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Journey 9 Day 20: Community

thankyou today

My celebratory journey is now half way through and so I’m beginning to take stock of the year as well as continue to celebrate. (This week includes a treasure hunt, staff Christmas lunch, Theatre trip and other delights)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my journeys. Its been great to be doing them and to be positive and intentional but more than anything I have come to the conclusion that the best form of intentionality, which leads to honesty, accountability and meaning is to be intentional in community.

My small group, family, friendships, Work Colleagues, Rhythms, Breathe, Advent 20 and Thank You Today are some very significant communities which I want to say thank you for and celebrate. Thank you for the honesty, fun and learning that has come from being part of these amazing communities.

I am grateful also for the concept of community in terms of lives lived out that inspire and challenge and encourage and also great perspectives and insights.

The Brian McLaren talk at St Pauls last week was once such example

Being recommended a good read called The Tangible Kingdom after a great conversation was another

The excellent Nomad Podcast yet another

#thankyoutoday for community and friendship

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Passion, theology, Work

 

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 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 5 Day 25 – Being Human

When I did my theological studies at LST I was stretched and impacted by a brilliant module I studied called Being Human. To this day I am glad and grateful to the tutor and fellow students for the way this module widened my horizons and enabled me to explore more deeply the reality of what it means to be human. This journey had begun with a counselling course, continued when reading Philip Yancey’s The Jesus I never knew and continued through that year into the Being Human module.

On Sunday I was reminded afresh of the humanity of Jesus. We looked at Mark 5: 21-43 and the stories of Jesus raising a dead girl having first healed a sick women. The humanity of these stories, the way in which Jesus takes time in each case, the way he does not rush away from one situation or rush to meet the needs of the powerful instead taking time to value the women who would have been marginalised for her significant and lengthy issue of bleeding and to then call her daughter and take time to be with her is astonishing. There was no tyranny of the urgent or following the strategic plan of ministry in that action. We see that time and again and its truly startling and truly challenging. It caused me afresh to raise questions about my motivations, intentions and what I am really like.

Last night I watched the very human and very stirring film 7/7: One Day in London. What an incredible film and a remarkable insight into the reality of what it means to be human.

The day after London won the Olympic bid, terrorists attacked the public transport network killing 52 people and injuring over 700. Seven years later, as the eyes of the world are once again focused on the capital, ‘7/7: One Day in London’ gathers the testimony of over 50 people directly affected by the bombings, exploring the long lasting effects as they reflect on their experiences and how their lives have changed.

After the conclusion of the public inquest in 2011, a multitude of previously untold stories emerged of the bravery, difficulties and horror that people experienced on that day in 2005; many of these have been included in this film as well as testimony from people who have never spoken publically before. This is an ambitious retelling of the story of what happened on that day, with contributions from commuters, emergency service workers, TFL staff and families of victims. With enormous compassion for one another, ordinary people tell extraordinary stories of the day when they were thrown together, and their struggle to cope in the wake of the blasts that shook London.

In the midst of the most unimaginable anguish and suffering there were stories still emerging of hope, compassion, sacrifice, service and unbelievable strength and resolve that are equally mind blowing as they are inspiring. The Bravery and willingness of these people to share these stories is a real gift. The honesty and rawness is still very understandably there. The Shock, anguish and tears came to me in abundance as well as the fragility of it all.

I’m aware that being human also means a lot of other dimensions…. comedy, humour, creativity, energy, speed, agility and lots more incredibly positive and energising things and I celebrate that to!

Authenticity, honesty, integrity, bring our true selves, living out of our true identity in Christ are all the hallmarks of what it means to be truly, fully human. I want to keep discovering that, living for that. Whether that’s empathising with others, celebrating success and good news, being real about struggles and frustrations, putting into perspective my struggles and realising I have so much to be thankful for, being fully present in special moments with my family, crying out to God in prayer for things that seem so unjust and hard to take, eating great cake with friends to celebrate their birthday. Its all part of what it means to be human!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Journey 5, theology

 

Journey 3 Day 29 – Revolution Pt 2, 3 Themes and a sucker punch!

Matt Valler shares part 2 of his 4 part series ‘Jesus the Revolutionary’

In the midst of this journey I have had a profound moment of making a real connection between simplicity, humility and generosity (Generosity is the theme of my next journey starting at the end of this month). Humility that is not outworked into helpful, meaningful, relevant, generous and compassionate action is ultimately meaningless and and true humility at all. There is also a profound simplicity to generosity (when we get our motivation right) and a sense of being able to be generous when you can focus on simplicity.

I’m going to write more on this as this journey nears its end and the generosity journey begins. Stephen Cherry helpfully dedicates a whole chapter in his book about humility to the theme of ‘living generously’.

The 3 key themes from the chapter are:

1) We have a tendency to be to generous with our words and often say to much and act to little! Ouch!

2) We have a tendency to be very dependent upon material things and wealth to the point of it being unhelpful and in doing so it reduces our ability and desire to be generous – double ouch!

3) We are very confused about money and need to better understand our approach to it as well as be more generous with it! Triple ouch

They say the truth hurts, there are 3 sucker punches right here with this chapter, but I believe they are not knock out punches. The question is can I wake up from the 8 count and find a way back to enable more passionate, humble and generous living?

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Journey 3, Passion, theology