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Category Archives: contact

gazing deeply into each others eyes

trying desperately to see

what we can never get to see

 

what we ourselves look like

 

reaching out to others

to make contact with ourselves

searching longingly for a witness

to our own lives

 

a sign

that we are not alone

 

that in here

we are out there

amongst others

 

and that they

hopefully

are searching too

 

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The old “King James” translation of the bible had a phrase that popped up fairly often.

 

“…and it came to pass that…”

 

Whatever it is,  it will come, and in time it will pass.

 

Whether it is bad and hurtful, even unimaginably destructive and terrifying …

it will come … and it will eventually pass.

 

It may be good and indescribably beneficial, even truly wonderful….

… but it too will come, … and it too will eventually pass.

 

The word eventually is also an interesting turn of phrase.

It speaks to me of events.

Whatever it is, it is merely an event …a singular happening in a long line of other happenings.

And as we know events happen.

They come and they go.

They too will come … and they too will pass.

 

And our God, we choose to believe, … is eternal, … infinite.

 

The same faith we extend to our universe … we choose to believe that it too is eternal, … infinite.

 

As scary as this might or might not be, this to me speaks of movement.

Whichever way I look at it, it speaks to me of always moving on, of not staying in the same place…

 

It also speaks to me of ever expanding horizons.

As we move on new horizons will come and go…  and each new horizon will come, … and it will pass … into and on to the next new horizon.

… unless we stop.

 

It suggests to me that if we pitch our tent anywhere … literally, figuratively, theologically, doctrinally, politically, scientifically, culturally, socially, relationally, emotionally, or in any other way… we forfeit the wonder that could be ours.

We will forfeit the privileges of pilgrimage.

 

Perhaps all we can do is hold on lightly to the present … very, very lightly.

… and with all the joy we can muster, enjoy the ride…

 

And us?

We know this, that the physical life we live is not at all eternal.

We came, … we have a fairly good idea how, but we have no real idea why…

And we fill this gap with many beliefs… religious, scientific, meaningful, meaningless…

But this one thing we do know for sure… that we will all pass.

 

In the greater scheme of things we too are an it.

We seem to live in a very relative world.  Perhaps this world we live in is much more emotionally and culturally based, perceived and even defined than most reasonably intelligent people would be willing to admit.

Everything seems to be relative and equally everything seems to be very relational.  It is virtually impossible to do anything in isolation and yet so many of us feel so isolated.

Perhaps it’s how we relate that really counts.

 

Our perception is all we have and we are only one … or are we?

Even reality itself may well be completely relative, …. and this could be a very lonely, alienating thing, but it’s all we’ve got …. together.

 

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It is clear that thrown into this cocktail we are also amazingly adaptive.  This can be as good as it is bad – we can change for the better or we can change for the worse.  We can absorb open-mindedness or closed-mindedness.  Mostly we seem unaware when we do this – either way.

 

So what might this reveal about our faith? … what we believe and why we believe it?

What might it reveal about our ‘reality’?

 

… and where to from here?

 

Here is an extremely interesting video clip off www.ted.com. enjoy!

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

 

I tried Twitter, it’s clearly THE antisocial network … but Facebook is THE relationship illusion.

Here’s what I did: – for well over a week I tried to get some response, indeed ANY response from Twitters (what do we call ourselves on Twitter? Twits? Tweets? Twerps? Tweeters? Twankers?).. I asked questions, threw out inflammatory statements, insulted here and there …  and, …. no response – well, one or two responses at most, but statistically these were negligible.

My sad conclusion: Twitter is for the pseudo-relational who seem only interested in  wanting to post their own statements and links (and some never seem to say anything from personal opinion but only post links – perhaps to portray that they are well read and conversant with media issues – ?)  and simply seem not at all interested in any form of meaningful personal interaction other than loving the sound of their own fingers ticking away at the keyboard and the ensuing exhilarating, almost orgasmic sensation of hearing their own ‘tweet’ resounding in the canyons of their own mind as they repeat it back to themselves when they ‘proof-read’ their own brilliance.  You know what I mean, … sort of much like masturbation, really only totally self indulgent with no possibility of or any desire for fruitfulness.

On a positive note though, it is an interesting tool to gather info that otherwise would take hours of surfing and research – like the news feed tweets and a very few humerous Twits(?) who from time to time add a stimulating and even challenging angle on things.  My sincere thanks to those few – but you probably will never know who you are as the nature of the beast is what it is.

Also, if you’re a ‘fan’ type of person I do suppose you can feel perhaps profoundly and wonderfully stimulated by following the meandering escapades of some pop persona of your fantasy … but I have yet to hear a convincing argument against my view that this is equally no more than masturbation and desperate ‘soft-porn’ voyeurism of a tragically sad nature.  It may well be worth considering getting a life for yourself instead of living yours through that of some other person.  Perhaps it’s also wiser to go through one’s own underwear before rummaging through that of others.

Facebook however, is not really much better and seems determined to re-evolve (perhaps the better word would be de-evolve) into a purely telemarketing tool sans the telephone … ‘mongrelized’ (don’t look it up – I made the delightful word up myself) with an email spam and phishing scam sans the normal private/business email account.  This serves only to brutally confront any who might use the network sincerely wanting to interact relationally with other humans into being distracted under siege by flashing windows querying whether they would like to join an online dating or singles club, or making one think if the clothes they are wearing whilst typing in the privacy of their own little nest are fitting with the latest fashions and adequately insured for all risks in the unlikely event of them ever meeting one of their ‘friends’ face-to-face.
The only significant advantage in Facebook for me is that it perhaps seems to allow more interaction (albeit not necessarily that much more, but more nevertheless).  For me the interactions and exchanges on updates and notes, pictures and comments are arguably well worth it.   Not really personal contact, but interesting and engaging.

What both share in common is the caressing stroke they seem to play to the ego’s of most subscribers especially those who seem to be high on the “friends” tally.   However, at the bottom of this pile are those who can claim to be a friend of someone they deem significant even if they never will meet them (and if they did the ‘celebrity’ would clearly have no time nor concern for them anyway).  But for the hopefuls who do still wish to climb socially in life …  at the top of this same pile there is the ubber elite who can insert “full” after their page names having exceeded that mystical 5000 friends tally and then occupy themselves by spending the rest of their waking time redirecting the imaginary millions of other “friends” they are convinced will immanently want to flood in and sign up to be their intimate ‘companions’ to another “fan” page of theirs.   All I can say on behalf of the multitudes of defaced bookers is, “O’ Great Poo-Bah(s), we, the lowly, are unworthy, mere mortals … please forgive us for we know not what to do to gather like you.”
On Twitter it is not uncommon to see Twitters(?) ‘following’ ga-zillions of others only to be followed by few – my heart goes out to them. Sneakily,  as part of my ‘experiment’ I deliberately never returned the favour of ‘following’ some who decided to ‘follow’ me (seemingly one of those unspoken universal rules of Twitterville) and they soon stopped ‘following’ me then … Hmmmm??
Cynical old me!! … after all that is the spirit of marketing in our ever so evolved civilised capitalist social system, is it not? – “you scratch my back, I’ll stab yours.”

Neither Facebook nor Twitter are social networks for me.  They are base and insensitive marketing platforms taking advantage of the emptiness of relationships in our modern societies and majoring on the new age currencies of narcissism, political power and economic profit.
So, for me both are really “look-at-me” opportunistic tools … no more and no less … only perhaps Facebook has, along with it’s fractionally more interactive potential, the negative side of actively aiding and abetting distinctly more predators to prowl around, starting with Mr Zuckerberg et al and branching quickly (and exponentially) out to all the hungry 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier predatory advertisers – making Facebook, extremely wealthy ultimately at their own and eventually everyone else’s expense.


I am a father and I know a lot of fathers just like me. Sadly some of us are somewhat socially inappropriate – as men and as fathers. Many are hard business men, aggressive negotiators, strong deal makers, blunt communicators, many even unable to interact with our own peers in an appropriately civil manner.
Nevertheless I am constantly amazed at how these hardened men can often so easily and so naturally be softened and drawn into the humble, lowly realm of the infant child – even to the extent of often willingly engaging with them in the usual “gah-gah, goo-goo” babbling language of the child even delighting in their infantile world view however irrational or even “incorrect.”
Now we view God as our father. Heavenly father yes, but even by God’s own initiative and admission he is declared as our father.
So why doesn’t God speak to us in baby talk?
Or does he?

One of the things that impacts me greatly when I read the gospel accounts is the way Jesus dialogued with those around him.  I use the word dialogue specifically here in contrast to the word monologue which is almost exclusively what we see and hear in our present religious settings.

What I see is that  Jesus asked a lot of questions and engaged intimately and personally with people in many different ways that suggests to me that he was more than just interested in their individual world view but that he even respected it and asked them for clarity on their way of seeing things.

In the gospel of John he goes into quite some detail about the intent of God in his being there and what this was really all about.  In it all there is rich evidence of what I see as God’s desire to engage with us as friends and not as slaves or even servants.  To my mind there is far less emphasis on a heavy, top-down relationship where mankind needs to cower and tip-toe around an angry, hostile, difficult to please master.   Instead I see a completely different picture, that of a great creator of all things, a supreme intelligence, wanting to enter in and explore a mutual relationship that is based on dialogue, friendship, agreement, even open and flexible negotiation.

What also stands out for me is that this was not as a result of any request on our side, prayerful or other.  As far as I can make out there is no record of anyone asking God to make it easier or to relax with all the heavy commandments and tough expectations.  Sure, some prophets lamented quite passionately from time to time but not a lot is recorded as saying, “Hey God, what’s your problem?” “Give us a break will you?”  … “What’s with all these impossible demands?”  “Cut us some slack here – we’re only human after all!”  Instead it appears overwhelmingly so that God’s kindness and open handed acceptance is an entirely unprovoked initiative from God himself.   In fact, even to this day there is more evidence to point to the fact that we still expect a bolt of burning sulphur like anger to descend on our heads at any moment … and this is what we tend to preach.  Yet this kindness, acceptance, unmerited embracing, … it’s all God’s idea.  Even salvation itself is penned as being for God’s sake, not exclusively ours.

Doesn’t that surprise you?  It totally caught the religious intelligentsia in Jesus’ day with their pants down and even with our sense of present time revelation and the ‘new testament’ of unmerited grace and forgiveness I think it still catches us as well.  I see this strange initiative of God as pointing quite convincingly to a desired relationship based on mutual respect and trust and as I said, this comes from God and not us.  For me this is amazing.  Talk about signs and wonders … this is BOTH!

And I don’t see God making a brazen demand for total conformity to a stronger, exacting, legalistically demanding, higher conduct but almost directly the opposite.   To me it presents a picture of the almighty creator descending down to what is obviously a lower order of life specifically to engage and not even exclusively on what is a higher demanding standard, but almost a mutual interaction, a dialogue not a monologue.   For me it’s sort of like, “Listen guys,  we got a huge problem here, sure, but I have a solution … and here’s what I have done about it …”   And if any changes are needing to be made it is God himself who makes it happen before we even know we could or should ask for it.

Equally strangely to me is that we seem to demand these ‘changes’ of ourselves and especially of others, it’s not God who makes these demands.  I mean, the offer was made to us before we even knew we were in need and we were accepted while still unimaginably smelly so why after being accepted with such open handed embrace would there need to be changes made in order to be more accepted?  Yet we expect people to conform to this kind of  stuff.  In fact we demand it.  Stuff like – don’t do this, stop doing that, start doing that, start doing the other thing, think this way and not that way, etc.   It looks to me like this solution we’ve been presented with in scripture is clearly a call for intimacy of a kind that is even in this so-called ‘enlightened’ day strikingly unusual.

“Terms and conditions apply!” – I hear this everyday in the media, but I struggle to see it in the sacred texts.  Yet it is heard from the pulpit all the time and is transferred through social censure and religious internal politics.  In fact, the way it reads to me is that if there are any terms and conditions they are met before we even know they are needing to be met.  As a consequence it really impacts me severely just seeing and experiencing the hierarchical and formal nature of even the most so called ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ of modern church systems.

The way I understand it the offer is to all, even the most anti-whatever, including the worst of the worst.   People who are so off, and I mean OFF! … WAY off – are freely accepted – totally embraced by this crazy, extravagant, generous, open hearted, open handed God.  But with us, if someone has even a slightly different idea on what or who God is or even a slightly different way they do something, they are cut off and rejected, even publicly insulted and humiliated, muscled out to the peripheral courts of the untouchable heathens – those blemishes in the community, the black sheep of the flock.
I cannot help but conclude for myself that this could very easily suggest that we have possibly not ever really understood anything of the intent and practical outworking of Jesus’ words on the matter even though we brandish about the term “The Father’s Heart” with great abandon.

I wonder what might happen if the penny dropped one day?

the longer I live the more I can see

an ancient old soul who dwells within me

a faithful old friend,

to the end

who waits patiently

for an RSVP

a répondez s’il vous plaît from me

a response to a call

simply to acknowledge that I am not alone

that we finally may meet once more

and walk

as we did

just like before

in the cool of the day

that most ancient of days

in ancient ways

before the beginning of times

as in the times of beginnings

the ancient of ways

who was

before it all began

and will be once more

waiting,

ever so patiently

to be so again

He went about doing good and healing all who were under heavy pressure from negative, evil circumstance.   As he went along amazing things seemed to happen around him.  It was clear that a force much more powerful than himself, the words he spoke, or the deeds he did was tangibly present with him.   Lives were marvelously changed as he made contact with all manner of people and as a consequence they sought him out and followed him virtually wherever he went.   They thronged around and asked him questions and he graciously spoke back to them in response.   He taught them what the sacred texts had hidden in them, presented a revolutionary, fresh angle on ancient truth and opened the eyes of the blind.   He demonstrated by way of his own lifestyle, a way of life that had never been seen before.   As a result lame legs were restored, withered arms were straightened and for the first time enabled to reach out and touch, caress and even heal.

Other than the twelve he officially called to be his personal disciples, to leave their homes and families and to walk with him he never asked anyone else to join him or follow him as he walked.   He never developed unrealistic expectations in the hearts and minds of those who met him and instead seemed rather to make it more difficult for them to follow him than that which first was apparent.   He was unpredictable in almost everything he did and when expected to ‘zig’, he ‘zagged.’   He extracted no payment for his service of kindness but often met the needs of the poor instead.   His only charge was for all to honour God and do as he did – to follow his example of giving up his own life for those of his friends.  In fact, he more often than not forbade the recipients of his kindness their passionate request to follow him and even had the emancipated fortitude of wisdom, personal conviction and divine sense of purpose to amongst many other seemingly controversial acts,  inadvertently cause a very wealthy man with all his worldly resources, to turn away from following him by lovingly revealing the great poverty of the mans extreme wealth and success.

He had no personal empire of material or political wealth.   He never drew attention to himself nor promoted his service.  If anything, he underplayed the accolades of the crowd and preferred to call himself the ‘son of man’, a lowly, unpretentious description for someone who performed such incredible feats of miraculous kindness.   He never owned any form of personal transportation nor any building with attractive, socially trendy décor to accommodate the masses who pressed in.   Instead, he chose the dusty footpaths, market places, the homes of often socially inappropriate people, taverns and once a week, the small, traditional religious gathering spots to make contact with people.  He had no permanent roof over his head other than the stars, no place to call his own nor to hang his hat or raise his banner.   He tended more often than not to profoundly offend the established religious order and the prevalent leadership of the day and they too pursued him relentlessly, but for other reasons than respect, admiration and gratitude.

Eventually Jesus was murdered for this, as are any who follow his example and do as he did.

Simple fingerprints and footprints are a sign of our uniqueness.  Only we can leave our prints in the sands of time and space, even eternity.  Only we can touch the world like we can.  If we don’t it simply won’t happen.  If another places their print on ours both smudge, both are spoiled.  There is no hope of redemption in this.

Only we can touch our world and leave our unique mark.  To try replicate or even copy another, no matter how noble or worthy that person may be is an abdication, even an attack on our own uniqueness, our own integrity, theirs too.

By so doing we relegate ourselves into worthless shadows of the person we think, or vainly hope we’d like to be.

_________________________________

disillusioned

Most of us have experienced disillusionment. Even if we can’t recall the experience we often hear of someone who says they are disillusioned. Disillusionment can cause devastation. Many who express disillusionment have felt let down by people through some sort of experience. A cheating partner, lover, or a liar can be extremely difficult to get over once the deviance and betrayal is exposed. After the initial shock disillusionment sets in, often leaving the victim almost in a state of total collapse. I have heard of people who claim to be disillusioned by God or the church, or by some institution like marriage, a political party or a social club. Some express disillusionment with men or women. I have even heard of people who claim to be disillusioned with life. These people often feel severely let down and usually they express great pain and discomfort, even torment in their situation.
I love words and the meanings they convey. My mind naturally gravitates to the possible applications of words. I love to know the origins of a word or saying so the concept of disillusionment jumped out at me and I decided to check it out just for fun. I was amazed at what was obvious in the meaning of the word. It changed a lot of things in my mind.
I logged on to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ and typed in “disillusioned”. This is what I got straight off the bat: [To free or deprive of illusion. n. 1. The act of disenchanting. 2. The condition or fact of being disenchanted. adj. having lost one’s ideals, illusions, or false ideas about someone or something; disenchanted]
Isn’t that fascinating?
Now to my mind to be enchanted means to be under some sort of spell. In other words to be bewitched. I dug a little bit deeper and found out that the origins of the word comes from Latin meaning: action of mocking, from ‘illudere’ or ‘incantare’- to mock at. All this suggests the action of deceiving, the state or fact of being intellectually deceived or misled, even made a fool of.
To be under an illusion means that one is under the perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature.
So, what pain do we feel when we are disillusioned. The pain of perceived betrayal is very real and hard to bare. But maybe it doesn’t stop there? Could it be that the trauma we experience is the pain we feel being pressed into releasing our own make-believe world? An imaginary world we seem now to have lost as a result of the perceived betrayal? Could it be possible that the pain we experience be that of our being exposed not so much by the ‘perpetrator’ but by our own folly? Perhaps that might be just a little harsh, but it is worthy of serious evaluation.
In short, when we begin to understand the real meaning of the word, disillusionment is, amidst the huge discomfort, a good state to be in. Disillusionment is at least potentially, the start of a process of having the illusions in our lives weeded out and destroyed.
Perhaps we should rejoice when we are disillusioned as it could very well be the beginning of clarity of mind for us pertaining to our thinking and/or our environment.