Monday, May 2, 2011

Defining Ria

Recently I was asked to define myself in terms of my Christian beliefs. It is always a hard task to try and narrow, who you are and what you believe down into a few socially acceptable sentences. I like these kind of discussions and love it when people feel they can ask questions.

At the time, the book Pagan Christianity kept coming back to me. I wanted very much to express that I was over religion, and seeking the 'relationship' that I was created for.

I very wrongly termed myself a Pagan Christian (which I wrongly thought was in line with the book).

What I failed to 'get' with the book is that Viola and Barna use this definition;

"We are using this word to indicate those practices and principles that are not Christian or biblical in origin. In some cases, we use it to refer to those ancients who followed the gods of the Roman Empire. We are not using the word as a synonym for bad, evil, sinful or wrong. A "pagan practice or mind-set" refers to a practice or mode of thinking that has been adopted from the church's surrounding culture. We believe that some pagan practices are neutral and can be redeemed for God's glory. We feel that others stand in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles and thus can not be redeemed."

Simply put, I had the wrong definition, and thus the application was very wrong.

So, I am NOT a Pagan Christian. In fact if anything I am trying to journey away from what the authors define as pagan Christianity.

As a side note, I would like to add here, that I respect, love and embrace ALL of my Christian friends, who find very much comfort in such churches and traditions.

There is no judgement on my part on how others choose to worship God. There is only a desire in my own heart to be authentic and relational in a way that I can connect to Father (through Jesus). If we are all accountable and responsible for our own personal relationships with Father, then I am merely trying to find my fit, and can fully respect and appreciate that others may find it differently. I am not against disciplines or tradition, but I am for doing things with owned meaning.

So, in terms of Viola and Barna's book, I suppose I closely fit the term 'organic christian' if you like definitions.

The definition says this in relation to organic church;

The term organic church does not refer to a particular model of church (we believe that no perfect model exists.) Instead, we believe that the New Testament version of church is organic. An organic church is a living, breathing, dynamic, mutually participatory, every-member functioning, Christ-centered, communal expression of the body of Christ."

It is my own personal belief, that the church was never designed to be an institution. It was created to be a body of people living out the principles of Jesus.

For something to do that effectively, can you institutionalize it? I don't know that you can.

My views on church and home education and most other things in life flow from this concept. In order for personal (and corporate) grow to occur, then things need to flow organically.

I am very much for examining why we do what we do. I am very much for looking at how the doctrines of man, have overtaken the biblical practices set out for us in the New Testament. I seek to worship in Spirit and in Truth.

I am very much for embracing the whole of the God-head, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe the miracles of Jesus, and I believe that they can and are still being experienced today, all over the world. I believe in the supernatural and the spiritual. I believe that things happen outside of our realms of understanding, I believe in angels, I believe in demons. I believe in blessing and cursing, I believe in reaping and sowing, I believe in healing. I speak in tongues and I sometimes feel physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit. I prophecy, receive words of knowledge, dream dreams, and see visions. I believe the bible is the inspired word of God, yet I suspect that some of the interpretations there in, where shaped by history, culture and context. Or at the very least, are often interpreted through those filters.

I believe that God very much uses nature to speak to us (Romans 1:20), He did in biblical times, and he sure can today (1 Kings 19:11-13). I believe we need to be careful in remembering to worship the creator, not the created, in all shapes and forms.

I believe we can not earn salvation. There is nothing we can do to get it in, and of ourselves. It is a FREE gift that one receives. It comes by having faith in Jesus (Romans 5:1-2).

I believe that there is one way to God, through Jesus (he is the narrow path), but I do not believe in narrowing that path once one's future is secure (i.e. that one bible, one church, one denomination has it ALL right)

I believe that it is not my job to decide who gets into heaven. God is a righteous judge and he wishes that NONE should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

I am sure there will be many other tidbits that I will want to add to this. I have been mulling it over for the past couple of days, trying to figure it out, and I just know, that it is far from over and complete for me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This little light.....

Yesterday I had a land mark moment.

To most people it will not be a big deal and you will wonder why I would take the time to blog about it.

To others, who have lived under a land lord you will very much relate to the momentus nature of the moment.

Yesterday, I took a screw in hanger, measured out where to put it, and screwed it into my ceiling.

Did you get that?

I screwed a hook into my ceiling to hang something up.

No writing to land lords to ask permission, no promising to poly fill and paint, no justifying why I might need a screw there. No explaining how I was going to do it, or who would be responsible for damages.

It was the most freeing moment.

Here is the finished product.

I hung a tea light holder.

A beautiful gift from a lady in the Life Group I lead on a Tuesday night.

A gift to be treasured. I had prayed (yes weird I know) that I would find the perfect spot for it, somewhere that it would be seen and enjoyed.

My alcove was perfect.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The motivation of love

This is the part of moving I hate the most. You have moved your stuff, done the tip runs and now it's time to clean.

It has been my unfortunate experience that for 95% of my rental life (12 + years if you count uni) that I have not moved into a place as clean as I have left the last one. Or as clean as I go on to leave the current one.

It is living on kingdom principles that have driven this, leave life, light and blessing in your wake.

It has been sadly unveiled to me this week that my motivations haven't always been pure in doing this.

I have believed some how in the back of my mind that I have been partly driven on by the hope that one day I might reap that on earth.

Rather than loving for loves sake.

Our new house, our own house will be no different. Just as muscles start to relax and unwind from this job, they will be quickly recalled into action

I hope, one day I might reach the stage where I lose count of the ways that I love, and love freely without expectation of reward, in this life or the next.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Just a couple of photos to share.

What's been going on in your life?


Moving Day

Tonight, I sit surrounded by boxes and plastic bags.

Tomorrow is moving day.

The man and his van will arrive at 8am and whisk our belongings off to our new home.

Starting the tiling on the new en-suite.

It took Anthony 5 hours to pick these tiles.

And voila...

We just need to paint the roof when we move in.

The rest of the house looks like a bomb site, but I am sure over the next couple of days it will all pull together, and then all we need to do is clean and enjoy.


The Apple Tree...

As you know I have been reading the book Igniting Faith in 40 days by Steve Backlund.

A lot of the book is about challenging mindsets that we develop over the course of our life. Thoughts that might make moving ahead in a particular area more difficult that it might otherwise been.

Backlund uses the illustration of the apple tree.

As a young sapling, an apple tree is still an apple tree. Regardless of the fact that it has not yet produced a single apple, we call it an apple tree.

There are so many times in my life that I am afraid to call myself something. I would never call myself patient, but the bible tells me that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I would struggle to say I possess goodness, yet as a Spirit filled Christian I am told that one of the characteristics of the Spirit is goodness.

If I am in-dwelt by the Spirit of God, then surely all the qualities that are incarnate in that Spirit are also in me?

So like the apple tree I can claim the names- those characteristics that I might not yet be in the physical, I already possess through the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Negativity Fast...

As part of the study I am doing over Lent, we are encouraged to go on a fast from our negativity.

This does not mean being an ostrich and putting my head in the sand, and ignoring the issues of life. Nor does it mean backing away from dealing with people/relationships in a respectful and authentic manner.

It does mean, actively pursuing a positive way of thinking.

Easy right?

I wish.

See what I mean?

I would find this activity slightly easier if I lived in a Jacksonesque bubble, somewhere away from reality and the world around me. But I don't. There is traffic, builders, joiners, plumbers, children, adults, banks, mobile phone companies a census to get my head around....

So what am I doing today to help me in my pursuit?

I am using a 5 letter word to aid me.

Yes, I am saying THANK a lot.

I give thanks for the ability to drive.
I give thanks for the luxury of having builders working on my house.
I give thanks for the freedom to have my children at home with me on a daily basis.

How do you stay on top of negative thoughts?