What if I stumble

At work, we have hot desks which means that although we mostly sit in the same sort of area we don’t have an allocated desk. This is because we are in and out of the office so often that it doesn’t make sense for us to have allocated desks. I am based in one location for four days a week and another for one day a week and then I do visits throughout the day with some occasions hours/days at the third office base.
Because of this there are some people we may only work nearby once or twice a week. There is one woman who sits near me about once a week, but not always. One time I was debating with another colleague – one who I sit by regularly. I won the debate and my colleague said ‘will there ever be a time when I argue with you and win?’ I responded that I only got involved in arguments if I could win. The woman laughed and explained that the last time she had sat near me I had said the same thing to someone else.
I suppose it is something I do throughout my life – I am successful in things because I do them knowing that I will be successful in them. I am currently undertaking a masters with the open university in childhood and youth studies. I’ve had no problems with the modules directly related to working with children and young people, however, really struggled with the unexpectedly not children focussed module about continued professional development.
I know that I am excellent at working with children and young people. I am able to build relationships quickly, take an interest, remember things and challenge behaviour. I have studied and have the relevant book knowledge. I have no doubt in my ability to work with children and young people in a variety of situations.
However, I have no idea what my abilities are. I don’t know how it is that I build relationships quickly. I don’t know what it is in me that means that when I took a week off work a young person refused to talk to any of my colleagues and instead, waited for me to return. I don’t know what I’m doing.
Perhaps, that is the reason why I found the module on continued professional development difficult. How can I develop myself as a professional if I can’t reflect on what I do? How can I develop strategies when my most successful experiences seem to have come out of nowhere? How can I continue if I don’t know where it is that I have started?
When I was a teenager some WEC missionaries visited my church and were involved in the youth club that I was volunteering at. They were shocked to find out I was only 15/16 and said that I should consider a gap year with WEC when I was 18. I think it was the first time that I realised that maybe what I was doing was something, was a skill, a talent, a thing.
In some ways I think it is important that I continue to recognise that I have no idea what makes a visit with a young person effective. I have no idea when my words will resonate. In the end, the skills, talents, success isn’t down to me. How can it be when I don’t know what I’m doing? There is something greater at work, something more than me that leads to an easy rapport.
However, that doesn’t mean that I should just walk into visits and hope that whatever it is will do its magic and everything will be ok. I don’t understand how it works so maybe it works better when I have a plan, resources, knowledge. And that is the reason why the boot of my car is full of resources and activities so that I never walk into a visit empty handed – even if I never use them when I’m in there. That is the reason why I put so much effort, research and planning into each visit. To make sure that whatever it is that helps me working with children and young people has the best chance of getting used.
And sometimes it is the game of top trumps or table top bowling that opens discussions, sometimes its a willingness to discuss minecraft, vampires or lego. Sometimes its my nails, my shoes, my hair. Sometimes its nothing, just a case of being in the right place at the right time and being willing to listen.
I think sometimes, it’s saying I don’t know what it is that I’m meant to be doing, I don’t know why I’m here but I’m here and I’m willing to do my best in this situation. I’m in the debate and I don’t join if I can’t win.
There are gifts that are given by God. There are situations that are used by God. There are things that are made sacred by God. It is my responsibility to make sure that the gifts I was given are in the best condition to be used. It is my job to make sure that I have gone into the situation and it is an honour to be able to reveal the sacred to others.

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Super Powers

When I watch TV shows where the hero gets a super power and immediately knows they have a superpower and what it does I just find the whole thing totally unbelievable….or maybe people are just smarter than I am.

It took me ages to realise that there was something different about me. I didn’t realise that things were different inside my head to how they were in everyone else’s head. I suppose if I had the ability to set myself on fire or something then I suppose I would have picked up on it quicker.

At first when I heard people’s thoughts I honestly believed that people were talking to me. I’d respond to things they had only thought which led to confusion – both on their side and mine. They’d ask me how I knew things after they’d just told me…except they hadn’t said anything out loud.

Eventually it dawned on me that sometimes, when they were saying things to me their lips weren’t moving. That the things they were saying were not linked to the conversations, that the things they were saying shouldn’t really be said.

I have realised that people can lie to themselves. Sometimes, the things they are saying to themselves are not true, they are not accurate. People do things and lie to themselves saying that it was their only choice. They say things and think things which hurt other people either directly and indirectly and they tell themselves that it’s ok. They watch the news and see the suffering and think that there is nothing they can do.

These are lies people think, lies people believe. I often listen to everyone who thinks they can’t do anything and wonder what would happen if they all got together and worked together and did something together.

Sometimes I think that the systems that we live in work so well because they divide us…they force us to think individually…they split us up and they stop us thinking and working as a community.

Community is where the power lies. Community is how we can do things. If we work together then individuals don’t need superpowers.

Creation Expo

Today we visited the Creation Expo in Portsmouth. It was not good. However, one of the pamphlets we got said:

‘Why shouldn’t homosexuality be regarded as acceptable if what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah is just a folk myth?’ Pamphlet no. 327 by Barbara Lambeth

This irritates me a lot. It irritates me because here are people using bits of the bible when they obviously haven’t read the commentary included in bible about that particular passage.

Ezekiel 16:49 (KJV as the Creation Expo seem to only like this version)

‘Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.’

Pride, fat and lazy. Ignoring the poor and the needy. These were their sins and so often christians ignore these sins in favour of focussing on the sin of homosexuality.

I think often because it is easier to point out other people’s sins than to examine our own lifestyle and consider if we are guilty of any sins. These sins, of pride, gluttony, laziness and not caring for the poor and needy are ones that we in the western world need to be standing up against. It is these sins that we should be preaching about – and yet, the christian media spends its time fighting against homosexuality.

In a week where we are receiving news from around europe about the migrant crisis, showing people who have left their own countries due to war, extremism and famine, we need to be preaching compassion. We need to be preaching about love, acceptance, about putting the needs of others before our own needs.

And these are scary things to preach about. These are scary things to live out because these things require us to change. To say that we should share more means that I will have less. To condemn others is easy because it requires nothing from me. To take the lessons of Sodom and Gomorrah and use it to demonise a minority is easy because it puts the blame onto someone else.

When Jesus died, he took everybody else’s sin onto himself and then he called us to take up our cross and to follow him. To follow Jesus we need to be saying with Paul, that we are all sinners and that I am the worst of all. To be looking at the evilness of the world and saying this is because of my sin, not looking to others and saying they are to blame.

It is our sin, our pride, our gluttony, our laziness, our failure to help the poor and needy, that is causing the problems. It is us, not them, and we can change our behaviour, and we can change the world.

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Go

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

I’ve been thinking about this passage a bit recently. It is used a lot. A verse that describes the mission brief that Jesus left first for those who had followed him and then on to each generation.

And it is a crazy thing to be asked to do. Therefore go. Go. Go away from this holy land that your ancestors took so long getting to and building. Go. Leave the land you have been promised. Go away from the temple where your God lives. Go from your homes, from your families. Go.

And make disciples of all nations. No longer is this message just for one nation. Go to all nations and all people.Leave not only the place where you are comfortable but also leave the culture you are comfortable with. Go to all nations. You have been blessed to be a blessing.

There are then stories about how the disciples went about carrying out this command. They sold everything they owned and shared everything. They practiced equality among people from different backgrounds. They equipped and sent out missionaries. They took opportunities that they were given to share the gospel with everyone they came across. They spoke to leaders, they spoke to groups of women meeting at the river, they met in the homes of the wealthy, they sang praises in jail.

They changed. They adapted. They moved.

They disagreed and held meetings to seek God’s will in new situations – decisions about big changes to things they had held onto as solid parts of their faith such as circumcision. And then they left it behind.

And then I think about this generation, about me. Sometimes we think about where it is we have to go but sometimes I think where do I need to go from? What do I need to go away from? What is it that I hold dear? Can people still be disciples if they don’t believe or do something I feel is important? Can I change? Can I adapt?

I don’t need a saviour

‘I don’t need a saviour.
I don’t need to be rescued from my sin
What have I done that’s so wicked?
Why should I be born again?’

People tell me they live good lives
They don’t murder, lie or steal
They ask what sins of mine were laid upon this so called lord of yours?

Maybe I’m unique
Maybe I am strange
But I don’t need anyone to tell me what I’ve done wrong

There was no need for God to convict  me
I tried and judged myself
I knew that I was guilty
No evidence was needed

Every single day I do and say things wrong
I know they’re wrong because they hurt people
I know they’re wrong because I know
I don’t need anyone outside of me to tell me how I behave

So when I heard about the saviour, about the one who took the blame
I didn’t him to list my sins and make me feel shame

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But when he looked at my life
When he looked at my sin
He took my list of wrongdoing and crossed each one off
He took ownership of my bad parts
He gave me freedom from myself
Why would I not be grateful?
Why would I not decide to follow him every day of my life?

So when you say you have no need to be saved
When you tell me you don’t need to be rescued
Then I want to know how you have found freedom from yourself?

A day like today

I feel like Picard when Q invades the ships

Like Janeway trying to follow the Prime Directive while stuck in the Delta Quadrant

Like resistance is futile and there is only the struggle to stabilise the Omega Particle

There are times when each day seems like a constant assimilation mission

All people care about is the Rules of Acquisition

Sometimes its like being in the Mirror Universe

A search for Species 8472 only to find that fluidity space is more difficult to navigate than first expected

Sometimes life is like trying to follow the temporal time directive when all you want to do is save the world from tribbles.

Driving like its hard…

Recently I went on a speed awareness course. Most of it was very dull, however, what was interesting is that statistically people are less likely to speed near to a school. This is due to the perceived risk of children being unpredictable. People are more likely to have an accident close to home. This is due to the perceived lack of risk on familiar roads which allows your concentration to drift.

Familiarity is a dangerous thing. Sometimes things need to be shaken up so that we actually see the things that we have taken for granted, the things that have been lost in translation, the things that may jump out at us and destroy everything that was once so comfortable and easy.

Here in the Rubik Cube, we had get adapt to a new way of existing because everything we had known before no longer existed. The rules that were familiar had led us to into dangerous territory and we had not spotted the problems until it was too late to fix it. But without the rules life was scary and unpredictable.

We like certainty and predictability and we try to create it even where there is none but sometimes trying to force it blinds us to the problems we create alongside it.

Often, in an attempt to keep things predictable we create problems for people who do not fit into the ways we have created. In the social model of disability, people are impaired, not by their own disability but by a society which refuses to enable them. People are made blind if society does not allow them to wear glasses.

Next time something is comfortable or safe, perhaps it is time to think who is being discomforted or disabled for my comfort? Next time something is uncomfortable, perhaps it is time to think who is being comforted or enabled in this environment?