Friday, July 20, 2007

Beginning to Pray

I was lent this book in the Solomons. It is old, published in 1970. But I have not read anything like it before.
Anthony Bloom was the Russian Orthodox Archbishop for Britain. He grew up in France after the Russian Revolution, and trained to be a doctor, which he continued to practice after becoming a monk.

This short book begins with an interview with Anthony which in itself is really interesting.

The next 100 pages deal with prayer, using stories from the Orthodox tradition and the gospels. It is delightfully written, easy to read, and profound.

He begins by stating that the absence of God is the necessary beginning of real prayer! Until God is absent we rely on feelings we generate ourselves and our own efforts. When we live with the absence of God, then and only then are we forced to admit our absolute dependence on God, and that prayer is a gift from God. I have never read anything like that before.

The chapters are:
• The Absence of God
• Knocking at the Door
• Going Inward
• Managing Time
• Addressing God
• Two meditations – The Mother of God and Staretz Silouan.

The challenging part is that in the West we have come to a point where we feel pretty good with ourselves. We are not so bad. But Anthony is clear, that until we feel and know the depths of our unworthiness and need for God we will go nowhere. Only when we feel and know this will we knock and truly look for God, for only then will we know our need.

He does not leave us wallowing in our desperation, but gently leads us into ourselves and into God. He finishes by inviting us to find the name God has given us to call God. Not an impersonal “father God” or “God Almighty” but a personal name that is at the heart of who God is for us and who we are for God.

This is a gentle and very readable book. I need to send this back to the owner now, but I will hunt it out and buy a copy or two. An excellent read

Where does your chocolate come from?

Ever wondered where you’re chocolate comes from? Ever thought that child slaves helped pick it? Ever wondered about who suffers for you to indulge in some yummy dark stuff?

I got this email from a colleague about three weeks ago.

"Hi all

We are putting together a petition to encourage the producers of 60 Minutes to investigate the Chocolate industry here in NZ in particularly where they source their Coco beans from, and we hoped that you could support us in doing this by posting this on your blog/website and linking to the petition:

The reason we are doing this is because we want to do something that will (1) help people focus on the issue of modern slavery (2) we want people to be more ethical and thoughtful in what they consume (3) because we want to eat chocolate with a 'relatively clean' conscience knowing that it is slave free chocolate and the only guilt we feel is knowing we have eaten far too much.

So if you would like to join us and distribute a petition in your networks you can do so by downloading a petition from:

And you can read a bit more about it through this other link:

Thanks heaps for doing this
Michael Treston
Youth Coordinator
Anglican Diocese of Nelson

Think about it
Maybe go to the links and read more!
Maybe even sign it?


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Being Relevant

Kia ora
I ahve just finished our major youth event, national anglican youth forum. This is one of my hihglights for the year, partly because it is young people that organise and run most of it, which is enormously life giving, and at times really stressful. They do things differently from me, and are at times way more conservative in their spoken attitudes. (I am not so sure about their behaviour though). For me, this event is the living out of what I am on about, offering young people the tradition that has given me life, and then giving htem permission to recreate it. The worship services are mixed, and liturgical, and nothing like what I expereince at church, or what soem people say young people want. They are creative, at times reflective, sometimes loud. And they speak to young people because young people have organised them.

And I am about to go to the Solomons for a week with the Franciscans. You know our motto, join the Franciscans and see the world. I am a little nervous, and a little excited. This will be way out of my comfort zone.

Any how, a collegaue sent me the link above. Worth a look.

I'll be back in a week or so