Category: challenges


Because Bloggers Play Tag

brett

Greetings Bloglings [Wait, we’re calling you that now, right?] and welcome to a very different post from normal, but i was tagged in a 21 question challenge by a new friend, Rashieda, whose challenge you can visit over here, and loving the opportunity to reveal deep and dark secrets about myself [as if!] i thought i would give it a go…

1. What is your current fashion obsession?

i don’t feel like i get very fashion obsessed, but my cool blue jersey from Majash’s wedding [see above] is what i have been wearing pretty much ALL THE TIME since the big day. i wasn’t after all allowed to keep the kilt.

2. What are you wearing today?

Today i m blogging at home alone and so i intentionally chose my Batman shirt because, Man Cave and all. i am currently wearing a raincoat cos it is mad, crazy, rain winding outside and i have to go and rescue our rubbish bin before someone adopts it for good [again! have lost two already] and so i’m ready for action. Grey pants, no shoes slash slipslops at the ready but generally happier in barefeet. And not the Majash wedding jersey [hypocrite!] cos i can’t remember where i put it [unless tbV snuck it out for the wash!]

3. Hair?

Yes. There is hair. It is a little crazy at the moment and up-sticky in general and only really has two good dry looks but one of them kinda makes me look like a German dictator so typically wet slightly and hand brushed forwards which makes me look a lot like my Erik [with a K] alter ego so don’t confuse me with him. Which reminds me i MUST find a video-taking program i can use so i can record Erik [with a K’s] outstanding poem! i should get it cut again soon probably.

4. Do you nap a lot?

Oh wow, so you missed the sound of me L’ing. That’s like LOL’ing except it wasn’t Out Loud, so just the L then. But no, i guess you could say i don’t nap a lot. Or sleep a lot. Or sleep much at all. i say this half-jokingly but i kinda believe it a little bit deep inside, but i believe that i have a God-given gift of no-sleep and many people who know me will testify to that cos i really don’t seem to need as much sleep as the next person. “But it will catch up to you.” Maybe it will, but 20 years later i am still waiting. The other theory is that in matric [grade 12] my parents did make me go to bed at 8 o’ clock and so perhaps it is all just stored up no-sleep since those days. But i am confident that i could pull a two week stretch of two hours a night and still be on full power for whatever needed to be done during the day. However, since getting married 6 years ago i did make a decision to go to bed when tbV [the beautiful Val] goes to bed, for the most part anyways, and since then i have started waking up at 5am on average, so a few more hours than before. Although Winter has been severely testing that strategy.

5. Why is today special?

Every day is a new opportunity and as horribly greeting card as that sounds, i really believe it. No matter how much i screwed up yesterday, today is a day to get it right. Or more right. So much opportunity to encourage someone or try something new or share a joke or get creative or start building something or influence 1000 people or hear a new catchy song or make my wife smile or eat fudge. Today is special because it’s all we’ve got. Tomorrow just becomes a different today. Now THAT you can put on a greeting card.

6. What would you like to learn to do?

i would like to learn to speak Xhosa fluently. And i have just recently started on a plan to do just that. It feels criminal to me that i expect everyone else to learn my language while i am not prepared to learn theirs. This scares me so much cos i feel like it is so important and yet at 41 i am an old dog attempting to set out and learn a new trick. Flippin scary. But oh so necessary. Is anyone going to join me?

7. What’s for dinner today?

i will be starting the Shepherd’s Pie preparation and then tbV may finish it. She has a work call and i am going out to watch Antman with my buddy Reegs but in between those i believe Shepherd’s pie will happen, and it will be good.

8. What are you listening to right now?

Derek Webb’s album, ‘I was wrong, I’m sorry and I love you’ – have not listened to music for a while on my computer and started again yesterday. Have a lot of FREE stuff from Noisetrade which is a great place to discover new music. And Derek and i vibed a bit on the Twitterer a couple of years ago when we were in the States so i kinda feel like i kinda know him. But i dig his music and it’s been great firing it up again.

9. What is your favorite weather?

i LOVE when it rains and is stormy and cold, as long as i am inside. i am not a big fan of being cold or out in the rain and then it makes me sad to think that so many people are [which causes me to love it a little less] but if it was just about me then raging storms outside [especially Johannesburg Thunder and Lightning storms] with me inside close to tbV watching a movie and sipping a glass of wine.

10. What’s the last thing you bought?

Hm, probably not the last thing i bought but i brought back a Vinyl Bobblehead Hulk and a Vinyl Jack Sparrow from Americaland for my Man Cave office and they make me happy.

11. What are your essentials when traveling?

i have a newish tiny purple [favourite colour] notepad which has become my travelling companion even when i’m just heading out somewhere for a short while. i have been attempting to write Micropoetry and so having the book ready to jot down thoughts, words and ideas is helpful. If i’m going to do a talk then the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob, typically accompanies me and we have a few of my recently published book, ‘i, church’ sitting in the car just in case. Oh and Tic Tacs [green and white] cos, you know.

12. What’s your style?

in a word, different. But not Different-for-The-Sake-Of-Being-Different although a lot of people would put it down to that. But it’s not. It’s very intentionally Brett-different. Within Brett-different i would imagine there are a lot of ideas and styles that have been grabbed and adapted and altered from other people and then encapsulated in my own fairly unique style. A combination of things that i enjoy but don’t necessarily feel [[to others] like they belong together but by putting them together sometimes you create that new dynamic. i love that. i would love to be able to answer ‘Edgy’ to this but i don’t think i’m there, but hopefully not ‘The Crowd’ either… somewhere betwixt those…

13. What is your most challenging goal right now?

Probably the Xhosa. i have located a course and just need to figure out with tbV what that looks like but i am super amped to get going and if i can get to a place where i can communicate semi-well [“fluently” earlier was definitely an over-reach] then that will make me happy. And trying to get everything together to renew my British passport [i’m bi-passportal] which i feel like i am finally on track to do.

Oh and actually getting decent manageable sufficient internet happening in this house that doesn’t cripple us, but that seems kinda like an impossibility at the moment. Urgh.

14. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

Right here, right now. We are where we both want to be and we absolutely love our house. It would be great if we owned it rather than rented or had the assurance that we could stay here for the next three to five years, but in the absence of that, we are simply happy in this space and hoping to use it the best we can to serve the greater good.

15. Favorite vacation spot?

i struggle with this because my values and daily wrestles with questions of poverty and race and equality in this country mean that the idea of saving up a pile of money and going somewhere feels out of sync with a lot of that. Having had our recent Americaland trip paid for [in terms of my ticket] to go and speak at a camp made that an easier vacation. But if all things in the world were equal and it was simply a case of ‘Go anywhere for free’ then i would love to be at one of those islands where the huts are a little way out into the ocean or lake and the water is completely clear blue. i have no idea where those are. Bahamas?

Having said all that, my younger sister and family and a whole bunch of my best mates [including Dreadlock Mike] live in KZN so any chance i get to go there is snatched up, so that is probably my favourite realistic vacation spot.

16. Name the things you cannot live without?

A personal relationship with a Loving God who gives me purpose, vision and urgency in life. i really think that without Jesus in my life i’d be a selfish hedonistic git [i imagine a bunch of people already think i am so work to be done] and i love the life-to-the-fullness that i am inspired to which is connected to Him. That’s probably it, because everything else if you had to live without it, you would totally adjust and just make it happen, i guess. But there are certainly things you would choose not to live without.

My love and partner in crime [not real crime, metaphorical crime] Valerie aka tbV. Life is so complicated sometimes with us together but at the same time the pull towards living lives of significance i feel is so much equally fuelled by her, which is so great. Being connected to someone who refuses to settle for okay and watch injustice carry on unchallenged is life-giving and soul-massaging. Not to mention her laugh which is the most expensive one in town. She claims not to laugh at all my jokes just because she knows i can do better,and so when i get a laugh out of tbV it is well earned. That empowers me!

If  i started mention names of friends this would get silly cos there are so many important people in and around my life, some who are related and many who are not. But the community of people i get to do life with [both near and far] are one of the biggest boosts to me.

That’s about it although i do really dig my Marvin the Martian mug [which sadly just got a small chip in it] and my dirty yellow-and-white stuffed dolphin and my ‘I am Groot’ t-shirt which Dave HorseDawg gave me.

And the world would be a much sadder place without melted chocolate and mashed potato…

17. How was your childhood?

There were a ‘undred and fifty of us livin’ in a septic tank! Okay not quite but my childhood memories are well sparked off by the Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen skit…

i think it was pretty great. i remember a lot of fun mixed with some disappointment and challenges and life lessons but for the most part i think it was pretty decent. Kissing catchers and painting a church in Soweto during the height of apartheid and doing street ministry as a lightie on the streets of Hillbrow and Rhodes park excursions with plastic bags to catch tadpoles and climbing on walls and trees and roofs in the amazing church grounds we lived next to and accidentally shooting a friend with a bow and arrow in his leg? You can’t make that stuff up.

18. What would you like to have in your hands right now?

Some type of food. It’s way past lunchtime and i can’t remember having breakfast. Apparently a teaspoon of peanut butter doesn’t count. So i should get on to that.

19. What are you most excited for?

Ooh, so many things. Training on Wednesday for the writing job i am about to start, getting everything sorted and moving my blog over to an official website, the possibility of Race Conversation Workshops with my friend Megan once her life slows down, the hope of a bunch of Deep Dive Conversation Dinners happening in the next six or so weeks, Wed night speak about my book and church panel, watching Antman with my buddy Reegs tonight [love me some Paul Rudd] and a few other speaking opportunities coming my way soon, and of course learning Xhosa!

20. If you could go anywhere in the next hour, where would you go?

i would stay here. Too cold, windery and rainy outside.

21. Which countries have you visited?

Wow, i have been privileged. Malawi. Botswana. Namibia.The United Kingdom and the United States of Americaland. Canada. Malaysia. Holland. [drove through France and Belgium on a bus to get there]. United Arab Emirates [kinda, plane layover]. tbV and i would LOVE the chance to go visit South America…

Malaysia Towers

Malaysia Towers

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i tag:

Original Dante, because although he is a busy man, he tagged me in the ‘Write Without Using the Letter E’ challenge and so it’s his turn, but also because he has become a recent friend and mentor in the art of Micropoetry and i think he has an absolute gift you should go and see at https://originaldante.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/the-weathers-intervention

My friend Candice Fourie because it has been way too long since she blogged and she writes in a way that invites the reader in to vulnerable spaces with power and honesty. Even if this is just for more people to discover this post where she bares her soul, it will be worth the journey: https://momentswithamom.wordpress.com

Also Miss Cass Lee who i am going to be working alongside soon, and her stunning looking blog with this heart-breaking and inspiring poem heading it up today. http://misscasslee.com/i-see-you-girl

i seem to have picked completely ridiculously busy people who most likely won’t have the time to respond to the challenge, but who i completely believe are worth checking out and following as they produce some amazing work and life…

Thank you for stopping by… If you had a 22nd question to ask me, what would it be?

So those of you who follow my blog will be aware that i received an email from a friend who wanted to remain anonymous but was wrestling with some questions and issues as a white South African who is currently living overseas but looking in. i published Bob’s email over here.

i then invited some of my friends to respond and so far Alexa [white woman], Marlyn [coloured guy] and Tsholo [black woman] have shared some of their thoughts as well as a number of other people in the comment sections of each post.

And then i got this email from another white friend, Colette, which takes this whole conversation in a bit of a different direction so i thought i would include it:

Colette

[My name is Colette. I’m a young, white South African with a passion for my country. I’ve worked in various contexts and currently am self – employed in the adult education sector.]

Having read through ‘Bob’s’ story as well as the comments and the other related posts, I had mixed reactions. For the most part I’m in tears.

1. I know that this issue is never going to be an easy one and, for all that I may not fully agree with everything, I am still grateful to see someone have the courage to say what they think even when it is not necessarily ‘politically correct’. To the commenter who called him ‘an idiotic, arrogant, ignorant, bigoted, whining racist’ I have to ask how this helps the situation? I don’t agree with his point of view but insulting him doesn’t help to change it. I think part of the problem is that many people are too scared to speak out and voice what they are thinking because they are too scared of the response. I know that is why I tend to lurk – reading posts but not responding. I want to ask questions, to understand other perspectives and ask for input but how can I do that when I risk being dropped on from a dizzy height because I’m still trying to unpack my understanding of race and otherness. According to the hierarchy of needs, the issues that we are trying to address only come once the practical needs have been met. We all spend most of our time doing whatever we need to do survive and this does cloud our perceptions of the world. Trying to grapple with the challenges of a broken society is hard, let’s at least give grace to people who are asking questions and trying to understand.

2. Dealing with race and otherness is something that we all face. I will never truly know what it means to be black in South Africa. I can empathise, spend time in the townships, do a thousand other things but I know that it is never really the same. I try my best – please forgive me when I don’t ‘get it’ and let me to grow by correcting me. I’m trying to look beyond my stereotypes but I need help.

3. My heart breaks for this country because I see how much hurt and suffering is still out there. And sometimes I am paralysed by the magnitude of the problems. I don’t know where to begin so I do nothing. I want to be able to help every person I see but I know that it’s not practical. I work in the field of adult education and see so many people who are who are trying to better themselves by taking the opportunities given to them but I also see those who waste opportunities and believe that they should be given everything without working for it. It’s very difficult to help people who don’t want to be helped…

4. The issue of white privilege is something that I’m guessing I still don’t fully understand but I’m trying. And yes, I do often feel guilty for it. I know I’m a white middle class South African but please see beyond the stereotype. I would love to be able change things and, where I can, I will try. There’s a lot more I would love to say but I don’t know how to. I’m writing this as a young, white, South African who has a lot of questions but I want to listen and to understand as best I can.

Kind regards,

Colette Tennison

[To return to the beginning of the story and have access to all the posts, click here]

blogfood

TRUE STORY 1

When i was a young boy [yes, yes, many years ago in a galaxy] i remember a number of occasions of sitting in front of a plate of [now] cold cauliflower cheese that my mom had made for what seemed like hours with the mantra ‘You don’t move until you’ve eaten that last bit’ hanging over my young little head.

I hated cauliflower with a passion and the logic of eating it while it was warm cos it was at least a whole lot better than when it was cold, was never quite explained to me in ways that i assimilated.

Years later, i love cauliflower, and in particular, my mom’s cauliflower cheese [which is cauliflower with a white cheese sauce over it – so great!] and really can’t get enough of it when we go for lunch and she makes it.

Some things change.

TRUE STORY 2

I hated strawberries my whole life.

Until something dramatic happened one day.

I ate one, and discovered they are actually not all that bad.

For a time i would still defer to others when strawberries were around because i knew some people REALLY enjoyed them and i just thought they were okay.

But now i might knock you down if you try beat me to the last one. Especially if it is dipped in chocolate.

I have absolutely no idea why i thought i hated strawberries as a child and i was literally 18 or 21 o something when i discovered, never having tasted them before that i could remember, that they were actually okay and later became pretty amazingly good.

TRUE STORY 3

i hate raiSINs.

no, i mean really.

no, more than you.

i REALLY hate them with a passion. always have and always will.

i believe there is a reason the word SIN appears in the second half of the word…

i can trace back my vicious hatred [as opposed to just the standard hatred i had before] to a time when i was 5 and my mom made me eat something with raiSINs in, via a similiar cauliflower cheese plate-staring contest and the result was that i ended up vomiting and missing out on our annual visit to the local children’s home to watch the big screen movie [to this day i have still not watched Ben Hur] and so that is when it grew in me, but as far as i can remember, even before then i did not dig them at all.

my hatred of raiSINs and all things squishy fruit led me to write and record two anti-raiSIn/squishy fruit songs in fact, which you can track down if you are really desperate, over here.

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And then there is just the pure hypocrisy like the other day when we had dessert at my mom’s place and both my mom and my wife, tbV, looked on with unbelieving eyes as i helped myself to a large piece of Swiss Roll despite there being jam in the centre.  You know, squishy fruit. i hate jam too, but for some reason, in swiss rolls it is okay [must be some chemical transformation that takes place, or something]

WHAT DOES ALL THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CHURCH?

Well, i AM working on self-publishing a book about church that will help explain a lot of this to greater depth, at least in the way that i see it.

But in the meantime, through posts like ‘Did you go to Church today?’ and this one, i hope to challenge the way many people think about church [or maybe more accurately, don’t think at all]

Leaders of churches seem to get particularly iffy when people start questioning church or encouraging others to question any aspects of church.

But i believe it is so incredibly important for us to be questioning why we do the things we do on a regular basis [and if we discover that there is no reason for doing something we do regularly, possibly taking the big risk of stopping it]

This is my conclusion for pastors and other leaders. If your thing [in this case, church] is a good thing, then surely at the end of questioning and challenging, people should naturally arrive back at what you have. If they don’t and you realise collectively that change needs to happen, then surely that is a great and important process.

WHY IS THE CHURCH SO AFRAID OF QUESTIONS?

In Acts 17.11, we read this incredible piece:

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

And then ignore it completely forever.

why

i am convinced that one of the biggest problems in so many local congregations of the church today is that it is filled with people who don’t read or know their bibles outside of a sunday meeting hardly at all and so, because people do not know their bibles, whatever the pastor says up front has to be correct [because they have nothing to tell them otherwise]

a comparatively huge and related problem seems to be so many people in church leadership who seem to have a fear of people in their congregations asking questions [or, heaven forbid, expressing doubts] and so we cultivate a space where people are encouraged to ‘just believe because i said so’ and not be real [to suppress questions and to hide doubts] and always give the impression that everything is great.

i wrote this piece a while ago in response to that:

love Jesus… and grow a brain

because if Jesus told us to Love God with all our heart, strength, soul and MIND, it does seem like he might be wanting us to use our minds.

 WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO THE FOOD

When we start looking at how we do church [particularly in the meetings we typically hold on Sundays but also in prayer meetings and home groups, prayer times and youth gatherings] perhaps we will have some cauliflower reactions: As a person growing up, i never saw the reason for this and didn’t particularly like it, but now that i am older i find that it is amazing and i know that is is really healthy for me.

[i have seen a lot of people, especially in Americaland heading from protestant churches back towards catholic and more high church liturgical gatherings, because they realise that in their pursuit of living out their passion for Jesus, they may have ignored or missed out on some incredible practices and rituals that make a lot more sense now]

If we start asking questions and sharing fears and taking what we see up front [and behind the scenes] and, like the Bereans, holding it up against Scripture, we might find like the strawberries that certain things we haven’t thought were worth doing, actually are. We might also have the opposite effect and realise that some of the stuff we have always liked [because it was always there and we always did it just because everyone else always did it and never took the time to ask why] needs to be thrown out, or given lesser preference to. i really believe that any church that gives itself the time and the energy to look at all its stuff and ask some why questions, can only benefit from the outcome.

We also might find, that like raiSINs, some other stuff we have always been against, is right to continue to be against. Just because others around us might be professing that raiSINs are good doesn’t mean they are.

This becomes an incredibly tricky task because there might be different things that fall into these different groups, yet seem to be similiar things which should be treated the same. So much wisdom and discernment and being led by the Holy Spirit is required to be able to move forward. To let some things go. To add some things in. To change some things around completely. To embrace some things we have always had more tightly.

But at the end of the day, it must always come down to Love.

Loving God and being known by the Love we have for those around us.

[If you feel like your church leadership might benefit from reading this message, why not forward them the link, or print it out and hand it to them. These are important things to consider.]

By now you’ve seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over the internet, and chances are you have dumped a bucket of ice over your own head.

i had seen links to the challenge for more than a week all over Facebook and the Twitterer before having any clue what it was about [largely due to our lack of internet video-watching ability as we had just returned to SA and were trying to get set up] and when i finally did figure it out, my response was largely like Morpheus himself:

morpheus

Because the way it was presented by the time i saw it at least was that you could either choose to donate money to charity [specifically ALS which as you all know, stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis [more commonly as Motor Neurone disease in the UK and also Lou Gehrig’s disease based on a famous baseball player who suffered and eventually died as a result of the disease] or you could throw a bucket of ice water over your head.

Which seemed really crazy at first, because all of the videos that i saw links to seemed to be videos of people with ice buckets, not cheque books or big wads of cash.

So you’re telling me you are choosing to do this ice bucket challenge for the purpose of NOT DONATING TO CHARITY???

Didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and in fact seems quite counterproductive if that is really what people are doing.

Turns out a huge number of people ended up doing the donating and the ice bucket challenge [cos who wants to watch a video of someone signing a cheque or doing an internet transaction, right?]

It also turns out that this particular viral challenge brought in the big guns.

From celebrities like Oprah Winfrey,  Tom Hiddleston and Ben Affleck to singers such as Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber and even a former United States president in George W Bush, and big money men like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, it seemed like this was something that was really catching the hearts and support of the people.

i’m a big fan of Jimmy Fallon and no surprise that he made his nomination [from Justin Timberlake amongst a host of others] into a theatrical event which he did alongside his guest, his voice-over guy and the whole Roots band:

Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters had one of the most creative with this recreation of the famous prom scene from the horror movie Carrie [which was fitting as he challenged Stephen King as one of his three]

Matt Damon did his with toilet water as he did not want to waste regular water by dumping it on his head [reminding us in the process that most US toilet water is cleaner than the water a lot of people in the world have access to]

even Homer Simpson got into the swing of things:

So it has gained huge viral attention and been hugely entertaining and some people have started getting really creative with their nominations, but so what? Is it making any kind of difference?

TURNS OUT IT MIGHT WELL BE

So i was a little skeptical, to say the least, until i came upon a number of articles and stories that seemed to suggest that this might in fact be a good thing.

According to this BBC news story, which you can read in full here ‘From 29 July to 28 August this year ALS received $98.2m – compared with $2.7m donated during the same period last year.’

The United Kingdom was apparently seeing similiar figures, ‘Pre-ice bucket, the MND Association would receive on average £200,000 a week in donations. From 22 to 29 August, it received £2.7m.’

Other charities also started to benefit, with a significant one in England being Water Aid which ‘has seen a spike in donations, including £47,000 in one day – 50% higher than it ever received in a single day before. The money came in part from people bemoaning the water wasted in the challenges.’

Not just from the money side which is obviously a huge benefit to those working in research in terms of trying to find a cure and better ways to deal with the disease, there has definitely been an increase in awareness which was one of the original intentions of the campaign. The fact that it somehow caught the attention of celebrities was a huge boost to this in the social media sharing age we find ourselves in, helping it to spread at phenomenal rates.

It was also very helpful for me to hear from those suffering from the disease and their families:

“I have had MND for 10 years now and for anyone affected by this disease the ice bucket challenge has been the most wonderful phenomenon,” says Euan MacDonald, the founder of Euan’s Guide, a website that features information and reviews about disabled access around the UK.

And this was one of the best articles i read on the topic from the perspective of a family of an ALS sufferer and their thoughts on the Ice Bucket Challenge, which includes a 10 point ‘Mile in ALS shoes’ guide to give you some perspective on what it is like to suffer from this disease.

Finally this ABC news story sums it up:

 

 

So, the Ice Bucket Challenge? Have you taken part? What are your thoughts on it?

From my side, it does seem to have brought a lot of awareness as well as a huge financial boost to those who are working in areas related to the disease and that can only be a good thing.

I would however, suggest that the negative side of the Ice Bucket Challenge is that a week from now the majority of people will have moved on to the regulars of cat videos and internet memes until the next viral buzz comes along and that it might be more helpful for individuals to have a more longer term involvement when it comes to charity [possibly choosing one and supporting it well rather than jumping on every new thing that comes along] and i am still going to agree with my friend Morpheus here…

LATE EDIT: Just came across this article which interestingly gives the percentage breakdown of how the ALS Association spends their money which is eye-opening to say the least with figures for executives ranging from :

  • Jane H. Gilbert – President and CEO –$339,475.00
  • Kathi Kromer – Director of State Advocacy – $110,661.00

Hm. Definitely grateful to be part of something like Common Change where i know that 100% of the money i donate actually goes towards meeting needs. Not that other charities that need to pay  salaries and overheads are a bad thing, but it just feels great knowing where your money is going.

morpheus

Bruce Collins is one of my best friends in the category of ‘people i have hardly spent any time with at all’ – our spirits seem to connect strongly when it comes to God and life and relationships and things and i just love his passion and wrestling and honesty… he has a great gift for writing too which is why i am reblogging this post of his which feels like something i could have written… so much doubt and wrestling combined with so much of knowing…

i believe… help me overcome my unbelief…

i was sitting innocently in our church, Re:Generation, evening service last nite, when suddenly a shot rang out…

it wasn’t fired from a gun. but it still felt like it hit me between the eyes. and there was nothing i could do about it.

a woman called Andrea, from an organisation called ‘Disarm the Dark’ was invited to share a little about the work she is doing in anti-trafficking.

one line she said really just blew me away:

‘While you can sell guns and drugs once, you can sell a person many times.’ [Andrea, Disarm the Dark]

disarm

 

That is why it is so lucrative – you sell a gun once and it’s gone. Drugs you still have to replenish. But a person? You just keep selling them over and over again.

Human trafficking is something that really moves me but which I feel so completely powerless about and so I get really excited when I meet people like Andrea or when someone like Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary [she’s not!] gets really practical about getting involved.

I do think the majority of people probably live without the real belief or understanding that this is actually going on or to what extent, and so the very smallest thing I can do is at least blow my little whistle and highlight groups such as Disarm the Dark and Not For Sale but it still completely feels like not enough. 

I feel completely overwhelmed by it all and hope that one day I will have something significant to offer the fight.

At the same time, it is not something i feel directly called into, which can be hard sometimes, but am definitely passionate about.

So i will keep my ears to the ground and hopefully continue to sound the alarm and cheer on those who are doing such incredible work and trust that this form of slavery is something we can end in our lifetime and for all those lives that follow.

 

 

 

Welcome to the Lent experience… it’s not too late to join in…

Each day for 40 days i will be posting a suggestion to give you an action or focus point or challenge for the day as we head towards Easter time and want to spend the time meaningfully by focusing more on who God is and what He did, learning to love people more deeply and slowing down from the busyness and caught-up-ness of our day to day.

If you are up for joining me in this, please simple leave your name and say some version of “I’m in!” on the Intro blog i posted, in the comments section.

DAY 2

Task: Create a 5 minute space of silence where you unplug, move somewhere less frenetic and just be.

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So really move away from phones and computer screens [if not now, then make a time during the day to do so] and get outside if you can and find a spot that is not necessarily quiet but is specifically removed from the busyness of life.

And for today i have a bit of a meditation planned, but i encourage you to insert this 5 minutes of stopping and just being for the whole rest of these 40 days – it will change your life! If you have a lunch break at school or work or even home then you might want to combine that with this.

If you can print this out or grab your Bible and read it rather, from Psalm 46, then do that and meditate on it.

1 God is our refuge and strength,

    an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    He lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations He has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    He burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Especially verse 10:

 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Take time to know. To realise. To remember. To speak to. To think about. To listen to. To be awestruck by. To call on. To rage at. To praise. To invite.

Easter is approaching…

[For Day 3 of the Lent series, click here]

bestill

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