Another step toward the horizon

Today is special. In all the usual busyness and chaos I completely forgot, but today is another big step toward the horizon! The last day of my last week of conventional work. For about the last year (more like the last 10 years actually) I’ve been working towards this change, and it’s arrival feels, to be honest, altogether underwhelming. Weird.

 
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C T Studd

"Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell."—C. T. Studd
“Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell.”—C. T. Studd

Came across this quote by old time missionary C T Studd this week, think he pretty much hit the nail on the head.

How to love, even when it hurts

As is often the case, this week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. We’ve been facing challenges from within and without which have sometimes tugged at the old heart-strings and other times tried rip them clean out of our chests. With this in mind I thought it would be a good time to write about something which has been buzzing around in my head for a while – how to love people even when it hurts.

One of the main facets of the kind of ‘ministry’ (still hate that word) my wife and I engage in is loving people who mainstream society would deem unloveable. Outcasts, misfits, struggling with mental health and addiction issues, outlaws and all other kinds of hurting people. Some call it ‘mission to the margins’. This is a little easier for us than some others because fitting in to the ‘mainstream’ isn’t something that’s ever interested us. We’re blessed and cursed with that quiet little nag at the back of the mind telling us that the American Dream, suburbia, the cute little middle-class life and all the crap that goes with it, is fake and meaningless. As I wrote in my post on ‘Befriending the Stranger‘, accepting the poor, weak and broken is the natural outworking of accepting God’s love for the poverty, weakness and brokenness in our own hearts.

This all sounds lovely and twee and often results in a nice little ‘pat on the back’ from other people, and comments like “that must be so rewarding for you”. But the truth is it usually isn’t. It’s damn exhausting sometimes. People who live chaotic and destructive lives will try to drag you into their chaos and bleed you dry. So how does one survive in this environment? How do you love the broken without burning out? In practical terms what does this love look like?

Read on to find out…

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First 1,000 Hits and why I write

We made it to our first 1,000 hits this week, which is amazing to me! In view of this I thought I’d share a little about my background, and why writing this blog as been part of a process of healing for me.

I never thought that writing a blog about my thoughts and experiences would interest other people, which is why I’ve never done it before. But after about 6 weeks of writing I’ve reached over a thousand hits in 32 different countries. I’m not saying this to show off, but because I’m dumbfounded by it. For years I’ve had all these ideas rolling around in my head, and I fantasised about writing a book one day. Not that I thought anyone would want to read it.
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‘There ain’t nothin sadder than the tears of a clown’

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Sad to hear of the passing of Robin Williams today. We lose another great actor and funny-man to a suspected suicide. Why is it that so many of the people who bring us joy battle with such inner darkness?

At school I was always the class clown, and not much has changed. For me to bring a little joy and laughter to others is so precious in a world where I’m so often surrounded by darkness. I remember at the passing of my brother-in-law Joe we joked that ‘he became his favourite thing – history’. He too had an often bleak sense of humour.

So I plead with you, show some love to the clowns in your life, they may be fighting inner battles you know nothing about.

Love and prayers for the Williams family and the countless others around the world suffering loss in these dark times.

Much peace

“There’s some sad things known to man, but there ain’t nothing sadder than the tears of a clown, when there’s no-one around” Smokey Robinson – ‘Tears of a Clown’

Befriending the Stranger

Greetings! Thought I’d share a little about a book I recently read, how it’s helped me with some of the tough parts about walking with the broken, and some stories of my own struggles.

Every once in a while you come across a book that truly moves you, that speaks directly into your life at that given moment. I’ve just finished reading the excellent ‘Befriending the Stranger’ by Jean Vanier, and it’s one of those books. It was originally a set of lectures given by Jean at a retreat in the Dominican Republic. Jean is best know for founding a network of Christian communities, called L’Arche, caring for (or caring with as he would say) people with severe physical and mental disabilities.
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Jesus hung out with the wrong side of town…

 

 

“Jesus hung out with he wrong side of town, and that was one of the reasons he was crucified” – Rev Dr John Smith, International President God’s Squad CMC

 

These words really helped a piece of the puzzle fall into place in my thinking. It’s so simple yet so true! Why is that Christians are known for being so prim and proper when our master was characterised for being a ‘friend of sinners’?

 

Have a little look at the video below for more about John and God’s Squad:

 

John Smith – On the road again 

 

Much peace

Sabbath

Sabbath

Epiphany At The Bar

This is the story of a friend I met. We’ll call him ‘Marty’. ‘Marty’ is a significant player in the biker scene, and a fairly notorious man.

I met Him at a party in an area I’d never visited before. Marty is one of those guys with a rough exterior and a twinkle in his eye to hint at a keen wit. His behaviour was chaotic, with all the usual trappings of the biker lifestyle.

I’d been chatting on and off with him all night, and by the time we got down to brass tacks it was the wee hours of the morning. It came down to this. Marty told me that he had read the Bible cover to cover several times last time he was in prison, and his next words were even more surprising.
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