Sunday, February 22, 2009


I'm learning to face it: the sadness in the eye of a fourteen year old boy who has lost hope. I'm learning to admit that it is real, and acknowledge my own inability to make much of a dent in that sadness. But I feel this terrible responsibility.

Is it possible that I could be used nonetheless?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

take a swing mate?

What is the gospel? Some say it is the power of God unto salvation, but what the heck does that mean?

I (currently) say the gospel is belief in Christ, that is believing his story of the world and who God is. Belief in Christ is about trust. Trusting God. Problem is, I don’t know if I’ve got it in me. It’s like swinging out on a rope see – looks like a lot of fun, but its also damn hard work, and frightening for some!

There are muscles that must be strong enough to hold you suspended in the air all the way out until you know you’ve hit the moment when it is right to let go and – hold your breath (not your nose) - fall… down… into the cool rushing water and plunge down to the still deep, not struggling until its time to climb your way back to the surface, burst through, laughing and panting as you stroke and slide your way across to the edge ready to scramble out for another go.

So why do it? Well, why do you swing on a rope? Because you wish you could be that free and able, because you long to plunge, limbs flailing, towards rushing water with the ease of skill and custom. Because people you admire make it look so much fun. Because that is the way life should be lived.

Trusting God is like swinging on a rope. Have you ever done this? Even as a small child I desperately wanted to do it, but was afraid to have a go. What if I couldn’t hold myself on the rope? Back then it was enough to watch the older kids do it and make it look so easy.

I remember the shame I felt as an adult trying this, I think it was for the first time in my life. I held the rope and swung out… and couldn’t hold myself up! Quickly I slipped down the rope into the water with a huge splash. I sank down deep and considered not coming up again, so hurt was my pride. I even let the river carry me downstream a little way and sat on a log there while I recovered my composure and took enough courage to come back and face my companions.

When eventually I did, I was much too afraid to have another turn. I knew that my friends would be witness to yet another humiliation and I wasn’t ready to take the risk. And I never have since.

And it is a source of regret to me, so much that I think I might join a gym and work on developing the strength of those muscles so that I can have a proper go. Maybe I won’t be willing to do it out in public straight off - in front of those who find it so easy themselves. Maybe I’ll find my own rope swing and practise just with people who know and love me, spurring me on, until I know I can do it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why the move to Newcastle?

This is part of the studies I am doing for my Cornerstone Course. A reflection upon why I am here that is supposed to be open-ended. I'm not sure how that works.

I am here because I want to live from the story that inspires me – it is partly an act of defiance – defying the other story where I am trapped in the endless circle of a life without meaning or significance beyond what I may stumble through on the way past – and partly an act of faith – faith that goodness is real and I can choose it and help others to choose it and be helped by others to choose it more and so the goodness grows…

What is the story that you live out of?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Words for every occasion

What we say and what we think can differ greatly. They can be greatly different, and they can also be different for great reasons...

Until recently I held the strong belief that honesty should be of highest importance. I struggled to live by this rule, being honest with others... and being honest with myself. It isn't always easy.

Lately I have had these ideas challenged as I have observed friends of mine making some difficult choices. The words they speak about their new adventures... all positive. Yet, I know that there must be a certain amount of dread and worry.

I don't like it when pain is ignored. I don't think it works to simply "put on a happy face".

But it is also true that our words act as a kind of foundation for the attitude we want to have, they can become the first steps to the path we follow.

On the other hand, I also know the great exorcising effect of words. Sometimes I choose to sing songs that affirm sentiments that are the very opposite of the choices I would make. I think I do this to remind myself that those dark thoughts are in me, that they are a part of my experience. And I sing them out to constrain them. In this case the words bind. Somehow by having them sung aloud they lose their power.

Often the hardest thing for me is to be aware of just what it is I'm saying...

Friday, February 13, 2009

to work

I am spoiled.

After years of enjoying my work thoroughly, last year I discovered what it was to experience 'hating' work. I understood monday-itis.

Now it is friday and I am experiencing monday-itis before heading off to work for the last time this week.

God, go ahead of me and make my path straight...