What's Love Got to do with it?

What if we've missed the point? What if Love Wins is enough? And why Rob Bell may just be right.

Right On our doorstep

Think that slavery is a thing of the past? Think that the UK is too civilised to be part of trafficking? Think again

5 reasons why being married to Brit is great (or 5 reasons to marry an American)

5 things you will never know until you marry an American

Masturbation Month

Giving up masturbation for a month. Why we need to save the kittens.

XXXchurch! Whaaa?

Why I love porn (ministries).

10 Nov 2009


In a few hours time I will be doing something I haven't done since I was probably about 14. No I won't be listening to my Disturb CD (wow what was I thinking? What a terrible band)

No I will be going without the internet for a week. If the truth be told I have never gone without the internet before. I mean when I was 14 I didn't really know much about it and certainly didn't have access to it anytime I wanted.

But now I am going to say goodbye to it.

For a week at least.

Yesterday I wrote about why I am doing this but today I want to talk about how I am feeling about it before. Consider it the hypothesis of my little experiment.

When I decided to do this I was a bit unsure if I could. There were so many things that I would miss. Things that have become so essential to me everyday. So I want to talk about 3 things I think I will miss the most.

1/ Facebook. I mean when I wake up everyday my first port of call is facebook. It has become the best way to porcrastinate for probably most of the country. It's like our whole world, our lives, our favourite things, our friends and it's all on one site. It's like we don't want to miss out on anything. If I don't go on facebook I will miss out on something huge.

Where did that idea come from? Why do I think like that? What will happen if I can't communicate with my friends through facebook? Maybe I am scared of actually having to communicate directly with people. What if I can't 'like' what you are doing right now.

It's not like I will be cut off from everyone I know, but maybe it will force me to engage with people properly. I see not being on facebook as taking my life out of facebook and bringing it back into reality.

2/ Spotify. Spotify has only come into my life recently but I think I could miss this the most. Free music on my computer. New albums by my favourite bands right there for me to listen to without having to pay a penny. It's awesome.

I use it when I am on the internet for background music. How will I cope? I haven't played a CD except in my care in donkeys.

I think this will force me to start playing music more. I have started playing the piano the last couple weeks again. And I love it. I have rediscovered my love for making music. If this is one possible plus of not having music to listen to, then I am excited.

3/ My favourite blogs. Lastly the thing I think I will miss the most are the blogs I read. Sites like xxxchurch.com, stuffchristianslike and invisiblechildren are included in my daily 'internet check up'. I visit these sites everyday and they are important for me because they help me think about things. They challenge me, they inspire me. They get me excited and believe in the impossible.

Where am I going to look for those things now? As a Christian we are supposed to have 'quiet times'.

For me these sites have kind of become mine. Not that that is bad. They help me think about my relationship with Jesus. I like them because they are never the same. Thinking about God doesn't get so boring.

Maybe it will force me to read the Bible more. Maybe I will read books in general more. Will this be a good thing? I think so. Right now I think I will come out of this experience deciding that I need to pray more and read the Bible more. Those sites I visit should encourage me to get into the Bible more. But they haven't. So far. And I think after this week they will.

So those are three of the things I will miss out on. Of course there lots more. I am genuinely excited to see how this week goes. Maybe that's sad. But I think it will be good for me.

Throughout the week I will keep a diary of sorts. Somewhere to record my thoughts and experiences and then next week I will share how it went.

Only a few hours to go.

But for now this will be my last blog post for a while.

Over and out...

9 Nov 2009

Work Offline

It's crazy to think that only a few years ago when you got broadband you were at the cutting edge of internet capabilities. Friendsreunited was the best social networking site around and Napster meant we could listen to any music we like. (Thanks Lars!!)

Now unless you have an iphone or a Blueberry or at least a phone with the ability to connect to facebook you are seen as a modern day neanderthal.

How did we cope before the internet? I actually can't remember. I actually can't. My life can't have been fun. I mean how did I know what was going on?

How did we have banter with our friends before facebook status and comment?

How did we listen to music and discover new bands?

How did we arrange to meet up with people?

How did we express our opinions?

What did we do when we were bored?

These are important questions I think, which is why I am going to give up the internet for a week. No more facebook, no more youtube, no more twitter, no more Spotify!

Even writing that last sentence has given me a panic attack. Can I really do without those things?

Honestly? I don't know.

But I want to find out. I want to find out how my life is affected. I want to find out whether its better or worse. Will it affect me at all? Will it affect the type of person I am? Will it affect my relationships? Will it turn me into a recluse?

I don't know. I hope not but I am excited to find out.

I'm not doing this because I think the internet is evil. I'm not doing this to prove we don't need all the things the internet provides?

Because I think the internet is a wonderful thing. And I think it has opened my eyes to the world. To issues that I wouldn't have known about without it. Things like child soldiers in Norhern Uganda. To friends I had lost contact with. That's been a positive thing. It's almost ruined my life by letting me have access to porn anytime I like. That's not so good.

So we'll see how it goes. I could go crazy after a few hours. I could cave in and run back into the arms of facebook before breakfast. You might find me wandering the streets late at night looking for someone to give me a hit of their iphone.

But it could be good for me too. I guess we will find out soon enough.

So from Wendesday night I will be offline.

Tomorrow I will write a bit about how I am feeling before I start.

Now. Can anyone show me how to use a pen again?

2 Nov 2009

Jesus, the Pharisee, the Prostitute and I

My whole life I have pretty much been surrounded by all things 'Christian'.

I went to Sunday School, Church, BB, JAM Club, Scripture Union, CE (sometimes ;)).

I have been involved with ministries like Street Reach, Athletes in Action, Christians In Sport and Ambassadors in Sport ( I fully endorse anything 'in Sport').

I have read "If you want to walk on water....", 'What's so Amazing About Grace', and 'Blue Like Jazz'. I have not read anything by Joel Osteen however. Oh well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad!!

My point being I have pretty much been involved or read or experienced most of the traditional Northern Irish Christian activities.

I don't say that to show off or seem cool. If you were brought up in a Christian house in Northern Ireland, you most likely can identify with all these things, probably more.

In fact, I think I benefited a lot from the few years at Uni when I almost never went to Church or had any Christian culture impacted on me.

Maybe that sounds strange but without that I wouldn't have started questioning stuff, I wouldn't have thought differently about Christianity which to be honest was becoming boring and irrelevant to me. I wouldn't have started reading stuff by people like Rob Bell, which have without exaggerating, changed my life.

If you have been brought up in a Christian family and never gone through that rebellious period that is great. This is not an attack on what I am positive was a great time of growth for you.

But for me, I think I needed a bit of a break. I needed God for sure. I always have, I still do and I always will, but I also needed to break out of the Christian bubble. I think I would have suffocated if not.

One of the problems I had, even though I maybe didn't know it at the time, was that I didn't appreciate Jesus. I had heard about Jesus my whole life but I didn't really know about Jesus. I didn't really know who he was and just how subversive he is.

Things like Salvation were just words I understood but I wasn't fully impacted by. I got comfortable with Jesus. I got too familiar with the fact that he died for me. It started slowly to not mean much to me.

I hear stories of poeple whose lives were messes and who then found Jesus and they are so passionate about their new faith and sometimes it doesn't sound familiar to me. It's like they appreciate Jesus more.

And I wish that was how I felt.

In Luke 7 Jesus has dinner at the house of a Pharisee called Simeon. At some point during the dinner a prostitute walks in off the street and starts to cry in front of Jesus. As if that wasn't bad enough she lets her hair down (which was a big no no) and starts to wipe Jesus' feet and anoint them. All that sounds pretty bad but at least it was more than what Simeon did. Which was nothing.

The woman knew that she was a mess. She knew her life was in tatters and she knew that Jesus could help. And he did. He saved her from the things she was doing. He gave her a new life. He liberated her.

Simeon though, was maybe less aware of his sins. He was confused. His guests were confused. They didn't know what just happened. Simeon didn't really know who Jesus was. He didn't really appreciate Jesus.

I think that I am more like Simeon a lot of the time. I have been immersed in religion for so long that it fogs the fact that I need Jesus. It stops me from seeing that I am pretty messed up and I need him.

I don't appreciate Jesus enough. I don't see who Jesus really is.

And I want that to change.

I want to wake up every day and remember that I need Jesus. I want to remember things I have struggled with in the past and things I struggle with today and remember that Jesus can save me. I want to appreciate what he did for me more.

Most of the time I act like Simeon and don't love Jesus enough. The prostitute was so indebted to Jesus that she anointed his feet. She understood how amazing what Jesus did was. Simeon didn't get that. He offered Jesus nothing.

Simeon had lived as part of the religous elite for most of his life. The prostitute lived as part of the worst and most despised people, most of hers.

It was the religious person who didn't treat Jesus like he deserved. It was the person who was as far away from the 'religious' life that you could get, that did.

When I take Jesus for granted and I don't learn from my mistakes, or when I treat people badly, or when I want my own way and don't think of how that will affect others, I am acting like Simeon.

When I become too caught up in 'Christian' activities and religion I lose sight of Jesus and what he has done for me.

So this week I want to start looking at Jesus more.

I want to appreciate him more.

I want to give more of me to Jesus than I have.

Maybe we should all be a bit more like the prostitute.


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