Monday, 6 September 2010

Things! Things! Things!

Here's a poem sent to me by Emma, who heard me give the talk posted previously. It sums up the frustration that stuff has in modern life. Oh for freedom from things, things, things :)
Things! Things! Things! On the table, on the floor, Tucked away behind the door; On the shelves and on the chairs: Dangerously on the stairs. Bureaus crammed and closets filled, Boxes packed and boxes spilled: Bundles everywhere you go, Heaps and piles that overflow Of Things! Things! Things!
Things! Things! Things! Things of value, worthless trash; Things preserved or gone to smash, Ancient things and things just bought, Common things and things far sought. Things you mean to throw away, Things you hope to use some day: Cellar, attic, all between One exasperating scene Of Things! Things! Things!
Things! Things! Things! Things that take our precious time; Hold us from the life sublime, Things that only gather dust, Things that rot and things that rust; Things that mold and things that freeze: Things that harbour foul disease, Things that mock us and defy, Till at last we grimly die Of Things! Things! Things!
Things! Things! Things! Let me cease to be their fool, Let me fly their crafty rule! Let me with unsparing knife Cut their canker from my life! Broad and clear and all serene Let me make my mansion clean From Things! Things! Things!
Amos R. Wells

I mentioned the 'Story of Stuff' before, I thought I might as well post it here:

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sharing English with Serbians

And we're back.

We left on Sunday, August 8th to run a school of English at a small school in Novi Sad, Serbia.
When I say 'run', it was more like playing loads of games with some great students, all local to the beautiful Novi Sad (it really is a hidden gem - please visit if you have a chance, a highlight is wandering the streets in the evening where young and old share a great night out).
We'll post a video round up of our experiences soon but I just wanted to share these videos until then.
On the last evening of the school we did a little presentation of the UK & Wales (Linroy proudly represented the British Virgin Islands as well).
I did a little section on the Welsh language and couldn't resist sharing the infamous/famous LlanfairPG name as an example of 'everyday Welsh'. Rugby obviously got a mention and it was great to see the locals appreciate Gareth Edwards Baabaas try - even though they barely knew what the sport was before.
Before we gave out freshly baked Welsh cakes at the end of the presentation - we wanted to show them this classic Two Ronnies sketch on the 'easy' way to learn English:

Unfortunately, only a few students got it - we forgot how different the alphabet is prounced here (not to mention their Cyrillic!).
Luckily we didn't show this next clip - no one would have got it!

Thanks to everyone for making this trip awesome, we may go back next year (there's sure to be many better pics to share soon, these are just some of Eiddon's pics, too lazy to take my won).

Monday, 19 July 2010

Talk: Big Picture, Small Actions

Finally got round to cleaning up the audio of a recording of a talk given for Carmathen Church on 3rd July (sorry about the audio quality, it's the best I can manage).
Key text:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 3:16-24
   (28598 KB)
Listen on posterous
*Audio updated on new blog post

'Story of Stuff' -

Friday, 2 July 2010

Rob Lacey and the 2 min. Bible

Welcome to my section of the AG website (we're not sure where we're headed, just praying that Jesus is leading the way). If you're new to Christianity, don't know anything about Jesus or have become disullusioned by your own 'religious' experiences, I hope we can share the amazinlgy simple and powerful truths that we're learning on our journey.
There was this amazing perfomer, writer and broadcaster from the valleys by the name of Rob Lacey. He had an amazing story to share on his path to use his wonderful creative skills to tell Jesus's story and lessons in a modern setting. Rob sadly passed away in 2006 but not before he managed to finish the radically relevant interpretation of the Bible called 'Word on the Street'. I only just found out today that the website of the publisher that detailed some his work has been removed, but luckily I saved this brilliant excerpt from the back of the book to share with you today*. I guess we're all trying to be part of Jesus's 'Liberation movement'! :)
The 2 Minute Bible, Rob Lacey
1st off,
nothing… but God
and off,
starts it all up and
Stuff everywhere.
The snake does some word twisting
Adam and eve fall for it
Kicks them out of heaven on earth
Death strolls in
They make babies
But the evil/good ratio goes through the roof
Turns the flood taps on
Only noah’s family and the animals survive
To see the rainbow
“Never again” quote God
More babies
Then Abraham –
The 1st jew
And his boys
Isaac, Jacob and Joseph
400 years on
the Jews are a nation
but just slave labour for Pharoah
Then God waves them out of Egypt through the red sea into the dessert via 10 plagues
Moses downloads the contract –
The big ten rules
The Jews break them all
Grumbling round the desert
for 40 years
once Joshua gets them into a land with milk and honey on draught
king David sorts out the giant goliath between recording his great compilation
Solomon comes out with some wise one-liners
then naff king after naff king
Messing up the people
Elijah and the other couriers can’t stop the rot
So God lets the Babylon army
Trash Jerusalem
And the Jews are carted off
As slave labour
Daniel gets to sleep
with the lions
Isaiah predicts a liberator
Esther stops a holocaust attempt
and, 70 years on,
the jews trek back to do construction work in Jerusalem
But no shift in attitude:
More idol promises
wind God up.
So he stops
talking to them for 400 years.
Enter Jesus the Liberator
good with hammer and nails
but he takes a career change at 30
and kicks off a 3 year
“heaven on earth” tour
with his mobile miracle clinic
and loads of stories
and questions
his team 12 love it
the religious suits don’t!
Dodgy trial
punishment beatings
public execution
-more hammers and nails
2 days later he’s back
having sorted out death
He’s launching the
Jesus Liberation movement
via Paul Benson
His foreign rep.
who’s sending out loads of emails
updating people on what it means that
Jesus came back to do
The sequel:
‘With God in us
We can bring heaven on earth
bit by bit’
all ending up with Jonno’s general memo
on how things are going to get
wrapped up:
The snake gets bbQd
The Jesus liberation movement get limitless life
Heaven on earth
*I don't want to break any copyright issues, just trying to share some of Rob's effort to de-mystify the Bible. Please buy the book by Zonderman if you're interested, I don't have the rights for this excerpt.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Restorative Design

This is absolutely fascinating. Through studying nature, Michael Pawlyn shows how we can use biomimicry to go beyond sustainable design to restorative design, to the point where deserts can be reclaimed!
Thanks to the wonderful Do Lectures.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Could you just listen?

A very very belated happy new year to you - the crazy winter seems to be over, actually saw some green stuff on the ground today. This will be my first post of the 'onesies' and I hope you find it interesting.
At the moment I'm just trying to sum up my short experience of being being part of the Street Pastor movement, for a talk in church tomorrow (check the link if you've never heard of SP's). I was searching through some of the notes taken during the training course and I thought this poem, about listening, really summed it all up. I sometimes get frustrated by not being able to help out, but I'm realising that the best thing I can do most of the time is to simply listen - it's amazing how many people come up to us who just want to share their story. I've learned that it really is a privilege to be trusted to share complete strangers struggles. We don't have all the answers but just being there can make a world of difference.
Enough of me, check out the poem (no idea how old it is)-

Could you just listen?
"When I ask you to listen and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems, you have failed me - strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I ask of you is that you listen, not to talk or do, just hear me. Advice is cheap.
When you do something for me that I can, and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy: but when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel no matter how irrational, then I ca stop trying to convince you to get down to the business of understanding it.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them. And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice. Perhaps that's why prayer is so important for some people - God listens and stays with us but doesn't give advice all the time or try to fix things. god listens and gives us the power to work things through for ourselves, but I need you to be there with me too.
So please, just listen. If you want to talk, wait a few minutes for your turn and I'll listen to you."