Friday, March 26, 2010

Easter is Getting Closer

Easter is getting closer which obviously means Lent is drawing to a close. If you have been abstaining from something for Lent (I've gone without any drinks other than water, no coffee, juice, fizzy, wine etc) it is tempting to start thinking 'finally, it's nearly over.' I understand the feeling! At the same time though it is important for us to remember that while we in a small way find solidarity with those who go without by choosing to go without, they don not have the luxury of simply choosing to re-engage. I'm blessed to soon be able to drink coffee again. Many do not have the choice for coffee, or milk, or coke or even access to clean drinking water. As you re-engage with whatever it is that you set aside thank God that you are able to. Thank God for his blessing on your life. Commit afresh to standing for justice in the world and on behalf of those who lack so much.

O Lord who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen. The Collect from the first Sunday in Lent from an old Church of England Book of Common Prayer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hello Handsome!!!

This is my son Romeo Alexander Thomas McAuley trying on his outfit for his aunty's wedding in a few weeks. Hot stuff and proud as punch!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Sometimes some things in life are just 'aaaarrrggh.' You can't nessasarily describe what 'aaaarrrggh' is and you can't always put your finger on why things feel 'aaaarrrggh.' Things are just 'aaaarrrggh.'

Perhaps you feel 'aaaarrrrggh' about something today.

You may be frustrated, confused, annoyed, feel confined, lack the clarity you want, have lost a peace that you had, trying to move quicker but you can't, trying to slow things down but you can't. You might be bored or tired or at the end of your tether.

What to do?

1. Talk to someone you trust.

Even if you can't articulate exactly what is going on talk to someone you can trust. They might be able to help you articulate your 'aaaarrrggh.' They may have some words of wisdom. They may be nothing more than a listening ear. Often talking is enough to ease the 'aaaarrrggh' though. Verbalising things can bring clarity and can bring a sense of order or peace.

2. Talk to God.

Pause and pray. Read a Psalm. Give your 'aaaarrrggh' over to Him. He can handle it. Ask God to guide you in regards to why you are ill at ease. Is God trying to teach you something? Is God trying to get your attention? Is God trying to get you to do something? 'Aaaarrrggh's' are not necessarily a problem to be solved. God is their with you in the midst of your 'aaaarrrggh.'

3. Move.

Not move city, just relocate yourself temporaraily. Go to the gym, go for a walk along the beach, go for a swim somewhere, go for a run, get a coffee, have a beer. Change your context externally for a 'selah' moment but also change the context of your thinking. Get lost in a novel or a sports match, or playing with your kids, or sailing a boat, or fishing. Don't think about your 'aaaarrrggh.' Get caught up in some other aspect of life. Your 'aaaarrrggh' is not likely your whole life.

4. Keep going.

Don't let your 'aaaarrrggh' stop you, hold you back, cause you to drift, relax or sit down. Keep going! Keep pushing forward, taking ground, living the dream, building the Kingdom and allowing God to build your life. God leads us as we walk far more often than when we sit.

5. Aaaarrrggh's don't last forever.

You'll get through.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Which Experts?

Do you ever find yourself needing the input of an expert? The reality is that we all do, if we are honest, if we are wise. Which experts though? There are so many and when it comes to issues of faith and theology, at times the experts seem to contradict each other massively. Who can you trust? Which expert(s) do you go to? Do you just 'Google' your question and hope some blogger or website might solve everything for you? How though can you trust the website or the blog? Do you just get a book from the library or buy one on Amazon? Which book though there are thousands?

One man's expert is another man's fool.

Here is how I do my best to find expert input that I feel I can trust. I write in relation to issues of theology, Christian faith, biblical interpretation, Christian ministry etc, but I guess my method would work across disciplines.

First, I contact the most knowledgeable person in regards to whatever this particular area of enquiry is that I know personally and trust openly. Who in my world would I perceive to know or understand the most about this issue at stake? Who is my expert? I approach this person and ask them what they think about the issue at stake and learn from them.

Second, I ask them who they would trust as an expert that I could glean more information from, either through personal contact or through a book or paper that they might have written. I'm trusting this person in regards to their own thoughts and also in regards to who they would trust and look to as an expert on the topic at hand. Normally my expert has two or three experts to recommend.

Third, I make contact with the expert(s) that my expert has recommended. This contact is most often via a book or a paper they have written rather than personal contact. At times though I have contacted a recommended expert personally. When and if I can make successful contact with this next level of expert I again ask their opinion (or read it in a book) and also ask who they would recommend looking for input from (usually you can do this by reading footnotes or the bibliography in their book). E-mail some authors though and they'll happily e-mail you their recommended reading if you approach them.

Fourth, I have another level or layer of opinion I can now look to if I still feel I don't have satisfactory answers, insight, opinion and perspective on an issue at hand.

I've found that this method of research I guess you could call it, yields a wealth of wisdom but at the same time wisdom that I feel I can trust.

I receive the input of someone that I personally know and trust.

I receive the input of experts that they respect and trust.

I receive the input and advice of a third level of expertise, my expert's expert's experts!

In reality though I don't often have to go that far. Normally the 2-3 resources that my expert recommends will be all the help I need.

Sound reasonable?

The only catch is that everything really hinges on your expert, the person that you know and respect personally, that points you in the right (hopefully!) direction right at the start. You want to make sure you have people in your world that are genuinely wise and knowledgeable (not comparatively to your indoor cricket buddies) but actually respected in their field.

Get that right and away you go, get that wrong and away you go as well, only potentially in the wrong direction.