Sunday, May 31, 2009

if this is a crutch, give me the other one

I know someone who 'hears from God' with regularity. In fact two weeks ago God told them they have cancer... it turned out to be an infection.

Of course they believe God healed them. I myself have doubts.

Not that God doesn't have important things to say, and not that God doesn't care about the minutiae of our lives. I just don't like positioning myself at the centre of God's work in the world. There are far greater forces at work than my actions, more important factors to consider than my personal preferences and comfort. God may be the source of all that is good, but when we attribute every extraordinary thought or inexplicable event to him I wonder if we don't verge on the edge of a form of hoodoo voodoo christianity. How are we different from the ancients who saw fertility gods behind the rain or sacrificed to war gods for help in their conquests? We would do better to take life at face value and respond according to the principles of justice, mercy and humility as so ably lived out by Jesus.

Having said all that, I don't want to negate the comfort I frequently find in my faith. I'll admit there are some pretty strange beliefs to subscribe to when you follow Jesus, and I choose to believe them because that's what faith is about, but the real boon in fostering a relationship with God is the meaning and purpose it gives. If that statement flies in the face of everything I wrote above... um... bear with me, I'm still figuring it out! Anyway, I had a special God moment last week.

I'd just been 'laid off' from one of my positions. That's far too dramatic a turn of phrase... the company I work for was asked by the company who contract my services for two hours a fortnight (no great biggie), to replace me with another member of personnel. The rationale offered seems to be that I am too youthful and gentle for the role required, though I am yet to clarify the accuracy of this. As you would imagine, I was pretty upset. Here I was being misjudged and taken lightly simply because of a youthful manner and a lack of lines. I wailed and gnashed my teeth and determined to demonstrate maturity beyond my appearance. Ha. Some of that is true, and yes, I am dealing with the matter in a hopefully appropriate manner. It's probably not wise to say more than that and it's not really the point of this post anyway.

So I was lying in bed sniffling, trying to steady my breathing and calm my thoughts, feeling miserably sorry for myself. What happened to diversity? justice? respect? valuing a person for who they are not what they look like? How humiliating to be judged so unfairly!

The perfect place from which to step back and gain a little perspective.

I thought of all the people around the world living in absolute poverty. There is no reason for this other than gross injustice keeping them there. My little episode started to pale into a piece of global insignificance.

Believing Jesus is the son of God (as I crazily do) reveals another pretty hefty injustice. The son of God comes to earth, receives no respect and is killed on the cross*. Whoa. That's one almighty humiliation to endure. My little issue became even smaller.

Actually, that's not true. I stood with Jesus and he held my hand and rather than tell me to get over it, he offered comfort as only someone who knew exactly how I felt could offer comfort. I was soothed and calmed by the presence of Jesus and fell asleep soon after.

Now you may think this is all mumbo jumbo invented in my head, as hoodoo voodoo as the person who believes God told them they had cancer. You might even go so far as to say it's a crutch I'm leaning on rather too heavily. I'll live with that. In fact I'll laugh and say you might be right. But there's no denying the fact I fell asleep in record time after I remembered Jesus and his hellish experience. So if it's a crutch, give me the other one, cause I love hopping around on this faith that holds me up.

*Phil 2:5-8

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

marking 125 years

I might think I've done my time as far as church goes, but it is nothing compared to the 125 years of Launceston Tabernacle - Christchurch - City Baptist, or whichever incarnation you wish to recall! In recognition of my eight years at the church I decided to go to a small portion of the celebration this afternoon.

It was kind of cool to reflect on my place in the 400 year history of the Baptist denomination and to remember my great-great-great (however many it is) grandfather's role in the early days of Tasmanian Baptists. At the same time it was weird being back in the church building - I haven't been all year and (apart from Easter Sunday) haven't missed it. I listened to the presentation outlining the current work of the church in the local and global community and the wonderful partnership between current leaders and I kind of cringed. That wonderful partnership was difficult to see eighteen months ago. I felt galled by the smooth glossing over of the reality of humans rubbing up against one another in church. I resented the idealised picture of church life that was drawn. I hate when reality is lost in the need to feel good about who we are.

But however I felt about the official bits, it was good to be see people in all their imperfect friendliness again and just enjoy the chance to connect and catch up. I would write more about my journey into leaving church, but it's been a very positive thing for me and I don't want to muddy it with these reflections here. In fact I might delete this post later, but I've been so woeful with updates I thought I should write something. Rest assured I am doing very well and feel invigorated once more.


autumn raptures

I went for a much needed walk today and kicked around in a local park. Absolutely beautiful.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

listen carefully and you'll hear me singing along...

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 03, 2009

show 'n' tell

Sometimes I wonder if blogging isn't just about catching up on all the 'show and tell' I seem to have missed out on at school, because seriously, I have things to say but am I saying them? No. I'm just showing you my latest handiwork. I'll say those other things later, for now this is what I have been doing: crocheting a scarf (plus a hundred thousand other boring things of course).

The model

The scarf

The arty farty shot

Labels: ,