Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Touched my life

This is a Pipturesque of our notice board in the kitchen.
Many beautiful humans who have touched my life. Our lives.

My mate Martin did a talk and has allowed me to blog some of it.

This is just one powerful clip.

I will click a bit more. Sip at this cup. Transpose these bits into a look at your own life.

" ........ down the centuries there are many well-known stories of non-believers who suddenly find faith.

Like Augustine, the brilliant C4th scholar, who was in a garden in Milan, when he heard an unseen child singing, ‘take and read, take and read.’ The nearest book was Paul’s letter Paul to the church in Rome and Augustine was converted.

St. Francis, in the C13th, was visiting a disused church building when an icon of Christ spoke to him ‘Go and repair my house which you see is falling down’. He renounced his wealthy family to become a beggar in service of the church.

Eighty years ago the academic and atheist C. S. Lewis was travelling on a bus up Headington Hill in Oxford when he became aware that he was holding something at bay. ‘I felt myself there and then, given a free choice.’ He wrote. ‘I could open the door or keep it shut: I could unbuckle the armour or keep it on…I chose to open, to unbuckle, to loosen the rein…I felt as if I were a man of snow at long last beginning to melt.’
Barack Obama’s mother was an atheist, his Kenyan father, a Muslim, who later also drifted into atheism. There was religion everywhere as he grew up - but it was for education not inspiration. His mother took him on holy days to churches and temples, to Shinto shrines and ancient burial sites. ‘But,’ he remembers. ‘Such religious samplings required no sustained commitment on my part – no introspective exertion or self-flagellation.

‘Religion was an expression of human culture… not its wellspring, just one of many ways that attempted to control the unknowable and understand the deeper truths about our lives.’

So although Obama was born in a Christian country, the USA, and spent his childhood years in a Muslim country, Indonesia, and traced his ancestry to the ancient tribal faiths of Kenya, he grew up with no religious commitment. Interested but detached, an observer rather than observant.

It was not until his mid-twenties that he sensed that there might be more to faith than anthropology. The steel plants in Chicago had closed, bringing unemployment and social deprivation and a group of churches clubbed together to hire a community organiser on $13,000 a year. Together they would help create job training programmes, after school activities and access to public services in the poorest parts of town.

And this is where the community of faith, the church, began its slow, ordinary, almost imperceptible work of conversion on the future American President.

In an interview a few years back he put it like this: ‘It was in those places where I think what had been more of an intellectual view of religion deepened - because I'd be spending an enormous amount of time with church ladies, sort of surrogate mothers and fathers and everybody I was working with was 50 or 55 or 60, and here I was a 23-year-old kid running around.

‘I became much more familiar with the tradition of the historic black church … and the power of that culture to give people strength in very difficult circumstances, and the power of that church to give people courage against great odds. And it moved me deeply.’

As the months and years passed, he found himself drawn not just to the social and political vision of the churches but also to the faith that inspired their work.

‘I came to realize that something was missing - that without a vessel for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith… I would always remain apart, and alone…. I found myself drawn - not just to work with the church, but to be in the church.’

With its history on plantations and in a segregated America, Obama saw that the black church understood the Biblical call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and challenge the powers and principalities.

‘I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world. As a source of hope.’ "
...... go on, transpose from this to your own ...............