Honest Christianity – we can’t do this alone

Northumberland-20120717-00309This is our 100th blog post, mere newcomers compared to many, but we are encouraged to get to this marker post still being enthusiastic about what we are doing! There was always the slight fear that it would become just one more thing on the to-do list. We thought and prayed about what to write about as well as whether or not we should mark 100. WordPress helpfully tells you what number post the lastest one has been – otherwise we would have no idea!

What we have decided to talk about is significant relationships which in part has been inspired by reading Stanley and Clinton’s book Connecting many, many years ago and more recently Leonard Sweet’s book, 11 indispensable relationships you can’t be without.

what had we done, what would be good to reflect about on this marker? We have gone for significant relationships. Last year, Paul, inspired by books by Leonard Sweet and Stanley, and did a workshop and retreat day that explored what are the helpful roles we need in our lives to help us flourish, feel supported, …….

Paul led a quiet day and retreat day (in both a Christian and a healthcare context) on this last year after we had come up with the list together. The basic premise is that these are some relationships that will enrich both our work and private lives and that help us flourish, feel supported, feel connected etc. Life is meant to be lived in community.

It can be helpful to remember that:
• multiple roles may be found in the same person;
• they may be reciprocal relationships;
• we have life cycles of relationships.

Lifter of spirits
Someone who encourages you, makes you feel better by just being with them.

A developer and supporter in your field, someone with more experience than you. Trainer, coach, give or encourage opportunities, someone who is secure for you to succeed more than them.

Got your back
Someone at work who looks out for you, mediates, advocates on your behalf…

Safety net
A person who will catch you when you fall. You know they will be there for you.

Critical friend
Someone who will be honest with you even when it hurts or is difficult to hear.

Sounding board / dream catcher
Someone who you can share your ideas with no matter how crazy they are. They will not think you are getting too big for your boots, above yourself, too grandiose.

Non managerial / clinical supervision
A person outside of your department (or sometimes outside the employer) that you can discuss your work issues with.

Play friend
Someone you can have fun with, let your hair down, relax with.

Soul friend
Someone you can talk about the deep meaningful questions of life with and for them to ask challenging personal questions of you. Has your holistic life on the agenda.

Community of practice
A group of peers in your field who you can meet with to discuss and develop your area of work without a need to big yourself up or be cautious with.

Others may be specific to your particular context and it can be worth reflecting on who those need to be…

Reflection space:
• Do I want these relationships?
• Do I have these relationships?
• How might I go about establishing them?
• Who might I ask?
• Who might I offer to take on some of these roles with?

As we came up with the list various people came into our minds and we are very grateful to all those we have journeyed with both in the past and now and have been encouraged by some of the completely unexpected responses we have had to the blog as well.

We have put the handout for the session under resources.


Leonard Sweet. 11 indispensable relationships you can’t be without. Eastbourne: David Cook 2008.
P D Stanley, J R Clinton Connecting. Colorado Springs: Navpress 1992.


4 thoughts on “Honest Christianity – we can’t do this alone

  1. You may be surprised to know that I have been waiting (impatiently!) for today’s posting and checking emails (too freqently!) for its arrival…. I am finding your posts so thought provoking, encouraging, challenging and like good healthy food in this period of life. Thanks to you both – and Happy Centenary posting! Keep up the discipline – please. And on topic – oh yes, such valuable relational questions – and how does one find all these people in the least populated county??? One of the challenges that goes with the great blessings of life here……

  2. Thanks Rachel, that’s really kind of you – we are enjoying the discipline of thinking through a bit more some of those ideas that float into our heads! I have not yet worked out if SKYPE works for me for some of the relationships – never really liked phone calls and the equivalent – better on email or face to face – don’t really like the pic I see of me on the screen with SKYPE sure I don’t have to see it but not very technical! But you do have the sea which partly functions as a play relationship for me!

  3. Oh yes – I do use Skype – and it can be pretty effective. Guess I’m just in yet another new phase of life when old patterns need to change, and some endings, although necessary are painful. And yes, the picture on Skype is a challenge – I find i sometimes use it like a mirror and find myself doing my hair!!!!!

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