Soul Survivor this year kicked off for team with an activity about our ‘theme’ (Everything). We collectively (and consequently, individually) shared the ways/places/times we see God and we wrote these on several hundred light globes that were strung up across the main auditorium.

Last night we had a discussion around community and our community and building community with the Missio crew and Dave Andrews. We were reminded that God is good and merciful and just and these characteristics can be found in all kinds of places certainly not just in the typical Christian ideas’ where these things show up. God is all around us and in many things we maybe don’t’ want him to be.

I have recently read an exceptional book: ‘Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art’ by Madeline Le’Engle.

ā€œIf our lives are truly “hid with Christ in God,” the astounding thing is that this hiddenness is revealed in all that we do and say and write. What we are is going to be visible in our art, no matter how secular (on the surface) the subject may be.ā€
ā€• Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

So here I am, in my rental in the North of Melbourne.
I have a kid, I work a bit – for myself and struggle with the tension of this and being a parent and giving my own life space. I am married to a teacher, he’s great, I’m super proud of him and we moved and changed a lot about our life so he could work in a disadvantaged school, doing the stuff he’s meant to be doing. And I often feel stuck at home not being terribly hmm… influential? Out doing ‘kingdom stuff’ (dumbest phrase if I ever heard one, but it’s late and my brain is a tad fried).
I want a house (eventually when we can afford one) and I want to travel even though sometimes I feel guilty about these ‘wants’ when clearly we already have so much.

And here is Jesus too.

Lets not aim for lights on hills, but to be leven in dough so mixed up you can’t tell the difference (pinched that one right from Mr. Andrews) There’s some Christianese for you to mull over when contemplating being in this world but not of it. eg. You are not a freaking alien with three eyes and your holiness cape come to rescue the world. You are human and are already here.

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*These are thoughts post Soul Survivor, the monster that appears in the first act is holding a big long page of disclaimers, but truly – let’s pay attention to reality: I will just say what I think.

Act 1

And whomph, the tiredness monster fly past and knocks me over and I can only sit.

I hate performance poetry – it is obnoxious and turns lovely words into melodramatic harpies. Cruel perhaps, but this – thine – then is how I feel. Point in case? (art is subjective, yes? this is art that I don’t – although not exclusively dislike)

I dislike disconnect – although there is some kind of false safety in staying busy.

Service I understand somewhat better. Although understanding is not tangible without doing – perhaps service can only ever be understood at the present moment of the act?

Hype gives me hives.

Tea, words, solace is peace and there I find God. It is not as if loud, dancing joy is hype (not in the slightest), but to me it is foreign and that swell of soul makes itself known better through moment and surprise-in-quiet.

I fill my life with too much noise. I must relearn being still.

(I’m sorry if you like performance poetry)

Act 2

Perhaps life flickers as performance poetry? Expanding our experiences into deep-hollow words of longing. Expression that is not met. False conclusions that wrap things up neat and tidy like. Conclusions that are conclusions.

Where is our conclusion?

Our conclusion is still longing and interacting with those moments of awareness that God drops into our lives via somewhat delightful and sometimes disturbing means.

We are disrupted. Words stop following so nicely. We step out of time and lose pace.
It is in this mess of boring prose that we find truth.
And it’s conclusion is both in this prose and beyond it.

and the finish is

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“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
ā€” F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve been wondering a little about why I haven’t blogged lately, nor even felt the true compulsion to get at it. I’ve lost my rhythm and my routine was royally screwed this past year so it’s no great surprise. Mr Fitzgerald has said it quite nicely. The bulk of the starkness (and patronisingly easy image/music posts) is that I don’t feel like I have very much to say. This of course is probably wrong when I really assess things…

What I haven’t said is…

Lots about work. It’s tricky you know, because I do work on some quite interesting stuff but I can’t really talk about specifics online. Work needs to get seen by the client first. Fortunately the folio, long overdue for a refresh is in the works of a facelift which shall include more work and possibly some of what I’ve done. In general terms some of the exciting/sometimes intimidating stuff I’ve done includes:

  • Full building signage, we’re talking large format, stuff I haven’t really done before and it came up pretty well (not a sign, like a whole building wrap and frosted glass areas etc)!
  • An exhibition stand. More large format, and a tricky client topic. It amuses me no end this client, it really does.
  • Web. Doing more of web has further encouraged the little burn of happiness that comes when the code just works and your <divs> can magically make a structure as fast as you can type. I have also learnt much about Adobe Business Catalyst, which is a CMS/eCommerce solution > not always the solution but is pretty darn nifty. Lets just hope they keep developing it further.

I have loved being part of a small workplace where I can have interesting conversations, am treated (although I am technically a junior designer) as an equal where my input is valued and where I genuinely enjoy the company of the people I work with. We also play Triple J, Indie/Folk, The Smiths (a lot) and have MegaMix Fridays. There is the additional bonus of being within throwing distance of a superb cafe, props to Pat and Toby throughout the week and the Monday guy/girl team (I’ll get around to asking names).

I have said something about how the first two and a half months of full time work left me wrecked and incapable of normal function most evenings. Good news is that I’m getting used to it.

I haven’t said much about Missio Dei, and the community of new friends, the openness, the great food, girls group and the inspiring people who encourage me to live a better life… and join with me in making that happen.

and I haven’t said much about theology and God lately. This is not due to the fact (upon initial suspicion – my own) that I am thinking less about that stuff or am ‘less into that stuff’ etc. – however you might put it. But more that I have come to the conclusion (or rather the inkling) that God is teaching me in a different way at the moment and it’s more to do with my living than with my head. This is indeed a good thing although a monster to deal with at times. How to communicate that just yet, I’m not quite sure. Perhaps I will have to have a little think…

On the same lines as Missio etc and even theology/God/life stuff we have talked a fair bit (we had a camp you see) about the Enneagram, as many of may know I’m a bit mad keen on anything personality and so I jumped at it (and I am going to talk about it because I find it interesting)… Interestingly the Enneagram has actually genuinely helped me recognise certain responses in myself that are very ‘oneish’ and not always positive, and consequently I can change my response or attitude. Steve asked (I think… I could have this totally wrong) way back if I – as a one, clenched my jaw a lot – I said no at the time, but it’s currently freaking me out how much I am catching myself doing it, as a natural physical response I never really noticed to indicate something such as stress or the glorious ‘internal critic’. There’s something for you to chew on if you’re interested in blackboards, about as interesting as chalk – still, very helpful. I don’t think I really fully ‘get it’ yet in regards to helping me connect better with God – but I reckon we’re getting there slowly.

Love books, still do, always have. Bookclub is going great guns, we’re up to our 13th book – I think and have a regular tribe reading the Popular Penguins. We’ve had two engagements (Ana to Blake, Amanda to Tim) and there’s a baby on the way for lovely Cat. Currently we are lacking in the boy department and are working hard (if you’re reading this Norman) to get Norman back and suss out any prospectives. Harsh but true, most of the guys we all know don’t seem to be so inclined to read a book (even in the likes of Dracula or In Cold Blood) and discuss it with great food and wine. Society lacks. Society lacks.

And friends. It has been interesting looking at the past year and what our move North has done to friendships. Proximity is a grand thing. Thankfully many of our friends are above and beyond proximity or we would be dastardly lonely (apart from the new friends… but yeh, we’re still getting there). I went to a friend’s engagement party the other night and caught up with my lovely housemate (where proximity is a geniune issue and not just because we’re lazy about it)… but it reminded me of all the truly wonderful people I know and the richness of those I know who are encouraging and so distinctly themselves. It is so ridiculously good, seeing so many of my friends truly happy at the moment.

Geoff. He’s the best. Marriage is grand.

and now, I have said something. Throw some curlys my way and I might just say more.

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Geoff and I have started going to Missio Dei. It’s super. That is all.

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This morning I spoke at Ranges. Now and then somehow who’s been there a while gets to ‘tell their story’. It was my turn.

Tim recorded it for Amanda who couldn’t come. Perhaps I’ll ask him to shoot it my way and if it’s not too embarrassing I might share. Maybe.

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