Respect

 

respectWelcome to d-church. Before the events of these last couple of weeks we had already chosen the theme for tonight as ‘Respect’.

Turn the volume up & have a listen to the iconic Aretha Franklin singing R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Remember the context of this song….1967 – the war in Vietnam was escalating, there were race riots, the civil rights movement of the 1950s & 1960s was beginning to fragment in response to government crackdowns & growing frustration, women were agitating for rights & recognition.  In the midst of this comes a strong black woman demanding respect (“just a little bit”)

In many ways not much has changed since 1967….lot of troubles stem from an inherent lack of respect. Offer a prayer of lament as you think about the places and people where respect isn’t readily seen.

You have to give respect to get respect Check out this clip… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZRwJ0oHDDk

Slide1

Respect – Poem by David Harris

If we can not respect another
How can we expect them to respect us
If we can not respect someone’s beliefs
How can we expect them to respect ours
If we can not respect another’s race
How can we expect that race to respect us
If we can not respect others
How can we expect respect in return

Everyone expects respect
No matter who they are
The only way to gain it 
Is to start treating everyone
As a friend, a brother, a sister
As part of our extended family
No matter what colour or creed they are
Only then you will start to get
The respect you so dearly crave

As we ponder on the candle Offer your prayers with respect for all humanity

18582063_1985530301473175_7930908578331490968_n

Check out this clip about Carter the basketball coach What do you think?

How might we follow this example…

Albert Einstein

Our closing blessing comes from Frog Orr-Ewing who prayed as the last fire engines left Grenfell Tower.

#respect #respectyourself #respectothers #respectful #respectall #respectforall #giverespect #giverespectgetrespect

One Love

One Love .jpegHi Folks, I’m writing this between the Manchester concert and the election… I’m writing it purposely now rather than after the result of the election as I don’t want to be tainted by it. I was very much aware after the last election and the referendum result that many were left in a state of shock and were bereft. Society is reeling once again in the aftermath of the events in Manchester and London… and if we are honest, whatever the result of the election this week these problems are not going away any time soon. We are also seeing the threat of terrorism is very much at the forefront of governments across the globe. As I write there have been gun attacks and a suicide bomb in Tehran. No country or people are safe.

A few years back I came across the One Love Peace Concert that Bob Marley and two war lords initiated in 1978 in Jamaica. Whilst singing ‘Jammin’ he invited the two leaders of the different political parties Michael Manley and Edward Seaga to come on stage with him, they had been in a political civil war with each other with lots of violence. Bob Marley persuaded the two leaders to join hands. As an event it did not stop the violence and in fact the two guys that helped Marley with the concert were both killed within two years.

Peace takes time… peace takes brave actions… peace takes mediators… Bob Marley was one of those people that stood in the gap… I wonder if throughout these horrific terrorist events we will see people rise up and stand in the gap… The Manchester concert was a triumph in many ways, especially for the amazing people that returned to Manchester and particularly for Ariana Grande… I wonder if we as followers of Jesus should be those people who, if we are able, should stand in the gap… to bring people together…

There will be events beyond the election where there will need to be people who stand in the gap… to bring people together, to enable healing, to bring about peace. As a follower of the way of Jesus I would love to be such a person… if I have the courage!

Peace Rob

Jesus is my homeboy!

wpid-dlc_jesus_homeboy_lastsupper_lachapellestudio0Hi folks, this weeks is a guest post from Ben… I have changed it slightly and added a picture of a contemporary scene of Jesus and the disciples at the last supper.

Jesus in many ways lived the life of a servant… serving those by the grace of God and I am always wondering…. if Jesus was alive today instead of 2000 years ago what job, role or skill would he have done or held down?… and what jobs would the disciples have had?
It conjures up a funny image in my head that instead of the last supper as it is… Jesus has a McDonalds uniform on and the disciples all have a various coffee shops supermarkets and other similar job role uniforms…

Now Jesus had his haters as do I in my job. We’ve all had that really rude customer who thinks they know best. Tell you what the problem is (usually nothing to do with what the actual problem is) don’t want you in the house yet thats part of the job, they are really rude and treat you like crap and just look down their nose at you as you are just a lowly tech guy and you are only there to fix what is essential to their way of life…

I see my attitude changing with them. I’m sarcastic and probably rude back. I know i shouldn’t be and after every time i’m like ‘that isn’t what i should have done…’

So few questions to consider….

Firstly a fun one… what jobs and roles do you see Jesus and the gang doing in our modern world?

Secondly can Jesus’s example of humility of treating everyone equally and with the same amount of respect be managed in this “i want everything and i want it done yesterday” way of life?

And thirdly do you put your faith into action before reacting or do you react and then think about your faith and think about what you should or have done?

Fourthly… what do you think of the picture?

Picture by David LaChapelle’s “Jesus is my Homeboy”http://davidlachapelle.com/series/jesus-is-my-homeboy/

Peace, Rob

Bubblewrap! 

This week at the Holy Biscuit, as part of the fresh expression ‘Mixing Bowl’, we took down an art exhibition by Dave Tweedy. We reflected on the process as we did so. We used bubble wrap and this helped us to think about some of the filters that we apply to our own lives when thinking about the past and the future. We are sometimes guilty of looking back or forward with ‘rose tinted glasses’ or with the sense that everything is/has conspired against us. We misinterpret things that happen to back up our ‘theories’. So have a think about the filters you apply to your past, future and even your present. Are they rose tinted, dark and gloomy or more like bubblewrap? What does the bible have to say about this? What do you find helps you to develop a more positive view of your past, present and future (bearing in mind that this is mental health awareness week)?
Peace, Rob with a little help from Karen! 

Israel/Palestine…

18119340_10210619560218269_1934155958461588474_nHi folks,

We’re continuing with a blog around issues raised for the world at our Sunday@thepub weekend away.
This week I’ve gone with a topic close to my heart, a topic which also divides opinion in our churches to this day. I’ve chosen to talk about Israel/Palestine, not because I want to force an agenda onto you, but because I want to explore and try to unpick the major issues on both sides.
Palestine was a common name used until 1948 to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. In its history, the Assyrian, Babylonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires have controlled Palestine at one time or another.
After World War I, Palestine was administered by the United Kingdom under a Mandate received in 1922 from the League of Nations. The modern history of Palestine begins with the termination of the British Mandate, the Partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel, and the ensuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 194 7 the UN proposed the division of what was then called Palestine into two separate Arab and Israeli states, along with calling for the immediate withdrawal of the British Mandate and its forces. The UN proposed a series of strict divisions and of religious freedom on both sides, along with a so called buffer zone between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Initially Jewish leaders accepted the terms, but the same terms were rejected by the Arab league, who threatened military action to prevent the partition of their homeland, they eventually declared war on the new state of Israel, thus leading to the six day war, in which Israel seized land not only from the Palestinians, but from Jordan and Egypt. Between 1969 and 1993 when the peace process began, skirmishes and attacks from both sides happened, the majority of the time though the UN had to step in and negotiate with Israel to stop further escalations.
By 1993 the Oslo accords had been signed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the state of Israel. Implementation of the Oslo Accords suffered a serious setback with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister and signer of the Oslo Accords, in November 1995. Since 1995, several peace summits and proposals, including the Camp David Summit (2000), Taba Summit (2001), the Road Map for Peace (2002), and the Arab Peace Initiative (2002 and 2007), have attempted to broker a solution, with no success.
In recent years attacks from Palestinians have been on the increase, where young people who have been raised in refugee camps, or in the Gaza strip have become so frustrated by the constant prison like conditions they are kept in, the only way out is to be killed.
I can see the point that is often made when a Palestinian attacks an Israeli, and often make it myself “what would you do if you had no hope?” another phrase often banded about is that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. Having spent time in Israel/Palestine myself, I do find myself siding with the Palestinian people in their struggle to be recognized as a legitimate owner to that land. I’ve seen the horrible conditions some of these people have to live in, I’ve heard stories of the Israeli Defence Force killing teenagers, and shooting old women for nothing other than target practice.
I suppose the pertinent question is where does God and where does our faith fit into this? I feel like I side with the Palestinian people because I was always taught to stand up for the oppressed and to challenge injustice when I see it, I’ve never claimed that Israel has no right to be living side by side with the Palestinians, in fact the opposite, the bible talks about Palestine being the Jewish homeland, and that one day they will be back there, but I firmly believe God never told them to take their homeland back with the use of deadly force, theft and downright arrogance. I also firmly believe that while Palestinians align with Hamas, and still kill Jewish settlers etc., real dialogue will never be achieved and a two state solution still seems far away at this moment in time.
Questions to ponder on then.
– In the context of this blog “what would you do if you had no hope?” would you resist to the point of death or would you do something else?
– On both sides it is unfortunately the extremists that seems to be blocking the peace process how do you reach out to those people and change their viewpoint?
– How do we preach tolerance and love to those who consider themselves Christian Zionists?

Peace and blessings,

Andrew

Uncertainty?!

5361319682_f5cffc8f13What a week it has been! On the one hand we celebrate the joy of Easter Sunday and then on the other as we turn our backs on the political world for a moment only to hear that once again we are facing a snap general election! It seems that turmoil is standard fare these days… even on the back of the easter story we are faced with the disciples hiding from the authorities. I take a look at the reading i’m speaking on this Sunday and I read about the wonderfully honest Thomas.
 
How on earth these things link is bizarre, but in my head they do… The uncertainty of the disciples as they try to understand if Jesus has actually risen, Thomas the guy who wants to know for sure, and then our political instability on our own shores and of course around the world… I wonder if the link is about uncertainty… I know that in my honest moments I wonder about the resurrection as well… ‘can it really be true’!? Sometimes i would love to have proof; the risen Jesus walking around my streets, sitting in the pub with me and my friends! I really get Thomas… I love his honesty and his determination to get the resurrection sorted in his own mind and heart… Of course uncertainty plagues the church as well, as it tries to work out what it’s supposed to be doing and how it’s supposed to be doing it… Even though we have the risen Jesus we are still fearful and we are still hiding…  And then the country is facing uncertainty in more ways than can be mentioned here, safe to say, we are not in for an easy few weeks, months or even years… 

 
So where does this uncertainty leave us… maybe we are left hiding and fearful, maybe it leaves us running around like headless chickens not sure what to do… Or what we can do even in the midst of doubt, fear and uncertainty… There is certainty in knowing what we can do ourselves… that we have a role to play… for we were born for such a time as this… Yes we can play our part… we can be certain in the way we get on with life… we can lead by example and get up and get on with living… and by making a small difference in the places and situations that we find ourselves.  For me, I make a difference one plastic bottle at a time… one kind word at time… one act of kindness at a time… You may have the wherewithal to get involved in spearheading the local church into action, or have a political bone in you that convicts you to get involved… whatever it is let us not let the uncertainty make us fearful, may it drive us into action… let it make us more determined… The world needs people to get up and get on… My faith compels we try where I can… what about you? 

 
God bless, Rob

Easter Morning…

freedom-miniature-freedom-series-prophetic-art-painting

Welcome to d-church on this fine Easter morning. To day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ….

We hope you enjoy this song….turn the music up high & remember the freedom offered by Jesus Christ

Freedom Is Coming

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt9Y7q3zv30

This spoken word piece tells us of the God of arms wide open

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5yJMUfxzSU

Elbow sing about open arms too….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kwh9Sr6KOo

The lyrics in this last song say ‘We got open arms for broken hearts’

We offer prayers now for those with broken hearts (both individuals and situations in our world). broken-heart-painting.jpg

Statue Jesus Christ Redeemer Rio De Janeiro

As we move on from easter sunday why not join in The Great 50 Days https://www.facebook.com/The-Great-50-Days-1709215759298346/

Every Day Street Clean!

Over the last few months through Sunday@thepub and other challenges I have been pondering on putting certain activities into my daily life to make a difference to the community I live in. I now regularly smile at people and say hello as I walk past those who are going about their daily lives. I wonder though it this is enough? One or two of us have been looking at other ways of doing simple acts that we can include into our daily lives and routines.

With this in mind for the last couple of years when I go to the beach I have been picking up litter as part of the #2minutebeachclean initiative. It has made me more aware of marine conservation and the problem of plastics that slowly get smaller and smaller and then end up in the food chain. But there is also a huge issue with litter blowing around our streets and so we have set up a new environmental group called ‘Every Day Street Clean’https://www.facebook.com/everydaystreetclean/ which aims to encourage us as individuals to take individual responsibility for our streets, the idea is to summarised in 3 simple steps… 1. Don’t drop litter! 2. If you see it, pick it up! 3. Recycle all you can! We have been actively picking up litter now for the last few weeks and as a result it has made me more aware of the amount of rubbish that gets dropped or gets blown out of bins and skips. I have also been active in picking up elastic bands that the local posties drop as they deliver our post…

I wonder if you could commit, with us, to getting involved in keeping our streets and beaches clean of litter? I wonder what other ideas you could put into your daily lives that would make a difference. I have come to believe that these are spiritual disciplines in and of themselves. It could be a way to pray as we pick up a bottle or can for the people who have drunk from it and discarded it. It makes me more aware of my environment and it makes me aware of waste in general. 

Peace, Rob 

Breaking News!

media-998990_960_720Hi folks, this week we meet for Sunday@thepub at the Red House Farm at 8.00pm, we hope to see you there.

This week’s reflection comes in response to the events of Wednesday afternoon. I’m sure many of us simply could not believe what was happening as we watched the events beginning to unfold through social media and the news channels. What happened is incredibly upsetting and difficult to comprehend and all we can do is think and pray for those who mourn and to remember those who are recovering from the physical effects of the event and pray that the mental trauma that many of them and those who witnessed the event will be eased.

The rise of social media has lead to people being able to share news much faster than any news channel could report it. We live in a world where everything is available instantly, were people share without a thought for those people they have taken pictures of. Social media is something we can’t avoid and as such it can be used as a tool for great things, uplifting things, catching up with old friends and being reminded of those we have lost. However it can also be used for great evil, for inciting hatred, stirring up people against a race, culture or creed for the sheer fact that someone doesn’t like them, they broadcast it for all to see. If we cast our minds back to 2001, a time before social media and a time when the world seemed to be a nicer place, many of us remember where we were on September 11th, but we were limited to the kinds of images and video footage that were shared.

Many of the images and videos that were shared on social media over the last few days have been difficult to view, some may say it makes it more human to see those directly affected, some may say that it shows a lack of feeling or sensibility to share images of people injured or dying on social media. These are complex and emotive issues, and at times like this it raises our sensitivities.

Heres some questions to help us ponder, not on the horrific events of the last few days but rather the way social media is used… 

Should images of horrific events be shared on social media?

How do we respond to those who use tragic news on social media for their own personal agenda?

Should followers of Jesus have a different etiquette as to how they use social media?

And finally, how does this Martin Luther King JR quote speak into our actions on social media “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Peace, love and blessings,

Andrew and Rob

Checking in…

background-833061_960_720Hi folks, I hope you have a good week. While I was away on the Sunday@thepub weekend away, we provided oppertunities for people to ‘check in with God’; what I mean by this is that we gave people space and some ‘ways in’ to ‘connect with God’. But what do I mean by ‘check in with God’, If I’m honest I think that is a tough question… but I think it has something to do with trying to recognise the signs that God has given us, it could be as wondrous as nature or the changes you recognise in your own life as a result of your relationship with God, it could be a sense that God is with you, or that you have reasoned it out in your own mind.

When I think about I’m reminded about Jesus drawing away from society and his friends to be alone, I think that was what Jesus was doing… he was checking in. I suppose its a little bit like making sure you spend some time with your spouse or your family. This ‘checking in with God’ then could be about deliberately making yourself aware that ‘God is’ and of course you could do the Jesus thing and withdraw, you could go to your favourite place or you could do any number of things.

But what is the purpose of ‘checking in’? I think it has something to do with connection, there is something in this about relationship, establishing a connection that enables our relationship with God to grow… But it also often feels so nebulas, I wonder if that is why worship has become so important, as it allows our emotions to get involved.

Here are some questions to ponder… What does checking in with God mean for you, is it actually a thing? What signs help you to check in? Is worship a way of ‘checking in’ with God for you? How does pondering on our relationships help us think about checking in with God?

Peace, Rob