‘Truth is the Daughter of Time, not Authority’
- Francis Bacon
‘Truth is the Daughter of Time, not Authority’
- Francis Bacon
a friend and I have been working on a devotional reading project. My hope is that we can offer something of substance in a time when most devotional writing lacks depth. We have used the writings of Thomas a Kempis, who wrote more than 500 years ago. And we have tried to make these meditations available in a variety of formats including printed notes, a website, CD’s and mp3 downloads for people with iPods.
The idea is that we will focus on a short reading for the 40 days of Lent.
If you are interested to join us in the Lenten discipline/journey… visit the web-site: Seeds Devotional Reading Project
i’m tired of bored people looking for a fix. this quest for “miracles” that takes us looking for unexplained things, as if unexplained phenomenon prove the existence of God…
I was struck this morning as i shared Communion with the people of my church what a miracle it is to get 200 people from different backgrounds, political affiliations, languages and cultures all kneeling together in peace around a simple table and a simple meal.
In fact all the great miracles are the one’s that are easy to explain, but difficult to do: e.g. political leaders choosing peaceful settlement rather than war - not inexplicable and yet a miracle if it happens. or witnessing a person who has been deeply hurt coming to a place of forgiveness - not an alien sighting, and yet somehow so much more profound and miraculous when it happens.
this christmas, i’m looking out for the “ordinary” miracles - when the prince of peace comes i think he’ll get us busy on the stuff of miracles… peace, goodwill toward people, hungry people fed, oppressed people freed… nothing spectacular, but truly miraculous when it happens!
i have been thinking lately about how little we really actually change. I began writing on this blog with the value of Integrity as a theme. By Integrity, I mean an integration of all the things that have been broken, separated and polarised - at great expense to the health of humanity (well, let’s just say, at great expence to my health adn wholeness).
One could say this thing about being “open” and “real” is a bit of “hobby-horse” - it’s my little soap-box.
And then the other day I remembered an experience from my early childhood. My family were in the car on the way to church, where my parents were quite involved members. My dad was a senior leader… He and I were having an argument in the car which was not resolved when we arrived at the church. He wanted to stop the argument as we got out of the car, but I wanted to carry on arguing - citing “honesty” as my reason… “if we’re going to shout at each other in the privacy of our car, why shouldn’t we shout at each other in front of fellow church members?”
(by the way, the photo is not me - it’s of my dad, Guy Marshall)
I remembered that incident with such vividness, and the effect was to make me ask - has anything really changed? I’m still on about the same old hobby-horse that I was when I was a teenager, 25 years ago!!!
But then I had another thought - is this my Voice? Is this the thing that I’m being asked to say, with my life?
Perhaps for some people this message simply isn’t relevant. They are healthy and balanced in the area of Integrity and so they find my dwelling on the topic a little anonying. But perhaps, for people who have struggled with the Dualism that has severed their lives (and all of life) into binary categories of good and evil, right and wrong, light and dark, private and public etc.. - this is the word of encouragement that they need to hear. Perhaps, also, there are faith communities, that need to hear this word. A challenge to wholeness and integrity, where faith and life, religion and politics, secular and sacred… have been dangerously kept apart…
Am I finally realising my humble significance in this life - not to do extraordinarily great things - just to speak (live) the message that I’ve been asked to speak/live, to embody a value that many of us need to embrace, to bring a gentle challenge in one aspect of life where there is imbalance and unhealth?
am I discovering my Voice? (my dad would say I discovered it far too early…!!!)
what I like about the idea of finding my voice is that it helps me to have a limited, and therefore hopefully a humble view of my significance. the thought also makes me wonder about other people’s Voices? People I respect and admire - I wonder if they have discovered their Voice… Perhaps they are speaking, but are yet to stumble on the simple realisation that this is the thing they are called to say…
Have you discovered your Voice? (and, do you feel confidence to speak with it?)
A big part of the idealism that I have had to let go of has been the desire to eliminate tension. Idealism convinced me that life could be easy and trouble free if I just lived according to the “rules” – the right principles. When there was a problem – the thing introducing tension – it could be analysed, diagnosed and attended to… a little like the way a mechanic has a look at your car, works out why it won’t start, then gives you a quote to effect the repair.
Is life as simple as that?
My experience is that to be faith-ful means to live with tension. There may be things we can do to relieve tension – and I would totally support that kind of effort. Tension can get too much… for sure! But some things just can’t be resolved with one quick dose of Diagnose-and-Repair.
A present example: Having children produces huge tension in my life. I love Ruben. Check out his web-site here: rubenm.iscool.net He has recently turned 2 and I am proud of him. In fact, there are moments when I delight in him in a way that surprises me.
But he also is difficult. He is strong-willed, passionate, incorrigible, and a whole lot of other things that remind me of someone I know. He is able to produce emotions (like anger) in me in ways that scare me. I’m not blaming him for the anger – it obviously arises out of me – but he is certainly the catalyst. He also produces difficulty in my relationship with Elaine, the person I am married to. We love each other and respect each other in so many ways. But Ruben seems to expose all the tender points in our relationship, especially the things that we are not in agreement about. When it was just the two of us, we lived with a high level of tolerance of our different views. I thought we were mature and respectful. But Ruben seems to worm his way behind our respectful and tolerant façade, and gets us engaged with each other over various issues that we probably wouldn’t have brought up otherwise.
I love my child, but he’s a real challenge to my sense of self. In some ways he is a darling and in other ways a selfish little terror who wants nothing except his own way. I love him and I resent him, at the same time. Huge inner tension.
Somehow, I don’t sense the tension is going to suddenly be relieved. Of course, I’d welcome any helpful advice from people who share the struggle of child-rearing… (actually, I might get irritated by anyone offering advice, but try me anyway - I’m desperate) But even great advice is not going to relieve the tension immediately, and probably not even entirely.
Maturity, faith-fulness… these are qualities that for me are forged in the midst of the tension.