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WE ARE NOT FINISHED

4 Sep

#2 in the series “Punch-Packing
Not my words but these echo 100% where I feel the Church is at in this day and age and what I am called to as a devoted, adoring follower of Jesus Christ.
The world so desperately needs us to ‘stand up and be counted’…
So – listen up!

I am deeply concerned that those who inherited freedom have lost sight of its high cost! I grieve over a gospel that is cloaked in benefits but requires no responsibility. Some bask in His victory while the nations continue to live in oppression, poverty, and despair.

I don’t doubt our victory nor do I question our great calling…but I wonder at lack of resolve that many Believers have to engage society at the level of their greatest pain and carve out a path through the snake invested jungle, carrying the weak to a place of safety.

We are not called to polish our armor or hold a Body-building contest! We have been left behind to transform the world. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus said He was finished, He didn’t say we were!

When Paul spoke of his apostolic credentials he unleashed a list of beatings that would have scared Arnold Schwarzenegger. The very man that taught us about great grace was entrenched in a battle that scared his body and troubled his soul. Yet many Believers are convinced that we will tip toe through the tulips, or win the nations through some garden party.

Where are the women and men with radical faith and outrageous courage? When will the righteous reign and the demoniacs flee at the very sight of a child of the King? How long must we stumble through this darkness before we rise with wisdom that stuns the kings of this world? Who will step out from the crowd and dare to leave the cesspool of unrighteous living to embrace a life of purity?

These are the questions that plague my very soul. As for me, I wasn’t born to live near the sound of church bells…I was created to destroy the gates of hell! Are you ready to incite a revolution?

(K. Vallotton, senior associate leader at Bethel Church, Redding, CA)

I Am Not A Christian

20 Aug

Ha! Made you look!!

20130821-155452.jpg
I have just posted this status on my Facebook wall.

I have decided to turn my back on “Christianity”. Instead I want to stake my identity as a lover, a follower, a believer of Jesus Christ. I belong to a Kingdom not a religion. I was born to be free from rules, punishment and legalism. I was born to live free and help others come into the same freedom I live in. I am a Kingdom warrior, with a crown on my head that says “Princess”. I want to stand against the mediocrity, the lame staleness the church is so often known for. Folks, we were born for SO MUCH MORE than that. Following Jesus Christ no longer equals “being a Christian.” Wake up church….!!!

Every so often I feel the need to nail my colours to the mast, to be radical and controversial. This is a kind of follow-up to this post…

It makes me so angry LIVID to see and hear, time and time again, how the “church” is capable of misrepresenting Jesus Christ and His Kingdom and how much damage it has caused over the years centuries. How little, in fact, it even knows who Jesus is. It’s shocking, shameful, and saddens me deeply.

So yes.
I am on the warpath.
I’m not afraid to be a Rebel for the King!!

[polite and loving disclaimer: I will not engage in any theological, intellectual, mind-bending debates in this blog. While your opinions are valued and worthy of respect, this site is not a platform for lengthy, wordy, subtle arguments. If you want to discuss this, get yourself a blog and write your response to this on there – then post a link to it in the comments below! X]

Protected: On Dissatisfied Butterflies And Keeping Busy

23 Dec

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SNOW!!

17 Dec

Against all odds, it seems even our little part of Britain has succumbed to snow, in spite of the micro-climate that usually makes Torquay a very mild place to live…

Now I’ll happily confess that I’m really not the world’s greatest fan of Britishsnow.

But honestly. CAN YOU BLAME ME?!?! I mean, really?!? The littlest hint of a snowflake and you’d forgive anyone for thinking the world had suddenly ended… Why is this country SO VERY ill-equipped to deal with such “extreme weather conditions”…?!?!

A slight snowfall stops life in its tracks; here are a some examples:

  • Schools close. This makes me Really Really Cross. The entire local radio network is taken over by news-bulletins, updating an ever-growing list of school closures every 10 minutes.
  • The traffic and all public transport grind to a halt. For DAYS. The level disruption is R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S and completely disproportionate to the amount of actual snow on the ground; children are late for school, grown-ups late for work – and countless injuries and accidents cause the emergency services to become utterly saturated. Helpful.
  • Finally – due to grit shortages, the entire country has been known to go into a National State of Emergency… Quite literally. The military get called in to ‘help’ – which I’m sure makes the guys crack many a private joke at the expense of the Great General British Public. Can’t say I blame them.

This behaviour confounds me. To me, it is highly irritating yet also quite hilarious ridiculous: while at the sight of the white stuff falling from the sky, children (rightly) squeal with excitement  – rushing out (mine in the most inappropriate attire!) to make snow angels, snow men and have snowball fights, …the rest of them us behave like pathetic, lost, helpless, and ever-so-slightly moronic little sheep.

Embarrassing, I tell ya.

That said…….

It sure is pretty 🙂

Lip Service Nativity

9 Dec

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ADVANCED WARNING: I think I’ve turned into the Grinch! Again.

(I know, this happens E.V.E.R.Y C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S…)

I’m sorry. Nativity plays are cute and that, but they are soooo tedious. So dull…

…Or is that just me…??

Having just come out of Ben’s second Nativity play of his entire life, I am fuming. Seething. Frustrated.

What a farce! What a shame

It wouldn’t have been be so bad if I could’ve seen Ben and he was actually doing something!

Instead I will just remember this year’s play as the one where my son didn’t do anything except sit on the floor in his PJs , with a tea towel round his head, among another 130 kids, being the ‘singing crowd’. He and many of his classmates found it pretty boring as it seemed there were only about 6 children there with main (read: i.n.t.e.r.e.s.t.i.n.g – or FUN) parts.

The “singing crowd” weren’t even prompted to STAND to sing their songs for crying out loud!!

How unfair. How frankly stupid

The little glimpses I managed to catch of Ben, from my cramped, tiny, child-sized seat 4 rows from the back, only served to reinforce the feelings I already had as I had walked into the school hall earlier… His little face was almost exactly what you would draw as a typical caricature of a tired, bored, SAD face. His eyes, each time they caught mine, were pleading with me to take him home.

I would really want to be able to look back one day and think of my children’s school Nativity plays as LOVELY and MEANINGFUL but I don’t think that’s about to happen. To me they’re just paying lip service to an event so amazing you can hardly put into words –  they just make me angry. And Incredibly Frustrated. (Did I say I was frustrated!?)

Every so often I come across a deeply meaningful nativity play, like the one Ben was involved in last year in Reception… Or the ones my Thomas takes part in every year, at his “special school“… Or the ones produced by Out of the Ark, who are a Christian-based primary-school-production company. If done well and your kids are properly involved, then sure they can be great.

But mostly, the experience I have had of them over the past 10 years have brought out irritation and cynicism in me and made my skin crawl.
And yes, for certain things I am a self-confessed, unapologetic Grinch.

Just sayin’…

The Frustrating Thing About Christmas

1 Dec

It hits me every year. What is going on?? This should be a season of rejoicing, fun, light, peace and goodwill. Of anticipation, hope, longing. Of waiting. …Shouldn’t it?! Indeed:

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning, a hope for deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance!

Instead I find I am discouraged, grumpy, gloomy even, disorganised, and stressed; I feel I have one-million-and-one things to do, and that each day that goes by ends in frustration and a sense of emptiness and failure… And so the ‘Twenty-Fifth’ approaches with a sense of foreboding, dread, and of shallow, pointless striving.

Should Advent, the lead-up to Christmas, really be this way?
I know for a fact, having spoken to many friends and acquaintances about this, that this is such a common phenomenon: everyone is rushing around, feeling burdened and under pressure. And everyone is spending way too much money on stuff that will either end up on rubbish dumps or literally down the drains!!

I guess this frustration is maybe all part of the tension between the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’, part of the calling that I, as a Christian, signed up to, of ‘being in the world but not of the world’.

But I never seem to get the balance quite right. And this leaves me feeling exhausted, and frustrated. I want to be able to truthfully say that I love Christmas, and the whole lead-up to it. A lot of people get so excited about Christmas. And other people (or maybe they are the same people…?) plan for Christmas months in advance: they start buying their presents, cards and stamps in the January sales (which incidentally start on Boxing day, December 26th…!!), while shops and restaurants start advertising Christmas products and services the minute the summer holidays have ended!

To me this feels over-the-top. But then I go to the other extreme. Quite unintentionally, of course…! So that the first of December always catches me by surprise. And I panic. Then I tell myself off for panicking…

(argh I never managed to finish this!! …to be continued… next Christmas no doubt…)

Ready for Christmas??

18 Dec



There is a pile of Christmas presents at my feet as I type, nagging me, patiently waiting and needing to be wrapped.
My insides are still trying to recover from a tenacious virus…
And my house is only just back up to an acceptably snug temperature after being refitted with a brand new central heating system.
I have a mountain of clean laundry to wade through in order to find something to wear every morning, and a backlog of dirty clothes waiting to be fed to our valiant washing machine, or ‘pet’ as my dear friend Sharon likes to refer to it…
My gas cooker has all but packed up and my tumble dryer is suffering from a chronic leak.

Which leads me to this probing question, a question that has been plaguing me for the last couple of weeks: am I ready??
‘READY FOR WHAT’,
I hear you ask.
‘ER, HELLOOOOO?!?!?’, I nearly reply.

And then, I stop and think.

Who cares?!?
Where’s the fire?
What’s the rush?
And anyway, where’s this pressure coming from, to ‘be ready’ for Christmas…??

Who has written a law proclaiming that “ye shalt deck the halls with boughs of holly two weeks before Christmas”?
Why do I receive cards that say: “Merry Christmas from Tom, Dick and Harry Jones, Helen the goat and Jamie the goldfish”…
…No “dear” – or even “to” – to precede the ‘season’s greetings’ on many of them…

WHY?!?
I mean: why do people bother?! What is the point…? It makes me so cross; it all reeks of obligation, of duty, of reluctant compliance with Christmas ‘etiquette’.

So that when I find myself sneaking a little personal message on each of the Christmas cards I eventually manage to send, I almost feel like a misfit, a rebel. But I like that! Because to me that is the whole point: I’m not interested in conforming for the sake of it, just to ‘fit in’.

Don’t get me wrong here. I LOVE decorating the house for Christmas, putting up twinkly lights, buying the presents, the yummy food, making, sending and receiving cards; I love Christmas!!!

What I hate is the pressure we put ourselves under to make it ‘perfect’, to make it ‘just right’… To have the fairytale, picture-perfect, ‘Hollywood’ Christmas. A friend on Facebook (…and real life, yes…) said this:

“I see status updates about the stress of shopping, making and wrapping gifts and cards and am SO happy for the freedom of our decision of no gifts for anyone and cards for just the parents… we are enjoying the REAL spirit of Christmas SOOOO much this year!!! So fun. So free from obligations and stress. (Who needs another candle or bubble bath, anyway?? Just a waste of money to fulfil self-imposed obligations!)”

I want to do it my way – or rather, OUR way. I want us to create our own family traditions, make memories, and most important of all, help build a strong foundation of faith in our kids by putting Christ right bang in the centre of the whole thing. And that means that, yes I will refuse to be dictated to by the general western way of ‘doing’ Christmas.

Practically speaking, it looked like this for me today: all things considered, (see above!!) I decided to have a lazy morning, sitting on my bed with a cuppa, my Bible and notebook (oh, and before you start being impressed, or inspired by my oh-so-holy-and-perfect ‘devotional life’, let me assure you this is NOT a daily occurrence. Far from it… Not that I wouldn’t want it to be. Glad I cleared that up. You’re welcome.)
I had planned to write all my cards, wrap presents, start decorating the house so that I would feel more ‘ready’. But do you know something? I felt so relaxed after spending some time with God, and I realised that the other stuff?

…It can wait! It might not be ‘The Perfect Christmas’, but I’ll get there feeling far less stressed, and hopefully, with my heart in the right place. To welcome my Saviour again. To love Him, worship Him, and celebrate life, with Him.

Ultimately, that’s all that matters.

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