Thursday, August 31, 2006

Barcelona - Pitchside at the Nou Camp


Pitchside at the Nou Camp! Like a kid in a candy shop. Quite special and certainly the highlight of the holiday. Best bit was simply imagining myself just strolling a few strides forward and curling a right footed shot into the top left hand corner of the goal, sending 100,000 fans wild.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Crazy Momentum Joy

I set out a couple of dreams/goals before Momentum and they were well and truly met! Firstly, the DNA stand didn't feel like the defining point of the week - I was delighted that I was able to find loads of time to spend with friends, chat, banter, rock and cheesy disco dance.
And secondly, the immense freedom in worship meant I did feel 16 again. 4100 of us just went crazy, like I mean CRAZY - jumping around and shouting out with few inhibitions. What an atmosphere of joy! A joy which I want so much to take away from Somerset and hang onto when I'm stuck on a maths equation or got my hands in a washing up bowl (!!) in the coming months.

And yet it's always the hardest and most challenging aspect of a week like Momentum which becomes the stand out point from it. It was that of sacrifice and putting others before yourself, which is such an alien concept in our consumerist culture. One night a 78 year old (and really with it 78 yr old, so much so that he looked 55!) called Brother Andrew came to talk to us and he's been to some pretty tough war-torn places in his time, and is still going to places where you would least want to go. And he just goes - he doesn't wait for an invite. Remarkable.
And d'you know what, for the first time I began to realise what it means to say (or sing!) you'll do anything or go anywhere that God wants. And d'you know what, we were asked whether we were up for it and when it came to the crunch I couldn't say yes. It's such a big deal, like ANYTHING! And I couldn't do it. The fear or rationalising or self doubt or whatever you want to call it, held me back.
But I don't beat myself up about that. It made me so aware of my limitations and frailties. And that is exactly where God wants to meet us. He has no illusions of us and never has had. And that is the beauty of Grace. And that is why we jump around full of joy.

Friday, August 11, 2006

MAKE PROMISES HAPPEN

I've hesitated about doing this post cos it sounds so hypocritical. I've got to be the first to admit that I've almost forgotten about the Make Poverty History campaign of 2005 and seem to have less interest in it now. I'd even forgotten that the MPH banner is still in the right hand corner of my blog. After all, that was 2005 wasn't it? 2006 was World Cup year. And the media has understandably moved on.

But look how easily I've passed the buck! Just cos it's not on the tele doesn't mean that the need still isn't there and that the campaign still doesn't rumble on. On the more positive side it is hard for us, stuck away in our little comfortbale corner of England, to see the difference that would have been made by MPH. Big promises were made that would make big differences. And so the campaign has cleverly moved on to MAKE PROMISES HAPPEN.

Did you even know that there has been another G8 summit in 2006? It pretty much passed me by. There's also a G8 summit in 2007 and I've a sneaky feeling that more atttention and campaign pressure on poverty will be given then. So is it time to refocus again? It's not really right for me just to relay info from the main websites, pretending as if I really know what's going on, so let me just point you in their direction.
Live 8 
Make Promises Happen 
Make Promises Happen My Space 

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I AM WHAT I AM

About a month ago I was intrigued by an Adidas ad campaign and now it's the turn of Reebok. Whilst the Arctic Monkeys are spreading a 'Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not,’ philosophy, Reebok seem to prefer, ‘I AM WHAT I AM.’ To be able to say ‘I am what I am,’ is such a freeing position to be in. It’s saying: I don’t need to be like anyone else – instead I’m free to be myself. It’s saying: I’m aware I don’t get everything right but I’m even prepared to love my quirks.

Even more interestingly though ‘I AM WHAT I AM,’ is the chosen name of the creator of the universe! (Check out the infamous Moses and the burning bush episode at Exodus 3:14.) I’ve been reading about some of the high powered theories about what God means by this phrase and opinion is divided. But for me, it’s one of the many paradoxes of God. So here the very name of God actually says that He’s indefinable – He just is.

To further please you factfans, the original translation of ‘I AM WHAT I AM’ is ‘Yahweh,’ which you might recognise as the name of a U2 track off their most recent album. I’ll leave you today friends with some thoughts from that song.
          
'Take these hands, Teach them what to carry
Take these hands, Don't make a fist
Take this mouth, So quick to criticise
Take this mouth, Give it a kiss.’