Thursday, October 30, 2008

Faith and Learning


I'm at the Library in Birr, Co. Offaly with my daughter Neve as she colours pictures and explores books. I must say that this place is the most amazing library I've ever seen. It's exterior is ash grey and very clean. The inside is awash in light and colour and filled with a plethora of books. The light streaming in through the windows creates a technicolour display that instills wonder. I'm in awe and I'm grateful for the generous gift of this Catholic order that gave this beautiful building for use as a place of learning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fresh 'Expressional' Expositions

Here's a slideshow from Bishop Graham Cray on the Church of England's Fresh Expression developments in collaboration with the Methodist Church just for your info if you're interesting the whole conversation.

Especially check out slides 37, 41, 46, 54, 57 & 58!

Fresh Expressions Of Church Wycliffe
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Resounding Truth


I recently read this review of English musician and theologian, Jeremy Begbie's latest book, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music by cultural analyst / futurist Andy Crouch. I had originally been made aware of Mr. Begbie's interest and work by Bishop Graham Cray from the Church of England when he was in Ireland four years ago and I gave him a lift to Dublin airport at five in the morning. He probably wasn't wanting to talk much at that hour, but I shared with him about my growing interest in the inter-relationship of the arts, faith and culture and he suggested that I get in touch with Jeremy Begbie. Four years on and I have yet to do just that.

I have, however, done some research on Mr. Begbie's investments of himself and found a link between him and the Institute for Theology, Imagination & the Arts based at St Mary's College, the Divinity School at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Since laying eyes upon that department's website, it has laid hold of my heart. I definitely think if I ever return to university to complete a Master's or beyond, I'll certainly look into this Dept.! It would be a welcome new venture and a significant 'dovetail' after receiving my diploma in Spiritual Direction from Milltown Institute in Dublin last year.

More recently, the news came that Mr. Begbie will join the faculty of Duke Divinity School in January 2009 as the inaugural Thomas A. Langford research professor of theology. I'm really excited to see what will transpire there in the years ahead. Who knows, Duke Divinity may be another choice for further study?! Regardless, I do believe I'd like to begin reading some of Begbie's works, possibly starting with Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music!

I can't escape the notion that somehow my own, and my family's future will be tied up in spiritual formation, the arts and culture-shaping. Too many occurrences, passions and experiences are pointing that direction. Our relationship with the Guidos' continues to strengthen and we're exploring future possibilities with them in regards to supporting them as those sharing in a similar vocation. The story continues . .

Monday, October 20, 2008

Govenor Sarah Palin's in da hiz-ouse!

I absolutely LOVED this clip - props to SP for appearing even though she didn't participate. Hilarious!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Family Fun from Animoto.com

Economic Crisis and the Role of the Soul Friend


Could the current global economic crisis have been averted if top-level execs had people in their lives to remind them of the way of integrity, truth, service and ultimately peace? It's quite possible. Some top level companies employ chaplains (who are not exclusively in the 'soul friend' tradition but similar) who are available for corporates and investors, but not many do. I do believe that the current situation may have been averted if more soul friends were in situ in those places of cultural power, but not definitely so. It's just more likely that if people have those around them who are a continually voice of reason, truth and reality that they will generally be more healthy, balanced and well-adjusted - avoiding major pitfalls such as those the world is reeling from at the moment.

It just amazes (actually saddens) me that the greed of a very small majority of people can hurt so many. I'm going to go ahead and use a word here that many have an aversion to . . sin. It was sin that led to the world becoming unbalanced and tumultuous economically (and this is just one sphere of life!). I use the word 'sin' in its denotative and not connotative manner. It actually is defined as 'missing the mark' and in this case not living up to the potential inherent every person for the good. We are to always be looking out for the best interests of others - which is exactly what love defined is. Those who contributed directly or indirectly to the current economic woes were not acting in love for others because they simply were looking out for themselves. That is not love, it's sin, or missing the mark of living up to the potential inherent in them as people created in the image of God. It's sad and tragic.

The article below was a very brief, but interesting, comment on the role of (what should be) truth-tellers in the lives of those who hold positions of influence over others. God willing, I intend to help assemble a collective of those called to do just that.

So be it!

Religion Sees Surge of Investors


Here's one man and wife who are doing this very thing in the arena of the Arts & Entertainment industry.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Rich and the Poor



What does this man have to do with equality, generosity and trans socio-economic (shared) human experience? Answer . . not suprisingly, everything. His statements and public / private discourses fought to revolutionise publicly accepted perspectives on poverty, need and societal outcasts which did not favour them. His example in perpetually reaching out to the same stirred debate, angered many and outrightly flew in the face of those 'power-brokers' of the day. Thankfully, One so given to giving and living for the rights and respect of 'the Other' was not silenced even though those opposed attempted to do so by penalty of death. His influence lives on as evidenced by the third of humanity who claim to follow his lead. But those same followers, although having a stellar record of effectively adressing social needs, have yet to be mobilised to fully realise their potential in meeting the needs of those most needy.

Strong allegiances to the 'right' to possess, addiction to comfortability and a lack of true compassion for the experience of others must be met (again, as in the Radical Revolutionary's approach) with nothing less than pure paradigm shift. What will it take for critical mass to be gained and the world to finally make headway on adressing the plight of the marginalised and forgotten? Who will take up the cause for others and 'risk' finding full life, even as it is given away? When will come a time when absolute generosity is the prevailing trend in place of me-centred living? I propose authentically re-engaging with the Instigator of this world-wide movement as the perfect place to start.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's A Mere Flesh Wound


OK, I know it's gross but here's a shot of one of my 'bullet holes'. They're starting to heal up now but still very painful. I may always have the scars but what a story to tell!

Pilgrim's Prayer



Give me my scallop shell of quiet,
my staff of faith to walk upon,
my script of joy-immortal diet,
my bottle of salvation,
my gown of glory,
hopes true guage,
and thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

================

sent to me by my friend Neville Barnes

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Pornification Of A Generation


Here's an article that I just read which primarily affects everyone one of us as residents in western culture, secondarily if you who care for young people and their holistic development and thirdly, for some of us, as parents. Please take a moment and have a read. More than that, if you have any ideas how we can partner to be a positive force for good and work against this sort of skewing of healthy boundaries for our young people, let's put something into action.

I'm tired of being angry (righteously, of course!), frustrated, bombarded and feeling without a hope (by myself) to bring change in our culture in issues such as this. Let's seek inspiration and find someway to be of lasting good for the lives of those who are coming up after us rather than leaving them to fend for themselves (when that may come too late for some).

May God inspire us to action.

Read on . . .

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ancient Roads




These ancient roads where bare feet once trod,

where saint and scholar were led to new faces - now leading me home.
Persistent pathways marked out on rugged landscape by people of clear vision,
now lined with blurry eyed post-pilgrims comfortable with provision.
Thin spaces where God and Man would meet,
now forgotten, now besodden, with tires than flocks of feet.
Where are the vagabonds, the bards, the bearers of the secret flame that traversed these trails?
Where are the teachers, the healers, the way-makers of old who made paths for fellow souls?
Who will be the prophet that speaks the Word we need to hear -

the challenge and comfort yearned for in place of fear?
Our times are not devoid, these roads are not bereft, of those sent forth to lives with
hunger for Heaven - that place dreamt of in moments of quiet or groans expressed.
Those called are still sent forth to places they yet do not know;
to offer hope, listen well and whisper words of our longed for Home.

===================================================================

I had been thinking about this poem for a couple days and I 'had time' to compose it while in the hospital today.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Figeting Between Earth and Sky

Here's a poem I wrote some time ago . . .


Fidgeting between earth and sky
Fixed on the second hand, perplexed at time flown by
Questions of Passion and Purpose extreme and formidable
This call, these gifts, un-exchangeable
Your love, this life, inexplicable
My heart so heavy, I feel it’s too difficult
Grace unleashed - no dribble
I, the recipient, giving so little
A dream alive within this shell
Only moving forth when you’re in the middle
So here we go
Leaving myself again
Not a loss, but a gain my friend
Power unfettered, strength unknown
Hope found inside as a candle in my home
Direction and fulfillment in question until tomorrow
Eternally significant?
Why bother!?
Fear of obscurity is clouding my vision
Raise me to higher plains in the valley of decision
Coming on the clouds – You are never late
Be here now or seal my fate




Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Writing for Development


On his blog, Director of Spiritual Formation, Patrick Comerford writes on the practice of spiritual journaling in an in-depth post exploring the many different aspects related to journaling, as well as how it contrasts to keeping a diary or notebook. It's a long one so you may want to carve out a few minutes to take it in.

Enjoy . . .

Kitsch Christianity

I saw this one over at tallskinnykiwi's blog and I'm still reeling from this super-sonic, toe-tappin' ridiculous song. The blog post is titled 'Retro Christian Cheese' - and that it is! I thought that's what a board of elders and senior pastors were for . . to veto this sort of stuff before it goes public. Unless of course, one of the band members IS the senior pastor!

Mission in Popular Culture




"The media must be the contemporary Christian intellectuals' primary place of apostolate."


- Dr. Peter Kreeft from his lecture entitled 'The Imagination'
(available free through iTunes podcasts)


To this I believe I am called and to this I will go as God leads.

Lord, make me more expectant of your good work in this world and in me. Amen.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Worms, Bones, Ear Wax and Poo


Those are all things my children seem to be keen on making during our play-doh session this afternoon. Oh, the pleasures and wonders of imagination!

Better Than iPhone!

Here's a revolutionary product that is unbelievably better than iPhone and is set to eclipse the Apple Mac phone in months . . . introducing Pomegranate!

(click on the image to explore)

The Future Needs You!


If you live in Europe and are at all concerned about people, places and global issues, please take some time to add your voice to the many others to enact change for the good of everyone . . .

"Far from the eyes of the media, elected representatives in the European Parliament are writing a climate and energy plan for our continent. As citizens, we've campaigned hard for a global deal to stop catastrophic global warming, and Europe's negotiators have driven progress in international talks -- but if big polluters succeed in watering down Europe's own climate action plan, all our momentum will be lost.[1] And that's just what's happening right now.

This Tuesday afternoon, European parliamentarians are gathering to finalise their proposals -- but the whole plan is being undermined by industry lobbyists demanding they lock in massive "permits to pollute", which would put emissions targets completely out of reach for 2020 and beyond.[2] Before it's too late, in the next 48 hours, let's deluge representatives from our own countries with emails and phone calls -- urging them not to give in to the lobbyists, and instead to put forward strong plans to build a sustainable future for our societies, showing the world the way forward.

Just click the link below to see the names and phone numbers of the representatives from your own country -- we've added a few "talking points" you can use in your emails and phone calls: Check them out here "




Saturday, October 04, 2008

Over-stuffed


They're feeding us too much here!

Signs in the Sky


Today I saw a goose in the sky overhead as I was leaving for work. I was packing the car for an overnight trip when I heard this strange noise above me so I turned around to look. It was a sole white goose flying West not too far above me. Nothing strange right? I haven't stopped thinking about it all day - even as I lay here in a hotel room bed unable to sleep. The Celtic (early Irish) Christians had a personal phrase for the Holy Spirit - they referred to it as The Wild Goose - contextualising their Christian faith by using a more common illustration than the Scriptural dove. The notion behind the migrating goose is that we must be prepared to follow it's (the Spirit's) path wherever it leads. The Celtic Christians viewed abandoning themselves recklessly to God as an admirable quality. Recently I agreed to review a book called 'Wild Goose Chase' by Mark Batterson which explores and encourages this approach to Christ which I've yet to open. Strangely, I've also felt that things are changing for my family and I as we've been seeking discernment. At risk of sounding over spiritual (is that truly possible in a non-dualistic framework?), or over simplifying life's enduring questions . . could this morning's experience be a confirmation of God's leading in recent times? Often the merit of a circumstance or experience is the lasting effect it has on us. There is something stirring in me . . time will bear witness to these movements in my soul. Lead on Wild Goose, lead on!