Monday, January 31, 2011

Circle and triangle

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. (Philippians 4:2)

I know two women who I’ve long thought I could blog about. For their sake, I’ll keep this anonymous, though I have nothing but the highest regard for both of them, and nothing I write here is meant negatively or critically.

These two women both love Jesus. They are both committed to serving him and other people, both live in the same Christian community, both want to see their church grow and flourish and bring honour to God. And being in the same house, they get to work at these shared aims together.

Yet this is where it can sometimes get a bit – well – tricky. It’s not exactly that these two women don’t get on. Actually, overall, I would say they have a solid friendship. It’s more that they’re just different. They can tend to communicate ‘past’ each other. Too long spent without any effort to communicate with each other and they’re thinking, ‘What is she thinking of?’ or, ‘Now why did she say/do/think that?’

They want the same things; they just travel in very different trajectories to get there.

If you’ll permit me to express it abstractly, one of them is a circle, the other a triangle.

‘Circle’ thinks in curves. She tends to feel before she thinks, is naturally spiritual and empathises easily. She flows well. People feel at ease with her. She knows how to have a laugh, too. Confrontation is not her strong suit nor is organisation (without a bit of concerted effort) – but people feel she loves them (she does) and, frankly, this makes up for most things.

‘Triangle’ is more spiky. People enjoy it when she expresses fire and vision, and she can be very inspirational. She’s articulate and has a strong personality. She thinks things through; she’s more motivated by ideas and the ‘big picture’ than the feelings of the moment. But sometimes people find her ‘scary’ and she can indeed lack patience. Perhaps people feel she’s insensitive (in fact, she knows this and agonises over it privately).

The interesting thing about these two women is that they are, in fact, a great combination. To misquote the apostle Paul, ‘If we were all circles, where would the angles be? If we were all triangles, where would the curves be?’

The key thing is this: they need to communicate. When their hearts are in contact and they ‘see inside’ each other, they really are a great combination and a source of strength to our community. Without regular communication, as I’ve said, they tend to stop understanding each other, until they may as well be speaking to each other in Greek and Swahili.

We’re all different. That’s certainly something to celebrate. But let’s keep talking, let's keep on communicating.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Y Jesus

Found this report interesting (from the Bible Society's Newswatch email):

Christianity a ‘faded memory’ for Generation Y

Most young people born since 1982 have only a ‘faded cultural memory’ of Christianity, a new Church of England study reports. Fewer than one in five of the age group – known as Generation Y – believe in a God ‘who created the world and answers their prayers’. A survey of 300 young people, published as The Faith of Generation Y, found that most were unconcerned with answers to life’s ‘ultimate questions’. Prayer was used to cope with family illnesses, bereavements or times of pressure, but a ‘secular trinity of family, friends’ and themselves were their main spiritual resource. However, despite their distance from traditional religion, the report found no active hostility to Christianity.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The beauty of temptation

This intriguing and haunting poem was written by a friend who lives in another Jesus Army community house:

The beauty of temptation

Lord Jesus help me
Help me in my weakness
To cling more tightly to you
And if my nails dig in
And cause your hands to bleed
It is because there is so much
So much that dazzles and draws
And tries to pull me
From you the Being and Source
Of all true beauty.
But if my heart were purer
And didn’t see the beauty in these things
The temptation would not be so fierce
Lord Jesus help me
Pretty deep. G.K. Chesterton once said, 'The man who knocks on the door of a brothel is really looking for God.'

We all hunger for beauty - that's our nobility; we all look in the wrong places - that's our tragedy.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

New creation has begun

A quote from one of my favourite Christian authors, Tom Wright:

...made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world. It is time, in the power of the Spirit, to take up our proper role, our fully human role, as agents, heralds, and stewards of the new day that is dawning. That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God's new world, which he has thrown open before us.

- From Simply Christian