(Photo taken by me at P.O.D. gig at the Camden Underworld, London)
Off the bat let me make a confession – I’m a major P.O.D. fanboy. I started listening to their music circa ’99 when I became a Christian. Their music has been like a soundtrack of my faith, and the theological journey of their lyrics through the years is not dissimilar to my own path. Continue reading Music for Searching Souls – Strength Of My Life→
One of the greatest passions in my life has been music. From listening to scratchy old LPs on my parents’ record player, stage invasions while playing drums in a gutter-punk band in my teens, wooing my soul-mate with heartfelt songs at an open mic night and to getting bashed up in a mosh pit at a P.O.D. gig.
Something about good music moves the blood in a way little else can. It somehow captures the soul and elevates us to a heightened state of emotion.
As a man of many words, even I recognise that there are times too sacred for my incessant ramblings. So today I offer you one of my favourite poems by John Donne – a beer-swilling womaniser who fell in love with Jesus. He masterfully captures the beauty, the pain and the tension of Good Friday in these words, and I pray you will know something of the majesty of this day as you read these them. Continue reading A Poem For Good Friday→
Theology. It’s a pretty dirty word these days, even in some Christian circles. It conjures images of ivory towers, sweaty academic nerds, uncomfortable wooden pews and dusty old 9-inch thick text books written by dead German men.
The following is a brief essay I wrote on consumerism and spirituality. It is brief due to strict word count limits but may be of interest:
The question has been posed – “Is Consumerism the default spirituality of our age?”. In order to approach a question such as this, one must paint in broad strokes, and think in general terms about a culture which has attempted to define itself in variety. However, I believe there is value in taking a step back for a ‘big picture’ overview of the overarching (or underpinning?) themes which permeate the tapestry of beliefs and practices which we live among. For the purposes of this essay I will be thinking in general terms about Western culture in the Modern-Postmodern (latemodern?) era, particularly focusing on the middle-class culture of the UK and the US. My argument is this – There is a climate of spiritual consumerism in the west today and it is not a new phenomenon. Furthermore this is an outworking of the ‘consumerisation’ of individuals inherent in a society governed by large political/economic powers, a prime example being the polytheism and emperor worship in the Roman empire at the dawn of the early Church.
This week we started a new series on the book of John with our Church youth group. The series started with me leading a session on John 12:20-36, and my prep notes ended up being long form, so I though I’d stick them on the blog:
John was a first-hand witness of the life of Jesus, one of his 12 closest mates. They journeyed together like brothers, and John particularly had a deep and emotionally intimate relationship with Jesus. John’s version of the story of Jesus was written with one purpose in mind, that it’s readers would “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing [we] might have life in his Name.” (John 20:31)
…“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:23-26 NIV)
Well folks, 2015 is here! And so passes 2014, a year which departed quicker than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
One of the major changes in my life during 2014 was beginning my studies for a degree in Theology, Mission and Ministry. I know, sounds a little heady for a beardy biker/bricklayer? Of course, even a fairly ‘off-the-wall’ course like what I’m studying requires, or at least is enriched by, reading.
So, out of the selection of laudible, laughable and sometimes lambastable literature I have layed my little hands on, here are a few of the highlights, each with a short review/synopsis. Or syniew as I like to call it.
So, any regular readers might have noticed a bit of a, well, lull in blog posts lately.
To say that the last few months have been busy would be like calling hummingbird ‘slightly animated’.
As if starting a college course and potential career change weren’t enough, we’ve decided to sell our house and move to the area where most of our ministry happens. As I said on twitter a while ago,
“bureacracy = my kryptonite”
And guess what all of the above involves bucket loads of….
It’s been a amazing and exciting time, but it’s also been a little tough. I haven’t been sleeping well, and I can hardly think about anything other than how damn powerless I feel. And that is pretty much the key point.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything so I thought it was time for a brief update.
It’s been an exciting and challenging month in many ways. I’m starting to settle in to the change of lifestyle a little more since going down to part-time work to free time up for our mission dreams. This in itself has been a challenge, to begin with my energy levels were a bit all over the place spending half of my week very emotionally and mentally draining and the other half very physically draining working construction. I’m getting used to it now though just in time for another change, but more on that later… Continue reading Roadside Update – Laying Foundations→
In 1997 Paula Cole sang, “Where have all the cowboys gone?”. The meaning of the song has been taken in different ways but it seems that Cole was expressing something of the tension of the 90’s man. My teenage years took place in England during the 90’s, and I too felt something of this tension. The term ‘metro-sexual’ hadn’t yet been coined and there was still the expectation of men to be tough, strong and physically capable. This came with a shift in the emotional and domestic expectations on men. “I’m a man of the 90’s” would come dancing off the lips of guys who started paying more attention to learning to cook than how to change a spark plug. Gender stereotypes were being challenged, it began to be socially acceptable for men to moisturise and discuss hair products. (I’m a cocoa butter man myself)
As a casual observer what seems to have followed is a challenging time of testing gender stereotypes and roles, people (especially men) seem to have built their self-understanding on shifting sands. Self-assured men and boys seem to be polarised between flamboyant eye-liner-wearing metro’s and misogynistic-chauvinist bully-boys. Left in the middle clambering for a foothold are the rest of us, with few strong male role models left in the home, the big screen and especially in spheres of leadership. “Where is my John Wayne?” asked Cole, but today the John Wayne’s of this world don’t measure up to the expectations of men to be as adapt at expressing their emotions as fixing a leaky tap. (N.B. I am not saying this in support of strict gender stereotypes, just as an observation of the shift in western culture). Continue reading The Warrior Poet – King David and Beyond→
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. Continue reading First 1,000 Hits and why I write→