Monday, December 3, 2012

My Big, Fat Jesus Post!

http://awayfindersgarden.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/beauty-or-ugliness.jpg

Although it has meandered quite a lot, I think this "series" started out as an attempt to clarify why, although I am not enamoured with institutional Christianity, I still follow Jesus.  Basically, it is because I see in Him the fulfilment of all that I see as real spirituality, and the antidote to religion.  Ironic, huh, that so much religion has grown up surrounding his name!?

Many (perhaps most?) people who are familiar with the Jesus story, see it as a call to live according to Christian "law",  perhaps a declaration that there is only one way; that being the Judeo-Christian cultural tradition, a denouncement of sin (because of course, that is how we got into this mess - all our fault!), a demand to ascribe to a particular set of "righteous" behaviours, and a requirement to join and belong to the "right" group.  The reward for all this, is that you get to go to Heaven, rather than Hell (where all the non-believers end up) after you die, and an implied assumption that "spiritual" and "holy" are something quite apart from this tainted, earthly life.

The thing is, when you do see it that way, the person of Jesus actually becomes very difficult to reconcile with it.  His behaviour and sayings become problematic and contradictory...  because they really don't fit in with that view!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My List

I do love scribbly gums...  Seemed a nice way to make an image of my "list"
Well, I promised in THIS post, that I would come back and add my own "list" of stuff that has seemed to me, to show a glimmer of the ultimate...  If you've just stumbled into the conversation, we've been tossing around ideas on what "authentic spirituality" might be.  (Seems that's a question I ask a lot!).

Some of my wonderful blogging friends added their thoughts to the previous post, and ideas included intuitions of "something more", of connectedness to something greater, and ideals beyond physically tangible reality.  I can relate very much to all of those.  Here is my little list of the kinds of things in my own life that have seemed to touch on something "deeper":

  • Profound family moments...  the birth of a baby is one example that is clear in my mind.  After my daughter, Hannah, was born I remember watching her asleep and feeling absolutely awed by both the presence, and the profound significance of this tiny person.  A whole personality, a whole life, a whole impact on the world around her yet to come...

    There's also just "something" about knowing someone closely enough to really glimpse the infinity within them - & I guess family, and those friends who are family too, is where that happens best.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Um... Hello??? (And launching right back in... Belief... and stuff!)

It's been so long, I'd almost forgotten what my blog looks like!  Anyone still out there??

Sorry for the long silence. Life has been a bit overwhelming over the last couple of months...  but I think I'm back!! :D

AND... I'm still trying to figure out how to write my "Big, Fat, Jesus Post".  Here is Attempt Mark II.

(If you missed it, and are interested; Attempt Mark I is HERE.  )

I think, perhaps, the best way to begin explaining where I think Jesus fits into the whole cosmic picture, is to talk about what authentic spirituality may or may not be...  because I believe that is what he embodies.  I know that's a BIG statement - but let's start a little smaller - and as always, please add your thoughts to the discussion too!
Image credit:  http://library.sasaustin.org/questioning.php

So what is "spirituality"?  Seems to me it is an active desire to find and understand both "ultimate reality", and "a better way".  For many people (myself included) this amounts to some kind of "search for God".  However I know many atheists who would also consider themselves spiritual by this definition - and I agree with them.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

See you Next Week!

Hey, all!

Just a wee update, since I have not been posting so regularly of late!  All is good - work has been very busy - I'm doing a "block" on a K/1 class, and really enjoying having a bit of continuity with the same group of kids.  Catapulting into (temporary) full-time work, though, on the back of having been quite unwell, mid-term, has left little energy for writing/blogging/or anything much else!

SOOOO....  Since it is now school holidays, I am taking the opportunity to head off into the wild blue yonder, to take some time for myself, to rest and reflect.  Ian has the kids during the first holiday week, and I have been wanting some silence, and the space to "reconnect",  for a while - so it seems like the perfect opportunity!

I've found a lovely, quiet little place to stay, and am planning to sleep, walk, meditate, and hopefully do some writing too.  We'll see.  Time alone has often been a very healing thing, for me - and I'm really looking forward to my little break.  I'll let you know how it goes!!  At the very least, I shall bring back some pretty photos to post :)

Shalom!
Kerry


Monday, September 10, 2012

Parting Ways... and what I don't (and do) believe about the BIBLE!

Did I mention I've just made the decision to pull my kids out of the Christian School they're currently attending?

A big part of the reason is simply financial.  We've been struggling to make ends meet, and it has been necessary to re-evaluate.   Then there's the fact that Hannah's social group seems to have disappeared (and it is a very small school - a factor that attracted us in the first place, and up until now has been a lovely thing!).  I've appreciated lots of things about the school community.  Both of my kids have some "quirks" (how could they not, with me as a mother!) that mean they sometimes need a bit of extra understanding and TLC - and the teachers they've had there have been supportive, gracious and caring. If I needed to look for examples of love, from people who are invested in the Christian "institution" - I could very honestly say that I have seen them there, with a consistency that can't, and shouldn't, be dismissed.  I have seen, in so many of the teachers there, the genuine love of God.  If we could stop there, I would be fighting to find the funds to keep my kids in that education community.

But...  (and it's a REALLY.  BIG.  BUT.)  I've come to the conclusion that the fundamental theology  that the school teaches, is damaging my kids' faith.   I've struggled for a long time, with knowing how to share with my kids a faith that is real and life-giving, without burdening them with the same religious shackles I grew up with, and have taken not years, but decades to recover from!  I still don't have the

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Things I DON'T believe in.

I seem to be suffering from an ongoing case of "blogger's block" of late...  I think it is mostly due to the business of life;  work has been FULL on, lately, and (lucky me) the only times it hasn't been, I've fallen victim to the flu or some other rotten nasty bug (would you believe I and number one son are off to the doctor today, both with tonsillitis!), so a lot of things have been "on hold" for the last little while.

Percolating in the background, however, has been a desire to write a post about where I think the person of Jesus (you know, "Christ", "of Nazareth"... THAT Jesus!) fits into my thinking about life, faith, the universe, etc.  Part of my blogger's block, if I'm honest - is the fact that I find this confronting in a lot of ways.  It is a challenging post for me to write, and confronts not only what I believe, but how I live my life.  I know that I don't embody what I believe to be truth, anywhere NEAR enough.  And I think that's what it's all about - so to write about it is... confronting for me.

Anyway, enough of that.  I am going to ease myself into this via the "path of least resistance".  Today's post is not about what I believe at all - but what I definitely DON'T.  In a sense, it is far easier to be negative about religion and what is wrong with the world, than to BE the solution - but it is also useful to clarify where you are NOT, in order to see where you ARE (if that makes sense), so at the risk of sounding a bit negative, this is where I'm starting.  Bear with me!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Speaking of "Beautiful".

Although some commenters might be wondering, I haven't abandoned the discussion on beauty initiated in the previous post.  It's been a busy week and I haven't had the time or mental energy to put anything coherent together - yet.

However, I was sent something during the week that brought tears to my eyes, and seemed a perfect example of the kinds of things that are "beautiful" in a way that might just transcend biology, attraction, and all that is easily explained.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beauty.

Image Credit:  http://weheartit.com/entry/29738946
Here's a question that relates to the whole "consciousness" discussion...  What about... beauty!?

I was talking to my deep thinking friend, Monica, the other day and she brought this up.  Her question was, do animals have an aesthetic sense?  Do they stop and gasp in wonder at a starry sky or soaring vista??  Is the concept and experience of "beauty" something unique to conscious thinking... or not?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Catching Up...

UN-varnished ME!!  
I had some thoughts about what I might post about next, but given the fact I've been absent for a while, I think perhaps just a little "personal catch-up" might be in order...  I'll get deep and philosophical later!

I'm not sure why I've had so little to write, of late.  There are a few "common-sense" factors.  Work has been very busy, most of the time - and though I'm enjoying it (most days) I do tend to come home "knackered", and without the available brain-space to put anything very coherent together.  However, even on the days when I'm not working, my head hasn't really been in the right space for writing.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What is "Spiritual"?

Image Credit:  http://www.iconfoundation.net/?q=research-topics/connectomics
Well...  I have been avoiding writing, for some reason, of late...  a bit of writers (hell, everything-ers) block!  Time to kick my brain back into gear and get moving, methinks!

I was on a bit of a roll, about consciousness, and internal, vs. external worlds.  It still seems to me that our internal worlds are bigger, and arguably more influential (?!) than the external, physical world.  My friend Monica, when we were having a conversation about this, made the point that the number of atoms in the physical universe is thought to be finite - yet the world of ideas and imagination is infinite.

In a previous discussion, it was pointed out that some of the things we think of as "transcending" biology, such as art, literature, religion, can be explained in biological terms as "display behaviour".  I'm sure there is very often a strong element of this - but I find it hard to believe it's really that simple.  And to be honest, I think that when any of these things are strongly motivated by something so basic, it shows.  The things that really make "our spirits soar" tend to be those that take us beyond all that in some way.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's more Real??

Image credit:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2011/mar/09/why-are-atoms-so-small
We are getting so "life, the universe and everything" here, of late - that some wiseguy is SURE to make the comment "42".  But if you don't mind adding a little chaos to your mental mix, come along for the ride!  There are sure to be more questions than answers, but I've fallen victim to an addictive fascination, so here we go again!!

I've been marvelling at the infinite nature of human consciousness (here and here, if you missed it), and the fact that our own "internal worlds" are immeasurably vast, and able to both represent and transcend the physical universe, in so many ways.  The physical universe and our own biology certainly do place limits on us, and far more than I think we like to believe.  There are many ways in which our behaviour and thinking can be seen as very much "biologically determined".  I get that.  And I know we are adept at inventing fictitious (or at least, semi-fictitious) explanations for our own motivations and actions, fooling even ourselves - so this really is a complex puzzle to tease apart.  

However, as much as I pull and poke at my understanding of ourselves and our universe - I continue to see something infinitely larger than the sum of our atoms.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tardis People!


Each being contains in itself the whole intelligible world.  PLOTINUS
Image Credit:  http://www.androidzoom.com/android_applications/entertainment/tardis_bmqhf.html
Alright.  I'm completely stuck on this notion of each human  being as a "universe" - perhaps several!  Like Doctor Who's Tardis - SOOO much bigger on the inside!!  (and I would argue, in so many more dimensions!)

Walt Whitman, in his famous poem Song of Myself -  described all kinds of things occurring around him, as if they were a part of him and contained within him - and so far as we understand consciousness - they are!!

If we could roll out some kind of map or representation of all that is contained within the consciousness of a single individual - it would display much of the physical world (albeit with individual emphases and distortions) and an infinite amount of thought, feeling, imagination and individual perspective.  It would be HUGE in every dimension possible, and anything but finite or static.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Gran Torino

I & my kids spent most of the last week at my brother's house, taking care of my nieces and nevvies, while Josh and his lovely wife were off holidaying  (lucky them)!

While I was there, "playing auntie" I ferreted through Josh and Caro's DVD collection, and found a copy of  √álint Eastwood's "Gran Torino" - a movie I'd always wanted to see but hadn't gotten around to.  I watched it after the kids were in bed.  It. Was. Beautiful!


I blogged a while ago about "types of Christ", mentioning a few I'd seen in movies.  Definitely gotta add Walt Kowalski (Eastwood's character in Gran Torino) to that list.

Seriously - I've been wanting to write some kind of story, of a character who surrenders, gives his life for others - and triumphs in a lasting way - and where "death" of some kind (not necessarily of a person) becomes the gateway to life - but hadn't found the "vehicle" for the story - and Eastwood well and truly beat me to it!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's Blowing my Mind!

It's been a while since I posted any thoughts here, and to be honest, things have been so busy with work, etc., that I haven't got a lot of clearly thought out things to say.  However, between bouts of busy bedlam (hehe, sorry!!)  I have been working on a bit of poetry.

The pieces aren't finished, and when they are I am hoping to enter them into a competition or anthology or some such thing... which means I can't share them here, as that would be considered publication.  However I'm attempting to bounce around some really HUUGE ideas, so if you're up for it - I'd like to bounce them around here (sans poetry - which will be a relief, for many of you, I'm sure) and hear your thoughts, dear friends!

Image Credit:  http://www.newclearvision.com/2011/09/21/the-unfolding-universe/

I've been toying with the idea that each human being is a universe... or perhaps, a multiverse?  I mean, think about it.   We think Doctor Who's Tardis is amazing - but WE are far "bigger on the inside" than that!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kerry goes Bolshie!

Image credit:  http://funnycollectionworld.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/angry-girl-face-photos.html
I want to have a big, cranky "vent".  I'm letting off steam a bit here, okay - so I'm giving you all fair warning, though I'll try not to be completely detrimental!

I attended church on the weekend.  The little church I have been going to is a lovely little community in so many ways.  There is a "holding loosely" of doctrinal ideas, that allows people of different persuasions to feel welcome.  There's room for discussion, and for difference.  Sometimes it looks pretty "churchified" and other times it looks pretty free and relaxed.  Sometimes, what happens there challenges or softens me and my 'Bolshie' prejudices, and other times, I think I challenge others, in a good way (at least, I hope so - a lot of the time I'm afraid I just look like that spiky, mistrustful "outsider").

Anyway... I turned up on Sunday after a couple of months absence.  It was lovely to see familiar friends.  We sang about Jesus and love.  That was beautiful.  Cathy shared communion, and it was a message of hope and gratitude.  It did my heart good.  There was a baby dedication, where friends and family gathered round and committed to supporting one another to bring up little William (he and I are good mates, in spite of our 46 year age difference) to know God's love.  Then there was a guest speaker.  I kinda think that's when "Church" (in the sense of community built around the love of God - that kind of church) finished.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why is it a big deal?


I glanced over a post in Sojourners this morning, about Christians disagreeing about stuff.  Not exactly new news.  The article made the point that as a community of people, it would be more surprising if we didn't disagree (which I think is true) but the author was concerned that the way we go about it is really the problem.  I guess I agree with that too - at least, that the unloving, point scoring, superior way Christians often go about disagreeing on everything from doctrine to politics to clothing, is problematic.  To put it mildly.  Actually, if you take the words of Jesus seriously, it's a sign that those who behave like this are not actually Christians.  (I'm not kidding - if "they will know them by their love" is true - there are a LOT of very churchy types who are in deep, spiritual trouble!)

But I digress.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What we See...


Okay.  Here is where you get to see what a complete ninny I can sometimes be... but there's a point to this!

A while ago, a friend told me the story of having sighted, some years ago, a Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine) in the bush near Bargo, NSW.  For those who don't know the Highlands, Bargo is not far from where I live.  Now Thylacines have been extinct for the best part of a century - so in spite of his attestation that both he AND his father had seen the animal and been sure of its identity - I was not convinced.  However the story kind of stuck in the back of my mind.

Last week I worked 5 days in a row in a lovely country school, and enjoyed the beautiful drive through the bush every day to get there.  On the first day, I noticed a dead animal by the side of the road, on one of the bends.  It looked much like a dog, but dark in colour and appeared to have some stripes.  For some reason, the idea formed in my mind that it looked rather like a Tasmanian Tiger.  I pushed the thought away, but it kept coming back.  After driving past it several days in a row and deciding it really didn't look like a dog, I decided I should investigate - just in case I really happened to be driving past the zoological discovery of the century!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

... A Busy Season ...


Well,  things have slowed down here on the blog - on account of becoming VERY busy elsewhere - For those who don't know, when I'm not wasting time online, or doing crazy things to my house and yard, I earn money as a casual relief teacher.  After a very quiet period, the teacher-absentee-season has arrived with a venegeance!  I've been working full-time hours the last couple of weeks, and had to turn down additional offers of work almost every day - it's gone crazy!!  

In spite of a little unaccustomed weariness at the end of each week, this is a very GOOD thing, as the finances were getting alarmingly shabby!  (note to self:  budget better for the quiet season next year!!)

I'm also really enjoying the schools I've been working at... this week I have the WHOLE week with the most delightful bunch of Kindy kids - & I'm really enjoying the change of pace - it's kinda cool having completely different ages and stages from day to day!

So if the blog updates get a little less frequent for a while, or I don't pop up as regularly in the usual cyber-places, it's not because anything's gone wrong - it's all fabulously right!  My teacher-muscles are enjoying the workout, and my bank balance is singing!!   I'll update when I can, and look forward to hanging out more regularly once things slow down again...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Subverting our Stories...

Image Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/harisroussos/6841284929/
Alright.  Here's my latest "niggle".  What is unique about Jesus?  It's one of those hard questions that can't be answered glibly.  I grew up steeped in the tradition that says Jesus was, in fact, God incarnate.  And that he was the only incarnation of the one true God, to visit us in this way.  That's a very. big. claim.

So, if Jesus was the only human incarnation of the Creator God of the cosmos;  what would he be like?  What would be unique about him?  It seems to me that if the crucifixion of Christ is, indeed, the pivotal point of human history - then there has to be a whole lot more to it, than a substitutionary sacrifice to fulfil the demands of a religion - ANY religion.  That's just not big enough.

Now some of my Christian friends reading this will think I've finally lost the plot and fallen into heresy - and my atheist friends will be cheering because I've finally "seen the light" and abandoned my faith - but settle down, peeps - this is neither.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Women and Men

Image Credit:  genderpolicyforum.wordpress.com
I've never thought of myself as a real "girly-girl", but I've spent a bit of time lately in the company of women - and it has been absolutely wonderful!

You know, at their best, women are honest, communicative, warm, supportive, and my GOD, we are strong!!  The other day, I sat in a cafe nook with a couple of the women from the poetry group I've joined.  Both older than me (closer in age to my mother) - but it felt like time with sisters.  We talked and laughed, and shared.  I got to know them in ways that their public personas never reveal... and was awestruck by their strength and dignity, SO hard-won in the struggles and challenges of their lives.  I got to hear them share about the ways they have adjusted to the difficulties and disappointments of life, love and relationships, often making choices that meant great personal sacrifice - yet never in any way diminishing their knowledge of their own value and personhood.  Sitting there, I saw women who had found their worth, and knew it was not in the needs or estimation of any other person.  It was both humbling and inspiring.

Chatting with another woman friend this morning, the talk turned to "motherhood", and the ways in which we as women tend to "hold it all together" socially and relationally, for our families.  She is a mum who has until recently homeschooled a daughter with special needs, is now an advocate for her as she transfers to formal schooling, is dealing with significant health challenges faced by both her daughter and herself - and in spite of seemingly never-ending challenges, is looking to the future, celebrating some wonderful successes, and remaining strong.  When I talk with her, I get the sense that she is creating a world of opportunities around her family and herself, and teaching her daughter to do the same.

Sometimes it seems, in our culture, that women do all the nurturing, give of themselves, hold their relational worlds together for the sake of others,   while our men focus on wage-earning, live on some kind of "auto-pilot" and become more and more disconnected from their families and the real heart of life.

Friday, May 4, 2012

While I Wasn't Blogging...

OR doing housework, or anything at all responsible...


I wrote THIS!


It's not quiiite  polished (well, new poems usually are not), but I thought I'd share it, anyway :)


I think perhaps I will stick a copy of it on my wall as justification for all the un-done tasks around the house....


Monday, April 30, 2012

Typology

Image Credit:  http://www.streetandstage.com/jesus-christ-pose/
Now there's a word!!


My dad was a bit of a theologian, and so I grew up with a bit of theological language in the atmosphere.  A "type" in theology-speak is something that creates a picture for us.  Usually it is used in the phrase "a type of Christ", meaning "a picture of what Christ is like".  Some of the "types" I remember learning about were as varied as the rock that Moses hit in the desert (Moses hit the rock and then water came out), the snake on a stick that healed people (yes - that's really in there!) Melchizedeck  (the priest from nobody-knows-where who came and talked with Abraham), the luckless sheep that got sacrificed instead of Isaac, and of course LOTS of the Jewish laws, ceremonies and rituals.  


I'm a little hazy on the details now... those conversations were a long time ago, and in any case I'm sure there are varied opinions about them all.  However I love that concept of a "picture", rather than an explanation.   


So it got me thinking, what are some modern "types" that speak to me of Christ-ness?


Saturday, April 28, 2012

What's the REAL point???

I woke up yesterday morning with a very CLEAR idea of what I was gonna post on the blog... then the day got busy, I didn't do it, and now I'm not quite sure where I was headed.  Don't you hate that??

So... I'm going to put some of my fuddled thoughts out there - but then YOU're gonna help me (Pleeease?  It'll be SO MUCH better if you do!)

It started with a couple of online discussions I've either been involved in or privy to.  Theological stuff  (don't run away now).  One involved the issue of homosexual marriage - a hot topic in Aust. right now (& if you are connected with me on facebook, you no doubt saw the heated debate that went on!)  A couple of others involved "churchy" type discussions about...  well, it doesn't really even matter what they were about...  MY frustration is about the approach we tend to take, to all this stuff.  (& don't tune out if you're not a "churchy" type - I'm talking about people in general).

The thing is, in ALL of these conversations, there was a lot of nitty-gritty, intense discussion, about whether things were, or were being done, or being thought of, the "right" way.  Whether someone's behaviour or views were "correct", or not. 

Well I have some thoughts about that.  For starters, when the conversation heads that way, I tend to back out.  Fast.  I think at that point, all is lost. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Virtual Reality?


This meme has been doing the rounds of facebook, lately.  And it connects, at least slightly, with something I've been thinking on.  Especially the bit about "Creating the rainbow".  I find it fascinating, that the whole universe of our experience as conscious beings is produced by neurons in our heads.  In actual fact, we each experience our own "virtual reality", played on the screen of our mind.  How much does this equate to "actual" reality?  That's quite a question!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pausing to listen

Image Credit:  simplenomics.com
It's ironic, but for a person who is seeking to understand others better, I am a shocking listener.

It's true.  My kids will shout loud in agreement - it's something they regularly complain about!  Even right now, at this moment, here I am with my head engaged with a computer keyboard, formulating something I want to say - and if my daughter decides she wants to talk to me, she's gonna get frustrated because I likely won't hear her, first time 'round.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Holding on to Questions

Is this a great image, or what??  I found it here:  http://www.asme.org/kb/news---articles/articles/uncertainty-analysis/experimentation-in-uncertainty-analysis
Lately, the question of identity has really gotten a hold on me.  It seems to pop up in every deep conversation I have, sticks its curly inquiry into every little blog post - and winds itself in, around and through every piece of fiction I write. 

And I like that.

It may be a personal eccentricity, this love for wrestling with questions; but the more I dwell on the idea of identity, the more I'm beginning to see it as something absolutely necessary.  In fact, it's as necessary to identity as breathing is to life.

Why? 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Love and Freedom in the blogosphere...

Everyone seems to be posting about Love and Freedom today!!  Well, perhaps not everybody, but definitely Alise and Jeff.   It's in the air - so I thought I'd share!



Alise Wright has written about love and freedom in the context of friendships here.

My good mate, Jeff Elkins, is all about Love and Freedom in the Christian faith here.

(& in case you missed it, we recently had some lively discussions on that same topic here, and HERE!)  (the second post probably relates more to what Alise and Jeff are saying)

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Samaritan.



This short story belongs with a planned series of posts around the theme "What it might look like".  But I will let it speak for itself.  What does it say to you?  Could you imagine "What it might look like" in some other sense? If you think you could, email me - I'd love some other contributions!
_____________________________________
 The man lay across the doorway, his head lolling at an awkward angle.  He could have been sleeping off a heavy night.  It was a common enough sight in this part of town, but he gave a restless groan, and his head lifted slightly, revealing a shockingly battered eye and cheekbone.   As he settled back into his appearance of sleep, a trickle of bloody mucus escaped surreptitiously from the side of his mouth, tiny telltale of something far more serious.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Life to the Full?

Well, my dear blogging friend Adrian has been hosting a guest series on his blog, Life before the Bucket, for some time now.  It's called "Life to the Full" & he's invited people to contribute their thoughts on what this means, or how they achieve it in their own lives. 

Today, the guest-blogger for this series is...  (drumroll)  ME!!!!  My first ever guest post for another blog.  Thank you, Adrian - I'm quite excited about that!!  :)

He's called it "How a Worn-out Mum Does it" - because he wanted an excuse to use our Aussie word, "mum".  (I think we Aussie bloggers should pop on over, and leave some more of our great Aussie idiom in the comments section - can you think of a way to work in bogan, fair-dinkum or chook??)

Silliness aside, here's a little introduction to get you started - then head over to Life Before the Bucket to read the rest.  While you're at it, make sure you check out the rest of the series, and Adrian's other stuff - it's a great place to visit!  You might even consider adding your own contribution on living life to the full - I know the series is still open.

Living to the Fullest:  Can a Worn-Out Mum do it?


For most of us, I suspect the phrase “living life to the full” conjures up images of active, laughing young people, all healthy and attractive, of course, and possibly participating in some kind of water sport…


Alright, I think the image I have in my mind right now came straight from a Coca-Cola ad.

As appealing as those laughing, perfect images may be, they certainly don’t represent my life. In my case, I’m forty-something (pushing fifty-something). I don’t look good in a bikini. Although I like to be active, I’m not as healthy as I used to be. A few years back I suffered a serious emotional and physical burnout – the result of pushing myself too hard for too long, in too many areas. I am recovering, but still easily fatigued. There is a definite limit to how much “full living” I can pack into each day.

Living my life to the full does not usually involve water sports, extreme experiences, or great “highs.” Not that I never have fun; I am naturally extroverted, so sometimes I do crazy stuff with my kids and with my friends, and sometimes there are parties and fun times. But not all the time. In fact, not even usually. Too much of that stuff and I get wayyy too tired. Usually, things are pretty quiet and mundane.

And I think I’ve finally learned something...   continue reading

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday rest from the 'Rest-Fest'

Well, today is that day known (in the western world, at least) as "Good Friday".   For my family, it means the start of the Easter school holidays, and a welcome slowdown, for a little while.

Josh's "Part 2" on Biblical rest was tentatively planned for today, but we'd both forgotten this would be Easter weekend.  I think I'll give him the day off ;)

So...  back to "Good Friday".  Not being one to really make much of special days (of any sort) I wasn't planning to do anything in particular.  I did buy some hot cross buns as a sort of afterthought, yesterday at the supermarket.  (my kids do love them - and it makes a holiday seem more like a holiday if you mark it with something special)

As far as the so-called "Christian Calendar" goes, though, I have mixed feelings about Easter (and all the other "holy days", for that matter).

Monday, April 2, 2012

What Might it Look Like? Identity.

I've worded the title this way, because I think, just maybe, this could be the beginning of a little series... WHAT IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE IF ______  ... but I'm not sure if I have enough ideas.  If it strikes you as something you'd like to contribute to, let me know!  Some guest posts could be a great way to really re-imagine some stuff!

Illusions - Garry Orriss

nb.  Garry is an old friend of mine.  We lost touch years back, but I happen to own a couple of these lithographs, which he gave me way back when...  At the time, I didn't really understand the image - it seemed to me the mask should be blank, and there should be a face beneath - yet this image has it the other way around.  Funny how your perspective changes over the years - now it makes perfect sense!

So... who ARE you?  What are the things that define your identity?  Are you male?  Female?  Gay?  Straight?  Buddhist?  Agnostic?  Christian? Atheist?  (that list could go on forever so I'll stop there)  Are you a single parent?  A Tradie?  A professional?  Are you wealthy?  or... not? Are you creative?  Logical?  Are you black?  white?  Asian?  Shy?  Angry?  Tender-hearted?  Practical?  Intellectual?  I'll let you fill in the blanks!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest Post - Josh Miller (Rest 7)

This week's contribution to the "Rest Fest" comes from my little bro, Josh Miller.  I've been saving this as a little treat for you all (perhaps not so much for him ;) but here is a photo only a sister would put on the internet:  

 He's improved with age!

Josh is (or was, until quite recently) a pentecostal pastor.  For some time he has been on a journey away from institutional religion.  Josh and I often bounce around theological ideas...  I would have to say that he has been one of the main influences in my journey through Christian faith, over the last decade or so.  You also have Josh to thank for the fact that I blog - it was he who introduced me to the blogosphere.  His (unfortunately, now long unused) blog can be found here

for some of you, his thoughts on rest will sound a lot more specifically "Christian" than a lot of the stuff you read here - but I think it is good to see what an orthodox, Christian understanding of rest looks like (especially since I myself have been labelled somewhat of a heretic, of late!! ;)  Interestingly, I see parallels with Andrew's recent post on rest and Buddhist meditation and mindfulness, and Ian Metcalfe's post (the very first) on rest as a state of mind.  See what YOU think!

 

The Way of Rest
- Josh Miller -


Well, my sister has asked me to write a piece on Biblical rest.  Though I’m not convinced I’m the most qualified to write this I am convinced that if we don’t understand rest then we don’t understand the Christian concept of salvation or the essence of the Scriptures.  I also believe that ignorance/neglect of this concept has led to a whole lot of destructive behaviour in the name of faith.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Still Here... Sort of!


Hey, all!

Just popping in to let you all know I am still on the planet...  My trusty (well, apparently, not-so-trusty) laptop has been in for repairs for a week now.  Fingers crossed it comes back working.  All my blog links, blog reader, and quite a bit of my writing are on it, and can't be accessed until I get it back.  That, combined with a busy week of work (much needed - so that's not a complaint!) has made it hard to do anything much on the blogosphere.

I've been trying to keep up with some of my favourite blogs via phone, but can't access all of them - and can't comment.  So...  looks like I'm having a bit of a "technology cleanse" this week.

Still planning to have a guest post on Rest tomorrow or on the weekend (my dear brother Josh is, hopefully, working on it as I type this!) And hope to be back to something more like normal by next week.

See you all, then!!

Kerry


Saturday, March 24, 2012

NOT a Book Review!

If you haven't done so already, DON'T FORGET to check out yesterday's GUEST POST, by Doug B.  For me, it highlights the notion that rest is, indeed, a gift.  Enjoy the read...  and please leave some thoughts or encouragement in the comments! 


Okay.  I think I've FINALLY finished my "Peter Rollins binge".  I just finished reading Insurrection, and though book reviews are not my 'thing', I thought I'd share some of my impressions, and a few things from the book that I found worth chewing over.

As the title suggests - this is NOT a book review.  I'm not even going to try to do a thorough critique - plenty of thinkers who are far more qualified have already done that - but Rollins' thinking explores some areas I've been poking around in too, so there was a lot in there I was really ready to wrestle with (try saying that three times fast!!)  As far as critique goes, I suppose I'll just say that the book left me with as many questions as answers, and there is a lot in it that really didn't 'click' with me. 

In spite of the 'gaps', there were some strong ideas put forward in the book that definitely resonated with me - so I'm going to give you my rundown on those today.  (True to my usual habit, you really are getting my version - this is what I gleaned from the book, so if you want an accurate understanding of what Rollins is on about, you'll just have to read it yourself...  this is the 'Kerry version' - okay?)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Guest Post - Doug B. (Rest 6)

This week's contribution to the 'Rest-Fest' comes from Doug B., a new blogging friend, who blogs over at Groping the Elephant. Doug considers himself a Pantheist; if you're curious about what that means in practice, head on over and check out his own words about it, on his blog. One thing I have already discovered about Doug, is that he is one of those rare individuals who are more interested in listening to and connecting with others, than in arguing about who is 'right'. I'm more than happy to introduce him here :)


Rest Provides Context For Life  
- Doug B -

Rest is natural. No profound truth in that, but I wish to elaborate just a bit.
There is much wisdom to be found in the cycles of life. The sun "rises" each morning bringing with it a world of opportunities and possibilities. It provides warmth and light and a mood-enhancing lift that energizes us as we perform our work or just carry out the duties that accumulate with being alive.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just for fun!

Did I mention how much I'm enjoying being involved with the Southern Highlands Fellowship of Australian Writers??  

We did an exercise on the weekend that was fun... & I was quite pleased with my creation, in the 10 minutes we were given.

SO - Could you, in 10 minutes or so, & just a paragraph or two - explain  WHY a writer would run a red light??

 STOP! 
Before you read on and find out what I came up with...  you might like to write an answer yourself!  Go on!  Post it in the comments when you're done!



 Here's my effort:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Provocative Reads...

This is the bit where I throw all kinds of crazy stuff out there, because in one way or another, it has made me think.  Or at least informed some thinking process that's been going on in my head.  And although in my mind there is a bit of a theme going on, it's probably guaranteed to confuse the hell out of you if you try to piece it all together into something coherent.

Nonethless, here is some of what I've been reading of late, and have found worthwhile:

BOOK:  Insurrection, by Peter Rollins

Yes, yes, I know - I've been on the Rollins bandwagon of late.  At the moment, I'm a bit over halfway through InsurrectionSo this isn't a proper review, since I haven't actually finished reading it (& I'm not into doing book reviews, anyway).  So far, though, my impressions are a little mixed.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Guest Post - Andrew Cook (Rest 5)

The following guest post comes from my good friend, Andrew.  I first met him when we were both gangly 12 year olds beginning at the same high school, and reconnected with him late last year.  We've both had 'interesting' journeys over the intervening years, so there was lots to talk about!  I asked him to contribute to this series, because he has quite a philosophical bent, and as a practicing Buddhist, is able to bring a different perspective.  Besides that, he's just good value!  Enjoy!!

                 Rest in All Things               
                           - Andrew Cook -                          

It’s been a little while now since Kerry asked me to contribute my perspective on rest and amongst the hectic maelstrom of chaos that is my life, sometimes, it seems as if rest is a far-flung luxury for the rich or lazy…

Having being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder some ten…no twelve years ago now, did provide me with a degree of insight into self and also a key to managing this hectic dance that is my life. Another integral component to this self-management, which came about around the time of my diagnosis, was an introduction to Buddhism and its practice in mindfulness and meditation.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ahem! Freedom... now where was I??


I was headed somewhere, with my post about freedom...  and as discussions often do, the thing has taken quite a different direction, and a life of its own!

The conversation about what freedom really is (and whether we are free agents at all) has been fascinating, & is still going on - so feel free to jump in, if it interests you.

The interesting thing to me, whether you view "freedom" as merely being unhindered in following your own biology, or something more transcendent, is that we all DO value it.  Take away your "right" to choose who you will marry (if you are a westerner), where you will live, what career path you will take...  and there will be protests!

Imagine a world where an external authority dictates what you will wear, the style and colour scheme of your house and car, the food rations you may receive...  It would be impossible to maintain.  People would continue to find new and inventive ways of expressing individuality and pushing for freedom, and ultimately it would lead to revolution.  We've seen it happen!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why Freedom?

Image Credit: http://thinkinginfinity.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/freedom.html
Is "freedom" something that matters to you?

Do you resent being told what you can or cannot do?

Do you vigorously defend your own right to choose for yourself?

Do stories of oppression make your blood boil?


If you are anything like me, the answer to all of those questions would be a resounding YES.


Yet, is "freedom" even real?

Some would say, perhaps, that we are not free at all; that our behaviour is completely determined by the interaction of our genetics and environment, and that although we perceive ourselves as autonomous, self-determined human beings, we are in fact nothing but a sum of (at least theoretically) predictable probabilities. 

But if that is really the case - why is the idea of 'freedom' something we value so highly?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Guest Post - Stuart Mawbey (Rest 4)

What can I say about Stuart?  Regular readers of this blog will already be familiar with his encouraging, challenging, and always thoughtful comments.  Without Stu's contribution, there would often be little discussion going on.  Stuart and I met via the blogosphere some years ago, now, and over the course of time he has become a valued friend.

One of Stuart's passions is Haiku, and he has created a beautiful Haiku collection, encapsulating his thoughts and feelings on "rest".  I suspect one of the reasons Stuart loves this form so much, is that it is never didactic.  Each haiku gives a momentary glimpse of something much larger, and requires the reader to immerse themselves in that moment, in order to feel its wider reverberations and import for themselves.  In other words, nothing is spelled out - you, dear reader, will need to imagine yourself in Stuart's haiku "moments" and let them to speak to you.  It is worth taking pause to do!

Enough from me.


Haiku Meditation
- Stuart Mawbey -

Image Credit:  http://www.cairnsunlimited.com/daintree.htm

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Starting with Wreckage.

Wrecked car, near Goulburn, NSW (Photographed by Toby :)
My heart has been struggling with some heavy questions, of late.  I feel laden with news of tragedies, the despair of friends begging mercy from a seemingly empty heaven, and the interminable, and unanswerable question, "why?"

In the ebb and flow of life, there are weeks that seem more laden with tragedy than others.  The reality, of course, is that life is both beautiful and terrible, and at every given moment, unspeakable atrocities, unremitting tragedy and unrelenting pain are present, somewhere.  Often much closer to my own "safe" world than I care to realise.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Now it's YOUR turn!








Well, I've been fiddling around with my blog layout... and being a bit of a "reno-chick" I can feel a few blog-renovations coming on...

But TODAY, I added an Un-Lurk page...

Because I want to know about YOU.  Anything at all!!

Seriously!

I know I'm a big-mouth - but the thing I love MOST about this blog space, is the interaction between people.  So for all you mysterious lurkers, out there...  THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!!  I'm busting to know who you all are!

& to all my very beloved regular commenters - jump in and tell me something I don't know about you!!

I'll start the ball rolling...  Think you know all about me??  Well think again!!   To see what I've written, head to the new De-Lurk page, and scroll down to the comments section!

(erm... the pic is meant to be me, BECKONING - just in case there's any confusion!!  ;)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Guest Post - Adrian Waller (Rest 3)


I stumbled on Adrian's blog quite recently.  At the time, he and his wife were experimenting with keeping a sabbath.  It was his experiment, in fact, that gave me the idea for this series on rest.  When I asked if he would contribute, his immediate response was positive, even though he knew very little about me.  In fact, I think being positive and encouraging is one of Adrian's special gifts to the blogosphere, along with his great thoughts and writing.  I'm more than thrilled to introduce him here... after you've enjoyed his contribution to the rest-fest, head on over and check out his other work on Life Before the Bucket.

- Too Busy to Not Rest -
Adrian Waller


My journey with rest began long ago time ago. At birth, in fact.

Until recently, though, it’s been a failure.

I once equated rest solely with sleep. And though that is sometimes the case, sleep is not the end-all be-all of rest. In fact, it’s only a microcosm on a spectrum of restful habits that we can engage in.

This perspective changed recently, though, when I discovered a book that wrecked my life.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hiding behind belief?

Untitled - By Me.

Ever become aware of a "story" that you've been telling yourself?  A convenient fiction that you habitually use, because it's easier and more comfortable than really engaging with the truth?

We all do it.

It starts when we're kids.  'Oh, he's just a "boy's boy"!'  (he's really rough and aggressive but that's okay)

"She's such a little princess!"  (she's spoiled and self-centred, but we'll humour her)

Sometimes these stories remain unchallenged into adulthood.  But even if they don't, we will go on to make up new and better fictions. 

One of mine is  (now shhh... don't tell ;)  "Oh I'm just very open and social".  Well, I am.  But that blithe pronouncement is something I have used, at times, to avoid more honest examination, of my interactions with people.  It can be a little mental censor's board that I hold up;  shielding me from the fact that I'm... maybe...  letting my own neediness show...  or what's infinitely worse, toying with the vulnerability of another. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Post - Ian Metcalfe (Rest 2)

Here is part 2 of our Guest post series on rest - and an auspicious moment for the blog - as Ian is my first ever Guest Blogger!


Ian (aka "Bunz" - I can't get used to his real name, although he assures me most people do use it) is a very old friend, who has seen me go through a lot of changes.  I'm particularly thrilled that he decided to contribute to this series, because I know his feelings towards "religion".  I'm sure my attachment to such things has tested his tolerance, however I have always known Ian as a man of deep integrity, who cares about justice and truth enough for it to reflect in his life choices.   Unlike myself, Ian is juggling blogging with a life ;) - so although he will be available to answer comments, his response may not be immediate.



Rest is a State of Mind
Ian Metcalfe

Given the nature of this blog, I feel the need to declare that I am an atheist.  For me, there is no being, supreme or otherwise, at the centre of creation.  There doesn't need to be.  I attribute the joy I receive from the world around me to the realisation that I am as much a part of it as it is of me.  And it is in this context, I relate my little story...

Several years ago, I found myself somewhere that I really didn't want to be.  I had damaged my knee, and the specialist strongly recommended surgery, partly exploratory, and partly remedial to repair damage to a meniscus.  After a few weeks of post-surgical painful restrictive hobbling, the knee began to come good, but my mood didn't.  I felt inner tension and exhaustion I couldn't account for, despite getting plenty of rest, re-watching most of the X-Files and a myriad of new movies, sleeping in, relaxing, and lazing about.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More than Listening


I had planned to write about something else today, but there's a conundrum gnawing at my brain, and it won't let me go until I tussle with it, so here goes...

This week, I posted videos by two quite different thinkers, Peter Rollins and Alain de Botton.  Rollins is a Christian theologian.  De Botton is an Atheist philosopher.  In spite of this, the two have something in common.  I think the "something" is listening (which was also the something I had planned to write about today)They are both men who are prepared to listen, and, even more than listening, to actually evaluate their own beliefs and behaviour through the perspective of the "other". 

So you might expect their perspectives to mesh, quite nicely;  but whilst there are some points of agreement (the importance of listening being the biggest) their perspectives do. not. sit. comfortably. together. at. all.

And for me, the thing I find utterly compelling when I listen to both is NOT their agreement, but the jagged dissonance that exists between them. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An Atheist on Religion



Given that the conversations here frequently teeter in the space between faith and unbelief, I was interested to hear an interview with Atheist, Alain de Botton, discussing his thoughts on religion.  He is the author of a book entitled Religion for Atheists.    His is also an interesting perspective to examine alongside that of Peter Rollins (see previous post).

See the interview and transcipt, from ABC's 7:30 progam, here!

http://www.literaryfestivals.com.au/authors/alaindenbotton.html

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Places Worth Visiting!


Valentines Day has never been big on my calendar (it's not such a big deal in Australia, anyway), but this year I ignored it more assiduously than usual.  Jay Kim, however, at Farewell to the Sea, posted some thoughts on love that are worth sharing.  You may have noticed that I revised my "about me" box recently - and, yes, I borrowed that little phrase at the end from Jay :)


Since we've been on the topic of rest, here's a bit of a different take, from Michael Thompson, over at  Perichoretic Life.  He writes about Sleep as Sacrament.  That's a perspective I'd never really considered.  I love his point that in the Biblical view, the day starts with rest, then moves on to the things we have to do, so that we are always operating from a place of rest.


A dose of Peter Rollins!
Okay.  THIS has got to be the most powerfully provocative, and deeply resonant thing I have come across in a long time. (& I don't mean the sketch... although that's also very cool)

Sketch drawn during the talk by Matt Lumpkin. http://mattlumpkin.com/

I just spent a couple of hours watching a video (linked below) of Peter Rollins speaking.  I will be watching it more than once.

Having said that, if you want to absorb it, you'll need to set aside some time.  The talk goes for about an hour, followed by a half hour question time.  It's worth the time - ALL of it.

In this talk, Rollins turns traditional conceptions of Christianity on their head.  During the question time, he draws parallels and distinctions between Christianity as he sees it and both Buddhism and New Atheism.  More than anything I have ever read or heard, he makes SENSE of the cross!

A whole bunch of ideas I've been groping at myself, quite independently, are articulated here in ways I could not have said.  I couldn't embed the video on blogger, but here's the link:

Introducing:  Peter Rollins, Salvation for Zombies!

Check it out, even if you ignore everything else I ever recommend!

& That's all from me!
xx
Kerry