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Category Archives: Food

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

 

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 Days 20 – 29: Hospitality in Norfolk

I’m spending the week away from London in delightful rural Norfolk. I’m at my parents and gathering with lots of friends and family and more besides! (Kids parties and others also staying) I am rediscovering hospitality and the depth of the gift, skill and passion with which my amazing parents practice hospitality.

They are amazing, giving themselves over to others, sharing their home, their food, their gifts and resources. An open, welcoming home. Its enabled loads of people to reconnect, be refreshed, renewed and to have a great time. Its a real gift.

I am also being challenged and renewed at the prospect of reconnecting with lots of great people. Demonstrating a hospitality to their ideas, their stories, their humour, their learning, its making me just a bit richer and renewed as a person.

Hospitality towards a person is great, Hospitality towards an idea is also great. The art and skill of deep listening and deep empathy/learning.

I’ve been hearing about the hospitable nature of a movement called Love is an Orientation,

About a new community/church movement growing from scratch and reimagining church.

About renewal and hope in people’s lives and restoration

All from this idea of hospitality, from the idea of opening a home, gathering and being together. Life like this is possible and its making me think of the value of welcoming, being hospitable and acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Food, Generosity, Journey 8

 

Journey 8 Day 13: Hospitality: Cornish Style

I have just returned to London having spent time in Cornwall. I was with colleagues visiting 2 of Tearfund’s UK Partner organisations DISC in Camborne and Greenbank Care in Liskeard with the aim of filming case studies of their amazing work and to contribute to a project called 10 Keys for Impact.

Its fair to say that it has been an inspiring, humbling and incredible few days. We have had the privilege of hearing some great stories of impact and transformation and of being in the company of great and inspiring people.

Earlier today I reblogged a post on receiving generosity and the importance of being able to receive from others, listen to others and celebrate others as well as being able to do this for others. For me, the trip to Cornwall really made this a reality. Spending time with people, in churches and in people’s homes we were offered so much hospitality and genuine warmth and care. It made me realise afresh how good it is to receive as well as to give. That both are important. Both are legitimate. Both are vital for a truly good and full life. We need to use both to enable us to both give and receive.

Cornwall (with good reason) is often know as a great place to go on Holiday. This is indeed true. It is perhaps less well known for its poverty, inequality and the challenges it faces in regard to this. This trip provided some real insights into this reality. However I will remember it most and be most inspired by the incredible generosity and hospitality we were shown by some incredible people. For the amazing stories of transformation that have and are taking place in people through great hospitality and genuine care.

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Food, Generosity, Journey 8

 

Journey 8 Day 8: Hospitality, An uncomfortable truth? An Opportunity!!

A year ago St Paul’s Cathedral welcomed/allowed/accepted a group of protestors known as Occupy to reside on its front steps/area after it failed to access its target of the London Stock Exchange. What followed was an incredible drama, but also arguably a wasted opportunity for the church or an exposing of the complexities of the church (at least some of it) being seen as an institution with links to aspects of the establishment and ruling (financial) elite.

The truth is almost certainly more complex than this and its not as if the church is really idle on this. So many churches and Christian groups are actively bringing hope and healing to very broken lives and situations and with real compassion and integrity.

These 3 excellent, provocative and challenging (all in that order in my opinion) go to highlight the challenges and questions that this whole story raise not only for the church but also for society.

What kind of people, church and society are we and what do we want to be, what can we be?

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2012/12-october/features/features/still-preoccupied-by-occupy

The next steps in this ongoing drama will be interesting. But they also need to be restorative and hopeful. I think that much of what the church does to genuinely tackle poverty, injustice and to bring benefit to society is often lost or not heard or held with a degree of suspicion. That to me is sad as I do not think it to be the case.
The church at large is at work in so many ways to tackle injustice and poverty and bring genuine hope to the millions of people that are impacted by the reality of brokenness in Britain. The Church is bringing hope and is on a journey of rediscovering and recovering its servant, prophetic, engaged and compassionate edge and character. It is alive and is not the stereotype its is made out to be so often.
These films and many other examples show and speak of a church that is alive and is willing and able to bring hope and healing.
 

Journey 8 Day 5: Hospitality Remixed and Reimagined

Its been good to begin thinking and acting on this hospitality journey. Having expressed my equal excitement and dread at the prospect of it all I am having a bit of a rethink.

Is it possible that I could be viewing hospitality in an incorrect light?

The act and action is clearly important and being hospitable will bring benefit to the recipient  as well as to the giver. That has to be undisputed, surely?

What however is more interesting and more challenging to think through is the issue of motivation, reason, disposition towards hospitality.

What is True Worship?

What is True Love?

What is True Hospitality?

Is Hospitality as much about an orientation, a state of being and a character trait as it is an action?

In raising these questions I am not seeking to diminish action but perhaps aim for a wider understanding

Just as Christian spirituality seems to be on a significant whole life journey thanks to LICC and many other great movements, could it be that we need to reimagine hospitality?

Yes hospitality is about opening our homes, going the extra mile and all of the things that more immediately spring to mind, but what does whole life, wholistic hospitality look like?

Could it be about time, approachability, service and honesty as well as the more traditionally understood things?

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Food, Generosity

 

Journey 4 – Day 9 – Cheerful participatory giving

“We are not lifeless tools in Christ’s hand. Christ doesn’t bend our will; we don’t give against our will. We are not reluctant and grumbling servants of Christ. The indwelling Christ makes us willing givers. We are cheerful participants in Christ’s giving to the world.” Volf, Free of Charge, P51

Generosity as a creative, life giving, joyful, willing, natural, whole hearted, sacrificial way of being is a truly profound thing. Cheerful giving, giving that is real and has integrity!

This sort of generosity is beyond something just monetary and transactional (that is still good though, the money thing) and much more to a place of it being about character, disposition and natural orientation/willingness. I think that this outworking of generosity enables us to reflect profoundly something of the image and character of God. An expression of worship and profound love and the power to transform people and situations

I read a great blog today that spoke of this in terms of enabling us to build/enter into relationships that are beyond something that is purely ‘transactional’. In doing this we move beyond ‘What can you do for me?’ or ‘What can I do for you?’ and instead into something deeper and richer, more open.

Its the same with cheerful, genuine generosity. Giving because we want to, because we see a need and respond to it genuinely rather than because we feel we ought to.

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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Food, Generosity, Journey 4