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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Photo journal...

When it's hot…
...go on a bush walk and hug a tree!
(Kauris in Eaves Bush Walk, Orewa)

When it is windy…

…catch the wind however you can!
When it is wet…

…go to the Art Gallery and build a Lego City!

(Auckland Art gallery also had a very good "Light Show" but no photography was allowed.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Unmanageable simplicity!

A short quote that arrested my attention this morning  from The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault;
She is talking about following Jesus - as Jesus intended - and says:

"Anyone willing to take up the much more difficult task - not the manageable complexity of rules and regulations, but the unmanageable simplicity of being present to your life in love - that person is walking the path of Jesus." (Bold added by me!)

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Insanity of God

This is the challenging title of book recently brought to my attention in a friend's Christmas letter.
I borrowed it from the library and read it. The author writes about his experiences as a fairly new and naive missionary in Somalia where the extreme poverty and devastation severely challenged his belief in a loving God. However he went on  to develop a ministry among people in countries all round the world where their Christian faith results in persecution. The stories he heard and the vibrant faith of these communities more than restored his faith in the God who seems to work most powerfully in situations of persecution and hardship.

I'm Blogging about this book for a couple of reasons: I like recommending books that have been powerful for me so that others can read them too! Also this book seems to me to give many specific examples of what yesterday's post was about - hope arising out of terror (or at least extreme hardship and persecution). Read it for yourself and see what you think! It also made me think of a couple of earlier posts I wrote about the book I Shall Not Hate. (see here and here) There's powerful theme emerging here, for me at any rate: out of what seem the worst situations, the best is often revealed. It doesn't make the "worst" events good, or even acceptable from a human rights perspective, but even then, the irrepressible ability of God to make "all things work together for good" shines through.

P.S. Don't think I have it all worked out about famine, poverty and the heart-breaking impacts of war, terrorism and human greed. I definitely don't! But these are clues, hints and glimpses that keep my hope and faith alive.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hope arising from terror

The events of the last few days and weeks have - perhaps surprisingly - given me great hope.

I'll ride with you - the hashtag that promoted actions of compassion and solidarity with Muslim people after the Sydney attacks on Lindt Cafe.

World Leaders arm in arm to join the Paris march for unity, solidarity and freedom following the massacres there.

Je Suis Charlie another hashtag that represents solidarity with those murdered at the Charlie Hebdo magazine. While I don't personally know much about the philosophy of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, I don't warm to any publication (or movie) that deliberately makes fun of another race, nation or religion. However, the Je Suis Charlie phrase holds a truth deeper than those promoting it realize. "Love your neighbor as yourself," said Jesus. Your neighbor really is "you" in the interconnected reality of the human family. This is at the core of reaching any peaceful relationship with "others". Whether I agree with their stance on an issue or their religious path - every other person is part of the one body of humanity. We can't even get away with saying I'll love the victims but the terrorists are enemies to be hated. Jesus also said: "Love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you."  In our world right now this has a very contemporary meaning. And let's not forget there is a terrorist in each of us - as well as a peacemaker. Even this "neighbor" is "myself".
I am Charlie; I am a Police officer; I am in mourning; I am Jewish

How appropriate that the first week of February is World Interfaith Harmony Week. I haven't been aware of this United Nations' initiated week before. But it was declared by the UN in 2010. Read the site highlighted above to see very helpful insights into how this is celebrated around the world. And let's think about how we in our own corner of the world might honor and extend interfaith harmony that week - and always.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day

I've never been into New Year's resolutions but I like to spend some time reviewing the past year and "setting my course" for the year ahead. Of course the past year has been largely marked by moving house! On New Year's Day 2014 I would never have guessed (or planned) to be in a new home and a different location by the year's end. Which illustrates the point made by David Whyte in one of his poems:

     "What we can plan is too small for us to live."

A quote from another favorite writer, John O'Donahue, is something I identify with as this year begins:

"I would like to live as a river flows - surprised by its own unfolding."

So I guess "setting my course" for the year ahead really means being willing to step into the flow of God's grace and trust where that river takes me.