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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Doubting (and) Thomas

I am on one of my periodical visits to the internet and I have enough time to squeeze in a blog to reassure any readers of my continued existence. As part of the recent events in my life I find myself, happily, as the primary carer for 8 year old Thomas. He is not in school at the moment because the education authority won't have funding for a teacher's aide until next term and so Thomas and I are enjoying life, studying at home and becoming even better friends. There is no doubt about my love for my other two boys but, because Thomas and I have more time together and because of his disabilities I feel a strong bond with him.

In the midst of the changing times and reorientation there is also my continuing journey of faith and doubt. I went back to church 2 weeks ago but, I have to be honest, and say that evangelical church with its songs, 30 minute sermon, coffee and return to the world leaves me very cold. I know such a bland, limited sentence leaves me open to criticism but for about a year now I have been trying to find a way of honoring my sincere spirituality and love for God with my disillusionment with institutional church.

This is a story that will be continued.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Presence

The past few weeks have been eventful to say the least but I felt that it was time to blog again and offer some thoughts and let people know that I am still here and growing stronger each day.

As part of this process of change, repentance, healing and restoration I have been considering the place of anxiety in my life. I have been really challenged by a fascinating book called "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. I picked it up from a charity bookshop a while ago and recently started reading it.

It is a book that, I guess, fits into what evangelicals would call "new age" teaching and I must confess that when I saw it on the book shelf I felt the old evangelical misgivings creeping in but I decided, as I knew he was an important spiritual author, to give the book a fair go. It is wonderful. I can't say that I agree with all of the ideas contained in the book but the basic premise has really helped and encouraged me in recent days.

Tolle asserts that the only moment that ever exists is "now". We allow the past to impact upon us too much and we worry or plan for a future that we can never know and these two pressures cause us anxiety, fear or simply to not be in the "now". What interested me as well was the suggestion that there are no "problems" but simply "situations" that need to be dealt with. Tolle asked the reader to learn to be here and now. If there is a situation we can do one of 3 things; we can get out of the situation, we can change the situation or we can accept the situation as it is.

I am still trying to learn, understand and accept other parts of the book but last night as I lay in a temporary holiday cabin where I am staying with Thomas while we look for a rental I accepted the now, enjoyed my surroundings, became at peace with my circumstances and slept well and did not allow anxiety to crowd in as it has done so often in the past.

I am told that this teaching is similar to certain Buddhist teachings and, as I said, I am still figuring out which parts of the book I disagree with and why that it is but, as a guide to being and the power of the presence it is a very, very good book. Too often Christians live in a world of head knowledge and ridicule or dismiss meditation and contemplation forgetting that the history of the church is rich with these practices.

For me I am going to sit awhile and just enjoy being here now.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Some other beginning's end

Amongst the wonderful thoughts and prayers that I have received in this time of turmoil and change someone quoted a line from "Closing Time" by Semisonic.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end."

Way back when God was making new beginning's from some other beginning's end. He did it with Adam, with Abraham, with Moses, with Paul and, ultimately, with Jesus.

When Jesus was nailed to the cross to die an ignominious death it was the end of what had seemed such a promising beginning. But there was a new beginning waiting to unfold.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring; I just know that I am trusting in the one who fashions new beginnings out of the unlikeliest materials.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A new beginning...I guess

After many ups and downs and trial and tribulations things came to a head last Tuesday when my wife of nearly 13 years said she could no longer be married to me. The details are not relevant for a blog but I wanted to share this information because it will, inevitably, color my writing from this point forwards.

I have been through a lot in recent times and I am SO weary. I don't know what the future holds but I love my 3 boys and we are both committed to their future and happiness. I am still not keen on church; still clinging to God and feeling lonely and trying to minimize and work with the fluctuating anxiety that comes like rolling waves.

I am not blaming anyone just trying to find a constructive way forward. Let's see when erudite gems emerge out of this new period of my life. I feel very unemployable being a separated ordained pastor who is seeing a psychologist and has been wrongly accused. I am thinking of picking up the Masters of Counseling. I have little money and am staying with 2 wonderful friends who have extended an open welcome for as long as I need it.

I am keen to be able to find a reasonable place for when my kids come over and I want to be fairly close so they can call in when they miss me or want to catch up.

Thanks for listening.