Monday, October 31, 2005

If your life were a rainbow what would be red and what would be blue?

A question posed to me today in a coffee shop by the lovely Debs*. A Question that really is all about the interpretation. Well. Red in my life would be the new things that are happening this term, the friends I’ve made here, the fact I get to play in a Band. Yes a Real Band. (we even have a name- Rooted, available for gigs in your local area whenever needed), the fun I’ve been having recently, and probably the red of the wine I’m enjoying.

Blue is the blue of the sky before the sun rises, the black of night is fading and a deep rich blue takes over the sky. A blue that smells of hope, a blue that offers the coming of the dawn, the blue that anticipates more to come. This blue is the blue that surrounds my thoughts on the rest of the term ahead of me. After a small mini break of embracing the worlds of Cambridge and Guildford I am back in Hove, back with the job ahead of me. Back with the choice to go through the motions or to seek the face of the one who makes sense of this life. Who dwells within the motions I make.

Over to you- If your life were a rainbow, what would be orange and what would be green?

*Debs- Friend from Guildford, companion on the journey and fellow swimmer in the depths of deep thinking.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

From the Attic to the fireplace

A week goes past quickly and there is much to think about from the last week of life.

Firstly a quote from Larry Crabb which kind of sums up the response I need to have to the last few days of tunnel life which I found myself in last week. Periodically my brain melts down and leaves me in the darkness. This quote always brings me back to the one who holds my hand through the dark times and is walking through the tunnels with me.

“It is right to think about life, to probe into the complexities of your relationship with yourself and others. But you must conduct these adventures of thought in the same spirit as children explore their grandfathers old, rambling house. Seemingly endless closets and crevices and corners in the attic dare children to leave the well lit living room where grandfather always sits; but that living room is headquarters and the children are careful to keep the way back clearly in mind.

Many Christians today have courageously ventured into the dark regions of the soul but have forgotten the way back to the room where the eternal Father gathers his children onto his lap and reads stories to them by the fireplace.

God knows everything about you. He is thoroughly aware of all the personal struggles that threaten to undo you. He knows your history and your present life, all of it. And all he says to you is, Christ. In previous days, God distributed bits and pieces of information, and he gave it to us in various ways. But now he tells us everything he made known earlier is more fully revealed in Christ. That is his final speech, “Christ!”. There is no more to say.

God wants you to sit by the fire and listen to the Spirit read sixty six books that tell about him. And when you think about a friend struggling, he wants you to leave the living room and go to the attic where that person is telling his story, but to return quickly with your friend so both of you can listen to a far better story.

Most of us are crawling about in a stuffy attic, trying to explain life, demanding to be right, doing our best to relieve pain, and wondering where God is. It is time to find our way back to the living room and into the Fathers arms where we can listen to his Spirit tell the story of Christ.” (L.Crabb- Finding God)

Light in the tunnel

The end of the tunnel came with a perfect 24 hours with a friend. Which leads me to ponder on the greatness of times of just doing things you love.

These are things that I love, and all were done in the space of 24 hrs.

Sunset walks on the beach with a pink and greeny grey sky above.
Good food in a restaurant, after a day of not eating much.
Conversation that swims to the depths and skims the surface of all that goes on in this life.
Pondering the romantic nature of our God and his best kind of intimacy.
Playing beautiful music and having lots of fun playing read music with bongos and guitars.
Drinking wine and eating chocolate.
Buying new shoes.
Lazy mornings.

All these things made me smile. Lots.
And the best thing is all these things come from the one who made us all. Who knew what I needed this weekend, and who knows how to restore my soul. All these times of peace, security, fun and beauty are only possible because of the maker. Who would be enough even without these amazing gifts he gives. It’s the details I love, the putting of people together to support, care for each other and point each other back to Him. The times He takes everything away so we realise He is enough, the moments when some of the Bigger Picture is revealed as we get to see a bit more of the tapestry of this life weaved together.

This does leave me to ponder on whether, sometimes, I love the gifts more than the giver. John Pipers book "A Hunger for God" has found its way into my hands again. He talks about fasting as something to enable us to love the giver more than the gifts, of longing for the Kings coming, of stepping back from the gifts to become aware of the vast all encompassing sufficency of the giver. "God is glorified in us when we aim our behaviour at being most satisfied in him. We may do this by grateful eating or grateful fasting. His gifts leave a hunger for him beyond themselves, and fasting from his gifts puts that hunger to the test." It is good sometimes to turn from the good gifts and look beyond them to the wonderful giver, to drink deep from His fountain and gain satisfaction from Him. Whatever I do with the gifts, I want to spill over in gratitude to the one who gave them and also sometimes restrain from them to remind myself that the Giver is better, much better for who He is, rather than just for what He provides for me. (although I am clearly loving his provision at the moment!)

I'll leave you with the scariest quote.. "Fasting poses the question: do we miss him? How hungry are we for him to come again? The almost universal absence of regular fasting for the Lords return is a witness to our satisfaction with the presence of the world and the absence of the Lord."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sarcastic Counselling?

On a slightly more interesting note, or perhaps one that won’t require the scorn of my one and a half readers. I’ve been loving Paul’s (that’s Paul of the Bible variety) sarcastic counselling methods recently.

Sarcastic counselling is best practised by my brother, who employs it with abandon in my direction, a typical conversation could go something like this:
Kath (moaning)– “I’m so rubbish, how can I ever come back to God, how could he take me back again”.
Mark (deadpan with sarcastic undertones): “Yes, you are the only person that has sinned too much, the only person beyond God’s love, God could never forgive you, I think he could never love you again, He’s not all full of grace and love really.”
Kath realises how ridiculous this makes her sound, and remembers that God does actually love her, and wants her back right now.

It works well. Paul uses this method lots when it comes to the Galatian Christians. I am particularly enjoying his questions in chapter 3.

“I would like to learn just one thing from you, did you receive the Spirit by observing the Law or by believing what you have heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to attain your goal through human effort? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law or because you believe what you heard?”

The answer to each one of those questions is glaringly obvious when stated like that. And yet I need someone to be that sarcastic with me. To point out the glaringly obvious, because I do try and attain stuff by my own effort, I do sometimes think it’s about my ability to follow God’s commands instead of gratefully accepting and believing in the God who became a curse for me. It’s about nothing I can do, and everything that He has done. It makes no sense for me to try and get the Spirit on my own effort, or try and make God work his miracles because of my ability to keep commandments. It makes every sense to hold out my hands and receive the gift based on a promise that had everything to do with God’s ability to keep it and not mine. Now that’s freedom, that’s joy. That is real life.

New Cds

On Saturday I indulged myself in one of my favourite activities. Cd shopping. I bought some good ones. Two of those are completely different but brilliant in their own ways. If you want happy cheery smily music, and yes, once in a while that is allowed. Buy the Go Team's new album "Thunder, Lightening, Strike", I haven't listened to music that has made me grin innanely for a while.

The other Cd which has the oppostite effect on me was Patti Smith's "Horses". Apparently a classic, this was my first introduction. I listened to it in my car this morning on the way to work. It scared me. Music hasn't scared me for a long time. She scared me. And made me go ooooooooo and feel indescribable things. She had a effect on me. Any album which starts with the line, "Jesus died for sins, but not for mine" has got to be worth listening to.


Everybody needs good neighbours.
Just a little understanding can make the perfect day.

Well it is the 20th Anniversary this week, which is of some note. I’m not sure whether to be delighted at the episode today or whether to check myself into a rehab clinic. The levels my addiction has got to recently are quite concerning. There is no rational defence for the joy induced by today’s episode. It just made me happy, so there you go. Fear not, I will not become a neighbours evangelist and will try and accept others from different persuasions. If you are nice to me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Memories come to meet me...

Well, I'm back in my parents house for a night, which is a slightly random experience. Being back in the parental household always offering slightly too many random memories of the past which seem to hang around. Interesting as ever to visit the past, but I think it's a place best avoided for most of the time, I am after all a different person to the teenage me that lived here. Which, if you were aware of me back then, you'll know is a Good Thing.

Anyway tonight the topic is living in the moment. Which comes from hearing a student talk about how we always seem to live for the next big thing in our lives, either worrying about it or looking forward to it. So much so that we fail to look around at the day we have before us, tending instead to rush through it constantly thinking about what's next. I did want to ask her if she had read my mind recently. But telapathic insights aside. It's a good point. We are made to live today. To encourage each other Today. To follow the leadings and opportunties God gives us Today. As someone once said. "This is the day that the Lord has made." After all tomorrow has enough worries of it's own, and best of all the mercies from God are new in it. We can live each day as it comes, we can live in each moment, asking God to work in it. We can break free from the living for the weekend culture of our lives.

At least I hope we can, because I'd quite like too, and because that would enable me to embrace each day as it comes, trusting in God to work through today and not just worrying or wishing away the time given to me right now. However, Today is about to come to an end and Tomorrow will soon be Today, but over the otherside of sleep lies a day fresh with new mercy and grace and a God who has been working through the night before I've even woken up. I will wake up in his world, to live in what he has prepared for me that day. For now I can sleep. Safe in the knowledge that he is at work and does not slumber or sleep. I can. And I will. See you in the morning.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Sometimes it feels like we are holding on (or being held on) by a mere thread to God. We are so frail and weak. And yet in that weakness somehow we are strong. Go figure how that works. At least I know that I'm not the only one who has felt this way, which seems to be incredibly important for us all. To know that we are not the only ones.

Well, it took the hand of God Almighty
To part the waters of the sea
But it only took one little lie
To separate you and me
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

And they say that one day Joshua
Made the sun stand still in the sky
But I can't even keep these thoughts
Of you from passing by
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

We are frail
We are fearfully and wonderfully made
Forged in the fires of human passion
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
And with these our hells and our heavens
So few inches apart
We must be awfully small
And not as strong as we think we are

And the Master said their faith was
Gonna make them mountains move
But me, I tremble like a hill on a fault line
Just at the thought of how I lost you
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

(Rich Mullins again)

more cool quotes

This from my favorite author. (who isn't Mr Peterson...) Mr Adrian Plass. A quote that reminds me what I want my life to be about.

"I tried to say that there are days when I feel very worried and confused about the church- a little frightened even at times. But as we sat in the darkness of our sitting-room tonight, with that tiny light shinning in the middle of our group, I knew that in the very heart of my heart, that the church will be alright in the end. And it will be all right beacuse there will always be just a few people like Edwin around in every generation. People who when the tongues have stopped, and the prophecies have ended, and the kangaroo hopping has come to a standstill, and the religous posing and postering fools nobody anymore, will still be ready and willing to genuinely share the burdens of the little people who are close to them, committed to the staggering eternal truth that we are all one body because we all partake of one bread." (from The Sacred Diary aged 45).


I’ve been inspired by the recent trickle of people saying that they read this blog to write more random burblings from my mind. I’ve been thinking a bit recently about the nature of blogs. Which I’m sure comes to every blogger once in a while. In a ‘what is the point of this’ type way. I think secretly (or not so secretly now) I’m attempting to reassure myself once again that it is a good thing to be me. Not in a deeply narcissistic, ‘oo I’m the centre of the universe’ way. But in a ‘ah God made me me for a reason’. (which reminds me of a song..).

I’ve been musing on the point of this space in relation to other ‘Christian’ blogs. (by nature this is a Christian blog because I am a Christian and these are my thoughts.) Some of the blogs I’ve skimmed across seem to be very into discussing ‘theology’ and issues, and all the rest. It is tempting, for me, to think that is a more worthy thing to read, write and think about, and to want to try and do that myself. But I think this blog is all about living with the theology. I turn to my old friend to try and explain what I mean. Mr Peterson, the platform is yours:

“’Theology’ is the attention that we give to God, the effort we give to knowing God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and in Jesus Christ. ‘Spiritual’ is the insistence that everything that God reveals of himself is capable of being lived out by ordinary men and women in their homes and workplaces. ‘Spiritual’ keeps ‘theology’ from degenerating into merely thinking and talking and writing about God at a distance. ‘Theology’ keeps ‘spiritual’ from becoming merely thinking and talking and writing about the feelings and thoughts one has about God. The two words need each other, for we know how easy it is for us to let our study of God (theology) get separated from the way we live; we also know how easy it is to let our desires to live whole and satisfying lives (spiritual lives) get disconnected from who God actually is and the ways he works amongst us.” (E.Peterson- Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places)

Naturally I am more drawn towards the ‘spiritual’ side of this seesaw. And so I need the ones who are more drawn towards the ‘theology’ side to remind me what all my thoughts and feelings are really based on. We need ‘theology’ but we need to remember the context in which we discuss it. The reality of God and who he really is lived out in my relationships, my workplace, my thoughts and actions.

I think there needs to be more welding of the two sides together. (they may be a false dichotomy as to take one side away from the other leaves mere empty words)

I want to be able to express all I know of the truth of God, and how he works in this world, in ways that relate to living life. To apply all I know of the maker of this world into how I live and breathe and walk around this earth. To explore how that works in creative ways. As I said when I started I don’t want to recount diary moments in my life, but I do want to share and start conversations about the reality all around us. The truth about who we are and why we are here. And to do so in language that is accessible and relational. But not in a way that leaves the attention on us as humans. But that brings the attention back to the one who made us, loves us, gave everything for us. Because gazing at His face brings us hope and gazing into the eyes that know everything we’ve done but that don’t turn away is the best news in the world.

As the body of Christ we need each other to help one another think about different aspects of this truth we live with. I like the blogs that make me think more about 'theology' and critcally about stuff. But maybe this might be bringing balance to the force. (ahem)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Messed Up?

Messed up again
trampled your grace
under my feet.
Forgot the reality
that holds me
to this earth.
Messed up again
Failed to call you
who you are
Lord of all.
Maker of my tangled
Chose the easy
chose to fall.
Instead of giving
you my all.
Messed up again

Coming back again
Tell me this isn’t it,
tell me that there
is more than this.
Tell me that story
The one where you
fight it out for me
Where you pay no
regard for payment,
for earnings, for deserving.
But carry on loving beyond
the hardness of my heart.
Coming back again
tell me there is a
welcome here
A grace that frees this
Coming back again
tell me you can soften a heart
as hard as this.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Shout from the roof tops?

This quote cheered me. Immensely. It so against the prevailing message in our world at the moment. We are not defined by our sexual actions but by something much greater. And the best intimacy doesn’t need to involve sex. Freedom. This really needs to be shouted from the roof tops.

“If in our lives there is no sexual union with another, perhaps because we have accepted celibacy, or gone through bereavement, illness or divorce, we are no less fully human and fully sexual. Deeply satisfying human intimacy, whether in marriage or outside, is in the end not dependant on copulation but on a faithful sharing of our hearts and lives with those whom we love, and a longing for their well being and peace. For it is then that ‘God can be God and love be gift.” (Elaine Storkey- The Search for Intimacy)