meme-fishing

I find it interesting that some combinations of words simply float past our eyes and vanish again, while others resonate with us so much that we want to remember them, share them, retweet them or otherwise let other people know how profound we found them.

The internet is awash with many things but seems to exist (at least the nice parts) in order for people to share cute pictures / videos of kittens and for people to share what have become known as memes. And while many of the memes are disposable, lol-worthy (or at least we lol in our head, if that’s not an oxymoron) others stop and make you think.

The main reason I do this is that it gives me a space in which to reflect and process some of the thoughts that are bouncing around inside my skull. It is first and foremost a personal act which I share with those who choose to muse. If others find help, humour, inspiration, encouragement and blessing in what I create then it blesses me too.

But as I have dug deeper into my limited self-awareness I have found that there’s a part of me that would rather like to be the source for one of these memes. Perhaps I am meme-fishing in the vast waters of cyberspace hoping to get a bite. Beneath the main reason that I write these bloggages, post pictures of Minillennium Falcon and share the musings of Mr QR Grenville-Stubbs and his ‘view from my pew’ maybe subconsciously I am also hoping that the brighter side of the internet will become excited about something I have created and it will go viral.

fishboat

We all like recognition. We like acknowledgement. We like affirmation. And maybe one of the reasons why I (and the myriad of other bloggists out there) release our thoughts into the wild and untamed world wide web is because the occasional ‘like’, ‘retweet’ and ‘share’ provides us with some of that.

And if those of us who have the time, inclination and desire to share some of the more palatable stuff that’s inside our minds with others via blogs, social media and the like do it partly to receive recognition, acknowledgement and affirmation I suspect that it’s something that everyone else would quite like too. So today I am going to look out for more opportunities to recognise, affirm and acknowledge what blesses me about others, and I am going to tell them – regardless of whether it goes viral.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

domestic distractions

Ear defendersIt’s currently quite noisy in our house. the vacuum cleaner is being navigated around, the washing machine is on a spin cycle and the tumble dryer is, erm, tumbling. I am trying to concentrate on some reading and writing (including this bloggage) and am finding the extraneous aural invasions are somewhat distracting. I can’t hear myself think.

[ASIDE: Of course nobody can hear themselves thinking – and I think that is probably a good thing: imagine the cacophony going on inside your head as all of the different thoughts shout for attention!]

It’s very easy to get distracted. One minute you can be writing a bloggage and the next min… ooh I fancy a cup of coffee. Or you can be reading your Bible and sudden… “I wonder what we should have for tea?” Praying seems to be the worst: “Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be Thy… what’s the name of that bloke in that TV show with the thing and the thing… Forever and ever, Amen.”

Sometimes distracting thoughts like that are a sign that we need to pause, to give God space and time. Sometimes they are a sign that we are too busy and need to slow down. Sometimes they might actually be God trying to get our attention. And sometimes I reckon they might give us new ways to reflect:

A desire for a cup of coffee might be an indication that you are thirsty, but you can also use it to consider how fairly traded you are, pray for those who produce the coffee (or tea), reflect on the privilege of having clean running water from a tap, pray for those who have to walk miles for water, reflect on Jesus saying that his water results in springs of living water welling up to eternal life…

“What should we have for tea?” can be turned into a prayer of thanks for the food we have, and a desire that we might serve others with food that is nutritious, nourishing and nommy. It might lead to a thought about the 5000 strong picnic and God’s amazing provision. Or it can take you to reflect on world hunger and the ‘Enough food IF‘ campaign.

“What’s the name of that bloke in the TV show with the thing and the thing” can be turned into a prayer of thanks for entertainment, prayer for those who work within the entertainment industry and often get neglected from our praying, and prayer for those who do not have the privileged lifestyle we have and who spend their whole waking life working.

I am not recommending that we spend our whole time wandering off following distractions. But when they happen, we can either find them irritating or we can ask God to speak through them.

So thank you Lord for the household appliances that are making so much noise. Thank you for how much easier they make our life, and help me never to take that for granted. Be with those who have to do all these things by hand, who would long to have the opportunity to be distracted by machines like that.

Be blessed, be a blessing

motivation, inspiration, perspiration

I have been reading a bit recently (and doing some personal reflection) on different strengths and weaknesses, different preferred learning styles and different ways of looking at life’s problems and blessings. We are all different. If that comment shocked you, welcome back to the real world from wherever you have been cocooned for the rest of your life.

But recognising and acknowledging those differences is important. Once we have done that we can start to consider how we can accommodate those differences in our relationships.

One thing I read recently in a book designed to help us be better people and maximise ourselves (yes it is American) was saying that we should spend more time playing to our strengths and less time trying to improve our weaknesses. I can see that there is some wisdom in that. If Usain Bolt decided to become a marathon runner he would probably finish last, but because he trains and works to his strength as a sprinter he is awesome.

But there’s something that niggles me about that attitude. If we only ever focus on our strengths, how will we grow as a more rounded human being? If we only maximise the bits we are good at, do we settle for less than adequate in other areas of our life?

In our evening service this Sunday we will be looking again at spiritual gifts: 1 Corinthians 14. I reckon that these gifts are often latent within us and God’s Spirit simply wakes them up, enhances them (perhaps) and gives us the courage and desire to use them. Look at Moses. He resisted God’s call, saying that he was no good and couldn’t speak well in public. Later events tend to affirm that God was right (He will be glad to know He has my endorsement!).

Look at yourself. You may find that in your daily life you have to do things that are ‘outside your comfort zone’, but you do them and having done them you have the confidence to try again (unless you fall flat on your face). God’s Spirit takes what we offer him and asks us to  do what he knows we can do with his help.

This is not, “I can do anything I put my mind to,” or, “you can do it if you want it badly enough.” Those are blatantly not true. You won’t be able to fly unaided no matter how badly you want to. But you can do anything God wants you to. He will motivate you, inspire you, equip you and encourage you but you need to put it into practice, practice, practice.

He has the resources (many of them planted in you already), the grace, the encouragement and the wisdom to be able to help you help him help others.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

1. How many charismatics does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one since his/her hands are in the air anyway

2. How many Calvinists does it take to change a light bulb?
None. God has predestined when the lights will be on. Or… Calvinists do not change light bulbs. They simply read out the instructions and pray the light bulb will decide to change itself.

3. How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb?
CHANGE???????

4. No. Really, how many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb?
At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.

5. How many TV evangelists does it take to change a light bulb?
One. but for the message of light to continue, send in your donation today.

6. How many fundamentalists does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one because anymore would be compromise and ecumenical standards of light would slip.

7. How many Anglicans or Catholics does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They always use candles.