Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fearful thinking - pt. 2

"If you want to discover the difference which Jesus made to mankind, and go to New Testament to find out, the answer given is the casting out of people's lives of fear.

Fear, in the New Testament, is considered to be the root of all evil. It is fear which makes men selfish, it is fear which makes them hate, it is fear which makes them blind, it is fear which makes them mad.

Fear casts out love, as love casts out fear. Which of the two, therefore, am I going to choose?"

H. A. Williams, in The True Wilderness.

Fearful thinking - pt. 1

"When I reflect deeply on my life and what I really want, it is not to be afraid.

When I am afraid, I am miserable. I play it safe. I restrict myself. I hide the talent of me in the ground. I am not deeply alive - the depths of me are not being expressed.

When I am afraid, a tiny part of me holds captive most of me, which rebels against the tyranny of the minority.

When I am afraid I am a house divided against itself.

So, more than anything else, I want to be delivered from fear, for fear is alien to my own best interest.

Or, to put it positively, I want to give myself generously, magnanimously, freely - out of love. I want to be able to take risks - to express myself, to welcome and embrace the future.

I want to see what it is to be most deeply me."

Elisabeth O'Connor, quoting Gordon Crosby, in Cry Pain, Cry Hope.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Farthest Shore, by Ursula Le Guin

"Try to choose carefully, ... , when the great choices must be made. When I was young I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, ... , between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are." Sparrowhawk.

This breaks my heart and fills me with hope all at the same time. It is heart-breaking that people can be so easily ensnared in a vicious circle because of their earlier choices; yet I know there is hope because one can be equally 'ensnared' in a virtuous circle because of one's earlier choices.

Thank God for God.

"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." Matt. 11:12

Thought provoking

A thought provoking article here (via Daring Fireball).

Reminds me of the 'unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, consciously competent, unconsciously competent' progression of learning (or, if you're familiar with the language, the Square: D1, D2, D3, D4). Also contains a cutting observation, and Tolstoy quote, about pride being an obstacle to learning/change.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A mouthful of eye-candy

Although I have never been tempted to skin OS X's GUI in the same way I would a Windows theme, I am always on the lookout for a good desktop image.

So, say hello to a beautiful little app called Desktoptopia; yes, it's a bit of a mouthful, but it's a joy to use. It grabs stunning desktop images and puts them on your desktop - fairly simple, eh? You can set it to automatically change the image at any interval you want, or you can manually browse through the ever-growing collection, selecting your genres as you go.

It's smart enough to work with whatever resolution best suits your screen (although I know of at least one reported problems with a bigger screen). There is also a ratings function, should you wish to feed back to the site.

Oh, and it's free too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eat less, walk more, by George!

We're running our cars on bio-fuel in an effort to reduce our carbon emissions (why don't we just drive less?).

We're making that bio-fuel out of our surplus grain while the rest of the world starves.

Maybe George has got it right?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Family photos

Our friend Ben very kindly used us as practice for his portrait photography hobby last week. Which was great, because we got some lovely shots of the three of us for nothing! I've stuck a few of our favourites on Flickr but, because I'm all about instant gratification too, here's one for free:

@ Sommerville Studios - 13

There are more shots on Ben's site as well.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Familiarity breeds...

A conversation with Mrs Hope over a coffee this afternoon:

Me: "So I was thinking about why I was fasting today and-"

Her (interrupts): "What?! Farting?"

Me (after a short, slightly disappointed, pause): "f-a-s-t-i-n-g"

Her (completely non-plussed): "Oh, carry on."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Things I find funny that no-one else does.

The other day, we ran out of staples in the office.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A bit less of a bill

So we did follow up our previous electricity bill with our supplier... and here is the result:

A bill 2

Amazingly, we've actually got credit with them, even after winter. But they still want some cash from us.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Where are you?

For the past month or so our community has been wrestling with the idea of being together. Last night, at our housegroup, Phil put out some words and ideas that neatly defined the problems we are facing, not only as people, but also as a community of believers.

As people, we tend to avoid one another's pain. It is embarrassing, it is awkward, it is uncomfortable. We might be unable to help (and helplessness is so embarrassing and awkward) or worse, we might be reminded of our own pain. We rarely linger in the presence of someone else's pain - strangely denying them what is possibly the only effective salve we (as people) might have to offer - our attention.

As believers, we often gather together as the 'devout' (although in recognition of what we all actually are, we should more accurately be described as the 'devout-in-progress'). However, gathering as the 'devout' means we gather as those 'masked before men' (as Phil tellingly put it). And yet our masks, in a bitter twist, only serve to isolate us from one another and make it harder to unmask ourselves - pretending to be normal becomes normal.

'Hey... how are you?'
'Good thanks - and you?' 
'Oh fine' 

You know how it goes.

Reading this and looking through this today raised this again in my mind. The partying friends who, in doing their best to be lively and fun, avoided that which could have helped the most. The wife who died alone - unable to bear her husband and children being with her. The man who died in silence - yet diligently recording his football team's progress.

But if suffering causes isolation, and an antidote is to suffer together, how do we bear this? Can we bring ourselves to utter the words 'Here I am... where are you?'