The Bright Field- Reflections on Greenbelt 2015.

Having just returned from the amazing Greenbelt Festival I wrote some thoughts/poems/prose/raps, in my tent, on each following morning, a reflection of what caught my attention or stirred me each day. Want to share them with you now and trust they give you a little portal to a most amazing Festival.

Sat on a Sat Contemplating Where I Sat (Friday).

The Bright Field, the night field

The brightness in the night field

The feeling of coming home field

The feeling overwhelmed field

Brightness of the sky field

Brightness of my mind field

This minefield of ideas field

This idea of Divine field

A Special kind of Duke field

To be KARI’d home field

Speaking to my Brother field

Drinking in the Vino field

In anticipation field

Bright with expectation field

The brightness of the dawn field

The Bright Field, this night field

Where ship? (Saturday)

Said my prayers with a Muslim

Heard a Buddhist chant

Wanted to pray like a Christian

Found out that I can’t

Want to escape like Thomas Merton

Have the joy of the Spree

Shock like Revolutionary Armies

Shed some tears in the teepee

So many expressions

Connect Divine and man

The truth that gets me more and more

Is everybody can

The only true worship

We can give today

Is to be truly human

And live upon our way.

Unsociable Socialite (Sunday)

(Dedicated to Diane Woodrow, Andrew Howie, the Coda crew and anyone else who I chatted to along the way)

I came to Greenbelt on my own

I prefer to be that way

Can wander aimlessly around

Do what I want all day

It’s not that I don’t like people

Or sit and have a chat

But sometimes during the small talk

I just wish that was that

You see I’m an unsociable socialite

Got chatting to two lesbians

Came out that I was straight

The relief that I told them

I really felt quite great

Chatted about Coda

A festival for Wales

Nice to meet Cymru people

Blazing out some trails

You see I’m an unsociable socialite

Met up with a friend

Enjoyed the chat and tea

You see I have a friend or two

Sometimes it’s not just me

But when the laughter was over

And I sat inside the Glade

My chair I set up on my own

My own space I now had made

You see I’m an unsociable socialite.

While others danced the night away

With loved ones and with friends

And talked and laughed till all hours

Their company never ends

But me I walked in silence

To the stillness of my tent

Had no one there to chat to

About the day that went

You see I’m an unsociable socialite.

I do love my own company am happy with my space

When I look in the mirror there’s a smile upon my face

But at times I get real lonely wish somebody was there

Someone to share the day with somebody who really cares

But when a new dawn rises and there are things I want to do

I need the space to wander and not to be with you

I love to be with people I love to laugh in spades

I party with the best of them a fool of me is made

But space is also my best friend I want to be with me

Greenbelt 2015 I was alone but also free

You see I’m an unsociable socialite.

Rain on your Parade. (Monday)

Of course there was rain

It was a festival after all

Of course there was mud and puddles

It was a British Bank Holiday Monday

But through rained stained glasses

I caught sight of Gogglebox vicars

And Chalke right on cue

I saw raw rock and roll

And the flight of the Last Cuckoo

I glimpsed a Fruitful Earth

And a Code that was on fire

I saw myself in a song called Post

This was more than mud and mire

I watched a guy called Martyn

And the singing happy throng

I ogled the Devil’s Passion

I hope that wasn’t wrong

The rain, the mud and clouds

Could not dampen human spirit

This was a place, a family

Anyone could see it

Of course there was rain

It was a Festival after all

But I clearly saw my Bright Field

And Silent Stars began to call.

Neglecting to Gather…

To Gather or not to Gather, that is the Question…

The greatest accusation for those who walk outside of the framework of the organised ‘church’ meeting format is that we are neglecting to gather with other believers and therefore in grave danger of growing cold. Just yesterday was in a conversation with a ‘church leader’ who mentioned a couple who had left a church, and his comments form the belief of a huge majority of Christendom. ‘They are not in fellowship anywhere at the moment, they need to make sure they are not like that lump of coal that falls from the fire and loses it’s heat and warmth and glow.’ Is not neglecting the gathering together of ourselves really about going to church? Should everyone that believes really be part of a community of believers that meets on Sundays and various times through the week? Would I be stronger in my walk for Christ by singing songs, hearing sermons and signing a membership form for some local church? I want to suggest something radical here, that the gathering together in the traditional way of many churches and fellowships today actually robs many individuals of true community, real relationships and the release of true creativity and life through-out the earth. It stifles, hides and creates a false image of victory and safety for all those who become gatherers. And in reality the gathering ceases to take place where it should be revealing itself; in community and in the world and complexities of relationships within which we live. We can be so busy ‘gathering ourselves together’ with every spare evening and weekend we have, that we cut off the very people we should be naturally gathering with. I was so busy with Sunday and mid-week meetings I lost my school friends, my band mates, my sports friends and parts of the family could not comprehend me any more. Was this the price of being a believer? No, it was more the insecurity of a leader who wanted another bum on a seat at something he was doing or organising. I gathered and I lost on the gathering. I had my church community, but I lost my real links of community and true relationship.

The Future of Community.

Does community have a future? Whenever people relate through the earth community occurs. It does not have to be recognised, titled or named, it can just happen in spontaneity, or be an organised get together with a bunch of people we want to spend time with. Always remember the N.I.V. saying this about Jesus choosing the twelve; Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He wanted to hang out with this bunch of guys. It was a community of people that just hung out together. It was not about creating church or having meetings or signing up to anything, they just wanted to journey, chat, eat, drink, argue, laugh, walk, just be together. Why the hell do we ever make it more than that? The future of community lies in hanging out with friends for no particular reason. Meeting to have a pint together, go to a gig together, walk together over the mountains, have a meal together. Community is then released back into the hands of people who gather anywhere and everywhere. No spiritual dress codes where everyone has to be ‘born again’ and singing from the same hymn sheet, just people who want to share time together. This can happen with family, a husband who would actually want to spend time with his wife or kids. It can happen with work mates going for a pint together after work. It can happen with journeying friends and pilgrims gathering to chat through evolving beliefs and faith thoughts, or just gathering to chat football. Where you happen to be today can be a gathering of community. Don’t try to make it a spiritual event or you could miss it and mess it up. Just be with those you want to be with. The future of community and gathering does not belong to the preachers, the theologians, the teachers or the worship leaders, but to the artists, the poets, the storytellers, the experimental instrumentalists, the disorganised, the flakey, the double-minded, the marginalised, the misunderstood, the excommunicated, the myth makers, the doubters, the agnostics, the atheists, the Divine, you and me. And these type of gatherings together I would never want to neglect.

Word Up: Book Review: Dave Vaughan ‘Tales From the Couch’.

11752524_10153440637222560_5041160418938148562_n

Laugh and Weep.

Having finished this book in two sittings over the weekend I have to say Dave has accomplished a very difficult task of drawing together personal experience and events to make this much, much more than just a testimonial book. The only way I can describe it is it is a book where deep cried unto deep. A book that equally fills me with incredible excitement and joy, and yet also pains me to read. A book that reminds me of both the most amazing time in my life and the darkest time of my life. A book that captures a time captured in history, and yet released into the present and future. Reviewing it is quite a task, but I wanted to thank Dave for sharing his life, his thoughts, his experience. Wanted to thank him for honesty. Thank him for making me laugh and weep in equal measures. It leaves me with questions. I love questions. It leaves me in wonder. Wondering what the hell and what the heaven. But wonder is what it is all about. Wandering and wondering.

Wild-fire?

Although our paths crossed briefly while Dave attended an evangelism school in Newport, it was not until a while later that we briefly walked a bit of a path together. It was through a mutual friend at the time, and a hunger to see something totally new and prophetic break through for our Nation of Wales, that we somehow got drawn together. We laughed, prayed, declared, wondered much in those days, longing, looking, seeking, spending time together. This was the time of Martin Scott’s incredible Wild-fire prophetic word that is mentioned in Chapter Eight of the book. A most exciting time when my life was blown apart at the seams, the church I was a part of was blown away, and not in a good way, and life was never the same again. My life was shipwrecked, and I loved it. The prophetic flowed freely and incredible crazy declarations and events took place. The conference was the norm, and everybody wanted to be in Cymru, and come to declare something new and wild. It was at this point that my crisis of identity led me to resigning the pastoral role in Tonyrefail, and with Dave and our mutual friend we looked to dig some ground in the Nation for the gusher to pour forth. But, and here comes the honest painful admission, what Dave and my friend dug for sat uncomfortably with me. I remember sitting in services having disagreements to what was our pursuit. In less than a few months I lost my church identity, now I was losing my so called ‘prophetic’ friends. The doors seemingly opened for them and I was left as a bystander. I never, ever, opposed anything, but sadly never threw myself in either. This led to our paths going in completely opposite directions. While the party was going on I was having a melt-down. That is why the book is painful to me. But it also helps to fill in the blanks of the events that unfolded. As I read the encounters my heart was ripped and melted. I was jealous for missing out, but then amazed, in awe.

He’s My Big Brother.

My next big encounter with Dave was through the medium of Big Brother. I did not miss a day of the unfolding events. An incredible experience watching this guy that I knew, who I had walked with briefly, being under the gaze of an incredible spotlight. I loved it. I loved Dave. By this time I had gone through my darkest moments, that one day I may feel free enough to share, and had begun finding the Divine outside the church walls. Blogging the story as it unfolded. Discovering for myself that it ‘was all in the glory’. My path had taken a total 180 degree spin to Dave’s and yet grace was doing something miraculous in totally different out-workings. Through the events of Big Brother I just sent Dave an e-mail offering support and time, and after a while we met for coffee. We have done a couple of times since, and I just sense an incredible love for this man. Not that we live in each others pockets, but the unfolding of the story has led us to see so many similar things. The last chapter of the book I find blows the rest to another stratosphere. it is brief but a farewell to a chapter, a time. There are so many now in that place. I am blessed to know Dave, honoured to consider him a friend and a travelling companion, and am so blown away by what the Divine has done in and through him. I am no longer jealous, just totally at rest with my journey in the Divine one, and so excited to see where all this takes us, but capturing today in the meantime. Is the wild-fire still burning? Well you cannot contain this because you often cannot even perceive it until it has burned you inside. Was it all for a reason? I am sure it was and yet I have given up trying to find out the why. All I know is the rest is up to Him, and He is up to rest.

This book is more an encounter than a good read. And I loved it.

The Traveller’s Rest- Immunity from Community?

A Manufactured Organic Community?

Every faith community is a manufactured community. Even those who try to sell a concept of organic church have actually sold a manufactured concept. All of this creates something that becomes the reverse of what Jesus tried to show us. This creation of a sub-cultural community outside of the remit of life itself creates a false reality and sphere that takes us away from what we are supposed to be connecting with and bringing light influence too. The whole ‘be ye separate’, ‘come out from amongst them’ thought and theology is so “anti-Christ” a belief system, but is one acceptable to us because we are aliens, strangers, foreigners, in need of the creation of a community to survive, be protected, keep us away from ‘evil’ situations of flesh, earth, worldliness. We need to submit ourselves to a somebody to live a good life. We need to be taught the way to live properly through a teacher’;s correct interpretation of the Holy Book. This can only be done in community of faith and worship. This can only be done under leaders and responsible faith community people. The manufactured community called ‘church’ is the only way to not neglect gathering together and to be aligned to right and correct doctrine. We therefore get taken from connection into the communities we are already a part of and spend time, energy, finance and effort building a new community of heavenly temples. Surely this is opposite to what Jesus showed us. He showed us how to divest heavenly safety and security to connect with real organic life and community, outside of religious confines and gatherings. The community of life. The community of those we bump into every day. The community of the margins and the unbeaten. The community of family and travelling companions. The community of sharing life and stories and food and drink. Of connecting with the dirt on our feet and the pain of humanity. Bringing life to the ordinary and hope to the journey. Investing into a life that I may never see again.

Anything Termed Christian is Totally Unchristian.

We end up with Christian books, Christian music, Christian schools, Christian web-sites, Christian churches. This is a sign that these things are as far removed from Christianity as we think worldliness really is. They create a bubble world so far removed from reality that we get equipped to escape true community. After I signed on the dotted line of belief I ended up losing my friends, who I grew up in school with, formed bands with, dated, laughed, danced, socialised with. My community was too ‘worldly’ and I needed a new community of ‘Christians’. I could not go certain places on Sunday to watch my favourite sport speedway, the loss of another community. My parents also rarely saw me because each night I would be found hidden away with my new community, being taught the proper way of living, serving, worshipping. This is what God wanted. I look back and think this was utter tosh, unchristian, false, the creation of a manufactured community that instead of saving me and mankind, was actually drawing me further away from what I should have been connecting with. Life, my friends, my peers, my companions of the journey. If any of you friends are reading this now I apologise for dumping you for God. For a false God that ripped apart instead of building, hoping, loving, connecting. Why do we think sending our kids to Christian schools will make them better people? Where do we get that from? Just listening to Christian music and reading Christian books, what are we scared of? Is our faith so powerless that hearing, seeing, living, connecting any other way will make us infidels and ‘sinners’? Our faith should connect us stronger in the world we already live in, not take us away and create a new paradigm of false community. Am I saying never gather? Of course not, that is for the next part of this mini series. But I am saying anything that strives to replace or take us away from or becomes our whole life, at the expense of life itself, needs re-evaluation. Maybe the Christian stuff is actually the most unchristian stuff we can be involved in.

Truly Organic is not a Do It Like This.

For a truly organic expression of community to become reality we have to just grasp our life. There is no right or wrong way to express this. If it becomes a written formula with helping hints it ceases to be organic. That is why I do not like or want organic church. That is in itself a manufactured organic form. I just want to see people living life. Connecting with life. Communing with those they find in life. Family, friends, the stranger at the well or bus stop. Those we drink a pint with and eat breakfast with. Nothing forced, but just flowing. My day will look different to yours, although we may find a point of connection and then separation. We should have an immunity from manufactured community, and discover a greater connectivity around us. Life, the greatest community of all.

The Traveller’s Rest- Community Chest.

Perspectives and Levels.

On the Greenbelt Festival Facebook page a question was asked that has inspired plenty of thinking over these past few days (thank you Tony Brown). His question was with reference to the Festival itself , but since then I have pursued many trails of thought and thinking. Tony asked the question ‘when we say Greenbelt community, what do we mean by it, and how do people see themselves as a part of it?’ I will be looking at this theme over the course of a few blogs, maybe drawing a few personal conclusions, but maybe also raising many more questions than answers. What I am discovering is that community is a matter of perspective and comes at a variety of different levels at different times within our lives. It can have different replies depending on context and situation. For example in the context of the question concerning the Greenbelt community I replied with the following; Shape-shifting, ever changing, border-less, no fixed abode or agenda, a festival of friends and strangers, something to be part of or just attend, somewhere to belong and yet somewhere to be a lone ranger, people of faith, even if it is just faith in humanity or life, for lovers of noise and lovers of peace, people, just people. Easy to join, free to leave, ever a part of the story even if you just attended one year. Community that will mean something unique to every unique person. What we need, want, give, receive, the level or depth is different for all. My desire of community is different to anybody elses. We are community because we are here. The rest is only significant to us personally. Now if church was a bit like that and not trying to level the playing fields we may find a lot more content people on the path of life.” My friend Dave Vaughan wrote this today on his Facebook page in the context of his life and situation; “Thankful for today’s confirmation of the possibility of natural, organic, bliss filled community which spans religious, racial and cultural divides and allows space for difference and reason. Yes church there is a place of gathering apart from the conference regime which is fiercely thrust upon us. (Feeling humbled by those who love and make room for a manifestation of humanities oneness.)” 

Birthed Into Community.

From the moment I am born I am a significant part of community. From the community of my family, whatever shape or form that takes; two parents, single parent, only child, siblings, adoptive family, to the community in which I live. I live here in Penygraig in the Rhondda, I am part of this community, whatever my contribution or lack of contribution, just because I live here. I may talk to everybody or talk to nobody. I may shop locally or shop in the city. I may be employed, unemployed, a student, alone, part of a family, young, old, got my life together, got a life screwed up by drugs, whatever the scenario because I live here I am the community. I am birthed into one of these communities. These communities exist without choice for us. They can shape us, make us, break us, cause us to thrive or crush us, but community is something we cannot escape from. The community circles then increase as we begin in the educational system, and start that journey towards whatever we become in life. Again our school is chosen for us, and another community becomes a huge part of our life, again shaping how we think and what we should think, and how we should arrive at those conclusions. Even up to this point; our family, our home, our education, we need to ask ourselves how much of our self is created by the communities of life surrounding us, and how much do these communities really allow us to become our true, free thinking selves? In this context is community more of a hindrance than a help?

Shaped to Fit In.

My upbringing shaped who I am, and what I believed. My grandparents were staunch church goers, so was my mum, and that ended up with me being a church goer. I heard the stories of faith she would have heard as a child, and what her parents probably heard as a child. My community of family built for me a picture of faith and belief that was good for me, acceptable, moral, right, correct, and certainly not one to be argued with. As a child I then became part of a faith community that I was forced and expected to be a part of. There was no option to think of differing perspectives, what was said by those in the pulpits was truth. The right way to interpret stuff. It built into me a healthy perspective of morality, but also a fear that I best not be disobedient and do stuff out of place. This fear of man remains to this day in my life. Not that you would believe that with what i write sometimes but I can rip myself up inside when someone disagrees with me. My faith community and my family community built this within me. We are shaped to fit in with everyone else, and not rock the boat, or question anything, especially those with so called authority. This church community I did walk away from when I hit my teenage years, but it did not walk away from inside me. That is probably why I have never smoked, got drunk or taken drugs, even during my few years of so called rebellion, because community caused me to try and fit in.

Try to Belong.

We spend life then trying to find peers, or groups of people we belong to. Mine was through my band and my love of music. Others find a sports team, companions to travel with, chat with, gangs, other faith and belief groups. The church tells us we need to belong there once we believe. Others have said when people find out they belong they will then come and believe. Life can be one long journey to finding out if we truly belong somewhere. Maybe all these people really needed to discover is that they belong exactly where they are right now, they do not have to belong to anything else. Each belonging has ideals to shape us with. Every community wants to assimilate us into their hive. Any community that tries to assimilate us steals our core identity and DNA. I think we need to stop trying to belong somewhere and wake up to the fact that we do belong because of our simple existence.

Faith Communities.

Next time I will look further at the subject of faith communities and why I believe they actually do the community of the Body of Christ a great disservice. Why they rob us of what they are actually trying to give to us. Why our faith should be serving the communities we are a part of and not creating one to take us out of.

The Road to Now(where) XIX- A Journey Through Sound.

My blogging journey from the beginning for those who are interested. Each week I will include one of those original blogs from Martin Scott’s Perspective site. February 4th 2010 and the blogging began. Never did this before, but what therapy, what a joy, what a chronicling of a journey that never ends. In many ways things have developed, but it is good to see where we come from to appreciate where we are. All in the healing. Enjoy or endure…

The Traveller’s Rest- A Journey Through Sound.

Can You Hear The Sound?

This week is going to be a little bit different. We are going to take a journey together. A journey through sound. God loves communicating through sound. From Genesis where we are told that Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the cool of the garden to the sound of the rushing mighty wind in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. As travellers outside the perimeters of the ‘congregation’ we need to become more perceptive. We need to learn to hone in on the voice and the activity of God. The God who whispers one minute and booms like thunder the next. Jesus once said ‘my sheep know my voice.’ Do we? Can we pick it up in the onslaught of voices that are out there and in us? To survive this landscape we need to have ears to hear.

Sound has followed me on my journey. I have always loved music. I have always loved the sound of water and rain. When I watch TV I am always listening. Many of us love to talk but it is also time to listen. I love the band U2. I have since they released New Years Day many years ago. I heard something in their sound and their lyrics. Their most recent album ‘No Line on the Horizon’ has a great theme of sound. The song ‘Get On Your Boots’ asks the question, ‘Can You Hear the Sound?’ Can we?

I live in a place called Tonypandy. The closest English translation is the sound (or music) of the mill. A few miles away is the place where I was a ‘church pastor (Urgh!)’ for 13 years called Tonyrefail. The translation of that is the sound (or music) of the forge (or the anvil). Many Welsh places that have a Ton prefix are named after sounds. Someone was listening. Prophetically I often sound out the anvil. A sound that resonates over a whole community working, living, being family. Always remember a guy called Godfrey Birtell who visited with Martin Scott on a Sowing Seeds for Revival week. While with us he wrote a song, ‘Can you hear the sound of the anvil?’ Can you hear the sound? The sound of where you are. Each place unique.

Facebook community

I have a great facebook community. Friends old and new. I find it amazing as connections are made from past to present and future. Old school friends, ‘church’ people, those who believe and are outside the congregation, people I have never met, all linked in some way. All pilgrims in life. I love the wall post. Comments made that sometimes resonate and get a response, at other times do not. But the world is there, Africa, America, Australia etc. This week I put in the comment ‘can you hear the sound?’ and I got an amazing response. From those who would call themselves believers and those who would not sign up for any faith. Those who love God and those who have not given Him a thought. But these people heard something. This blog is dedicated to them, my facebook fellowship. A place where I meet together with fellow travellers. Take with me a journey through sound. (Click on the links and allow God to do the rest.

Dave Chandler  the sound of silence

Sue Myles and Teresa Russell  the sound of the storm, thunder and rain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O_OPUKYAmA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8cMSyzFoLs&feature=related

Jane Scott King  the sound of the suburbs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc6hbiNVfbw

Phill Dolby  the sound of the underground

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9Wv4SCBiTE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-tl9fPy7bk

Marivic Gallano  the sound of peace

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_IxzikmsH4

Alan Rees  the sound of trumpets, the battle, the Lord’s army, the rushing mighty wind, the Lord in the garden

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO8Ffr3iU0w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZtftwpu1Wc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxCYlL7jI2Y&feature=related

Kris Kausen Martella  said he who has ears to hear….

Maureen Deacon  said Keep listening

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcDNilZbZg8

Can You Hear The Sound?

The Road to Now(where) XVIII- Finding Everland.

My blogging journey from the beginning for those who are interested. Each week I will include one of those original blogs from Martin Scott’s Perspective site. February 4th 2010 and the blogging began. Never did this before, but what therapy, what a joy, what a chronicling of a journey that never ends. In many ways things have developed, but it is good to see where we come from to appreciate where we are. All in the healing. Enjoy or endure…

The Traveller’s Rest- Finding Everland.

Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it…

I put away childish things…

Big or Finding Neverland

I love a good movie. I love all sorts of movies. From the action adventure fantasy of Lord of the Rings (all 2 million hours of it) to the sci-fi adventure of Star Wars. From the comedy of Grumpy Old Men to the Rom-com classic Sleeping in Seattle (I may be the only male that loves a good old rom-com). I do have a strange thing going on in my life though when I watch any film, I always look for what is going on behind the story. God always seems to be in the cinema or watching Tv with me. Quite surprising really when I think that just a few years ago my father-in-law and many others would have preached against going to the cinema, a den of iniquity they called it. My wife has been told on a few occasions that the rapture better not happen when she is in the cinema or she would be left behind. Where did that come from? Now God seems to love and speak through all types of films. My favorites have always carried incredible messages. From Field of Dreams ‘if you build it he will come’ to the Matrix that many of us have related to in amazing ways. But it is not only big peoples films God loves, He also seems to love a good kids film. Two great examples are Big with Tom Hanks and Finding Neverland, or the great story of Peter Pan. Two films that speak about finding the child within, getting back to simplicity, never growing up. There is a great message here for all of us as we look to move forward in God. But it does also raise a question of balance as we rediscover the child within and yet mature and grow in the faith. We need to rediscover so much of the characteristic of a child and yet reject so much of the characteristic of a child. Don’t you just love the seeming contradictions and puzzles of the Bible?

Childish

We are told to put away childish things. That we should no longer be like children blown around with every wind of doctrine. I realise in my heart there are alot of childish characteristics. These traits can seem to permeate through the people of God. Here are a few character traits of that child within that acts so childish at times;

snatches always on the take. This seems to be a natural trait within many toddlers. Whatever they want they will try to take. No asking, no patience, I want it now. As a pastor I was often shocked at how deep the ‘me’ culture permeated the church. Selfishness seemed to abound. What can I get out of this? We all need to guard our hearts on these issues.

bears grudges refuses to forgive. There is abundance of broken down relationships through this issue. That person has hurt me. I will keep my wound. This is very relevant in our journey at this time. Many of us have been injured by people, systems etc. I include myself here. We need to watch the grudges that take hold in our lives. make sure it does not blossom into bitterness.

doubts loss of faith. Does not believe for the future.

not impressed by anything lost the wonder. I love living here in the mountains and valleys of Wales. When you come from the flat fenland of Suffolk you appreciate a molehill. Every morning when I look out of the window I am in awe of creation. To my wife who has lived here all her life it is just another view. Losing the wonder is a sign of growing up and becoming familiar. We need to watch this teen mood.

attitude the chip on the shoulder 24/7. You know the trait in your teenage kids sometimes. They just carry the attitude of a not nice giant around with them. You can see and sense it coming. Of course we never carry attitude.

pride  looking after number 1. I am number 1. Only I matter. Look at me and my life.

know it all I don’t need to learn and listen I have all the answers. Do you ever wonder why kids ever go to school because they know it all anyway? Always have an answer even if it is the wrong one, but even that is right. Boy how I lived with this when I was a pastor. Knowing everything from Genesis to Revelations, and not believing that others could not see what I was seeing.

logical got it all worked out from a-z. Here is my 95 steps to a bigger church/better family/ brilliant bible study. I will work it out if I just think it through.

by the letter this is what it says, black and white. Get it right you are in, get it wrong you are out.

Childlike

There is all this and then Jesus goes and says to us that unless we come to him like little children we will by no means see the kingdom of God. I want to see that. I want to come as a child. I want to rediscover the childlike qualities that make God smile and reveal the kingdom. Maybe I can even be childlike enough to believe that every childlike expression I make is an expression of the kingdom anyway. Here are some traits of the child within that is oh so childlike, and I think makes Daddy sing over us;

shares always giving what you have, even the last rolo!!! My eight year old has always revealed Jesus to me in this. He loves to give. He will give sweets and chocolate away without question (yummy, thank you Lord). He will give football cards and even sometimes toys to his friends. He loves giving. I just hope he never grows out of it. We should always be on the lookout to give and share what we have. A little oil, a small room, a few loaves and a bit of fish, size is not an issue.

forgives holds no record of wrongs. There have been times when I have lost it with my boys big time. Flew off the handle. Shouted lots of stuff, dished out some punishment. Created a pretty bad atmosphere. The way they shame me is in their reaction, yes there is the initial hurt, anger etc, but boy are they quick to forgive. Within minutes/hours they can be talking normal with me again. No not talking for weeks. No getting you back, just forgiveness. I love them. They are Jesus to me.

believes in the impossible and the improbable. I love a child’s simple faith. The leap off the stairs believing daddy will catch them. That good things will happen. That they can be the best footballer in the world or even a volcanologist.

wonder and awe the wow factor. Their face on Christmas day when they see the presents. Their reaction when we arrive at a place of great fun like Draytron Manor Activity park or the seaside on a sunny day. We need to rediscover the wow factor in our lives. We use the awesome word a bit too much now, but God is awesome. He takes our breath away. We are amazed by Him. Just last night I was in awe of God as I was at work stacking those pop bottles on the shelves. He spoke to me over a certain family issue. Did not like what He said, but I was in awe that His presence and reasoning was so real. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!

excited about life. There is too much deep joy about. If we cannot generate some excitement then who can? I am not decrying depression because it has had a good go at me over the last couple of years. Didn’t win but I could feel it’s breath. But I long to plug into that childlike excitement about life. Anticipation of what is to come. When my kids are going somewhere they are always downstairs ready to go about three hours before they are due to go. They are excited about what is ahead. Let’s not get too bogged down in issues. If we allow the issues to get bigger that God then we will drown. Keep excited.

humility the whole essence of the childlike life. Others number 1.

innocence don’t have to know everything. That age of innocence when kids know nothing of sex and debt and hate and broken relationships is slowly disappearing. The TV preaches to them about everything. The church would love to try and preach to them about everything else. Let them grow in their own way. Don’t you hate it when they know about Father Christmas, the Tooth fairy etc. My 8 year old makes me laugh so much. He said this year that Father Christmas was not real, I said no it was me who brought the presents into his room. He said it wasn’t. I asked him how they got there. He replied, ‘it is magic.’ We need to keep that magical kingdom alive in our hearts.

creative use the imagination. God gave it to us after all. I call forth the storytellers and the artists. I call forth the parables and the fairy-tales. I call forth the seers and the bards. It is time for the artists to arise and express the Artist. And if the Artist lives in us all we can all be creative in expressing our faith. Stop copying, throw out the moulds. It is time for creativity. The Creator of  every unique part of creation is actively creating in me. Creativity is expressing Him.

spirit not law. Live by the spirit not the letter. Bend the rules to be inclusive, don’t use the rules to be exclusive. That only creates a pharisee and not a child of God.

put away childish things

BUT

come with childlike humility and a servant-like heart, and the Kingdom will unfold before your very eyes. Everland will be found!!!