I prefer to write entries once I’ve finished working through the latest chapter of “The Dream Giver” at the moment, rather than just a portion of it, but it feels like it’ll take for ever right now.
After Ordinary crosses the rivers of Borderland to move towards his Dream, he enters Wasteland. Although I’ve read the story before, this time I seem to be living it while I read. Almost like I’ve fallen through into an alternative literary reality.
It’s driving me nuts.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve battled ADD in the past. Somehow right now having more time on my hands is making it worse and I’m struggling to prioritise things simply because there are fewer time constraints on me during an average day. The result is very stressful.
I’d hoped that when I got to England I’d easily find a church (not happened yet), get some reasonably paid part work (nope), and have enough time to work properly on this ministry to raise some funds for projects in Kenya (because they asked first), Liberia, South Africa, Myanmar, Pakistan and other places, with a chance to actually use the recording software on my computer to create some audio teaching for the other side of this blog. Somehow I’ve not been able to get anything ready to upload yet.
More than that, I feel lost.
England has changed so much in 14 years that I barely recognise it. Walking around the town I hear languages I don’t speak regularly, mostly Eastern European, and there’s a distinct difference in the appearance of people from different countries – and it’s not the melanin level in their skin. Their dress is not quite the same as locals. Hairstyles differ as well. I get caught out sometimes as the longer that people are in a country, the more they begin to resemble the locals so sometimes when someone speaks to me the accent catches me off guard, but it’s refreshing in a way. Almost like Cape Town.
But even after 14 years there, and family and friends that I love and miss, it wasn’t quite “home”. But now England doesn’t feel like “home” either.
The culture has changed – and not for the better. There’s less tolerance to diversity now. Which given the starting point is very disturbing.
Now I’m the first to say if you move to another country you should try to abide by their customs rather than try to force your own on them. I realise I may be the only Englishman who moved to Africa and said that.
But if someone doesn’t share my religious convictions and consequently dresses differently than the majority of that society there should be some grace extended to them. Instead, this country seems to have been taken over by attitudes alarmingly similar to 1930s Germany or Donald’s White House Cabinet. (Sorry, trying to keep politics out of this.)
There’s a distinct advantage to living in a small town. Firstly, it’s less likely to be targetted by
Douche Daesh or other extremists like the Tories and Labour parties. Secondly, I can go quietly away and pretend it’s still my home by sitting by the sea, which has not yet got a Facebook or Twitter account, and enjoy the fresh air.
But I’m in Wasteland nonetheless.
Right now, I know where my heart tells me I should be. If I was in Cape Town still, I’d have some inkling of how to get there.
But I’m not in Cape Town.
Finding a local church where both my wife and I feel comfortable and God is moving is not as easy as you’d think. We both prefer small churches, up to about 100 members. There is one we’ve been told of in the town, but we haven’t managed to get there yet.
Fellowship with other believers is essential to our Spiritual health and growth. That doesn’t mean join the first church you see, rather it means get together with other believers. Church serves a useful purpose as it gives a structure physically and spiritually where we can go and meet. But religion isn’t what Jesus was about, and restricting ourselves to a single service once a week will kill the faith we have.
Church should be a place that enables and equips us for the rest of the week, not a social club. Think of it as a training camp where we get to touch up our battle-skills for the coming week’s fight. If we approach Church in that way, we are more likely to be armed and prepared when the enemy attacks on Sunday afternoon.
Religion is what the Pharisees had. It brings death, not life. Condemnation, not Freedom. And a list of rules and regulations that bear no resemblance to Jesus whatsoever.
One pseudo-christian group insists all the member churches preach the same sermon each week. Literally. The text is sent out each week and the pastor may not deviate from it. Members must wear black and white clothes, hats for the women, suits for the men. No shorts and skirts must be below the knee. With stockings or tights to cover the “tempting” skin that would otherwise be on show!
That kind of “heavy shepherding” drives people away by the thousand. It’s oppressive and domineering. Admittedly it’s more up to date than rejecting buttons and zippers (thinking of no Amish rules in particular), but it’s a system ripe for abuse by those who seek power over others instead of relationship.
Entire congregations are sitting in the Wasteland in their smart suits and
fancy simple hats with no idea they are dying of thirst spiritually.
Wasteland is a terrible place to get stuck.
But the good news it that it is a place to pass through, not to set up home.
So right now, yes I’m wading through what feels like some major issues. But then every so often something happens to remind me of what God has called me to do. A friend will call and ask for help with a CV, or I hear of a victim of a physical assault I can go and visit to comfort. It’s hard going, but it’s about having enough for each day and being thankful until I get to the other side.
I’ll write more once I’m more “on target” again.
For now though, Consider these things:
- Everyone has a wasteland time
- Wasteland is essential to re-learning how to trust God
- Wasteland cannot be avoided – there are no short cuts