Thursday, July 24, 2014

Friendships with 'Ministry People'

Duncan said to me a few weeks ago, "We're just not popular people."  It was said in the context of my frustration about my seeming inability to get people to commit to events I invite them to (I'm not insisting they come, but I'd like them to say 'yes' or 'no', rather than simply ignore me).  In contrast, we have friends who can organise a last minute event and get hoards of people along.  These, are what Duncan calls, 'popular Christians' - individuals, couples or families who know everyone and everyone knows them (in Christian circles).  They get invited to everything, you namedrop and everyone knows who you're talking about, they have 500+ friends on Facebook....

Ok, I suffer from the green-eyed monster occasionally because it doesn't seem fair.  We feel isolated partly because of where we live.  I'm not well known in Christian circles at all...my family isn't Christian for a start!  Duncan's family is slightly more well-known, partly because his brother did MTS, and his parents know a lot of people.

But then I remember that, although a lot of people seem to have forgotten us a bit, we have some really good friends who always make the effort to head south from Perth to visit.  We are very blessed.

In recent years I've tended to avoid intentionally forging friendships with people who have lots of friends and acquaintances.  My reasoning has been that their lives are already chockers with people, they don't need any more people clambering for their time, and they don't have the time to be a good friend to me.  By me not pursuing their friendship, it is one less burden on them, and I don't get disappointed about a lopsided friendship.  I've tended to avoid friendships with those in full-time ministry because I've often wondered in the past if they actually like me as a friend, or if they're just spending time with me out of duty, because I'm one of those people they HAVE to minister to.  Maybe they're not reading the Bible with me because they enjoy it, but because they're being paid to, that they actually think I'm a pain in the butt!  That's not me being paranoid; I've actually talked to ministry people who have admitted that there are 'challenging' people in their churches...am I one of those people? (I wonder if it was just 'ministry' if they or I leave the church and we don't keep in touch).  I know those in full-time Christian ministry are already stretched to the limit regarding time and people, so I felt it was easier not to add to that...be kind and loving, but not pursue a deep one-to-one friendship (obviously this would only be with women).

But last year, I came to the realisation that, although being a well-known Christian looks exciting and cool, it has its drawbacks.  Several friends in full-time paid ministry (or married to those who are) have said that being a pastor, pastor's wife, missionary etc. can actually be very lonely.  They often can't share their hearts with those they lead because they might use it against them if there is a church conflict later on down the track.  They might KNOW heaps of people on a surface level, but they don't really KNOW and are KNOWN by heaps of people, if you get my drift.  Maybe lots of people have assumed, like I did, that their lives are already full of great friendships, so they don't need anyone else.  Then they don't have anyone pursuing a proper friendship with them, they just have lots of acquaintances who come and go.

I have repented of that wrong thinking.  While it's true that Duncan and I have drifted apart from friends who have become 'popular' in Christian circles, there are others in full-time ministry who we value deeply and have genuine friendships with.  These friendships keep on enduring because it is more than 'ministry'.  And now I want to reach out to those in full-time ministry, to let them know they are valued as people, and not just for their Bible teaching.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
- Maya Angelou

Friday, July 18, 2014

Save A Place To Call Home

Grrr Channel 7, what's with axing one of the best shows on TV?  Are you seriously wanting to destroy Australian TV and deny fabulous actors, like Marta Dusseldorp, their chance to shine?

Yes, yes, I know, it's all about saving money.  Import cheap overseas crap and promote terrible reality TV, like What Really Happens in Bali (I, and probably many others, do not give two hoots about what stupid things Australians do in Bali).

If you're a fan of this show, sign the online petition so we can see the third season which has already been written. 

Maybe it won't achieve anything, but we'll never, never know if we don't give it a go!

Image from here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 Sequels Which Were As Good As Or Better Than the Original

1.  Home Alone/Home Alone 2



























2.  Johnny English/Johnny English Reborn














3.  Beethoven/Beethoven's 2nd














4.  Gremlins/Gremlins 2














5.  Ghostbusters/Ghostbusters 2 














Which movie sequels do you think were as good as or better than the original?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Get On Your Soapbox #25

Dear Older Mums,

I'm referring to the mums who have adult children who may have left the nest.....for who child-wrangling was a long time ago.

You complain that younger mums do not seek your advice, and turn to books and health professionals instead.  Are you cultivating a good relationship with them?  Or is everything that comes out of your mouth laced with criticism?  Do you ever tell younger mums that they're doing a good job, instead of focusing on everything that they do wrong in your eyes?  Are you cheering them on in a role that is often wearisome and unappreciated?  Maybe if you were more loving and kind, they would listen.



It's a different world out there than it was 30-40 years ago.  Some things about child-raising remain the same, but there are different challenges for today's parents.  Don't say things like, "I NEVER let my kids use iPads or iPhones."  I'm not a fan of kids using them either, but each to their own in this case.  It's really not an achievement forbidding your kids to use something which didn't even exist back then!

I understand you may have received little practical help and encouragement when you were where I am now.  But I do not understand how you can deprive young mums of help just because you were denied the help you desperately craved.  My mum was at a cafe with some ladies from her exercise class who started talking about how they don't help their daughters or daughters-in-law with babysitting - they didn't get any help, so why should they give it?  My mum was horrified.  She is a tremendous help to me, just as my Nan was to her, and we have a good relationship now.  I know some of you may have been taken advantage of as grandparents - being lumped with the grandkids every day while your kids went back to work.  That's not fair!  But to NEVER babysit or help just because you didn't receive any help yourself...what is that going to prove?  We ALL need help from time-to-time.  Don't criticise young mums for using daycare for some respite.  That daycare may be their 'village' which enables them to get some rest and then be a better mum.

I know many of you think (and have said) that kids these days have far too many toys, and I do agree.  But don't be quick to judge, assuming that parents have spent hundreds of dollars on toys.  For your information, many of Rory's toys were gifts from when he was born and his first birthday, but the majority are hand-me-downs from friends' kids.  We have been very blessed in that area and we will pass the toys on to other families and organisations later.  You've remarked that, unlike today's kids, your kids used to sit quietly in a playpen all day and play with a pencil, but sometimes the rose-coloured glasses can skew the past a bit.

You may have been frowned upon by the older generation when you were a young mum.  Maybe they didn't help, or just told you, "Children should be seen and not heard."  I'm sorry you were bullied by those who should have been more understanding.  Please don't then become the bully by imitating the behaviour of those who criticised you.

Sincerely,
A Younger Mum who does not know everything, but is doing her best and would love some encouragement along the way.

This is NOT aimed at all older mums.  I know some FANTASTIC older mums who have offered so much encouragement and love.  This is for those who seem to have forgotten how hard the baby and toddler years can be.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

People are often unreasonable and self-centred.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good.  Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.
- Mother Teresa
 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Weekend Away

Tomorrow Duncan and I are off to Denmark for a childfree weekend.  CAN YOU DETECT THE EXCITEMENT IN MY VOICE JUST A LITTLE BIT?  It's our first one since the little man was born.

Kudos to my mum and dad for having Rory.  I'm guessing they'll be a lot tireder than us come Monday morning.

What else has been happening here lately?

I'm four chapters away from finishing the second edit of my book.  Then it's off to a literary agent.  I'm pretty happy with it now...I think.

Duncan had to put my hen Clementine down last week.  I think she had Marek's Disease and she wasn't improving.  I hate having to make awful decisions like that.

The play I'm in is just over a month away.  I've almost learnt my lines, although I still worry I'm going to forget them on the night and look like a real doofus.  I've dyed my hair darker in preparation to play my character, who is very different to me.  The transformation will also involve piercings and tattoos...oooohhh!



It's time for another bloggy break.  The blogosphere is starting to get me down again.  There are a lot of people talking, but not so much to each other which I think is a great shame.

Adios!