Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sick of the Rhetoric

At times I feel torn between two worlds. I have touched a little on this in past posts (you can go digging if you want), but in reality this - the "thing" I will go on to write a little more about in a minute - really grabs me and throws me around at times. It leaves me feeling sick in my stomach, it makes me feel useless and helpless and makes me angry.

I hear the guys who say "all you fellas do is bitch about the church, you're all talk but never any action", and I agree - it's so easy to just bag while doing nothing, but hear me out - this isn't what I'm about. At the end of the day though, I am gutless. Instead of sitting here in the safety of my own home and punching words into a blog interface, I should be out there confronting the source of my feelings - but to be perfectly honest, I have tried and I don't know what more to do, other than to get ugly and aggressive.

A 15 year old client in the drug program I run was telling me a horrific story the other day. He told how he was left to cut the body of a friend down from the rafters of a backyard shed. The kid had hung himself while his mates partied just metres away.

As I heard this story and then heard how this brave young man was (or really wasn't) dealing with it, it was all I could do to stop myself from breaking down. And this young blokes story isn't an isolated case. I deal with similar stories, similar lives, on an almost daily basis.

But that isn't what gets me angry. What gets me angry is the crap I hear from the local super-pastors. Its the crap that makes it look and sound as though their models of attractional, "build it and they will come" Christian mediocrity (flashy yes, but like the proverbial "tits on a bull" pretty useless when it comes to the real kingdom work) are actually doing something to change their community.

To make it better.

To make all the non-Christians leave there grotty, stinking little lives behind and come and join the enlightened on a Sunday morning.

To raise their hands and rock out to Hillsong beats, and put on masks of perfections.

But it isn't really happening! You - the ones who propagate this rubbish - open your eyes, wake up and smell the coffee - you are doing very little other than entertaining Christians and building your empires.

The non-believers aren't coming.

They are too busy recovering from the party the night before.

Or coming down from a three day drug binge.

Or from having to cut down a dead, 17 year old mate from the rafters of the shed.

Or, on the other hand, they are just too comfortable in their own lives to give a shit about the local mega-church's Sunday morning service.

They are not, as one super-pastor said in my presence a couple of months back, going to see all that you have to offer and have no other choice but to take notice and come join you on Sunday, because, in reality, THEY REALLY JUST DON"T CARE ABOUT YOU!

In a town of around 50,000 there is so much the self-proclaimed Jesus followers could really be doing. They could seriously change the landscape of this town in a major way, if only they would pull their heads out of their own backsides, stop promoting themselves and their Sunday service first, and start putting Jesus Christ in the number one position in their lives.

Do you get that?

Your "church" doesn't matter.

Your music, the sound system you use, the lighting rig and stage set-up are meaningless, if you are not "being", "living", imitating Christ in your community. And, YOU'RE NOT!

I know without a doubt that many of the young people I work with would jump at the chance to have a place to belong, and many of them are already interested in Jesus. Then there's their families, and their friends.

But how do we do it? I am committed (and I believe called) to another community - the one in which I live, which has its own challenges and frustrations and so am not sure where to go with these "waifs and strays" in Bunbury, and I certainly can't do it on my own. But most of those I speak too or encourage to think about the opportunities, are unable to divorce it from the context of their own "church". It seems everything has to be "owned" in order to work! What a crock!

Seriously, if you are in the Bunbury region and read this and seriously do have a heart for those that Jesus loves who are not living the way the church says they should live, and you are not just about adding numbers to "your church", contact me! There is a whole, virtually untouched, mission field here in your own backyard.

If your not in Bunbury, please pray. Pray for these kids. Pray for their families. Pray for the church in this town.

Hopefully, this is a prayer that will be answered soon.

Well, I feel like the anger (hopefully righteous anger) is now starting to subside. I'm going to go and pray. Looking forward to hearing from you. Catch you 'round. Not sure when, but sometime soon I hope.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

... The sea remains the sea

Dear Lord, today I thought of the words of Vincent van Gogh: 'It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.' You are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same. Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained; and to your love I am always called back. There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success;
but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love.

My only real temptation is to doubt in your love, to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love, to remove myself from the healing radiance of your love. To do these things is to move into the darkness of despair.

O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea. Amen - Henri Nouwen

Joy went to be with her King on Tuesday afternoon. Thank you to everyone who took the time to pray for her and her family and friends. She will be missed but is now free from the struggles of life in Kigali - for that we give praise and thanks to our Master and Rescuer; Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Urgent Prayer Request

Joy Mukagasangwa, the main teacher in the CUF primary school is in a critical condition in King Faysal hospital in Kigali. While doctors are unsure of her exact condition she appears to be suffering from pneumonia-like symptoms and is regularly having several litres of fluid drained from her lungs. Dr's have also found what appears to be a tumour between her heart and esophagus which, on top of the fluid in her lungs, making it difficult for her to breath or eat.

Facilities in Kigali are limited and Dr's would like to transfer her to Kampala but do not have the means to care for her on the journey.

Please join with us and our brothers and sisters in the CUF as we pray for a miracle. Joy is the mainstay of the school, is a mother with young children and a wife to Theo. In each of her roles she is treasured and important.

Let God's will be done.