Tag Archives: social justice

Lord, Lord

Been reflecting on this poem, which is apt for the week I’m having.

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve really had to get my hands dirty as I’ve journeyed with folks who have some complex needs and even more complex stories. And if I’m honest I’ve been wrestling with the complexties of my own needs and story too.

More and more I see what a mess the world around me is in, and my mind is searching for an answer, a strategy or something. 

I got into one of those wonderful open-ended political debates on facebook the other day, with the lefties and the righties duking it out behind their screens and keyboards, and again I feel like the answer won’t be found in another ‘ism’. This is mainly because God did not send us an ‘ism’, but as the message translation so aptly puts it, he ‘moved into the neighbourhood’ (John 1:14). 

I plan to write something a bit more substatial on the subject of ‘Incarnation’ for college, but then more words aren’t the answer either (although they do help in getting a university degree).

As Mr Turner so eloquently expresses it in the poem above, I want to do more than write a poem. And I’m hoping others will join me.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭1-8‬ MSG)

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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…

Continue reading How to love, even when it hurts

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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St Frank, Biker Cafés and Verbal Diarreah

Being a two-wheeled missionary to the fringes is a confusing business. People are wonderfully complex, and love to blast out of the boxes we put them in. It’s much easier to have well constructed opinions when regarding things from a distance, but when you get up close enough to feel the breath, the beast is a many-faced monstrosity.
Continue reading St Frank, Biker Cafés and Verbal Diarreah

Sean Stillman on Zac’s Place

Please check out this video about Zac’s Place Swansea, a place of special significance to me.