Honest Christianity – a very high standard

I was challenged yesterday by one of the thoughts from our Ignatian daily readings book: In business matters be generous with your time, that is, if you can, do today what you promise to do tomorrow. William J Young SJ

This is not very easy for a last minute person like me, motivated by the deadlines. This is a real challenge but can be an honouring servant like way to treat others. But it is a very gracious way to live. I am planning to be more like this, very soon!

Friday photo – what happened?

I could have spent a long time looking at these trees wondering what happened to them to cause them to look like this. What conditions caused all those funny bumps at the bottom of the trunk? How did that hole appear? Why were parts of the tree dead and acorns showing new signs of life too. I wondered what life was like here when the trees were tiny. Were there still sheep and deer roaming the landscape? Who would have been walking here on a summer evening like we were? My imagination ran riot.

What an amazing place to play, it took be back to times of climbing on trees as a child and of being awestruck by giant redwoods in California.

I am amazed at the adaptability, diversity and beauty of trees.

Wondering Wednesdays – sharing stories

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I nearly called this post giving testimonies, that is the language of my youth where we were encouraged to tell of things that God had done. For many years in our previous church August bank holiday was testimony sunday where the sermon slot was given over to the congregation to share what God was doing in their lives, in the community, in the world.

This Sunday I have asked some people to speak out of our wonderful Sharing Aloud meeting the other week. I was so encouraged and blessed and learnt more about some of the people there in one night than in the previous four years of being at Hodge Hill Church.

One of the things I like about hearing stories is that they are often a little bit different each time as new insights or thoughts come into our minds as we speak.

I am looking forward to Sunday morning as I get to hear again the passion and the joy that was shared in a small group and hope the wider congregation will be inspired to come along to share aloud too.

Go the distance – different types of tired

Hands

I am going back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks holiday and I am an in worse condition than when I went. I ache more, hurt more, my hand is injured (hit by our new sea kyack), my hips hurt from lots of activity – walking, golf, trying out the new coracle, gardening, painting. But I feel great!

It is a different type of tired to when I went on holiday. That was weary tired, in need of a rest, needing a break. Tomorrow I go back limping to the hospital, unable to carry or work much with my right hand, but I am ready and looking forward to it. I am invigorated tired, hurt from enjoyment, recharging.

Perhaps a balanced life is the opportunity of having both types of tired. Holiday blessing, go and be differently knackered!

Friday photo – in praise of local papers

Messy church

When I turn to the back page of a paper I usually expect to see sport! However, I was really pleased to see this positive story about messy church on the back page of the Bude and Stratton Post. I always try to read a local paper when I am away somewhere, it gives a glimpse into local life. Also the feel is often less sensationalist or cynical and you see stories like this one presented at face value without any spin. I appreciate this is not true of all local papers but the ones I read when down in Cornwall are often like this.

I can still remember the thrill I felt at seeing a poem I had written in print in the Reading Chronicle – I was still at Primary School and perhaps it was one of those building blocks which has got me to the place where I write books and articles.

Wondering Wednesday – drawn to Cornwall

 

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Scryfa is a collection of contemporary Cornish writing that I discovered at an art and craft exhibition on Bodmin Moor today. One of the authors, Liz Luck, writes about Cornwall in a way which is deeply resonant:
Why does Cornwall feel different? Why does my heart catch and lift when crossing the Tamar heading west? … Leaving aside the emotion – the loe and the pride – it is still possible to identify and rationalise the sense of difference that Cornish people feel about Cornwall. You can pick out its curious elements, echoes of which may have settled in the memories of people far away, people who have never been here. It has a different history; you can feel it even if you know nothing of Cornwall’s Celtic past, its ancient sea links with Mediterranean civilization, its sense of separateness from England, and its long resistance to Roman and Anglo-Saxon (and later) influences from over the Tamar. There are plenty of clues to be found today in the clearly un-English place names on every map and signpost; the mysterious saints that gave their names to isolated churches; the patterns of fields and hedges in lanes, stone circles, crosses and megalithic tombs, the black and white flag flying above public buildings. … Cornwall is nearly an island and everything, everywhere is affected by the sea. Up on Bodmin Moor you might be in the middle of the landmass, but you can see slivers of light on both coasts. Even when you can’t actually see the sea, when you’re down in a hollow or a deep, dark lane somewhere, you can still sense it nearby, smell its salt in the air; it lightens the sky and it stiffens the wind…

I appreciate the writing style – one of the things that is important to me as someone who enjoys writing a little is reading other people’s writing and learning from that too.

I don’t know why I am so drawn to Cornwall, but it feels like a thin place to me, I am refreshed and regenerated by being here – by the sea, the river, the moor…
However, I look forward to returning to Birmingham as that is home and the place I am meant to be…

Go the distance – finding and keeping your passion

schumacher passion 2

I enjoy both watching and playing sport and have been fascinated by some of the stories that have been coming out of the Olympics. We have heard of people who have kept going over many years, who have given up and come back, who have been injured and persevered through to recovery. We have seen much passion. I am passionate about what I do at work, holistic spiritual care is my passion, but I will go back to work refreshed because I have had the opportunity to nurture other parts of me that I don’t always have time for.

However, I am not sure I fully agree with the quotation, in my experience sometimes the passion fades and things get in the way. Holidays are opportunities sometimes to renew and restore passion or find something fresh as we have time to rest, reflect, take stock and look at what is really important in our lives. This holiday I renewed some of my passion for fishing which I had when I was a lot younger and have restocked my tackle box and made time to fish and even caught a couple!