The art and the agony of anticipation

My manager’s kindergarten-aged daughter is a brave little one: she willingly holds her arm out for the needle at the doctor’s. While I don’t exactly freak out about injections and have donated blood a number of times, I am a bit squeamish when it comes to blood and the cutting up of my body. I don’t think I’ll ever get laser-eye surgery because the mere … Continue reading The art and the agony of anticipation

From Advent to Adventure

It’s the second week of Advent and I’m not really feeling it.

Generally speaking, people slide easily into one of three distinct categories: (1) those who absolutely love Christmas; (2) those who find Christmas super stressful; and, (3) those who are indifferent to Christmas.

I love Jesus but I am planted firmly in the third camp.

So I scour the season, I scour Scripture, both for magic and for logic. Continue reading From Advent to Adventure

Misunderstood: artists, do-gooders and missionaries

The wrong question? As soon as the question escaped my lips I knew that I had become That Annoying Person Who Asks The Stupid Question That Misses The Point. My poorly articulated question spread across the auditorium like a bad taste on the palate. I was at the Justice Conference in Melbourne, and it was an “In conversation with…” session on the intersection of art and justice which ended up … Continue reading Misunderstood: artists, do-gooders and missionaries

How to grow ambition

I grew up with a lot of positive reinforcement and believing in Jesus has both shrunk and supersized that.

On the one hand, ambition can be a bad word because it implies arrogance. I have become less self-effacing, more confident, over the years, but I doubt anyone I know would describe me as ambitious.

There is still this idea that ambition is a cut-throat attitude, seeking to elevate yourself regardless of the cost to others.

Um … not me.

But y’know what, I am ambitious.

And I’m going to start owning that. Continue reading How to grow ambition

Don’t give up on perfection

I am not a perfectionist. Not in the traditional sense of the word – I decided a long time ago that it was too difficult and painful to live that way, that I wasn’t going to be needlessly harsh and demanding on myself, trying to get everything right down to a tee.

But I am, in my own way, a perfectionist. Deep down, I still believe in and long for perfection. Continue reading Don’t give up on perfection

Questions about relationships

Three thoughts chewed over with friends in the last month or so: Religion is a relationship: it’s not really about exactly what you do, but the relationship that those acts and activities somehow sustain and develop. Am I great company but a terrible friend? And what would make me a better friend? Why do we still have reservations about online dating? Given how technology has changed every other way … Continue reading Questions about relationships

Mission made possible

In honour of IJM Bolivia’s incredible month of July (4 convictions, a long-awaited arrest, 60 therapies completed, churches uniting for justice), our team went to see Tom Cruise hang off the side of a military plane, in a business suit, as it takes off into the chilly London air. During the week, our Field Office Director made a number of references to how our work … Continue reading Mission made possible

Stuff that doesn’t make sense

I count the days till I go home and they are too many and yet too few. I think of what happened to her and all my sorrow and outrage leak out again. I speak at length with a friend and have the sensation of being simultaneously trusted and betrayed. I speak briefly with another friend and feel the last month of intimacy chill within a week into a relational … Continue reading Stuff that doesn’t make sense