Pounds Sterling

Money is a funny old thing – I kind of wonder what expression is on God‘s face when He thinks about it …

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve been given nearly £1000, just like that, out of the blue, y’know?  And most of it anonymously.  Naturally, I’m VERY grateful (I can pay for my summer at 40days now, for example), but I do find it kind of silly too, suddenly going from having almost nothing to having a lot more than that – it’s not like I’ve been fasting a lot or something, y’know?

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the Wonder

Oh my gosh, I’ve just had my brain blown to bits!

My mum & I were watching a programme on tv about a young guy (called Daniel) who has the kind of crazy mental abilities that would normally be described as impossible.

I can hardly convey the wonder of seeing a guy who can answer any mathemetical problem you could ask, but without any mental arithmatic.  While we see a collection of digits, he sees an object – a landscape even (he says Pi is BEAUTIFUL).  All a sum is, is 2 landscapes side by side, and then a third landscape appears in between them, which he can describe – the resulting number.

But then it got even crazier!

Because he can memorise anything, they took him to Iceland, booked him on a tv chatshow in 7 days, and gave him the intervening time to learn the language from scratch!  Oh my gosh, you have no idea how wide our eyes opened, watching this lovely young British guy telling jokes in Icelandic (which is a crazy tough language full stop) a week after learning his first word.

I don’t know what you think about savants (the technical term for these kind of gifted people) – I’ve never met one.  They are usually autistic, and often disabled (but then, all of us are disabled in comparison to what they can do ;).  The most famous example is from the film The Rain Man (I’ve not seen it yet, but I’ll have to now) – that guy reads a book with one eye on the left page and the other on the right, reads a full page in 10 seconds, and remembers ALL of it, permanently.

I’m just full of wonder, I don’t know what to say!

Finding Your Voice

Right, so I’m a big believer that because all of us have unique DNA, history, experiences, cultures, interests, hearts etcetcetc, we SHOULD all have very individual voices – we shouldn’t just be an echo of the people who have helped shape us, but we should reflect God in a way that is completely (and tangibly) unique.  To be a voice, not just an echo, y’know?

I think you get me.

I also think that the same thing should apply to countries too, and you can see this sometimes (when nations/people have very distinct features and gifts-to-pass-on-to-the-world), but often, we have seen colonialism (whether political or cultural) silence all these unique voices, often before they’ve even had a chance to develop.

This is what I’m hoping will change in NZ, you see.  And by that I don’t mean just that the Maori voice and giftings will be heard in the nations (although that is part of it), but that the NATION will discover its unique voice, and use it to disciple the world.  If we don’t hear it, we are missing out.

As it stands, the Church in NZ has pretty much always imported everything – styles, songs, structures, even speakers, and other things beginning with S – and while Kiwis have gone all over the world (to amazing effect), the country itself is still pretty much an echo of its influences.  Where is the unique voice?

And then, this morning I was in my church in Exeter, and we all watched a Friends For Life video – I was so happy!  Friends For Life is a series made in NZ by a TV journalist called Rob Harley, intended to equip Christians to see how the Great Commission actually works in practise (with people’s lives being changed by being loved, cared for, and seeing Jesus in people etc.).  It’s quite Kiwi in style, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything comparable.  Isn’t that great?  I got to see something that doesn’t exist anywhere else but NZ used to disciple people in Britain!

I hope you can see why that was so encouraging for me.

Amarillo

If you’re in Britain, you’ll have heard the Tony Christie/Peter Kay song ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo‘ – if you haven’t, you’ve SO missed out – but on the news I just saw a version of the video made by the Royal Dragoon Guards whilst on base in Iraq.  I’ve got to tell you, if you get the chance, PLEASE see this: we’ll be telling our grandchildren!

[because having grandchildren qualifies you to talk interesting rubbish]

There’s a small clip here, but it just doesn’t touch the whole glory of the piece – do your best to see the whole thing, please.

The reason for my particular joy at this work of ART is not just that it’s well done, or timely, or anything like that, but more that to me this is an absolutely perfect example of British humour: what it is, why it is, and how many levels it works on!

Now, everyone knows you can’t dissect comedy, but I don’t care …

THE RECIPE:
(i) the Tony Christie song
– it reached #18 in the charts in 1971 (therefore almost completely unknown)
– the singer’s from Sheffield (ditto)
– the lyrics are simply awesome [rhyming ‘amarillo’ with ‘weeping like a willow’ etc.] (slightly surreal)
(ii) the Peter Kay re-release
– made for Comic Relief (therefore ‘cool, I suppose’)
– cameos from many ‘so-crap-they’re-great!’ stars (therefore ‘cool?  Maybe – I’m trying to work it out …’)
– #1 for 7 weeks (therefore ‘not cool at all – 14 year olds buy it!’)
– Peter Flipping Kay!! (on a whole different level of coolness)
(iii) the squaddies’ video
– a perfectly orchestrated tribute (intidicative of sheer professionalism)
– in the tense political environment of the recent Iraq war, whereby we’re constantly scared to bits that our soldiers are going to do something terrible or un-PC or culturally flipping stupid (indicative of sheer unprofessionalism)
– Iraqi soldiers miming a song about going to Texas (so I’ll let you work that one out yourselves)
– emailed around so successfully that the MoD’s system crashed (so flipping dangerous it’s just not funny!)

So, to summarise:  a spoof of a spoof of a song too cheesy to require spoofing, irresponsibly but professionally set against an uncertain (and very serious) political backdrop, and sabotaging the technological capabilites of the Ministry of Defence.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is comedy.

[But does it make you LAUGH?]

slightly unbalanced love song

[I had the idea for the chorus when I was 14 I think (but don’t worry, no real-life heartaches here), and then managed to write a song around it almost a whole decade later, last month.  Hope you like it!]

.

IF I BREAK YOUR HEART

Oh you say that you love me
But your actions prove that you’re lying
You say you’re aflame
But the fire inside me is dying

I’d love to leave, but I know you’d rip me to shreds
And if I break your heart, you’ll break my legs

Oh you say I’m your saviour
The reason that you live
Well I think that’s quite scary
And you need to get some perspective

I’ve lost all my courage, You’ve drained me down to the dregs
Cos if I break your heart, you’ll break my legs

I don’t need this hell
But life was safer while I was under the spell …

Oh my head is clear now
My chance for freedom is here
I’ve gritted my teeth
And tried to choose life over fear

But I’m too scared to leave, cos I believe all that you said
If I break your heart, I know you’ll rip off my arms
If I cause you grief, I know you’ll knock out my teeth
Yes, if our love is dead, you’ll break my legs

.

Family

My Dad‘s cleaning stuff in the kitchen, my Mum is watching a programme about Cliff Richard, I’m sitting here in the study feeling jetlagged, and my Sister, she’s lying in bed in flipping Kabul!

I’ve grown up always being around people from different countries (and having relatives in Canada & South Africa), but now it’s me and my family who are all over the place.  Being at home without my sister here doesn’t really work; it’s quite sad actually.  We all spoke on the phone this morning, and I suppose that’s why I’m noticing it.

Me & Sarah are quite similar in a lot of our outlook, and it kind of appears like God’s made us to be ‘whole world’ type people (belonging to the nations, addresses written in pencil etc.), which I’m so up for – it’s such a cool thing, y’know?    But I do miss her, and am missing out on her.  No one can really sit on you like your sister can.

Back on the Other Side

Greetings from the fair land of Britannia!

I am presently swigging coke, sipping red wine, and munching hobnobs, in an attempt to stimulate my body into overcoming 13 hour jetlag in one fell swoop – COME ON!!!

But my eyes are going funny …

I am VERY pleased to be back in my home country for the next 4 months – man, this is a flipping gorgeous place!  You hear a lot about NZ’s natural beauty and all that, and yes it’s very pretty, but to me it honestly doesn’t even compare to what I’ve seen today – driving through the countryside, with spring erupting in a thousand shades of green all around you, looking out across little villages with thatched roofs, church spires, bluebell woods and all that.  Thank You God for bringing me back.

It’s so nice to be at home with my parents; to sit in the garden, to have a bath, to have toilet roll that isn’t transparent, to STOP, and to know that there is nothing I have to do in the next few weeks.  Yes, Jesus loves me.

(Very nice red wine too).