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).

22 Nov 2010

The Lost Art of Affirmation

You remember how as a kid you would do something. Maybe a blob of paint on a page that you passed off as art on par with anything Monet ever produced. Or you wrote your name on a page, even though it looked more like those puzzles where you follow the fishing lines to find the treasure rather than the old boot.

But it didn’t matter. Because in your eyes it was the greatest thing since…well at that age, ever.

You were so proud of yourself and all you wanted to do was show someone. Anyone. Just to show them that you could do something. That you had learned a skill you didn’t have yesterday. That’s an important step in our development I think. To show another human something we created and have them tell us how good it is.

But somehow we lose that. Instead when we grow up a little we like to keep stuff from people. We get more and more used to hearing criticism or having people laugh at our 'crappy' attempts of being creative. So we decide to hide what we produce and we decide to keep it to ourselves even though it was made for the world to see/taste/read/feel. (not smell..what are you making that you want people to smell?!)

It seems that when you are a kid, adults need to keep telling them that they are smart and bright and can walk a few steps. Most adults can do those things pretty easily, but we know and recognise that kids can’t and they need encouraging.

But is it just children who need to be affirmed?

In the last week or so I have received two separate messages from people who I didn’t even know read my blog. And they liked it. They were genuine and they were sincere and I didn’t expect those two people to be readers. But they are.

And quite frankly it made me feel great.

At first it felt a little wrong or even egotistical to feel great. But then I realised that was crap and I enjoyed the feeling.

It made me happy and I felt like what I was doing was at least a little bit decent.

But most importantly it made me want to write. It made me want to create and carry on and not give up.

Which made me realise something. That it doesn’t matter how old you are, we ALL still need to be affirmed and encouraged.

From a young age I have been told that I need to be more like Jesus. I never really know how to go about this especially since the one time I tried to walk on water ended badly and I still need to fork out at least fiver if I want some wine. But I’ve been told to love others, to give to the poor, to turn the other cheek. All great things, but I think that one thing has been missing. There is one way in which we can and should be like Jesus that somehow we miss or deliberately ignore.

Talking of walking on water. Remember the time that Jesus told Peter to walk towards him….on water?

The disciples were on a boat when they saw Jesus on the surface of the water walking towards them. Then Jesus said one simple word to Peter.


So Peter started to take a dander towards Jesus...on water. Then at some point it must have hit him what he was doing and he freaked out a little and this happened.

'But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying,

Lord, save me.

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.'

Instead of Jesus laughing at Peter he encouraged him. Instead of telling Peter he had let him down he gave him hope. Instead of telling Peter he would amount to nothing he helped him stand up.

He affirmed Peter. Can you imagine what it must have felt like for Jesus to pick you up and show you that you can do it. That you can walk on water for Pete's sake. But he did.

How often do we look at other people's lives and take a swipe at them? How often in Church, in work, in life do we put down people who are trying to create something beautiful?

A lot more than we should.

But how often do we follow Jesus' lead? How often do you, without being asked, encourage the people you know and love in what they are doing. In their work, in their music, in their writing, in their art, in their life?

Probably a lot less than we should.

Because when we do they will probably want to create more or create better. They will probably want to encourage someone else. They will want to keep challenging themselves and the people around them to give that thing that they know they can.

When Jesus told Peter to walk all he said was "Come"

Maybe we just need to hear Jesus tell us "Come" or sing, or write, or mould or begin.

Maybe then we can find affirmation again.

6 Nov 2010

Quitters Anonymous

I'm a quitter.

There I said it.

I don't like seeing things through. When something gets tough I take the easy route and bail. It's easier. It means no emotional involvement and it means not having to face yourself. Which may be a good thing short term but not so much in the long term.

Take writng for example. Already I have started to write something three times and deleted it all because I thought it was rubbish. Which it may have been. But the truth is I just wanted to stop. Close my computer and go and do something else. Not have to deal with the part of me that tells me I need to write.

Does that happen to you? If you are a human reading this then I am pretty sure the answer is yes. Maybe not writing but maybe following a dream, or an opportunity.

How often do we give up on the first sign of trouble. Or even the second or third. The first time something we are working on doesn't quite work out the way we hoped. Or had in mind. The job interview we ballsed up or the song or the book. In our head we had this idea that it would be amazing first time. That it would come together the way we imagined right away.

But that never happens.

We want to find our own individual voice but we feel like we are speaking for someone else. That's how I feel most of the time I write. I am still searching for that. I am still searching for what will make how I write, my writing. Most of the time I feel like I am just rehashing old ideas. Even my own ideas.

So I want to quit. I don't want to be fake or copy someone. I pretend that quitting is noble. But it isn't.

But if I give up I will never find my voice. I will never find out what it is I was meant to do. Sure going ahead may mean I will sit and stare at a blank screen frustrated and confused. But if I give up I will never get through that. If I walk away I may feel better, but sooner or later I will be called to write again. And when I do I will go through the same motions.

So how do I stop that cycle?

I write.

I have to. I have no other choice. If I don't I will grow more and more frustrated. And if I do keep going?

Eventually I will get there. There may be a lot of typing and deleting. But I will get there. I have to. You have to. We have to.

The alternative is not worth thinking about. Or maybe it is.

What if Shakespeare had given up? What if Michelangelo didn't push through his sore neck painting the Sistine Chapel roof (what a pain that must have been?!)

There are two people who would have missed out.

First, themselves. They would not have experienced the joy that fulfilling their purpose brought.

Second, everyone else. Their work brought and continues to bring happiness, inspiration and motivation to the world.

Don't deny us your work. Don't deny yourself.

3 Nov 2010


More and more recently I have been considering poverty.

A thought occured to me that there must be enough resources in the world for everyone; it just isn't being distributed well enough. I mean if one footballer can earn himself £250'000 a week and is playing terrible, there is something gravely wrong. But it can be easy to blame the world's poverty on the insanely rich.

I work in a shop and we throw food out all the time. Whenever bread has reached one day before its sell by date we throw it out. And that's its sell by date, not it's use by date. Think about the last time you had a meal with a lot of people. Did you finish everything on your plate? Then think about the last time you had a big feed. Did you get to the end and then feel full or could you have stopped a lot earlier?

There is enough.

So why do billions of people not have enough?

None of us really want to think about people who live in Poverty. It's an issue that we are just tired of hearing about. In some ways we have come to accept it. Poverty is a fact and no matter how much we give we can't fix it all. So we don't do anything. There was a time when images of starving kids around the world on the news really effected people.

Last year $300 million dollars was donated voluntarily in the USA to charities. That's a huge amount of money. But when you consider that 95% of that was given to charities based in the USA then the 5% remaining which was dontated to International work doesn't seem so large.

So when $300 million dollars is being donated in one year and most of that is staying in one country, a country which just happens to be the wealthiest in the world, it makes eradicating poverty seem like a lost cause.

But Jesus didn't think so and neither should we. For Jesus, doing something about poverty was a central focus to his message. If we are to take his message seriously we just can't ignore poverty. Doing so is ignoring Jesus.

So what do we do about it?

Well writing a blog about it won't do a thing. If I change my eating habits or my buying habits it won't change a thing. But what about if WE all changed our eating habits?

The truth is it takes all of us to do something. We all need to take action. We all need to give generously. Not just as a group of individuals but as leaders and Governments and Churches. Only then will extreme poverty come a thing of the past.

A impossible dream? I don't think so. Daunting? Maybe. Impossible? Never


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