Monday 30 June 2008

Why God's Lonely Man?

My use of the name 'God's Lonely Man' is a response to a famous quotation by Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) from an essay he wrote called, 'God's Lonely Man'. In his essay he says,

"The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence."

In my earlier days I related to this quotation heavily. I sensed that for myself, loneliness and solitary introversion could well some up my very being! Though I was a lively young man growing up, the hours spent reading books, walking on the moors, playing computer games, watching movies, writing poetry or staring at the stars were where I felt most at home. This melancholic loneliness wasn't depressive nor overtly dark, but it was certainly introspective.

Since becoming a follower of Christ my life has changed so radically. Not that I am no longer an introvert or someone who loves to be alone! What has changed is that I no longer feel that sense of "aloneness" as I know that the maker of heaven and earth is with me through everything I experience and every place I go. Whether that is a Psalm 23 "shadow of death" thing or more an experience of being aware of the presence of God. There is no place that a follower of Christ can go to be lost and separated from God. He is with me in all places, in all my travels, my work, my sleeping, my washing up and my praying.

Wonderfully God makes himself known more explicitly in unexpected places. At times and in places where you can't help but see God's kingdom shining through the cracks and weeds of the world around us.

Friday 27 June 2008

Psalm 62:5-8

5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;

he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;

he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;

pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

I've given my blog the address because of the place that Psalm 62 has in my life. I was going to think of a cool name, something like 'emergent pilgrim' or 'agape peace brother' or something along those lines! Trying to be relevent and still honest, to have integrity and wit. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, "I need to just return to where I'm from."

Almost ten years ago Psalm 62:5-8 were given to me when I was in a difficult place. The person who told me those verses could have said something else, some sort of home-brew wisdom, but it was the God inspired wisdom of David, a man who's been there and done that, that was most useful for me. In a round-about Psalm 62 answered a lot of my spiritual questions, it brought me closer to the truth of who God is and how much I can rely on him. The verses in Psalm 62 still resonate with me and continue to transform and shape who I am as a follower of Christ.

As such I thought they made quite a good waymark of my walk of faith. They cement together to create a picture of a God who is beyond all the rubbish, who won't get washed away in the storms of life, a God who is unshakeable in his love, his mercy and his grace.

Next time in my blog, I'll try to put into words where the God's Lonely Man thing came from. I'll then actually get down to the business of what this blog is about.

Follower Of The Way

I had started writing a blog elsewhere on this global network "the internet" but it fell to pieces. So I've moved. I'll explain the name of the blog and my user name in the next blog.

So a recap... Follower Of The Way? Because people are called to follow. I love Rob Bell's book, Velvet Elvis. In his chapter, Torah, he speaks about the way Jesus called his followers. I love it. In Matthew 4 Jesus is walking along by the lake of Galilee. He calls out to Andrew and Simon (Peter) and says "come follow me!" Later on he does the same with James and John, who leave their father's business and their careers behind.

I love the imagery, the concept that there is a calling, there is an option, to step out of the race, like one of the rocks orbiting Saturn, doing a 180 and orbitting in the other direction.Following? Because it's all about following, trying to make sense of where we are, where we are going and where we are being led. Knowing that infront of us is a way, a direction that is pure and spotless and good, and knowing that we can veer to the left, to the right, but still know that the 'way' will still be ahead of us. That's not an excuse to do whatever we want, instead it's an opportunity to see God's grace.Enough said.