Every time I post, along with fulsome congratulations (Whizz bang! This is your 180th post!) and a tally of how many words I have just written, I get a version of this message from the wordpress site management:
Need an idea for your next post?
Choose a prompt from this list:
- Describe your most memorable Halloween.
- When are you at your best?
- Share what you know about the year you were born
…or variations on these ideas, thought of by people who work for the website. Well maybe I should be one of those people because – and I hate to disappoint you, Mr WordPress – I am rarely short of an idea on what to blog about. In fact I seem to have an inner well of subjects that go in all directions, along with pages of jottings in notebooks – and not enough time to spend on developing them all! Yes, I do run out of energy regularly and often feel foolish and sometimes get discouraged and have to go off for a refill, but the ideas are there as soon as I am able to keep still long enough to catch them. I hope they don’t simply come from my own mind – I’ve never been that creative really – in fact I am trusting there is a flow of life to what happens when I sit at the keyboard and even something of what Jesus called ‘living water from my innermost being’ pouring out of ‘the fulness of my heart’. That is my declared mandate and tag-line! Perhaps I am not the one to judge these things, but it’s certainly mostly life-giving for me, as long as I don’t get into ‘ought to’ mode…
This flow started again yesterday as a quickening of ideas when I was relaxing in the sauna, which is my absolute favourite Sunday morning activity – very non-religious, aren’t I? (Our church meets in the afternoon actually and so I admit I am ‘religious’… but only about my spa attendance!) Anyway, these thoughts, hot off the press, jumped straight to the head of the queue, elbowing past all the other things waiting to be written about and all the lovely photos I’ve collected on my desktop hoping for their moment. Oh dear this always happens and it’s not as if I can take the Mac into the pool – and no I don’t have a photo of the pool because I can’t take my camera in there either!
The big thought was… maybe I should split this blog into different blogs: more specifically maybe I should start a purely Christian blog (‘Ima Believer’) so I can write more fully about some of my ideas and thoughts that may affect others who are asking the same questions of our faith and practice. I do have a number of categories for what I write, but it’s quite hard to decide which category to put posts in and I should probably start some new ones… yes I do have an obsession with order, boxing and labelling things!
The thing is, I particularly don’t want to offend the many people who seem to like to read about our story and Sam and the cancer journey – all sorts of people who are not as far as I know from the same sort of Christian background as us and probably don’t have the Biblical knowledge or perspectives we take for granted. But I do want to let rip about some entrenched ideas and share some revelation I may have received as well – and how can I know who will read it and what they may think? Is it appropriate to do that in such an open forum? Its about wisdom, safety, protection… and also honesty, openness, integrity…
Well, let’s face it – it’s not as if I haven’t already been talking about some weird spiritual stuff on here over the past year is it? Just look at some of the posts in the prophetic language or prayer categories… or no, depending on who you are – perhaps don’t! 😉 But you know… it’s all a bit vulnerable, Jesus warned us to be wise, not to ‘cast our pearls before swine’ (Matthew 7v6) – not that any of my readers go oink oink…
It’s a dilemma. From the start I have felt ‘called’ – felt it is important to who I am – to share everything openly. It is obvious that most people in our culture have no idea what real Jesus-followers think and believe: the only ‘church’ they can see is the one where men dress in robes, use old-fashioned language and argue among themselves about women priests and gays – or find it difficult to behave like Jesus when faced with protesters on their doorstep – or are caught abusing children. We do have a bad reputation… which is actually very unfair! The majority of people who love Jesus do more to serve our society than any other group, providing a high percentage of the care given to the elderly, children, youth and homeless – often without any government funding. Our Jesus is amazing – anyone who seriously examines His character and claims cannot fail to be impressed: Muslims are and so are most great thinkers and humanists – like Ghandi, for instance. It is actually religion people hate and it’s religion Jesus Himself hated!
So anyway – it didn’t take me long in that sauna to realise I can’t split the blog in half. Basically, whoever you are, reader, what you see is what you get. I am a believer in the risen Christ and a lover of the Son of God – who happens to be an Englishwoman who likes taking photographs and gardening and beaches and young people – and has a son with a terminal diagnosis. I also have lots of friends and supporters who love me for who I am even if they don’t agree with all my beliefs. As a friend commented, our society puts Mystic Meg, Paul McKenna and Derren Brown on TV, so why should anyone consider it abnormal if I talk about the significance of numbers? That is actually more normal in the world than it is in the church!
Then I thought of Daniel, kneeling before his open window and praying to God three times a day – deliberately continuing to do that even when those who were jealous of the favour shown to him wangled a new law to prohibit prayer to anyone apart from the king (see Daniel 6). That is how he ended up in the lions’ den… Surely we as believers are living in days like Daniel’s days now: we are in exile, no longer a Christian nation (if we ever were) having to learn a new language and serve in a foreign environment. We have the opportunity to be different – in fact to excel and bring God’s wisdom to those around us, even to government as Daniel did… if we continue to choose to be disciplined and faithful to what we believe.
I would like to be brave like Daniel and keep my window open. I know I am ‘supposed’ to be writing like this – though I do also know Christians who shy away from the internet, fearing a ‘witchhunt’ at some point in the future. But I would particularly like to honour those who stick with me – believers and non-believers alike – and only you know which group you fall into!
So thank you for faithfully following and reading all this ‘stuff’ – Mick the painter, who has made our house multi-coloured with your talent and cheer – Sal who works with Martin, you are such a blessing to our family, such a gracious man – Shaista, a young Muslim patient of Martin’s, we love you, be strong – Jessa, a loved, adopted daughter from another world – Sarah and Shellie, Christine and Heidi, Greg and Richard, Vicki and Rosie, Helen and Fuzz, Angie and Diane, Ray and Steve – so many, many more I know very well and don’t know at all.
…and who I am becoming on this journey.