequently, you don’t doubt that they have your back. And you don’t fear that they will stab you in the back. You trust them enough to confide in them about highly private and confidential matters. Close friendship brings with it disclosure (John 15:15).
  5. A close friend will stand by you, defend you, even take a bullet for you when you’re under attack. To my mind, this is perhaps the highest measure of friendship or one of the rock-bottom “tests.” The posture of a true friend is, “If you hurt my friend, you’ve hurt me.” It is never, “Well, that person never did anything to hurt me, so it’s not my issue.” This attitude is what separates goats from black sheep. True friends stand with and stand up for each other.

I want to both give and receive these outpourings of friendship and humanity with my friends. A truly spiritual, profound and brilliant expression of hospitality and what it means to be human.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Journey 8