Can you hear me?
Are you there?
I just want to remind you that it is my birthday tomorrow. You must have forgotten or maybe you weren’t listening. I have asked you nicely for one present this year – you could even give it to me as my Christmas present as well if it is too expensive.
I guess I believed all that stuff that you have spouted in the past about ‘fulfilling promises’ and ‘hopes and dreams’ and stuff like that. If that’s true then why am I not pregnant yet? I would forgo all my presents and everything else if I could just get pregnant – yes even my Christmas Kindle that I know The Mister has bought me.
The other option is that you actually don’t care. You don’t love me and you don’t want to give me good things. It’s a bit like giving a really brilliant present, the best ever, to my sister, but not getting me one too. It just doesn’t feel very fair does it?
Well, I hope you got this. You feel a little bit like Father Christmas sometimes – I know the legend but don’t believe you exist any more.
Love AD x
“Dear Lord, today I thought of the words of Vincent Van Gogh; ‘It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.’ You are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same. Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained; and to your love I am always called back. There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success; but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love.
My only temptation is to doubt in your love, to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love, the remove myself from the healing radiance of your love. To do these things is to move into the darkness of despair.
O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of my daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea. Amen.”
Henri Nouwen – A Cry for Mercy
Tonight at our cell group we watched one of the Nooma DVD’s called Rhythm.
I love these little films. They are generally clever, make me think and encourage me to think about God in different ways. In this film a relationship with God was compared to a song… that the song is God, and it is always going on, but the question is are you in tune with the song? I love the idea of this relationship being like a song… the consistency of the tune, but how many ways can we hear the same thing? How many different instruments can we hear in the whole? How many different ways do we each experience God, and yet the song remains the same.
“Jesus is like God in taking on flesh and blood, and so in his generosity, in his compassion, that’s what God’s like.
In his telling of the truth, that’s what God’s like.
In his love, and forgiveness, and sacrifice, that’s what God’s like.
That’s who God is. That’s how the song goes.”
The question from this statement was “Is God compassionate, truthful, loving and forgiving OR is God compassion, truth, love and forgiveness?”
I simply answered yes because I both believe he IS all these things, but also that he is able to offer all these things.
“The song is playing all around us all the time, the song is playing everywhere, it’s written on our hearts, and everybody is playing the song. See, the question isn’t whether or not you’re playing a song, the question is, “Are you in tune?”
PS) I tried to add a Youtube video but couldn’t work it out… any advice from the experts?
I have just finished reading A Churchless Faith by Alan Jamieson . The book was basically his doctoral thesis and is about church leavers, their journies and how they have responded over time, both to the church, but also with pursuing (or not as the case may be) a relationship with God.
I first read this not long after I had left the church, about three years or so ago. It was a really tough book for me to read as so much of the content expressed my own sorrow and pain of leaving a church that I felt closely tied to. At the time the book also saddened me deeply as it it was expressing a degree of hope that I did not feel that I had.
So, a few years down the line I decided to re-read it and see if my feelings about it had changed. Jamieson believes that there are four different types of church-leavers; The Disillusioned Followers, Reflective Exiles, Transitional Explorers and Integrated Wayfinders. Whereas before I definitely fitted into the first category, it seems to me that I have progressed along my journey and I seem to fit more comfortably in the Integrated Wayfinders category. Of this group he says “Where Transitional Explorers are in the process of reconstructing their faith and developing an emerging self-ownership, the integrated faith people have to all intents and purposes completed this faith reconstruction work. While there is a sense in which the integrated faith is also still open and being constantly redefined and adapted, the major faith examination is now complete.
Another reading of this book has been a bit of a revelation. For a start it completely reaffirmed for me that my decision to leave Newfrontiers was a good and a valid choice. It also reminded me of all the things I was most disillusioned with and it that some of those things were not about fixing the church, but more about fixing me. Jamieson says This [a new relationship with God] is the goal of faith for those who find their previous faith dislocating and shattering within them. It is not the journey away from pain, doubt and confession but the journey through struggle to a new appreciation of God at work.
Maybe this is what it has been about for me. I need to start reframing all those experiences I had back then. Instead of it remembering how negative it was, I need to consider it as a fundamentally a positive experience. It showed me all the things that I didn’t want to be a part of. It deepened my faith and my relationship with God and it brought me into a new and quiet intimacy with a God who delights in me.