Blending in

Blending in

It’s a worry to know what to say.

What if I get it wrong?  I’ll seem odd.

I’ll be the odd one out.  I know it.

They know it too. Is that why they are silent?

They know I’m not like them.

I’ve my own past, my own views.

I just daren’t share them.

It’s like wearing clothes really.

Wear the wrong ones and you’re the outsider, the freak.

You feel that way.  And then they chat to you with some embarrassment;

a feigned interest; an awkward sacrifice.

Thing is they are the same as me really.

The same in that if they were honest they would see that they are the same as me,

different, unique even, just too frightened to say so, to be so.

That’s what’s so same about us all.


Living God,

who came in flesh and blood and asked about identity,

we pray for our struggle with uniqueness,

fitting in with expectations and trends, forgive us;

bending our views to be popular, forgive us;

falling for the coward’s way out, forgive us;

grant us courage, wisdom and strength

that we might be the individuals you intended us to be .



Fenced in

Fenced in

I don’t want to be here.  I’d rather be somewhere else.

‘Circumstance of birth’ – that’s what Jenkins said.

Circumstance is sh*te. That’s all I know.

But he was alright really.  He was ok.

I think he felt for us.  He knew it wasn’t our fault.

The noise, on the stairs, the streets below.

I’m going nowhere. Not for a long time. Not ever.

I’ve known since 10. Probably.

I’m stuck.

Me mates are the same.  They say they’re gonna get out.

But they won’t.  I know ‘em.  They won’t.

When I see a flag over the coffin I think about it.

At least they see you then.  Your picture on the tele, the paper.

They even say your name in Government. On a Wednesday I think.

But then you’ve gone again.  So what’s the point?

There’s always a bit of running.  You make a few quid then.

I could get a new cap.  But being seen gets you known, get picked up or done in.

Maybe I should just get it over with.  Cut the chase.

They’ll put some teddies out for me.

Run off some pictures.  Get some flowers.

They’ll say they’ll see me in heaven.

It’d just be nice to be seen here, where I am.

God in the Wilderness,

who in Christ faced temptation,

we pray for those who are in the barrenness

of the city, estate, or seemingly picturesque village.

May they be seen and their cries heard

so that they find meaning, purpose and fulfilment

soon, very soon.

The Basics

10 February 2012

A path through the forest

A path through the forest

A few weeks ago a friend on Facebook told me that she had begun attending a church and an alpha course.  What, she wondered, were the distinctive features of the Methodist Church?  I found myself writing something very quickly, it was as if it flowed through my fingers to keypad and was posted before I realised what I had done.

Wesley’s theology has sometimes been summed up in the following (known as ‘the four alls’)

  • All need to be saved
  • All can be saved
  • All can know they are saved
  • All can be saved completely

Yet without thinking I found myself writing four new ‘alls’:

  • All are welcome
  • All can know themselves to be loved by God
  • All can find fulfilment in this life
  • All should have the chance to be free from that which would hold them back

Having posted this on my friend’s Facebook I decided to type it out and put a printout facing me at my desk.  I haven’t felt the need to amend or correct it in way.

When we are in touch with Jesus:

  • We are embraced by a welcome beyond our imagining or deserving and are willing to give a warm and hearty welcome to all, whoever they are, whatever their standing in society, their gender, sexuality, culture, creed or colour.
  • We know ourselves, in a kind of humble confidence, to be loved by God and therefore love others in return
  • We find fulfilment in this life and do all in our power to offer the joy and peace we have to others
  • We are free from that which would hold us back and we can in turn free others to become the people God intended them to become

We will do this in a variety of ways because one thing is for sure, whatever the image people have of us as Church, we are in God’s image and share his truths, his nature and his values with those we encounter and engage with.