When You’re Tired

After about a month of flying around gratefully unaware of the lumps and bumps of life, I’ve kind of slumped into a little heap in the last few days – worn down, worn out, peopled out, whatever.  Maybe a tiny bit ill too, since my housemate has been.  But mostly (since last Saturday this is, I’d say) I’ve just lost my energy and verve, been getting nasty headaches, and needing to stop doing a lot of the things I had on my hands in order to ‘survive’ without hitting the wall properly.

When this kind of happens, you just want to be looked after – someone’s lap to curl up on – and not need to think about anything.  I’ve made quite a few gorgeous friends here in Auckland, but not of that sort.  Not yet.

The Gift of Tongues

So, this is what the Book says:

‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues…  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment…  "how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?  Parthians, Medes & Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea & Cappadocia, Pontus & Asia, Phrygia & Pamphylia, Egypt & the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome; Cretans & Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"’

Right, so I believe that God created all languages and cultures, but this evening I’ve been kind of noticing how that isn’t just ethnic and national groups, but all the diversity of modern society.  All our modes of expression, vagiries of nods & winks, speech and artistic flare.  So let’s try reading that passage again, bearing that in mind:

The Holy Spirit helped them speak other languages!  Hearing the noise, a bewildered crowd formed, asking, "We’re from all walks of life, but these people are using our own styles and manners of communication so that we can all get it.  We’re all sorts – Old folks & Teenagers, Punks & Hippies, Goths & Straight Edgers; Clubbers, Pubbers, Rugby Players, Chess Players; Aristocrats & Immigrants, Artists & Teachers, Politicians & Preachers; Warhammer geeks, Star Wars freaks, Football Fans, Bikers, Hikers, Fox-hunters & Snowboarders – but we’re all hearing about God in ways that are natural to us!"

When us Christians read about ‘every tribe & tongue’ before God’s throne in Heaven, it’s not too natural to include the tribe called MUSICIANS or the people group called TREKKERS or the tongue spoken in the land of COMPUTER GEEKS & WEB-DESIGNERS.  But that needs to change!

How will it change?  Well, I don’t know, but it might help if we stop just speaking in ‘tongues of angels’ all the time and start speaking in ‘tongues of men’ as well – we need the gift of speaking in languages!

a guy called Jonathan

And here’s a quick glimpse of the kind of thing that I’m getting hooked up to just now in my 24-7 work (and these people are appearing ALL THE TIME now, by the way):

There’s this cool little guy (about 17, I guess) that I spoke to on the phone a couple of days ago, and he helps lead a group of schoolkids who pray through the night (in shifts) from 10pm every Friday night until 7am on Saturday – none of the grown-ups in their church seems to get it, but they just carry on, and have been doing it now for FOUR MONTHS!!

I just think that’s so wicked.  Plus it reminds me of the every-friday-prayer-group that I was in with Tim Hirst, Andy and Emma Winmill, Sarah Jackman and others when we were 17 – I thought we were so flipping HARDCORE, but now it seems quite tame really.

Average, but aiming above

I was listening to Paul Simon this morning (the album from which is sourced the name of this blog) and there’s this song that goes, ‘Well it’s not just me and it’s not just you – this is all around the world.

The natural visionary response to this sort of thing is to go, "I’m part of something tangible but undefinable that God is doing with countless people in myriad ways everywhere on earth!" and that might well be true.  But today it’s kind of struck me more like this:  "All across this planet there are people who would like to know God, but only seem to find time to REALLY talk to Him when they’re doing the dishes …".

I appreciate sharing the ‘not there yet’, and I think I share it with quite a lot of people …

Further proof that Christians are muppets

Okay, so the deal is that on April 1 (APRIL THE FIRST – that’ll be April Fools Day then …), this fantastic article (read it) was put on the ’emerging church’ website.  Jolly good fun; well thought out, lots of giggles etc.

And so, when I read my weekly ‘Friday Fax’ (email of exciting-things-that-God-is-doing-around-the-world) this morning and found them reporting this fantastic new mode of Church to its thousands of subscribers, I just wanted to slap my forehead repeatedly.  So I did.  The poor sausages even quoted the fact that the article was written by ‘Jo Kerr’ (FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!) without getting it.

Yes, so I would just like to point out that gullibility & brainlessness are alive & well in the Church of 2005 – COME ON!!!

By the Ears

Just a little episode from my funny little existence:

Last Friday, I was in Matamata at a YWAM base, where they gave me their 8:30-9:30am slot to chat about 24-7 in whatever shape I fancied.  Generally, we had lots of fun (I taught them how to pray like the Coptic Orthodox Church, which they flipping LOVED!), but it was the climax that made me wonder why the silly things seem to happen to me …

I’d done with talking, and (since it was the Pope’s funeral that day, & I’ve got a big heart for that sort of thing) we were going to pray for the Catholic Church worldwide.  We’d kind of got to that comfortable point where people are cool to shout things out, and one lady said, "I’d really like to pray for unity, so maybe we could join hands and stand in a circle or something," to general approval. Gorgeous cheesy Christians!!

So I said, "Well, do with this what you will, but a couple of months ago, I had this picture that unity is less like holding hands, and more like holding ears, cos it’s an effort, hurts a bit etc." and before I could say anything more, we had people jumping up going, "Let’s do that! Come on!!"

The sight of 60ish people earnestly praying whilst holding onto each others ears is a mighty one to behold.  You should try it.  Now.

Who Flipping Knows?!

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous ooOOOooo-look-what-God’s-just-bumped-me-into kind of things.  COME ON!

Having heard in a vague sense that the guy who runs the Christian bookshop right in the middle of Auckland has a big heart for prayer, I wandered over there, to be confronted by a HUGE display of Red Moon Risings as you walk in – very fun.  And he wanders up with, "Can I help you?" and I say, "Actually, I’d really like a chat – I work with 24-7 prayer," and he stops dead, goes "Right, okay; I’ll just put this down and we can go downstairs and talk," like we had some important meeting planned.  But that pretty much was the deal actually; he told me 2 or three times that he’d been waiting for "someone like me" to come and talk to him, so he was ready for it – I think that’s very fun.

His shop is right in the CBD, and (out of that one little chat) it looks like we might open up the basement as a prayer room/Holy Space to serve the city and it’s people – somewhere for these poor beleaguered suits to be with God etc. – which I’d love very much.  And then of course you have the whole joy of miscellanaeous nonCs just wandering in off the street, which is where my heart really leaps. (Also spoke the the City Centre Sallies yesterday, and they had lots of people encroaching on their 24-7 room a fortnight ago – it kind of scared them!).  But first thing’s first, maybe.

The only limiting factor is that, as yet, it could only be open when the shop is (so no 2am crashing-out), but hopefully that might change.  I’m encouraged, and even more so with all the connections between this guy (Bogdan) and me:
– many YWAM links
– Vineyward links
– the only city in Poland I’ve been to is his home town (Wroclaw)
– I just spoke at the same meeting as his pastor 2 weeks ago
– my newest newest friend is also his newest newest employee
– and some more, but I’ve just got up and I can’t remember them …

So by the time he was asking me if I wanted to run it all, and to have my office there, and to make the whole book shop themed around 24-7 (using the walls to ‘do stuff’ on – Lord knows what that means), my head was kind of swimming.

But I take these things very lightly; we’ll see what God’s thinking, and go with that!

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life. And …

I’m feeling good.  This weekend I had enough thrilling conversations to last me at least until Tuesday – today is kind of a nice deep breath in comparison.

For example, I had a wicked few hours on Saturday with Joanna, who wants to see Christians right at the forefront of artistic expression (as we were 200/300 years ago. Christian Andy Warhols etc.) and to be a missionary to the art world.  She’s coming to the Factory this summer, and I’m so chuffed.  And last night, a group of us were eating Japanese food after church, and a girl called Larissa introduced herself to me by saying, "I love fairy stories."  I didn’t even realise how much I’ve wanted to find a kindred spirit until then; I just wanted to talk to her for weeks!  Oh goodness, such such joy.  I was literally smiling as wide as I go, and wishing my face could stretch further.

And yesterday morning, I was with some Sallies helping their corps start off their 24-7 week, and it was the best and most encouraging of all the times I’ve done stuff like that: no one needed ‘convincing’ – to look at a sea of faces whose eyes are sparkling cos they ‘get it’ is one of the coolest things I can imagine.  And it really reinforces your love for the Church when they drop the sermon (cos God’s already been saying plenty to chew on) and have lunch together instead!  So I got to meet lots of people of the sort that I’d spent a whole year praying would exist in NZ, whilst being like Jesus and eating.  That’s the kind of thing that makes you feel in the right place …

And on Saturday I learned a bit of how to do salsa dancing, but we’ll keep that one quiet, yeah?  Good.