Posts Tagged 'skateboarding'

These Are Days

“These are the days.
These are days you’ll remember.
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this.
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky.
It’s true that you
Are touched by something.
That will grow and bloom in you”.

From “These Are Days” by 10,000 Maniacs.

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The little small group collective that gather around our dining table and inhabit our home and hearts have been working through a series looking at the topics of simplicity, love and justice in recent weeks. 

There are some big and small ideas that seem to challenge me to the core weekly.  Some little changes I can make and some bigger ones I am trying to work through. 

It’s good to enjoy food and laughs with friends who are also determined to encourage one another to grapple with things it’s easier to dismiss.  For each of us to become who we are meant to be and to think and live counter-culturally at times.

I seem to be hearing lots about consumerism at the minute.  I always falter with that when the new Howies or SAS catalogues arrive.  Mind you, this little piece made me smile:

“Come rain (and there will be), come shine (here’s hoping).  Even if our knees have knobbles and our calves are like sticks, we’ll be hunting through our wardrobes for our favourite shorts.  Because just a few hours of sunshine is all we need to remember those summers when we were kids.  When the sun shone for longer, the days were endless and our only deadline was tea on the table.  And when we got up in the morning and threw on our shorts and t-shirts, grabbed some toast and our bikes or skateboards and left for the day we knew that one day in the future the sun would be shining and we’d be putting on our shorts and remembering that feeling.

These are the days and they always were.”

Peace.

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Losing My Religion

“Oh, life is bigger.
It’s bigger than you.
And you are not me.
The lengths that I will go to.
The distance in your eyes.
Oh no, I’ve said too much.
I set it up.”

From “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.

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As The Bank Of England Monetary Committee go as far as to say the UK is now in a “deep recession”, we all seem to be tired of bad news.  Life is big and often I feel so small.  I think we are all hungry for good news.

Whilst the photo above may be a bit blurred – the notes I scribbled in my pad last Sunday at church merely amounted to “Save us from religious observation.”  That’s really what I feel just now.  If I can’t imagine life without the hope my faith brings me, how come I feel inclined to keep it to myself so much?  As the old H-Street skateboard video was so brilliantly entitled – “Shackle Me Not!”

Southern State

“Well, you’re sleeping in that southern state where the bars are filled with people you can’t hate.
But try as you try and you still can’t relate to them.
You drink that whiskey down as they ask you
Are you who you say you are?
The fact that we can’t tell makes us like you even more.”

From “Southern State” by Bright Eyes.

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I remember that we had Religious Education on my first day at secondary school.  We were tasked with writing a short essay on the question, “Who Am I?”  I remember thinking it was an odd question, but I wrote down some thoughts about identity and self expression.  I loved doodling and the drawing which accompanied it was probably more telling of my worldview back then.  I recall it involving lots of people walking around – punks, casuals, trendies or old folks all with think bubbles asking “Who Am I?”  I guess that I linked identity largely with image or classification back then.

I remember being appalled when I read some literature accompanying an application form for graduate recruitment back in my student days which suggested that one could express their individuality through choice of silk tie, belt buckle and cuff-links.  I wanted to stand out more than I wanted to fit in.  From the photo above, maybe I’ve become that person…I do love the cuff-links my wife bought me for Christmas though…

Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, that question “Who Am I?” causes us all so many problems. 

After hearing of my friend, Craig B’s, answer in an interview in the Herald, I put the following question to the little small group collective who meet in our home: – “What five adjectives would you use to describe yourself?”

What would you say?

I came up with:

1) Father – I guess I see this as one of the most important and precious roles and tasks I have.  Maybe a better adjective would have been “parent” as I couldn’t imagine this role without the love and support and shared vision of my wife…Funny to think there was a time when the thought of being a Dad would scare me beyond belief…

2)  Gentle – I am gentle by nature and gently spoken.  Sometimes I think I’m perceived as weak in this way, as I find it hard to project my voice in certain environments or to engage and I have always been tall and thin.  I guess I’m just not “laddish” or “bloke-ish” particularly.

3)  Surveyor – whilst this is my job description, I don’t really define myself by this nor by my position in the firm I belong to.  Yet, I spend so much of my waking life (day time and many evenings) devoted to my work.  As I get older sometimes I wonder if I should be more engaged with this in trying to influence those around me?  I do try that in my own way – but I still sometimes wonder if I should admit that baldness is under everybodies’ hair, shave my head and try to fit into the corporate mold to a greater extent.  Again that just boils down to image, but it does affect how we think about ourselves…  I hope I am still growing into the person I am meant to be. 

4) Indie – I guess I have always been drawn to things that are counter-cultural.  Music, faith, films, etc.  Skateboarding changed my life and all the things that came from that culture – when combined with a free-thinking mind and a faith that is more real to me than anything – have made me into who I am today – contradictions, warts and all.  Yes, I know I should have put “interdependent” down as an adjective to demonstrate that I understand the need for church community, but, truth be told, I still love “indie”…Indie, indie, indie…

5) Anchored – I guess, I feel pretty secure in life most of the time.  I know where my hope comes from.  That’s not to say that I don’t get stressed or low, but above and beyond that I know God is God.

On reflection, I didn’t come up with a bunch of words that I once would have used.  Do certain words have meaning for a certain season and then develop us for something else?

My friend’s answers in the Herald were:

1)  Grumpy

2)  Grumpy

3) Grumpy

4) Grumpy

5) Ginger

I’d probably have given him the benefit of the doubt and supplemented one of them with “Genius!”

Alive

So following on from my last post, when do I feel closest to God?

Truth be told, in lots of places and ways.  Often when our church is gathered together to listen and learn through teaching and music.  Often in the stillness and in solitude.  Often outdoors – particularly when surfing or snowboarding.  Often through music – often loudly.

I’m dreadful at getting sucked into music channels if they are on TV somewhere.  I can often zone out of a meeting with a work client over lunch if there is a TV behind them…Whilst this song may not be typical of stuff on my iPod, it remains one of my favourite videos due to the collision of images, words and sounds.  I connect in this way in a very real way…Enjoy!

Video link is here.


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"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
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