Sunday evening brain dump…

Another Sunday evening Brain dump then.

Things to write about:

  • Sunday evening’s talk at church
  • More on social networking
  • Thoughts on Work
  • Storytelling!

Sunday Evening’s Talk at Church

Before I write this, a vague note about how I intend writing about my faith here.

I do have an assumption that no one else is reading this, that it’s all for my own benefit. Yet I feel compelled to write as if I’m talking to someone that really doesn’t understand what my faith is all about.

Why? A few reasons:

  1. It will be a good exercise for me to get me using non-Christian language to talk about my Christian experiences – we have far too much jargon that we use within Church and it must be completely baffling to those outside. Hopefully I’ll explain things as I go along.
  2. It may help anyone that MIGHT be reading to understand what I’m talking about.
  3. It will probably help me write clearly and say what I want to say rather than using words that I only half know the meaning of.

With that in mind…

Church service was good tonight but raised some questions! The music was excellent with lots of songs about being thankful – really got me in the mood.

The talk was based around a video by an American guy called Rob Bell. The video is called “Kickball” and is about wanting things and needing things. It explains how if we see God as “our father” (as the Lord’s Prayer starts), he should know what we need better than we do. If, as children, we got everything that we asked for, then that would actually be really bad. So, if we see ourselves as God’s children – a picture often portrayed in the bible – then we shouldn’t expect to get everything that we ask God for in prayer because He knows better than we do.

The video also said some stuff about how God is “good” – by which we mean ultimately good; a concept that we as humans probably can’t quite grasp – and as such, if we don’t get what we ask for then it’s because God has something better in mind.

Which is all GREAT. Only it’s set against the week that just went by when I discovered that:

  • a couple I know are breaking up after being married for 2 years – seemingly without much hope of reconcilliation
  • an wedding I was going to has been cancelled
  • a friend of mine is really struggling with her faith because she has an illness which, despite lots and LOTS of faithful prayer has not gone away – she’s not been healed despite our asking a God who we believe can miraculously heal – and also because of some other sad events that have happened to people close to her.

All of these things happened to people who’ve followed Jesus INCREDIBLY faithfully for many years. Amazing, amazing people who’ve trusted our “good” God through thick and thin.

Now, people do have choice, and relationships are difficult, so I can see how the break-up and the wedding problems can come about because of the actions of people. God’s will is (probably) for those relationships to work out, yet things don’t work out because we’re not God’s puppets, subject to his every whim. We have choice and we can choose to do the wrong thing. Though I add that I don’t know where those relationships have gone wrong and at what point wrong choices were made and by whom.

But a seemingly-pointless death and an illness that won’t go away? People don’t choose them! How could God have something better in mind?

This is, of course, the age old question of suffering for which there are many standard answers, most of which are pretty useless unless you already have faith in God. Faith is defined in the bible as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” – choosing to believe despite the fact that sometimes evidence is to the contrary.

My response tonight? Well, I’m going to struggle on. I’m going to pursue my faith. And I’m going to change the way I pray. If God knows better than I then my prayers should be asking him what he wants for me, my family, my friends, etc, rather than me coming to ask him for what I think I want or need.

Please don’t thing that if you read that you can tear my faith apart. My God has done some amazing things and I could tell far more stories of God being GOOD and not giving me things because he has something better in store. That IS my general experience.

I DO believe that he’ll pull through in the situations I’ve talked about, and I look forward to sharing that journey here. Probably with myself but, hey.

Social Networking

So, we discovered Facebook today, as stated. What an odd thing.

MySpace has been my only real experience of online Social Networking so far. It has been around for a while and I really don’t like it for anything other than reading up on the plans of some of my favourite bands…especially the up-and-coming Iko. MySpace is too cluttered, has too much advertising and is too much about self-promotion. It all seems a bit random and chaotic.

But I was invited to Facebook by a fairly sensible person that I trust the opinion of. It was also mentioned by some other very reasonable, humble and grown-up people over the weekend I just spent with friends in Swindon and London. So I signed up to see what it was all about.

I was oddly compelled by it for a few hours. Interesting seeing who I knew was on there and what was on their profiles. There was a strange sense of fun in searching for crazily titled “groups” to be a part of, such as “Wintles” and “The Magic Roundabout, Swindon, Society”.

But…what’s the point? What need does this social networking serve? I know who my friends are and I can chat to them or email them if I need to get in touch. Friends Reunited gave us the opportunity to reconnect with lost classmates and colleagues but, well, we probably lost touch because the friendship wasn’t that strong and, heck, I can hardly keep up with those people I’ve NOT lost touch with.

It was fun for a while but I quickly got bored. It’ll be interesting to see if it serves any purpose over a longer period of time.

The only real thing that redeemed it today was the finding of another Ross Wintle. Seems I’m not so unique after all!

Thoughts on Work

Going back to work last week made me realise that I’m not very happy there at the moment. My boss is being great and doing all he can to make thing better though. I’m praying that God will show me what I should be doing to make my work life better. I may have a sabbatical later in the year or something.

Storytelling…will have to wait for another time. I leave you (or possibly just me) with an inspiring article from a Christian youthworker who’s getting alongside kids in very much the same way that Jesus drew alongside the rejected people of his day.