Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nouwen on Writing #1

Nouwen's emails continue to inspire me, I wonder if he ever dreamt the extent his thoughts would be used? These are his thoughts on reflective writing are worth keeping

Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.

Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be "redeemed" by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Missing Faith House...

What became clear was that in these discussions the church seems to have lost its place of credibility in contributing to any ongoing discussion on social cohesion.

I missed Faith House on Monday.

I missed the opportunity to chat with those that society generally looks down upon. I missed the opportunity of sharing conversation and a cup of tea with those that bring quite a bit to my life. I missed the opportunity of being part of church that is totally up front and authentic, with no hidden agendas. I missed going out to support Estelle, Alex and Christine as they journey alongside girls that are looked at with an eye for what they can give sexually as an economic asset. I missed their stories of showing respect and value to a community that must be hollowed by knowing total exploitation. What I missed was being part of active engagement in community that is church and not a project that wont be funded by local or central government!

The reason I missed it was I was in the Treasury in Whitehall, sat opposite Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP Financial Secretary to the Treasury. A round table conversation regarding the place of church in community and its contribution to social cohesion. There was something terrifying about being in the room with seventeen other Christians that you don't know and hearing the veiled evangelical subtext that 'we are so misunderstood' and 'we are discriminated against when it comes to receiving public funding'.

What became clear was that in these discussions the church seems to have lost its place of credibility in contributing to any ongoing discussion on social cohesion. Shame, as I watched Stephen Timms listening and his civil servants minute the discussion, I wanted them to be where I should have been.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Buechner's Shattering Revelation...

"To journey for the sake of saving our own lives is little by little to cease to live in any sense that matters, even to ourselves, because it is only by journeying for the world's sake - even when the world bores and sickens and scares you half to death - that little by little we start to come alive"

Quoted in Listening to Your Life - Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner (1992:22)

Frederick Buechner (The Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Facing the Truth....!

"you'll never experience wholeness beyond your willingness to face the truth about yourself and expose it....the only real barrier to spiritual growth in our lives is unwillingness to face the truth about ourselves..."

Caliguire, M (2009) 'Being Known in This' in Conversations Journal vol 7.2 pp41

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Six myths or false models of spiritual formation 1/6

I wonder if a danger of the quick fix approach to spirituality could be a naïve passivity that is content merely to dine out on past 'highs'.

I enjoyed reading through Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered. Wilhoit points out six false models of Spiritual formation.

False model number one he argues is the assumption that God will simply zap you. He calls this the myth of the quick fix model.

"Implicit in the stories of the spiritual heroes of the bible (Abraham, Jacob, David and Peter) is a spiritual development in growth and wholeness that takes place over a lifetime. Moses was in formation for eighty years before he led Israel out of Egypt. One of the common metaphors for the Christian life in scripture and for the spiritual writers through the centuries has been that of seeing the Christian life as a long journey."

I wonder if a danger of the quick fix approach to spirituality could be a naïve passivity that is content merely to dine out on past 'highs'. A spirituality that is focused on seeking out the next
'rising up on wings of eagles' while dismissing the daily walking as mundane, or at best spiritual dryness, would in Wilhoit's words be a false model. This may be a bit harsh and dismissive of significant moments in spiritual development, but it does help explain some comments when individuals see Spiritual Formation as a linear 101 process to complete and to tick off. What may be disillusional for Wilhoit feels more a sadness for me as the multi faceted nuance of spirituality is missed.

Wilhoit, J.C (2008:51ff) Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered. Baker

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lost Lyrics - 'Mid all the traffic of the ways


’Mid all the traffic of the ways,
Turmoils without, within,
Make in my heart a quiet place,
And come and dwell therein.

A little shrine of quietness,
All sacred to Thyself,
Where Thou shalt all my soul possess,
And I may find myself.

A little shelter from life’s stress,
Where I may lay me prone,
And bare my soul in loneliness,
And know as I am known.

A little place of mystic grace,
Of self and sin swept bare,
Where I may look upon Thy face,
And talk with Thee in prayer.

John Oxenham

There is something that gets me with this song - 'to know as I am known', well there's a quest!!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Shop front Ecclesiology

It is interesting what you see from the top deck of a 176. A bus ride down Walworth Road in London has thrown up an interesting observation. More and more shops seem to be bought by a burgeoning diversity of African churches. So sat on the top of the bus within a mile of each other we have:
  • Christ Arena - adding value to your life
  • Gethsemane
  • Mountain of Fire Ministries
  • Redeemed Church of God
  • Rock of Redemption
  • All nations evangelical church - Garden of Success
  • Power Church International Place for Divine Salvation
  • Holy Spirit Zone
All vying for position on the high street along Mark's and Spencer and Iceland!

Shop front ecclesiology I guess I all for, seems a good place for church to be. Not entirely sure I am comfortable with shop front mentality in church, it kind of erodes something of what is left of the authenticity of the gospel. I'm ever more convinced that the church is watched by more people than we realise - I wonder what we present?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Dallas Willard 22 May 2010

I think the places for this will go pretty quick - particularly as it is FREE!!!

If you want a booking form email