Saturday, 15 August 2009

Day - after we've come home

So we left civilisation and travelled to Scotland's west coast - the isle of Iona; then to the east coast - the isle of Lindisfarne; then to Oxford; then to London - Croydon.

Along the way we ran another 3 festivals, I shaved (in London), visited West Minster cathedral and discovered that it's 15 quid to get in, which I personally think is daylight robbery and rather unbecoming of the British, get rather wet camping on Iona, narrowly missed an enormous thunderstorm whilst setting up tents near Lindisfarne, patted some horses and ate a lot of food. We also did some pilgrimage stuff too.

Probably the best thing was visiting Iona and having an hour's silence - and the service at the abbey there. There's something about actually touching and smelling and seeing things that helps make them much more real. Otherwise it just seems like stories - nice, possibly inspiring but they don't always go very deep for me. I think that carrying our gear across the island and camping out in the rain helped me to understand the type of thing that the monks might have gone through when they were missionaries over a thousand years ago. I suspect they wouldn't have had a squashed in old minibus or tents - so all in all I suspect we did better.

1500 miles later, 3 more festivals and a few capes made out of black bags (for my 2 year old festival team) and we made it back home. Just in time for a trip to Albania....

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Day 3

My beard progresses slowly but surely.

We have run 2 festivals so far with a third tomorrow. Today it rained a fair bit during our festival in Clayton Brook which always makes things interesting - particularly when you're playing water-balloon volleyball.

Tomorrow we run a second festival in the same place as the one today before heading off to Scotland. I suspect that by the time we drive to the place we're staying it will be time to get up and drive on to the island of Iona where we begin the 'pilgrimage' part of our pilgrimage. We'll check out the church and community there and hear more about the lives of the Celtic Christians and how they brought faith, education and social reform to Ireland and Scotland.

Today saw a few hundred people come to our festival. Not bad going really - two local churches just engaged with a few hundred people from their community for around 3 hours. Probably many will engage again tomorrow for another 3 or 4 hours and some will volunteer to help make their community a better place. All of them will walk another step in their journey with God whether they realise He journeys or not.

I directed the festival today which basically means I told the MC what to say and oversaw the running of the central games program - an interactive community building series of games and activities for the 3 hours. Hard to describe easily but they basically form the heart, soul and values of the entire festival. If the whole thing does it's job well people relax, start to engage together in a healthy way and love being with one another. They start to like who they are, particularly who they are together and begin in some way to hear the still small voice God's Spirit in their own human spirit. The MC, team, activities and central games become the mirror and values of that move - from an unknowing and wary hostility to a welcoming hospitality.

Generally speaking: job well done. The local team and the two churches were great.

Quotes for the last two days:

Guy: you do know that's illegal don't you? Tim: oh really? Well I'll stop doing it once I've finished.
Tim: Can you drive my car over to Novlette whilst I drive Andy's? Guy: Not really no. I can't drive. Tim: That's ok - the keys are in the ignition.
Whilst booking a flight (a process that took no small amount of time and several attempts at getting the credit card number right over skype) somebody to somebody else: you do know that you have a lousy member don't you? [I think they meant memory].

I've now been driving twice in 24 hours - not bad since I can't drive. Once was 4 wheel off-road driving. It was closely followed by an incident at the Burger King drive through when we may have accidentally neglected to use the road whilst leaving the BK premises.

Sleep this pilgrimge seems to be optional.

Friday, 24 July 2009

The British Pilgrimage

Day 1

And so it begins......

A ten day Pilgrimage around Britain. Some good ideas behind it really - that it would help British people rediscover the best parts of our nation's heritage, be an inspiration/challenge to those that come and others they hang out with to follow God & make a difference, and a chance to take people (specifically young people) out of their natural environment to discover more of who they really are. Sometimes it's hard being at home whilst trying to figure that out - we tend to keep each other trapped in expectations, our own immovable world view and patterns of (often unhealthy) behaviour. Not a bad plan then. They say that a tourist passes through the land whilst a pilgrim lets the land pass through them.

Cliche it may be but the theory is sound. We either filter new experiences and growth through who we already are and just reinforce something that already exists, or let ourselves be impacted, affected and ultimately recreated by the journey we take. In this particular case: a journey with 11-ish others (a bizarrely biblical number quite by chance) around Britain visiting places and lives of Christian significance and takign part in local mission. And whilst the places we're visiting might not be the ones you'd necessarily expect you'll understand why cathedrals and exciting or famous places aren't on the list. We are, after all, more interested in places and people who have actually done something. Faith without action as the book of James tells us, is dead. In fact: it's worth than dead. It's a joke and a slap in the face of what God came to do for us and calls us to. Which is why we spend half of our time being involved with local mission.

You can, after all then, keep your Christian excitement and hype. People live in the day to day real world.

My real world currently feels like someone is setting off depth charges with little regard for the repurcussions. More immediately distressing is the fact that I appear to have forgotten my razor and toothbrush and at 11:14 on a Friday evening I'm very hungry. Whilst I may end up spiritually fed over the next 10 days my slightly dodgy stomach (endoscopy to follow pilgrimage) tells me that I may not be so well physically fed or relaxed. Not to mention the prospect of beginning to look like a wannabe member of a Bee Gees tribute band.

Today's best quote: "I've never had so much gaelic accordian" - narrowly followed by Andy Prosser's "proof that big isn't necessarily always better"

Friday, 15 May 2009

Health?! - I'd rather be driving...

Actually it turns out there is a pedometre on my phone which has been quite useful in measuring how healthy I am. Turns out: not very.

Neither the ninjas, the bank job nor the komodo dragons have materialised either but I live in hope.

Other than that I have decided not to go to South Africa (just in case anyone was wondering) and the Lord has started talking to me over the past couple of weeks abotu various things. That's been quite nice.

And then I wondered: maybe it's not that he's talking more, maybe it's that I'm listening more? And then I thought: but really, I haven't been listening more. So how does that work?! The message paraphrase of the bible notes the sermon on the mount as saying something like: you're blessed (put right) when you're at the end of your rope - because then there's more room for God to move. I suspect you could paraphrase it more in that the Lord might sometimes be saying: get out of the way and let me do it.

I occasionally have to look after or train young people to do things - it's always a slow and painful process. Often I want to just be like: get out of the way and let me do it. Normally I wouldn't - but sometimes it's the right thing to do. I suspect that God knows when it's the right thing to do. And after all - he is a little more skilled than I am.

All in all, having God's spirit within me saying: "get out of the way old life and let me do it" might turn out to be a good thing. After all. The world could use another does of the heavenly life.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The new health drive

And so it begins. A new attempt at getting fit and my life a little more balanced. Right now I'm not sure that I'm looking after myself so well - at least across the board with the whole body, soul, spirit thing anyway.

From now on I shall be keeping up to date with my health blog: trying to eat more healthily, exercise, get some mental/spiritual time in and attempt to balance my resources. By which I mostly currently mean money, but I'm sure will turn out to be more than mony in the long run. Mind you since right now the bank are cross with me for not having enough money to cover the bills that people tried to take out of my account it does seem that moolah is a fairly pertinent place to start though.

Task number one: obtain income.

Possible solutions: sell body parts on black market, form band and become high-grossing rock star, rob bank, trouble shoot fr extremely high powered business executives, secretly convince everyone who meets me to give me large sum of cash, patent some form of incredible gadetry, get job.

Possible obstacles: necessity for body parts, lack of musical talent or business know-how, lack of balaclava, guilt at stealing money from friends, slightly bizarre current job schedule.

Task number two: clear up nonsense surrounding current study.

Possible solutions: send horde of rampaging komodo dragons to HQ of training organisation, hire ninjas to kill all training executives, hire MI6 agents to convince training executives to give me my diploma right now, wait until July for third attempt at graduation, decide that having a piece of paper to say that I finished isn't really all that important.

Possible obstacles: dragons are notoriously hard to train (also: current lack of dragons), ninjas don't exist (and if they did you wouldn't know about them anyway so you couldn't get in touch with them - but the A-team might be possible), MI6 probaly has some kind of conscience about performing operations for personal gain - especially on commonwealth soil, paper is nice - especially since I worked my ass off to get it.

Task three: get fit

Possible solution: exercise, exchange bodies with someone who is already fit using futuristic consciousness transferral device, brew potion that magically alters genetic make-up of body to be inherently faster and stronger than the average black panther (think million dollar man or 5th element [but male]).

Possible obstacles: laziness, lack of suitably fit other body, no cauldren.

The quest continues....

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A day off

Almost nothing of significance to report except that I couldn't sleep last night so my day off wasn't as good as I'd hoped. This could be due to an almost overwhelming amount of stress I realise at some point. so I sit down to journal and think armed with a cup of hot ribena and a pen. Surely this will help.

I discover the first snag in the plan when my pen fails after approximately 10 words. And I think - oh come on! Sighing to myself I put my drink down on the floor, stand up and start to cross the room to obtain a new pen. And then it happens. A 'chink' and a 'splash' sound. And I think: oh shit.

Turning, I discover my new and very much beloved phone practising it's diving techniques in my hot ribena. Impressive aiming I think. Briefly. Ever so briefly. Before swearing profusly.

A short trip to the 3 store later (having gone through the process of going: oh I'll call them to see if they fix your phone for you....oh....) confirms that they will not fix it for you. No worries though, they assure me. You can just buy a new pay as you go and put the sim in it. At 166 quid for my model I politely decline (it was a hard choice between that or ramming my now useless hunk of plastic down their purple-shirted throats, but it wasn't their fault after all).

I get the bus home thinking: I might need to seriously re-evaluate my life right about now.