Good better best Friday

April 6, 2007 at 6:50 pm (Spirituality/Church/Theology)

Good Friday seems like such an anomaly in today’s society…it’s like the only day of enforced rest left in the calendar. It was really nice driving to church this morning and seeing all the empty shopping centre carparks, and the quiet streets.

No doubt it will eventually be eroded in favour of football and shopping (heaven forbid that we be without retail opportunities for 24 hours, especially on day that doesn’t have a particular marketing handle attached to it…no snappy rabbits, or Santa) but for now it is a welcome oasis of reflection and stillness.

Church this morning focussed on Jesus’ words on the cross and what we could take from them…about Paradise (and it was not too late even for the dying criminals), about thirsting, about loss of his Father, about handing your spirit over…

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Judgey wudgey was a bear

March 22, 2007 at 11:02 pm (Fitness, Horses, Spirituality/Church/Theology)

Not to get all philomasophical or anything, but I had something of a realisation today, at the gym of all places. Mildly embarrassing situation occurred…here’s me, getting dressed in the changeroom, and my trainer walked in and said hi. No worries, she showed me my record card and told me where to find it so I could chart my progress. She suggested I don’t do any weights today after yesterday’s session, but I said I was doing the Pump class (hey, it’s the only one at a good time, so I’m doing it!). All good, off she went to file my card away. I go to the toilet, hear her come back into the changerooms looking for me, but don’t answer for obvious reasons. But she realises where I am (agh, she is stalking me!!! These gym bunnies are intense!) and sings out over the cubicle ‘Don’t do heavy weights in that pump class, you won’t do yourself any good!’ I reply in a non-committal fashion and go wash my hands. To my embarrassment, my pump instructor had been in the next cubicle and heard the whole exchange! I say nothing, and hope she doesn’t realise it was me who was being told to slack off in her class.

Of course, during the class, she makes mention of it…she says ‘Now I heard someone in the toilets being told to back off in their weights…who was it??? Own up!’ She didn’t look my way, so I didn’t, but then she went into a bit of a spiel about how people who don’t teach Pump don’t know anything about it and it’s the best thing ever, blah blah, basically put as much weight on as you like.

All this was a long winded way of explaining how I came to the realisation (wait for it, it’s a goodie) that people are all the same. Told you it was deep. Basically, take a group of people, everyone wants to do things their way and bring everyone along for the ride because hell knows, their way is the only way.

Every group I am involved in at the moment (and there are a few!) has little factions, little conflicts, little defenses and bandwagons.

The horse community is a classic example of course, LOADS of ‘holier than thous’, like natural horsemanship vs every other breaking/handling method; showing vs dressage; TBs vs Arabs (ok, Arabs vs everyone 🙂 ) when really, if the horse is happy and healthy and you’re not terrified to go near the creature and can have fun with it…who the hell cares? (simplistic I know, but there are some vicious leathery old horsey women, and plenty of sly elegant showies and other shameless stereotypes going around to really make people unhappy).

Church is another example at the moment. I am so sick of the ’emerging church’ vs ‘traditional church’ debate. Just get on with things people! If you’re not into it (the emerging church movement, for want of a better handle), try finding a way to ensure your church is performing the way you need it to. Very poor summation (by ‘performing’, I simply mean it is functioning in feeding and supporting a group of Christians who are active and accountable to God…and this will surely mean they are reaching out and serving the Kingdom). If you’re into it, awesome, you’ve found a niche to support your faith and mission that wasn’t around a while ago, so it’s an excellent feeling to find something that clicks.

My homechurch ran the evening service at a local large baptist church on Sunday. Basically we ran a few activities, in an attempt to generate discussion and get people to engage their minds about their church, their worship and their community.

No songs! Lots of discussion! Lots of listening! (I don’t know, are these really radical concepts for a group of supposedly spiritually minded people?) Generally the response was really positive and it was obvious that a lot of thoughts were provoked and possibly some challenges heard. Some of the discussions were puzzling though and I really feel like they were responding to stuff from the past that had little to do with what was happening in front of them. For instance, at our little square table discussion, the talk turned to something of a ‘big church’ vs ‘little church’ argument, and the big church was defended vigorously and people said they didn’t want to feel like a lesser Christian for liking traditional worship services/sermon based church gatherings. Personally, I think if this is indeed the feeling that the emerging church movement is generating, then it needs to take a look at its tactics (now, I do realise that that response probably says as much about the speaker as it does about the actual movement, but the point is still important)…because let’s face it, if we are getting people to change their entire faith-community-church structure out of guilt and judgement, well we are no better than the Catholics! (oh gosh, did I just indulge in some religious stereotyping?!)

What I am trying to say, in a very inarticulate fashion, is that while challenging and revolutionising is all good and exciting, for some people (those who don’t like conflict, like, for instance…ME), it can be incredibly offputting to see people left behind or struggling and not getting any support. When I know that the way to motivate and inspire is to find the key to that person and get them excited about the connections and relations it has for them. Tricky and certainly not ‘one size fits all’, but ensuring that everyone has a chance to get on the ride and not necessarily abandon everything they love or are comfortable with (I am trying to be careful not to condone complacency here), has the potential to be truly truly awe inspiring. I want to write more about this, but midnight is looming and that commute in the morning doesn’t get any shorter. I have the skeletons of my thought process here at least, now it can be ripped to shreds. Oh gosh, mixing metaphors…it’s time to go…

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