Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Anchor Me

Anchored deep
With brown robed sisters and brothers
Breathing devotion and sand-papered lives
Knowing I am home
And yet not realising

Walking the streets in holy places
Prayers said at Greyfriars, Carceri, Portiuncula
Praying with Francis on Via Francesca
Where the leper showed him the Christ
Anchored deep

In seminars and reading
As I am opened to Clare’s polished soul
And Bonaventure leading us into the heart
Comes a dawning sense that I am part of this
Small world loving movement
Anchor drawing me down

Before the crucified one
Within the circle of brothers
I open my eyes to find I am marked
I do not to choose this
I simply choose how to live it
Anchored in the Tau

Monday, November 28, 2005

How we use people in the church.

One of the reasons I stopped blogging was I found out I had been removed from a committee I had been part of for the last two years. It is a committee of some significance and clout, and it was very ego boosting to be removed. It was also a committee that was trying to do some really interesting things – to create a vision of us as the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia being one church expressed across the three tikanga, instead of being three separate churches who get together to squabble over the cookies every now and then. So it was very ego deflating to be removed, and also really sad, I enjoyed the two weeks I spend at the meetings.
But what really annoyed or angered me was that no-one saw fit to tell me. I found out in the minutes of the group who made the decision. You would think that being a church we might have some clues as to how to care for people. But no. Not a one. There has been some surprised that I might be angry. So why didn’t I blog. I was just too angry and was not at all certain what I might post. It consumed so much of my energy and time fretting and fuming over it. And that annoys me as well, that I did respond like that , and that no-one thought that maybe I might be taken aback!
In a similar story one of my colleagues was told by a member of the clergy that her job would end next September so that a new things could be done. Just straight out. She was a little taken aback. And the member of the clergy didn’t understand that either! What is even better, the bishop hasn’t contacted her to talk about the decision and how she feels about it. We use and abuse people so badly.
I am reminded of a story Jesus told about specks and logs. God I hope that I see the log in my own eye, how I treat people, and learn from this, and not focus on the speck in others

what has been happening - a quick run down

So, what has been happening? I have been a wee bit busy, Last week I was away most of the week at a PADYS meeting. PADYS are the Professional Anglican Diocesan Youth Staff from each of our 7 dioceses. This group has come together well over the last three years, and although I still get really frustrated at times I look forward to and enjoy our times together. We met at a beach house in the Keneperu Sounds at the top of the south island. Very relaxed and enjoyable.
Around that I have been working on collecting up collects (pardon the pun) for our Youth Year. These are supposed to have been written by young people from across our church. Sadly this has not happened as well as it was hoped, and even more sadly nothing was done on this project while I was away. I hadn’t realised that, so was a little too relaxed about it all. Now it is just rush rush rush! And all too late to meet the deadline of being used this weekend which is the beginning of advent (the four weeks before Christmas, and the beginning of the church year, and our Youth Yeah!) What I have enjoyed about it though is seeing young people work at writing these prayers, and reading what they have come up with. I struggle with some of the theology, but hey! That is what it is all about. I hope that churches will use the collects even thought the theology might be difficult at times, and thereby enter into the world of young people across the five countries they have come from.
Today I have attended a meeting of CYMA, the Churches Youth Ministry Association. This had been the vehicle for the Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic churches to work together on providing youth ministry training and resourcing across the four churches. However two of those churches have been declaring for some time their belief that it no longer served any purpose for them. So today was a sad day and we have begun the process of winding down.
It sums up where things seem to be at at the moment – heaps of potential for things and yet somehow we just keep missing the mark, and things end up being so much less than they could be.

Franciscan News

A piece of news. A couple of weeks ago I learnt that I had been elected as Minister Provincial for the Third Order, Society of Saint Francis in New Zealand, Solomons and Vanuatu. I am really humbled by this, and somewhat at a loss to know where to begin with it all. But at the same time I am looking forward to seeing how that pans out and where it all goes.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

People, people, people

Kia ora

I read this blog the other day. Hirini is Kaihautu for Te Maara, the Rangatahi Ministry School within the Anglican church here in Aotearoa. What struck me was his love of the church. It struck me because I don't share his great love. Most of the time I find the institutional church very frustrating. So to read of his love shook me a little.

As I read on though, you discover it is not the institution he loves. It is the people, and their great love for the mission of God. I was reminded of a speech I heard earlier this year. It was by Bishop Philip Richardson speaking about Bishop George Connor at his translation to be Bishop of Dunedin. He was commenting on Bishop George's pedantic adherence to the rules. His comment was that this came from Georges care for people. By paying attention to the process, people were not hurt as much. The bottom line is that Bishop George cares for people.

Soem times it is easy for me to let my frustration overwhelm me, and for me to stop seeing the great love of the people in the institution. I allow my institutional annoyance to translate on to the people. I have ot be careful not to do that. The people are all important. I need eyes to see them as Hirini does.

As an aside, Hirinis blog and associated website is worth a look at, just to see what creative things Tikanga Maori are up to. It is inspiring really.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I just had a really interesting conversation (in spiritual direction) about headship. Basically, someone is coming to see me to sort out were he stands in a safe environment. I get to listen and ask questions to help him. The topic today was headship in the family.

We came to a point of describing headship as the responsibility (of the man) the ensure the relationships within the family and especially with the wife are such that they communicate well, love each other, and make decisions for the best of all the family. (My words completely) Part of this is honouring how God speaks through the other, and not just thinking that the head is the only one God speaks through. In essence it is about love. We both marvelled that Ephesians is used to justify appalling abuse of women and children by "good" God fearing men.

In the end this was about leadership. What is leadership and how do we as leaders exercise it. Too often in my view leaders think they have the answers, make decisions for others, and carry out those decisions with very little consultation. This is deemed easier by some, more efficient by others, and more Godly by yet another group. In fact leadership in this way is none of the above. All you get is a pile of bad decisions, with people unwilling to back them when the going gets tough, and God's voice through others is ignored.

I talked with a friend this morning. His vicar is introducing some major changes, which some are not happy with. But at least the vicar has parish meetings to discuss and decide some of these changes. God's voice is given a chance to be heard. People can voice their objections, and to some degree be heard. This might take longer, but the decisions will be less destructive of people, and more likely to outlast the vicar.

So, as leaders, we have a responsibility to create an environment where people are valued, honoured and loved, where God voice is heard through them, and where we can collectively decide on future direction. I see so little of that. And my experience of being in a family is that that is not so easy. But it is what I aspire to anyway.

May God be with us on this journey

Friday, November 04, 2005

Praying with all the Saints - Us and Them, or We

An odd things happened this morning as I prayed. I use a form of daily office to get things going. It is designed for groups of people, so uses "we". I usually change this to "I" etc.. Today I left it as "we", and became conscious as I prayed that it was really we. I do not pray alone, but with all those who have prayed over the ages (the saints) and with all those who will pray today, particularly my Franciscan and Anglican brothers and sisters. It was a profound experience, that took me out of my prayers and my needs, and into this intangible but real community.

I think I will keep using "we" and join all the saints, living now and departed, in "our" daily prayer.

Just before I left for overseas I attended a theological hui on "communion" Timely for us Anglicans as the Anglican Communion tears itself apart. One of the speakers talked about "communion" taking us out of an "us and them" metality, and into a "we" metality. Today I experienced that in a profound way. I have prayed for them over there or who have lived. Today we all prayed.

A couple of nights ago I was out for dinner. There as another group there talking with one of the hosts about a covenant he had to write. The conversation had a very smug "us and them" feel about it, smug and mocking. "We know best and are superior, certainly more than them who also were involved." Not too different from National really. Or if I was honest myself. But I really felt uncomfortable at the smug humour, the lack of humility, the logs blinding all in the face of specks. And I do it too occasions.

"Us and them" or "we" I am going to try for we, and see where God takes me in this.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mission and being Politically correct

Another wee quote, which again says something to my wee rant below. It comes from a summary paper drawn from a Forum on Ministry Training run in Febrauary this year.

"Without adequate study of the controlling forces of society, we may act to save people out of the world but not effectively redeem the world i.e. triple bottom line
Proclamation that is not contextualised in realities of society is ineffective."

So in relation to the National Party's statements, what are the controlling forces in our society, and how do we redeem them? Surely that is what we need to be moving towards in "church" and particlaulry in our work with young people.

that will do. 3 posts in one day. Exhausting stuff.

Are You Real?

This came through on daily dig a few days ago. In a small way it offers something of what lies behind my comments below.

Are You Real?
Kallistos Ware

The isolated individual is not a real person. A real person is one who lives in and for others. And the more personal relationships we form with others, the more we truly realize ourselves as persons. It has even been said that there can be no true person unless there are two, entering into communication with one another.
This idea of openness to others could be summed up under the word love. By love, I don’t mean merely an emotional feeling, but a fundamental attitude. In its deepest sense, love is the life, the energy, of God in us. We are not truly personal as long as we are turned in on ourselves, isolated from others. We only become personal if we face other persons, and relate to them.

political correctness

I have been annoyed by some of the National Party statements lately - not a hard thing to do really.

Dr. Wayne Mapp's attack on the politically correct work on no smokign in pubs. I thougth it was about the health of those who work and drink in pubs, and the cost of the ill helath on the economy (and on them) Wayne clearly needs to get out and have a few more drinks in pubs filled with smoke, as they mostly still are in Britian and Europe. I have to say Ireland was a breath fo fresh air. And then he had a go at the PPTA for their stance on the treatment of gays, transgeneder and transexual staff and pupils. Political correctness he calls it.mHaving seen as a teacher the harrasment and abuse some pupils and staff are subjected to, I would have thought it was about caring for people and ensuring they are not abused or harrassed. Sadly, we live in a political climate where people just don't count.

Simon Power's comments about traffic fines for dangerous and speeding drivers reinforces this. Why are "real crimes" acted on he says! By this he means the stealinf of a car. The fact that these drivers could and do cause accidents that kill and seriously injure themselves and other people in immaterial. That is not a real crime. People are unimportant! This will gain traction. people will agree with these two.

What are we doing or saying in response to this uncaring rhetoric that places things and power over people?