Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nouwen on purity of heart....

Here's a daily dose of Nouwen...
"Jesus, the Beloved of God, has a pure heart.  Having a pure heart means willing one thing.  Jesus wanted only to do the will of his heavenly Father.  Whatever Jesus did or said, he did and said it as the obedient Son of God:  "What I say is what the Father has taught me; he who sent me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him"  (John 8:28-29).   There are no divisions in Jesus' heart, no double motives or secret intentions.  In Jesus there is complete inner unity because of his complete unity with God.
Becoming like Jesus is growing into purity of heart.  That purity is what gave Jesus and will give us true spiritual vision."

Here's a wish list for the day!

:: willing one thing...
:: no double motives or secret intentions
:: complete unity with God.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The misery of April 1: Jannice and her Benefits reassessment...

I'm no doctor, I wish I had had the application and aptitude when I was younger but I didn't, so I have the utmost respect for the hard work and dedication of those who are.

However, while it takes one look at Jannice's make up, resemblant of Jemima from BBC's Play School, perhaps 10 seconds of conversation, maybe 5 minutes to detect her fear of any male, it takes several years to understand the life of brokenness that has contributed to who she is and make it obvious to realise why she receives the benefits she does. We know because of the time our hospitality  coordinator / community development worker has spent with Jannice.

Here is why the benefit's changes of April 1 are no joke. Jannice is required to undertake reassessment and is deemed fit for work, why? because in one interview she happened to mention that she looked after her mother. I'm no doctor, but that does not make Jannice a carer and open up new opportunities for employment.

When it comes to the welfare state I'm not denying that something needs addressing, it does seem strange that Lord and Lady Sugar receive the winter fuel allowance and are eligible for a freedom pass.  But equally, I refuse to be nudged by this government into thinking that Jannice represents a problem when tax avoidance is running close to £30 billion, and that spending on welfare has risen less over the last two decades than overall government spending.

The impact on people like Jannice remains, I believe, something that should not be taken for granted. Is it right to be proud about being being part of a team at @suttonsa that marches with Jannice by sitting next to her at subsequent assessments and pointing out that which is obvious? 

Someone recently asked me what The Salvation Army does - well ..... that's what we do! Not as a quasi government social service, but by seeking to live out that attribute of God that is justice and equity. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Preparing for Pentecost...

Ascension day just behind us, Pentecost just before us reminds me of something helpful I read in Ronald Rolheiser's Seeking Spirituality: Guidelines for a Christian Spirituality for the 21st Century. We should try and not to forget the journey from Good Friday to Pentecost - the Paschal Cycle. Rolheiser puts it like this:-

Good Friday: 'the loss of life - real death'
Easter Sunday: 'the reception of new life'
The Forty days: 'a time for readjustment to the new and for grieving the old'
Ascension: 'letting go of the old and letting it bless you, the refusal to cling'
Pentecost: 'the reception of new spirit for the new life that one is already living'

Or in other words...

'Name your deaths'
'Claim your births'
'Grieve what you have lost and adjust to the new reality'
'Do not cling to the old, let it ascend and give you its blessing'
'Accept the spirit of the life that you are in fact living'

This cycle is something we can engage in daily in reflection. Rolheiser suggests different areas that represents a death, whether that be our youth, wholeness, our dreams, our honeymoons even certain ideas of God and the Church.

Today is Ascension Day - Rolheiser would have us reflect on what we are clinging onto that we need to let go of as we prepare for Pentecost.