Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Sunday, 21 August 2011
The cycle2kenya Blog why are we doing this captures some of the spirit of adventure behind this crazy venture.
"There’s a certain element of ‘if you have to ask, then you’ll never understand’ but I rationalise it down to two things. One, because I want to and two; because I can.”
As I was thinking back over the past 70 odd days from the farewell in Woking Town Square on Friday 3rd June (and follow up farewell in Brugges over the weekend) to the finish in Nairobi on Sun 14th August , and then meeting them at Terminal 3 Heathrow Airport......
...... Sir Francis Drake's prayer came to mind about true Glory "not the beginning but the continuing of the same" I remembered it having inspired me in my youth
O Lord, when thou givest to thy servants to endeavour in any great matter,
grant us also to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same
until it be thoroughly finished that yieldeth the true glory;
through Him who for the finishing of thy work laid down his life,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
It has also been an example of the power of social media.
It has also been an example of the power of social media.A good number of people have been following the Blog, particularly the map, plus feeds from Twitter (599 followers) and Facebook group (246 followers) and community (193). And by the way, its not too late to support them with a donation to Turning Point Trust via JustGiving (currently at 67% of target)
They were featured in the local Woking paper, The Diocese of Guildford The Wey, and Kenyan National press The Nation and Star. Maybe some more in the future
Finally, as they have officially finished, let me finish off a few bicycle quotes
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. ~Ernest Hemingway
Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein
Sunday, 14 August 2011
We visited the Cameron Highlands in the Malaysian Peninsular. It is a well known Hill Station where people can escape the heat of the valleys. The picture is a drawing I did of the Boh Tea Estate. So restful, peaceful with various greens and patterns on the hills, like dollops of paint on a impressionist canvas - very heavily cultivated and fruitful.
It is a very British area - for example there are over 4000 land rovers - more land rovers per capita than anywhere else other than a British Army base. These are constant reminders, along with driving on the left and English plug system, all vestiges of the Colonial past.
This was after all a Hill station, where those who could afford it went to escape the heat of the Plains. The rest were left to sweat it out...
The tea plantations, strawberry fields and Butterfly farms are all part of the scene. A Little England - with the Old Smoke House maybe epitomising this quintessential Englishness. We had a Cream Tea in the Rose Garden, wondering for a moment just where we were. Real hospitali-tea!
We stayed at the OMF mission bungalow, which was like going back 20 years to another time and place. Wonderful hospitality,with 3 good meals a day and large bedroom with polished furniture. All set in a beautiful garden with a well mown lawn and cultivated orchids.
It was a great place to read and relax as well as a base for a jungle trek and great mountain views. And of course visits to the Tea Plantations and Strawberry Farms.
My Brother used to go to school in the Cameron Highlands - Slim School, named after the British General who fought the Japanese. So part of the idea was to find where he went. We lived in Penang but in the 3 years we stayed there in the 1960s, I never once visited Cameron Highlands. I was making up for it now....
We managed to find the school, now an Army Camp - 'Kem Slim' - now home of 'Kompeni Bravo, Batalion 165 Risik Tentera Darat' but were not allowed to go beyond the Camp Gate
We also looked around the Town of Tanah Rata, helped by an elderly local restaurant owner, who used to cut hair for the British soldiers garrisoned there. He told me about some of the buildings that had been around in the 1960s:
The Catholic S.K Convent School - now Heritage Hotel. Lutheran Bungalow and the Methodist centre that had taken over the old ‘Chechoo’ mission school.
Rev Simon Soh, a young vicar in training based at the All Souls Anglican Church, (Gereja Anglican), a converted Army Nissan Hut. It was situated just in front of and below the old Slim School. The diocese had plans to upgrade the Church and also build a retreat centre ont he land.
I went to his Bible study group later in the week . a dozen people in a nice apartment, who met as a regular House group. On this occasion they were studying the prophet 'Amos'
It was an interesting passage about 'destroying the summer houses as well as the winter houses' in the Mountains of Samaria, as the 'Cows of Bashan' sit and say 'bring us a drink'. It almost seemed relevant - particularly in the heydays of the Raj.
Now things have changed - the area is no longer British but Malaysian , though as I said vestiges of the past linger. It's as if the Malaysian Chinese have come back from Exile and 'reclaimed the land' ....
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:13-15)
Maybe not vineyards but Tea plantations, and definately fruit gardens of strawberries. And it certainly looked like they settled well in the land the Lord had given them.........
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
The drawing of Malaysia's twin towers – in KL - otherwise known as Petronas towers - represent the emerging South and shifting centres of power, especially after the destruction of New York's Twin Towers 9/11 nearly 10 years ago.
Kuala Lumpur was the context for our CMS Interchange Network meetings in which we reflected on Post Colonialism and the search for a new mission.
We were using Jonathan Ingleby’s book: Beyond Empire: Post-colonialism & Mission in a Global Context (Author house 2010) There is a Facebook page if you're interested and an article on Redcliffe e-zine.
The issue is that although the church has expanded in the Global South, Mission is still very much controlled from the Global North (or the Western World) through
The issue is that although the church has expanded in the Global South, Mission is still very much controlled from the Global North (or the Western World) throughtraditional leadership structures that are hierarchical, patriarchal, territorial, legalistic, and membership-based.
The search is on for a post-colonial mission which expresses a more Radical orthodoxy
The search is on for a post-colonial mission which expresses a more Radical orthodoxy
I felt it was appropriate to be meeting in Malaysia ("truly Asia"), a culture of fusion where India meets China, with expatriate Europeans, overlaying the native Malay culture and the deeper ‘orang Asli’ (aboriginal peoples). Malaysia has I feel, through its very context, many lessons to teach the wider mission world.
The book helpfully explores 5 main tactics for reversing this trend (see Tactics from Beyond Empire pgs 46-60) exploring the freedom to think otherwise. Post-colonial resistance involves emphasising the subaltern voices,hearing thevoice from the margins. It is a non-violent, confrontational approach.
(i) Interpolation: appropriating the colonial in order to dismantle it, and then reassembling by translating the message into another culture ie I play our game but by my rules
(ii) mimicry: using analogy and metaphor; being ‘like but not like’ more a copy not a clone; As an example I remember in Pakistan (the land where copyright meant 'my right to copy') cars were proudly ‘made as Japan’
(iii) archaeology: the idea of digging up the past - looking for the indigenous experiences that have been buried by colonial culture - hearing voices from the margins and thus subverting the prevailing modernist orthodoxy
(iv) Palimpsest: re-using a canvas or Papyrus/ manuscript. The idea was reusing them because they were so rare and valuable - re-writing the story, giving head to what had already been written. The idea that no inscription is indelible - the past can be re-written. Indeed an alternative version of events must be written.
(v) Representation: This is against ‘history written by the victors’, Other narratives must be explored as sites of resistance "Nothing that has happened should be regarded as lost for history" (Benjamin) Even something as well established as Remembrance Day also involves a forgetting of other conflicts (inc current ones)
So Post-Colonialism honours the 'subaltern voices', digs deeper in order to understand complexity and has a wholehearted tolerance of diversity.
Post Colonial Misison may well involve exploring a new form of partnership - maybe co-mission, companions, co-participants, or co-workers, which are more cross-cultural partnerships. I explored some of this in an earlier blog on East and West - see Two States of Marriage
Gillian Ross (pg 92) talks about the broken middle, and how in holding extremes in tension, a new level of trust emerges. Post-Colonial Mission may well involve exploring alternatives to the arrogance of power ("my grace is sufficient for my power is made perfect in weakness"), a weaker mission from the West, more subservient to the leadership of the East.
Sunday, 7 August 2011
The Undefended Life
I have been reading Simon Walkers book: ‘The Undefended Life: Recovering God’s Freedom to Live Beyond Fear’ (2011) whilst on holiday. Leant to me by a colleague, so I needed to finish it before I get back. I have ordered the trilogy from Amazon but they did not arrive on time. I’ll read them later: ‘Leading Out of Who You Are’ (2007); ‘Leading with Nothing to Lose’ (2007) and ‘Leading with Everything to Give’ (2009)
Simon Walker has developed the Personal ecology profile, based on his brief introduction to the theory of `Human Ecology’ (2009)
The Undefended Life book I’m reading, deals with the theology behind his undefended leader trilogy. He draws on people like Jurgen Moltmann: ‘The Crucified God’ (1974) and ‘Trinity and Kingdom’ (1981) and Paul Fiddes: ‘Creative suffering of God’ (1988) and ‘Participating in God’ (2000)
I like the 4 characteristics of the undefended life he has developed (p 101)
(i) ability to live life as Gift;
“Love is what we are born with, fear is what we learned here” (Anon)
(ii) living in the present moment;
Wherever you are, be all there (Jim Elliott)
(iii) relinquishing control but taking responsibility;
Maturity is the freedom to live an undefended life (Melanie Kline)
(iv) taking risks
‘If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark’ (St John of the cross)
You can follow more through the web presences
I found myself agreeing strongly with lots of what he has written, so I quote a great chunk of one particular passage on leadership (page 100). It captures some very helpful insights into the type of servant leadership Jesus epitomised when he washed his disciples feet:
Leadership itself is an act of followership. There is no such thing as leadership in the sense of executive agency and decision-making that we often take it to mean. The leader is not in the business of taking decisions about the things that happen. Rather she should be in the business of responding to the leading of God’s Spirit.
The only kind of leadership possible is described in John 5:19, where the Son describes his following of the movements of the divine Father. The chief quality of the leader, then, should not be the capacity to make decisions or be visionary, but rather to listen and be attentive.
It is startling that we often seek to train our leaders to be better communicators (by which we mean ‘speakers’) believing that leadership is some act of persuasion. In fact, we should be looking for individuals who have cultivated a stillness of spirit such that they can attend to the movements of God. We should look for leaders who are sensitive to the tone of the room, to the unconscious voices in the discussion. We should be elevating women and men who have an awareness of the spiritual dimension to life, that runs in parallel to this world.
I am not in the slightest bit interested in following men and women who can depict some grand vision, or who have a confidence about ‘the way we should be doing things’. I want to follow and learn from the men and women who struggle with the pain in the world and who are generous, kind, self-effacing, seeking to learn, fragile, patient, still and free, those who have known failure and not been crushed. I want to follow the one who can laugh at him- or herself and who does not try to achieve mighty things.
As someone once said: ‘The immature man seeks to die heroically for a cause; the mature seeks to live humbly for one’
As an alternative to the WWJD wrist-band (what would Jesus do), I have often thought it should read DWYSTFD – which sounds like a place in Wales! ‘Doing what you see the Father doing’, which is, after all, just what Jesus did:
The son can only do what he sees the father doing because whatever the Father does the son does also. For the Father loves the son and shows him all that he does (John 5:19)