Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Why does God allow suffering?
Why is there so much pain?
What about innocent children dying?
What about world politics? National politics?
Doomsday? Freedom of speech? Injustice? Poor and homeless? Mental illness?
And all the other questions we have?

We want the answer to why all this happens, when God who IS Love and nothing but Love, lets it happen!

There are thousands of theologically complex answers that require a lot of mental gymnastics to get around. We keep trying to answering this big question by analyzing scripture, and end up with something that doesn't really appease anyone deep down. I mean, really deep in our hearts. Its one of those areas that we end up saying "God's ways are greater than ours" blah, blah...

But these questions will never be answered, and CANNOT be answered by any amount of exegesis, study, whatever. Its RELATIONSHIP! Lame answer isn't it. Well, here it is - we won't see an answer outside of personal intimate relationship with the fullness of the truine God. We have to let go of these questions completely, as overwhelming as they are, and ONLY pursue the reality of our love affair with God.

Only then will the world make sense. Only out of the security of our reciprocal, unconditional, love with God does the world and all these questions make sense. And even more frustrating is we begin to loose the language to communicate any set of tidy answers that we can share. We start to see God's heart for his precious creation, that is way beyond black and white solutions to problems. There is a peace "beyond all understanding" that rests in a greater reality. The answers we crave for cannot be expressed in words, only in love.

We waste our time trying to enter into political discussions, justice, suffering etc, trying to figure out what a "Christian" stand should be on these things. Just look at how well that works!

Its ONLY from intimate relationship with God that we will ever see His heart for the world He created. And that is beyond communication. It can only be expressed in an overflow of His love for us.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


"Perichoresis: the mutual inter-penetration and indwelling within the threefold nature of the Trinity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit...
The relationship of the Triune God is intensified by the relationship of perichoresis. This indwelling expresses and realizes fellowship between the Father and the Son. It is intimacy. Jesus compares the oneness of this indwelling to the oneness of the fellowship of his church from this indwelling. "That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us (John 17:21)." ~ Wikipedia
(Perichoresis.org for more info)

A very fine sounding word, and if you flash it around you'll sound highly knowledgeable and people will give you instant credibility, although there is the possibility they will think you are talking about a tropical disease.

But I love this concept. We all give it verbal acknowledgement to some degree, but the full implications seem to completely elude most of us. I'm starting to get my head around it, but I think I'm just flitting around the edges. I mean, "the mutual inter-penetration and indwelling within the threefold nature of the Trinity" is a bit beyond the edge of where our nice safe doctrines usually take us. Sounds a bit like sex to me! That's full intimate hot sex between besotted lovers. And not only that, its a foursome!  

Have I just gone too far? Over-stepped the bounds of decency and morality?
Ok, we are made in God's image, so many things about love and intimacy that we understand are definitely God given and mirror part of His image, His character (and remember, God is Love!). We fall in love with someone, become more and more familiar and open to each other, the level of intimacy increases until it is consummated in sex. This must be a shadow of God's love, and, what's more, a dim shadow at that! Very scary!

This opens up a whole can of worms that would take more than this blog to cover. But I keep getting more and more overwhelmed with the revelation that I am loved so much that God wants to be that intimate - He wants our mutual inter-penetration. And not only that, He is already integrally a part of us, all of us, and He's inviting us to be as intimate as the Godhead is. Yes, this is starting to sound pretty cosmic and whacky but as usual, its been something I just can't shake! There really is something to it, and I'm starting to experience it, and I think we have all experienced a degree of it at some time, but the fear of loosing ourselves on that level is real, and we certainly aren't encouraged to pursue beyond a safe church experience.

Now I'm not much for the whole "drunk in the spirit" thing. I understand it, and don't knock the validity of the experience (although I have seen a lot of "faking"), but most of the time its just inappropriate self indulgence, in my opinion anyway. However, the sense of being in love to the degree that perichoresis allows goes way beyond being "drunk", as far as the "shadow", that our earthly experience is, indicates.

And here's another thing that really amazes me. God holds everything together - there is nowhere He isn't, therefore He is in everything - there is no part of us where He isn't, therefore He is intrinsically a part of us or we wouldn't exist, therefore perichoresisis isn't some weird new doctrine. All we have to do is accept it and allow God to gently take us into the awareness of our unity, to help us open our minds to His intimacy. He already knows us completely, but He wants us to enjoy His knowledge of us and our knowledge of him, that we would mutually understand, embrace each other, talk and listen to each other and allow that intimacy its full course, whatever that may look like!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Singing in the spirit

While writing some content for my book, I was thinking about the first time I heard "singing in the spirit" in a charismatic church in the 70s.

It was an incredible experience. I couldn't really hear much, sitting up the back, and the songs were all a bit tacky, but then they started this “singing in the spirit” thing. This was the most amazing sound I had ever heard as waves of random harmonies

went sweeping over the auditorium. I couldn't believe that this could be so wonderful and spontaneous! I'm not sure if it was just because it was the first time I heard it, but nothing else ever came close. It tweaked my musical creativity and my spirit simultaneously – truly awesome.

As I moved into charismatic/pentecostal worship leading this became common place and was something you did to bring the "anointing". I learned all the tricks, but I could also just feel what to do, how the dynamics worked, and found it was easy to bring that elusive anointing.

There is a unique dynamic that goes on in community singing - in ALL cultures. People are united by singing together about common themes, which can be spiritual or social. When you listen to and watch these other cultures there is the same freedom to express joy and admiration as christians feel, and there is the same sensitivity to the dynamic. From wild happy celebration to mystical solemn song and chanting. Now some would say its a demonic copy of the Holy Spirit. But I would say its something built into our nature.

The music and rhythms can touch subliminal thoughts and emotions, so in a christian context we have Jesus as our common focus. The sounds are culturally based however, so what would bring a state of ecstasy for Mongolians would probably send your average Texan running from the room screaming.

I would now dare to hazard that its nothing to do with "anointings" but with our innate ability to find a state of joy, strength, unity and ecstasy through culturally applicable, focused, community singing.

Now this doesn't negate our "praise and worship" times, but it takes away the illusion that we have to do it right for God to anoint it and for some reason think He suddenly turns up when it "feels" right or some appropriate climax is reached.

God is always 100% there, in us and with us, so He ain't going to turn up any more than He is already. But its our focus and unity we feel when we sing about Him together. We switch off everything else and allow our spirit and emotions to express themselves in the music. This is the same for all cultures and has nothing to do with Christian doctrine as such, we are just tapping into a common human experience and using it for enhancing our experience and relationship with God.

This is actually great news because we can relax, without any expectation of some mystical experience determining whether the "worship and praise" was anointed or not. We are free to accept Gods presence in and with us all the time, and that our singing together is for us, its for our benefit, it makes us feel good, and makes us feel good about God. Its natural and wonderful without any need for hype and super spirituality.

So back to the singing in the spirit... Its like mystical chanting in many cultures. It can drift and swirl with rhythm and harmony relevant to the culture. A uniting expression that unites spirits and focuses emotions. And its beautiful, freeing, and its something we can use to enhance our intimacy with God and each other.

I'll continue to work through this and comment more on the spiritual side another time,

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Further up and further in

The days of grace, shine like new stars
Gasping in silent awe
The rush of revelation, the new peace
Slipping into memory foam padding
Like an astronaut pressed hard and helpless
Breaking free from gravity

The deep processes of neuron fires
Burning new paths
Further up and further in

Embrace of love
Embrace of death
Embrace of life
I didn't know that I didn't know
I love that I don't know
I hate that I don't know
I reluctantly show, I was wrong
I gladly show, its bigger, oh so bigger

The deep changes keep changing
The deep love keeps burning
The words fade and the passions ignite

The deep processes of neuron fires
Burning new paths
Further up and further in