Some days when I get the ‘blues’ and the noise of people gets me down, I need time out to re-focus and to breath deeply again. Lately we’ve been negotiating this line between helping other people with chaotic lives - who might turn against you later on, who say thanks but then forget quickly... and spending time with ordinary intelligent people who have got on with their lives with grace and humour. Thank goodness for time spend with them as well! So I’ve been thinking about the contradictions we have and how we need to intentionally make a balance in what we do in our daily life.Personal life
Rich cake and coffee - cool clear water
Blown by the wind – intentional planning
The grit of everyday life – religious experience
Time with the unstable – time with serene people
Indoor and the internet – walking the suburbs
Sitting – exercising
An obsession with family and kin - watching out for the stranger
Art and music - planting and nurturing a difficult garden in drought
Mixing it with the city people - driving in the country
The concrete pavements of city streets - walking along a surf beach
Fears in the night – enjoying the sunshine of the day
Listening to people who tell horrendous stories - being positive about life
Sharing the pain of life – enjoying the good moments
Looking back with nostalgia - living in the present moment
Fear of illness – learning from the saints
Painting as escape - painting as being real
Listening to the laments of a stranger – appreciating your own family
A week ago Peceli and I attended a Uniting Church seminar in Hoppers Crossing about 'Off the map' with stories of new churches that are in the burgeoning housing estates and growth suburbs such as Sanctuary Lakes.
Most of the stories were about the ministers and church people spending time in welfare, counselling, mixing with the people 'out there' who are lonely, confused, sick, unstable, poor. It seems to me that soon there will be 'burn-out' if you spend most of your time this way. There's a need for a steady focus on worship, congregational health, and personal well-being if you are going to attend to the 'un-holy' mess of the city. I sometimes feel that the Uniting Church gets the balance a bit skewed with too much emphasis on social welfare and not enough about religious experience!
So here are some of my ideas about balance in the local church
Reading the 'reality' stories in the newspapers - reading the best parts of the Bible
Going out where the people are - nurturing in worship and groups
Caring for others – caring for self
Mixing it with the mentally unstable - time with those who feel okay
Healing those injured by life - being refreshed by positive teaching
Wanting to change the world – accepting some of the chaos and confusion.
Well, that's my two-bob's worth at 5 a.m. in the morning as I drink my Earl Grey tea!
Labels: balance in life, Uniting Church