Monthly Archives: December 2009

In Need of De-dragoning

Today I got to spend the day with my wife at her university. The roads were frightening, so I drove her in rather than sentencing her to the highways alone. While she sat in class, I did some marking and reading in the picturesque student area of Campion College. As I worked, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversations going on nearby. One in particular caught my attention, and despite my attempts to shake it, I couldn’t. Two young women sat just down from my table, and talked for a couple of hours about a great many things. But as the minutes stretched on, and one hour turned into two, it became apparent that the content of their chatter wasn’t substance; it was nothing. To be more specific, it was an egocentric, preferential, stating of opinion that didn’t have any (helpful) shape or direction (or purpose).

Now, I’m being rather harsh here. I’m certainly no stranger to this sort of interaction. When speaking to another person, what is more natural or familiar than to speak about myself? It’s a basic mode of communication for individuals in relation to one another. As Gabriela, the nice lady with whom my sister and I stayed in Mexico, used to say, that sort of chatter is “siempre sobre mi” (“always about me”).

I suppose the conversation I overheard at Campion caught my attention because lately I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ call to discipleship. In the days of the first century, the basis of one’s life seemed to be in the family structure, and breaking ties with that structure seemed unwise and unthinkable. Today, I wonder if the basis of one’s life is no longer the family structure, but the self, the ego. “I” is the foundation on which everything that is achieved is mounted. I’m sure this was quite prevalent in Jesus’ day too, for Luke includes the emphatic “even your own life” to the list of relations we are to hate or renounce.

It’s undeniable that individualism drives our North American world these days. I guess I thought I’d come across different sorts of conversations while sitting in a Catholic college student area, in a school that boasts of classical learning. But what have I to boast? I’m just as egotistically driven as those two young women at Campion when it gets down to it. I realize that afresh each day as I live alongside my wife. There seems to be no greater task than that of divorcing myself from myself. It truly is a death, a daily death, that I must go through in order to rid myself of my own desperate grasp. As personal freedoms go, I don’t think there is anything quite so full of bondage as considering myself to hold the key to my own free will.

The obvious direction here is to turn to Jesus and ask for help. “Take hold of me and rip my self away as Aslan did for poor old dragoned Eustice, and grant me the freedom that exists only in total submission.”

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Delirious?, your future starts today

Yesterday, Delirious?, a band of five men from Littlehampton, UK, who have led the Church in song and cried out for 17 years for people to get out into the streets and change the world for the kingdom, have hung their hats and their guitars.

Delirious? always said that they would never stop until they had created their very best work. It is clear now that their “best” is beyond the music. Lead voice Martin Smith, along with his wife Anna, have started a charity, CompassionArt, “dedicated to seeing works of art generate income for the poorest of the poor.” Last year they brought together their friends of the music world, and produced a CD full of songs adding commentary to the injustice experienced in so much of the world. 100% of those proceeds went to specific charities funded by CompassionArt.

Martin Smith stated, “As a song writer and a person with a microphone I made a promise to try and do something about it. What better than to call on my friends and do something together. To be people that can make a change rather than just singing about it.”

This is the future for Martin and his family.

I’ve been listening/following Delirious? since their early days in the early 90’s, so it’s incredibly sad for me to watch them exit the stage for the last time, knowing the world has heard the last D:tune. But I’m proud too, knowing this band was never about the fame or the money. They felt called to make a change, to turn hearts toward God, and provide a voice for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. Now they step out of the concert spotlight, costumes, and equipment, and into the world of direct service.

Here’s a song for you from their latest live DVD, in Bogota, Columbia. It’s called “Break the Silence,” which is a call for the Church to find its voice and stand for those who can’t stand on their own.

Citizens with a secret in our hands
That could ignite our shadow lands
Light it up and let it go
Let it shine with love and grace and a redesign
A ray of hope for the common man
Light it up and let it go

Oh, oh, oh,
We’ve got to give it away
And there’s a price to pay
When we give it away

Break the silence, break the silence,
Cross ever boundary that divides us, divides us
Break the silence, break the silence,
Cross ever border that divides us, oh, unite us

We turn the page, to a future just begun
If heaven is real then let our heaven become
Peace on earth, let it flow.
We raise our voice where the colours all but gone
Paint the world with redemption songs
Stir it up let it flow.

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