Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Was bought the current Paul Simon CD by the three kids for Father's day, (with help from Mum who particularly favoured the final track Father and Daughter) and there in the middle of it all on track 3 sits a grand a statement as you will find anywhere - 'Tell me, who's gonna love you when your looks are gone? .... God will. Like he waters the flowers on your window sill..'

Monday, June 26, 2006


Today was a sacred moment for our family. We thanked God amid family and friends for the gift of our daughter. Now two years old some might say we took out time, but the sentiment remains. God gives us our kids as precious gifts. I hope I don't drop and damage them ....

Moment of the day had to be when two year old Daisy looked at the dark full size mournful looking sculpture and embraced the legs as if to bring comfort to this sad figure, (so marvously crafted by Steve Spicer on 'Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted' as part of the Zac's Beatitudes commission).

Many people are a little freaked when they first see the figure, but child like intuition made a quite beautiful connection others much older and wiser miss.....


I had not stepped on American soil since the December of 1975. If I'm honest I haven't particularly wanted to return - I have been grateful to my parents for resisting the temptation to stay there and see me brought up in Virginian southern baptist ways and no doubt rebelled big time in every way shape and form.

Duty called however, 31 years on to return by visiting the mid west, (3 states, 3 cities in 6 days), amid the vast properties and ludicrously wealthy churches, on club duty to see some guys we're seting some stuff up with out there. Going from the extreme basic living and material poverty of the Ukraine to the excesses of Michigan was about as far apart as it gets. (I had a similar experience going from the slums in Bangkok to Sydney some time ago). The raw throaty sound of the gas guzzling V8's was a far cry from the smoky 2 stroke bikes and the tiny apartments would fit twice over in any one of the rooms in many Michigan homes. A swimming pool in the back yard of 3 acres replaced the bucket for washing at the foot of a tree that had shaving mirror wired to it. The home of the 'world series' continues to be another 'world' - at least this bit of it anyway. (The poverty of the of the mountain folk and the urban poor did not feature on this trip unfortunately)......

How good it is though to experience these extremes, how difficult it is to find balance. How encouraging it was to see signs of change with regard to seeing comfortable folk being called to a different way of living. When in an environment that refers from the pulpit to struggles as being defined as ‘not being able to afford that Cadillac’ and a blessing from God is all about personal gain, I do have to wonder which bit of the Gospel of Jesus that refers to. Therefore anyone prepared to start kicking against the grain is to be supported and encouraged - so guys thanks for the hospitlality and welcome - let the revolution begin....... God bless the agents for change.

And remembering, blessing, like love, never asks ‘what am I going to get out of this’.

Next stop . . .Holland (..a wedding) and Germany

Monday, June 05, 2006


10% of all plastic surgery in the UK is now taken up by over 60's apparently. Slightly more worrying is the fact that there is also an increase in the number of abortions at 20 weeks+ for minor defects such as a club foot, (now often treatable without surgery), as parents search for that perfect designer baby.

Whilst our so called civilized society is going to more and more extremes to look good and get everything 'just right' are we in danger of getting it all 'wrong'?

Balance this up with any mention of God, sin, guilt, salvation and forgiveness and more often than not you get a hostile response. Why do 'I' need forgiveness? I often wonder if our search for external perfection has something to do with the the turmoil of disconnection of our own hearts.

Changing our face, designing our children, glossing up to erase the imperfections simply serve to paper over the cracks. If I am to believe perfection is found in the heart of God - why are we so often tempted to keep him out of the equation?

Jesus said to his mates 'blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God'.

As I look at my life, those I share it with - as I see my own face in the mirror, I am surrounded by a myriad of imperfections - rebellions, hurts, tragedies, stupidities; but also I see God (and terrible skin of course!).

Amid the disorder, chaos and failure I see signs of hope, restoration, re-connection grace and forgiveness. The fast weathering look of my own face in part tells a story of ups and downs, not least of all that of being a father to three children who take after their parents - imperfect, but utterly loved and adored.

If we really want to erase the imperfection maybe we need to begin with a change of heart; then and only then will we see us and those around us as God sees us - loved and adored, forgiven and accepted.

..... now where did I put the mirror...