Archive | November 2013

mere encouragement #mindfully

In Alister McGrath’s luminous book C S Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet McGrath talks about Lewis’s role as a literary midwife (pp.197-200).

He was especially a midwife to Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings. Tolkien himself said that without Lewis’s ‘sheer encouragement’ he would never have finished his masterpiece. Tolkien said of Lewis ‘He was for long my only audience.’

the creative path less followed

the creative path less followed

I remember my history teacher at school coming to every practice of mine to teach me how to bowl left-arm spin in cricket, not just for my private joy but to try and break into the school team. Because he believed in me I believed in myself.

I remember when I worked in a bank and was wondering what to do with unneeded creativity, someone encouraged me to write every day. Really encouraged me. Cried at things I wrote (not in pain but joy).

Who is it that you can be a creative midwife to? Each person only needs an audience of one to begin with. It begins with helping a child to enjoy the process of creativity before the outcome. To simply revel in pens, ink, paper, colours, nature, our nine senses, the orchard of awareness that lies within.

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Watching with our Transforming Lord, retreat at Worth Abbey 3-5 January 2014

Watching with our Transforming Lord, retreat at Worth Abbey 3-5 January 2014

How do we follow the footsteps of Jesus into our homes, works, and relationships in a way that transforms our lives? In Mark’s gospel, Jesus shows us the way through watchfulness, a lost aspect of the gospel which is cultivated through contemplative practices like Lectio Divina, silence and the Jesus Prayer. The retreat will look at how these practices help us deal with time and work stress. This is an opportunity at the start of a New Year to take time out to take a fresh look at our lives.
This retreat is led by Shaun Lambert, a Baptist minister, frequent retreatant at Worth, writer (a regular correspondent for the Baptist Times and author of a recent thought-provoking book, A Book of Sparks, which mentions his Worth Abbey experiences) and good friend of the monastic community.
See link below for further details:
http://www.worthabbey.net/cloister/weekend.htm

Threshold to Wonder – #mindful of the way of beauty

Threshold to Wonder - #mindful of the way of beauty

A friend of mine Bruce Thompson posted this photo on Facebook. I was immediately taken to a place of wonder as I looked at it.

Alister McGrath in his beautiful book ‘C S Lewis A Life – Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet’ writes:

‘A central theme in the Chronicles of Narnia is that of a door into another world – a threshold that can be crossed, allowing us to enter a wonderful new realm and explore it.’ (p.269)

Each moment of our life is a threshold to different possibilities, including possibilities of wonder. Sometimes we need a photo, a painting, a poem, a story, a face, a beautiful view to remind us of this, to fill us again with hope.

This coming Friday is the 50th anniversary of the death of C S Lewis. Perhaps you could find the thresholds of wonder in your life by re-visiting, or visiting for the first time his stories.

Remember to be reclothed in #mindful beauty

 Remember to be reclothed in  #mindful beauty

Many of us at a Remembrance Day service may have sung the great hymn ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’.
It is about finding a place of stillness, a contemplative mindful place – where we can sense God’s presence and hear His voice.
But it also speaks to me about what are some Christian distinctives about being mindful.

The first distinctive comes in the first verse where we sing, ‘re-clothe us in our rightful mind.’ Christians believe there is a shape to this right mind, both ethically and in terms of the values we live by. This shape is the very mind of Christ HImself (1 Corinthians 2:16).
But that mind has to be developed through contemplation, the re-clothing takes a lifetime of contemplating God mindfully. It leads us to a life of sacrifice and service lived for others.

The second distinctive that speaks to me through this hymn, is the idea that Jesus sees all things with the Father, ‘interpreted by love!’ ( verse two). This mind of Christ as it is developed in us, our right mind, sees the world ‘interpreted by love!’ The perfect love of God interprets, sees things, truthfully and with absolute clarity.

It is fear that takes us out of our right mind, and it is God’s perfect love that drives out fear (1 John 4:18).

Stress, Mindfulness and Compassion for the Teenage Brain

Stress, Mindfulness and Compassion for the Teenage Brain.

 

a link to my article via Instant Apostle for National Stress Awareness Day 2013.

preaching with presence

a link to my article at the Baptist Times – preaching with presence

This is a link to my article ‘preaching with presence’ via Baptist Times Online.