The aim of this site is to speak out for those struggling to build a fair society. The strange thing is that this is what God’s Lily is about but it is only a small piece of the things that concern me. If you have explored the pages in the menu and read about Lily’s Place the dream community that that would help build you will know that my vision is a lot greater than just that.
Why use that strapline if the vision is greater?
The answer is that is is a stepping stone on the way. There are a many many people who-who are interested in things that support the community. There are organisations that were created to support people who work in the community. There are many churches who use the term mission to describe the community activities that they get involved. Yet none of them seem to be able to explain why they are doing things to support the community.
I tried doing this and ended up writing a book. I called it the Manifesto that is NOT for Wimps. The first draft of this book was primarily about being ready for things going wrong. I mean things like an EMP attack that knocks out the electricity supply and damages electric motors. There is a 3 page description of what the consequences of this could be that was really quite scary. There are people who are concerned about the possibility of a global currency collapse created by the high level of national debt in the majority of the countries of the world. Some speak of economic warfare and others of cyber attacks.
There are many things that could happen if God decided to remove His hand of protection off the world. I remember that when an aircraft crashed near Kegworth in the 1980s. I said God why did that happen. I had been asked to read a bedtime story and it came from a children’s bible and included Mary’s song when she knew she was expected, Jesus. It was like being hit over the head with the idea that God had decided that this time He was not going to stop an accident happening.
Given that I have a natural tendency towards being prepared this made a really logical place to start. My problem was that there are few people that see the world like that. After all, we all know bad things happen but until they do we would rather not think about them. If we don’t think about them then we won’t do much to make life easier if they do happen. Think about how many people die each year without making a will. We expect that we will die one day but we don’t write a will because we would rather not think about it.
Other reasons to develop church-based community development projects
There are those admittedly few here in the UK who believe that the government should not be as heavily involved in community support activities as it is. They believe the church should take a far larger role than it does in education, providing social care and many other things.
I am not so sure about that but if the doom and gloom merchants are right about the possibility of a global currency collapse the current austerity measures will look like the good old days. Just look at what happened when the government lost its ability to support the community in Russia, Zimbabwe, and various places in South America. Personally, I would rather stimulate the church into some form of community support now in case it ever does need to play a bigger role in supporting the community. It can be spurred into action by events like the Grenfell Towers disaster but it takes something like that to take care of the people on its doorstep. There are times when the church learns to swim and acts as lifeguards saving people in the community from difficult practical circumstances.
I wonder if one interpretation of Matthew 22:1-14 is that Christians have been invited to do things for the community and because they have not done them others have been encouraged to do them. This makes sense to me in terms of environmental issues, gardening even education. Maybe if Christians had done more to protect the environment the violence and non-Christian influence that is seen in environmental activists would have less impact on society. But it is better if someone does it, even if they have issues that make them seem to be unsuitable recipients of such invitations. If that interpretation is right the church is a long way from being a bride without spot and wrinkle. It is not training up the flock to go out and do the stuff in terms of protecting the environment, farming in a godly way etc etc. There is more to this idea of being salt and light in the community than many realise.
Taking a step backward
If we are going to need community-based organisations to provide support for people impacted by the big problems in society then you need people who are going to do the stuff. People who
- know who they are (initiation)
- know what they are capable of (recognition)
- able to use the spiritual tools that God has given us (impartation)
- know how to get things up and running (embarkation)
- willing and able to work hard to keep things going (perspiration)
That is what the five dimensions are about. That was one of those divine downloads that made more and more sense the more I thought about it.
Being deficient in one or more of those dimensions has led to a number of frustrating situations. There are times when we need to go back and build ourselves up in another way.Shortly before writing this I was sent a voucher to do a personality test. I was amazed at the result. It described me as something I had not expected. It matched what some others had said about me and what I should be doing. Yet when growing up, I had learned that the feeling that came from doing things that someone that the personality would do was a sign that I was doing something wrong. Behaving like that personality type lights me up and when I had felt like that I had been told off so many times that I associated that feeling with doing something wrong. Now it is a case of accepting who I am and living in accordance with the way that I have been designed rather than the shape I was pushed into.
One of my frustrations has been not being accepted for what I think I am called to do. If I am not being myself then I will not appear authentic. If I appear to be false in some way then it will be hard to accept me for what I am called to be. What is worse is that it is harder to do what you are called if you are not behaving in the way that is necessary for you to fulfill that calling.
Taking a second step backwards
I hope it is now starting to make sense. I know what being frustrated and unable to do what I want to do. There was a time when I used to see what I wanted to achieve but know that I know that I know that I could not get there. My circumstances were too far away from what I needed them to be to go forwards.
In some ways, thigns have changed but in other ways, they have not. As the vision of a desired future has become clearer the pathway towards it has become more convoluted. I see people who step out and do things that fit in with what I think should be done but their reason why is a million miles from mine.
Churches talk about mission projects or of coming alongside people and living with them as Jesus with flesh on and doing what He would have done to help them. Going out and supporting the community with projects is a good start but to me, that is just a first step.It is good preparation for a time when things could be very different. I am learning to accept that this is all that some people can see is needed at the moment. It is better to take a baby step in the right direction than to do nothing. Sadly there are many who don’t even think that those baby steps are needed.
And my response is…
I have started writing a book in the style of autobiographies of people saved from alcoholism etc that I used to read. Rather than being aimed at people who need a life change, it is aimed at churches who are not currently doing anything to support the community. It is based on the lessons I learned from the Heavenly Crafts project and is sprinkled with comparisons from my experience of life in struggling churches.
The first part with all the reasons why is already written up in the “Manifesto that is NOT for Wimps”. I updated it and it grew but the new version but it was so big and heavy that I thought I had better split it into two parts i.e. the Manifesto that is NOT for wimps and the Challenge that is NOT for Wimps. that expands on the idea that the church should be doing more to support the community. It won’t be long before they are on Amazon.
It would be a good idea if you are not already signed up to receive copies of the new entries in the journal on God’s Lily that you did so. This would mean that you will get to hear when these books are released.