Archive for November, 2007

Diary round up.

So, it’s been a while. Things that have taken my fingers away from this keyboard include getting on with enjoying my job, helping friends move house, watching many episodes of House, going on my last CU weekend aways and the usual eating sleeping and wondering that make up this life.

The latest thing to be exploding my brain is this series of lectures by the wonderful Andrew Fellows from L’abri.
Go here if you dare:
Narcissism – The Worldview of Self Part 1
Narcissism – The Worldview of Self Part 2
Narcissism – The Worldview of Self Part 3
Narcissism – The Worldview of Self Part 4

I add the warning because these are fairly depressing lectures to listen to. They rip away the charade of much of our lives and expose the darkness of our hearts which are lost in the obsession with self, ghosts searching for something that is real. That’s why we love anything physical, why we are so addicted to things, why we love consuming and a whole host of other things that make up our lives. We are on the search for some reality, and we think that comes from anything we can experience ourselves. Reality has become all about what I can touch, taste, feel and sense, dependent on the self to experience it. We’ve lost the sense of other. We are trapped in our endless spirals of self analysis and I haven’t listened to the last lecture yet to see if there is any hope to this situation. And if none of that made any sense, grab a coffee and listen to the lectures. These things matter.

House is our latest TV addiction. I’d love to wiffle away for hours about how brilliantly dark the character of House is. But really. The time is short. So many questions about ethics, what we mean, whether everybody really does lie, why we do the things we do and much more. Watch and think.

Subversion is my word of the week. Watching students this week being encouraged to be subversive made me grin. We have to be asking the questions to all around us. Who are we? Where do we come from? Why does music make us feel good? What is life really all about? What makes up identity? Why does the sunset make me want to cry? Where are we going? Does it matter? What is love? Why do we love? Is there really unconditional love? What do we wish for? Will it happen? So much to think about.

1 Peter also makes me think. Apparently we are aliens and strangers here. Called out. To be different. To reflect our Maker. To be truly subversive in the way we live our lives. In the way we love, show compassion and display true beauty. Spine tingling calls to be truly different and radical in this messed up world.

As ever I attempt to jump the wide divide between all I think and all I do in my walking around doing things with people life. That’s the biggest conundrum. Do we walk the path of our beliefs and ideas, or do we settle for the path of least resistance? One day we won’t even have to try. That’s a pretty good thought.


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So, I wrote a whole long essay on helping people in dark times. This is a little of it. It’s thoughts on helping people through the sticky times when life seems too bleak to believe in any kind of God. Or when your head is so messed up that truth, rational thought and sanity go out the window. The dark times affect your ability to believe anything, whether it is the love of a friend or the reality of God, there is no rationality in these times. This is different from hardened unbelief, from rebellion and rejection of God, this is the blanket of fog that covers everything in life with gloom. I experience mild forms of these times and we need to get better at talking about them, and at helping people through them. Having people who will believe the truth for you, and not just tell you to do something you think you can’t are very important in such times.

“There is the world of difference in telling someone to believe the truth and speaking truth into their lives. They don’t have to believe it, because if it’s true it’s not dependent on their belief in it. Brilliant. Tell them that. Tell them you’ll believe it for them when they can’t. That’s community. That’s the body of Christ in action. Stop telling them to believe. That’s just what they feel they can’t do. Their failure to see the truth leads to them feeling condemned and guilty for rejecting such beauty. But tell them the truth and tell them that you’ll believe it for them today. That lets a sliver of light into the darkness. That lets truth in the back door. Somedays I can’t believe and so I go to church and let others believe for me. This is the deepest kind of grace. The body in action. Family together. Something that is true and not dependent on my getting it or believing it today.

Remind them that they are safe in Jesus. Their faith does not depend on them but on the One who holds them and will not let go. This is the bottom deep reality of grace. This is grace for the times my head is so messed up that I can’t believe anything. This is grace that holds and does not let go because I am his child and he will not leave. This is the deepest grace I can think of.
“Your foundations in life may be gone, everything you built on may be crashing down and you yourself going down into the abyss. But, no; underneath – and they are always there – underneath are the everlasting arms. They are always holding you; you will never finally crash; you will be held when everything else is gone” – Martyn Lloyd Jones
And the brilliant thing is: that is true even when you don’t believe it.”

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“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word;
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

Fear not, He is with thee, O be not dismayed;
For He is thy God and will still give thee aid:
He’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by his righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters He calls thee to go,
The rivers of grief shall not thee overflow;
For he will be with thee, thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee, thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
His grace all sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee, His only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
He will not, he will not, desert to its foes:
That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
He’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

This says it all. This is all we have. And that’s a flipping lot. We will never be let go. That’s one stubborn love.

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