The News in Grief…

So who knew grief was such a tricksy, messy busy?  I have, I must confess , in the past sat and listened to others grappling with loss with a naive head slant, hand-folded, empathic look in my eyes, absolutely oblivious to the terrible, heart-stopping, cliff falling, jaw dropping rawness of grief.  It is only now I see that trying to even start coming to terms with these tumultuous feelings is almost impossible.

Sometimes I forget – just for a moment  and then like a cold hand on my back I jolt to reality – like waking up from a bad dream but in reverse.  And this doesn’t go away.

I am trying not to bury these feelings.  Endeavouring not to anesthetise myself from pain, but rather to hope, against hope, that I am learning something through this – yes even through all this.  Cue the naive head slant, folded hands and empathic looks.

Nothing is the same.  Everything has changed.  I have changed.

Life is shaped by death.  Death casts its ugly shadow, tainting all that has been and all that is to come.

Here’s to hoping that death loses and life wins……eventually.

Blessing for Dad….

May the one who exchanges beauty for ashes,

Who brings joy from mourning,

Who is able to redeem, reconcile and restore,

Bring us peace.

 

May the one who created men capable of magnificent bear hugs,

Envelope us,

Comfort us,

In our time of need.

 

May the one who sparked that cheeky glint in an eye,

Help us have eyes that see glimmers of hope all around,

Eyes open to you,

And to seeing your divine light in those around us.

 

May the one who gives eternal hope,

Who has beaten death,

Has sent it running for cover with its tail between its legs,

Bring us hope.

 

For the Kingdom is yours,

The victory is won,

Hope is assured,

Faith is secure

And Love wins,

Now and forever

AMEN

For Daddy….

ImageI wanted to write something devastatingly beautiful

In testament to a devastatingly beautiful life,

A devastatingly tragic death,

But words seem so empty.

 

 

You, who were able to make me smile in almost everything.

Who comforted just by the slightest touch,

And of course the breath-taking, rib-squeezing bear hug.

Who knew so much of me,

And helped me see so much more of Him.

 

To have known you is to have known something of Jesus,

Grace, joy, compassion, faith, humanity, humility, hospitality,

(maybe not patience!)

Love.

Anchored to a faith foundation that remained throughout.

Modelling hope in adversity,

Demonstrating faith in action,

Showing love.

 

I see you everywhere still

On the 1b bus, your bus,

In the stories I read my children,

At the bus park, sand park, water-tower park.

Walking through the gardens counting squirrels,

Playing scrabble,

Playing catch-up,

‘What shall we have for lunch; dip-dip egg, big egg, crackers?’

‘Another Ice-cream?’,

Fish and chips as a secret treat

Grandad roast dinners

Your Yorkshire puddings will remain unrivalled.

Special paper,

Special times.

Embarrassing me.

‘If you were supposed to have holes in your ears you’d have been born with them.’

Chats,

Big chats,

Chairs,

Toys,

Puzzles,

Grandad cheese,

Grandad Egg,

Mind your backs – all clear,

Black dogs,

‘Cup of tea?’

 

I suppose I will always hear your echo reverberating in daily life,

The shadow of you,

That thought

‘what would Dad say?’

 

Most of all you live on in the way that I live,

In the lives of my children.

My greatest tribute won’t be words but a life,

A life that hopes to be something like yours,

A life embedded in faith, fuelled by hope and lavishly rich in love.

A life like yours,

A Jesus life.

Detachable Deacon…..

I have been following some interesting discussions on Twitter and further afield on the issue of gender and Christianity.  It is so important, I believe, to keep this kind of dialogue going.  But I have to be honest with you I am a little frustrated with it all.  When will we move on?  I really feel that there is a resistance to genuine dialogue and even a determination to shut-down people engaging with the topic.  I loved Hannah Mudge’s blog on ‘Gracious debate’ which I think is so insightful and sums up a lot of what I’ve been feeling but not been able to articulate.  So I have decided to bring some resolution – yes, you thought it wasn’t possible to bring unity amongst such seemingly disparate groups – well here we go!

Now I need to give some background before I launch the product which will bring about change.  When I was 18 I went to a church that was discussing these same kind of issues about gender and leadership (yes, 13 years ago – although the discussion I know is much older than this!).  I remember being in a ‘members’ meeting and voting on whether women could be ‘Deacons’.  Deacons!  Deacons!  A service role, as is all leadership of course, but one already being performed by countless women in the congregation.  The role already existed, it was just a title in my mind.  A title it seems with power – the members voted ‘No’.  It broke my heart.  I was furious – I get that a lot!  I decided that I should do something about it, so I came up with an ingenious plan – one I haven’t hatched until now.  I am preparing to market the ‘Detachable Deacon D*ck’.

Whether Egalitarian or Complementarian this is the solution for you!  Ergonomic, attractive and most of all practical – this device enables women to function in the roles perceived by some to be solely in the male domain.  Put it on, and now, fully endowed, you will be able to preach, teach and hold positions of authority.  This lightweight solution brings a potential end to that tricky dialogue around gender!  No need to engage our brains, read our bibles or even talk to anyone else.  The end of the oppression of women and at last a chance for women gifted by God to be able to step into what God has invested in them!  Perfect!

Versions in the pipe-line for other denominations include; the Papal Package, the Bashable Bishop, the Virile Vicar, the Pastor’s Piece, I am really open to further suggestions!

So there we are – resolution!  I have my order book at the ready and lots of other ideas in the pipe-line.  If dialogue is not a route to move things forward anymore we need to be a little more innovative ; )

Riot….

I know there is currently so much talk, analysis and thought about the recent riots, much of it from more intelligent commentators than me.  However I wanted to comment on some of the reactions I have seen and heard in the aftermath of events.  I do so as someone who has worked with young people for over 12 years and still believes that youthwork and informal education are amazingly powerful tools.

When people start advocating shooting, shipping off and the conscription of ALL young people I am afraid I kind of lose it.  Surely people are clever enough to see these things are so much more complex than that.  ALL young people?!  Young carers working tirelessly to look after family members? – send them to Afghanistan!  Employed young people, paying taxes and ‘contributing’ to the economy?  Shoot them at dawn!  Young people, unemployed but volunteering in their communities? – national service!

I have had the privilege, and I do count it as a privilege, of working with 100s of young people.  They all have one thing in common – they are all human.  A fact that many seem to have forgotten.  It seems very dangerous to start dehumanising people (I think that was one of the tactics adopted during the Nazi regime in Germany?!)  It seems strange that a few weeks ago after the horrific shootings in Norway, young people were seen as children – someone’s child, as human beings, as people.  Only a few weeks later a very small number of young people are involved in rioting and suddenly young people are evil, yobs, feral.  There’s something wrong when we can just switch this image of a whole group of people in society so quickly.

Is Britain broken?  Isn’t everyone?  But isn’t there still beauty, redemption, hope, faith?

Whore

I spent some time looking at much more eloquent and intelligent responses to International Women’s Day (http://www.weareequals.org/ http://www.girleffect.org/question  http://blog.sophianetwork.org.uk/2011/03/international-womens-day-celebrating-100-years.html) but here’s mine. 

I have been moved by so many stories of women around the world who choose to be victors not victims (http://www.halftheskymovement.org/).

Bought and sold

Possessed, owned

Never their own

Property.

Slavery

Never abolished

Never ending

Always prevailing.

A market

A meat market

Not far from Smithfields

Not far from anywhere

Round the corner

Next door

Whore.

Property, got to be,

Properly broken

Properly ground down

Dehumanised

Disguised

Hidden.

Yet the seeds are all around

Smutty remarks in the office

Slapping her arse in jest

Paid less

Worked more

Whore.