Monday, October 30, 2006

Just like your daddy done

It's nearly 4.30 in the morning and I can't sleep - am watching hi-fidelity - always liked it, truth is I always thought Mr Cusak was a very underrated actor

But the reason I am writing is because about 17 minutes into the film after his break up with laura he puts on a record - and that record was the one that takes me to my happy place - it takes me home, to a home I've never known. It's the record/album/CD that if i only had time to listen to one record/album/CD this would be it - it defines who I am and who I aspire to be, embodies the struggles of my childhood, the hopes of my adolescence and the out working of an ever developing future

....It was 1981 and my cousin Anne (she was 15 at the time and i thought she was the coolest person on the planet) had just bought The River by Bruce Springsteen....I will never forget how I felt when I first heard it - it left me speechless and still sends shivers down my spine...maybe I was blind, but it made me believe that anything was possible, that I didn't have to do what my daddy done - that I could sculpt my own world - it's an album that still to this day helps me get my shit together. The line, 'is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?' still haunts me but forces me to look beyond my own cynicism to what might be...Springsteen will always be the quintessential romantic who captures the hopes and dreams of the ordinary and makes them believable and tangible - his works continue to express the inexpressible to me

So, you got an hour to live, or you're off to some deserted island and can only take one record, what would it be - what's the one album/CD that takes you home?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lest we forget

May we never forget those who have given what they cannot keep to gain what they cannot lose

Living for a cause greater than ourselves enables us to face eternity with the strength that comes from faith. There is assurance that even today, in our culture of isolation and death, there is hope.

We need to hear stories of many people who overcame, or are overcoming their greatest obstacles. They don't present a cure-all from life's struggles and problems, but for those ready to go beyond quick-fix rememdies - i hope stories, tragic as it is, like Rachel's offer stepping stones to a more fulfilled life

There is a need, a real need, in a world where the air is fast becoming to angry to breathe for unflinching courage and the willingness to take risks against terrible injusticies - you can't fight fear with fear - only love...

Rachel Corrie 1979-2003

'On a sunday down in Gaza
Rachel Corrie took her stand
As the bulldozer kept coming
Her blood was shed upon the land

But she held high the torch for freedom
She lit a flame without a doubt
For the ones the world's forgotten
It's a flame that won't go out...'
(Garth Hewitt)

'Many of you will of heard varying accounts of the death of Rachel Corrie, maybe others will have heard nothing of it. Regardless, I was 10 metres away when it happened 2 days ago, and this is the way it went.

We'd been monitoring and occasionally obstructing the 2 bulldozers for about 2 hours when 1 of them turned toward a house we knew to be threatened with demolition. Rachel knelt down in its way. She was 10-20 metres in front of the bulldozer, clearly visible, the only object for many metres, directly in it's view. They were in Radio contact with a tank that had a profile view of the situation. There is no way she could not have been seen by them in their elevated cabin. They knew where she was, there is no doubt.

The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went. She knelt there, she did not move. The bulldozer reached her and she began to stand up, climbing onto the mound of earth. She appeared to be looking into the cockpit. The bulldozer continued to push Rachel, so she slipped down the mound of earth, turning as she went. Her faced showed she was panicking and it was clear she was in danger of being overwhelmed. All the activists were screaming at the bulldozer to stop and gesturing to the crew about Rachel's presence. We were in clear view as Rachel had been, they continued. They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did.

I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries. She was a brilliant, bright and amazing person, immensely brave and committed. She is gone and I cannot believe it.
(Tom Dale)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Divine Voice

You know sometimes i think i have my head way too far up my ass, that's why i removed this post - cognitive dissonance - seems others think differently...thank you, i guess actually we all suffer from self-doubt and worth

I guess you can't help no-one if you can't tell them the right story...

I once heard apologetics described as 'love in practice to the thinking man and woman' - i like that because for many people Christianity is a memory or being able to justify religion as a fact or concept without feeling the stunning magnitude of its ethical demands - it's as if the heart of faith has been hidden from us. And so consequently many people are like frail urchins of a graceless existence whose hope lies not in feudal promises but in the luminescence of the human spirit.

Whether driven by courage or desperation many a persons promised land is reached because of a decision to travel the hard road of free-will and self determination in search of peace/love/god. The omnipotent wishing to stride through the front door of heaven with full credentials is something of a distant past - nowadays i get the feeling that the humble simply wish to avoid hell.

And so off the back of my last post, i kind of feel that the pressing difficulty for the communication of faith in present times is the lack of common ground with others; this has little to do with a lack of interest in the central questions addressed by Christianity, rather everything to do with the perception that the church has little authentic involvement in the vital issues.

The abiding purpose surely is to begin to attempt to make some sense out of the world we find ourselves in, with the hope that we might find ways to speak about the divine within it - to quench the thirst for something 'real' enough to withstand the rigours of existence. My take? When there are tears and laughter alongside ritual and prayer and singing, then we will know that Jesus is once more in the world, and i must remeber that the divine voice is not always expressed in words - it is made known as heart-consciousness - a language i think we all need to learn...

Why? It makes us humble, and humility opens our ears. It enables us to acknowledge the truth of who we are and who God is. Only the humble can understand the deep resonance of God's voice in the whole of creation. humility withstands any arrogant tendancy to reduce scriptures and doctrines to our purposes. When we live in humble presence, God may just reveal things to us whilst we read insights that transcend human experience.

Am pretty sure i have blogged this story before, it does though embody the foundation of faith for me:
There's a scene in Thornton Wilder's play 'The angel that trouble the waters' where a doctor suffering from meloncholy comes to the magic pool with healing powers to be healed of his troubles and his gloom and sadness but the angel guarding the water tells him he cannot enter. The man says, 'but how can I live this way?' the angel again says, 'I'm sorry this moment is not for you, this healing is not for you'. So the doctor again pleads 'but I have to get into the water, I can't live this way' And the angel then this moment is not for you, and he says, but how can i live this way? And the angel says to him, doctor, without your wounds, where would your power be? it is your melancholy that makes your lower voice tremble into the hearts of men and women, the very angels in heaven cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children of this earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of loves service, only wounded soldiers can serve....

Saturday, October 21, 2006

An Unfinished Story

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"
Jim Elliott

I never thought I would ever become anything resembling a 'thinker', let alone someone who actually gets paid (beer money) to put those thoughts on to paper (well, keyboards and then ping them off through cyber-space to an editor) - I was thrown out of English Literature for asking too many questions about Mrs Macbeth's sexual leanings, I became far too animated in my longing to know what she really wanted when she cried, 'un-sex me!' - and most people just assumed I would make it as a rubgy or football player (injuries meant neither were an option).

In the end I turned to the only thing I was good at - the arts

And so here I am thinking about some things far too much, and some things not nearly enough...

Today I have been thinking about Let me explain that one a little. For me the obvious theological centre is the incarnation, and I wonder if this was a kind of hotmail address that Jesus had during his 30 odd years here? Think about it - he's a long way from home and just maybe he picked up messages using this email? Too far fetched? I'm not so sure...

The Kingdom of God is exactly that - heaven, here now and present. C.S. Lewis alludes to this in his remarkable work, 'The Great Divorce' - that heaven is an intensification of life rather than an abstraction from it. If that is so, finding heaven isn't about waiting until we die for some etheral nirvana, but having our eyes opened to what is already here.

'Thin places' (like Iona and Greenbelt) are spots where heaven becomes easier to experience through some sort of warp in the divine force field. God is present everywhere and anywhere - heaven is all around us - even in and through the mundane and dare I say it, the profane.

Faith therefore does not involve an escape or withdrawal from life, but a radical plunge into it and love for it. Because of creation and the incarnation the earth is sacred. It is the womb and the dreaming of the hopes of God, and so it is that we must honour the earth and respect it by the way we tend it. Not only would I say that heaven is in earth but that after the ascension, earth is in heaven: the risen Christ has nail holes in his hands and a scar in his side from a spear - in truth, humanity is now a very real and visible part of the Godhead

The eucharist is one way of making this visible - the fact that earthly life is suffered with heavenly glory - perhaps we should stop hoping for the end of history when God will call 'a wrap', and start working with God in transforming history, here and now - midwives, if you like.

Just maybe we won't eventually go to live where God is, but rather that God has already moved to where we are and is planning to stick around until earth becomes heaven - Who knows, is that heresy or is it that, maybe, I think too much

Whatever, as we journey we have 3 options
i, to be alive and thirsty
ii, to be dead
iii, to be addicted

There are no other choices. Most of the world lives in addiction; most of the church has chosen to be dead. Followers of the carpenter are called to a life of longing....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


A young girl was suffering from a rare form of blood disease. Her only hope was to receive a transfusion from someone with exactly the same blood type as hers. After testing various members of the girl's family, it was discovered that her ten year old brother had a precise match.

The doctor talked to him, and gently raised the possibility of his providing a transfusion for his sister. 'Your sister is dying,' he explained, 'but your blood would be able to save her. Are you willing to give your blood?' The boy hesitated for a moment, and the doctor saw that he was anxious at the prospect. But the lad quickly agreed to the process.

After the transfusion, the doctor went to visit the brother to see how he was. 'Tell me ,' implored the boy, 'how long until I die?' Only then did the doctor realise his young patient's misunderstanding, and know that he had been willing to give his life so that his sister might live.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ironic subersive art?

"...Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you...”

Now did he write or did he draw? And if so, what did he write or draw? What mark came from his fingers to bring about such a remarkable conclusion to this scene?

I think the marks in the sand we more powerful than his words, he was far more subversive, nuanced and cunning than we give him credit....but what the hell were those marks?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


What was your greatest encounter with God?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

And so it is.....

sometimes we run from the hands of kindness and every now and then we run from the eyes of friends, but you know, sometimes an open door is just so so hard to find

for the record, i am not wallowing...just being real, because when we truly know our devils and our deeds, we need to be prepared to bleed

(From the album "DUSK" by The The)

The more I see
The less I know
About all the things I thought were wrong or right
& carved in stone

So, don't ask me about
War, Religion, or God
Love, Sex, or Death

Everybody knows what's going wrong with the world
But I don't even know what's going on in myself.

You've gotta work out your own salvation.
With no explanation to this Earth we fall
On hands & knees we crawl
And we look up to the stars
And we reach out & pray
To a deaf, dumb & blind God who never explains.

Every body knows what's going wrong with the world
But I don't even know what's going on in myself.

Lord, I've been here for so long
I can feel it coming down on me
I'm just a slow emotion replay of somebody I used to be.