Our Mother in Heaven

Had coffee with a friend today. Well actually, to be precise I had a lovely chai tea and a piece of dark chocolate Lindt tart. Yes…it was incredible. No…I couldn’t finish it *sighs in disappointment*.

I’m very thankful for the chat we had. It was incredibly intellectually stimulating- which is just the kind of coffee conversation I like. One particular thought that has stuck with me is the idea of how sometimes we relate to God as a male. I can definitely see some fatherly aspects in God’s character…but I struggle with this concept because it puts so much undue pressure on my earthly father to eminate these characteristics. I wish there was more dialogue and inturn further discourse created around the ‘motherly’ characteristics of God. Because to be honest…I relate to these characterestics more easily. And it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with this and let myself think this way…as I know that it’s breaking the mould slightly and putting myself out there as some ‘weird feminist’. All the same, I’m allowing myself to be open to explore this concept more.

Chatting today also reminded me of how much I miss writing and preparing sermons. Having moved to a much bigger church I haven’t had the opportunity to get involved in preaching or any teaching. I feel almost a bit deadened or numb to it- I don’t seem to get inspiration for random sermon topics in the shower anymore. I wonder if it was a season that’s simply ended…or just lying dormant.

Either way, got lots to think about!

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Enough…enough now

The scene in Love Actually where this quote is heard makes me very sad indeed. And quite nauseous at the same time- not in the ‘it’s so corny I might be sick’ way, but in the ‘gosh that makes my gut ache from the inside out’ way.

The last few times I’ve caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror I have not recognised myself. I see a different person compared to who I feel I am at the moment. It’s scary and unnerving.

I’m not sure if it is because I’ve been sick, or from my very odd reaction to taking sudafed last night, or because I’m sprinting full speed towards something that jolly well does not, can not and will not ever exist.

It is not well with my soul.

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A greedy God

I’ve been at soul survivor recently. This year was my 8th year in a row! It’s amazing to look back and see how things have changed personally, and also with the festival over those 8 years. So many big changes in my life have been due to a catalyst event or experience at Soul, so I have a lot of good and difficult memories associated with festivals past. It’s a bit shameful to admit that this year was my first year that I was not simply a passive receiver of all that went on. I helped out in Revive- one of the food venues. This in itself is significant.

I desperately desire to have the gift of hospitality and serving. I find it however, like pulling teeth that will not budge. Being in a situation where I am serving food and drinks, needing to be friendly to random strangers and friends alike as well as being under time pressure tends to cause a brain melting sensation. I involuntarily slow down all mentally functioning capabilties and seem to be able to focus solely on one small task at a time. Those who worked with me in Revive are probably having light bulbs go off in their head at this moment…as they’ve realised why it was I turned into a different person behind the kitchen bench! There was however one evening when I felt released a little bit from this paralysis, and went to the other extreme of dancing and singing in the kitchen while serving people. I haven’t had that much fun in a very long time! But yes…sadly for the majority of the time, hospitality is not something that comes easily to me no matter how much I crave to be good at it.

So, this year’s soul was very different to any other. I don’t regret at all helping out, but it did mean that I wasn’t able to participate as fully as I’m used to in the seminars and main sessions. In a funny way this took away some of the unconscious pressure I put on myself to have mega life changing realisations and experiences during the camp. Instead, I was there with a purpose and any subsequent personal experiences were just that…they were additional unexpected things. I was fortunate enough to be able to have some time off to get to two of Stephen Said’s seminars. If I’d known what I’d learn in one short hour each time I walked in I think I wouldn’t armed my head with padding for all the brain knocking-about I was going to receive.

I don’t want to give any of the glory that God deserves to some mere human being…but I must say just how much I really gelled with the respect the way this guy’s mind works. Coming from a health sociology background myself it was incredibly exciting to have someone explain some of the most taken for granted and mis-used Biblical texts from a sociopolitical viewpoint. It was just WOW. Passages I’d read hundreds of times took on completely new and fantastically relevant meanings! I spoke to a pastor at my church who I have tremendous respect for about these ideas, and asked him just where could I get the version of the Bible that Steve has?!!! As I suspected…it does take a few years of Bible college to get that sort of in depth knowledge, but I’m planning on starting with some good commentaries first to build my way up (I also currently don’t have the funds to launch into any sort of Bible college activities yet *sigh* but one day!). One thing this pastor from church told me was how as exciting as it can be to analyse the political context of every verse in the Bible, it is vital not to let this take away from the penetrating elements of God’s grace and mercy etc etc. Which I understand and respect. But to know that there is more than just that, and to know that I can actually marry my love of sociology with reading the Bible without fear of being condemned (I don’t know where this idea in my head came from…but it was there and I didn’t even know it) is a very freeing feeling!

So as well as the amazing intellectual stimulation I received in those two short hours at Soul, it also penetrated through to my heart a little. One thing that Steve said (haha…a pun over used I’m quite convinced…but haha worthy anyway), was that God doesn’t just want our sacrifice. He wants our obedience. Oh and how different are those two things!! Whoa that was a wake-up call. Another thing that was spoken about was how even though we are saved by faith and not by works, we will be judged by how we respond the widows, the orphans and the poor. Suddenly my ‘vocation’ becomes a lot more meaningful and purposeful. I study the impact of inequitable Government policies on single parents (some of whom are widows…but all of whom pretty much are in poverty), and to think that I could actually contribute my little ‘bit’ to the Kingdom of God through my work is a very exciting concept. This concept is certainly not new to me; one of the main reasons why I’m heading where I’m heading in my line of work is because I passionately feel that there is a need and an issue that I want to bring change to. However having the reminder couldn’t have come at a better time when I’ve been feeling pretty hopeless at what I’m doing for work. I still don’t feel good enough…and perhaps I never will. But knowing that I’m at least trying to be obedient to what God might want me to be doing is enough to keep me plodding through the dish-pig academic jobs for now.

All this has also given me some inspiration for a possible Phd. The very vague, out-there, potentially completely crazy idea that I could somehow combine this notion of the sociology of poverty in Jesus’ time to how it’s perceived/constructed today. It gives me shivers just to type that. Whether something so idealistic could ever be pulled off doesn’t particularly bother me so much at the moment though…as I’m content to be kicking little goals in this general direction for…well forever really.

I’ve realised as I finish this post that my title really has little to do with my content. But in a way…it’s simply representative of what God’s teaching me at the moment. That he’s greedy, and wants more from me than I’m ever willing to give him at any given time. But despite my pride, gluttony and selfishness…he still holds his hand out asking for more. And I love that about Him.

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The art of B.S

Lately people keep telling me that I’ve just gotta master the art of ‘bull shitting’ in order to convince people that I can do something and I’ll be ok. Apparently doing a dancing exam- as long as you look confident in what you’re doing you’ll get a good mark, and in tutoring a group of university students- as long as you can convince them that you’re knowledgeable in an area, they’ll believe you.

See…I sort of have a problem with this idea. Firstly, all my life I have wanted to be ‘good at’ what I do. The mini-me on my shoulder weilding the whip certainly always instills that in me anyway. So as a consequence…I’m not the best when it comes to faking something. I have no such thing as a poker face…and if I’m out of my depth I do a good job at showing it. Standing in front of my class this morning being asked a question that a) I didn’t understand one of the words they used and b) I wouldn’t have known where to begin in answering it, I felt completely out of my depth and like a failure. Except the thing is that I have studied these topics before, and I had read the readings before class, so it got me thinking- all those tutors I looked up to as ‘experts’- were they faking it? Or just simply smart?

With dancing it seems that sometimes¬†I feel that I look¬†more awkward than a 5 year old who needs desperately to go to the toilet and is standing on one leg, yet my teacher might say ‘that was graceful’. Other times I can be channelling Strictly Ballroom and imagine myself in some feathery fluoro outfit out on a dance floor, and my teacher will have nothing but ‘hmm…straighten your legs, turn out your feet and head up’.

It’s one of those things in life that drives me crazy…and leaves me craving feedback to the point that it’s not longer healthy. If I asked all of my students about whether they gelled with my tutoring style or understood what I was saying, I’d probably be too scared to stand up in front of them ever again. Perhaps I’m just lacking confidence, or maybe tutoring isn’t my thing. But I want so much to be good at it! *sigh*.

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Have you seen the boy I met just once before?

It’s still bothering me, which is bothering me in itself. You meet one random person once and never see them again, but they do something to you- something unexplainable- that keeps you thinking about them for weeks afterwards. This never happens to me! And if it happens to someone else my level of understanding or sympathy is usually quite low. The context doesn’t help to support my case either- it’s hardly anything life changing to meet someone at a gig. But regardless of all the jokes and reasoning like ‘of course you meet and talk to random people at gigs- it means nothing’, it did mean something to me. And still does for that matter!! *sigh*…when something is lodged in my brain it generally takes some time to work it’s way out. This one’s taking it’s time to budge. I’m sure I’ll be laughing about it in time…but for now I’m still keeping my eyes out on buses and trains.

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The heart of life

I saw the movie ghost town the other night and it was fantastic. Loved it. A song from the movie that I later went and googled the lyrics of was ‘heart of life’ by John Mayer and I’ve had it on repeat in my office at work today. I recommend you listen to it

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7 becomes 8

Today my brother proposed to his girlfriend, so my little family is growing another member. Although I spose it’s not really official yet…but it feels different anyway.

I haven’t left the house today. Not once. My lungs must be crying out for some fresh air. But it’s now 1.30 am…hardly an appropriate time to go for a stroll. I’ve been sick for two weeks now and it’s really taking its toll on my body clock.

This week is going to be super busy. Starting a new job- helping to write some chapters of the yr 12 health and human development text book. Which should be fun. It’s the kind of thing I’ve aspired to do…and now that I’m actually doing it it’s like ‘oh yeah…that thing’. Well I shouldn’t talk it up more than it really is. My name won’t go on it- even though I’ll be collecting the information and summarising it. The person who puts it together will be the only known author as far as anyone is concerned. Kinda disappointing really…maybe it’ll be me one day. Who knows. But yeah the odd thing is that it suddenly doesn’t seem as much of a success marker as I used to make such things out to be.

I’ve just had a friend over and we were discussing male/female relationships. As usual with us…it turned into a bit of a ‘men suck’ rant. But the sad thing is that I’ve just grown so tired recently of the issue being constantly in my face. I either want to be content and partnered or content and single. None of this in between messiness. None of this always feeling the need to be surveying the field. It’s doing my head in. And making me feel like something I’m not- I’ve never let the existence of the opposite sex get under my skin so much anyway. There. That’s how I feel. Sick of it!

I saw someone at work the other day with a t.shirt that read ‘I make friends offline’. I love it! I almost went up to him and commented…but thought that was silly so I didn’t. I’d like to think I make my friends offline too…although I realise the possibility for deepening some friendships to an extent through an online medium. Either way- I was impressed.

I’ve been so devoid of human contact today. I feel quite unfulfilled…and that’s unusual. I usually go through the day content and happy with my own company. But not today. Maybe cos I’ve been sick and stuck inside it’s been deafeningly obvious that I’m lonely and want company. *pfft*- pity party for one!

My peace lily is flowering. Goodnight.

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