U2 New Album Looks Good

Good article here profiling U2’s new album and some of its overt spiritula content.

by the Rev. Julie Golding Page

Die-hard U2 fans finally have their wish, after waiting five long years since the release of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. U2’s new album, No Line on the Horizon, is a carefully crafted series of songs about being lost, finding the self in God, becoming disoriented and lost again, and becoming re-oriented to God and the world. Musically, the album continues the U2 tradition of vigorous rock tunes, complete with the classic guitar riffs, but with the addition of Middle Eastern overtones in several songs, giving homage to the band’s time recording in the unusual location of Fez, Morocco….

Full article here at the excellent Empire Remixed

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Good Article By Jarrod McKenna

God’s Politics Jesus and Justice Always Kiss: A Plea to Youth Pastors Making Out with Empire

by Jarrod McKenna 02-11-2009

That U.S. megaphone of amazing grace, Shane Claiborne, was recently moved to tears after witnessing a youth gathering in Australia. As he wrote: Can you imagine if our North American Christian conferences had a witness on the streets like that [inspiring peaceful public direct action drawing attention to militarism and world poverty]? In the middle of it all, I had one person come up to me and say – “if this is what Christianity is, then sign me up.” In this notoriously non-Christian country, I was proud to be part of a witness that showed folks a Christianity worth believing in, good news they could see and touch and feel. I wonder if it’s because of our context of witness in a (as brother Shane put it), “notoriously non-Christian country,” that Australian Christians might be better positioned to see the necessity of ‘Jesus and justice kissing.’ This necessity is not simply for the ends of ‘effective evangelism.’ The necessity lies in biblical imperative that evangelism must never be divorced from discipleship. That we share Jesus by inviting others to join a community learning the practicalities of walking in God’s new world. Or as the early Anabaptists put it, “walking in the resurrection.” In this “non-Christian [or post Christendom] country” many of us have become very aware that the means of outreach directly correspond to how young people understand the content of our faith. Many find themselves asking if ‘Jesus and justice’ aren’t kissing in our ministry, is it the Jesus of the gospels we are preaching? If Jesus and justice aren’t kissing in our ministry, are we (and a generation of young people) missing out on the fullness of the good news of the kingdom breaking in through Jesus? [Read the full article and comments here]

Grandpa Died A few Minutes Ago

You may remember a post I made a few weeks ago, it went something like this –

My Grandpa Harold Vawser (95) is in his final stages of life, could be hours, maybe days, weeks if his body holds out that long.
He has recently been moved from his nursing home to Royal Perth Hospital with septicemia, pneumonia and urinary tract infection, that, added to his chronic diabetes, is making life a little uncomfortable for him to say the least.
He has been up and down for a few weeks in there at RPH, but when I visited before Halls Creek he was on an ‘up’ and it was good to be there and chat and pray with him with Mum and Dad for a while… read the rest

Well, it took him a while, he hung on with all he could! But finally today he passed away, just a few minutes ago! It was what we all wanted, he was keen to be out of pain and with his maker! – VERY keen!

I loved him a lot, he was a great man, a man who loved Jesus and loved people, enough said I reckon – that would be enough for me I think.

Goodbye Harold Vawser, you were an inspiration, thanks for loving me!

Harold Vawser

My Grandpa Harold Vawser (95) is in his final stages of life, could be hours, maybe days, weeks if his body holds out that long.
He has recently been moved from his nursing home to Royal Perth Hospital with septicemia, pneumonia and urinary tract infection, that, added to his chronic diabetes, is making life a little uncomfortable for him to say the least.
He has been up and down for a few weeks in there at RPH, but when I visited before Halls Creek he was on an ‘up’ and it was good to be there and chat and pray with him with Mum and Dad for a while.
Yesterday I got the low down from Mum and Dad (Grandpa’s son) on how he is. Before I tell you this, you need to know my Pop has a deep faith in God and is strongly evangelistic, nothing moves around Pop without hearing something of the good news of the Kingdom of God.
He is very sick, almost delierious with his body fighting all these infections and doing its best to stay alive, in this state it seems like he is making his final stand for his God.
He is endlessly preaching evangelistic sermons and quoting scriptures and calling out the Lord’s Prayer … “OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN HALLOWED BE THY NAME…”
The lady opposite asked my Mum, “Was he a preacher, coz he is sure doing a lot of it!”

I guess with his diminishing health and the loss of Grandma some years ago Grandpa was keen to go a long time ago, he has said as much – often.
But now it would seem (from his body at least) that his time has come, and he knows it!

I guessGranpa, like you and I was not perfect. But what I could say was that he loved Jesus with a passion that I have never seen in anyone, he would have given his life for his family, his whole family, son, daughters, their partners and their kids and now their kids too. He has prayed for us, been interested in everything we are doing, helped us in financial ways and with words of encouragement and words of scripture (in EVERY birthday and Christmas card he has ever given!!).

I think when I look at Pop, I see very real life, a very rich life. Not one that has ended with a big bank account (Nope no big cheques heading my way!) but one that seems to be ending with a family that loves him around his bedside, and the words of his deeply beloved God resounding in his mouth (and the ears of everyone on that floor of the hospital!)

On Ya Grandpa – Well done good and faithful servant – enter into your rest now.

3 Days on A River Somewhere

Last week I had the opportunity to exchange my usual 3 days Youth Vision coaching Youth Pastors for 3 days in actual youth ministry. I occasionally take off with Scripture Union (Warriuka Adventure Camping) to lift some of my credibility whilst working with youth pastors. Nothing worse than having no idea what they are talking about when I am coaching!

So off I went with 12 kids from Rosmoyne SHS, 2 staff Paul and Joel (an old Youth Vision Youth Pastor) and Mikey, the other SU worker. We built rafts and paddled for 3 days down the Murray from Pinjarrah. I was in a kayak (still popping anti-inflammatory for my shoulder)! It was idyllic, the kids were on the whole pretty good kids. The weather was incredible, the campsites chosen were straight out of some camping magazine – picture perfect.

On the last night we ran into a couple of guys around a fire on the side of the river, conversations followed, we got on to the subject of marrage and home ownership/joint ownership etc. These guys suggested that I was mad not having finances in my own name and a house of my own. They suggested that this is what Donnald Trump suggests after having 5 fail marriages or the like. Now I don’t know about you, but taking advice from Donald Trump on marriage…hmmm The comment was made by one of the guys, “You just have to put yourself first, you think about number one and then worry about marriage, Donnald Trump says it’s business first then relationship”. Hmmm – I was a bit stunned and reflected back to them that I had been with my girl for 20 years and we were extreemly happy, even more so now than ever, we have joint ownership of everything and I don’t intend to change it, and we are trying something a littole crazy and that is that we put one another’s needs before our own and that we actually deny ourself in many ways so as to serve the other and I that this has worked most of the time and seems to build up a strong marriage…I added that it can actually work outside of marriage in other relationships too.

There was a stunned silence, the 2 Christian guys knew where I was coming from and sat waiting to hear the response…nothing for a long few seconds, then…

“naaaa, too risky, that wouldn’t work, you have just got lucky”

So – maybe I have, Christine is amazing, but still…imagine if everyone actually lived like I have suggested I try to (but fail so often) – putting one another’s needs before our own and actually denying our self in many ways so as to serve the other.

These guys were great fellas and they got in there boat and went off collecting firewood for us (looking for nothing in return – how unselfish of them!)

It was a great few days.

Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

I have for some time been quietly stressed about what my life will look like next year. It’s that balance of having enough (whatever THAT looks like!) money coming in with as much time to do and be mission/relationship/family as possible as well I guess is the fact that I one day want my vocation, life family job, community to kind of all bleed into one as much as that could be done. I don’t wont to be pulled in a million different directions yet at the same time I want a good diversity as I get restless with only one focus. I want to do things that honour my passions and sense of calling, yet I don’t feel I HAVE to always be paid to fulfill all these passions and ‘callings’. I then have the ugly issue of being a bit of a people pleaser, so when someone says, ‘let’s do this’ – I am thinking, ‘sure, if that would make you happy, or like me more or...’, or someone comes to me and suggests, ‘you would be great at this job‘, it pats my ego and I think, ‘yes I would be wouldn’t I!‘.

So when I read a devotional thought today by Charles Ringma on the theme of peace, I thought it was very comforting as was the scriptural theme (above). So I thought I would type the lot out!

Finding Peace Within
Learning to Be At Home With Ourselves.

We need to come to an inner peace if our life is to be perennially productive. Such inner peace is a fruit of the way we consistently live. It is not the product of an escape from our circumstances – although we frequently think that a change in our circumstances will provide us with the answers we seek and the peace we long for.
Peace comes from being at home with ourselves. It comes from being thankful for the way God has made us and gifted us. It comes from the joy of giving and an appreciation for all that we receive. It comes from accepting ourselves and celebrating all that is good, while working on what needs to change.
Peace comes from being loved and having the satisfaction of achievement and the challenge of new goals. Peace wells up from within, but is clearly related to the way we live and the choices we make.
But it is seldom the result of much-having. It does not necessarily come with great success. Instead it is the unexpected gift. It is the surprise. It is there even when we didn’t expect it. It remains even when the going is tough. And it can grow even in the midst of pain and difficulty.
If peace finds its expression in being at home with ourselves, we clearly need to stop looking elsewhere. Henri Nouwen laments the fact that “we do not trust our inner most self as an intimate place.” He notes that we “anxiously wander around hoping to find [peace] where we are not.” Because peace is not simply the fruit of our circumstances, it can only come from within. And it can only abide there if we are at peace with ourselves.

Charles Ringma
“Dare To Journey with Henri Nouwen”

Hope you appreciated these thoughts as I did.
Shalom

Scott