The life of an outsider

列印The final words from the Radiohead song ‘Creep’ resonate with me…

“I don’t belong here…”

I’ve often found myself explaining how my mind works or trying to explain how or why I did something with a phrase like “you have to excuse me, I’m not normal” – and it’s true, I’m just not normal.
While the world is trying to tell me that you should choose a shade of either black or white, I’m finding out that there are colours that work really well together in pallets we haven’t dreamed about.
While the world is being serious and telling me that you should choose your words wisely, I’m in the corner thinking that a thesaurus would have been a dinosaur that could help choose those words.
When people tell me I have to choose a side, often I don’t feel like I have that luxury… It doesn’t mean that I don’t care or understand either side of the debate, I just think that the ‘messy middle’ is where the hurt lies and the truth sits.
Maybe I’m just not educated enough to understand the complexities?
Maybe it’s because I’m just not that smart?
Maybe it’s the way I was bought up… My mum is Australian so that could explain a lot. What ever the reason the end result is that “I’m just not normal.”

A while back I had this idea to post a ‘dad joke’ every week day morning on social media, it was for a couple of reasons. One, I love dad jokes, my theory is anyone can get a laugh, but eye rolls and awkward sighs are where the real magic lies (remember ‘not normal‘). Secondly it was something that caused a reaction other than a negative one.
So I posted a funny comment or thought every Monday to Friday for one week… Just one week. I thought, that no one is really picking up on my idea, so I stopped. I figured it was great for a week, however maybe it was just something I did for just for me for that week?

I have never received so many messages and emails asking if I could start again, some people even sent me more material. The clincher for me was when someone said “my partner is in hospital and your jokes each morning help get him starting the day in a positive way…” they did however say “he thinks you’re crazy”…i read that as “not normal”.

It’s actually a lonely place not being normal.
You look normal, you ‘mostly’ act normal, but then you open your mouth and start talking and you start to realise that your thoughts, dreams, ideas and plans don’t fit in with what everyone else thinks.
While every one else is choosing team and taking sides, I feel like I’m the odd one in the middle thinking that either side have it both so absolutely right and at the same time so majorly wrong it… actually hurts my head.
Each side yelling at each other, telling the other not to yell.
Each side accusing the other of letting down the other, morally, financially and intellectually, and it comes out in frustrated and vague rants.
I stand in the middle and think.
Why don’t we just try and work together?
Why don’t we try something new that no one has tried before?
Let’s stop drawing lines in the sand and declaring your standing ground.
Let’s start to listen.
Criticise by creating?

Imagine if we could create some sort of radical middle that took the best of the left and the best of the right and created something that worked for each side.
Imagine if we could be free from both the left and the right?
Imagine if we could start working with each other than against each other?
Imagine if we created things that never could have been imagined unless we dropped our arrogance and pride and crossed the room, the street, the city?

But what do I know?
I’m not normal?
I’m the outsider here… but that’s where i choose to be?

“You can’t change the world if you’re just like it”

 

 

 

 

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Ripples in Time

instaquote-31-10-2015-21-40-24Albert Einstein, in 1916, discovered a theory that talked about the ripples in the very fabric of time and space.
We have the access to make ripples in time and space too, however many of us will never see the impact that we make because we are insular and too afraid to step outside of our boxes.

Is the reason more people aren’t changing the world because they think it’s too hard?
Or maybe it’s just not happening fast enough for us?

We live in a world of ‘instant.’ We live in a world of ‘just add water’.
Either way you  want to  look at it you have been able to get what you wanted in a fraction of the time you  could have. Would you have made soup or coffee from scratch instead of ‘just adding water’?
There’s a Joke by Steven Wright that goes “I put instant coffee in the microwave and I went back in time.”
We have things at our finger tips in an instant, and it starts to flow in to all areas of our lives

May of us want to change the world and want to make a huge positive impact on the communities and nations around us. However how many of us actually do it?
Why is that?

I believe it’s because we see a HUGE problem in front of us, and think that it’s just too big. We don’t have the huge platforms to talk from to the masses like big ‘A list’ celebrities who are able to speak out on things that they think are important. People hang on their every word. However I  believe that what we say and do has a far greater ripple affect than we even hope, dream or imagine.

Did you think that Rosa Park was thinking about the breakdown of segregation that would result as people rallied around her not getting up on the bus in 1955?
In her own words:

People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

Do you think John Otis was only considering the revolution that was about to be stirred as Americans sought independence as he stood up and spoke against ‘taxation without representation’, or do you think that the former Advocate General for the Royal Colony was thinking, “Oh well, there goes my career?”

The colonists are by the law of nature free born, as indeed all men are, white or black.
James Otis, Rights of the British Colonies, 1764

In both situations they were acting on their convictions. Rosa Park and James Otis were just plainly standing up for something they believed in. They had to step up and be brave in THEIR context. It may have been a small step but it caused a huge ripple! I’m sure they had no idea the intense movements they were adding to, or even sparking.

No matter how small, you can make a difference. Be brave, step outside your comfort zone and stand strong in what you believe. Take that step.

Love each other, listen to each other, give to each other, celebrate each other.
Be honest, be kind. The more you look into it the more you discover it’s less about me and more about how I respond to the people and the needs around me. As pastor Andy Stanley would say “What does love require of you right now??”

None of these things are revolutionary, are they? They are just small things that could potentially make a huge impact in someones life. Everything is becoming so insular, and self promoting and ‘me’ focused that the way we make the most ripples is to push against this flow.
Simple but not easy.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

You can’t change the world if you’re just like it.

Start the ripple effect today.

 

 

 

 

 

Get out of your camps

Gospel Graffiti II

what does the word say?

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – Hebrews 4:12 NLT

I’ve been thinking a lot about the different camps that divide the church… and while there is a need to stand up for the truths that are in the scriptures… and there is a need for us to highlight messages that aren’t true… we all would agree with most of that… HOWEVER I believe that the camps we have found ourselves in are just making us lazy.

There used to be a time that people used to turn to the Bible when challenged… they used to check translations… they used to put it into context of the whole story of the Gospel message that had been threaded through the dozens of books of the old and new testament.

These days… we listen to the pod casts of those that we like… we talk about the Gospel with only those who share our views… we read books by people we know will challenge us a little bit without making us have to think too hard about the logical conclusion…

And we have become lazy…

We have become slack on the gospel story…

We are missing out huge chunks of the message of God.

It’s good to like good writers… it’s good to talk about gospel things with people who share our same view and it’s good to read books that cement our way of thinking… However… we need to get outside out nice little insulated Christian bubbles and look beyond what other people within our circles are thinking… we need to really get back into the Bible.

There seems to be more and more people who assume what they believe is right but it’s not based on personal study… it’s based on simply what they were told… that’s why you are seeing large crowds of presumable smart sophisticated Christians following people who’s message just doesn’t stack up biblically.

I love the book of Acts and I have most likely read that book of the Bible more than any book of the Bible… but this scripture caught my attention… I love how scripture is like that… you can read the same story 4 or 5 time and then one day this amazing realization hits you.

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. – Acts 17:11 NLT

These guys are just cool… they didn’t just take what Paul and Silas had to say… they were challenged and they went back and read the scriptures… not just read the scriptures in this version it says they SEARCHED the scriptures… and not just once or twice but “day after day”

So are you just believing what is being told?

Or are you being challenged and then going and checking it out in light of The Truth…

 

 

You can’t handle the truth…

Truth

Image by TW Collins via Flickr

Sometimes don’t you just want to say to people “I told you so?”….

Sometimes don’t you just want to shake people and say “what on earth are you thinking? “

Sometimes don’t you just want to….

The list really could go on couldn’t it, people do dumb stuff… people do foolish stuff… people are unwise… and people are just plain reckless.

So how can we actually tell people?

How do we actually DEAL with it?

In first John 1:14 it says that Christ came with “Truth and Grace”… so what does that mean and how does that help us?

Well let me put it like this:

TRUTH + NO GRACE : If tell someone the truth but you don’t do it with grace it’s like hitting them over the head with a bat saying “do you get the truth?” – all it does for the poor ‘victim’ is hurt… and they probably won’t think about it too much more… and you’re left picking up the pieces of a ‘once was’ friendship…

NO TRUTH + GRACE If all you give is Grace but don’t tell them the truth then it’s like giving them a big hug while you keep all the frustration to yourself. This is not good for you because you’re keeping the frustrations of things that someone else did in your own heart, and the only one loosing sleep over it is you. It’s not good for the other person either because they don’t know where you stand on an issue, and therefore don’t learn from the situation at all.

TRUTH & GRACE: This is the hardest isn’t it… getting the balance right. Christ was able to be hard but he also had grace. Imagine if you were about to abuse someone for doing something wrong… and Christ came into that situation and said “if you’re blameless… then go ahead”… wow… could you follow through after that?

Jesus was a bit different in the sense that he knew more than everyone else (after all he was the son of God) but it makes me wonder if on the really important issues we really need to take a measured approach… we can be as ‘hard’ as we need to – because if you don’t have the truth and go in ‘gung-ho’ you could end up blowing up something good, so why don’t you take time to dig a little deeper. On the other hand however… you could be talking round in circles if all you give is grace so why don’t you try and push a little harder, and get to the truth of the matter.

The answer TRUTH and GRACE… everything else will fall into place from there.

There will always be things we can’t control and we may have to let those things go… but what we can control his making sure we handle the tough situations with TRUTH and GRACE.