Wednesday, 21 October 2009

...etc

Just briefly, I always seem to find I have the most interesting conversations about spirituality and faith with non-christian people.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Sharp knives

"Where is my faith? Even deep down ... there is nothing but emptiness and darkness ... If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul ... How painful is this unknown pain—I have no Faith. Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal, ... What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true."

- Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa)

Friday, 9 October 2009

Resurrection

To be honest I don't know what I'm doing here most of the time, or what I want, whether or not I have the discipline required of the spiritual life. But every time I engage with my spiritual beacons they draw me irresistibly, pull me into a sense of gravity which I can't resist.

I see it now: I have always been reluctant, I am still reluctant, not so much following as meandering along at my own pace along a very scenic route. Thoughts trigger a sense of excitement and anticipation, but most of the time I just want to have my cake and eat it, even though I don't have a sweet tooth.

Right now there are more questions than answers, they overwhelm me. But I realise I am better to ask them in company rather than in my own jaded presence.

Friday, 19 June 2009

If It Be Your Will

Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons singing Leonard Cohen's If It Be Your Will. Such a potent interpretation of this wonderful song, and one that never fails to speak to me.


video

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will

If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will


Sunday, 8 March 2009

Heart of Love


Inspired by the moving and probing explorations of women and women of faith for International Women's Day, I wanted to reflect on the importance of women of faith. As I wracked my brain trying to find an ordered sequence of thought, my mind wandered to Christian women who are important and significant in my life, trawling through Church history in the hope I would stumble across a story that spoke strongly to me. Then it suddenly occurred to me: my subject matter has been with me every step of the journey, and is someone who I strongly attribute my choice for faith to. My mother.

This must seem a clichéd choice, a ‘Christian’ daughter talking about her ‘Christian’ mother. However, ours is a passionate, tense and often fraught relationship, anathema to the picket fence cliché. Think Sylvia and Aurelia Plath, sort of.

Though brought up going to Church and Sunday school, I was never much impacted by what I experienced, and subsequently jettisoned myself from any form of spirituality in my last year of primary school. It was a liberating experience to say “No, I’m not going to church today,” and having my mother grant me my wish. This was the first clue that she was different to other Christian mothers I knew.

She refrained from impeding my intellectual, political, social and sometimes spiritual explorations, though we sometimes disagreed on the paths I was choosing to wander down. She also saw me swallowed by the jaws of depression, watching helplessly from the sidelines as I rejected every gentle attempt to help on her part.

When she – very infrequently – mentioned faith, I would chew her out and shut down the conversation. However, if I am honest, this was not the only time I would chew her out and shut a conversation down. My thorn is my temper (and lack of ability to exercise control over it), and all through this period (and in the present) she put up with my awful anger and violence with patience and fairness. God knows, if I had been treated so badly by anyone I would not want to be around them, but she persisted with a love that blunted the sharp edges of my rage.

My mother let me be me. Even when I told her I was running away to New Zealand to pursue a love affair she did not stand in my way. She expressed her reservations, but bought me the ticket there for my 21st birthday. I had little realisation at the time of how much she put her trust entirely at God's feet in doing this. Six months later, still in New Zealand, still living with the boy I had chased, I considered myself a follower of Christ. 

It is difficult to articulate the importance of my mother in my making of that decision. Instead, a verse that reflects her heart, her actions (thank you for reminding me of this, Erin):


Love...
Never gives up
Cares more for others than for itself.
Doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end


(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 TM)


She showed me the deep heart of Gods love. Without her I would not be who I am or where I am today.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Explanations

When people ask me why I quit a BA in Creative Ministry, moved to the country and started working in Aged Care, this is what I wish I could say:


Not hero worship in the slightest (although I do admire Bono greatly for his honesty as an artist, person and activist), just putting my money where my mouth is

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Priorities?

I don’t even know if this train of thought has anything to do with spirituality, or rather, I am too frazzled to research a clever tie-in with a relevant Bible verse. I was watching a news report late the other night about the Taliban’s activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, watching communities and families torn apart by violence and destruction.

This is in no way meant to cause offence to those affected by the economic downturn, but here are people who live in constant fear for their lives, who don’t know whether they will survive the next day and we are seemingly more concerned with fluctuations on Wall Street.