Friday, 26 August 2011

Two Questions

1. What will make it real?
2. What are you inviting me to?

These are the questions I've been challenged to ask myself when life goes awry - just recording this for posterity - more details to follow when I have the time...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

How to summarise what's been going on the last 10 days or so?

I don't know that I can - even to myself. Suffice it to say that the goalposts have radically shifted from what I now see as symptoms (Zoe dying, Nicole's non-selection, worship team rejection, etc) to a cause - well, I think it's a cause, it could just be another symptom...

The danger I now feel is to rush to being "better" - I've dealt with the immediate issues enough to no longer be in crisis, and the temptation is to stop and trust that the rest of the healing will just happen on its own. I've been here a couple of times and veered away from deeper issues (or just not insisted on following up on threads). I hope that I will be able to continue to explore this time...

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

PJ Smythe - CGC Tough Qs - Suffering

Some points from PJ's sermon that stuck with me
  • Four Options: No God, Bad God, Weak God, Good God
  • He does it to rouse us to Him - "unless you repent, you too will perish" is JC's response to the collapse of the tower.
  • He does it to rouse us to heaven - we are kept oblivious to eternity.
  • In the end, it boils down to whether I trust God or not - if I do, the Good God hypothesis is easy to accept, if not, it becomes impossible.
  • The whys don't (and cannot) comfort, only the who can comfort
The last was the one that really struck home - I cannot find comfort or meaning in the minutiae of why things have happened in the way that they have, it will not change them to know why. I can only find it in the one who made them happen - when I know him, the whys will cease to be of consequence.

At cell tonight Gary spoke of love languages - more of this later...

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Photoshoot - us

Susie took a few really lovely shots of us as a family, but also of us as a couple. I don't want to post them all, but here's one. It comes joint top place for me with one other, but I'm just going to post this one.

Thoughts after a Men's Breakfast

That was a BIG Bacon/Egg roll - shouldn't have had porridge this morning...

PJ Smythe spoke on the struggle to be masculine humbly, honestly, with healthy introspection, worshipfully and two other points which I forget...

He used Job as his text and spoke also of his own struggles with cancer over the last year. Some reflections/points follow below in no particular order:
  • Job does not pretend everything is fine when his family is killed and his possessions taken away - he rends his clothes, shaves his head and falls to the ground... but in worship, not in rage or despair.
  • Spurgeon says "Oh Blessed Hurricane that drives me onto the Rock of Ages"
  • Sow your tears (Ps 126) - not randomly, but constructively; take them to God in the company of others (brothers)
  • God plus something - if something is taken, everything changes
  • God plus nothing - if something is taken, nothing changes
  • Job reflects in the middle chapters on the following: sexuality, treatment of the poor and management of money
  • "Shall we accept good from God, but not trouble" & "Job never accused God of wrongdoing" - troubles may come from God, but they are not wrong. Paul says they work for good.
  • "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." Job 1:21
  • See our disappointment in the context of eternity
  • Don't idolise life, idolise Jesus
While I agree with the idea behind messages like this, that our relationship with God (and indeed with people) should not be based on what they can do for us, a scratch-my-back scenario, but is it realistic or even possible? In a human relationship where one party gives out but receives nothing in return, we would not condemn them for giving up on it, yet this is the ideal we are to strive for in a relationship with God?

This is not a new idea - it is the message of Daniel 3:17-18 that I heard as a challenge when I was teaching at Herzlia. Then it seemed noble, now it just seems foolish. It's not that I need/want material blessings in return for my worship, or expect happiness or contentment because I follow him, but a little feedback now and again would be nice - this talking to a blank wall became old long, long ago, and I've basically given up trying. So now of course the reason I hear nothing is because I contribute nothing to the relationship... so it's all my fault for not trying hard enough or persevering long enough...

Having said that, God made the move that started this most recent re-foray into counselling, I guess I need to make the next...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Counselling continued

Second session was last week and it was a busy weekend, so let's see what I can remember...

We talked a lot about assertiveness and fear - about how I live with an expectation that things will go badly and react appropriately; how I have schooled myself not to get excited about things to avoid being disappointed. We talked about how this affects my relationships with those I live with and with those I work with.

We ended up with her telling me that the promises of God, which are foundational to the rest of our faith are not dependent on us, but on Him. It wasn't as groundbreaking a session as the first - I suppose that's inevitable, but it felt positive, solidifying (if you follow me), plus, I have homework. I'm to download the 40 days with Abraham PDF from the church website and start working through it.

So I am

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Counselling notes

So, I'm starting the counselling process again - it has taken me a long time to come to the realisation that I am not simply going to get better/fixed all on my own, and that I am going to need professional paid-for help to find my way clear of the tangled situation I find myself in.

We met up about a week ago - I liked her from the start (very important) and trusted her enough to pour forth all the things that have brought me to this point, starting with Zoe, but including being dumped by the worship team, Nix's ordination rejection, Malcolm, and much more besides. We spoke about journal-ing, but I have never had the persistence or enthusiasm required (just look at this blog), but she encouraged me to at least write down what we spoke about and the realisations I had had during the sessions as a record for me to look back on at the very least, so here goes. Most of it will be in a short hand on the off-chance that someone actually does read this :-)

  • The struggle is to understand how things work in a universe where God exists - if he doesn't exist, then life is much simpler: "Shit happens"
  • The "smackdown" phenomenon
  • "This time it's personal"
  • "something bad might happen" (Marlin, Nemo's dad)
  • Thoughts/vision of God asking for volunteers
  • Zoe being cuddled by Grandma