my minds journey

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

feeling better

We have just returned from a week away! It was very relaxing. I am feeling very refreshed.
It went very fast, but it was really good just to stop and do nothing - just what I needed.
I feel nice and refreshed for the next semester!! (but maybe I should speak too soon!).

I have been reading this book Surrender All by Ashley Barker, it is very challenging.
He talks about the importance of community and the need to be incarnational.

I read the beginning of one chapter and he raised the question, "Can we help the poor without actually being with them?"
My gut response was "no way!" - But then when I thought about it, I sit back and consider the same "problem" myself. I DO want to help the poor, but I don't actually want to mix with "the poor" enough to wholly be with them, I mean be incarnational. Yet- on the otherhand I will claim that incarnational mission is the right way to go and that Jesus was incarantional in his mision.

The other challenge for me is the basic concept that we are all equal. While considering working with the poor I think about what I can offer and realise that unintentionally I come to a situation in a position of power, and that is even subconscious in my thoughts. Reading this book reveals how important it is to come into the situation giving the others equal power, that is what real empowering is about.

There have been many more challenges, each one just enforcing how important it is to understand that discipleship IS radical in its nature.

Friday, June 09, 2006

its about me, isn't it?

I came to realisation the other day just how selfcentred I was being. At the thought of leaving something I had worked hard at, I said no! What will happen to it? If I leave, "it" will go down for sure because I will not be there to keep it going and focussed. Liam asked a very good question... "Just who is the one doing? You or God?

God - was the right answer, but... without me?

I stopped and thought, was my fear that God would stop working when I moved on from something? Who am I that God would no continue without me.

This was a good realisation. It's about what God is doing, not about me. It's nice to think I'm the one doing all the achieving, but really I'm the one God is using.

God is in control - not me!


I read a good article in the warcry this week, (volume 125, No.23, 17 June 2006, page 7).

"It is my belief that if we want to make a real success of living we need to have a mindset that seeks our own answers in almost every area of our lives. Otherwise we end up being the victims of other people's thinking."

...."The same applies to the challenge of the Christian life. Do Christians just blindly and thoughtlessly accept what other people think and become people with no minds of their own, as some charge?"

..."Never stop asking questions. They only allow us to learn but also invite others to thin matters through. And, be in doubt, God wants us to give him due thought."

some good thoughts...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I'll have some crisps please.

I went through the drive through with my Grandma one day when I was home from school, she was trying to cheer me up. We pulled up to the speaker and she said, "I'll have some crisps please" - Naturally, I beging to laugh, "Granm, you mean fries" - the girl serving had no idea what it was that we were attempting to order, but I believe in the end I got my fries! (or chips - what ever you call them).

Words are strange things (if you want to read about the power of words check out:> but I'm talking about something different - the meaning)

One word can have so many different meanings, at one time, over time or to different people, cultures etc.

Take the word "gay" - for my Grandma this word mean happy, but for most people today this means same sex attracted.
What about "wicked" - for me this word means evil, for some of the youth I work with it means "great" (or the like).
Another example "purchasing" - for me, an aussie, this means to buy, for my Indian friends this means "shopping".
Good old english language - "cards" - what do I mean? birthday cards, thick paper, the ones used for a game?
The context defines it.

So how does communication take place amoungst all these mixed meanings. Well perhaps its no wonder we have so many miscommunications. A word can evoke a powerful thing for one person while for another it has less meaning.

What does the word God evoke in people? Is is a nice image, a fearful thought, apathy, uncertainty, myth, creator, religon, spirituality, church, higher power, judge, friend, big?

We have use a lot of words as Christians... words that "normal" people have a completely different understanding of.
- "washed in the blood of the lamb"
- "salvation"
- "sin"
-"power in the cross"
- "redeemer"
- "church on fire"

Just to name a few, if you stopped and thought I'm sure the list woulg go on.

It's also interesting when we think about the bible...written in a completely different era (much more distant to me than my Grandmas terms of "crips" and "gay" - and translated from a completely different language - and a very different context).

What words would I have a different understanding of today?

"compassion" - in the Greek means "gut wrenching" - the definition is not my image of soft, gentle, compassion... more disturbing upsetting towards another person.

"Salvation by faith" - this was understood in the context of community, as people in that time had no concept of individuality. Today for us this concept is a personal thing, a decision we make one on one contract with God.

"save" and "heal" are used interchangably by the new testament writers - but for us they are separate concepts, save = spiritual while heal = physical

"faith" is a verb in the greek - an action word. But we understand faith as a mental thing.

"scriptures" - when referred to in the NT can only be talking about the OT, they were writing the NT (and by the way, I reckon that when Paul was writing his letters he didn't know it'd be used as scripture!) we say "scripture" we think of NT and OT.

"Son of David" - for the people in that time meant, someone from a royal line and had polictical meanings. It identified Jesus as the expected Messiah to the Jews.

Funny isn't it, how words carry different meaning depending on the context. Perhaps if we keep this in mind when doing things like reading the bible and talking to others we'd have less miscommunication and much more meaningful interactions!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

i am still here

Hooray!! Assignments finished!

Friday night we took the youth group to the CRASH finals. Crash was a project ran by YFC where young people were challenged to devise a creative response to youth homelessness! It was a fantastic competition. It really raised the awareness of the issues for the young people. The responses we saw in the finals were inspiring, they left the viewer with a sense of challenge, as sense of conviction. The young people captures the issues really well and I believe an awareness has been raised amoungst many communities. The speaker for the night finished by saying that unless you came away changed from the experience (of doing the project) then you have defeated the purpose and are just part of the perpetuating problem.

Most people think homeless - bum, no roof, sleeping on street, lazy, beggar

But the competition and the testimonies shared (by homeless young people) clearly showed that homelessness does not alone mean those things and some of those labels are far from accurate!

Homelessness can be defined as someone who has no place to go, no place of belonging.

I was challenged in many ways by the creative responses, the dance, drama, songs, art and mutlimedia. The question I now ask myself is why have we let our communities disolve. Some places have great communities, but all too many people are not connected to a community. I wonder why because, some many of the complex issues we face in our society could be prevented or lessened if communities were built up and supported.

This morning we read in John - where Jesus mentions numerous times that if we love him then we will obey him.

The two commands Jesus deemed most important... Love God, Love your neighbour.

"If you love me you will obey my commands... Love God, Love neighbour."

(who is my neighbour? then we recall the good Samaritan story)

Jesus knows this is hard for us and he sends his Spirit to help us.

So are we? Are we moving in the Spirit?

I think to myself, if only all the people who label themselves Christians would ask the Spirit to help them love their neighbour, what a great place we would live in!

What a positive the church community could be, what a wonderful part of the community the church could be!!

It is my prayer that I can do this in my life, it is my daily challenge!