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Don’t be surprised! April 10, 2014

Posted by thehutch in ponderings.
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I am writing this on the fly and so the complete and correct quote eludes me but we have probably heard it in one form or another. “Why is the church the only army that wounds it’s own soldiers?” You probably read it and there is something that resonates.
In the last week or two, social media has been awash with Christians attacking one another in the public domain. It is not just in social media – our gatherings, our workplaces and our homes. Our witness to Christ and the gospel can be so easily tainted.
It’s nothing new though – religious leaders were not entirely welcoming to Jesus, Paul fell out with a few folk too….Christian history is full of it, that’s one reason for the Reformation.
However, not a our falling out is positive, the vast majority of the ‘wounding’ is damaging, painful and dishonouring to the one whose name we bear. The good news is that God can reclaim the ground eaten by the locust, that’s my prayer – God, reclaim the ground! Meanwhile, I challenge my own heart to see what I need to correct, my log is greater ;-)
I should not be surprised at what I see but I long for the day when we dwell together in unity and recognise that it is there that The Lord commands the blessing.

Quote of the day April 8, 2014

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“Don’t believe something just because you want to, and don’t embrace an idea just because you’ve always believed it. Believe what is biblical. Test all your assumptions against the precious words God gave us in the Bible” Francis Chan

Estates – Not a Dirty Word March 20, 2014

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In conversation recently, I was sharing with someone about the way in which we regularly stigmatise people who live on estates by our language choices. In my opinion, this can be is unfair, unhelpful and may often be discriminatory. It was that same week that I discovered a book that described my frustrations in a far more articulate manner. The following 2 quotes were of particular note for me:

In newspapers and on television, every reference to a council estate is prefixed with the word ‘tough’, as though bare-knuckle boxing is the leisure activity of choice for every British person who doesn’t own their own home. It does its stigmatizing work as intended. Estates are dangerous, they imply: don’t visit them, and whatever  you do, work as hard as you can so you don’t have to live on them.
you only have to say the word ‘estates’ for someone to infer a vast amount of meaning from it. It’s a bruise in the form of a word: it hits the nerves that register shame, disgust, fear and, very occasionally, fierce pride.
Quotes from: “Estates: An Intimate History” by Lynsey Hanley

Our language choices matter. Living in the North End of Birkenhead as a child, going to the local primary school near the docks, I never thought of it as ‘tough’ – it was home, a safe place and a place where I belonged. Now, as I hear stories of the area where I grew up, the impression given is somewhat different. Yes, there are troubled people, but this is true anywhere, this place is still home to many, still a place of belonging and a place of fierce loyalty and pride.

My hope is that in our language choices, we begin to honour and respect others before we ‘stigmatise’ them. When we hear the word ‘estate’, we need to remember that it is not a dirty word and never should be.

The crisis of busy! March 19, 2014

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One of the good changes within the christian world, in recent times, has been the move away from programme orientated ministry towards people orientated ministry. This may be more theoretical than shown in practice but it is a shift that needs to be commended. Over the last 10 years there have been many a meeting when the phrase, “people are our best asset” has been used. However, theory and practice often collide when people become busy.

This is demonstrated when people get together and talk. The busy worker will be listening but not hearing, no matter how good the communication is. This is a crisis point that needs addressing for any relationship to move forward. If you are not hearing when you listen, this may be a sign that you are over busy, people may have become a commodity to you and this commodity has a lower value than necessary. If this is true – people are no longer your best asset!

Are you hearing those that speak to you? If not, it may just be that you are too busy doing the wrong thing – this is the crisis of busy.

Great Quote Friday (Tony Benn) March 14, 2014

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So many quotes from the great orator that was Tony Benn, this one is my favourite from the Observer in 1991:

It’s the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you’re mad, then dangerous, then there’s a pause and then you can’t find anyone who disagrees with you.

 

Diving (with quote) March 11, 2014

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Diving (with quote) by thehutch
Diving (with quote), a photo by thehutch on Flickr.

Communication meltdown February 27, 2014

Posted by thehutch in ponderings.
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Have you ever been in a situation where the discussion has involved the lack of communication? Yes? It would be quite surprising if you had not. However, it is also illuminating to know that often the criticism regarding communication is usual poor/bad communication too.

If you hear someone say, “I have not been told!”, this can also mean any of the following;
‘I knew from someone else but it was not you that told me’
‘I had been told from someone else but I wanted to hear it from someone higher in the chain of authority’
‘I saw it an email chain but nobody physically told me’
‘I may have overheard it in a conversation between others but I was a bystander’
‘I may have been told but have forgotten’
….and so the list could go on.

Communication is an art….it is not just about speaking/communicating the words but also understanding how they will be received.

Good Quote Friday February 14, 2014

Posted by thehutch in quotes.
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Previous journeys in search of treasure have taught me that a zigzag strategy is the best way to get ahead.” Tahir Shah
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
Every choice you make has a result”. There is a consequence. It is the natural order of things. You can trace things back from the result to the actions to the choice.” Zig Ziglar
Do not worry about holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role.” Confucius
Map out your future, but do it in pencil.” Jon Bon Jovi
Only he who keeps his eye on the far horizon will find the right road.” Dag Hammarskjöld
The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” Okakura Kakuzo

What Matters Most….? February 13, 2014

Posted by thehutch in basketball, quotes.
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As a fan of the Boston Celtics, it is with a grin that I quote from Coach Phil Jackson……however, he does have a winning pedigree and some wise words, these are some of them;
We all hate losing. And yet as coach, I know that being fixated on winning (or more likely, not losing) is counterproductive, especially when it causes you to lose control of your emotions. What’s more, obsessing about winning is a loser’s game: The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome.” 

What matters most is playing the game the right way and having the courage to grow, as human beings as well as basketball players. When you do that, the ring takes care of itself.”

Being Christ to our neighbour February 12, 2014

Posted by thehutch in Ponderings, thoughts.
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There are so many discussions/arguments amongst folk at present on ‘gospel ministry’, ‘mercy ministry’, ‘good works’ etc. etc. etc. To call it a battle ground would be to give these discussions too much credit but they are having an impact on the work of the Church and its people, particularly in respect to its evangelistic endeavours. Much of the debate seems to centre on De Young and Gilberts book, What is the Mission of the Church? which has drawn a position that ‘mercy ministry’ is something we may do rather than what we must do – it is not an equal partner with evangelism and disciple making.

Whilst I understand this viewpoint, I see things in a slightly different way. My hand gets cold in winter and so I wear a glove……if I didn’t, I may get frostbite and then my hand would not function well, the glove enables me to maintain health and to function well. The glove on its own is very nice but remains a glove. So it is with ‘mercy ministry’ – anyone can do it, you don’t need to be a Christian, but when the church engages with it – everything begins to function as it ought and people then begin to see Christ and the Church as it was intended. My conservative evangelical friends will say that I am being oversimplistic but my reading of the Scriptures forces me to share the gospel in word and deed, in every situation and as Luther said;

“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbour”.

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