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poetic, Uncategorized

the label


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nike label

 

There was a red hat I liked to wear.

It wasn’t cool. It didn’t have the label.

Scissors to a Nike T later, soon fixed that,

stitched the label on…

the hat was the same but perceptions had changed.

 

Nike.

Legit.

 

There is a label called “christian”, we slap it on things…

something must have the Label to stand before the throne or to be welcomed into a christian home.

christian approval

A movie depicting post-apocalyptic violence is not welcome… but if it has the Label or he’s saving the last bible, then “onward christian soldier, slay the infidel!”

They both wear the Label & everyone’s happy for them even though she’s spending less time in church and more on top of him, they’ve hit 2nd base quickly headed for home, runaway train of destruction far from the throne, everyone stands on the platform smiles & waves…

they both wear the Label, “praise god” they say.

 

And the Label gets put on 2nd rate shit, you didn’t make it mainstream?

Make it christian legit.

 

Swap in “jesus” for “baby” and we’ll sing your song Sunday. Call your business christian even if your ethics don’t follow him, etch a verse or cross on your trinkets and junk , sit back & watch sales jump.

How high? The label doesn’t make the books christian, but may lead to sales of 65 million, even if biblical theology gets Left Behind…

and then there is her…

she wants to save the world, the poor, the broken-hearted. She’s good for him, he reads more, prays more, laughs more, loves more, new zest for dreams God-given, more than good for him…

if he’s honest she’s saved him. More christian than most the girls he meets who wear the Label…

yet she doesn’t wear it herself.

So no one smiles for them, some condemning in their silence, others angrily confront him in “love”, in love they may be but love isn’t what you’ve shown me.

Putting the label love on anger & self-righteousness doesn’t change how christless it is.

Putting the label christian on something doesn’t change a thing.

When the right idea or action without the label is wrong & the wrong idea or action with the label is right, maybe its time we dismissed this superficial seal of approval & took the time to look at the heart.

Putting a Nike tag on a red hat doesn’t make it Nike. Covering my heart in labels can’t cover what it really is…

only Christ can.

 

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popsicle stick theology


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popsicle stick art

My gaze has been encaptured by a piece of artwork across the room.

I’ve decided to call it Popsicle sticks & glitter.

I’m not sure what it depicts. If the artist were here I’d ask her, although I’m not even sure she would know as she is very young, lets call her Emily.

If I were to get this piece appraised I’d be laughed at, it pales in comparison to the great artists who’ve gone before Emily. It would appear to have no value, yet Emily’s parents have proudly displayed it on the fridge for all to see.

They delight in it.

They delight in it because they delight in their daughter, in her attempts to create, the effort & time put into it.

 

I wonder if theology is like art, if God delights in our heart, in our efforts, in our wrestling… even though our attempts must look pitiful.

Theology. Art. It’s all just popsicle sticks and glitter *.

 

 

 

*with the exception that Emily doesn’t wave her art work around telling everyone that it’s the only way to make art & if you don’t make art exactly like her you can’t hang out ūüôā

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light


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If church is something we are, what might that look like? Let’s take a brief tour from the beginning…

IMG_3459creating…

IMG_3473

earth, light, trees, man…

IMG_3474

lions…

IMG_3480woman…

IMG_3488Woman!

IMG_3495humankind in the image of God…

IMG_3501shiny temptation!

 

fast-forward in the story.

IMG_3502

God chose a couple…

IMG_3506and said he would make them into a great nation, whose decendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky…

IMG_3509they would be blessed, and be a blessing to all the world…

IMG_3512they would look after the poor,

IMG_3513the refuges,

IMG_3516and the widows…

IMG_3521they would worship God and be a light to the other nations.

 

more fast-forwarding…

IMG_3524Boom! a savior expected, arrives in an unexpected way…

he gathers a raggity group of followers.

IMG_3528 Not only does Jesus die for our salvation but shows us what salvation looks like, lived.

IMG_3532Jesus taught about Following & Love & Lordship & Salvation &¬† Kingdom & Gospel & Light…

IMG_3533leaving his followers with the Holy Spirit, he says GO… into all the world.

IMG_3542And if we step back & take it all in we see Image, Blessed to Bless, caring for the Poor, the Refugee, the Widow, Loving the Least, true Worship, Gospel, Salvation,

we see Love,

we see Light.

 

This is the people of God.

This is following Jesus.

This is Church.

 

This is explosive…

 

IMG_3545IMG_3547

 

 

 

 

 

but we like to compress…

 

IMG_3549

IMG_3555

we like to put things in boxes…

IMG_3556

and if Christ says don’t hide your light under a bowl…

IMG_3561how well does it shine under a box?

IMG_3563

or…

IMG_3568a box-shaped building.

 

If your light only shines in a service, who even sees it?

 

Where does your Light shine?

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church


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Whether we acknowledge it or write it off as nit-picky semantics, Church Service = Church is something that’s crept into our culture, just look at our language…

are you going to church? I’ll meet you at church. Lunch will be after church. Where do you go to church?

Even the signs outside our buildings proclaim the same, “Lets do church together”, “Come to church this Sunday…”, “All are welcome to join us for church”.

people of godpeople of god2

Church is somewhere we go to, something we’re in, some place we’re at, something we do…

but what if church is something we are?

people of god3

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death & oranges


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There wasn’t anything I wanted for Christmas (as you may have previously read), but as the day drew near there was something I really wanted to do…

green-funeral1

A couple of days ago we buried my Grandmother. I heard stories of how she left a pretty well-to-do life in England & came with my Grandfather to New Zealand after the War.

They roughed it a while,  getting electricity one Christmas. Another highlight was finally getting a washing machine & not having to do it by hand. Eventually moving into a house my Granddad built, and continued to build while they lived in it.

 

It’s a world so far removed from today, where kids move out of home & HP/finance their way into having everything in an instant that their parents took a life time to accumulate.

 

I have a lot of happy memories of that home…

it was always more than a house.

 

Orange

Recently I was reading about a farmer who lived in the American Midwest during the 1930’s. He would get an orange for Christmas.

That was all.

He moved to California and on smelling all the oranges from the orange groves, thought he was in paradise.

 

So when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I eventually replied with, “an orange”.

I wasn’t sure if my request would be taken seriously, after all its summer & we live in a different time and oranges are in abundance. I have heard of some people still getting an orange, normally followed by much grumbling as that leaves less space in the stocking for sweets.

I’ve never had a Christmas orange. This morning I received five.

 

On a morning normally¬† dominated by the frantic tearing of Christmas paper, before quickly discarding & hurriedly moving onto the next, as if Santa would take the still-wrapped ones back at any moment…

cutting-oranges

I instead opened & slowly ate an orange.

Savoring every moment, being thankful for what I have,

for friends & family…

thinking of Christmas day without Grandma…

thinking of a farmer who moved to California & thought he was in paradise…

this christmas morning was paradise.

 

adventures, Uncategorized

’tis the season to be getting


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Money-Box-Package-e1350515549776

“what do you want for Christmas?”

nothing.

 

nothing? Yep, there is nothing I want… how strange.

 

But alas it takes no more than a quick visit to the mall or peruse through the Christmas mailers to fill my head with wants, ’tis the season to be giving getting after all.

Their is not much giving anymore.

If we’re not getting for ourselves we’re getting for others so that we may in return get. Or sometimes it’s a simpler transaction, just an exchange of cash, “go buy what you want”.

 

We give poorly, my mum is in Cambodia on a short missions trip with her school, so much of what was donated was junk, easier to donate than take it to the dump.

Even in our charity we keep the best for ourselves

So it’s on this rainy summers day I find myself with the time to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while, to help resist that consumerist-christmas urge, to downsize, to give.

 

 

WP_000742I pulled out all the clothes I hadn’t worn in the last couple of weeks and proceeded to sort & bag most.

Aware that we often give our leftovers, unwanted & junk, I chose to show no bias to those sentimental favorites…

I said sad goodbyes to C-web & MJ college jerseys, football favorites and items put aside deemed too special to wear.

 

 

Sometime after 25 T’s, 15 tops/jeans, jerseys, shorts, shoes and hats… I lost count. My goal was to give away 75%, I think I came close to that.

WP_000743

17  bags later & it was off to various clothing bins & stores.

I didn’t do this to earn brownie-points with God or because I believe in some sort of cosmic karma, to earn kudos from friends or show you what a good person I am…

it’s the opposite, I’m not.

It’s because I so easily give in to the impulsive buy, the want it-need it-latest greatest and must have. This is my way of trying to resist that.

It’s because I believe in a God that has given so we may give… not so I can continue to get.

This is my confession, while others have suffered without, I have lived in abundance.

What I want for Christmas…

                                                        is to give.