faith

Feature, News

Enter the Void – the year that was


1 Comment

 

I believe in world peace.

I believe that all men are created equal.

I believe in the Force, America, freedom, the Tooth Fairy, a bearded man in the sky, Jesus Christ.

 

Beliefs are cool but in the words of Tyrion Lannister,

“words are wind.”

 

They say faith without works is dead, and I’ve often felt that to believe something you need to be living it. Otherwise you just like the idea.

But what happens if that “living it” takes over. What if that action becomes the only sign of faith, does it just become empty ritual… and how can you tell?

How can you tell when you’re so caught up in the doing that you’ve stopped being.

When you’re more Martha than Mary.

How can you tell when the things you do sneakily become  the relationship you have, instead of overflowing from it. And does the fact that I even have to ask a sign things aren’t right?

 

What seems like an eternity ago I embarked on some travels, part discovery, part losing things along the way, part chasing dreams & passions. A journey which saw me hanging out with the houseless in Hawaii, and sharing tears in Palestine.

A journey which saw me stop writing. A little bit awkward if you keep a blog.

And in amongst the travel weariness, shameless self promoting selfies, new experience buzz, innocence lost insight, humanity rediscovered, crisis uncovered, laughter, tears, solitude and connection, was an invitation to enter the void.

 

I would summerise my faith journey this year as an invitation to enter the void. The laying down of things near and dear to me, let the chips fall where they may.

I started writing this post early 2014. I’ll finish it in 2015. Apart from a couple of YouTube videos, quotes & previously unpublished poems, I only wrote one post last year. And while very little of what I write sees the light of day I pretty much wrote nothing of anything.

I didn’t read much either, I made no videos, I didn’t volunteer, I didn’t go to church.

In fact I lost all desire to do any of these things, which was a little bit strange.

Concerning even, if I thought to hard enough about it.

 

emptiness1

Yet I felt strangely at peace with this invitation to emptiness, as if it were ok to be on this journey. Some how comfortable with the uncomfortable, or at least at peace with the process… whatever that might be.

Like rehabbing an injury, things aren’t right but one day will be.

Last year I attended a friends exhibition and was really moved buy the powerful stories and imagery, so much so that I bailed early, it made me think about my own travels, the people I’d encountered and their messed up situations. Maybe 2014 was the year I chose to shut down a bit instead of being overwhelmed by the worlds problems and my inability change things.

As 2015 begins I find a rekindled energy for some of my passions, a desire to read, to write, to create. I’m looking forward to finding and committing to a faith community, but that may depend on where I end up living. Somethings I don’t think I’ll ever resume, their time has past and I’m happy to let them go.

 

Love & Breathe. Here’s to doing coming from being.

Let-Go-Let-God

 

poetic

hallowed


No Comments

behind a tranquil monastery is a boundary of forestry hiding a barbed-wire monstrosity

a church safe cursed by a razor-wire crown of thorns

we must protect our truth, sanctified and clean

like we set the standard for what clean is

hide your light under a bushel

unless it’s sanitized and superficial

poetic

Culturanity


1 Comment

Supermarket-church snap-frozen-reheated greetings, cookie-cutter-christians rehearsed prayers and scripted meetings

Yahweh’s speechless we’ve hijacked his voice and branded it like sneakers,spread the brand globally sweatshop-manufactured-ministry, unethical in our political standing on others to maintain our status quo

checkered shirts, buzz words, clap for yourself ignore the helpless, it’s you who commands and god who follows, enslaved by his own words pages of grace turned into spiritual laws and promises

a world void of colour and complexity, 40-days of formulaic-faith-paint-by-numbers-christianity

we’ve robbed the God of creation his creativity, denied his mystery, trapped him in a black and white box of simplicity

is it any wonder he doesn’t flow through me…

when kingdom looks so different from this brand of culturanity

Feature

I prefer to be awake…


No Comments

 

The airstrikes happen everywhere, anytime, day and night. At night is the most difficult time. The bombing intensifies and I can feel it getting closer and closer. I’m exhausted but I try and force myself not to fall asleep… the explosions are even scarier when they wake you up. I prefer to be awake when they strike.

10532372_792243697467074_8982228300646710718_n

I prefer to be awake when they strike.

Wow… that line blows my mind.

Think about that for a second.

How fucked up would my world have to be for me to utter a sentence like that…

the bombs are going to happen, I prefer them in the daylight.

It blows my mind that strikes are so inevitable as to have a preference.

It blows my mind that this is someones reality.

It blows my mind that for some, throwing rocks is the last little bit of resistance they can offer.

It blows my mind that we can label a whole people group as terrorists… the grandparents, the sons and daughters… the parents that hope for their kids just like parents all around the world do.

A people group whose hopes & dreams aren’t that different from yours or mine.

It blows my mind how indifferent or dismissive we can be…

Because acknowledging their reality would force us to confront our own.

1467189_10152224225620774_2124360732_n
Graffiti on the wall of a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem
1535669_10152224221550774_2011405994_n
Simple dreams – Graffiti on The Wall, Bethlehem.

 

 

ImageProxy.mvc

The quote from the beginning is from Arwa Mhanna’s article for Oxfam, the full article can be read here.

Donations to Oxfam’s Gaza effort can be made here.

2013-12-25-03h59m12s4_ed

quotes

Christ & Christianity


1 Comment

“Somehow our religion has made it too easy for us to forget the radically inclusive, table-turning, paradigm-shifting Christ of the Bible, and instead, subtly buy in to the lie that Christianity is a little bit boring, a little old-fashioned and not quite true in the parts that count” – Robby Dawkins

adventures

Bourbon faced on sh!t street


No Comments

After four days in Springfield I arrive in New Orleans for 2 nights & 1 day, much like Vegas… Bourbon Street is also much like Vegas, just on a much smaller scale.

And while you have the same guys standing outside strip clubs encouraging you to “take a break for boobies” there seems to be a lot more culture to Nola. I’m crashing at India House hostel (a very cool hip funky hostile, neat space).

WP_001589

WP_001591

The Blur that is Bourbon street

After a decent walk to Bourbon St – I’d later figure out the tram system – I found a sweet sports bar called Bayou Burger, they do these amazing Kettle chips covered in blue cheese sauce, and I had an Alligator burger (because I could), tasted a little bit like minced pork/rabbit.

After that I ended up in a tiny jazz bar listening to some 50-60 old musicians make magic happen, met a couple of girls who’d just moved to New Orleans, we hung out at a very cool, yet crazy karaoke bar (that’s a sentence you’ll never hear me repeat) called The Cat’s Meow.

Wandered a little.

Caught the sunrise. Caught some Zzzzz’s.

The next day was pretty chilled. I wandered around a few areas that still had abandoned housing, much like some of Christchurch’s post-earthquake east-side, except the greenery was doing it’s best to envelope a few places.

Later in the evening I was walking through an area where the windows all had cages on the outside, storm proofing I thought, until I noticed that they were only on the ground floor windows… umm does this mean I’m no longer in a “safe” neighborhood?

I talk to some houseless people who’ve taken up residence at night under an overpass, they get chased off during the day. It seems a few have also taken to using abandoned houses when they can, but it’s hard for their presence to go unnoticed. They’re aware this can’t go on forever as housing is rebuilt or pulled down, the constant battle with the greenery a summer fire risk. I see none around Bourbon Street, they’re not welcome there.

On my way back I stop in for another Bayou burger before heading down Bourbon St one last time, then home, still Zzz’s to catch up on & an early flight in the morning.

Moment that best describes Bourbon Street

I exit a bar, a few tourist are stumbling down the road with fluorescent green grenades (that they’re drinking out of),  to the right a trumpet band are putting on a show, across the road is a place for live sex shows, a family pushes a stroller along an evening walk…

to the left a man with a bull-horn is yelling something, behind him are a couple of old laddies & another guy holding a big white cross, it has a red LED display scrolling words along the centre, I make out “hell” and something about “eternal damnation”. Behind them is another guy with a bull-horn facing and yelling in the opposite direction, some guys are doing the “party-boy” dance with him,. He yells louder.

I wonder if their message is heard, I’m left guessing as to what it might be.
I ask to take a photo, they say ok along as I’m not putting a video on Youtube (grandma is clearly with it).

WP_001597_editedShe wants to say a prayer for me.

side note. I have no problem with anyone from any form of spirituality wanting to pray for me, it’s led to some pretty special conversations, such as the first night I arrived in San Fransisco & a woman wanted to read my palm, initially I declined, then it ended up raining & we shared the same souvenir-shop-canopy for shelter.

Bourbon Street: I’m standing in the middle of the street with an old lady praying for me, with bullhorns, cross, strollers, sex show, trumpets…. and nothing seems out of place or odd to anyone.

Welcome to Bourbon street. Definitely crazier than Vegas.

bourbon st

adventures

Where Dreams Come True


No Comments

Springfield, Missouri??!

It’s the inevitable response I receive when I’m listing off where I’ve been and where I’m going. Springfield, Missouri?!?!

But what they don’t know is Springfield is where dreams come true, I know, I’ve got the t-shirt.

 

Back when Y2k was on everyone’s mind, The Matrix was released, people lined up for days to see The Phantom Menace… shortly followed by people moaning for days about The Phantom Menace, Helen Clark was elected Prime Minister, Clinton was screwing around, a couple of kids shot up their Colorado school, and a little-punk version of myself attended Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri as a foreign exchange student.

106_6898620773_8600_nFast forward 4 years and a slightly bigger-less-little-punk version of myself was watching Michael Jordan’s last All-Star game when it dawns on him that, this is it, this is MJ’s last year… this the last time he will play… this is the last opportunity to see him play…

Within the space of a few weeks a planned pilgrimage to witness the games greatest play for the first, and last time had ballooned from 3 weeks to 3 months (haha history repeats itself).

 

 

And as much as seeing MJ play live (Duncan, T-Mac, KG as well) will be forever imprinted in my mind, another highlight for me was meeting with a group of guys and doing life & faith with them… it would prove to be a profound and significant few months for me.

10 years. It’s been 10 years since I was here last.

I was greeted by snow & more arrived while I was here, which unfortunately meant a couple of people I’d hoped to catch up with were unable to make the drive, but I was blessed to be able to catch up with four of them, we even gathered in the same house.

10yrs since we’d gathered together.

It’s made a nice bookend of time. Given me two firm benchmarks to reflect on life in-between, to ponder the journey been & what lies ahead.  It was certainly a highlight of my time here, seeing how lifes change, challenges & journey has played out amongst their lives.

WP_001585WP_001584

 

 

The last 4 days I’ve spent catching up on sleep, sanity & friendships. Sharing dreams, lessons & heartache, meals, late night stories & coffees with coconut creamer.

It’s been bliss. It’s been beautiful.

WP_001587

I’ve been blessed with fellowship, friendship & the generosity of others.

I’m super excited with the journey some of my friends are on & look forward to what the future brings them.

 

And to think I almost didn’t make this part of the trip due to money & time. Next time will have to be sooner than 10 years.

Springfield, Missouri – Where Dreams Come True 🙂

Springfield_Dreams_Grey_1024x1024