TRUTH FOR JUST PEACE

Like many, I have been deeply challenged by the state of our nation in recent times. Although American in context I believe that the truths discussed in this conversation with Stanley Hauerwas and Sister Helen Prejean are hugely beneficial for us to consider. The video is lengthy, but I urge you to take the time to watch it. These are the kinds of ideas that lead us to be peace makers and see South Africa become a beloved country for all who call her home. 

I have highlighted some of the statements which deeply challenged me. Feel free to add your own as you watch. 

“We are suffering form the failure of the success of the civil rights movement”
Stanley Hauwerwas. 

“We lack the kind of public discourse necessary to discern appropriate responses to what are clear injustices” Stanley Hauwerwas

“We are so invested in individual interests that we call basic human rights entitlement programs” Sister Helen Prejean

“I never met people who were actually suffering. Whatever we can do to have direct experiences of encountering one another and sharing our experiences I think is what sets our hearts on fire to begin to work for the common good.”
Sister Helen Prejean

“There’s alot of seperation, one of them is fear. The media pumps fear into us on a daily basis.” Sister Helen Prejean

WHAT DOES PEACEMAKING LOOK LIKE IN A CONTEXT OF FEAR?

“You start as christians asking people to tell the truth”
Stanley Hauwerwas

“You start by challenging the descriptions that shape public reaction in a manner that helps christians call into question the violent character of the modern nations state”
Stanley Hauwerwas

“We are not only a slave nation. We are a genocidal nation. How do you make that part of your story?” Stanley Hauwerwas

“There is no humility without humiliation. We are a humiliated nation when we remember what we did to the native americans. That will kill pride very very quickly”
Stanley Hauwerwas

“Christ is the bringer of a new age that makes it possible for Christians to live in a manner that the world finds miraculous” Stanley Hauwerwas

WHAT IS PRIVELAGE?

“Privilege is never having to look over your shoulder to see who may be calling you into question” Stanley Hauwerwas

“To be white is to be privileged” Stanley Hauwerwas

“The worst thing you can possibly do is let that guilt you up in a way that you enjoy your guilt because it makes you feel righteous” Stanley Hauwerwas

“What is really crucial is a sense of how that might be the occasion for discovering new relationships of those who are not privileged in a manner that creates a commonality that we desperately need” Stanley Hauwerwas

“One good thing about being middle class is that we can devote all of our energies to building a just society” Sister Helen Prejean

“Guilt either paralyses you or galvanises you”
Sister Helen Prejean

“God quickens us to move”
Sister Helen Prejean

“Through God’s Spirit we can be faithful”
Sister Helen Prejean

“The deep call of the Spirit is to keep moving on and to give of ourselves”
Sister Helen Prejean

“The problem is we don’t see the suffering”
Sister Helen Prejean

“Learning to listen is part of the vocation that God has given us”
Stanley Hauwerwas

“When grace comes up inside us, we move with it and it carries us”
Sister Helen Prejean

I pray that these thoughts would deeply stir us and in stirring us that grace would move us to change. 

Much Love
Matt

 

 

 

Pain is a part of life. Sorrow is not the enemy of joy but its partner. Those of us who have struggled through darkness of our own know this to be true. Hardship can be an incredible teacher. Retrospectively.

In the moment however, these truths are easily forgotten. Sometimes our best attempts to catch the sun leave us in the dark. Regardless of how fast we run light still sets on our horizon.

‘The well’ is a song inspired by Gerald L. Sittser. In His book, ‘A Grace disguised: How the soul grows through loss‘ he reminds us of a beautiful truth.

“The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.”

I am generally one to chase after the sun. This song encourages us to let the light find us while facing the darkness. It is a song that does not resolve. There is no happy ending. No relief. It is honest about the moments that inspired it.

Life is full of light and shade. Pressure and release. Each moment, a part of the whole and valuable in it’s own way. This song was born of struggle. Thats ok.

Sadness is neither bad nor good, it just is. How we face it will determine what we find there.

If, as you read this your horizon is growing dim, be encouraged. You are not alone. There is grace for you here. It might get darker before the morning but don’t lose hope. The sun will find you. Until then, the darkness has treasures of it’s own. Unexpected treasures, but treasures none the less. May your eyes be opened to see the grace disguised.

Much Love
Matt

LIVE YOUR SONG

Few people in life inspire me as much as Jon Foreman. He reminds me as a musician, christian and general human being, to push beyond the surface and seek out the deep things of life. To “dance in the tension”.

I’ll never be Jon. That’s ok. But with whatever time I have left on this side of eternity I’m trusting God for the grace to be me. Not the me that is bound up in expectation or pretense, but the me that was imagined in the mind and heart of God.

I’m not exactly sure who or what that is. That used to frustrate me. Slowly I’m learning that process is all we have. One moment, one day at a time. I’m learning to find peace in the whole, broken, perfect, flawed, certain, doubting adventure that is my life.

Perhaps, like me, you struggle with the tension. Find courage. God knows and He is here. Your heart might be as stable as a house of cards in a hurricane. He is a firm foundation. From everlasting to everlasting He remains the same. Trust Him. Just as you are. He is not disturbed by your humanity, He offers you His hand and with it the strength of His divinity.

The Gospel/the kingdom of God/eternal life, is the radical proclamation that God is not surprised by our limitations. That He meets us in our weakness and offers us His strength. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We are never more found than when we accept that we are lost, more whole than when we know that we are broken or more alive than when see that we are dead. We cannot be saved if we wont admit our need for a saviour.

The tension is all we have. This is where God finds us. Trust Him and learn to dance.

Much Love
Matt

Waters deep

 

Happiness is the cry of our generation. Our highest pursuit being that of hedonistic satisfaction. We numb ourselves to the real questions of existence and ultimately stay empty. We hope to satisfy the insatiable desire for more with more, but more is not really what we are looking for.

“Are you happy?” is an understandable but ultimately misguided question. “Are you whole, are you healed, have you the character to endure, has peace filled your heart?” These are better questions.

Waters deep is a song about my struggle to resist the temptation to settle for mere happiness. Pursuing a life of significance is a trying journey, I have failed more times than I care to admit here. But in the end, I believe that the reward (both now and in the future) will be worth it.

WATERS DEEP

Find me here in waters deep
All for love and a heart that beats
Paths of ease before me lie
But life is found in the road untried

I am falling in
But hope will rise again
I will not sink but swim to shore

For He will come

Blazing fire and burning light
Love alive in the eyes of life
Words of truth a courage speaks
Drawing strength from feeble knees

All have fallen in
But hope will rise again
We will not sink but swim to shore

For He will come

This promise my defence and yours

That He will come

All have fallen in
We will not sink but swim
His love will lead our hearts to shore

Yes He will come.

Much Love
Matt

#givekindness

This Christmas I want to invite you to join me in the #givekindness initiative.The idea is very simple really.

SHARE:
Use #givekindness to share this post with as many people as possible. The more people involved, the greater the impact.

ACT:
On Christmas day, connect with people around you for whom this time is often lonely and difficult. Think of creative ways to demonstrate the love and generosity of God to people beyond your immediate circle of family and friends. Listen to someones story, offer a word of encouragement, invite a stranger to your house for Christmas lunch… The possibilities are many and the need is great.

KEEP IT UP:
Think of this as learning a lifestyle rather than as being involved in a project. Christmas in just the beginning. Let the love of God continuously move you out of your comfort zone and into the lives of those around you.

Thanks for your time in reading this. I hope that in sharing Jesus with others you’ll discover Him more for yourself.

Much love
Matt

 

Barefoot souls

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Last week I was in Port Elizabeth with my long time friend Dean Cothill and new friend Justin Mulder.

They run a podcast called Barefoot Souls. We spent a morning talking about life, faith, evangelism, christianity, culture, spirituality and what it means to authentically struggle with the questions of our time (the typical things you talk about over breakfast). The conversation is attached below in two parts. I hope that there is something helpful amidst our ramblings and painfully corny jokes.

If you have any thoughts on our discussion feel free to comment. I would love to continue the conversation around some of these issues.

Much Love
Matt

When God draws near

PSALM 116 (MSG)

1-6 I love God because he listened to me,
    listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently
    as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
    hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn;
    then I called out to God for help:
“Please, God!” I cried out.
    “Save my life!”
God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
    our most compassionate God.
God takes the side of the helpless;
    when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest.
    God has showered you with blessings.
    Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;
    Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
    And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”

9-11 I’m striding in the presence of God,
    alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,
    and despite a ton of bad luck,
Despite giving up on the human race,
    saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”

12-19 What can I give back to God
    for the blessings he’s poured out on me?
I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God!
    I’ll pray in the name of God;
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
    and I’ll do it together with his people.
When they arrive at the gates of death,
    God welcomes those who love him.
Oh, God, here I am, your servant,
    your faithful servant: set me free for your service!
I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice
    and pray in the name of God.
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
    and I’ll do it in company with his people,
In the place of worship, in God’s house,
    in Jerusalem, God’s city.
Hallelujah!

May these words bring strength, comfort and hope at your deepest point of need. As you draw near to the God who draws near to you may you come to know, with ever increasing clarity, what life really is.

Much Love
Matt