Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Darby's Castle

I had a lovely drive home from the airport on Sunday, having found an old CD I forgot I had.
I have always enjoyed Kris Kristofferson's songs.

As I was singing my heart out with Mr K,  I was struck with the spiritual parallel I found in this song.

Have a listen.
(Let it load fully first so you can appreciate and hear the words)

It's the story of a man who is very much in love with his wife,
and he decides to build her the most beautiful house of wood and stone.
He didn't want her to lack anything.

Soon, however, building the house became his obsession
and his relationship with his wife deteriorated.

It's a hauntingly beautiful song.

I wondered how often, out of our deep love for God
we find ourselves doing so much for him
 that we forget that intimacy comes by spending time with Him.

Let's never become so obsessed with doing for,
that we lose out on being with.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Merton Thoughts #1

I shared this as a note on Facebook a week or two ago, and it's still sitting with me:

I am busy reading "Contemplative Critic", a book on the life of Thomas Merton and came across this paragraph in which the writer is outlining the various people, books and events that influenced Merton's journey toward God. He writes this:

"It is perhaps always a bit disappointing when we look for answers to the question of God in our lives. We are left only with titles of books, names of people and a few old facts. It seems all a bit lean and superficial. God doesn't let Himself get caught in titles, names and facts. But he lets Himself be suspected. And therefore it is only the one who prays to God, quite possibly the one who searches for silence himself, who can recognise Him in the many little ideas, meetings and happenings along the way."

I love this. That God doesn't get caught up in stuff, but that he lets Himself be suspected.

I do believe.

But help me to recognise you in those little ideas everyday, in meetings and in happenings along the way. Let me find you not only in my busyness, but in my quiet too.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Entertaining and Accepting

Just because of who I am, I filter everything through a spiritual lens.

Years ago, "the church" (with good intention) sought to isolate "their people" from "everyone else", the result of this being that "their people" made the (incorrect) assumption that anyone who didn't think like them was unacceptable. Christians didn't entertain friendships outside of "the church" and refused to entertain any thoughts or views, other than their own.

The result of this is what we have now, where "everyone else" feels judged by "the church".

It was wrong. There, I said it. 

I really value my friendships (some in their infancy) with people from other faiths, backgrounds and lifestyles, and have found our conversations sometimes more rewarding than others in terms of honesty and vulnerability. 

We don't have to think the same, or accept another's view as our own for us to be friends and to share our lives. I think we just have to be honest. 

What do you think?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weeding in "Our Space"

We've been doing some minor alterations at home. It's funny how when you make one part of the house look nice, it shows up all the minor imperfections that you have learnt to overlook, and suddenly you are unable to live with them anymore! Does this happen with you too, or is it just us? Anyway, this is where the story of our garden comes in.

About 16 years ago we lived in a place where gardening was easy. Here, we have challenges with sandy soil, wind, snails, cutworm and caterpillars. When we first moved here, we did try to create a nice garden, but everything we planted disappeared almost overnight. We just gave up and maintained what was there.  BUT NOW... we have decided to give it another try and have been back and forth to the nursery and madly planting. Of course, now that the plants are in, my lawn is an irritation, because after all these years, I have not weeded it ever, with the result that there is possibly more weed than lawn.

As I was sitting on the grass, with my weeding fork, feeling very satisfied at being able to pull up the weeds with the roots intact, (ensuring that this would be the end of them), I remembered how often God used to speak to me when I gardened before. It was like "our space". As I pulled up another weed, I wished I had paid more attention to my lawn, because then the weeds would not have spread so far. If I could just pull it out as soon as it showed its face, I would not be overcome with them.

As if on queue, I was reminded of a discussion at Bible School recently while studying Corinthians, of how Paul used the example of yeast for how sin spreads when not dealt with. For me, who avoids baking and the kitchen like the plague, yeast would not be an example I would use. However, sitting in the middle of a patch of lawn, and seeing how one weed had been allowed to run free, it had not only affected my lawn, but had run riot and woven in among the grass to a point where it was difficult to separate the two. 

I don't believe in "sin management" in terms of being so inward focused in that that is all we do, but I think it's good to take a look at our lives every so often, especially if convicted by something, to make sure there is nothing left untended that will root, run riot and stop us being able to discern what is good and pure, and that may need to be rooted out.

Having said all that - I am so thankful for my man, the sun, the garden, for new plants, our dogs who take turns to dig up our new plants / or eat them, for water to water them, and eyes to see them with.

I guess God picked up "our space" again too.

Life is beautiful.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Contemplative Critic

I watched a short, thought-provoking film at our local Museum about Thomas Merton last week. Interesting quote by one of the guys speaking about their relationship: 

"Some people may have thought we were on the edge, but actually, we were creating a new centre." 

I have to read his book "Contemplative Critic" about his life now. If the film is anything to go by, I think I am going to enjoy it. It was written by Henri Nouwen, another person whose life I would like to read more about. 

Merton was a spiritual risk-taker, restless in his pursuit of God and determined to find God in unexpected places and with unexpected people. Not that I in any way can compare myself to him, but something about what I heard about in his story, resonates with me.

More when I am finished the book!