Between a Hard Rock and a Place.

April 26, 2009

Henri Nouwen

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 2:01 pm

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3701709082567809182

 Having difficulty embedding this one.

I need to hear this daily.

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Brennan Manning

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 1:55 pm

January 23, 2009

The New Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 6:49 pm

Well, Happy New Year to one and all.  I have no idea who is still checking this site, but it be not a bad place to start for me to babble, rarely aimlessly, although this entry be the exception.

The break has been difficult at times.  I haven’t been up to thinking, let alone jotting, as just maintaining the new phase has taken time enough.  It would be fair to say that the events of last year were enough to throw a spanner in the works of life, and the hard work doesn’t end when the  needle holes heal over.

It is summer here in Perth, and a mild one so far.  The beach is back in the routine, as is the gym and Nachos on a Sunday.  

It is the time of year where I begin to wonder if cricket was invented so they could put an illustration next to the word ‘boring’.  If you love cricket – please don’t get me wrong. I am sure one day I will take up the hallowed willow and the power to love the game will flow down my arm and into my inmost parts.  But until that time, I will continue to wonder why they broadcast a game all day when there is the option of watching various weather-cams all over the world. Enough about that. Each to their own.

The new year signifies a new start, hopefully.  A clear bill of health, new job opportunities and a clearer sense of what needs to happen in order to regain control of the whirlwind that our lives have been.  Elizabeth is back at work, although started holidays today which are more than well-deserved.

I feel like I need to make the most of the time before my job (whatever that may be) starts up.  I have been researching digital formats for filming, and my head begins to hurt when I read a sentence like, “The basics of PAL and the NTSC system are very similar; a quadrature amplitude modulated subcarrier carrying the chrominance information is added to the luminance video signal to form a composite video baseband signal. The frequency of this subcarrier is approximately 4.43 MHz for PAL, compared to approximately 3.58 MHz for NTSC. TheSECAM system, on the other hand, uses a frequency modulation scheme on its colour subcarrier.” (Yes – Wikipedia).  I love it how the sentence starts “The basics of…”.

But anyway, we are looking forward to a new year, a new start, a renewal of everything we know of and a different future.  Elizabeth is still living out day-to-day why she is the best thing that has happened to me, and I still find adjusting to normality a bit of a task.

Maybe the local cricket team could give me some direction.

November 25, 2008

When Life Shakes You Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 8:43 am

There are a lot of things happening now that is shaking my life up, in a good way.  There is a massive amount that has had to change in me, and I am sickened by where I have been, but excited by the direction things are going.  

Sporadic ponderings in written form may occur here.

October 15, 2008

The Most Unsuccessful Church In The World

Filed under: Church,Uncategorized — camharris @ 12:11 am

Preface:  I know it is quite popular to talk about church at the moment.  But I think it is important, so please forgive me if you are over it.  I am much happier just to get on with it rather than critique it, but I can’t sleep at the moment and Letterman is over.

 

Tonight is Tuesday night, and it is ‘church’ night for me.  Each Tuesday night I walk to a corner pub to talk with others about life, belief, struggles and triumphs (not the motorbikes, necessarily).  I have been thinking it for a while, but I believe it is the most unsuccessful church in the world, or at least one of the many ‘most unsuccessful churches in the world’.

It has only been running for maybe six weeks and no two weeks are the same.  I never really know who is going to turn up, or if I will look like the village drunk who drinks with or without company.  Now I am not meeting at the pub because it is a cool thing to do, or because it is in vogue for churches to be doing something different.  I am fascinated by meeting places that work, and the corner pub is one of those places.  It could be a café, bookshop, park or beach.  These places have some dynamics going on that I may write about separately, but for me in my locale, this particular pub will do.

So why are we unsuccessful?  Well, I think a lot of it has to do with how we look, how we function, how we market ourselves, and how we structure the evening.  Beginning with looks, I know it is an unlikely scenario, but imagine a small group of people sitting around a table on bar stools, talking.  I know – whacky.  For the newcomer, it may seem strange that we are not standing up, facing one direction and clapping in time to music.

When it comes to function, we are not doing too well either.  No one leads the group, no one is in a paid position, no one gives the notices or lets us know when to sit down or stand up.  We are all over the place.

Marketing our church has been woeful.  We haven’t put up signs, built a steeple or sent out brochures.  I invite the occasional guest but that has been rare.  Our numbers therefore are really low.  People are not regular, so we can’t really say we have a strong membership.

Structurally, we just engage in talking, and remind each other that Jesus is coming again.

A person once asked me, “But what are you going to replace going to church with?” quite worried about my spiritual well being.  I think I may have said something like a morning sleep or going to the beach, but later I thought some more on this.  I wondered what going to church had actually replaced.

These days, I have just taken to telling people pretty honestly where I am at.  I am not an open book, but I feel like at this stage of my life it is worth taking the risk to talk frankly to people.  I feel like I can do this in these kinds of settings.  There is no pretence, no expectation and no interruptions that will hinder my desire to connect with others who wait in expectation for Jesus to make his next move, or engage with people who believe something completely different.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with all the stereotypical church conventions or norms, but for me, I am gaining so much at the moment from just meeting.  Now of course there are people who go to churches who are relationally amazing, and that is fantastic, as long as they can do their relating between the final song and when the coffee urn is turned off.

So for the time being I am satisfied going to the most unsuccessful church in the world.  A random group of people, meeting honestly to see how we go in this life, waiting expectantly for the return of the king (a concept thought up way before Lord Of The Rings).

Until He comes.

September 8, 2008

Temporary loss of transmission

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 11:44 pm

It is not that I haven’t been writing for this branch of blog.  I have.  Just none of them are finished and I have had a little bit on my mind recently.  Normal transmissions will resume as soon as possible.  If nothing new is up by Thursday, please contact my complaints department.  

For your entertainment pleasure however, I have included a short movie extract.  I think most people who have called ‘highly’ foreign countries in the audience laughed.  

August 27, 2008

Broken

Filed under: Church,Uncategorized — camharris @ 11:36 pm

There have been some catastrophic events of late coming from ‘the church’.  In Australia at the moment, there are a lot of people reeling out of shock from the announcement that a very popular young pastor has been living a ‘double life’.

The pastor was allegedly diagnosed with cancer about two years ago and continued his ministry perpetuating this situation, even letting it fuel his ministry it seems.  Recently, he confessed that the cancer diagnosis was fabricated and was done so to hide behind the reality of his gripping pornography addiction. It was a lie that his family and friends had no idea about until it came to light this last week.  Sad, wrong, messy. Very messy.

This pastor was involved in a lot of youth rallies run by a group that would travel all over.  Libs and I took a group of teens to a weekend conference once.  I was very reluctant, but went anyway to check things out.  I would sit up the back with my arms crossed and concerned look on my face as thousands of youth were led into a Jesus frenzy.  I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now. 

My problem at the time was that the performances over the weekend were incredibly manipulative, emotionally charged and left a lot of important stuff out in case it stopped you from meeting the sexy Jesus.  The intentions of the production group were probably noble.  There may have been some good things come out of the weekend, but I found it very dangerous.  That is a separate story though.

So this pastor confessed all (I think) this week and is at Ground Zero. He has hurt a lot of people, he lived a double life, he betrayed trust and he undid a lot of work it seems.  I really feel for the guy.  Unfortunately for him, he had demonstrated very publicly the nature of sin.  It is one of the nastiest aspects of sin that leaves the trapped person asking “How the hell did I get here?”.  Yes, a lot has to be forgiven, and a lot has to be worked through.  It is easy for me to stand back and say, “That’s fine, I can forgive him.” when I wasn’t affected directly.  I think if there was direct hurt involved I would find it very difficult to come to terms with. I fear I’m not that gracious.

But I do see him in a new light now compared to when I have seen him in the rallies.  My opinion only, but to me he is now less fabricated than he has ever been.  He has come cleaner than I have publicly about my sins.  His brokenness is obvious and real. I am sure he may not feel it at the moment, but in a way he is in a enviable situation – repentant and broken, but ready for healing.  

It could have been any of us in this situation, and to believe otherwise would show an ignorance to the ‘nasty side’ of sin and the graciousness of God.

August 12, 2008

Black marks in history.

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 10:16 am

I quote my sister’s quote and statement.

“Quotes today from George W Bush after his discussion with Vladimir Putin regarding the bombing in Georgia…
“I said this violence is unacceptable, I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of South Ossetia. I was very firm with Vladimir Putin.”

WHAT?! I can’t articulate my incredulity.”

 

 

July 15, 2008

Well hello, and welcome.

Filed under: Uncategorized — camharris @ 7:27 am

In this blog I will be posting bits and pieces that I want to keep separate from my other blog The Walk Beside.

I can’t take full credit for the title.  I was teaching a Year 6/7 class about 10 years ago and had a chat with a much flustered student as she described a difficult situation she was thinking through.  Now I find it fascinating anyway when people screw up a good cliche or proverb, and this particular student ripped out some classics.  She ended her verbal frenzy with “Honestly Mr Harris, sometimes it feels like I’m stuck between a hard rock and a place!”

Magic.  From that point on, life for me has made more sense as I place it into that framework of thinking. The former cliche “Between a rock and a hard place” means very little to me anymore and, if you think about it, offers little hope.  This student may have been onto something, or just on something. Whatever, credit where credit is due.

I find it easier to write about things than I do explaining them in conversation.  For my own benefit, it helps me process my thoughts by way of having to articulate them succinctly.  I get worked up about many topics, usually due to excitement, sometimes to frustration and often to confusion.  These writings will be a collection of such.  

Without apology, the topics will revolve around faith, beliefs, culture, current events, observations, confusions and possibly things that either just irk me or inspire me.  Sometimes there may be dry spells where I am not thinking of anything in particular, so if you as a reader are considering some issues, please feel free to make your own thoughts known by commenting.  I am thinking that the posts would be appearing about once a week.

See how we go.

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