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Third Places

30 May

 

So, what do you think of Third Places (aka Third Way)?  This concept really interests and excites Jonathan and I.  We are due to move to Canada (probably East Coast) at some point over the next 12 months or so.  The time is down to a) When our visa comes through, immigration take quite a while to go through the permenant residency visa process (been waiting almost two years already!) b) we could go earlier but we need the financial support, which isn’t easy to get.  Anyway, back to the present!  When we arrive we really want to open a Third Place area (coffee house, bookstore etc) and build a community around that.

Brother Maynard has a really interesting post today about The Terra Bite Lounge which is based in Kirkland, WA.  It’s a voluntary payment cafe, which is an interesting concept.  I get really excited when I read on Jamie’s blog about The Dusty Cover, the third place bookstore which Ywam Winnipeg are launching later this year.  In the UK I’ve recently become aware of a childrens clothes store called B@titude, which is in Leatherhead, just south of London.  This clothing shop has a real community around it.  People from all around donate their unwanted childrens clothes, toys etc and they are sold there, nothing is more than £2.50 ($4.50) and families come and browse and buy what they need.  The difference with this small shop though, is that there is a childrens play area and a coffee area for parents.  This coffee area is the hub of this shop.  Everyone is welcome, some stay ten minutes, others most of the afternoon, chatting, supporting one another etc.  There are special cards on the counter where people can write down any items they desperately need such as a car seat, high chair etc, and the shop will source it for them.  The community within this clothes shop have brought a goat for a village in Kenya, they have funded a well in Uganda, are currently campaigning so that gypsies in the local area can have a permenant home.  What a difference this small clothes shop, which has a community hub around it is making – bearing in mind that most of the people who shop there are on lower incomes themsleves.

This is the kind of stuff I long to be involved in.   Do you know of any third places?  Are you involved in one?  Do you think they have a point, and can bring Jesus into a society which doesn’t connect with church? Are they places whose workers can be viewed as missionaries?

Across The Faiths

26 May

I’ve been thinking a lot about how Christians come across to people of other faiths and beliefs. Generally in the media we only read about Christian extremists who, to be honest, give us all a bad name. I think to achieve peace within our cities, countries and the world, end poverty etc we need to put aside our differences and really work with other religions. This might not lead to mass conversions, but it will build relationships which are really lacking. The longer the war on terrorism goes on, the wider the gap is going to get between Christian and Muslim. The longer the situation in Palestine continues the wider the gap becomes between Muslim and Jew and so on. At the same time though, we have to figure out how we can work with people from different denominations within our own faith effectively, without getting petty over doctrine etc. Some would say that if we can’t even do that, then how do we expect to have effective relationships with those from totally different religions and belief systems?

Why is it that within our towns and cities we are wary of working with people of other faiths on projects that would benefit everyone?

Do you, or do you know someone who, is regularly involved with building relationships with those from other faiths and beliefs?

Would you like to be more involved, but feel ill equipped?

Do you think that Christian leaders should regularly meet with Imams, Rabbis, Buddhist Monks, Pagan Leaders etc to build relationships and get a deeper understanding of a) their beliefs and b) their experience of Christianity?

Are you someone who is not a Christian? What has your experience of working with other Christians been?

Happy Mothers Day

13 May

Wishing you all a wonderful Mothers Day.

Motherhood

2 May

I love being a mum. I have two gorgeous children who I love to bits, and I’m so proud of them. They bring me lots of joy. It’s so easy to look at babies before you become a parent and think how cute and cuddly they are. It’s only once you’ve had your own baby that you realize that, yes, they are cute and cuddly, but it’s really hard work as well! Your life is never going to be the same again. I wouldn’t have it any different – I couldn’t imagine life without my son and daughter.

Being a mum is also full of pains – especially the pains you start to feel as your child enters the school age world, and they start to realize that not everyone likes them. The pains of watching your child go through something such as surgery, knowing that you can only be there for them, but wishing you could stop what was going on, or take their place. The pains of watching your child feel hurt and rejected. Children, like adults, have to walk through situations, it’s part of growing, learning, becoming a better person. As a mum I often wish I could scoop mine up under my wings and shield them from the world.

Our son has special needs – he is borderline on the autistic spectrum. We have walked through many pains and disappointments with him over the years, we’ve also walked through much joy together. At the moment we are going through a painful period. He is struggling so much with school, he is being bullied, and is saying things like he would rather he wasn’t here 😦

I’m pretty sure now that we are going to home school him, as well as our daughter. It’s a big undertaking, but I have to look out for them. I’m not withdrawing them from the world, as they’ll get a lot of social interaction still. Things aren’t working well for my son, and I have to take action. No one else will fight his corner, and I have the means to stop sending him into a bad situation everyday. I was listening to U2’s song Miracle Drug earlier, it really resonates with Jonathan and I, because we really would like to know what’s going on in our sons head at times.
I want a trip inside your head
Spend the day there…
To hear the things you haven’t said
And see what you might see

I want to hear you when you call
Do you feel anything at all?
I want to see your thoughts take shape
And walk right out

Freedom has a scent
Like the top of a new born baby’s head

The songs are in your eyes
I see them when you smile
I’ve seen enough I’m not giving up
On a miracle drug

What can women bring?

24 Apr

 

Nearly two weeks ago I read Women in Ministry by Rachelle Mee-Chapman from Monkfish Abbey, which features in the latest edition of Next Wave News. Rachelle’s article has got me thinking a lot. I have been asking myself how women are involved in the emerging/missional conversation? And are our voices heard? Now let me make one thing clear, I’m not a feminist, but I do believe in women’s rights, in equality. There are a handful of women I can name who are really involved and respected within bloggoshere/ministry. Yet, I know that there are many women trying to get involved. One more thing I need to make clear is that my intention in this post is not to moan about men. I’m articulating a few thoughts I’ve had, and would love for both men and women to contribute with their thoughts as well.

My thoughts over the past few weeks have been on the differences between male and female approaches to things. I think men are more dominant, more pushy and, to be honest, more respected within the Christian arena. I think women, are generally more gentle, so, as Rachelle points out, people get upset when women become angry, frustrated, and assertive – therfore they are dismissed. I think more men have had theological training, therefore it’s easy for women to feel a little isolated in conversations when too many “big” words are used. It is also, as Rachelle highlights, not easy for women to go off to gatherings and conferences, as we have to think about child care etc. Whereas men can almost come and go as they please.

Another thought I’ve pondered on is whether women are not as prominent as men because of their institutional church (IC) experience? Within IC women are often an after thought, so have we unwittingly taken on this ideology in our conversations/ministry outside of IC? Deep down do we think that our thoughts, our contribution is not validated? Do we feel un-respected? I know from my own experiences I have received many promises from IC’s about how I could become involved etc, but once my husband is within their employment they seem to forget that I exist.

As women, how do you feel about your place within the emergent/missional conversation? Do you feel inadequate, dismissed, or are you happy that you thoughts are taken on board? Do women just need to shout louder? As men, how would you like to see women more involved with the conversation? Do you think women have anything worthwhile to contribute? Do you think women should become more vocal? And how can men help women to feel more included?

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