(photo by Antoine Greiger)
Almost every week on the social media feeds there is some issue that makes a claim on our attention and demands our focus. Almost every week on social media I feel compelled to engage in whatever the issue is at that particular time. I feel like I am missing out, being lazy or just not keeping up with current debates, controversies and intricate changes in ideologies if I don’t engage. People have always been interested in keeping up with the latest topics of the day so there is nothing unusual about this. However, what has changed is the rapid rate at which all the information is coming to us and the possibility for anyone and everyone to make continual public responses about the information we are receiving. Many of us feel that we have to keep up, but of course the frustration is that we can’t. Continue reading How do we get focus and stillness in an age of social media distraction?
I was speaking with a friend who is not religious and telling him about a workshop that I run in my neighbourhood which could essentially be characterised as a self-improvement course. He knows that I am a Christian and replied,
“Christians have a persecution complex.”
What he meant by that was he felt Christians are never comfortable with themselves but instead are always trying to change. When I asked him what was wrong with being someone who wants to grow and become a better person, he said he felt we should accept who we are rather than be in a place of constant fear of punishment or harm from the God we believe in. His challenge was that I should stop feeling as though God was unhappy with me, which according to him was the driving force behind my desire for self transformation, and simply rest in who I am, accept myself warts and all, and live free from the fear of punishment or persecution. Continue reading Should Christians be telling people they are “sinners”?
fallow land, cropland that is not seeded for a season; it may or may not be plowed. The land may be cultivated or chemically treated for control of weeds and other pests or may be left unaltered. Allowing land to lie fallow serves to accumulate moisture in dry regions or to check weeds and plant diseases.
This was the not so encouraging information that stared at me from my computer screen as I followed a prompting from God to do a little research on the concept behind the word ‘fallow’. I had kept hearing the word in my mind for some time. It wasn’t an audible voice, it wasn’t loud, it wasn’t condemning, I could ignore it if I wanted to. But there it was and kept coming up again and again over the months. I am not a farmer, I even struggle to look after my pot plants properly, but I knew that fallow was an agricultural term which had the connotation of emptiness, to my mind. My suspicion was confirmed as I researched this notion a little. Words like ‘unseeded’, ‘unaltered’, ‘left to lie’, ‘unused’, ‘may or may not’, ‘still’, ‘wait’ and ‘patience’ kept appearing before my eyes. Continue reading The Unproductive Season
(This post first appeared on Missio Alliance)
Brad Brisco and Lance Ford in their excellent book The Missional Quest have a really helpful chapter called “Stop and Go: Rhythms of Inner Formation.” The chapter is about the importance of rest in the life of a missional leader.
They say that “the major emphasis of the missional movement is the sent nature of our calling as the body of Christ- going into culture with the gospel, practicing and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. However, it is incumbent on us that we not lose our grip on the truth that we cannot go out under our own strength, understanding or power. To rely upon savvy, reason and human talent is to invite trouble along the way of mission.”
This is a really important caution and so they propose that the missional leader should enter intorhythms of formation which they describe as “Stop and Go.” They explain, “Jesus was well aware that his incarnational plunge into the brokenness of humanity necessitated soul care for himself and his disciples. It was necessary for him to embrace the spiritual formation processes and patterns that any man or woman who hopes to connect with God must do. Jesus followed a self-imposed habit of discipline that frequently took him away from the crowds and ministry into solitude, rest and prayer, both alone and in the small company of his twelve disciples.” Continue reading The Spirituality of Jesus: Stop and Go?