Archive for the 'relationships' Category

05
Jun
13

Why I stopped blogging (and why I am starting again)!

A quick look at my blog shows you that I have been silent for some time. I stopped for a number of reasons but the main ones were.

1. I was unsure whether I was blogging to see what people thought. My gut feeling is that for blogging to be valuable it has to be beneficial to me.
2. I was beginning to be worried about what people thought about what I wrote. In many ways the blog is a space to develop my thinking and so at times I blog rather like thinking aloud.
3. I wanted to be sure it wasn’t simply a case of narcissism. Believing that I had something worth saying – listen to me I’m clever.

So why am I starting again?
1. It is a good way of processing ideas and helps me.
2. It offers a chance to connect with people I might not get to see too often and share what is going on with me.
3. It offers a good place for debate.

I can’t promise how often I will blog but will do it when it helps me

John

21
Mar
11

Be dependent – march 21

Reading: Matthew 10:1-16

The sending out of the disciples is often used as a call to misssion work. But I am reminded as I read this that al of us are called to follow their example – this is not a passage for those in so called ‘full-time’ Christian work. Instead Jesus give clear instructions that show that we all need to operate in a way that means we depend on each other. That is how the disciples would survive

In a celebrity and entrepenurial culture, this challenge to simply depend on others for our basic needs of life is challenging and humbling. How dependent on others are you?

 

11
Sep
10

Reflections on 9/11 – 9 years on

9 September 2001 – the day the world changed….. or did it?

There is no doubt that the events of that day cast a shadow over the global community. Relationships between nations are often defined in the light of the perceived forces at work in the events of that day. For me personally there is a particular poignancy in the memory. I had just returned from a Scripture Union International Conference with representatives from all over the world. Worshipping with people from many nations was a reminder that God’s family is global and multi-cultural – not English or British not even Western.

So I watched the events unfold that afternoon (morning in the US) with a different perspoective – there were people staying with me who were a reminder of a previous cold war era – guests from the former Soviet Union and I knew people travelling back to North America. It was hard to believe what we were watching – it almost seemed like a movie rether than real life. It was strangely gripping but it was also horrifying – we watched people die.

Maybe on reflection the media dimension was one of the changes I was unaware of and yet seems really obvious now. In a ‘Big Brother’ world, the global events were watched on TV by millions. The global community was connected in a way that we hadn’t really understood. The place of the media in both reflecting and shaping us was illustrated in a unique way on that day.

In recent events that day has been in the headlines because some people simply want to interpret them in ways that divide people along simple religious lines – I can’t agree in such a simplistic analysis. I wasn’t personally affected directly by the events so don’t want to speak for those who were. However I do know that God calls those of us who are Christians to live lives that demonstrate his character – to shine as his lights in the dark world. I am sure that means caring for all of of humanity regardless of their background, nationality, social status or creed. I simply can’t label thoe who disagree with me as evil – whatever they do.

So how should I respond? When asked by the teacher of the law, What must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus refers him to the law itself and the teacher replies. The first commandement is this: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength. the second is like it ‘Love your neighbour as yourself”

That seems like a good place to start – I’ll let you know when I think I’ve managed that one – although it seems like it could take a lifetime! Maybe the world didn’t change – I just saw it differently and began to realise that most change has to begin in me.

10
Feb
10

the illusion of intimacy

A really good article in the Sunday Times this week about friendship and facebook. I often joke that facebook redefines the meaning of the word friend but it seems that I might actually be backed up by some evidence.

On a regular basis the number 150 turns up as the genuine number of people one person can maintain meaningful contact with. I have heard this before from church growth people and in other contexts.

The best bit of the article is where it suggests that even then we are fooling ourselves. Real freindships take time and effort. The picture is of a range of ever decreasing circles where the people who you know and really know you is probably no bigger than 5

One of the challenges of communicating to a generation  of digital natives maybe that their search for intimacy on the internet leaves them with numerous superficial relationships, which take time to cultivate, but few, if any relatioships of real depth and meaning. Maybe what we need to be sure we are encouraging is depth.

15
Jan
10

Happiness?

Last night I watched the first episode of Kevin McLoud’s ‘Slumming it’ (reviewed here). He spends two weeks living in a Mumbai slum famous because of Slumdog Millionaire. He went there because it seems to have been suggested that they have a stronger sense of community than many Western societies in spite of the high level of poverty.

I am also reading a book called ‘The church of Facebook’. The first chapter talks about how the evidence from positive psychology is that one of the main keys to happiness is ‘Connectedness’ – the sense of being part of something bigger and connected in meaningful ways to other people.
The research a few years ago suggested that Generation Y felt that the purpose of life was to be happy. At the time I read an amazing book by Tobias jones called ‘Utopian Dreams’, In it he visits a number of communities to work out what makes then tick. His conclusion was that those who have faith at their heart are more successful.
Is it any surprise that human happiness is most likely to be found when we realise that we are designed for relationships?