Conscious Uncoupling & Coldplay’s heartfelt lyrics

 

After the high profile celebrity couple announced their separation yesterday, it seemed poignant to post Chris Martin’s latest release. Despite the hype surrounding the choice of words to describe their split, this song hints at the raw side of relationship breakdown.

For further thoughts on this, check out my latest article – Gwyneth, Chris and Conscious Uncoupling – over at Threads.

 

 

Drumbeat of the Heart/ Poem

Two hearts beat as one: Creative Commons Tiggrrr42

Two hearts beat as one: Creative Commons Tiggrrr42

A billion heartbeats reach to the skies
The rhythms of pulses blending into
heavenly music
Through beating hearts, which He
breathed life into
The Father hears a song
And rejoices over us, singing
divine melodies
Rising into a glorious
symphony of sounds
Surging rhythms from God’s heart
to ours
Created for mystery and glory –
miniature drumbeats resounding
into eternity

Zeph3:17 Yahweh your God is there with you, the warrior-Saviour. He will rejoice over you with happy song, he will renew you by his love, he will dance with shouts of joy for you. (New Jerusalem Bible)

The Fight/ FaithWalk (Poem)

Mary&Martha (3)

Mary and Martha fighting within me
One wants to be sitting at Jesus’ feet
The other’s too busy with cooking and cleaning
Distracted by everything that
Really needs doing
And she’s getting mad with
Mary, who’s laid back and smiling
Can’t she see?!….

You know I’ve just got to …
Run all these errands, tick off my list
Take care of the kids
Hurry to the shop,
Dash to the library
When will it stop?
You tell me,
When will I stop and
Listen to Jesus?

Mary and Martha fighting within me
Martha’s got the edge today
She’s the one who’s always saying
“I need to…”, “We’ve got to…”, “I must…”
She’s busy and stressed
Also somewhat depressed
‘Cause she realises she’ll
Never
Get everything done

But don’t you know
Some things can wait, Martha
Like striving and fretting over
Temporal things
Just take a moment to
Breathe in some fresh air
From His Word
Grasp a ray of light
Through his divine touch
Then you can carry on
Yeah, then you can carry on
With a smile on your face
After
You’ve met Jesus

Move over Martha
It’s your turn Mary

Unto Us// Mary and Joe


Unto Us
 is an absolutely compelling Christmastime gem. Set to the backdrop of modern day scenery and haunting ‘Oh Come, Emmanuel’ cello melody, the actors portray the sheer emotions of a modern day telling of Christ’s birth. In just one minute and fifty-nine seconds, the mystery, the mayhem and the glory of Jesus’ arrival is translated onto screen.

The results are impressive; I found myself being moved to the core of my being. For those who have seen multiple nativities or screen depictions of that one Bethlehem birth, and have perhaps lost the wonder of what really happened; this little film is an absolute joy to watch. Sit back and bask in the wonder of Emmanuel’s coming. If there’s one thing you share online this Christmas, let it be this.

In Good Company: Flawed People/ FaithWalk (And poem: Handling the Clay)

Creative Commons: UNAMID

Creative Commons: UNAMID

At a recent church event, I heard something quite revolutionary, something I’d never really thought about before.

Ed Walker, the founder of Hope Into Action – the Christian charity which houses the homeless, (frequently ex-prisoners), said that a third of the Bible was written by murderers (think: Moses, David, Paul). Yep, the Bible.

I’ve thought about this many times since. And I’m struck by the realisation that God loves to use the weak, the downcast, and the broken to demonstrate his power and grace at work. The Pharisee in me finds it hard to accept that. I want to prove myself and show God what to do, and when. But He doesn’t operate like that, his ways are beyond mine and his schedule doesn’t run on Greenwich Mean Time!

Just as those heroes of the faith, I’m learning more that we don’t have to be perfect, we only need to be available, to be pliable. Willing to let ourselves be fashioned into His liking through the directions in which we’re steered. I may not be a murderer, but I’ve hated at times – which is equally sinful in God’s eyes. I’m just as flawed, still unworthy to be His child, or to be used by Him. And yet I can choose to place my life on His unique potter’s wheel, and let myself be shaped into a work of art that reflects his glory and creativity.

I wonder at the image of the master craftsman, taking lumps of misshapen clay to form something admirable and good for purpose. The time of moulding and shaping will likely be messy, uncomfortable and uncertain. Sometimes we may wonder, What on earth is God doing? It may seem hard to believe the direction He’s taking us, when other obvious routes appear simpler.

But it’s all part of the process of learning to trust. The poem below, that I wrote during a dark time, spiritually speaking, reminds me of the conflict involved in this process, in the struggle that arises when we allow ourselves to submit to the potter’s creative handiwork.

Handling the Clay

Will you still love Me even when I never answer?
Will you still trust Me even when things get darker?
Will you listen to the truths I’ve written down
They’re staring at you on the page, just look down
And read about my vision for you, my perfect plan for you
See I’m leading you through the valley, and it’s rocky along the way
But you can still look up, ‘cause after going through the valley you’ll get to
The mountain top, get to the mountain top
I’ve promised you some good things but first you’ve
Got to stop and take this in, take me in to the deepest part of
You, though wounded and fragile, I will
Form you back together into something beautiful, something beautiful
If you’ll just let me be the potter everything
Will be alright
Just let me be the potter
For I know how to handle
The clay, yes I know how to handle the clay
Will you come to me with your turmoil today?
Don’t walk away, don’t walk away
For I am the Potter and you are the clay

iPhone Schadenfreude/ FaithWalk comment

As news comes in of iPhone users being duped by spoof videos on social media, claiming that their new handsets can indeed be used under water, the story reflects the epitome of Schadenfreude – a German word used to describe ‘pleasure derived from the misfortune of others’. The English language does not have a fitting one-word translation.

Much as some iPhone users may indeed have a few annoying traits (don’t we all?) – such as whipping said gadget out over dinner to Google some fact or figure or prove a point – I find it reveals the extent to which some people’s jealousy or annoyance will go. Perhaps unable to afford one of the new, snazzy 5S or 5C models for themselves, many derive great joy in duping others into destroying their brand new piece of tech. Much like the spoilt brat, unwilling to share a toy or give away some sweets, they think: “If I can’t keep it, then you shouldn’t enjoy it either!” – and then proceed to smash the toy to the ground or smother the sweets in dirt.

I’m no iPhone fan – and most will argue that the users should not have been so gullible – but I find it disconcerting to imagine that an increase in similar pranks via social media will likely ensue. Ah, the internet at its most debased – a breeding ground for the immature, the resentful and the narcissists. For what goes on online doesn’t stay online. It’s mirrored back into the actions and activities of those in everyday settings and everyday life. Our real neighbours and colleagues can quite easily reflect our online neighbours (or similar versions of them) – just as bullying on social media soon transfers to bullying in school corridors and work or social venues.

Let’s hope social media sites will fight back to redeem their more worthy features – such as community, shared information and links and pursuit of the common good. Used in commendable contexts, the internet can be a lifeline and a joy. The lonely are connected, good causes are promoted, businesses succeed. Conversely, if even just a few set out to pursue Schadenfreude, there will be innumerable ways for them to achieve this end. The consequences of unkind actions can permeate both the online and offline atmosphere. Some will brush off such stunts as mere jokes, but I find them mean spirited. Attempting to damage others’ property through deceit is not a minor issue.

Long before spoof adverts or hoaxes were even invented, it seems that Schadenfreude is something God also had an opinion about.  The biblical proverb states: ‘Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the LORD will see it and be displeased.’ (Prov 24:17) There are some things that cross the line, and I think we know what type of actions or hoaxes they are.

Smashing Stereotypes

Photo: Creative Commons

Photo: Creative Commons

We all do it. Sizing people up, making nanosecond judgements about the people we meet, based on various unwritten criteria floating around our heads. Brainy. Boring. Mumsy. Geek. Chav. Fun-loving. Hippie. Mean. Tarty. Snob.

Last week, someone said that I didn’t look like a mother, I didn’t seem the type. Yikes, is that a good thing (as in, I don’t look all mumsy)? Or is that a negative thing (do I look like a self absorbed person who wouldn’t possibly want children)? Or is it simply that I look too young to have kids (I know I often look far younger than my age)?

But then I just chuckled to myself. I don’t look like a lot of things. I’m sure I don’t look brainy – yet somehow I managed to clinch a first class honours degree. If I want to appear intelligent I opt for glasses rather than contacts but it doesn’t always work! I probably don’t look like a poet or guitarist, yet I’ve penned quite a few poetic lines and have been strumming tunes for quite some time now. I don’t look like a teacher (yes, people used to be surprised when I told them back when I was one) – since I often seem laid back and totally not authoritative. I admit it, I’m no scary teacher, but I can certainly step into ‘Mrs Carter, teacher mode’ if the occasion so requires. (I no longer teach, but am still involved in educational settings.)

I’m pretty certain I don’t look like I could be fluent in German, yet I am (well, used to be), having studied German and European Studies for four years. Now I’ve written a children’s novel (as yet unpublished), I’m wondering whether I look like a writer or author. Maybe on some days, who knows!

And finally, apparently I don’t look like a Christian. That one made me smile. A year 8 pupil once made this announcement after the topic of church came up and I mentioned my interests in this area. “Really, you go to church?” he said. “But miss, you don’t look like a Christian!” Again, I really wasn’t sure at first whether this was a positive or negative thing. But then I quickly determined that it was, in fact, rather a good thing. Who says that a Christian has to look a certain way anyway? I certainly wasn’t wearing anything outrageous to class that day, just my pretty average teacher-y gear, perhaps my cool brown boots, though I really can’t remember.

It just goes to show how wrong we can be about someone, based on first impressions. It’s funny how in the Old Testament, no-one thought that young David looked like warrior or king material. In fact, he was the least likely candidate. Yet he went on to defeat the fearsome menace Goliath and reigned over Israel for 40 years. And who can forget Susan Boyle, star of Britain’s Got Talent show a few years back? No-one expected her to sing with such power and capture the hearts of the audience.

Has anyone ever been surprised to hear what your roles or skills or interests are? Or have you ever been way off the mark in your judgements about someone?

As for me, I’m all for surprising people and smashing stereotypes. 

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart: 1 Samuel 16:7