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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Developing ones conscious mind... (man)

So this morning I got another event email from the DDO, he sends them round to us on his list regularly, I think the idea being that we should at least 'try' and attend a few.. the last one I actually made it to was a day on rural ministry. At the end someome asked me how I found the day.. the nicest thing I could think to say was 'well, I now know I'm not called into rural ministry...'. Anyway, I digress, this mornings email had info about a local talk on 'Developing Consciousness', the hippy part of me thought 'oh that looks interesting..' and by chance it was early, so wouldn't eat into my precious rest/sleep time! So I went...

Nicholas Vesey, An Anglican Priest somewhere in Norwich has written the book that titled the talk, and subtitled 'A roadmap of the journey to Enlightenment'. If you are interested he blogs here.

I wasn't really sure what to expect but it wasn't what I got! I was really challenged throughout the talk, which is always good, I don't think I've been challenged in this way for a long time. Challenged because to start with I thought, is he actually going to talk about God? (which he didn't directly for quite some time which made me start to switch off), then challenged because of what he was saying which I had to work to get my head around, and also challenged because I didn't think I was even anywhere near what he was talking about. Which in essence is (I think) is this:

He started by looking at consciousness itself, noting that we are all experts on our own consciousness, no one can know more about our own conscious than ourselves. We make decisions based on our own conscious which in turn is shaped by our life experiences, and therefore we make decisions, based on our conscious, not always fully aware of what is shaping our decisions. That make sense? bit like having a mask through which we view the world only we're not always aware we're wearing it...

He went on to talk about the distinction between our own consciousness and the divine consciousness. To be honest, I really didn't get to the bottom of this one, had a chat with him after but I wasn't actually sure where the distinction lay (have got the book, will have to read up). I think he was saying that there is a Divine something that is outside us, but that by focussing more on the self, on ones own conscious, that one can have greater access to that divine something; God, whatever it or He is.

In talking to him after I realise that I don't think I have a problem with the idea of focussing on ones conscious because actually, what he is essentially encouraging people to do is to seek God. But I do think there is a danger in the trying to reach some enlightened point whereby we can meet God. I think the focus can become too much on the self and not on God and in fact on Jesus, who didn't get much of a mention during the talk.

What he is doing is finding a way to tap into this trend for people seeking some sort of spiritual experience, but almost surrepticiously guiding them to God. I'm not sure what I feel about that. I mean it's great to be guiding people to God, but I can't quite reconcile what he is talking about with my own perception of God....

The book is titled 'Developing Consciousness' and is available for £11.99 via amazon

Where are our standards?

I don't know, maybe I'm getting all middle aged and moaning about the state of our society but this morning, via the wonders of Jeremy Vine & Twitter, I read this article about Kate & Gerry McGann and their treatment by the papers after the disappearance of their daughter Madeline.
It's quite shocking reading and paints a picture of a media industry that is totally out of control. It has become clear through the recent inquiries that the phone hacking scandal and the methods used by the News of the World are not isolated to that paper. (although anyone who has ever read the daily mail would never had doubted that anyway...). And it makes me wonder what on earth we as a nation are coming to? What on earth would make someone stoop so low as to accuse a couple who have lost a child of selling her into slavery? Is this industry so far gone that there is no come back? do people not think about the individuals involved? It seems their only focus is selling as many papers as possible and making as much money as possible.
Of course, I read this via The Guardian, and in the same way as I was prompted by a tweet, others are prompted to more sensational articles in other papers and online. It's not just the press, we, the common people, want to read it too. Have we all become brainwashed into thinking that reading about someone elses tragedy and being encouraged to form judgements on those people, is ok? and not just judgements either. I remember in the aftermath of the disappearnace of Madeline the number of conversations at the school gate, how did it happen...? did they? didnt they? all fuelled by the media frenzy surrounding it. And it's not just this story, there is plenty of it. That's why I dislike the Daily Mail, it just gives people half the facts, makes a few snide suggestions and then incites people to believe them.

In Dawkins book 'God Delusion' he says that we do not get our morals from religion, or from God, but it's interesting that as our nation becomes less Christian, moral standards are falling, in some cases rather rapidly.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Being in the Church of England

As I approach the next step in the ministry discernment process I think I am probably getting what is usually termed 'cold feet'. I don't know maybe it is that, or maybe it's the illness worrying me, or maybe it is that I am really not sure I want to go into the Church of England. I feel very strongly about the CofE and I know that is part of my calling. I am not naive about it either, I know the kind of organisation I would be getting in to. I don't always agree with decisions from the top, I worry about the place of women, I worry about the treatment of homosexuals, I worry about the treatment of priests in some individual circumstances. But I still feel that I need to be in it. I often say to people that a friend in ministry, said to me that I should not go into this thinking I can change the Church of England from the iniside, it will eat you up and spit you out (or something along those lines), but I do feel that God is raising people up to have an impact, people who are strong enough and prepared enough to take a stand, prepared to fight for change.

BUT.. I find myself at a point where I am really not sure this is where I want to be, there is so much bad feeling around the CofE at the mo, and I find myself thinking, why on earth would I want to be part of that? I don't know maybe I'm feeling too tired for a fight right now, but I am really not sure...

In this weeks episode or Rev the archdeacon says to Adam: 'young dynamic women are not exactly queuing up to joing the church you know...' to which my husband and I chuckled as we know a few who are! But really a truly it seems like I am at the bottom of a huge hill and I am just not sure I want to climb it...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Being a 21st Century Woman

I feel completely blessed that I was born into a time when women have rights (perhaps not quite equal rights), where women can have a life outside the home, where women can go to work and have kids too, where we can do all kinds of things are predecesors couldn't. We have choices. However I think that now, more than ever, we also have pressure. Pressure to work, to be a perfect mother, to have a home worthy of Country Living Magazine, to be HSBC Business Woman of the year, in fact to be a bloomin' Super Woman. With the availability of choice, actually comes less choice too. Where 50 or 60 years ago a large portion of women would have stayed at home with their children and been a 'home maker', and the pressure on the men to be the breadwinner, now the pressure is shared.
I think for a young woman, particularly once she starts to have children, there is this unspoken rule that she will not only look after the kids, clean the house, cook, etc but also she will work.

I am white middle class. Theres no shame in that, it's just what I was born into. I don't assimiliate to all the typical white middle class ideals, but much of my life is in that bracket. And I notice particularly within this bracket this pressure on women to be everything. To make the decision to be a stay at home mum is a brave one round these parts. And if you do become one then you are expected to join the PTA, village organisation and help at the toddler group. So then you become a working mum too, you just don't get paid or any credit for it.

The other type of mum becomes someone who works from home or runs her own business, in the hope that it will fit round the kids but also provide some income (or as one friend termed it some 'pin money', cough, splutter...;)  )  Without fail everyone then moans about this as it invariably does not fit around the kids... Some of you will know of my own experience running my own business, which I no longer do. It left me with a feeling that it is simply impossible for a woman to be a housewife and mum and work, and to do all of that well. Something has to give. (unless of course you earn a packet and can afford a nanny and that is a whole other discussion...)

I am of course slightly biased as by working so hard I made myself ill. But at the same time I am almost angry that we put this pressure on ourselves. And it's not just ourselves, it's the fact that we are capable women and society and Country Living magazine tell us that we can have it all and be wonderful, beautiful, smiling examples of womanhood...  Ok, so I am having a bad day... perhaps this post is rather one sided... But seriously why are we never happy? and I speak to myself here too. Currently I am in a place where I think, Ireally know that I need to be spending time at home, to be spending time being a mother and housewife. It may not be forever, who knows, but I am finding it very hard to stay there. I seem to be torn between being a stay at home mum (with some voluntary work on the side) and being a dynamic young woman setting off to change the world (tongue firmly in cheek there...)


Incidentally in the middle of this rant I had a deja-vu moment and realised I have written some of this before... see here for more..!  #not leanring from past rants

Monday, 14 November 2011

we all need a little mystery, don't we..?

So, I am reading 'God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins at the mo, (yes, I know I am way behind most of the world..). I am actually finding it very interesting. Some of my friends have questioned why I am reading it, but I think you kind of need to know what you are up against, don't you?!
I find I like Dawkins. Which was a surprise to me as I thought I would hate him. I don't. I like the way he writes. He makes his point simply without using too much techho stuff or long words that would bamboozle the average reader. (I do have some issues with his writing whch may form another post...)

But what I found in reading the book was that actually I feel sorry for him. Because he can't seem to live with unanswered questions. He seems to have this insatiable desire to get to the bottom of every mystery. Perhaps that is what drives him. Near the beginning of the book he is talking about the power of the brain and how it can turn unknown noises and images into recogniseable pictures. He gives an example of himself as a young boy hearing what he thinks is a whispering voice, in which he can actually hear audible words. Now I suspect that most kids would either be freaked out by this or perhaps call for a parent. But the young Dawkins decides to go on a mission to find out the source of the sound and he follows it until he finds wind whistling through a key hole. It was not voices after all, just wind. I find that so sad. That even as a child he had such an inquisitive mind that he could not accept a little mystery.

This isn't just about faith, I'm not trying to score any points here, just that I think life is made far richer by a bit of mystery, the unknown. Is it really necessary to try and erradicate that unknown element of life? Our generation has so much more knowledge than our ancestors. We know so much more about how life works, how the world functions, how illnesses start and how we can end them. That is fantastic I am not disupting it, but I am wondering if this thirst for knowledge is just going a little bit too far....

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Key to Freedom: Human Trafficking

I know today is Remembrance day but I am taking part in another event, KEY2FREE for charity A21.Today they are encouraging women to hold 'KEY2FREE' parties to spread awareness of human trafficking. So that is what I am doing... Please spend a few mins watching the vid below... This is a very real issue for so many hidden and lost women. We need to stand with our sisters and do something about it. We are the KEY 2 their FREEDOM...




www.thea21campaign.org

Saturday, 5 November 2011

healing testimony



I've been reading a great book about healing by Bill Johnson recently, and I will definitely be blogging about it soon, but in the meantime I've also been looking at healing testimony. I totally believe God can heal, but as I have never had first hand experience I sometimes struggle with believing other peoples testimony. Quite often you hear of testimony that can be explained away, or that there could be other reasons for the healing. This above, from New Day, (and there are others in the series on you tube) is far more believeable because of the medical evidence before and after.
Hearing this testimony (which a friend had flagged up on facebook) gave me goose bumps. We serve an awesome, almighty God :)

One Solitary Life

I just came across this via The Christian Medical Comment blog but it is in various places online.. I expect many of you will have read it before, but it's good to be reminded...



'One Solitary Life'
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself...
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”). If you are interested, you can read the original version .

Friday, 4 November 2011

CFS/ME

So I think most of you know now that I have been diagnosed with CFS. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes I feel ok (and by ok, I mean really tired, but no symptoms of illness) other times I am totally exhausted beyond belief and feeling really ill. About a month ago I got a cold and it has lingered. This isn't unusual as the one thing that has shown up in the endless tests I have had, is low white blood cells, so my immune system is not working at 100%. But it means that a little thing like a cold can wipe me out. I used to be the kind of person who didn't like taking pills, hey even my kids haven't had all their jabs, but these last few weeks I couldn't have got through the day without stacks of nurofen, I am practically rattling.... Thankfully this week I feel much better and have gone 5 days with no pills :)


Mostly I am ok with it. It is not fun, but I can deal with it, with Gods help. But today I am feeling pretty lousy to be honest. I am feeling particularly tired which tends to be when I hit a low emotionally too. Some friends prayed for healing last night too, which was really cool and unexpected, but I guess it's contributing to my lowness today, because obviously I am not healed...


Anyway, I was just sinking into feeling sorry for myself when I saw a post on my friends facebook about ME (her teenage daughter has ME)...(the vid below is a different one to the one she posted..) and I was reminded how thankful I am that it is not worse for me. At least I can carry on a reasonably normal life. Others are not so lucky. Others are confined to bed, need feeding tubes or in constant pain. sometimes for years. And all that with people saying their illness is psychological, it's all in the mind... believe me, it isn't.


So today I am thankful. Thankful that I am blessed in so many ways. That I have a beautiful family and wonderful, caring friends. I know God can heal me, I'm just not experiencing it yet.


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