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Showing posts from March, 2018

Minibeasts and Perennials

I recently heard it suggested that church should aspire to be like the butterfly: beautiful and carefree, our days of darkness and enshroudedness past, existing only to reproduce and to bring joy. A lovely image – and I’m sure it resonated with those who needed it. For me, though, it registered a little … partial. There is so much about my Christian journey – raw, real, difficult-but-hope-filled good stuff – that is not described by such an analogy: times of personal struggle and limitation (often, for me, in the form of depression and anxiety) in which my faith is no less real, and God is no less faithful; times of heartache as I learn to lament the brokenness of a world in which there's no getting away from the fact that new creation life is ‘not yet’ as well as ‘now’. It’s also, if you stretch the metaphor, a little bleak – the existence of a butterfly is famously fleeting, while the Christian hope is of something altogether more enduring.

As I pondered this, a different image…

The Reality of Real

So, I've been writing about the importance of being real, especially within church community – real about personal pain, real about the brokenness of the world, real about (and repentant of) the role of Christianity in upholding and reproducing aspects of that brokenness. And I've been reading lots on the subject; our small group study series at the moment, for example, is Brueggemannet al.'s Psalmist's Cry: Scripts for Embracing Lament, which seeks to lead us into greater openness with ourselves and with one another. And it sounds great, it really does, but I have to confess that I sorta haven't actually made it to any of the sessions, and it kinda might not be entirely accidental – a fact I feel appropriately sheepish about, given that, erm, it mighta been me who recommended the book in the first place. Thing is, thanks and all that for the suggestion, Brueggemann, but it's just not that simple, actually. When you've been hurt in the past and you've …

Sunday Mourning

At the start of the year I wrote about the alienation of being bombarded by seasonal jollity when (for personal and/or socially conscious reasons) you're really not 'feeling it', nor sure that you should be. Well, in my church tradition the jollity tends to keep on coming – as, for me, does the disconnect...


         Let’s make a joyful noise before the Lord!
         Maracas at the ready, girls and boys;
         Before we take our seats and Kevin brings a word,
         Let’s make a joyful noise.

         Forget fake news; spurn melancholy’s ploys;
         My friends, have we not overcome the world?
         Then stand together, with triumphant poise!

         There is a time for mourning, we’re assured –
         But Sunday morning caters otherwise.
         So quick, before we hear what cannot be unheard,
         Let’s make a joyful noise.

Carolyn Whitnall, 2018.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God…