I work four days a week at the moment, and it has given me the chance to think about and now finally act upon an idea I have carried for a long time. This is from the new blog,
I hope you might go and take a look :)
For fifteen years or so, I have carried a dream. To begin with, it looked like a retreat centre, but how expensive is that? Now I am attempting to go to where people already are.
I long to provide a space where people can find rest for their minds and souls, a place where they might find skills to help them in their everyday lives and a little oasis of calm in the meantime.
Hence the Blue Canary Birdhouse. It is an obscure reference, but if you remember the80’s song by they might be giants about a little blue canary night light, it makes more sense:
“Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul”
So here I am, offering courses and workshops for community groups and churches in order to help people build their own birdhouses for their souls.
Its old hat I know, but still true, that the church is its people, not the building we meet in.
So how come so much time is spent acting like that isn’t so? We spend lots of time doing and less time being with each other.
I read this article on pastoral care today and it reminded me that no one ever came to Jesus because of a program. Instead it was the personality of Jesus that drew true discipleship.
Paul says that God is using us as ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us (2Corinthians 5:20). Note, us, not our buildings or our doughnuts or our super-duper worship/speaking/toddler group.
Paul goes further. He said he became nothing so that people wouldn’t get tangled up in the programme and miss the personality of Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
And yet all around me I see the church both traditional and modern getting tangled up in… Stuff.
You know, we could meet in a porta-cabin with a battered old CD player and a packet of rich tea biscuits, as long as we had love. That is, after all how Jesus said people would know we were his disciples (John 13:34-35).
Photo via http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/3/28/1301326990499/Rich-Tea-biscuits-007.jpg
I find the lack of love I sometimes see particularly painful when it comes to young people. We are called by Jesus to love our neighbour as ourselves, and yet again and again I see adults putting what they want at gatherings of Christians before what young people might want or need.
And that’s Christian young people, never mind non Christian folk.
So my prayer for myself and others is that we might truly see and hear the people around us and love them more than our (church) stuff.
I am busy planning next term’s youth cafe activities for work. As part of this I am using Soul Pancake’s Art Therapy Experiment. The young people will grade how happy they feel (1-10) before and after they do the exercise and it will give me an opportunity as a youth worker for some meaningful conversations in the middle.
Afterwards we will give them this journal page to take home.
As we are a Christian organisation we are ever linking everything we do to the Bible, helping young people see how God has a monopoly on the truth, and hopefully brining a bit of joy and fun en route.
I have to say, I am looking forward to doing this for myself, and certainly Soul pancake’s video is aimed at any age.
You can get my journal page here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B–jM8Hqcbx3YXI5RHRYMVNqV2lMNEhqZzc0V29wY0JqeW5z/view?usp=sharing
And the art therapy and happiness video from Soul pancake here: https://youtu.be/BN2rTaFUlxs
I just read this article about the generosity of God:
And it reminded me of a conversation I had had about how hard it can be to ‘get’ the love of God. We are so used to everything being conditional, so used to the mist beautiful love coming from imperfect people.
So it’s a real mind bender when we come into contact with love which really is unconditional, and so… Large.
You defeated death and wiped away our sin. It would have been more than enough, but you daily draw us close to you in compassion and kindness.
You made all these and that would have been enough, but then you caused me to see and enjoy them: