Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blue like Jazz

Well not long left and this is probably my last post pre-ordination. I have a three day silent retreat beckoning and I confess I don't think I have been quiete for that long in my life. I will probably be good for me.

I actually had my ordination retreat yesterday. I have been going to the same park for 18 years and it is, I suppose, my place. I have prayed and cried and written and thought and walked and read and made most of my big decisions- it is where God seems to come close. We should all have special places. Jesus spoke to me which was encouraging, so I start with a spring in my step and wind in my sails. Interestingly, my last post was a peom by Robert Frost that I had on my heart and on Sunday night my church prayed for me. At one point, my friend Kate quoted the last verse of the poem as she felt it was a word for me. That's an interesting thing. I have written it out in full and am reading it with more curiosity and interest.

As ever, I had a few reads on the go, the most stunning of which was 'Blue like jazz' by Don Miller. (I do have to confess that I promised to read a friends book before I read anything else and I was really enjoying it but my mum packed it in a packing box on her momentous house move and now I can't find it. Sorry, but I will finish it...).

The last two chapters of Blue like Jazz actually brought tears to my eyes on a 94 bus up to Regents Street which tells you something about it. Please go and buy this and if you are not a Christian I think Miller has written some really helpful things about Jesus and what he is all about and why he matters so much to some of us. He writes with freshness, compelling honesty and humour. I hope he writes more books and I hope you are encouraged and strengthened by this hopeful work.

" I know our culture will sometimes unerstand a love for Jesus as weakness. There is this lie floating around that says I am supposed to be able to do life alone, without any help, without stopping to worship something bigger than myself. But I actually believe there is something bigger than me, and I need for there to be something bigger than me. I need someone to put awe inside me; I need to come second to someone who has everthing figured out" (Page 237)

My ordination read is a book that used to belong to a friend and he gave it to me. It's quite something to give something you treasure away. He also gave me his dunhill cricket ball. Now that is friendship. Anyway, the book is called 'A faith to proclaim' by James S. Stuart so it will, I hope, speak to me in the silence. My pal Peter said that when he went on his retreat his love of tennis was so compelling that he had to escape and find a pub to watch it. He got reported to his Bishop for breaking the rules. But I thought there weren't any rules and that is what Jesus is about and that is why he is so loving and amazing and full of grace and his message is called good news? Grace is hard to get hold of and sometimes most hard for those in the church. Maybe now is a time for more grace and tennis and bit less retreating. Only a thought.

This whole thing is going to be some journey I am sure and I just am thankful for those dear friends who will journey it with me and show me grace. I think I am going to need them. So finally, if you pray, pray for me now and whenever you think of me. I will need it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saying goodbye

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Don't worry about the next thing

A friend and I were discussing the challenge of putting yourself and heart into where you are now whilst planning at the same time for the future. This will be true for many of us as we leave college and move into ministry. It will be easy to move straight into preparing for what may be next and thereby not fully engage in the job that lies immediately ahead. My friend quoted the great missionary Jim Elliot who said in his journal "Wherever you are be all there". That seems like good advice to me.

Saturday blog-sweep

 Some interesting books for pastors The State we're in Attack at dawn Joseph Scriven Joy comes with the morning When small is beautiful