“everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics”

I read this quote this morning in Richard Rohr’s daily meditations. It’s from Charles quote-everything-begins-in-mysticism-and-ends-in-politics-charles-peguy-70-49-53Péguy (1873–1914), who was a French poet and essayist. Also this morning in the Guardian online I read this from Julia Gillard, who was the first woman Prime Minster of Australia, “the rapid media cycle combined with social media had disrupted the rhythm of politics and the perception of politicians.”

What’s wrong with the world today?” we often hear cry. In fact I was at a meeting talking about doing things with young people and that it is getting harder and harder because their attention spans are becoming shorter – and of course social media took the blame. Is it to blame? Or is it more along the lines of the fact that we have come to accept it and not challenge it. I’m not saying switch it off but I am saying that we need to fit in the mysticism, the praying, the meditation, the thinking about things. We see top level tweet-research-lengthcouncil and government meetings tweeted about as soon as we happen. Donald Trump has bought into the whole social media/tweeting in such a way that he appears to just tweet away so he can keep “in touch” but so much of what he says is rubbish and not even spell checked. As yet our politicians over here have not bought in to it but will that only be a matter of time?

But each of us needs to change this too. We need to slow down and to think. We need to change our worlds but being more meditative before we act. There is a rise in meditation and mindfulness but that seems to me to be in a recreation box not in a “let’s ponder before we act” box. As the general public we need to stop wanting a quick answer to things. And yes public enquiries can take too long – as with Hillsborough – but also answers can be wanted too quickly.

We live in a world that wants answers and wants them now. Human beings have always wanted to know the whys and wherefores of everything but at one time that had to come verucaabout slowly, could not be broadcast the moment someone had had a pondering thought. A lot of what we hear and read is more of a thought than a decision. Decisions come with time, with thought, with tapping into something greater than. And yes I think whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew, Pagan, Agnostic, Atheist, or any of the other religions etc that I have missed out, all want to tap into something more than themselves, whether that is a God, gods, inner self, counsellors, friends, or anything else. But that takes time. It cannot be done in a moment, in 144 characters.

To be able to change this world we need to take time, need to as Kate Tempest said “look at the faces” and “see peace in the faces”. Peace and hope and knowing where to stand. The catchphrase/gateway to silence/meditation point with Richard Rohr this week is “Give me a lever and a place to stand” – based on how Archimedes believed that a lever put in the correct place on the correct fulcrum in space could move the world. For me 13948111896_7fc79a239dthis has set me off on thinking about where is the lever I’m meant to be standing on, where is the correct place for me to stand and what in my world am I changing. Being the person I am it is hard for me to stop and think and wonder about that. I do want to be rushing about doing but I know that I will not know where it is unless I spend time praying, pondering, journaling, talking to friends, reading, watching, thinking and then …

So to change this world, to see the peace in people’s faces, to really know what is going on and what people think about it we need to slow down, to move into meditation not as a place so we can sleep more but as a place where we can become more effective. We need to also stop expecting our leaders to give us answers now.

16137685007_6dd7e27e5f_zGive me a lever and a place to stand

Timing

(Once again I diverge from doing my mini-series of who I am/what I do but this struck me this morning)

HonorLast night we were watching CSI: Los Angeles. Ok so I’m a bit of a CSI/NCIS addict. It’s low key drama that doesn’t take a lot of thinking about and the characters are nice people – the main characters, and there is generally a good reason why the bad guys have been bad.

Anyway last night’s underlying story, to do with the main characters, was that the tough guy had promised his daughter a toy flying pony which was the ‘must have’ toy that Christmas. He had left it until the last minute and of course it was almost impossible to get. The programme starts with him trying to get it on line with no success. Then the geek guy takes over bidding on various online auctions to be outbid every time as well as doing the crime solving bits. At the end the whole team gather together as their boss says that because its Christmas eve they need to have a drink together. There is some teasing about the tough guy letting his daughter down but then the geek guy gives him the toy flying pony. The boss takes him to one side 810kiwzkabl-_sl1500_and says to the girl geek who is standing with the geek that she knew he had reserved this for himself at Comic Con in the summer and that he was giving away something special.

Ok so what stuck me about this was timing. The geek could have told the tough guy at any time to not worry about it because he had on anyway and that tough guy could just buy him a replacement after Christmas when all the fuss had died down. Or even when he gave it could have said that he’d had it all along. And yes I know it made a better story but it struck me about how as Christians we often get our timing wrong.

If the geek guy had given the gift too soon then the tough guy would have felt ineffectual. He wanted to get for his daughter. If the geek guy had not given at all both daughter and tough guy would have had a not so great Christmas – especially probably the dad because the daughter may have forgotten.

How often as Christians do we step in too soon? We tell people what they want and how to 11406317_10155600699790648_4390248065953060695_odo it and disempower them or alienate them. We think we know best because we have this hot line to God!!! Or we step in and say we can do something when actually when it comes to it we can’t. I have been guilty in the past of saying “yes I will always be here for you” or “I can support you there” when in fact when it came to it I was either too busy helping other people that I had said the same thing to or just didn’t have time or energy or even resources. What if the geek guy had said he could get the pony but his reserved one had not arrived in time? He would have looked stupid.

I also think we need to let people work out what they really really want. I think Jesus makes us ask and ask and look and look but in the end gives it to us. Yes He could have given it to us earlier but there is something in the seeking that makes us more grateful in the receiving. But also makes us feel empowered and also realise that this is what we want.

There is a possibility that if the tough guy had got the pony straight away he would not have been grateful to receive it at the last minute or more likely, if it happened more often would just come to rely on the geek to get things rather than his own resources.

I remember once when I lived in Belfast at a church event one woman really stealing fromstealing the church. It was a barbecue and the lovely church members took those in the local area for a barbecue at a local nature reserve. It was common to do this every year. The church booked the coach, picked people up, cooked the food and provided everything – drinks, crisps, sweets – and waited on the people who came. This one woman was sending her son up to keep getting cans of drink, packets of crisps and sweets and had brought a small rucksack to put this in. As the bottom feel out of her bag because she had too much she laughed and said “well that will have to be enough for lunches for the next week.” She saw it that the church had more than enough – which they may have done – but she was not grateful just grabbing.

Yes there are people in need but I think, as Christians, or as any person who supports others, we need to wait for them to know what they want and then help them to get it, and if all else fails then give it, but I do think too often we jump in as do-gooders and give something that actually people aren’t sure if they really want.

Wait!

21132434-coastal-foamy-seawater-surface-after-the-storm-polluted-dredged-from-the-seabed-sand-stock-photoI’ve been pondering this word all week. I believe God has given me a picture of me being like sand on the sea bed after a storm and that I am just to wait until things settle, find peace in who I am and where I am. I love it but …

And here is the big but … for how long? It got me thinking about Jesus’s disciples waiting in the upper room. We all know the rest of the story. We know how long they had to wait and what happened next but they didn’t. Jesus told them to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. Yet we also read that when He first appeared to them He breathed the Holy Spirit on to them. I wonder how many of them wondered what they were waiting for! But also I wonder how many of them didn’t wait and just went off and did. You know at this point they know Jesus has upperroom777711risen from the dead and that He says that by following Him they will be connected to God the Father. So … what was there to wait for? Again remember we know the end of the story they didn’t when they went to wait. They did not know that the Holy Spirit that would come then would give them the power to have the courage to go out and defy the authorities, to risk death for what they believed in. It is easy to say that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit helped them heal, etc but when Jesus sent the 77 out whilst he was still alive they came back saying that they had been able to heal and cast out demons. What more did they want? And yet 120 of them waited and …

There is a great deal of waiting in this journey, so much unknowing. There are whole seasons when they feel impatient and confused about why they can’t find the place they are seeking so diligently. Yet it is the very journey through the shadows that is required to make the desired discovery. – From Abbey of the Arts email about Brendan the Navigator – May 15th 2016

The above quote came in Sunday’s email from Abbey of the Arts. It talked about Brendan dancing-brendan-the-navigatorthe Navigator who set off on a peregrinatio, a journey with no direction just trusting that God would lead. In his journey he goes round in circles a lot and realise at the end that he has to let go of self to really see God, and of course sees God in where he is. Yet he sees more. He is hungry in his wanderings and his waitings and his going in circles to wait for what God will reveal.

At the beginning of the year I did a few journallings and blogged on them about the vision and the expectation of things but it feels like there is a waiting for something. It does feel like the journeying through the shadows but for what and for how long. I know this sounds strange when I can say that our room rentals are going amazingly. We have bookings on both rooms through till September. But I know that the room rentals are only a stepping stone to fund this waiting period. I wonder how the disciples funded their waiting period? Who paid for the room they were in? Did they sleep there? Who paid for their food? 120 people is a lot to feed each day! Or did some of them only turn up the day before because it was a celebration time and got the same gift of the Holy Spirit? So many details not told!

So for many this time of Pentecost is a time of excitement, of giving praise for the waiting-for-godbeginnings of the Christian church, for me it has been a time of really looking at these amazing people who were willing to wait and wait for an undetermined time not knowing what would happen next. This waiting is not like waiting for Christmas, or your birthday, or a holiday. Then you know when the date will be. You can count down to it. What would it be like if you didn’t know when something was going to happen and then still waited?

I wonder if the disciples wondered if they would be there forever? I can associate with that. I do wonder if I will be here in this resting/waiting place forever. But then I feel that I have to be willing to accept that as maybe those early disciples did. Maybe they were more than content to just wait because Jesus had told them to?