Community + care = shock

A man holds the door open and we’re pleasantly surprised. A young woman offers her seat to someone older and were perplexed. A toddler, not yet waist high, wants to help … I’m shocked.

In a community that’s become increasingly closed, these acts of kindness have become so rare, they’re labelled ‘random’.

Random: odd, unusual, or unexpected

Let that sit in for a second. Those kind words, offer of support or gesture of generosity was so odd. When’s the last time you wanted to get up and do something that was odd?

Before you answer, I want to come back to the man holding the door. I’ve been that man and seen that man, I’ve also been turned down being that man. I want to make it clear – holding the door doesn’t insinuate either party is better, bigger, stronger or worthwhile in any way. It shows you care.

In this tiny moment, you no longer have to exert yourself to hold that door. Stride on, smile and enjoy your day!

To the woman giving up her seat: well played sister. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to show love when we’ve each been gifted with the same ability to love one another.

And to the people who want to cast judgement on the males of similar age who happen to be sitting around this young woman: stop wasting your time. Put your feelings into action (like a blog for example).

Finally to that waist high, three-and-a-half year old community warrior: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I reacted the way I did wen you wanted nothing more than to hit the street and pick up rubbish, I’m sorry I responded with naawww when you prayed for people who don’t have homes and I’m sorry I cannot turn back the clock and do it again.

Recent research from IPSOS confirms that we are getting older and that we’re worried about ourselves and our own. It also indicates the next generation cares!

Whether because they haven’t been burnt by the world or they’re desperately want glorification through community impact, let’s celebrate their desire and be inspired.

Next time the door is held open, a seat is offered or, in my case, your child wants to do voluntary work, say thanks and be inspired.

If it takes a village to raise a child what will it take to save the world?

Miranda that wasn’t Devine

More than 24 hours have passed, I accept this is old news in the blogosphere but realise that Sense in the Senseless is about journeying so I’ll continue.

When I read the words “He’s drunk the feminist kool-aid”, I should have known to stop. It was a public platform, unfortunately one with a significant audience, The Daily Telegraph. Miranda Devine clearly wasn’t a fan of PM Malcolm Turnbull’s first big decision as leader – a $100m package into domestic violence.

Insert scratching of heads. Along with the PM, I thought investing in the marginalised was popular across an demographics. I was wrong. People have unique, silly and down right offensive views on social topics.

Read the article here for yourself but take a pinch of salt with you. Something tells me she’s grabbing at attention.

The writer clearly articulated that domestic violence is caused by poverty, that somehow these terrible situations are directly related to a lack of dollars and cents. That statement alone lacks sense.

I’m the first one to say, having not experienced it, I don’t understand the issue but I’m not going to try and speak on behalf of those who have. I will say, however, Miranda’s words were a pot choice but she does have one thing right. People who experience domestic violence are poor.

Lacking love, support and the means to deal with issues in life in an appropriate manner. If we, as a community, refuse to help the poorest (not just financial) amongst us, we’ve failed.

Choose your words carefully and love first without hesitation.

Dear lonely ISIS soldier

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Dear lonely ISIS soldier,

I hope you don’t mind me using that term, soldier. This is how I see you despite how western media labeling you less than human; you’re fighting for what you believe in and a unified force … The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Like any soldier more common to my Western World, you support your leader wholeheartedly. Whether you have a long beard or not, this commitment must be commended. But I am writing this letter to you today to question this very commitment.

Do you really believe in what you’re fighting for? Do you think, no do you believe violence is the answer?

Please don’t get angry at my questions, what do I know? I’m just another man on the other side of the world trying to make sense of a world that is feasting on its inhabitants. Just take a moment to answer them; publicly, with your brothers or in your mind.

Our world view begins at a young age. I know mine is through the loving eyes of Jesus, what forms your world view? While on Jesus though, I want to apologize for the fallen humans that have failed to live up to their proclaimed faith.

Please put down the gun. It isn’t the answer. Love is.

Sadly it’s a foreign concept worldwide but it starts with one, one desperately lonely soldier surrounded by extremist blindly following a leader bent on revenge. Please Mr ISIS soldier, I know you have it in you, answer the question: Is love the answer?

Thank you for challenging me on my prejudice. Prior to answering my question myself I sat next to a man on the train and was nervous purely because of his beard and traditional clothing.

I am sorry so many of my brothers and sisters still judge you and I am sorry so many will continue to do so for a long time.

Love is the answer Mr ISIS supporter and it starts with us.

Love,

Mr hopeful Westerner

Thanks for baggage Dad

In a world filled with wounds, Fathers are blamed for many … and rightly so. The abusive father, the distant, negative, harsh, strict, adopted and possibly worst, absent. They all have a case to answer and as fathers we’ll all do.

Men, we all have baggage passed on to us; it’s like some unwanted ritualistic ceremony that occurs over many years without actually seeing a physical bag. No matter your experience though, Dad gave you baggage.

What you take or learn from it is up to you.

You don’t have to be the father your old man was, or make the mistakes he made. What man and father you are is up to you.

The baggage is a lesson; a warning in some cases but an amazingly detailed how to guide in authentic manhood in some other blessed cases.

I realise, sitting in the latter camp that these words are much easier to write but they are true regardless. Embrace your fatherhood wound, treat it and take seriously the lessons left. For you have already started giving your lessons or are preparing to do so soon. Make sire they’re good ones.

I have no wounds but a lesson I feel like a fail daily. My Dad was and is awesome, I still look at him in boyish amazement … can i earn that same respect from my children.

I will if I follow his lessons. Thanks for the baggage Dad.

Church culture – who owns, creates and is responsible for it?

I recently saw the quote “the culture of your church is a reflection of its leadership” it resonated with me and made me feel good … for a second.

I want to make one thing clear from the start, God is the leader and owner of every church, if you think otherwise stop reading now and celebrate the great work of community organisations owned by mere mortals. Church is more than a building, more than worship, a sermon series or a pastor. Church is a collection of God’s children.

Now back to the quote. As mentioned above, it made me feel good but that feeling passed quickly. I soon discovered that I was feeling good because I was not only shirking responsibility but loading blame on others.

It is only fair that I mention it now that my home church is facing leadership struggles and this undoubtedly influences my thoughts. Regardless, I want to challenge the statement that culture reflects leadership.

Sure leadership is going to influence the culture like it does every aspect of the church but no more than it does influence the choice of worship music and the colour of paint on the walls. Maybe it will help if we define culture: the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

Clearly we all have a role is creating and cultivating our church culture.

Every interaction that is made, welcoming that is given or not, prayer that is offered (public and person alike), and word that is spoken have an impact and influence of your Church’s culture. In the same way that this blog post and my thoughts on the topic will be reflected in my influence on my Church culture.

Lord, I pray that I and everyone who reads this is encouraged to take responsibility for the culture that surrounds them. I pray they realise their impact, positive and negative and that to hold one person or a group of leaders accountable for Church culture is not how you intended Church to be. Thank you Father. Amen

Box up your joy, it’s not required for another eleven months

Have you ever wondered why they call it “boxing day”?

As a kid, I thought it had something to do with the sport of boxing. Surprisingly enough, looking back, I was never shocked by the lack of bouts held on 26 December each year.

Traditionally, it is the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their superiors or employers, known as a “Christmas box”.

I’m not one for keeping traditions just for the sake of it. So, this year (or last as it may well be) I decided to define boxing day based on my own view of the world.

As the calendar ticks into the month of December good will is flowing freely through all media.

News networks are running stories of unsung heroes in the community and sick children being given a magical Christmas wish. Decorations have been hung on street corners, shopping centres and every home that you visit. If anti commercialism is your thing, the joy knocks at your door too. Your favourite blogs are filled with messages about helping the needy, the true meaning of Christmas and debates whether Jesus exists, let alone if he was born.

A week out from Christmas, and it intensifies again. You can’t escape it. Movies, carols nights, fireworks, the works. Your friends status updates and tweets are all about Santa, the season or the newborn king.

Christmas owns December. And rightly so … but come the 26th, all of this is boxed away, for today, is boxing day.

boxing

Pack up your joyful thoughts and your good will towards the poor. Wrap up happiness and stick it in  box, it will not be required for another eleven months.

The media moves from joy to sorrow, from Christmas to the fiscal cliff. It seems our emotions move with it.

For a week we’ll all laze around, hibernating after our gluttonous feasts, then comes new years. Drinking and resolutions not to drink, partners for the night.

This year, instead of pledging health, exercise or a new job … pledge to rekindle your Christmas passion and hold on to it for the next 365 days. Christmas isn’t a date, it’s an emotion, a joyous state of mind.

SENSE

We all deserve Love, even Lanza

Before you read this, you must understand. I do not support the recent actions of Adam Lanza at all. I am purely writing based on the events as they’ve been reported to me and they are influenced by my beliefs and outlook on life.

Waking on Saturday morning, I skimmed the headlines.

Massacre in school. Shamefully, I didn’t even flinch when I read the words.

A headline written maybe just to grab my attention or sadly as predictable, yet another American shooting.

The information regarding the tragic events in Newport Connecticut continues to flood in, as authorities carry out their investigations. So to does background information on Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old apparently behind the trigger and his family.

The world has a pure hunger for this information, we demand to know. As humans, we feel we must know why!?

At times like this we cannot expect sense.

Yet we continue waste our time seeking it. Even though we’d be far better spending our time supporting those directly effected.

543339-connecticut-school-shootingThe ink, not yet dried on those first headlines but veiled as “finding sense” we’ve begun to blame. A mother slain portrayed as a gun lover, a socially disconnected son pictured as “strange” but, even as far as President Obama is concerned is fuel for gun control.

Adam Lanza was obviously one troubled soul. Wether, by character or illness, one could never say he was thinking straight. As someone who doesn’t suffer from a mental illness, I am thankful his mind is now at rest but terribly saddened, that his troubles pulled so many others down with him.

The number of hate pages on Facebook dedicated to Adam, only 24 hours after the shooting was evidence enough of our faulty human nature. We immediately want to hate instead of grieve the loss and support those effected.

The fallen human is the real cause here. Evil and it’s existence. We all deserve love, even Adam Lanza. He too, a victim of evil.

Love is the only way to defeat this evil.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” Martin Luther King Jnr, a man before his time. His words, forever remembered.

Apart from “Lanza’s evilness”, America’s long-standing right to arms has been blamed at large, less than an hour before this very shooting Michael Moore tweeted to remind all. “There have been 31 shootings since Columbine”, the school at the centre of his 2002, documentary “Bowling for Columbine”.

I personally, do not see any reason for a person to have a gun in the home aside from animal control on a farm or rural property. Reasons of defence and safety should not require a home be armed. Yet still, ask an American, and you’re questioning their right to freedom.

“Are we prepared to say that such violence visited upon our children year after year is simply the price of our freedom?” Thankfully, even President Obama is starting to publicly question that freedom.

As long as darkness exists, gun control policy is just a limitation, not the required light.

I am praying for the families of the children and teachers that have passed. So too, each and every member of Newport’s small community. I urge you to do the same. And don’t forget the Lanza’s.

Pray that they may all find the love and support they need to survive this situation. 

SENSE

The real “new age” guy

I’m fond of a bbq and a beer and even more of my wife’s form. Despite that, these interests don’t make me that man I am.

Beers, boobs and barbecues. Meet the modern man.

The Australian Bureau of statistics couldn’t supply any data specifically on the characteristics of Australian men so I went to the next most obvious source, men’s mags. Communication pieces collated by marketing geniuses, designed to appeal to the needs and wants of the modern man.

Let’s start with  the cover of Zoo Weekly. April Vaughan dressed, or should I say undressed, in bikini bottoms and a hooded jacket. The accompanying clever subtitle … all good in the hood.

Her perfectly retouched face and whitened teeth seemingly included only because her head is attached to her chest. There, a strategically placed necklace ensures the readers eyes are drawn to the round masses of silicon clearly visible beneath her open jacket.

The silicon mounds weren’t enough to suck you in, the headlines surely will.

Drugs of the future, they’ll make you smarter, stronger and longer … because men are not satisfied with the drugs that ruin their health today. I won’t comment on longer but sitting around on the lounge reading trashy magazines won’t make you smarter or stronger. What’s more, they’re both achievable without drugs.

Lewis Hamilton’s new ride … woah an insanely overpriced car that you’ll never be able to afford. Saying that, it’s owned by a man who wins car races and dates supermodels, an obvious benchmark for all modern men.

In this magazine you’ll also find and article on Australia’s best new beer. A seemingly harmless article written for all those beer connoisseurs out there. Not entirely correct. After rating the taste, texture and price of the beer they compare each beer to a female celebrity. Unsurprisingly, pictured beside the beer near naked.

It’s not only the traditional men’s mags, sports magazines, seem to have succumbed to the desires of modern men too. They interview sportsmen entirely on their career and photograph them, generally while doing their chosen sport. The women however are generally only included if visually appealing and willing to strip to their underwear for a photo shoot.

I recently tore a popular surf magazine in half. Keeping the first, filled with editorials and photos regarding the world surfing tour. And disregarded the other, it’s pages lined with women in various stages of undress. I shouldn’t be too harsh though, they were advertising women bikini’s, an obvious choice in a men’s magazine.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a men’s magazine offering advice on true manhood. Shamefully, our society needs them.

Beers could be replaced with cooking tips, boobs replaced with health tips and barbecues … well there’s actually nothing wrong with bbq’s but they could include articles on family, relationships and community.

SENSE

Ryan’s last days


Ryan Woods was diagnosed with Glioblastoma and told he had 1-4 months to live. Learn about his story, meet his family, and find out about his goals to help build a loving community.

Most of us fear death, Ryan doesn’t. He respects it, acknowledges it and is using his own looming death to inspire so many more.

Read more about his amazing story here http://www.grassrootsconspiracy.com/blog/

SENSE