Wednesday, April 23

Easter Update!!

My Easter was a bit of this and a bit of that, I went south to my friend Monia's for the weekend.  Here's a report of the main things that happened in the form of the whatsapp messages I sent to my Mum over the course of the weekend.  For those of you not accustomed to the whatsapp format, my messages are on the right, my Mum's on the left, and each message has a time stamp to show when sent...

Friday, April 18

Are you having a Good Friday?

A Good Friday.  

Today I ate the first Crunchie on a Friday for the first time in possibly...at least since the last time I was in England...so...maybe December.  I used to eat a Crunchie (a chocolate bar) on every Friday for a while as a student due to an advert that was around in the 1990's: Get that Friday Feeling.

Today I went to the cinema with my school for the first time.  It was organised chaos.  Mum's and Dad's arriving to escort the kids to the cinema, children bundled in to cars and away we went!  Loved it though, hopefully some good teaching points can come from it....especially about the conservation of the Amazon.

Today is the 3rd Good Friday I didn't set foot in a church.

Today is the day many Christian denominations commemorate the day God died.

God died.  That's huge right.

I read an article explaining how Good Friday is the 'day we forget to remember'...but I disagree.  Christianity is in itself the remembrance of Good Friday.  Christianity exists because of the crucifixion.  If the crucifixion hadn't happened then the resurrection wouldn't have followed and the writers who wrote the Gospels would have had nothing to write about.  Paul* wouldn't have traveled around a bit, got tortured and what-not and started the 'early church'...whatever that refers to.

However, although I believe everyday is both Good Friday and Easter Sunday I do think it is good to unite everyone in a day that commemorates explicitly how God died.  God has His ways of getting through to people and maybe this Good Friday is that day for you - only God knows.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10773013/Good-Friday-the-day-we-forget-to-remember.html

http://y-jesus.com/

Sunday, April 13

On my fridge...

Let us not become weary in doing good (Galations 6:9)

Man, I'm tired.  Like.  All the time.  Who knows why.

Actually it's probably because I don't use much of my day for just sitting; because my mind rarely "turns off" from my job, to-do lists, Masters and everything else.  Recently I've been wondering if I can cope with the reality of doing stuff all day, everyday or if I can become a hermit, escape somewhere, a mountain top, to be fed and watered only by that which I find.  I'm tired.

So this morning (afternoon) when I woke up, I had a heavy heart, soul and mind - really heavy.  At a one of the best weddings I've been to, I slipped into my usual state of questioning life, the world and all the universe that, no matter how hard I try, slaps me in the face at weddings.  I should've enjoyed the moment and shared in my friends amazingness and commitment to one another rather than letting all the sociocultural nonsense I've been studying affect my day (cultural beliefs, traditions and all that what-not, blah).  Waking with this heaviness I didn't think it would shift but I was surprised only a few hours later.

When I question the existence of God, when I doubt my purposes and why I do what I do, why I think what I think when many of those around me are not reading from the same book, I force myself to read that book, the Bible.  It has to be done.  Even though it's the very last thing I want to do, I do it.

Today I used a bible study I received in my email a few days back.  It was focused on 'the church', what we think it should be, how we've experienced it and what we think of it.  I brazenly read through the study notes and considered the early church as written in Acts 2:42-47 (NLT) like I was "told" to.  And I think I found something...

Church is big - really big.  Huge.  More than a building.  It's a word that encapsulates the acts of devotion, fellowship, performance, meetings, worship, giving, and enjoyment.  It's also a space for sharing:  sharing not only physical things like possessions, money and space, but not so physical things, thoughts, reflections, time etc.  Church therefore can happen anywhere, at anytime, as the over used verse of Matthew 18:20 - For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. - illustrates.

For example, I can devote myself to my work, I share fellowship with my colleagues, I meet them regularly, I perform acts with them...and we are doing really great things...but it's not a church as Jesus is not "the name" for which we are meeting.  I love going to my English Speaking Group, I share a lot of things with the people I meet at the group, friendships, my time etc, but it is English that we share as the common denominator and is therefore not church.  In the bigger picture I actually find that sometimes going to church is not actually church either, as many people go to church because it's what they think they have to do, therefore they go not because of Jesus' name but of tradition, human expectation, and that's where it gets complicated and I start stumbling.

I didn't go to a church building today...I woke up the same time the service finished but that's when I found my church...it was on my fridge.


A friend of mine stayed with me last week on holiday from England and I was really sad to see her go.  If I'm honest I was sadder to have her leave than I was when my Mum left.  And the reason why this is the case: my friend is a Christian.  

My friend left a postcard for me on my fridge and it's been there since she left on Monday.  I only found it today.  What's important is that I found it fifty-five minutes after I gave my recent struggles and doubts to Jesus (again).  Last night I struggled with the idea that there actually exists such a thing as "God", or whatever human defined word you wish to use for a divinity that's....well...that's not able to be proved actually, but only lives through having faith, even just a little bit of faith.

I'm not saying that my friend, or the postcard, is my church.  No, not at all.  Rather it was the time we spent together, the actions of reading the bible, studying each others ideas and opinions about Jesus' teachings, in Jesus' name, that's my church.  And this morning, in finding the postcard, I've been pulled back up, dusted off, and pushed back out in to the world to explore and adventure.  Even if I'm so ruddy tired.

Thanks Victoria, I'm glad you enjoyed your Italian adventure and thanks for the postcard :-)

Wednesday, April 2

Unlearning

I really feel like I'm in a phase of 'unlearning'.  I'm trying to 'un-do' all the things society, cultures and identities have led me to believe is 'right', the 'real method', the 'best way', what it is to be 'intelligent', to 'know' and to 'be'.  Today I've drawn a conclusion that by living in a world of many people there are many, many paths and we just have to focus on the moment we are in and do what we can with that.  It's the most difficult thing I've ever had to get my head round.

http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.it/2014/04/for-that-purpose-alone.html?m=1