I believe because the bible says so

Beliefs are all.

Beliefs are of the believer and the non-believer is missing out.

We should all be believers – the bible says so – we have the Great Commission to fulfill!

 

When I was one I believed I was the centre of the universe and all were here to serve me.
When I was two I believed I should be the centre of the universe and all should serve me.
When I was three I believed puddles were the best things in the whole world
When I was four I believed I had been abandoned by my parents in a place called school
When I was five I believed football was the best thing in the whole world
When I was six I believed bikes were the best thing in the whole world
When I was seven I believed it was unfair I had to go to bed too early
When I was eight I believed it was unfair that everyone else could do what they wanted
When I was nine I believed I should be able to do what I wanted
When I was ten I believed girls were the scariest creatures in the world
When I was eleven I believed in time travel because I did
When I was twelve I believed that being eighteen was ancient
When I was thirteen I believed I had made it – I was a teenager!
When I was fourteen I believed the world was my oyster: shut tight to keep me out!
When I was fifteen I believed bikes were the best thing in the whole world
When I was sixteen I believed girls were the scariest creatures in the world
When I was seventeen I believed I was nearly an adult
When I was eighteen I believed being an adult wasn’t so different
When I was nineteen I believed girls were the best creatures in the world
When I was twenty I believed rye n dry was the best drink in the whole world
When I was twenty-one I believed I knew everything
When I was twenty-two I believed I knew everything
When I was twenty-three I believed I knew everything
When I was twenty-four I believed I was the luckiest man ever
When I was twenty-five I believed I was the best father ever
When I was twenty-six I believed I was the worst father ever
When I was twenty-seven I believed the world was full of fools
When I was twenty-eight I believed I was one of them

 

As I have grown older I have come to believe that my beliefs will never stop changing unless I do.

And whether that happens whilst I am “still breathing” – or when I am dead (and not breathing) …

Is my choice.


(just like whether I believe being a “good Christian” is important or not)

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My letter to my addiction

NEWSFLASH: I will be “still human” my whole life.
“I cannot – so you must not”

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This morning I found writing pouring out on that same theme. Because I am finding I can embrace that – I want to embrace that – I am beginning to think we must all embrace that. And I think that Christians are those in most urgent need.

Christians who are taught that they die to self. That they have been reborn. That they are in this world but of not of this world (anymore). Christians who might be said to believe that being human is a sin. Christians who have so many religious traditions which reinforce the sin AND excuse the sin of “being human”.

I am curious – what is your response to my letter to my addiction?

Thank you

Paul

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Just me being curious

Inspired by Melissa Presser’s –God in in your typewriter– post today:
My letter to your addiction

Here is my letter to my addiction …

😦  😦  😦  😦  😦  😦  😦  😦

Dear Other Me –

We don’t get along, and I guess we never will. I don’t really want you to go away, and you don’t care what I want.  So I try to keep you hidden, and you fight me every inch of the way. You refuse to listen, so I give up telling.

We have a relationship based on need – and no matter how much I talk about love and no need – you are there.  Needing me to need you.  And I do need you.

Your face changes.  Your tastes change.  Your cost changes.  Because you always have a cost.  And I always pay.  So let’s admit the cost of you in…

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I cannot – so you must not

I get cross when I see some godly writings. I think those who run godly organisations should listen to this little rant.

First here is the gunpowder:

Something to think and pray about this week

Humility gives us the sacred gift of being able to learn from everyone. It gives us the ability to take advice from any person who gives it, not just the brilliant or the holy or the great, but from the simple and the ignorant and from those who may be far below our own position or station in life. It gives us the power to imitate Christ himself, who learned from Peter how to catch fish, and from Joseph how to make tables, and from Mary how to eat. It gives us the power to learn, even from those who do not appeal to us at all, whom we may not like very much.

The humble person knows he doesn’t know all things, knows that good advice, no matter what the source, is a rare gift, a gift that helps develop the wonder of self-knowledge. Very often, it is from people we may not like very much, or from people who are a little nasty and mean, that we learn how deep our pride is in reality and how far we still have to go before we have reached any real degree of humility. For such people will tell us what they think of us, will give us advice without bothering to be nice about it, will show us quite brilliantly and quite cuttingly, too, by the way, how proud we really are.

Real humility will give us the power to accept such words, and though they may hurt because we are still human, we will be able to take them and because of them grow even closer to Christ.”
– Excerpted from “With God in America” by Walter Ciszek, compiled and edited by John M. DeJak and Marc Lindeijer, S.J.

Now the fuse: “Very often, it is from people we may not like very much, or from people who are a little nasty and mean, that we learn how deep our pride is in reality and how far we still have to go before we have reached any real degree of humility. “

Now the match: “It gives us the ability to take advice from any person who gives it, not just the brilliant or the holy or the great, but from the simple and the ignorant and from those who may be far below our own position or station in life. It gives us the power to imitate Christ himself, who learned from Peter how to catch fish, and from Joseph how to make tables, and from Mary how to eat. It gives us the power to learn, even from those who do not appeal to us at all, whom we may not like very much.”

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Grrrrrrrrr …. !!!!

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The God Soft Hands Jesus I know doesn’t look at you and me and see one He does not like (very much) – does not see you and me as nasty and mean (a little) – does not see how proud we are (really).  He has no time for conditional measures.  He accepts imperfect as perfect.  He loves me.  As.  I.  Am.

Yet here we have a godly writing telling us we are not good enough.  A godly writing telling us to measure “it”.  Telling us to measure the “degree” of “it” we have achieved.  To seek to grow closer by measuring “it” to see if “it” is getting bigger.  As big as Christ’s “it”.  And illustrates “it” by saying “it” is okay to “not like” some people, that “it” is okay to find some people “nasty and mean” (a little!).

And the consequence?

Godly folk continue to justify being judgmental – to justify being able to love you “only” this much – to justify being “good Christians” who are close to God  – and who justify labeling (some) people as nasty and mean  – as not likeable – with the godly trump card: “We are just (still) human”.

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NEWSFLASH: I will be “still human” my whole life.

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So just why does the institution of godliness teach everything as an “it” when they also teach that my God Soft Hands Jesus does not look at me as a collection of “it’s”?  Why do they teach that my GSHJ sees me imperfect and yet loves me without condition?  Why do they teach that love without condition cannot measure how much “condition” or “uncondition” … that love is not an “it” to be measured …

And then teach all the “it’s” AND the real biggie (the biggie that godly institutions and good Christians have made exclusively their own):

“We are (still?) human – therefore I cannot (so you must not) love unconditionally.  God says.”

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Grrrrrrrrr …. !!!!

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No number other than one

“Most people want to help make this world a better place but many do not know where to start. I have found that the first place to start is right in my own head.

If I do a good job there, I can work outwards from there and bless others.   This site is a personal blog about the things I need to keep telling myself – not too many things.  Just the simple fact that very little is required to make life happy.

As simple as that sounds, I need to prove it in my mind everyday, time and again.  I do this through my passion for prose, free verses and non-factional opinions.  I do this because the dark valleys of life often slide in unannounced.  Nonetheless, as the saying goes, it is still better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

My joy will multiply if these musings ever help anyone that stumbles on them .”

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I believe in connections.  I believe God Soft Hands Jesus moves across these blogs.  I believe my GSHJ invites me to move in connection.

One simple “like” from a name unknown.  One unexplained sense to have a look.  A landing page post not written for me.  So why this sense it is of He?  To the “About” page to look behind, to taste the sweat of another on a keyboard far away.  And here is why, here is He.  This is why He whispered so quietly in me.

“Most people want to help make this world a better place but many do not know where to start. I have found that the first place to start is right in my own head.”

A better place – yes!  But what can I do? I am only me.  No one listens to me.  I can’t change anything or anyone.  Not really.  Not like I see others change lives.  Not like others have changed me.  Ah well … maybe one day …

“As simple as that sounds, I need to prove it in my mind everyday, time and again.”

A long time ago I watched a video.  The speaker was inspirational.  One of those guru type inspirational speakers.  I have seen a few.  I have even met a few.  And I have thought myself changed. The memory is of this speaker painting a picture.  Of approaching the Pearly Gates and being asked in breathless excitement, “How many did you bring me?”  How many saved souls.  How many lives changed.  “How many did you bring me?”

I looked behind me and saw no one.  And as well as inspired I was unworthy.  I brought no one.  Only me.  And here was this speaker.  He would have thousands behind him.  We all should have thousands behind us.  And I saw no one.  Make disciples.  Preach the Good News.  Save souls from an eternity of separation.  Bring thousands.  It is the clarion call I hear again and again.  Revival.  Mission.  Outreach.  Education.  Junior Church.  Mega Church.  Where did you find God this weekend.  When did you last admit you are a Christian.  Why are not at church each Sunday.  Wait until you become a mature Christian.

And I saw no one.

It took several years for GSHJ to get through my thick skull.  He used others.  He took the direct route.  He never gave up on my giving up.  And slowly – bit by bit – I began to hear.

The biggest gift – the best gift – the ONLY gift I can ever bring … is me.  The only “How many did you bring me?” my God Soft Hands Jesus ever wanted was …

One.

And it took me years to get that.  It took me years for me to get the “why”.  And my getting it – my “why” – is mine alone.

But what I hear Him ask is this.

“Tell them I have no number other than one.  Tell them one is all there ever is.  One is all and all is one.  Forget the big numbers.  Forget the worldly measure of “success”.  Forget the inspiration that tastes good in the mouth yet leaves your stomach sick.  Tell them I do not count and never have.  Tell them I never will.  I will never judge thirty years “service” better than none.  I will never applaud headcount other than one to one.  I will never hold higher one who gave more.  For if you give you – there can never be “more”.  Counting is conditions and conditional love.  That is why I only see one.  Unconditional never compares.  Unconditional love always shares.  Love without condition will never count.  Not more than one in one right now.”

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For all those who think “my blog is not enough” …

One simple “like” from a name unknown.  One unexplained sense to have a look.  And here is why, here is He.  This is why He whispered so quietly in me.

Who is this “name unknown” my GSHJ invited me to … ?  It is –

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AYOKA – Things I should be telling myself

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A sense to connect is yours alone.

All I ask is that you listen and hear without numbers.

That you listen to One.

Thank you –

paulfg

 

Unconditional Love – (II)

My dad always had a broadsheet newspaper delivered.  When he was working there was only time for a brief glance at the headlines and then a bit more at lunchtime, and maybe some in the evening.  Once he retired, reading the paper took up most of every morning.  Those were the days when asking him a question would be answered without any eye contact and a distant “Hmmmm … ?”  My dad enjoyed his paper.

The very same Dad who would fume over (selected) local news: “That’s not how it happened! I was there (or some friend or colleague was there)!”  It was another of life’s conundrums: how could the local news (some) be so shabby – and yet the national news so absorbing? Were the national news hacks endowed with truth … were the local hacks second division … what meant one’s story was more or less truthful than another?  Hmmmm …

My Dad was also a bad Christian.  All the churches Mum and he attached us to (as we moved around following his jobs) said so.  Dad asked the wrong questions they told us.  Dad stirred things up they said.  Dad was a rebel they said.  Dad gave me my own bible when I was seven years old – the first “present” of my birthday.  Along with bible-notes, and a lesson in how to read the bible, as well as how to pray on my knees with my eyes shut.  He did that with each of us when we were seven.  And the having to go to church on Sunday (and even Christmas Day!), and having a breakfast quiet time following our own quiet time, and not watching rude things on tv, and not saying bad words around the house (or ever) – that kind of Christian.  One I would now call a good Christian.  Just goes to show how much I know.

Anyway … back to family.  I can’t remember seeing my Dad much around the house.  He was working at his proper job, doing jobs around the house, or away doing church stuff.  And yet my memories of my childhood are stuffed to overflowing with happy times, fun times, great times – just not much Dad times.  Should it have been different?  No.  It is was it was.  All of it.

And something else …

I spent the last three months of Dad’s life with him (hindsight).  Mum died before Dad did.  When I “moved in” he was doing what Dad had always done – living his life his way (apart from not being able to accommodate the physical changes cancer and cancer treatment brings).  Doing physical stuff is what Dad had always done.  And not doing “them” (and being supported) didn’t sit well with Dad because he was the same Dad – still in control – still “Dad” – just not with Mum anymore.  Just slowly dying of cancer.  I had no idea “why me” then.  We had a large family.  We all had our own families.  Why me?

I have my own answers now.  But they are not the facts.

After Dad died and life returned to normal I told my story of those three months.  Some agreed.  Others disagreed.  Others fumed.  Because your own family – own brother or sister – own parents – own child … the death of a loved one … that is a “key moment”.  That is a moment when we each seek the “only” truth – the facts – try to make sense of it all.  In those moments we need the truth to be “the truth” – our truth (hindsight again).

Because our own (normal) family story has always been digested through the many family photograph albums that Dad collected, collated and catalogued.  We all still love sharing the memories contained in that collection.  The same Mum.  The same Dad.  The same family.  The same family history.  Our family’s story.

The truth … ?

Our truth comes mainly from this collection of albums (because photos don’t lie).  Yet we each know that each picture is a millisecond.  Many the result of posing and rearranging.  The ones we share surviving the editing, cutting and deleting in making up an album.  All of us were so attuned to the “instant smile” as a camera was pointed at us yet again.  All of us were so practiced at grimacing inside whilst smiling outside.  And these pictures are the result.  “That” is our shared family history – because pictures don’t lie.

Which gets in the way.  Because each of us also have our own individual recollections.  And those clash with that of others (even our own a lot of the time).  The truth is we are family.  That is the only truth.  So if we each wrote our own family history there would be massive differences as well as similarities (and none of you would be at all surprised).

Because each one of us – all of us anywhere and throughout time – have our own family identity way before we might write (or don’t write) anything at all.  We all have (mostly) those pictures, those conversations, those holidays, the doing stuff together and apart. We all have (mostly) the extended family and their visits, their memories and their pictures. We all have friends (mostly) – friends with some but not others – but “family friends”.  And family friends are always friends “of the family” – their memories are “of the family” (even though they may not remember one or another of us).

What matters most is “family.”

Why don’t we all open our bibles at this point … ?