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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A way forward...

I haven't blogged for a long, long time and I have deleted some posts that I felt, in retrospect, didn't fit with where my life was at.

The past few months have certainly been eventful; sometimes tough but always a learning experience and I am always reaching out for the positives.

Lately I have had a couple of conversations where I have tried to articulate the place that I have come to spiritually where I feel at peace. At this time I probably feel the most spiritually content that I have for many years.

As part of my move away from the Christian Church and the baggage that weighed me down emotionally and spiritually I decided that I needed to address three key areas; guilt, prayer and a philosophy of life.

1. Guilt. Throughout my childhood, teens, marriage and my Christian experience I felt that guilt was ever-present burden that slowed me down, created tensions and kept me caught up in a cycle of negativity and pressure. I realized that if I was to find a healthy way forward I needed to address this first.

Around the middle of this year I decided to stop feeling guilty. There are clearly times when guilt operates as a positive corrective in life that we are wise to pay attention to. For example, if I lose it with any of my boys and I feel guilty I am quick to apologize for my error and reassure my boys of my love for them.

What I am talking about in removing guilt is the pressure to conform to a certain lifestyle and mindset that is endemic in the evangelical church. I no longer subscribe to that way of life and I am the happiest I have been for a long time.

2. Prayer. Earlier this year one of my boys was sick for 2 days and one night I fell into bed in the early hours completely exhausted. As I lay in my bed reflecting on the day I instinctively thought of praying but then I realized that I didn't believe in prayer and didn't believe that anyone or anything was paying attention to my thoughts.

In the absence of prayer I felt a sense of loss. Not the loss of a relationship with God but the loss of a mechanism to deal with any concerns or fears that I had. I reflected for a while on the predicament and then came up with an alternative that is free of guilt, easy answers and an expectation of some sort of answer from "out there".

Quite simply, I envisage the ocean with no land in sight at all. I picture myself holding onto whatever it is that concerns me and then I let it go and drop it into the ocean. Having done this I turn away from the image content that I have released the burden. It has proven to be a healthy technique that leaves me free to continue with my life.

3. Philosophy of Life. I believe that it is good for us to have a philosophy of life where one thinks through and articulates the values that will guide and influence one's life.

My philosophy of life is that when I eventually die I want to have made a positive difference to the lives of some people especially my three boys. I want to live my life in such a way that, however much I can, I seek to love fully and live passionately and laugh a lot.

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One step forward...two steps back...

I did the Reiki course...I thought I'd done my homework but it turned out to be a trip back to my charismatic Christian background and healing ministries...

The reiki healing goes where it wants to go...if someone wants healing for cancer they may find their depression lift over time...that's the reiki working in the part where it is needed...

I heard that in healing ministries in Christian churches...God heals where he knows it is needed (always he)...if our prayers aren't answered it is because God is working in HIS mysterious ways...

We pray for rain...if it doesn't rain it is because of some faith reason or God's mystery....when it rains it is because of answered prayer...

It was always going to rain!!

For those long-suffering few who follow my blog you have found my tired and disillusioned...

I didn't enjoy Reiki...I don't know where this leaves me spiritually-speaking...

Watch this space...

Friday, September 10, 2010

New horizons/old methods

I was slightly disappointed to not get more response to my open admission about turning away from Evangelical Christianity to wider spiritual horizons but I was also not too surprised because the Church seems to exist for it's members and will still go on regardless of what questions are asked and who turns away.

Having been involved in pentecostal/charismatic forms of Christianity I have been involved, in the past, in laying hands on people and praying for healing. Reading the Reiki manual I was delighted to realize that I can still explore and use spiritual healing practices but I believe that Reiki offers greater freedom and more appreciation of where people are at without them having to subscribe to a dogmatic faith position.

Saturday 11th September I do Reiki 1 training. I am excited about this new chapter of my journey. The sky hasn't fallen in, Christians don't seem to be too concerned about me leaving the fold and I have peace in my family and my job. For those still along for the journey I will be writing more of my thoughts.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Celebrate Life

As Sat Feb 27th approaches and 7.45pm (AEST) arrives when the 2010 Mardi Gras Parade sets off the issues of homosexuality, rights, gay marriage and the worth and dignity of GLBT people finds itself back on the agenda of the news media and certain sections of the Australian church.

Of course, the issue doesn't take a break in this section of the blogosphere but this is certainly a good time to put my point of view into the melting pot.

I just want to suggest a motif for the 2010 Sydney Mardi Gras should the event drift into your sphere of awareness; Celebrate Life.

Too often, issues get bogged down in prejudice, hatred, bitterness, arrogance, pride etc and these feelings affect all sides of the discussion. In the midst of all of the rhetoric we forget that people are involved; precious, valuable, worthy individuals with hopes, dreams, aspirations and lives that are worth living and celebrating.

As Mardi Gras 2010 approaches I want to take time to dedicate this blog to all of my many GLBT friends who encourage me, inspire me and show me how to love sincerely. For them and the many others who want to live and love freely I say - CELEBRATE LIFE.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sunday Morning Scare

A digression from the usual spiritual fare to report on my recent Sunday morning experience.

In Australia most homes have separate laundries to hold the washing machine. Next to my washing machine is a small cupboard with some spare boxes and, on top of these, is a child's car booster seat. The top of this pile is roughly at my eye level next to the washing machine.

Sunday morning I went out to the laundry and started putting clothes into my top load machine and something caught my eye. I glanced across and froze when I saw a snake curled up on top of the booster seat!

I am English. Many Australians aren't too well versed on varieties of snakes and I haven't got a clue. We were never prepared for snakes when I was at school in Birmingham!

To cut a long story short I rang an excellent organization called WIRES who are a Wildlife Rescue group and they gave me details of a local snake expert. He came and informed me that we didn't have a snake problem; it was, in fact, a Central Australian Carpet Python so it would be an escaped pet.

Once the snake was crawling around on an expert I felt much more at ease but it's certainly not an experience that I want to repeat. On Monday I was speaking to supervisor at University who is Northern Irish and we were lamenting the many ways that you can be hurt, bit or scared witless by wildlife in Australia. Lucky country indeed!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wideness in God's Mercy

For Christians the image above of the cross symbolizes the wideness of God's mercy and grace in accepting tired, stumbling people into His arms of love. When I observe the Church and talk to Christians I see something different; I see acceptance and love with very tight boundaries that are more to do with cultural preference and narrow middle-class values than grace.

The late Rich Mullins wrote a song called "The Love of God" and today I was sitting having a coffee when I recalled these words:

"There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God."
Now THAT is love that I want to be a part of. "The reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God."
Sometimes life tries to beat me down. Over the last couple of months I have been tired and lonely but this morning I lifted myself and stepped in the reckless, raging fury of God's love and I am determined more than ever to tell people Christians, non-Christians, straight and gay that God loves them with a passion that is unsurpassed.

Walking Forward

I apologize for my lack of writing over the past couple of months. I found myself in another trough of depression and have been slowly working myself out. I have taken the positive step of contacting Al-Anon, a support group for Adult Children affected by alcohol and abuse so that I can deal with some of the things that keep trying to derail my life's progress.

Along with this effort to be honest and confront my demons I met with my supervisor yesterday to get the Master's thesis back on track. I have deferred this semester to allow myself to work unpressured and get back to where I should be.

This Sunday I am going with a couple of mates and two of my boys to Crave in Sydney, a vibrant inclusive church. This is my first step back into church for a long, long time so it will be interesting to say the least.

What I do know is that I am taking one step forward at a time and trusting God to go with me. Every time the voices rush in telling me that I am no good, worthless and will never achieve anything I try and speak louder and remind myself that I am a good person and loved by God.
Last night a good friend phoned me and, during the conversation, he told me that I understood "non-Christians" and that it was a rare gift. I think I just know what it is to hurt and I want to listen more than I speak and love more than I judge.