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Category Archives: Generosity

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 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 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.

 

Rhythms: Doing Justice in the Mundane

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/51067775″>A Justice Generation</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/tearfundfilms”>Tearfund</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Tearfund have this week launched the quite brilliant Rhythms.

We are a community of people who want to change the world by taking regular actions that help us build lifestyle rhythms of Advocacy, Contentment, Connection and Generosity. We have a global perspective and we love people and the planet. We believe in following Jesus and that means we live different. Individuals across the UK, including our amazing Emerging Influencers lead us all as they campaign, make a noise about injustice, love being generous and putting themselves and their stuff into perspective.

The Rhythms team are group of dynamic individuals brought together to dare to believe that this generation can do something amazing. These make-it-happen dreamers can be found at events, in coffee shops and churches up and down the country. Meet the team here.

Want to be inspired? Want to be equipped? You’re in the right place and more importantly, you’re with the right people. Join this growing community by signing up to Rhythms as well as joining the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

I have just had my first contribution to Rhythms called ‘Justice in the Mundane‘ published today.

Its so important to dream dreams and think big picture but its also important to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God in the mundane, everyday things of life. Discipleship is all of life for the whole of life!

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Generosity, Humility, Passion, theology

 

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 19: Leaders as Hosts

There is a brilliant article on the idea of leadership being about hosting rather than being a hero.

Its brilliant, not because its a radical power to the people rage against the corporate machine type approach but because it seems so attractive, empowering and just makes sense.

Leaders who journey from hero to host have seen past the negative dynamics of politics and opposition that hierarchy breeds, they’ve ignored the organizational charts and role descriptions that confine people’s potential. Instead, they’ve become curious. Who’s in this organization or community? What skills and capacities might they offer if they were invited into the work as full contributors? What do they know, what insights do they have that might lead to a solution to this problem?

Leaders-as-hosts know that people willingly support those things they’ve played a part in creating—that you can’t expect people to ‘buy-in’ to plans and projects developed elsewhere. Leaders-as-hosts invest in meaningful conversations among people from many parts of the system as the most productive way to engender new insights and possibilities for action. They trust that people are willing to contribute, and that most people yearn to find meaning and possibility in their lives and work. And these leaders know that hosting others is the only way to get complex, intractable problems solved.

I absolutely love it when I host or am hosted. It just enables me to feel alive, more fully human, freeing and just great. My best moments, memories, experiences and times in life are when this happens. Can it not happen more in the work place, at church and in places or situations that seem to get a bit stuck into a rigid way of thinking?

I am aware how I have sometimes lost my ability to host and be hosted in some contexts.

That’s why I love good conferences, working and being over meals, talking, sharing, doing life and why when I lose site of that and shut that off I am a poorer friend, colleague and person.

I want to rediscover what it means to host and be hosted, to do it better and to live and work more fully as a result.

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Generosity, Journey 8