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Archive for January, 2007

A thought.

As I was talking to the wonderful Anna Bennett (I owe her the urge to get back to blogging again) at Relay 2, I was reminded of a thought I’d once had about the vast amount of crazy Christian Subcultures we find ourselves in. Sometimes, especially in this job, I get overwhelmed by the number of people claiming that God is ‘in’ their particular branch of this thing we call following God and seeking to be more like Jesus. I get confused as to what God is really doing, whether He’s more with certain people or less with others. It’s easy to feel like a chameleon some of the time, speaking the right language with the right people. I asked God once what on earth this was all about. His answer was the beautiful simplicity of Isaiah 66:2

“Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the LORD.
“This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word.”

The language we use, the labels we like to cling to aren’t the important thing here. The issue is, whatever label you use, whatever subculture you belong to, are you humble, contrite and trembling at Gods word? That’s what He is after. That’s what I want to aim for in this maze of ideas. It’s easy to get lost along the way and just fall into following the crowd around us, God is interested in our hearts, in us living and breathing more and more of Him revealed in His word. It really doesn’t matter about the tribes or styles you hook up with after that. And that’s what we look for in others, not people who speak the right language, have the same heroes, wear the same clothes, go to the same conferences, but those who are humble, contrite and tremble at God’s word.

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Back.

As much as I hate to read blog posts that claim to have more to say later, that’s the theme of this one. There is more to say in the next few days about the things my brain has been mulling over since the delights of Relay 2 (our second brainwashing conference for the production of clones…). I have caught the Relay cold and should be tucked up in my bed, hence no uber long posting here. However I think the proceedings should start with at least a few of the reasons as to why Relay is possibly the best invention, and why being on the staff team at Relay conferences makes me incredibly happy.

A friend asked me to explain what was so good about being on Relay Staff. Well here’s a few of the reasons: (in no particular order)
1. Working as a team, which in this job is a crazy rarity and wonderful.
2. In that team: Depending on God together, having lots of fun together, laughing very hard and generally living in community for a few days with lovely people.
3. Sharing burdens with people, loving and encouraging them and being loved and encouraged back.
4. Sitting in a room full of about 70 people who want to love God more than they already do, and experiencing a little bit of His work in their lives.
5. Being reminded that God is still God and the gospel is still true.
6. You get to live based on the reality that you are a sinner and that is no news to anyone, especially not God and you get to know grace as a reality rather than a concept.
7. God is constantly on display through chats, seminars, praise times, chilling times, coffee moments, crying moments and general interaction as his body together.
8. I’ve been reminded time and time again that this life really is all about God and not me.
9. Living, serving and loving in the freedom of that.
10. Where else could you go from talking about the core of our identities, exposing the deepest sin to dancing in front of people in the karaoke madness of the fun night in the space of about 4 hours?
11. Knowing that it’s really not about any of the levels we like to build in our Christian subcultures.
12. Getting to bongo and as I stand at the front see people pour out their hearts to their Maker.
13. Chatting about reality with Relay workers, praying with them, being a small part of God’s work in them but most of all bringing them to His feet and leaving them in His arms.
14. Laughing until it hurts.

At my first Relay conference 7 years ago I sat in a room full of newbie Relay workers and realised for the first time that there were no levels anymore, that we all stood on the same ground of God’s freeing grace. I felt like I belonged because it wasn’t about what I could do but about God’s strength and grace. I can’t use any words that don’t sound cliched but the freedom of that moment has stayed with me. The bliss of standing knowing that the Maker of all knows all the depths of my heart and still faces me with his unrelenting stubborn love is something to bathe in for a long time.

It turns out this post was fairly long after all. More soon.

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New things.

Here and here.

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Book group.

Seeing as I have attempted no round up of 2006 I thought a small sharing of the books our book group have read would be in order. We have munched our way through:

We need to talk about Kevin- Lionel Shriver
The Kite Runner- Khaled Hossenini
Wicked- Gregory Maguire
The Time Travellers Wife- Audrey Niffenegger
Never let me go- Kazuo Ishiguro
A long way down- Nick Hornby

All of which have provoked fascinating discussions, generally about what on earth this life is all about?, is there any meaning?, how can we find it out?, is it ok to have comma’s after question marks?, death, mortality and other big topics of life the universe and everything. Which is clearly why I love it so much.

Asking the questions is a vital thing in this life, we have to ask why on earth we are here and what this crazy planet is all about. Even if we come up with the answer based on a maker and a journey home we also have to feel the weight of the questions. Because they aren’t negated by an answer. Somethings are still not sewn up with the appearance of the answer. The question comes to us all, how do we live right here, right now? I happen to think that is all determined by the was and is to come bit but then again I always was a bit deluded…

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Some things

Tomorrow is ‘wear your slippers to work’ day. Check out Mr Burley’s excellent blog for more details. My housemate gets to appreciate his genius at Cornhill so they can scheme over things like this. I think it won’t be all that difficult for me to do, although I might draw the line on driving in slippers. Wear your slippers to work day.

On a completely different note here’s an interview with a good band and their inspiring thoughts on this God thing.

Which I discovered on this man’s blog, I know some people who know him, hence the discovery, I love his writing genius and the way he sometimes writes things that are in my head.

And finally.
Here are some things I’m glad of right now:
“Cos when I’m weak, You make me strong
When I’m blind, You shine Your light on me
Cos I’ll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know You don’t need me
How amazing to find that You want me”
(Casting Crowns)

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Pretty snow.

Snow makes the most amazing sound underfoot. It crunches and groans under your footsteps. Snow makes everything look amazing, deadens all other sound, makes you catch your breath in wonder and when it goes everything looks sad and defeated at being exposed for what it really is. Even communist architecture looks good in snow (although I do have a love of it without the snow covering, there’s something about seeing concrete surrounded by beautiful mountains and green fields….) There’s always something good about gazing at this amazing world and thinking, hang on, I know the maker. Or, hang on, the maker of all this knows me.


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Tonight

Tonight I feel like I’m in a decompression chamber, the cusp of two worlds, the space inbetween the lines in my head. The transition between what has been and what will be. It’s strange to think that yesterday morning I was in Prague, and now I’m in Brighton, a route achieved via Bournemouth, Southampton and Guildford. Tomorrow I won’t travel anywhere and then I’m off again. Which clearly explains the need to write this somewhere. I’d better go to bed before tomorrow comes.

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