One Way

Look what we’re doing in school this week…

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

You can find some more info and pictures here.

How Will We Wait

How do we get to the morning, to the sunshine, to the joy?

There is only one way.

By waiting for it. We can’t hurry the dawn, no matter how many anxiously we pace the floor or how impatiently we watch the clock. And so the question is not do we wait or not wait, because waiting is all we can do. The question is, How will we wait? Will we wait well… or will we wait poorly?

[Ken Gire, The North Face of God]

Pursuing Christ Creating Art

A few weeks back I read Gary Molander’s book, Pursuing Christ Creating Art, for the first time.

Stop right there. Go buy the book. Read it. Then come back.


That’s how deeply this book impacted me. Freed me. Challenged me.

“Do the people we have authority over feel covered, protected, and loved by us?
Or are we achieving our own dreams, all the while using them to get there?”

I first read this as meaning that other people have a responsibility to look out for me. And they do. But then God smacked me round the head and told me, I have a responsibility to others also. We all have influence in one way or another. Am I using my influence to release people into their God-given dreams, or just using it to get my own way?

“Artists pour their hearts into the art they create, so when they’re told to
go in a different direction, what they hear is: ‘Your heart is wrong.'”

Reading this freed me. You’re heart is not wrong. You’re heart is true to what God has called you to make. But that doesn’t mean your art will always be the best piece for the service, website, brochure, whatever.

“I think that question would not be ‘Am I gonna be OK?’ I think it would be a different question altogether.
Is the world gonna be okay?”

This made me think about something my pastor said recently. He was talking about how we often say, “If God’s got a calling for you, you won’t miss out.” His comment on this was that it’s probably true – you might not miss out, but others will. Your art is not just about you. It’s about what it does for the world. The world needs your art.

“These days, it’s easier than ever for any artist to create a platform for himself, for herself.
But the size of the platform doesn’t always equal the size of the character.”

May my platform never outgrow my character.

UPDATE: I had a bit of a server error, and lost a few posts/ comments. This was originally posted at the end of June.

I Wouldn’t Start From Here

I have a confession: I am Northern Irish.

There it is.
That thing I have run so hard from. Tried to hide. Been a little bit disappointed about.

I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in a land full of blessing and heartache.
And I’ve spent the last 5 years running away from it.

Growing up in Northern Ireland can leave you with a bit of an identity crisis if you’re not careful. Every decision aligns you one way or another, politically and religiously. It’s easy to get a little bit lost in the maze of politics, religions, ethics, scandals, and everything else.

But it’s also a place full of beauty; full of God breaking out and doing new things.
Like my friend Jude, and her dream: Tell It In Colour. Stories of redemption and hope in a land saturated with bad stories, dull stories, colourless stories.

I have so much affection for the little country, but I like to keep it at a distance.

More and more, I am coming to a realisation that I must accept the past, accept the places I have been, the experiences I have lived.

There’s an old story of a man asking for directions, for the best route to a specific location, only to be told, “Well, I wouldn’t start from here!”

That’s so often been how I feel about being Northern Irish. It’s felt like a handicap. Like something to be overcome. Like I shouldn’t start from here.

But I have started from here.
Northern Ireland is the context God placed me in, got me started in.


Now, I am starting to look for ways to see it as a blessing.
It’s my heritage.
It’s where I’m from.
It’s shaped me in more ways that I can even begin to imagine.

And not all of those are bad.

* Please don’t mishear me. I love NI. I just didn’t love growing up there. And I’m trying to find the good stuff in it now, and not run away from it. I’ve done that for too long.

** Also, this post has been deeply shaped by a blog post from Blaine, a conversation with Vicky, and my counsellor, Martin.

Progress & Influence

I came across this video on Anne Jacksons blog today, and it fits with so much of what I’ve been thinking about over the last week or so…

So what does it all mean? That’s the question posed at the end of the video.

I’ve been thinking a lot about influence, about who has influence, about how we use our influence. The clip above gives us a sense of how fast the world is changing, how much our ability to impact a large group of people has mushroomed in recent years. Over the last week or so I’ve been given glimpses into the influence I have, whether through conversations with authors and musicians, or blogging friends, or neighbors…

  • I discovered a new coffee shop near my flat, and lots of my friends have started frequenting it.
  • I was talking about a band I love recently and realising how many people in Glasgow I’ve introduced to their music.
  • I had a conversation with an author who told me someone introduced themselves to him as knowing me.
  • A friend shared how our collaborative project doubled the hits on her blog.

One way to define influence is ‘to determine; to shape; to give direction to’. What am I shaping? Which direction am I pointing you in?

If influence is currency, what am I spending it on?

I talk on this blog a lot about injustice, about forgiveness, about hope, about love, about community. Are those the things you see when you read my blog? Are they the things you see when you look at my life?

And what do I see when I look at your life? You are having an influence on me, too. Maybe you don’t even realise it, maybe you don’t see the myriad of ways you impact and change me. Those words you wrote that prompted me to go and read that Bible passage. The youtube video you blogged that made me go and find out about TOMS. The question you twittered that made me reevaluate something. Meeting me for coffee and taking me somewhere thats entirely Fairtrade.

Every decision you make causes ripples.
Every decision I make causes ripples.

What kind of ripples are we leaving in our wake?

I wanted to leave you with a glimpse of what one of my favourite organisations is up to again…

Christmas can [still] change the world.

Welcome to the Advent Conspiracy.