Posts Tagged 'christianity'

Spirit

“Man gets tired.
Spirit don’t.
Man surrenders.
Spirit won’t.
Man crawls.
Spirit flies.
Spirit lives
when man dies.

Man seems.
Spirit is.
Man dreams.
The beautiful spirit lives.
Man is tethered.
Spirit free.
What spirit
is man can be”.

From “Spirit” by The Waterboys.

I was scrawling through my notepad today and came across a quote I’d scribbled down a few weeks ago, “Earthly wisdom keeps us grounded, but, we were created to fly”.

I wonder what the things are that keep me tethered, bound and shackled?  Could a justified slave call himself a free man?  Do I see my life in those terms?

Am I afraid of flying?  Part of me loves the sense of soaring.  Another part of me likes to feel that I am rooted and grounded.  A big part of me looks at the horizon and feels such a huge rush.  A bigger part of me looks to the world and thinks to myself, “everything is wrong…”

Surely it’s impossible to defy gravity and keep my feet on the ground?  Maybe I need to jump off the branch in faith?  Maybe that will not lead to my head being in the clouds, but will give me a fresh perspective as I come back in to land, as I look around me whilst setting my eyes and my heart on things above…

Metal Heart.

“I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind
But now I see.
How selfish of you to believe in the meaning of all the bad dreaming

Metal heart, you’re not hiding
Metal heart, you’re not worth a thing”.

From “Metal Heart” by Cat Power.

Cinema seems to have witnessed a resurgence of 3-D films over the past year.  Something that I thought had been ditched in the 1980’s seems to be being re-explored as a means of pulling us further into the stories that unfold before our eyes.  Is this a fad aimed at children or will we see cinema forever altered by revisiting ideas from an earlier age?

3-D cinema is designed to bring depth.  Everything literally takes on a whole new dimension.  We may feel self conscious or look silly with those 3-D glasses on, but when we are with a group of people with a similar focus our awkwardness seems irrelevant and our resistance dissipates instantly.

How often do I walk through life, caught up in my own little world, missing a whole other realm?

How often does my desire to fit in prevent me from seeing things as they really are?

12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[a] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely”. (1Cor 13:12 – NLT).

It has been a priviledge in recent weeks to be assisting in leading my first Alpha Course.  It has been interesting to discover what the tenets of our faith are seen to be.  It has been inspiring to see the giftings and genuine love of HIWWC as she leads the sessions.  It has been refreshing to hear peoples’ ideas and experiences and to have a place where those are validated and listened to rather than the leaders doing most of the talking.  It has been a joy to see people begin to “get it” or nudge a bit closer with no-one ramming an agenda, but, rather, simply, holding out an offer. 

I have loved to hear questions asked, clarity gained and to catch even glimpses of lives taking on a whole new dimension and people gaining a different perspective and, perhaps, in time, a fresh world-view…

This Is The Sea

“These things you keep
You’d better throw them away.
You wanna turn your back
On your soulless days.
Once you were tethered
And now you are free.
Once you were tethered.
Well, now you are free.
That was the river.
This is the sea!”

From “This Is The Sea” by The Waterboys.

P4070029
I’ve written about the concept of “missional expressions” on my blog before. 

It is the direction our church community is moving in.  Groups of folks clustered around a post-code, people group or shared interest and trying  naturally to be distinct – to bring flavour, to preserve that which is good, to shine a little light in the darkness.  To be outward looking rather than insular.

The leadership asked us to float ideas and the first eleven or so are about to be rolled out and tested between now and February.  So here’s what I’m looking at being a catalyst for:

Soul Surfers –  An opportunity for Christians who surf (or who would like to learn how to) to arrange to do so together.  We will look outwards, intentionally building natural friendships in the surf community and inviting non-Christian friends to join us. We will encourage and support each other, “doing life together”.  We’ll spend time getting to know each other, including our non-churched friends, to live our lives as open books and to build familiarity with those we come in contact with”.

Want to join me in sussing out if there is any mileage in this? 

P6110026

I Came To Believe.

“And I came to believe in a power much higher than I.
I came to believe that I needed help to get by.
In childlike faith I gave in and gave Him a try.
And I came to believe in a power much higher than I”.

From “I Came To Believe” by Johnny Cash.

P8040022

I’ve been musing upon why I find it hard to share my faith.  What is my story when I distill it down beyond places and people and specific periods of time?

I think it actually involves realising that just like most people I wanted to believe that my life counted.  I wanted to harness my potential.  I wanted to believe that I could change things and make a difference.  I wanted to believe that there was more to life than getting a decent job, a nice car, a house in the right postcode and 2.4 children.  I wanted to believe that I didn’t have to conform to some conveyor belt mentality or appearance.  I wanted to think for myself.

That said, life seemed really big.  I was daunted by it.  I was fearful of the consequences of my decisions and the ramifications they might have on how life unfolded.  I lacked confidence and I worried about these things.

I met Christians who seemed to have something in their lives that I didn’t.  It was authentic and attractive.  It permeated every part of their everyday lives.  It was something I wanted more of in my own life.  As I watched and observed them, I found myself spending more time with them and reading the Bible and trying to grapple with what I believed it really had to say.  I committed myself to Christ and His teachings.

It’s not that life is always easy now or that I always make the right decisions, but I do feel anchored.  I have deep peace amidst the storms of life and all of the constant juggling.  I find a purpose in the big and small things of everyday life.  I have a sense of guidance and direction.  I see a bigger picture than just my immediate circumstances.  I feel enormously thankful for the way many of the big questions I had in terms of life decisions have panned out.  I have security and hope.  I have a real sense of not being alone.  I feel that I am growing into the person I was always meant to be.

I’m still learning, still questioning, still wrestling, but I think that’s what keeps faith alive.  I’m trying to see how to apply it and I am aware of my own short-comings.  It’s not been a bunch of rules or traditions that have hindered or shackled me, but something that has freed me.  Sure, I have plenty of off days, but I wouldn’t trade what I have now for anything in the world.

This Is Your Life

“Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead.
Yesterday is a promise that you’ve broken.
Don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes.
This is your life and today is all you’ve got now.
Yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have.
Don’t close your eyes.
Don’t close your eyes.

This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose?”

From “This Is Your Life” by Switchfoot.

IMG00253

So, this week was my birthday.  Another year and how much has life changed?  I think it’s helpful every so often to look back, not to to dwell there in rose tinted memories, but just to get some bearings.

Sometimes I smile to myself as I think about the dreams I once had.  The way I thought the future might look…

I can distinctly remember sitting in bible class aged 14 or 15 and a leader saying “the biggest decisions you’ll make in life will all take place in the next 5-10 years:  what job you’ll do, who you might marry…”  In truth it put the fear of God into me and froze me in place.  It stopped me dead in my tracks.  What if I got it wrong?  Life seemed too big – too much pressure.

I’m not that age anymore and life hasn’t always been plain sailing, but there is so much to be thankful for.

Psalm 111:10  says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.  I don’t think that means to be frozen in fear before a God who is unapproachable because of our mistakes, regrets, falling short and screwing up.  But I read that as meaning that having an awe for God and His vastness is the starting point for making wise decisions.  To paraphrase the cover of a book my wife bought me for my birthday, “Maybe we need to spend less time trying to convince God to do what we want and to spend more time convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do?”

So, back to now. 

Who am I becoming? 

How am I growing? 

How am I being changed? 

What is God doing in my life?

I don’t feel that I’m living in the past.  Most of the time, I feel pretty comfortable with who I am. 

In a rare heatwave this week, I stripped down to my boardshorts and ran through the cold water spurting from a hose in our back garden with my four year old daughter.  In an instant I was transported back to a shared sense of childhood and, hopefully, it will be one of those happy, sun-filled, snapshots she will carry into her future.  As we sat on the garden furniture letting the evening sun dry us off, eating fajitas and nachos I couldn’t help but feel all was right in the world.  We are called to be childlike and that is very different from being called to be childish…

So how will it look a year from now?  I don’t have a clue and I’m fine with that.  I’m more convinced than ever that Jesus came to give us life and life to the full.  That is the polar opposite of paralysis or being drained of life through fear.  It’s the opposite of taking stances on the minutiae of theology.  As for me and our house, we will serve the Lord.

Be Thou My Vision

“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light”.

From “Be Thou My Vision” sung in churches throughout the world regularly. 

dsc0998a

I wrote about our first trip to Polzeath in North Cornwall in my previous post and how a place called the Tubestation began to catch our imagination.  Whilst we never actually ventured inside due to building works at the time, we began to find out about the project on-line and via a television programme I posted about last year here.

In their own words here is part of their story:

How it all began…

Polzeath, “The thumping heart of cool Cornwall” (The Times)

The story begins in 2002 in the beachside chapel the Tubestation now calls home.  With ever decreasing use, the building faced the fate of many of the UK’s small chapels: closure and inevitable commercial sale.  But then on Christmas Day 2002 a vision was born, one which continues to unfold today. The vision starts with the rescue of this incredible site and the compulsion to give it anew to the coastal community it once served.

Late in 2006, two surfers were taken on to begin the work making plans, raising interest in the vision and raising funds to support it.  Tubestation opened in the summer of 2007, playing non-stop movies on three screens, with facilities for live music and DJ’s, skateboarding, art and display space, Wi-fi internet with laptops, games, coffee lounge and loads more!

Tubestation is a faith-based non-profit voluntary organisation situated in a refurbished chapel crammed full of great stuff and overlooking the famous Polzeath beach!

As well as the uses listed above, there is space to host a limited number of special events through the year.  With multimedia capabilities, Tubestation is a good space for meetings, presentations, parties, and it also has a marriage licence, making for a spectacular wedding location.  Brilliantly, the building is still used as a church.

Tubestation’s vision is about living life to the full, which includes much more than  just what happens on site.  We seek creative ways to use the fantastic resources and the links we have on both a local and a global level, to benefit people.

So future development of the site will aim to provide facilities for a range of arts and music, plus conference capabilities: and off site the project aims to encourage underprivileged people to access extreme sports; meanwhile our overseas links through charity partners World Vision and Christian Surfers are beginning to look into developing surf amenities to benefit third world coastal communities.

Tubestation runs on a “love your neighbour” attitude.  Its staff will never seek to force their faith on other people, but rather simply try to use their lives as living examples of the relevance of the gospel today…

As a family we have just returned from 10 days in Cornwall.  We hung out at the Tubestation a fair bit and are completely inspired by what we experienced. 

Below is a flavour of the set-up from iPlayer.

Great as the clip is, I almost expected a “cool factor” or barrier to exist and was pleasantly encouraged that I found an authenticity and welcoming comunity of all ages gathered there.  There’s something uplifting about singing “Blessed be Your name, when the sun’s shining down on me, when the world’s all as it should be. Blessed be Your name” when you’re in a place which is so obvioulsy Jesus centred and full of love and when you’re gazing out the windows across blue skies, sandy beaches and know the Atlantic ocean is just around the corner…

Thanks guys and thanks be to God!

Sky High

“Soothe me at the yucca’s feet.

Taste the sweet of salt and sand.

Feel the burn, I know you can

Deep, deep, in my mind.

Hear about God’s heavenly spies.

Speak about rolling skies.”

From “Sky High” by The Prayer Chain.

Last September we had a fantastic week’s holiday in Cornwall.  On one of the first evenings we drove to Port Isaac and Polzeath just to get our bearings and check out the beaches.  Polzeath has become somewhere special in our hearts.  There is something awe inspiring about staring at the sea, hearing the sound of the waves breaking, watching the gulls swoop amidst the spray, to watch the thousands of acres of sky…

On returning to the car we saw a cafe perched above us called the Tube Station.  The big cross in the logo caught our attention.  Sadly, we couldn’t go in during our stay as they didn’t seem to be open and various folks seemed busy constructing an outdoor decking area for terraced seating.  That said, the huge banners outside caught our imagination.  Here was something completely fitting for it’s environment, something unashamed and somewhere that sought to feed the body, mind and soul.  Here are last September’s photos:

P9100081

P9100082

P9100083


RSS What I’m Listening To

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
Blog for Amnesty - Protect the Human