Religion and Spirituality

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rules pfft!


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Every time the disciple started establishing rules – no children near Jesus;  don’t let the crowd touch Jesus; don’t talk to Samaritan women; don’t let people waste expensive perfumes – Jesus told them to knock it off, and His rebuke was usually followed by a lecture that said, “You still don’t get it! We are not substituting religious rules with our rules. We are substituting religious rules with Me!” Jesus kept saying “Follow Me,” not “Follow My rules.” Most of us have spent our Christian lives learning what we can’t do instead of celebrating what we can do in Jesus. What a tragedy. What a misunderstanding of who Jesus is.

– Michael Yaconalli

blogosphere, quotes

an idol carved in the shape of a smiling family…


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…is still an idol.

 

Has our zealous protection of “family values” led us astray?

Well written & challenging Ben Ponder brings it. And while aimed at Middle America, it just as easily speaks to western Christianity.

I recommend taking the time to read the article in full Idolatry of the Family. A couple of bits that really popped for me are quoted below.

 

When I read the Bible, I get the distinct sense that Jesus wasn’t interested in saving the nuclear family from a windy onslaught of liberal opinions. I rather get the impression that he was concerned with diving headfirst into the unvarnished messiness of the human condition and saving us—as individuals, as families, as communities, as people—from our own unhinged self-absorption and festering lovelessness.

 

 

The world is a mess because we are a mess. We are a mess because I am a mess. I am a mess because my heart is a mess. And the heart condition of each of us is the heart of the issue. Any other agenda, any other moralistic totem or golden calf half-truth, any political platform or religious soapbox should receive our careful scrutiny. Because an idol carved in the shape of a smiling family is still an idol.

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Judah 1993 – 2012


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death’s a bitch. sometimes life is shit.

 

today i’m not strong enough to support others in their grief… i need to be alone with mine.

I can’t bring myself to sing “all is well with my soul” because it’s not…

and I think that’s ok.

How Great is our God”...  yeah I can do that one, even though it hurts & it feels like it’s just in my head.

my heart wants none of it.

 

bright spark. breath of fresh air. accepting. cheerful. you were your own person. you “lived exuberantly” and you “loved exuberantly”.

I saw so much of Jesus in everything you did.

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One bite at a time


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I’m hungry, I want to eat. But the meal is massive, there is no way I can finish it all, I’ll hardly make a dent in it, it’s too much effort, it’s overwhelming… I might as well not try.

So I don’t.

I walk away from the table. From the meal that seems impossible to finish… still hungry.

One day I’d like to try.

 

 

The most common feedback I hear is that it is too overwhelming… “yea I’d like to do this”, “I’d like to try that”… but it’s just too much, it’s easier not to.

And you’re right, it is easier not to… and it is overwhelming.

But wouldn’t it be weird to want to make or effect some change and do nothing?

 

Wouldn’t that be like being hungry & not taking a bite? Then maybe that’s the answer…

 

one bite at a time.

 

Let me ask you this, What’s one small area of your world –  be it personal or in the world around you – that you’re not happy with… that isn’t as it should be & what can you do about it?

Maybe it’s as simple as starting to do a little research, maybe it’s committing to one tiny little change in your life.

One bite at a time.

 

 

 

 

poetic, Uncategorized

church abbreviated


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“good day to you fine sir” became,

“what is up”…

“what’s up” …

“sup”.

We love to shorten & compact, I guess that’s why we spend so long “unpacking” ideas, phrases & terminology.

The “church service” became “church”…

and in doing so the “The Church” became just a service… a couple of hours one day a week.

And because it was only a couple of hours a week everything about it took on immense importance, the building it was in, the people involved, the quality of the production

And because so much time, energy and resources went into those two hours it surely must mean God cared about them most… that must be why I had to put on my best clothes & be extra nice to my brother & sisters, because God cares about the church & church happens on Sundays.

Some of us earn extra credits for attending fancy churches with spiral staircases & water features, “we’re honoring God” we say, when in reality all we are doing is honoring ourselves for honoring god.. “look at me I love God three-stories-and-a-water-feature much!”

And as I am a consumer it is only fair I search for value for money, bang for my buck, what meets my needs, because if I’ve learnt anything it’s that church is about me…and as long as I turn up, pay my tithes & smile, all will be well, like a country club to appease the soul…

or is it a salve for my conscience for the things I do, the way I talk & treat people Monday through Saturday… but then I don’t really believe Monday to Saturday matters…

after all we’re called to be the church & that’s just a service on Sundays.

adventures, Uncategorized

downsize me!


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You need this, you want this… ooh look at that! What you’ve got isn’t good enough, it’s time to upgrade… to up-size.

 

Lately I’ve been looking for a new car, it’s been a battle. I did have a rough amount I was prepared to spend on a car, then I’d see something I’d like that cost a little more & little more , and soon I was contemplating a loan to get something really nice…

I think I’d go through the same process whether I had 6k or 40k to spend… ooh that Chrysler is just a few grand out of my imaginary-budgeted-40k reach, maybe if I took a small loan…

Instead the challenge for me is to downsize, so I’ve halved my car budget. As long as I can fit in it & it gets me from ‘a-to-b’ I’ll be happy…

 

You see a couple of months a the Government started to review the role my workplace has in their future education plans, and while nothing is set in stone there is a very high chance I wont be in the same job next year. The general reaction from work colleagues has been to cut back on the coffees, put that overseas holiday on hold, knuckle down & save, because chances are none of us are walking into new jobs near the same pay.

I’ve even been taken aside and given that sagely bit of wisdom, you know, about being a good steward & saving in the years of plenty. I could justify that and I’m sure no one would hold it against me, after all my job is under threat & shouldn’t I be saving for a house…

 

But what if being a good steward looks different. What if it’s not about me accumulating my own little empire…

because as I read through the bible the theme seems to emerge that we are blessed to be a blessing, that what we are given isn’t for our benefit but to benefit others, that it’s not for building my kingdom… but another.

Maybe being a good steward isn’t looking at my work situation and saying, “I need to save & hoard because I won’t be making that money next year”, maybe there is another way of looking at it…

 

I may never be in a position to bless others again like I am right now.

 

Wouldn’t it be a shame to waste that opportunity by accumulating for myself. What would it look like if I downsized more than just my phone & car budget… if I downsized my life, if I intentionally put aside part of my income to bless others, if I really stretched myself… say 30-40%, that’d be a challenge, it may even break me, it’s sure to shape me.

So that is my challenge for the rest of the year, I’m interested in how tough this will be, how it may change how I view money and “need”, what small good I might achieve and who I may encounter…  the dream chaser & random stranger.

There is only so much I can hope to achieve in this lifetime & my sphere of influence may be small, but a downsized life enables me to share in what others do too.

Blessed to be a blessing.

 

 

This has been another post in my ongoing journey of discovering of what it looks like to follow Jesus in today’s world and loving people more than money.

 

 

adventures, News, Uncategorized

iPhone challenge – update


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A long-awaited update 🙂

I love hearing & reading stories of how others are living & breathing the gospel in unique, challenging & creative ways, I struggle sometimes to talk about what this looks like in my life.  Partly it’s because  I know my own heart & what’s really there, or maybe it’s self-consciousness, false modesty, fear of failure or my own ego… I’m not entirely sure.  I do know that this isn’t meant to be about me, you won’t see the launch of  “*insert name-Ministries” here… you won’t even find my name.

It’s been a while since my iPhone challenge. I was able to in a tiny way help some chase their dreams and some random strangers, the highlight for me was breakfast with a homeless man. While I’m sure a feed and conversation did more for me than him and won’t alter his long-term prospects, it has to be better than turning a blind eye.

What I learnt most was this, if I consciously put aside some money with the goal of blessing/helping someone then it’s pretty much impossible for me not to be looking for opportunities to do so.

Eventually my phone did die and I did eventually go the smart phone route, I opted for an older model windows phone on clearance, fraction of the price, no plan. I guess looking back, this was my first intentional downsize.

 

 

quotes

money blind


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I used to think when I was a child, that Christ might have been exaggerating when he warned about the dangers of wealth. Today I know better. I know how very hard it is to be rich and still keep the milk of human kindness. Money has a dangerous way of putting scales on one’s eyes, a dangerous way of freezing people’s hands, eyes, lips and hearts

– Dom Hélder Câmara