Friday, 29 April 2016

From the Archives 2008: My favourite Christian joke

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge,
about to jump off. So I ran over and said, "Stop! don't do it!"

"Why shouldn't I?" he said.

I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!"

He said, "Like what?"

I said, "Well...are you religious or atheist?"

He said, "Religious."

I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?"

He said, "Christian."

I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

He said, "Protestant."

I said, "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"

He said, "Baptist!"

I said, "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

He said, "Baptist Church of God!"

I said, "Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed
Baptist Church of God?"

He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!"

I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879,
or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"

He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!"

I said, "Die, heretic scum", and pushed him off.

Monday, 25 April 2016

When people walk away. Or actually, drive out of your driveway.

Fifteen years ago, almost to the day, was the worst day of my life.

I have had awful days since, but all of them were expected and explained. This particular one really hurt. Maybe because it was the first of its kind, and the first cut is the deepest. And the silly thing was, it was just the end of the end of a friendship.

Sometimes friends drift out of your life, even when you don't want them to. And this, for me, was the end of the drifting. For a long time I didn't know how to cope. So I just became super busy (it was a speed I kept up all through high school to be honest). I distracted myself. I trash talked my ex-best friend, and yet, desperately wanted to talk about him too. This went on for three or four months. And all I did was show anger. I was so angry with myself, and with anyone else I could blame, that I was really not a very nice person when I had to have my mask up.

I don't really know how it happened, but one night at church I found myself confiding in an older lady who taught me that I was actually in a period of grief. She said even though my friend hadn't died, the loss of a friend and a friendship is an okay think to grieve. And she gave me the book Good Grief, which talks about about little and big grief. This one was little, and it basically said it was okay to be mad and sad.

I'm not sad and mad anymore. And a few weeks after that chat, I reconciled with my friend, but, of course, it was never ever the same again. I didn't want it to go back to where I had been six months ago, because that me had changed too much. Not all of it for good, but enough that said, there is so much more out there.

As life went on, I have faced this again and again. Friends for a season, and friends for a reason, they have all come and gone, none so dramatically, but enough for me to lament about it every now and then.

Has it been easier though?

If I could tip my chair back and think for five minutes, I'd probably have the same answer.

Yes, and no.

Sometimes I really miss certain times in my life. I have written about YITS a lot, and I miss my friends I had then. But now we are all very different. We don't have hours between lectures to spend together. Everyone is at a different point of their life and their faith journey, and it wouldn't be fair to say 'I'd like to be friends with ____, circa 2005'. I miss my friendships from high school, but we're not friends because that common interest and knowledge has slipped away. I miss being super close with some people, but distance, and gender and relationships all make a different. And it is okay for those people to put in boundaries.

On the other hand, on that day all those years ago, I had really put all my eggs in one basket. I was waiting for someone who a) wasn't waiting on me and b) didn't want any eggs in the basket anyway. I think sometimes about how lucky I was that that time of my life ended when it did. I started feeling okay about working Saturday nights, which I loved, or I went to my other youth group at Eastside, where I made some wonderful friends.

I often failed to see the negative side of my friendship. My friend could be bitchy and nasty at the best of times. He didn't like any of my friends at school. It was always just us, or one other person, and the isolation wasn't a good thing. When the end of the end happened, I had spent an entire school holidays waiting for him to come and see me, which he promised to do. The one time I was not dragged out of the house or had to do errands he came around.

That, my friends, had to be fate or karma, or something.

I often miss certain seasons or days or weeks of my life. As in, if time travel was available, I'd go back and revisit. This is one of the times I wouldn't go back to. I learned many a lesson the hard way through this friendship, and so I am grateful for that.

Good Grief says that when you go through a grief experience, you will come out a different person, whether that be for the best or the worst. I like to think the best of me is what was left.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

From the Archives 2011: God Calling - A Devotional

I am here. Fear not. Can you really trust me? I am a God of Power, as well as a Man of Love, so human yet so divine.

Just trust. I cannot, and will not fail you. all is well. Courage.

Many are praying for you both.

(How cool is God?)

My devotional book atm is God Calling by the Two Listeners. I've been at it since I started teaching and it is amazing. The book was first printed in the 1930s, and is now available online. (I have the book, onlione reading isn't anywhere near as appealing.) What an encouragement this book has been.

Monday, 18 April 2016

From the Archives 1998: Who Am I? (at age 12)

I found this in my Christian Studies book and the majority of it is remarkably true:

18th November 1998
Make a list of things you like about yourself
  • I like the way get on really well with my parents
  • My sense of humour (even if it is a bit silly)
  • I like liking to read (no one tells me to read more books)
  • I'm good at drama
  • I like the friends I choose to have
  • I don't stay in a bad mood too long
  • I get up early in the morning!
  • I don't get bored too easily
  • I write in my diary every day!
  • I'm able to pick up bargains while shopping!
Make a list of thgings you dislike about yourself
  • I get too tired
  • I'm shy when I'm around people I don't know
  • I hate telling personal secrets
  • I really dislike my face
  • Not being able to save money
  • I'm too loud and silly
  • Not being able to make big decisions
  • I read too much

(I have to say I agree with most of those things, except for the face thing, but I did write this during the four-month period during which I had a massive pimple on my nose. Now I have a freckle there, which is notably less embarrassing!)

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

From the Archives 2010: The Ten Best Lessons

So I've learnt a lot about myself as a learner over the last few weeks. And I've been reflecting on some of the best lessons I had at primary school. Here goes.

1. Prep: The Five Senses
Mrs Smith had us sit in a circle and everyone had a spoon. We got to taste about ten different things - lemons and milo were the two that stand out the most. It was probably the coolest lesson ever. (Also, she made us a cubby made entirely from Sungold milk cartons, the white and blue ones. No other class was as cool as us.)

2. Grade 2: Trains
Mrs Weeks decided that since we were learning about trains, we would have our own train outside the classroom. We sat at a carriage (okay, a table with four people) and did our work for the day.

3. Grade 3: Christian Studies
Mrs Tucker made us act out Bible stories a lot, and I remember one day she asked a question along the lines of "How do miracles happen?" I replied "Believe in God." She said "Not just believe, but trust in God." I've never forgotten it, she was totally on to something there.

4. Grade 3: PE
Mrs Snook taught us bush dancing for an entire term. I'm a bush dancing nut, totally adore it and never remember the steps. There will be dancing in my classroom! and the Queensland Backstep!

5. Year 4: Reading
I loved Miss Fiebiger, but I pretty much only remember her reading us about 4 Roald Dahl books, and not much of anything else. Once she took us out to the oval before the MPH was built and it was just a field with lawn daisies. And she also had sunflower pants which were kinda cool. I never understood her jelly bean obsession though.

6. Year 5: Robin Klein Author Study
Mr Wundersitz had us study Robin Klein's work for an entire term. I was in reading heaven, she was (and is) one of my favourite authors. The only thing which really disappointed me was that we sent her letters and she never wrote back. Or maybe Mr Wundersitz never sent them. But I kind of hope he did.

7. Year 6: Maths
Mrs Jennings had us design our ultimate holiday, no budget, we just had to add all the costs and make lists. Adding and lists make me happy. And I have memories of Jason singing "I want to be nice to the birds and bees, I want recyclable cartons please" with references to what the birds & the bees really meant. Though this has nothing to do with the lesson; I've just never really got over it.

8. Year 7: Keyboarding
Mr Uebergang was pretty much the most awesome teacher ever. Anyway, since there was one computer for the whole class, we had a keyboard worksheet and had to practice touch typing with this piece of paper every Tuesday before lunch. I can hear it in my head now: "fff, jjj. ddd, kkk."

9. Year 7: Christian Studies
Mr U. invited pastors from four churches to share about baptism and how it is done in their tradition. We had to take notes, but even now I'm highly impressed these guys took time out of their day to come and talk to us.

10. Year 7: Design and Technology
Kite making - we had some special guests come in and teach us how to make kites out of Just Jeans bags. It's probably the one and only time I got a kite to fly. And one of the few times my D&T work was actually successful.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

From the Archives 2010: Honestly.

I've been really grappling with a few issues over the last six months or so, a lot of it about how the Christian life impacts my lifestyle and those of the people around me. And in this note I've decied to be completely honest.

Honestly, I spend more money at the gym than I give in my tithe and offering. I go out most weekends, without intentions to drink, and yet others see this as being influenced by the world. I'm pro choice. I have gay friends, and I don't see any issue with people of the gay community being fully invovled within churches. I'm not a massive fan of the God Mania, I don't believe in Youth Alive charging kids to go to their rallies, especially when a church hosts it. I'm not particularly pro-Hillsong, I hate that many of the bigger churches use money to spam your letterbox. I believe in ecology for the sake of God, but I also don't believe that if you don't believe in 7-day-new-earth Creation that you're not a true Christian. I like altar calls, I don't like the way they're done most of the time. I think accountablity is a load of croc much of the time. I have always felt inadequate because I am not musically talented, and can't be a part of worship teams (unless they are very desperate). I hate theological debates, and yet if I bow out of one the Christians will heckle me more than the debater will.

Why is it that we feel that we need to conform to this Christian lifestyle? What gives pastors and those in leadership the right to tell us what we can and can't do with our Saturday nights, with our money and with our relationships?

What I'm saying is simple. It isn't about conforming to the lifestyle which people have created as the "cool new Christian thing" to do. It is really about getting serious. Grappling with God about the big stuff is better than giving in to what the church (or your friends, pastors, leaders... etc) wants you to do. and why's that? Because we were called not to live a blind faith. We have to make our own decisions, based on our own relationship with God. What I believe is to be true, and what you believe may be completely opposite, and that's okay. I don't know everything, and I'm sure that as time goes on, most of my opinions will dramatically change.

Maybe I'm a radical, or maybe you'll rather believe that I'm misguided and unbiblical. If you do, that's cool. I'm not here to debate. I'm just here to put it out there. Honestly. Maybe some of what I've said will help you feel less alone in this Christian life. I sincerely hope it does.

As a disclaimer: I have been honest. I haven't gone into extensive detail about the issues I've outlined. If you want to know more about where I'm coming from: ask me. I don't mind being put on "the spot", especially on Facebook. Once again: I don't have all the answers. I don't claim to either.