"How am I gonna be an optimist about this?"
That's the perpetual question I have in my calling to be part of the church, to be faithful to Jesus, and reclaim the title "Christian" from all the negative connotations it brings up in peoples' minds!
When I look around and see the walls keep tumbling down of the movement that I love, grey clouds rolling over the hills, bringing darkness from above and it all looks a little bit hopeless, what am I going to do!?
But when Pompeii by Bastille came on in the car today, it was a different line that really jumped out at me:
POV: You're Nicodemus, or another Pharisee or Scribe who is trying to reconcile who you present to the world and how you feel challenged by how Jesus is.
Here's your confession:
POV: Jesus has just cleared the Temple, and you realise it doesn't have to be the way it was before.
Here's the rallying cry:
One line in this one has stuck with me more than anything else.
How can you love someone
And not yourself?
My understanding is that you can't. The golden rule in so many walks of life is a variation on "Love Thy Neighbour", which gets more focus than "As you love yourself." If you don't know how to love you well, I'm not sure I want you to love me in the same way. Or if you think you can love me as your neighbour, I want you to be able to love yourself in the same way.
Resilience is one thing, but putting up with abusive and unloving behaviour is another.
Don't do it.
Listen to trusted people who have your back and your heart.
Do something about the red flags.
Challenge what causes them, and if there is no change then call it out or walk away.
I found this one whilst planning an Act of Worship for a Secondary School... On "Resilience" believe it or not...
Resilience isn’t mentioned in the bible. I tried to find a greek word as to what it means so that I could check in the geeky apps and things I use to make sure.
The word that came back was this one… ελαστικότητα (Elastikótita)
However you pronounce it, that first bit is where we get our word “Elastic” (I could tell that without looking it up)
So what have I learned? Let's think about Elastic vs Plastic…
I sang this song live and acoustic for a lunch time recital last week. I won't subject you to a version of me singing it.
Having spent hours listening to it, trying to find a key where I could sing the whole range, and practising it endlessly, I think I still like it.
But what's it about!?
It seems it's a fairly mixed, messed up and damaging journey, including trying and failing, but ultimately somehow still singing, albeit with eyes open.
I wonder if we get to the point where we're wrecked we can still sing?
Young people get a bad time of it.
I won't defend all the stuff that small groups get up to, but I will defend the fact that they are left trying to find their way in a world they are inheriting that is, for want of a stronger phrase, not the ideal.
Nothing But Thieves sum up quite a lot of that.
Of course the real trouble makers, the real disturbance in the force, are those whose eyes are being opened, and are starting fires designed to bring about change...
... They're the sort I'll never apologise for. Let's help them burn down the things that are making the rest of us live like animals.
This one was another "I know that voice..." moment.
It just goes to show that when algorithms work they'll point you to voices that you know and appreciate!
I am looking forward to this album. The two tracks I've heard so far I have really liked.
This one speaks to where I am right now, and where the future might lead... I can't work out whether this song ends with the outcome I want it to or not though! At the very least I feel like there's a commitment to making it work.
What do you think?
Ever have one of those moments where you start listening to a song and you kind of recognise the voice but it just doesn't quite fit with the music you're hearing?
My friend Sarah introduced me to the Arctic Monkeys way back when she got their first album "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" before they properly made it big. And then I kept up with them into the second album, but after that they drifted off my radar.
Coming back into listening in 2022 with "The Car" I realised I'd missed a lot. There was a whole musical journey that had gone on in the four albums in between! The voice was the same, but the rest of it left me thinking that I ain't quite where I think I am!
If you'd rather listen and come to your own conclusions about the eclectic mix of songs I worked through in Lent 2023, here's the Spotify Playlist!